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  1. #1
    Senior Member 66aldo's Avatar
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    Noob front hub disassembly goof-up, methinks?

    Well, I tackled my first front hub disassembly last week. I probably didn't do all the stuff that I should have done (be organized, take notes, be neat, etc) but I didn't lose any ball bearings, so that was a good thing!

    Anyhow, everything went back together fine BUT does the skewer/cut/cone go into the wheel only one way? I fitted the wheel back onto the bike and it seems to fit better one way, rather than the other. Remember when I said that I didn't take notes? Well, I'm not sure if I stuck the assembly back into the wheel from the correct side or not? I think I might have done that ...

    Does it matter? Is it marked somehow as to left side or right side? I haven't had a chance to take it all apart again and try it. I guess I will if I have to. Also, is white lithium grease OK for the bearings?

    Thanks!
    The light at the end of the tunnel IS the front of an oncoming train!

  2. #2
    Senior Member CACycling's Avatar
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    The skewer shouldn't matter one way or the other if that is what your question is. I usually have the lever side on the non-drive side to be away from the derailer in the back and do the same side in front so they will match. If you're asking something else, please clarify.

    I use white lithium myself but some seem to prefer bike-specific brands.

  3. #3
    Senior Member bikeman715's Avatar
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    white lithium work just fine . now what is your other question ?

  4. #4
    Senior Member 66aldo's Avatar
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    OK, thanks! I think CACycling answered it. I wasn't sure if the skewer was side-specific or not. The whole thing didn't seem to fit the fork once it was reassembled.
    The light at the end of the tunnel IS the front of an oncoming train!

  5. #5
    Senior Member SweetLou's Avatar
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    What do you mean it didn't fit once assembled? It should also fit the same no matter which way you put it in. You might not have had it in the fork ends correctly.

    If this is your first hub, remember that there should be some play with the axle/bearings. This play should disappear once you have the quick release locked. I also recommend replacing the balls. Not because you can't use them, but because they are cheap and it is hard to tell if you have inspected the entire ball for pits.

  6. #6
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    perhaps you removed both cones and then put them back on slightly to far to the left or the right, this would leave you with too much axle on one side and not enough on the other. simply loosen the cones and move them towards the longer axle end until both ends are equally sized.

  7. #7
    Senior Member 66aldo's Avatar
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    I did remove and check all of the ball bearings. They weren't pitted and the cones were in good shape too. I only removed the cone on one side and then everything sort of fell out/apart. When it didn't fit the forks, that's what lead me to believe that maybe I had assembled it backwards, so to speak. I should have some time this long weekend so I will take everything apart again and do it over JUST 'CUZ! :-)

    Thanks for all the replies and info!
    The light at the end of the tunnel IS the front of an oncoming train!

  8. #8
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    you put the old bearings back? how can you tell if the bearings are pitted or not? microscope?
    just finished my first rear hub service and I replaced the bearings on an old 2003 hr wheel...bearings are so covered with that white grease Id rather not waste time...those front hub bearings are small...just thought that putting new bearings is the way to go...bomb proof...IMO rear hubs are easier a bit coz the bearings are bigger -harder coz of obstructions
    Last edited by yngwie; 05-15-08 at 12:39 PM.

  9. #9
    Senior Member 66aldo's Avatar
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    Sure ... electron microscope actually! lol
    There were only 10 per side. I cleaned each of them off individually and looked at them. I didn't see any spots on them (visible to my naked eye, of course) so I'm assuming that they're ok. This is a $5 bike here, not a TDF special. It rolled fine before but I just did this ... well, just because. I wanted to see how hard it really was.
    The light at the end of the tunnel IS the front of an oncoming train!

  10. #10
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    I wouldnt worry about replacing the ball bearings. Yes it would be optimal to replace them, but I wouldnt freak out if I didnt (unless they were obviously unfit to roll).

  11. #11
    Numbnuts
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    I can't see what you've done through my computer screen, and therefore I don't really know why it wouldn't fit your fork.

    There is a more to know about hubs than many imagine and small mistakes can cause problems down the road.

    It's fantastic that you're working on your own bike. That is a fantastic path to knowlede.

    That said-My advice to you is read your sig to yourself- and then roll by a LBS so they can check out your hub for you.

  12. #12
    Senior Member gldrgidr's Avatar
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    Excuse me for butting in on someone else's thread, but I've just bought a $5 child's bike to use the wheels on a bicycle trailer, and as soon as I got home I checked out the front hub and found a bad ball bearing on each side of the hub. These bb's broke apart. Don't know how old the bike is, but the bearings were dry except for a layer of nearly hardened black paste. The cups are unscored so I guess I was lucky.
    What should it cost to replace the BB's? They are in a cartridge rather than loose. Do I have to replace the entire cartridge?

