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  1. #1
    Senior Member jethin's Avatar
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    Loose Cones on Older Hub and Crunchy Freewheel

    A couple of quick questions for the experts here.

    - Is it normal for the cone nuts that seal the bearings in an older, quick release rear hub to not be physically attached/screwed on to the hub? As far as I can tell the cones on my rear hub are only pushed onto the bearing cups by the flimsy springs at the end of the skewers.

    - The cheap freewheel on my single speed is "crunchy" and a bit stiff. Would squirting some lube in the top of the freewheel be an appropriate way to fix this? If so, would Tri-Flow or light machine oil be better? Or do I need a new freewheel?

    Thanks!

  2. #2
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    No that is not normal. THere should be locknuts on both sides. ANd the springs should not be going over any part of the axle - the springs are part of the skewer and should be arranged so the small partis facing inward toward the axle and the large part is against the skewer lever and nut.

    The only hubs I am aware of that do not have locknuts are some old Raleigh front hubs that (I htink) only have a locknut on one side. Rear hubs should all have two locknuts.

    Lubing your freewheel might help. New freewheels cost between $5 and $20.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by jethin View Post
    A couple of quick questions for the experts here.

    - Is it normal for the cone nuts that seal the bearings in an older, quick release rear hub to not be physically attached/screwed on to the hub? As far as I can tell the cones on my rear hub are only pushed onto the bearing cups by the flimsy springs at the end of the skewers.

    - The cheap freewheel on my single speed is "crunchy" and a bit stiff. Would squirting some lube in the top of the freewheel be an appropriate way to fix this? If so, would Tri-Flow or light machine oil be better? Or do I need a new freewheel?

    Thanks!
    Axle locknuts (not cone nuts) do not seal anything - they keep the cones locked in adjustment.
    The q/r spring small end should be pointed inward, so the only thing it would touch would be the end of the axle
    There are numerous pics and tutorials available of q/r hubs and adjustment - just Google quick release hub adjustment.

    No great harm in using Triflow or even WD-40 to loosen up grime, but solvent is best, followed by a thick oil. Us a rag to catch excess. If that does not work well enough a new single speed freewheel is inexpensive.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Simonius's Avatar
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    The cones that form the outside of a loose ball bearing race are screwed onto the axle, adjusted to hold the wheel steady, and locked in place with a nut outside them. (this needs a special wrench, a bit of patienceand you need to look up how to set tension, it is not obvious).

    If you have cartridge bearings you may have spacers with dust cover flanges, which just sit there.

    The springs on the quick-release do not apply pressure, they are just to keep the QR centred while loose, which makes it easier to installthe wheel.
    The QR applies pressure around the edges, it has a hollow in which the coiled spring sits.

  5. #5
    Senior Member jethin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Simonius View Post
    The cones that form the outside of a loose ball bearing race are screwed onto the axle, adjusted to hold the wheel steady...
    I think this is the problem. As far as I can tell the loose cone isn't isn't making contact with the threads on the axle, making the assembly easy to pull apart. I can't remember if there was a locknut on the outside of the loose cone (not that it would matter as far as making sure the cone was properly attached.) I'll have another look when I'm at home tonight and see if I can figure out what's going on. Thanks.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by jethin View Post
    I think this is the problem. As far as I can tell the loose cone isn't isn't making contact with the threads on the axle, making the assembly easy to pull apart. I can't remember if there was a locknut on the outside of the loose cone (not that it would matter as far as making sure the cone was properly attached.) I'll have another look when I'm at home tonight and see if I can figure out what's going on. Thanks.
    I can't imagine what you mean above, as the cone is always threaded onto the axle. You may actually be looking at a dust cover. Again, by looking at tutorials and pics online you should be able to figure out what the problem is. If not then we definitely need a clear picture.

  7. #7
    Senior Member BCRider's Avatar
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    There are a couple of different axle sizes and thread pitches. If your bike is an older one you got used it's just possible that someone in the past stuck on a bearing cone that had the wrong thread and hoped that the locknut would hold the adjustment long enough to sell off the bike. Over time a mismatched thread will wear and turn into a loose slip fit.

    In any event it sounds like you've got some serious sorting and repairing to do on that axle and hub.

    As for the crunchy freewheel if it IS a freewheel and not a cassete and freeHUB then remove it and toss it and put on a new freewheel and cog cluster assembly. By the time they get crunchy they are damaged beyond any hope of flushing out and oiling to restore them.
    Model airplanes are cool too!.....

  8. #8
    Senior Member jethin's Avatar
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    Mystery solved: a broken axle. My poor excuses for not realizing this immediately are 1) it was a clean break at the cone 2) there was only about 1/3" of the axle left sticking out past the frame end of the lock nut and 3) it's been awhile since I overhauled a hub. I noticed awhile back that one of my dropouts was bent -- I think someone might've backed into my bike while it was locked up on the street. (Brooklyn, yo). Should've addressed this right then. Anyhow, it looks like I will need at minimum a dropout straightening, axle, bearings, cones and freewheel for my circa 1989 Prelude. Ack.

    Thanks for all the advice -- glad I checked here.

  9. #9
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    It depends on what you mean by crunchy on the freewheel. I have a new one which feels a bit crunchy. The bearing balls can sound a lot like sand.

    I would not try to rehab it with a light lube. I think grease has a sealing function because the grease between the seam and the bearing balls catches grit and keeps it from circulating. Oil can't do that. I might try to soak and wash out the freewheel in spirits and then try to pack it with aerosol grease but just buying those things can approach the cost of a new freewheel.

    The hub might be ruined if you tried riding the bike. A bike can be ridden with a broken axle. Make sure you don't see pitting because if you do it will just get worse and the wear particles which crumble out will ruin new cones and bearing balls.

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