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Bicycle Mechanics Broken bottom bracket? Tacoed wheel? If you're having problems with your bicycle, or just need help fixing a flat, drop in here for the latest on bicycle mechanics & bicycle maintenance.

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Old 07-30-09, 03:59 PM   #1
ThisJauntyGent
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Troublesome Hub Play

I've spent about half an hour trying to get the hub adjustment on an old Shimano Exage Sport hub correct, but there's this particular sort of play that never seems to go away. I've adjusted to the point that there is zero play along the axle's axis (Labeled A in the attached pic). However, the axle moves a tiny bit in the "B" direction when I pull from the rim. No amount of tinkering has solved the problem. Could it be a bent axle, maybe?

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Old 07-31-09, 04:45 PM   #2
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Bumping in the name of justice
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Old 07-31-09, 04:52 PM   #3
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bent axle doesn't cause play in the hub. How are you checking for play at the rim? Do you have the hub fully tightened in the drop-outs?
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Old 07-31-09, 04:55 PM   #4
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Could be a bent axle, but you should be able to see the bend as you turn the axle if that is the case.

My first thought was that perhaps you have one or two bearings, or one or two bearing positions in the races, that have worn unevenly.

Is the play only on one side? If it is you can try swapping the right bearings with the left, the right cone with the left, etc., and see if that helps.
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Old 07-31-09, 04:56 PM   #5
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bent axle doesn't cause play in the hub. How are you checking for play at the rim? Do you have the hub fully tightened in the drop-outs?
Good point, a bent axle wouldn't cause play like that. I've had bent axles cause an uneven binding sensation though.
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Old 07-31-09, 06:32 PM   #6
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Have you tried replacing all the ball bearings with brand new ones? They're cheap enough, but get good, branded ones. I'm a bit suspicious of anonymous ones in little plastic bags. I've seen them disintegrate in the past. Obviously, as has been stated, check the spindle for truth by taking off all the nuts, cleaning it and rolling it on a mirror. I use an old home movie projector lens to check the bearing tracks for pitting. The magnification it gives is phenomenal. Finally, bear in mind that a little play in the direction you describe is better than a bearing that is too tight. The latter will result in damage, whereas the former is unlikely to. Sometimes, you have to be pragmatic and accept a less than perfect situation, but always strive for perfection.
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Old 07-31-09, 06:59 PM   #7
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Sometimes, you have to be pragmatic and accept a less than perfect situation, but always strive for perfection.
Very well put!
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Old 07-31-09, 07:25 PM   #8
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The bearings are all brand new. I suppose I'll just be living with it then.

Besides, I've discovered an even bigger problem: My rim has a flat spot that can't be fixed through spoke tension =(
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Old 07-31-09, 07:42 PM   #9
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Many rims do. Check the sides of the rim for a seam. I'll bet you the flat-spot is directly along the seam in the rim.
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Old 07-31-09, 09:45 PM   #10
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Many rims do. Check the sides of the rim for a seam. I'll bet you the flat-spot is directly along the seam in the rim.
That was my first thought as well, but this particular flat spot is not at the rim. There's a bit of damage to the finish on the rim, so it looks like it must have been bashed or dropped at some point.

This brings up another question though: If most bikes have a flat spot at the seam, does this mean it shouldn't be too much to worry about? I would guesstimate that the dip accounts for about 1.5-2 mm of movement in the rim.
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Old 07-31-09, 10:36 PM   #11
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Your 'guesstimate' is on the mark - I measure them when I encounter such. I usually find 'em on mass-produced wheels. This is very common on wheels for 3-speeds. They're wide. They're cheap. They're likely to arrive way out of true & round. And they've been spinning down the roads like this for many decades.

If this was on a high-quality racing or touring rim - then I'd be up in arms. With 3-speed rims they are rather expected. True 'em. Tension 'em. Ride. With the wheel above - I'd need more history of the actual source and application before getting ticked-off and returning same. I'd also want a go with my Park TS-2 and my trusty set of spoke-wrenches.

It's a tough call.
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Old 07-31-09, 11:11 PM   #12
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Your 'guesstimate' is on the mark - I measure them when I encounter such. I usually find 'em on mass-produced wheels. This is very common on wheels for 3-speeds. They're wide. They're cheap. They're likely to arrive way out of true & round. And they've been spinning down the roads like this for many decades.

If this was on a high-quality racing or touring rim - then I'd be up in arms. With 3-speed rims they are rather expected. True 'em. Tension 'em. Ride. With the wheel above - I'd need more history of the actual source and application before getting ticked-off and returning same. I'd also want a go with my Park TS-2 and my trusty set of spoke-wrenches.

It's a tough call.
Everything I know:
Wolber GTA Alloy 700x25c rims on a 1989 Fuji Club. The wheels don't seem like junk, they're laced to Shimano Exage Sport hubs...
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Old 08-01-09, 12:47 AM   #13
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And they have an un-fixable flat? I'd get a new wheel. Those rims/wheels are designed to go at pretty good speeds. A 2mm dip/rise would not be even slightly advisable to attempt on such. That's MY opinion.

Anyone else?
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Old 08-01-09, 03:16 AM   #14
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I had a Shimano hub where the steel cup came loose in the aluminum hub body. No matter how tight the bearings were, I could always move the rim back and forth with the wheel mounted in the forks. Sounds like you may have the same problem...
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