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  1. #1
    Senior Member jowilson's Avatar
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    Cleaning my pops 1980's racer.

    So I've been cleaning my pops 1980's Schwinn 12-speed racer and I've come across a few problems. First, I took off the front wheel last week and cleaned all the dirt, grease and grime off the spokes and hub. Cleaning the spokes and hub took in excess of 3 hours. I used some CLR stuff sprayed on a rag and rubbed it on each and every spoke. That's 32 spokes btw. But anyway, I was very pleased with the results when I finished but I realized that I'd eventually get around to doing the rear wheel but I want a quicker way. Are there any household products that I can use to soak the wheel in and speed up the process?

    Second, when I put the wheel back together, I took out all the bearings, cleaned and regreased them. When I put the wheel back on, I noticed that it was VERY out of true. I didn't adjust any of the spokes when I cleaned it but I went ahead and tried to true it. I noticed about a minute into truing it that the true-ness of the wheel varied with speed of the wheel and went more out of true the faster it went and at a certain speed, was nearly perfect true. As it slowed down, it went way out of whack again. I think I adjusted the hubs wrong when I put it back together. Is that all I need to fix? Or is it something else?

    That's all I have for now but given the age of this bike, I'll either give it to an LBS or take the cleaning processes very slowly and carefully.

    Thanks in advance,

    Josh
    The sun'll come out tomorrow.

  2. #2
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    It should not take that long to clean a wheel. Use a brass brush and solvent.

    You either have the bearing/cones adjusted too loosely or you put too many balls on one side of the hub. Just Google overhaul front hub (Sheldonbrown.com and parktool.com/blog are best) for proper procedure of overhaul and adjustment.
    There's no such thing as a routine repair.

    Don't tell me what "should" be - either it is, it isn't, or do something about it.

    If you think I'm being blunt take it as a compliment - if I thought you were too weak to handle the truth or a strong opinion I would not bother.

    Please take the time to post clearly so we can answer quickly. All lowercase and multiple typos makes for a hard read. Thanks!

  3. #3
    bike whisperer Kimmo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jowilson View Post
    I noticed about a minute into truing it that the true-ness of the wheel varied with speed of the wheel and went more out of true the faster it went and at a certain speed, was nearly perfect true. As it slowed down, it went way out of whack again. I think I adjusted the hubs wrong when I put it back together.
    Either the wheel isn't true, or it is, unless the spokes are completely slack.

    If you can wiggle the rim side to side when the wheel is mounted in the bike, your bearings are too loose.

  4. #4
    Senior Member jowilson's Avatar
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    So the problem was in fact a missing wheel bearing--2 to be exact. I'm going to get some new ones tomorrow afternoon. What size might they be? I was thinking either 5/32" or 3/16". I have some old headset bearings that are in good condition and can be reused. If they are not the right size, I'll have enough to replace all the bearings in the front wheel but I don't know the issues the come with changing sizes (if they are not the same size). Is this OK? Or should I bring in a bearing to the LBS and have them get the right size replacement?

    Josh
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  5. #5
    Sheriff of Nottingham seanile's Avatar
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    keep in mind there's supposed to be a slight gap about 3/4 the size of a bearing when they're all squished together in the hub.
    2015 Sketchy CX | 2014 Firefly MTB | 2014 Meriwether Touring | 2012 Horse Road | 2012 Giant Defy 3 | 2011 Geekhouse Rockcity | 1991 Eddy Merckx Corsa Extra Team Weinmann

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by jowilson View Post
    So the problem was in fact a missing wheel bearing--2 to be exact. I'm going to get some new ones tomorrow afternoon. What size might they be? I was thinking either 5/32" or 3/16". I have some old headset bearings that are in good condition and can be reused. If they are not the right size, I'll have enough to replace all the bearings in the front wheel but I don't know the issues the come with changing sizes (if they are not the same size). Is this OK? Or should I bring in a bearing to the LBS and have them get the right size replacement?

    Josh
    You don't want to screw around with the wrong size bearing balls, under most circumstances that's just asking for trouble.

    Also, you want to replace all the bearing balls in the hub at the same time, so all the balls are from the same batch. Bearing balls can vary in size between batches, not enough to see but apparently enough that the smaller ones don't support any load. They're so cheap that you may as well replace them all.

    However, as the post above mine says, the cup isn't meant to be packed completely with bearing balls, there should be a gap.

    I'm not sure how one or two missing balls could cause the problem you were describing, though. You did adjust the bearings as per the Park Tools tutorial or similar after you put the whole thing back together, didn't you?
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  7. #7
    Senior Member jowilson's Avatar
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    I did follow the procedure very carefully--this bike is from the 80's and I'm treating it very well actually.

    I know there's supposed to be that gap between the bearings but I'm telling you, this is clearly missing bearings. If the wheel is completely assembled and you spin it, you can clearly see the hub is centered, then drops down for a second and pops back up into the center. This gives it the effect that the wheel is untrue when really the hub is missing bearings.

    Josh
    The sun'll come out tomorrow.

  8. #8
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    It would have to be missing more than a couple of bearings for it to cause the symptoms you're describing - just how many do you think are missing?

    Also, as mentioned above, make sure that you replace *all* the bearings in one go with new ones that are from the same batch, otherwise this can cause problems.

    If I'm understanding you correctly, rather than the wheel appearing to wobble side-to-side, it should be wobbling up-and-down if it really is missing bearings causing it?

    When the wheel is mounted on the bike, when you grab it by the rim and push it side-to-side, is their any discernible 'play' that you can feel? If there is, then this is most likely caused by the cones being adjusted too loose, or maybe from having one or more bearings that are a lot out-of-spec.

    EDIT: What brand/type are the hubs? Most rear hubs use 9 1/4" bearings per side and front ones use 10 3/16" per side.

