Check those new hubs!
I am getting ready for a long tour and found a set of nice NOS wheels on Ebay for $30. These are 20-622 rims on heavy-duty tandem hubs and 36 14 gage SS spokes. These were new in an unopened box. What a deal! I was warned that these had been setting in a warehouse for something like 20 years and would need a lube job as the grease was more than likely bad. Rear hub was fine and some of the grease was indeed dried up with hard spots. After completing the service on the rear hub I moved to the front hub. Rotating the wheel about the axel produced some strange feeling action. It spun fine but something just did not feel right about it. Upon removing the axel I found the problem. One side had the correct number of 9 balls but the other side had 10! Also noted were 2 extra balls located behind the hub race. Someone must have been getting paid by how many axes they assemble and if a ball or two falls down in the hub they get to stay there. New grease and the proper number of balls and everything looks and feels fine. From now own I will always check hubs even if new. It would have been a bad situation doing loaded touring in the great Smokey Mountains with a wiped out front hub, a 200 lb rider, and 50 pounds of gear!