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  1. #1
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    Can Anyone Here Help Me Diagnose This Problem?

    Hey Everyone,

    So I bought a bike today - my first road bike. It's an '87 Schwinn Traveler, in good shape, needs a few tweaks but I'm happy with it. I took it out to see how I liked it, and I only ran into one problem: the bolt at the right rear dropout (it's horizontal) is apparently loose, no matter how much I tighten it. When I put a lot of pressure on the pedals (which I know I shouldn't do - I'm still learning about shifting, especially since the gears are downtube...a bit awkward for me) the wheel seems to slip ever so slightly, causing the tire to rub against the left seatstay. I don't know what I can do to keep this from happening, aside from just trying to be gentler on it...but I'd really like to not have to worry about it.

    Here's an album with pictures of the bike as a whole and several of the problem bolt. http://imgur.com/a/NUCIl#gPXwI

    I hope you all can help!

  2. #2
    Schleckaholic K&K_Dad's Avatar
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    the whole wheel should be set in the dropout and completely back against it before anything gets tightened. Since you don't have a quick release you'll need 2 wrenches, 1 for each side to tighten(not saying you're stupid or anything). if it's not flush you'll get the tire to be sideways causing problems. If the dropout has by some chance widened then that's a whole nother issue.
    "cause he's got teh jerseys, shaved legs, everything... he's road rider for sure " *** "You successfully riced out a bike." -JustinHorne

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    Senior Member Homebrew01's Avatar
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    If the washer under the nut is a regular flat washer, replace it with a serrated washer. It will grab the frame better & stop the wheel from slipping.
    The wheel doesn't need to be all the way back in the dropout. As long as the wheel ends up centered in the frame, and not so far forward that it's barely in the dropout, then you're good.
    Bikes: Old steel race bikes, old Cannondale race bikes, less old Cannondale race bike, crappy old mtn bike

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    I'm pretty sure the washer on there now is flat. Where should I go to look for a serrated washer? A hardware store? A bike shop? Both are pretty accessible to me.

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    Quote Originally Posted by z_smalls View Post
    I'm pretty sure the washer on there now is flat. Where should I go to look for a serrated washer? A hardware store? A bike shop? Both are pretty accessible to me.
    Bring the wheel/axle with you and any hardware store will direct you to the lock-washer aisle.

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    Senior Member Homebrew01's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by z_smalls View Post
    I'm pretty sure the washer on there now is flat. Where should I go to look for a serrated washer? A hardware store? A bike shop? Both are pretty accessible to me.
    Yes, bring in the existing washer to match the size.
    Bikes: Old steel race bikes, old Cannondale race bikes, less old Cannondale race bike, crappy old mtn bike

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    Administrator CbadRider's Avatar
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    Thread moved from Road to Bicycle Mechanics.
    Quote Originally Posted by toddles View Post
    So Tom only hires people that are nutty? Is part of the requirement to be a moderator on this site is that you have to be nuts??
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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by K&K_Dad View Post
    the whole wheel should be set in the dropout and completely back against it before anything gets tightened.
    Sorry, but this is flat out wrong. Most horizontal dropout bikes aren't made precisely enough for the wheel to square up centered in the stays with both sides all the way back. Many have stops about halfway back on the right side, or bolt on derailleur hangers that do the same thing. The right way to install a rear wheel is to position the right about mid-way into the dropout, or against a right side stop, then center the rim in the chainstay and tighten. It's also best to do this with the bike on the ground so the gravity puts axle against the upper side of the slot, centering in the seatstays.

    There's no need to bring the wheel or axle to match anything because you're buying a 3/8" or 10mm washer, and the hole will be right with either one, since there isn't a thread involved.

    BTW- the axle nut should hold a wheel tightly even without a serrated washer, so the slippage may be the result of a distorted dropout, or a stripped axle or nut. If the dropout seems beat up, feel free to move the wheel forward or back to a better area.
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    while a agree with the serrated washer fix, to throw another solute on the table, you could also get something similar to a surly tugnut.

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    I don't think a typical serrated washer will help at all. I almost wonder if the nut or axle is fubar-ed

    Don't the tugnut and the like assume a dropout that opens to the rear?

