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  1. #1
    rcd
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    reinstalling wheels with quick release hubs

    This has to seem like a really dumb question, but... Occasionally, I need to take the front wheel off my touring bike, but I always seem to have much more trouble getting it back on than I should! Can someone tell me what I'm doing wrong, please? Here's the problem: If the front brakes are working perfectly, and I need to take off the front wheel and then reinstall it (with quick release hubs), the wheel rim often doesn't line up with the brake pads as it had before I took it off. When I put the fork back over the wheel, should I press down on the bike to seat the fork as I tighten the hub? or should gravity itself be enough to seat the hub in the fork slot? Should I be concerned about where the springs are that sit on the quick release hub as I lower the fork down onto the hub? Should I just wiggle the wheel about until it centers between the brake pads (assuming the brakes worked fine before I took the wheel off) and THEN tighten the quick release?
    I've seen so many people reinstall a front wheel almost in their sleep, but it is NEVER that simple for me, so after years of struggle, I'm asking for help, please! rcd

  2. #2
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    The springs aren't a problem, they just center the skewer so it's easier to line up. The skewers work fine without them but they are a convenience.

    I center the rim (i.e. wiggle it) between the brake pads as I tighten the skewer to keep the brakes aligned. Be sure you close the brake caliper's quick release before tightening the hub skewer so the gap between the pads is in its final location.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    I just set the bike on it's own wheels and let gravity seat the front axle in the dropouts. Then I hold the QR lever out parallel to the axle and tighten the nut just finger tight. Pushing the QR lever in parallel with the fork blade completes the process.

    If I find that my rim is rubbing a brake pad I loosen the QR lever, push down on the stem, and tighten the QR lever again.

  4. #4
    Happy old man al-wagner's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Retro Grouch
    I just set the bike on it's own wheels and let gravity seat the front axle in the dropouts. Then I hold the QR lever out parallel to the axle and tighten the nut just finger tight. Pushing the QR lever in parallel with the fork blade completes the process.

    If I find that my rim is rubbing a brake pad I loosen the QR lever, push down on the stem, and tighten the QR lever again.
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  5. #5
    Healthy and active twobikes's Avatar
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    It sounds like the upper surface of one dropout is a little higher than the other. You could make some shims from an aluminum soft drink can so that when the axle goes into the dropouts as far as it can, the wheel is aligned as before. Use some electrical tape or epoxy glue to hold the shims in place. I had this same problem for years on an old steel fork. Finally, I hit the inside surface of the dropout very lightly and very quickly with my welder. It left a bead that filled the gap and the wheel aligns perfectly each time now.
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  6. #6
    Senior Member bluehair's Avatar
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    You say it's a touring bike. Do you have cantilever brakes? Do you release the tension on the straddle cable before you pull out the wheel? Or do you have pivot brakes? There is a button on the shifter or lever on the brake to release the brake for easy wheel removal. Do you use it? Pulling to get the wheel through the brake arms/pads may be moving the brake itself. Make certain that you have started with the wheel in straight and secure by putting the bike upside down (don't scratch anything) and drop the wheel onto the fork. Close the skewer. Tighten the brake release or re-seat the brake straddle cable. The wheel should be centered between the brake pads. If it isn't, the brake needs to be aligned. Now you're starting in the right place. Flip the bike upright and remove the wheel and reinstall it properly releasing the brake first. It should slip in easily. The weight of the bike will seat the fork evenly on the axle as long as the bike is straight upright and not leaning to the side. Good luck.
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  7. #7
    rcd
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    Thanks to everyone! Perhaps I only need to pay a bit of attention that the wheel is centered between the brake pads before I finally tighten up the quick release. I hadn't really been paying attention to this, until -- of course -- it obviously became a problem when I tried to ride! I hope this "thanks" gets to everyone who responded, as I'm not 100% certain about how to use this great forum! rcd

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