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Old 07-17-14, 08:17 AM   #1
Phyoomz
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Hub Shaft Problem? (what the hub!)

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My son bought a used bike yesterday and told me that it's great, but the front wheel is kinda rough.

So I open up the hub, the bearings are near greaseless and the cones are pitted to death, but the cups are surprisingly fine.

Here's my issue. In cleaning the inside of the hub, I notice that the edges of the hub shaft (I don't know what it's officially called, the hole in the center of the hub in which the axle sits) are sharp and slightly protruding (by maybe 1 to 1.5mm) into the area in which the bearings sit, on both sides. I'm not sure if these protrusions are actually coming into contact with the bearings, it seems to me that the bearing might actually be going around them without touching.

I just wanted to know if anyone has had any experience with what I'm describing, and if so, can the wheel be saved (filing down the protrusions?), before I waste my time going to the bike shop to buy some cones and bearings, put it all together and then find out the hub is no good.

It would be a shame to have to toss the wheel, because it was built very well and the rim still has a lot of life left in it.

As always, your input is appreciated.
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Old 07-17-14, 08:22 AM   #2
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This is steel hub made by pressing the flange/bearing cup ends onto a steel tube (often called the barrel). Usually the ends don't extend into the bearing area, and if they do it MIGHT mean that a prior owner overtightened the bearings and thereby pressed the ends farther. OTOH if both sides match, it was probably made that way.

So if it looks like it was made that way, and the end of the barrel doesn't interfere, get a new axle and cones and rebuild it.
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Old 07-17-14, 08:50 AM   #3
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Poor adjustment will ruin cones. The grease sounds like it separated while the bike sat. No lubrication will also ruin cones. There's a good chance the cones just wore out.

If you reassemble the front hub with the old components, it should be 100mm between the locknuts, or on a few old bikes it may be 90mm. It may be a small amount off due to the pitting. That should tell you if the bearing cups were somehow forced inward.
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Old 07-17-14, 12:18 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
OTOH if both sides match, it was probably made that way.
Thanks for the response, except, the hub doesn't look like it was made that way. The protrusions are razor sharp and uneven, they appear to be caused by wear. But I'll spend the $10 to get some new cones and bearings and see what happens.
Thanks again
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Old 07-17-14, 02:07 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Phyoomz View Post
Thanks for the response, except, the hub doesn't look like it was made that way. The protrusions are razor sharp and uneven, they appear to be caused by wear. But I'll spend the $10 to get some new cones and bearings and see what happens.
Thanks again
Before spending on parts that may not work, reassemble with what you have and measure the axle width over the locknits. This should 90 or 100mm or very close. If it's a few mm undersize, the ends are moving on the barrel, and IME once this starts it doesn't stop. In which the hub is dead and you'll be glad not to have wasted time and dough on it.
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Old 07-17-14, 11:33 PM   #6
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I've seen some steel hubs that seemingly had the rough ends of a tube protruding from the middle of the bearing cup. They went together without a problem.
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Old 07-18-14, 05:11 AM   #7
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Don't waste your money buying replacement bearings. As one previous poster said, once the flanges of a steel three-piece hub begin moving inward, they don't stop.

Apply the money you were going to spend on bearings to the purchase of a new front wheel (of the same size---be sure to copy the dimensions listed on the tire of the old wheel to make sure the new wheel matches). Even an inexpensive new wheel should have a one-piece aluminum hub and an aluminum rim, giving improved braking performance (assuming the old rim was steel).
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Old 07-18-14, 05:57 AM   #8
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If the old rim is steel, don't put a minute of time or a dollar of money into rebuilding the hub. A new wheel with an aluminum rim should replace it immediately. The first time your son tries to stop in the rain, and survives the experience, you will see why this was a good idea.
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