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    What could be wrong with the axle or bolt or nut that would cause this problem? It just seems to not be secure enough. It only causes problems when I'm in too high a gear and I try to pedal up a hill, that sort of situation. It seems to me like a good, secure, locking washer would help, if not fix the situation, but again, I'm new to this.

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    Senior Member Homebrew01's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by z_smalls View Post
    What could be wrong with the axle or bolt or nut that would cause this problem? It just seems to not be secure enough. It only causes problems when I'm in too high a gear and I try to pedal up a hill, that sort of situation. It seems to me like a good, secure, locking washer would help, if not fix the situation, but again, I'm new to this.
    If the threads on the axle or bolt were pertially stripped, then it would not get tight enough. But you'd probably notice it because the nut would tighten, then get loose even though you were still tightening. If the tightness feels normal, so that your bicep bulges a bit and seems to stay tight, try the washer .... it's only $0.15
    Bikes: Old steel race bikes, old Cannondale race bikes, less old Cannondale race bike, crappy old mtn bike

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    Quote Originally Posted by z_smalls View Post
    What could be wrong with the axle or bolt or nut that would cause this problem? It just seems to not be secure enough. It only causes problems when I'm in too high a gear and I try to pedal up a hill, that sort of situation. It seems to me like a good, secure, locking washer would help, if not fix the situation, but again, I'm new to this.
    New and possibly more accurate diagnosis.

    The reason your wheel moves is because the chain pulls the right side forward, and it only happens hill climbing because that's when chain tension is highest.

    As I re-read your post I notice that you don't say you have to get off and reposition the wheel. If that's the case, I don't think it's your axle nut at all, or possibly a very unique situation. If the right side slipped forward under load, it wouldn't slip back, so We might have to discount the loose nut, or need for serrated nut theory, and look elsewhere.

    The most likely possibility is that the hub bearings are a bit loose and the chain pulls the right side forward, which then returns when you relax. Loose bearings are easily diagnosed by feeling for play at the rim.

    The other (less likely) possibility is that something, maybe a bad thread is keeping the right axle nut from tightening against the frame so the right side of the axle is able to slide back and forth.

    If you want a definitive diagnosis, push your rim toward the left chainstay, while watching the right side dropout. If the axle moves forward, it's related to the axle nut, if the hub deflects without the axle moving it's loose bearings. Loose bearings are easy enough to adjust, search for a tutorial for adjusting hub cones, or adjusting hub bearings.
    Last edited by FBinNY; 09-23-11 at 01:46 PM.
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  14. #14
    Senior Member robert schlatte's Avatar
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    I had this same issue with a bike. I took the solid axle out and replaced it with a hollow one and a quick release skewer and the wheel never again shifted after that. My suggestion would be to take the bike to a bike shop and have a mechanic look at it. Maybe the solution would simply be a serrated washer as suggested here. At least you would save time running around.

  15. #15
    Senior Member Homebrew01's Avatar
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    I'd be curious to see the right hand locknut (the nut at the end of the axle that contacts the inside surface of the frame)
    Bikes: Old steel race bikes, old Cannondale race bikes, less old Cannondale race bike, crappy old mtn bike

  16. #16
    Senior Member mechBgon's Avatar
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    In this case, I'd start by removing the freewheel from the hub, and ensuring that the axle's locknut and cone are firmly locked against eachother. It couldn't hurt to replace the existing locknut with one that has aggressive serrations, which I doubt yours does.

    Then I'd replace the freewheel and use these Wald serrated washers between the frame and the axle nut. They have some serious bite.


    Grease your axle threads, tighten the nuts firmly, and that should take care of it (famous last words).

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    Some notes about your 87 Schwinn Traveler:

    Your bike looks to have a 7 speed freewheel. The 87 Traveler was spec'ed with a 6 speed freewheel.

    From 1986 onward the Traveler had front and rear quick release hubs.

    The 87 Traveler was also the first year that bike model came with hooded brake levers. Yours seems to be missing those.

    Your cranks seem to be original with the black anodized outer chainring, as well as the black stem.

    The mint green color is most definitely from 1987.

    Since you are having a rear wheel problem you may consider changing it out for a different wheel with a quick release hub.

    -j

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