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Old 07-05-14, 01:07 AM   #1
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Front wheel - Funny noise

I have a Torker bike. It largely works well for my commuting. I frequently take the front wheel off the bike and put it back. Usually it works fairly well, despite me not being an expert on anything.

Recently though, while riding the bike keeps making an awful grinding, clicking, some some funny noise. So I google a bit:

a) It happens all the time.
b) Yes, even when not pedaling.
c) I disconnected the brake pads and spun the wheel, making sure the brake pads weren't touching. Noise still persisted.
d) Brake pads still disconnected, bike completely stationary, lifted bike off ground and spun wheel. Noise still persisted.
e) Took wheel off. Spun just the axle? by hand. I think the noise still persisted (It sounded very similar).
f) Put a little oil on the axle, just the exposed metal bits and lubed it a little. Nope.
g) Put the wheel back, carefully aligned it and locked the quick-release again and tried. Nope. Noise still there.

So what's wrong? Has the axle or hub? (is that what its called) gone bad? Is there anything I can do to fix this myself? I'd love to learn how to fix it - before taking it to my LBS. But if its something too hard or let me know.

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Old 07-05-14, 06:54 AM   #2
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You have isolated the problem to the hub, and oil is not the answer. The hub bearing is likely dirty or damaged (pitted) and needs to be overhauled. There's a chance that a locknut came loose and the adjustment is too tight. Google overhaul hub, sheldonbrown and parktool being the best results to check. It's up to you to decide whether you want to tackle it. If you have a bike co-op nearby (no idea where you live) that's probably your best option. **Parts may be required - it's important to inspect before re-assembling - and use new ball bearings.
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!
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Old 07-05-14, 06:59 AM   #3
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Does the axle spin smoothly in the hub? I'd open it up and inspect the bearings and races.
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Old 07-05-14, 07:14 AM   #4
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It's very common for hubs to be left too tight by shops (for some reason that's how they leave the factory), which they can take for a while, but after six months or a couple of years they'll start pitting, then it's goodbye cones, goodbye balls, and then eventually goodbye cups and thus the hubs.

If you want to have a go at this yourself, you'll need a cone spanner, almost certainly 13mm. Some cones have two different sets of flats, in which case a 14mm would work too. Rear hubs use 15mm and sometimes 16mm. If you have a Shimano wheelset (ie the rims say Shimano), you may well need a 17mm cone spanner for the front instead.

You might only have one damaged cone, so you should probably take a look before buying replacements. Also, threads vary... but you should probably get away with just specifying whether it's for a nutted axle or quick release.
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Old 07-06-14, 12:08 AM   #5
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Thanks all.

cny-bikeman: Jamaica plain, Boston, MA . There's a nice shop called Bikes and Bombs here where apparently you can work on your own bike every Wednesday, after paying 35$ or something. Maybe I'll check that out. The LBS also (without seeing my bike, since I verbally described teh problem) said it was mostly bearings. I'll search for those pages, thanks.

JohnDThompson: It spins smoothly enough, as in, it isn't stuck - like a tyre would if it was spun while still touching the brake pads. But while spinning it makes that awful noise, kinda like someone tapping on metal all the time. Kinda.

Kimmo: The rims say something called HJC P6N, and then have some measurements. The nuts inside the axle seem the same on both sides of the front wheel though. How do I know which size wrench I need? Is it just trial and error? As in, I don't want to buy 1 size and find out it doesn't fit .

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Old 07-06-14, 12:41 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by live_dont_exist View Post
How do I know which size wrench I need? Is it just trial and error? As in, I don't want to buy 1 size and find out it doesn't fit .
Buy a set of wrenches. Problem solved. You don't need top of the line tools, so you can get a metric wrench set under $20.

Backing up to look at the problem as a whole, you may want to take this to a shop if you don't have any experience. I'm just thinking that since there seems to be a good chance you'll need shop assistance at some point to obtain replacement bearings and/or cones, you might as well involve them from the start so they can observe the original problem and help you cut to the chase. There won't be a lot of labor involved, so this shouldn't be a job where you save a ton of money by going the DIY route.
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Old 07-06-14, 01:06 AM   #7
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Thanks Skydog75. I think so too - it might be too complex a job to do on my own, until I get familiar with how things work inside.

I also redid this whole thing - since I suspected JohnDThompson might be right. So I took everything off, and this time I took off the quick release completely, with the skewer, so I just had the tyre and the hub. And I spun it, and true enough it seemed to stick. As in, I'd rotate, it'd go a certain distance and then stop. Then when I tried to force it to rotate again, I'd feel resistance. It wasn't super hard, but there was some for sure. A little pressure later - it'd spin again. And so on.

So yeah, something's wrong inside for sure. Although I did understand how exactly to assemble the quick release back correctly ... so all is not in vain
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Old 07-18-14, 12:17 PM   #8
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So I took it to REI yesterday and he says the bearings are all gone and there's absolutely no grease in there. But he says it makes more sense to replace the whole wheel :-o .. coz labor + parts on the hub = 50$ish and a new wheel is 70$. Considering that my bike cost was only 270 odd $ (Torker alpental 26)... I'm loathe to spend that much and I think I'm going to have a go myself

I just need a single cone wrench rt? And a normal wrench to hold the locknut? Coz the videos I looked at showed 2 wrences being used together.

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