    Pictures are always good.

  9. #9
    Senior Member jowilson's Avatar
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    On my way to school this morning an idea popped in my head and I realized that I might not be missing any bearings at all and instead I just have one too many on one side. I am going to move one bearing to the side with a missing bearing and see if that alleviates the problem.

    Josh
    The sun'll come out tomorrow.

  10. #10
    Senior Member jowilson's Avatar
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    And these are Joytech hubs. There was some play in the hubs but that wasn't caused by bearings I don't think. Last night I took it apart again and fixed the play there was.
    The sun'll come out tomorrow.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by jowilson View Post
    And these are Joytech hubs. There was some play in the hubs but that wasn't caused by bearings I don't think. Last night I took it apart again and fixed the play there was.
    How did you fix the play in the hubs that wasn't caused by bearings?

    How many bearings are we actually talking about that are currently in the hub(s)?

  12. #12
    back in the saddle bent-not-broken's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jowilson View Post
    On my way to school this morning an idea popped in my head and I realized that I might not be missing any bearings at all and instead I just have one too many on one side. I am going to move one bearing to the side with a missing bearing and see if that alleviates the problem.

    Josh
    I did this once. I pushed a bearing through the hub to the other side. I trued that wheel a half dozen times before I found the cause. Obviously you should have the same number on each side and the 80'd bikes I've worked on have 9 per side rear 10 in the front. To verify I visited Sheldon Brown's site (He has a great discusion on repacking hubs). Per Sheldon's site:

    "Most front hubs take 10 three-sixteenth-inch balls per side. (Exception: Campagnolo Record, Nuovo Record and Super Record take 7/32 inch balls.) Almost all rear hubs take nine 1/4 inch balls per side. The balls need to fit easily into the race. If there is one too many, the wheel will tilt slightly one way and another after installation, and can not be trued"
    Bent

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  13. #13
    Senior Member jowilson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bent-not-broken View Post
    I did this once. I pushed a bearing through the hub to the other side. I trued that wheel a half dozen times before I found the cause. Obviously you should have the same number on each side and the 80'd bikes I've worked on have 9 per side rear 10 in the front. To verify I visited Sheldon Brown's site (He has a great discusion on repacking hubs). Per Sheldon's site:

    "Most front hubs take 10 three-sixteenth-inch balls per side. (Exception: Campagnolo Record, Nuovo Record and Super Record take 7/32 inch balls.) Almost all rear hubs take nine 1/4 inch balls per side. The balls need to fit easily into the race. If there is one too many, the wheel will tilt slightly one way and another after installation, and can not be trued"
    Thanks, I will fix the bearings when I get home this afternoon. The quote from Sheldon's is extremely similar to what is happening on this wheel.

    Continuity- I fixed the play by tightening down the cone a tad bit until the play was gone. This fixed the play but not the wobble. And there are either 9 or 10 bearings on one side. At least it should be 9 or 10 on each side. Right now its probably something like 11 on one side and 9 on the other or 10 on one side and 8 on the other. Depends on how many there are total though. I'll let you know later when I get a look at it.

    Josh
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  14. #14
    Mechanic/Tourist
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    Quote Originally Posted by jowilson View Post
    So the problem was in fact a missing wheel bearing--2 to be exact. I'm going to get some new ones tomorrow afternoon. What size might they be? I was thinking either 5/32" or 3/16". I have some old headset bearings that are in good condition and can be reused. If they are not the right size, I'll have enough to replace all the bearings in the front wheel but I don't know the issues the come with changing sizes (if they are not the same size). Is this OK? Or should I bring in a bearing to the LBS and have them get the right size replacement?

    Josh
    Quote Originally Posted by jowilson View Post
    ...an idea popped in my head and I realized that I might not be missing any bearings at all and instead I just have one too many on one side. I am going to move one bearing to the side with a missing bearing and see if that alleviates the problem.
    Quote Originally Posted by cny-bikeman View Post
    You either have the bearing/cones adjusted too loosely or you put too many balls on one side of the hub. Just Google overhaul front hub (Sheldonbrown.com and parktool.com/blog are best) for proper procedure of overhaul and adjustment.
    "If you had gone to sheldon's site as I recommended you would have seen this:
    It is particularly important that all of the balls in a given race come from the same production run...Most front hubs take 10 three-sixteenth-inch balls per side. (Exception: Campagnolo Record, Nuovo Record and Super Record take 7/32 inch balls.) ...The balls need to fit easily into the race. If there is one too many, the wheel will tilt slightly one way and another after installation, and can not be trued."
    There's no such thing as a routine repair.

    Don't tell me what "should" be - either it is, it isn't, or do something about it.

    If you think I'm being blunt take it as a compliment - if I thought you were too weak to handle the truth or a strong opinion I would not bother.

    Please take the time to post clearly so we can answer quickly. All lowercase and multiple typos makes for a hard read. Thanks!

  15. #15
    Senior Member jowilson's Avatar
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    Fixed it!!! There were 18 bearings total-9 on each side. There is no wobble anymore and the wheel is true. Next is the rear hub...

    Josh
    The sun'll come out tomorrow.

  16. #16
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    So what was the problem in the end? Too many bearings on one side?

  17. #17
    Senior Member jowilson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Continuity View Post
    So what was the problem in the end? Too many bearings on one side?
    Exactement. There was 10 on one side 8 on the other, and that caused the wheel to look out of true when it wasn't really. I moved a bearing to the side with 8 bearings so it was even- on each side. I put it back together and it was back to normal.

    Josh
    The sun'll come out tomorrow.

  18. #18
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    Nice one - glad you got it sorted.

    Usually, front hubs take 10 bearings per side and especially as they're so cheap and easily available, you should really buy some new bearings to replace those old ones.

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