On the bike the wheel felt like the cones just needed to be tightened a little bit. once i took the wheel off i figured out that the axle play is not back and forth but up and down. even with the cones too tight the axle still wobbles a tiny bit up and down...
I donít think itís the newest surly hub so I donít think it has cartridge bearings but I know its sealed somehow and Iíve never looked in there. It doesnít seem like a bent axle because the pressure feels even all the way around. The only other thing I can think of is something wrong with the bearings, but itís nothing Iíve done because it had been working fine and it hasnít been opened since. can i get at those bearings with a mallet and punch?
Are there bearing retainers? They may be installed backwards. This can cause tightness axially, but there can still be radial play.
or the wrong cones or wrong bearing-sizes were used. This then has the balls riding off the edge off the curvature of the cones. Take everything apart and put a very light layer of grease on the balls. Re-assemble and spin the axle for a bit. Disassemble and see where the track of grease shows up on the cones showing where the balls rolled.
I have the Surly new hub. It has adjustable bearings, angular contact type. It is a great hub. I adjust them to have a little preload when not mounted. Just alittle. There should be no up and down play when adjusted that way. If there is alot of miles on them and was ridden out of adjustment, new bearings might be the only way to fix this.