Changed a tube last night on my front wheel because the old one had a slow leak. No problems with the change. Today I am riding to work (15 miles one way) and after about a mile it starts making a strange noise. When I turn the wheel and swerve back and forth it's louder. I thought maybe it's the hub because I checked for brake rub and there was none. I checked for a busted spoke...but other than one slightly looser spoke they all looked fine. Wheel is pretty true. Over lunch I dropped the wheel by my LBS and I was prepared to get a new wheel because this is the stock one that came with the bike which is 16 years old. I've put 1700+ miles on it this year which is more than I have the last 16 years by far. The mechanic said "it seems like the hub needs some lube, when was the last time the hub was worked on." He wasn't surprised when I told him the factory probably was the last place to work on the hub 16 years ago, especially when he opened it up and there wasn't any apparent grease in there. I suppose the bearings were ok because he didn't say they looked bad. So he packed it and put it back together. I put the wheel back on my bike after work and started back home....same exact sound....no change. Again with swerving the noise gets much worse...almost like the wheel is flexing when any lateral pressure is put on it. With no pressure the wheel makes no noise when spinning.
One more thing, when I go over this small people bridge on the way home I have to make a sharp turn onto the bike path and, not even touching the brake, when I turn hard left I can hear the wheel rub up against the brake pad when it normally doesn't. I know it's hard, if not impossible, to diagnose a problem without seeing the bike but I'm hoping you can offer me some answers. I commute every day and my LBS is slammed with repair jobs so they can't turn things around too quick right now. I don't have a back-up bike yet and I'd rather ride a rough/noisy bike then no bike at all. Tomorrow I could pick up a new wheel and just figure it out later, but if this thing can be repaired pretty easily, maybe I should forgo buying a new wheel.
My guess is that the mileage I put on the wheel while it was "riding rough" may have messed up other parts in my hub, or the bearings, or something....or....there is something else wrong with the wheel.
Bike: 1990 Trek 830 Antelope
Wheel in question: Unknown make (Trek stock?)
Rider: Big dude...299 LBS
Checked: Spoke tension (by hand), quick release tension, brake rub
Tires: New Duro Metros 26 X 1.5....2 weeks old
Tire pressure: 85 PSI (tire recommendation is 50-100 PSI)
Thanks for your help