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  1. #1
    Senior Member bg4533's Avatar
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    Problems repacking hubs.

    I am currently repacking the hubs of the wheels that came with my 2003 Specialized Hardrock. The wheels are made by Alex and have Joytech hubs. So far I have only started the front wheel. I am replacing the bearings with 3/16" bearings and they look to be the same size as the old. The problem is I can get one of the bearings in and aligned properly, but when I try to get the second side in I cannot get the cone to fit back in properly. It gets stuck higher up than it should be. I have cut into a couple bearings that were caught in it. I have taken apart the wheels and tried about 5 times to get them back, but I have had no luck. Is there a trick to getting the bearings in properly?

    Thanks.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    Free balls or are they in a retainer?

    Quote Originally Posted by bg4533
    I am currently repacking the hubs of the wheels that came with my 2003 Specialized Hardrock. The wheels are made by Alex and have Joytech hubs. So far I have only started the front wheel. I am replacing the bearings with 3/16" bearings and they look to be the same size as the old. The problem is I can get one of the bearings in and aligned properly, but when I try to get the second side in I cannot get the cone to fit back in properly. It gets stuck higher up than it should be. I have cut into a couple bearings that were caught in it. I have taken apart the wheels and tried about 5 times to get them back, but I have had no luck. Is there a trick to getting the bearings in properly?

    Thanks.
    If your hub has free balls, I'm guessing that you have too many. The general rule of thumb is that, when you have the right number, it looks like there is room for one more.

    If your hub has retainers for the balls, I'm guessing that you have the bearing retainers in backwards. The retainer goes in toward the center of the hub.

  3. #3
    Senior Member bg4533's Avatar
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    The hub has free balls. I took out 11 from each side and am trying to put back in 11 on each side. I tried 10 on one side and got the same problem. The cones have layers. Where should I try to get the balls in relation to the axle? Higher up there is some extra room and right next to the axle there really isnt enough. I have tried both places, but they dont want to stay in place anyway.

  4. #4
    Senior Member bg4533's Avatar
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    Well...the bearings are now in. I kind of flipped the axle upside down and worked its way in. The wheel is not really the smoothest now though. They feel smooth to the hand, but they dont spin very long and they come to a very slightly rough stop. Any ideas? Do bearings take a little bit to get situated?

  5. #5
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    Replacing bearings should be quite a simple process. I don't understand the problem you are running into. Are you positive that the new bearings are the correct match to the old? A shop should have a bearing gauge to distinguish this for you.

    I grease one side of the hub, put the bearings in, slip in the axel, then flip the wheel and do the other side. When setting the tension you need to have two cone wrenches so that you do not over tighten the whole assembly when you set the stop nut. Screw on the bearing race on side two of the hub to where when holding the axel between your thumb and index finger you have just a slight bit of play. Screw on the stop nut up to the bearing race and this is where you need the two wrenches, snug the stop nut against the bearing race. Do the finger test with the axel again. You want to just take the play out, yet not so much that the bearings bind. Spin the axel with your fingers very slowly. If you feel any knotching or binding repeat the setting process and back the bearing race off about an 1/8th of a turn. Retest.

    It takes a couple of tries but you'll get it. The wheel should do several (20 - 30) revolutions if the bearings are correct with a good spin on the wheel.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Faust's Avatar
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    Bearings

    A simple thought comes to mind. Did you micrometer the bearings that you took out, as well as the ones that you put in? Seems to me that if they truly were the same size you wouldn't be having the problem. Unless, of course, there still remains some other unknown factor.

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    Just ride. roadbuzz's Avatar
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    You should be able to look at the cleaned cups and cones and be able to tell where the balls normally ride. Basically, you'll see a shiney ring on both about 1/16" wide. But, it would be pretty hard to get them to stay in the wrong place...

    Quote Originally Posted by giantmdb
    I grease one side of the hub, put the bearings in, slip in the axel, then flip the wheel and do the other side.
    This pretty much covers the hard part... using grease to hold the balls in place until you get the axle in. My procedure for tightening is slightly different. I leave it a little loose, install the wheel and tighten the QR, if there's still play I tighten it a tiny bit and repeat... i.e. the play is only eliminated when there is the additional pressure of the tightened QR.

    There's nothing like being in the middle of a job, and having dubious results, to drive you to some reference material. I recommend checking out Barnett's Ch. 12 (sticky thread at the top of the Mechanics section). Lots of good, technical and common sense advice. http://www.bikeforums.net/barnettes/barnetts_ch12.pdf

    Here's an article from Sheldon Brown on cleaning and repacking hubs that might be useful. It's somewhat dated, having been written in 1978, but most of the principals still apply.
    Hub Overhaul

  8. #8
    Senior Member bg4533's Avatar
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    Ok...the hubs are now working properly. I had read Parks and Barnetts pages on replacing the bearing before I started.

    Apparently the bearings I got are the wrong size, but something is a bit odd. I ordered 3/16" bearings for the front wheel and that is what the bag is labeled. From a foot or so away they look like the same size as I took out, but the bearings I ordered are slightly larger. On the range of less than 1mm. My cheap micrometer can't really measure the difference between the two sizes. So, is it possible my hubs have some nonstandard size bearings or is it possible my new bearings arent really the correct size?

    Either way, the hubs are working properly now. The original bearings look slightly worn and are a bit dull, but they should be good for a few hundred more miles.

    Thanks.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Don Cook's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bg4533
    Ok...the hubs are now working properly. I had read Parks and Barnetts pages on replacing the bearing before I started.

    Apparently the bearings I got are the wrong size, but something is a bit odd. I ordered 3/16" bearings for the front wheel and that is what the bag is labeled. From a foot or so away they look like the same size as I took out, but the bearings I ordered are slightly larger. On the range of less than 1mm. My cheap micrometer can't really measure the difference between the two sizes. So, is it possible my hubs have some nonstandard size bearings or is it possible my new bearings arent really the correct size?

    Either way, the hubs are working properly now. The original bearings look slightly worn and are a bit dull, but they should be good for a few hundred more miles.

    Thanks.
    "From a foot or so away they look like the same size as I took out..."
    Does this phrase really mean that you only eyeballed the bearings to figure out their diameter? I've never trusted my eyes to be calibrated to within a thousandths of an inch, so I use a micrometer or caliper.

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    Senior Member bg4533's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Don Cook
    "From a foot or so away they look like the same size as I took out..."
    Does this phrase really mean that you only eyeballed the bearings to figure out their diameter? I've never trusted my eyes to be calibrated to within a thousandths of an inch, so I use a micrometer or caliper.
    Yes, I did only eyeball the bearings. I was led to believe that the only size of bearings used in modern bicycle hubs were 3/16", 1/4", and 5/16" and the differences between these are easily noticable. I still don't know if the bearings I recieved are not really 3/16" or my wheels use a non standard size.

  11. #11
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    They may have been metric sizes rounded up/down to imperial.
    "After a certain point, all dangers are equal'

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