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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 09-24-11, 08:27 AM   #1
Sidney Vicious
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Grinding clicking front hub - fixable?

I have an old Trek 750 Multi-track with a problem.

Front wheel is a Matrix Heat Treated Titan-Tour 700c with a Shimano Deore LX HB-M550 hub.

Thing started clicking/creaking yesterday a little bit.

This morning I set up bike with wheel parallell to ground and sprayed each hub/cone side good with chain oil thinking that might quiet down whatever I was hearing - instead on test ride it just made it more apparent.

I would like to keep the wheel - is there a fix? Replace the guts of hub? If so what do I need?

Thanks.

Last edited by Sidney Vicious; 09-24-11 at 08:31 AM.
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Old 09-24-11, 09:02 AM   #2
garage sale GT
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It depends on if the bearing cups are shot. You just have to pull the axle apart to check. Get on parktool.com for illustrated instructions. You almost certainly need new cones and bearing balls but you may be able to reuse the hub if the cups aren't pitted.

You may be under or over tightening the quick release or the axle may be misadjusted. The way you install the cones and locknuts is absolutely critical. There should be just a touch of wobble in the axle when the quick release is loose but when tightened it should all go away but without excessive pressure or rotating drag. The quick release actually compresses the axle a bit and makes the bearings run tighter.

That all comes later though- for now, you have to take the axle apart and see if the metal is starting to crumble along the little shiny track the bearing balls make where they roll. You have to check the cone on the axle and the cup inside the hub.

A preliminary check would be to remove the wheel and twirl the end of the axle around with your fingers while pressing inward on it, to see if it feels very rough. Most bearing balls, cups, and cones feel a bit irregular even when new, but it shouldn't feel like the metal's started to crumble a bit.

If you find it is starting to pit, there's no saving it because it will only get worse and the crumbly debris in the grease will only accelerate wear.
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Old 09-24-11, 10:17 AM   #3
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If you are lucky you will only need to replace the cones and bearings. If the cups are in bad shape the hub is toast.
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Old 09-24-11, 11:05 AM   #4
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The cups are replaceable but no one sells new ones.
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Old 09-24-11, 11:38 AM   #5
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They are only replaceable with suitable tooling for pressing them out and pressing in new ones. That's not something the typical home or even full on bike shop is set up to do.

To Sid Vicious, have you ever taken the hub apart and cleaned and re-greased the bearings? If the answer is "no" and given you called it an older bike then it's high time to do so. If it turns out that major and non repairable damage has occured at least you'll feel that you KNOW you need to buy a replacement front wheel.
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Old 09-24-11, 12:26 PM   #6
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They are only replaceable with suitable tooling for pressing them out and pressing in new ones. That's not something the typical home or even full on bike shop is set up to do.

To Sid Vicious, have you ever taken the hub apart and cleaned and re-greased the bearings? If the answer is "no" and given you called it an older bike then it's high time to do so. If it turns out that major and non repairable damage has occured at least you'll feel that you KNOW you need to buy a replacement front wheel.
It a 20+ year old craigslist special - I've only had it a couple of months but have become oddly attached to the thing and was hoping to keep it original as I could - made in usa steel frame and wheels - that said, I have not taken the hub apart but will do so this weekend I hope and see what I can see -

Thanks for all replies -
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Old 09-24-11, 03:03 PM   #7
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Well I loosened the nuts so I could check the cones and bearing - all looked good to the naked eye - bearings shiny - flushed out - and then hit each side with white lithium grease - tweaked the adjustment a few times and it is noticeably better - I'll monitor it closely and see.

Thanks.
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Old 09-24-11, 03:36 PM   #8
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Well I loosened the nuts so I could check the cones and bearing - all looked good to the naked eye - bearings shiny - flushed out - and then hit each side with white lithium grease - tweaked the adjustment a few times and it is noticeably better - I'll monitor it closely and see.

Thanks.
It should feel loose when the wheel is out of the bike. If it feels right then it will be too tight after you tighten the quick release skewer.
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Old 09-24-11, 06:48 PM   #9
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It should feel loose when the wheel is out of the bike. If it feels right then it will be too tight after you tighten the quick release skewer.
Got that and thank you -
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