I'm wondering about something I'll probably have to deal with at some point in the future. I'm building up an early '80's touring bike, and it has Suntour hubs with cartridge bearings (40 spoke rear freewheel hub, 36 spoke front). For now, the hubs spin as smooth as silk, but I've never worked on cartridge bearing hubs before, and I'm wanting to know what I'm in for if and when the bearings go bad. The bike is nearly twenty-five years old, I've just bought it, and I have no reason to think the bearings have ever been replaced. Like I said, for now the bearings seem fine, so my thinking is that I'll probably just ride it and see what happens. It's a touring bike, but unfortunately I've got no immediate long tours planned, the bike will be ridden mostly for city riding and some longer road rides.
The thing is, in looking at the available cartridge bearings in various catalogs, etc., I'm a little overwhelmed by the selection that's available. As far as the size of my bearings, they have an inside diameter of approx. 13mm, and an outside diameter of approx. 27mm. This was as close as I could get measuring with a metric ruler. In looking at the available bearings, it seems I may need to use calipers to get the precise dimensions, because the sizes are often listed in tenths of millimeters. And beyond the size, is there a certain type, brand, etc. that I'll need? There does appear to be some text and numbers on the plastic seals on my bearings, but it's not legible. Also, is it possible to carefully remove the plastic seal with something like the corner of a razor blade and simply flush the old grease out and re-grease the bearings, and then pop the seal back in? If that's possible, I could easily service the bearings with the cartridges still in the hubs.
And the other thing is how to get the cartridges out of the hubs if I have to replace them. I've removed oil seals from automotive axle housings with a seal puller, which works more or less like a larger version of a cartridge bearing puller. Do I need to get one of the bearing puller tools, or is there another way to pull the cartridges out? It seems that a properly sized socket could be used to tap new cartridges into place, so I'm not too worried about that part of it.
Any help is greatly appreciated-