When I rebuilt my front end, I added a bearing to my threaded rod...made it really smooth! Here are the pics of that setup...hope it helps you too! You cannot see it in these pictures, but I used a small washer under one of the large washers so it would allow "rotation" of the bearing...just loose enough on the threaded rod to allow it to move down the threads as you compress the spring. I used a ratcheting dog bone to compress the spring!
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I bought the bearing at a lawnmower repair shop...NO NUMBERS! I think it was a bearing for one of the blade spindles.
I have made both types and I have to tell you, yes...you can put a good gob of grease between the washers to reduce the friction...but adding a bearing takes the load instead of the washers, making it easier.
Outer diameter of bearing is: 1 1/4 inch
Center Hole: 1/2 inch
Washer: .67 (Hole) with 1.05 diameter
Put the small washer on the flat side of the bearing...not the hub that sticks up! Ask me how I know.