  13. #13
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 66aldo View Post
    When it didn't fit the forks, that's what lead me to believe that maybe I had assembled it backwards, so to speak.
    Here's a couple of common front wheel installation issues. If neither of these happen to apply to you, please don't feel insulted.

    1. If you are installing the wheel with the bike frame turned upside down, it's common to get the wheel in not-quite-straight. When you do this the rim will rub on the brake. The solution is to install the wheel with the bike standing rightside up. That wah the weight of the bike helps make the hub bottom in the fork dropouts like it should.

    2. "Lawyer Lips" Most modern bike forks have little protrusions on the bottom to retain the wheel in the event that you don't get the quick release tight enough. It generally takes 5 full turns of the quick release nut before the quick release can clamp the wheel properly in the fork.

  14. #14
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gldrgidr View Post
    Excuse me for butting in on someone else's thread, but I've just bought a $5 child's bike to use the wheels on a bicycle trailer, and as soon as I got home I checked out the front hub and found a bad ball bearing on each side of the hub. These bb's broke apart. Don't know how old the bike is, but the bearings were dry except for a layer of nearly hardened black paste. The cups are unscored so I guess I was lucky.
    What should it cost to replace the BB's? They are in a cartridge rather than loose. Do I have to replace the entire cartridge?
    I doubt they were in a cartridge because you wouldn't have been able to see the bearings. They were probably in a retainer which is a completely different thing.

    Take your old retainer to your local bike shop. They should have replacement retainers in stock. I hesitate to guess on the cost of replacements because it's one of those things that the labor cost of finding the right part exceeds the cost of the item.

  15. #15
    Senior Member gldrgidr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Retro Grouch View Post
    I doubt they were in a cartridge because you wouldn't have been able to see the bearings. They were probably in a retainer which is a completely different thing.

    Take your old retainer to your local bike shop. They should have replacement retainers in stock. I hesitate to guess on the cost of replacements because it's one of those things that the labor cost of finding the right part exceeds the cost of the item.
    Thanks. I do need to learn the lingo. They are retainers rather than cartridges.

  16. #16
    Senior Member BCRider's Avatar
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    I have not seen the term "retainer" used for this before. I believe the term "cage" is more common. But it's all the same in the end. A sort of donut shaped clip that holds the bearing balls spaced out evenly.

    Back to 66aldo, a trick for setting the preload on the cones is to use some thick washers on the ends of the axles so that you can clamp the skewer in place during the cone tension adjusting. As noted already the skewer slightly crushes the axle and this amount of spring action will result in too tight a preload on the bearings. Doing the final cone tension adjustment with the skewer in place and tightened to close to the same tension that you use with the wheel lets you set up the preload with some feel and a lot less work needed in the trial and error department.

    The right tension is when you can't feel it rattle anymore and then just a hair more so that you can feel the beginnings of some additional drag. If you go a little further the drag will be too high and likely it'll start to feel a little "notchy". That's too much and you'll want to back it off a hair. We're talking about 3 steps of 1/10 of a turn critical here from too loose to just right to too tight. Too loose and the wheel will have a little bit of play side to side at the rim and the balls will wear faster since they are not supporting the load evenly around the whole cup track. Too much and the pressure will wear a groove in the cups and cones over time and wear out the balls at the same time.

    But fear not. With a thin cone wrench and a regular wrench for the locking nut and a vise to hold the one side of the axle you can set the tension up quickly and easily. But you'll want to lift the axle out of the vise to spin the axle rather than turn the wheel. The large diameter of the wheel will mask the feel of the drag.
    Model airplanes are cool too!.....

  17. #17
    Senior Member Oldpeddaller's Avatar
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    BCRider - great tip to use the thick washers in place of the fork ends - I'll be trying that one myself! Thanks.

  18. #18
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BCRider View Post
    I have not seen the term "retainer" used for this before. I believe the term "cage" is more common. But it's all the same in the end. A sort of donut shaped clip that holds the bearing balls spaced out evenly.
    Must be a Canadian thing. QBP uses the tern "retainer" in their catalogue. Living in the midwest all my life I've always heard the term "retainer" used. Like you say, however, it's all the same in the end.

    Do you guys use tires or tyres?

  19. #19
    Senior Member BCRider's Avatar
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    Both, depending on how English the writer is trying to be....

    I guess it depends on the bearing maker. The catalogs I've seen, or at least the ones I remember, referred to caged and uncaged rollers or balls. Not sure what maker at the moment.
    Model airplanes are cool too!.....

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