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Old 08-01-07, 10:58 AM   #1
Keith.Irwin
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Grinding Sound on Rear Wheel Ball Bearings

Yesterday I cleaned and oiled my bike (gears, chain, moving parts) after I was done, however, I noticed that the wheels were making a weird grinding noise while I was riding.

After flipping the bike upside down, I discovered it to be the rear wheel only. After I took it off and removed the quick release skewer. While holding the nuts on the sides of the wheel and spinning the wheel, it still made the grinding sound, although there was no resistance. To be more specific, it is a bit like a grinding sound, but a bit like lots of ticking sounds. Hard to describe. I took a look at the ball bearings and nothing seems to be in there to cause the noise. The cones on the sides of the bearings did not solve the problem either.

Does anyone know how I could find out what is making this noise and how to kill it? I really appreciate it.
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Old 08-01-07, 11:26 AM   #2
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My guess is that the stream of water forced some small bits of grit down into the bearing races and that's what you're hearing. Take apart and clean thoroughly. Re grease and adjust the cones. Visit Sheldon Brown's site or Park Tools site for specifics. They are great resources.
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Old 08-01-07, 11:50 AM   #3
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Take apart and clean thoroughly. Re grease and adjust the cones.
What should I use to grease it?
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Old 08-01-07, 12:07 PM   #4
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I bought some Schwinn grease at a bike shop 20 years ago and am still using it up. Try your Local Bike Shop for some light bearing grease.
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Old 08-01-07, 02:08 PM   #5
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OK, all clean. In an attempt to save money I used some black lithium grease instead of official ball bearing grease, despite a forum warning against it. The wheel spins silently alone, but when I put it back on, I noticed another problem.


It seems as though this grinding sound was only one sound out of the chorus of noises I had noticed while I was riding. The other one is also in the rear wheel, but has nothing to do with the ball bearings, oddly enough.

It is a clacking sound that can only be heard when pedaling. Spinning the wheel forwards does not produce the noise. Spinning the pedals backwards doesn't either. I can only hear it when the pedals are powering the wheel. It is not the derailer, as I would have thought and the clacking increases when I put pressure on the pedals (going up hills, standing, accelerating). It is not hitting anything that I can see, yet the noise is clearly coming from the center of the rear wheel.

It is difficult to describe this, but I am going to see a friend who knows a lot about bikes tonight; maybe he can take a look at it.
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Old 08-01-07, 05:42 PM   #6
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Drivetrain noises are often hard to diagnose. If it only happens under load, I'd check the components that transfer power to the chain -- pedals, cranks, and bottom bracket. Is everything (including chainring bolts!) properly tightened?
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