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  1. #1
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    Re-packing bearings in old schwinn hub

    I picked up a 1972 Schwinn Super Sport that had been sitting in someones basement for 30 years. As a combination learning experience/tune up I've been taking the bike apart and cleaning/replacing those things that need it. I removed the front hub to find that the bearings are not in a little ring, but loose? Pardon my ignorance, but is there a trick to get them back in there after everything is all greased up? Can\Should I replace them with new bearings that are in a ring?

  2. #2
    The Legitimiser Sammyboy's Avatar
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    Please please please someone answer this. I need to know too. I have huge fingers, and I cannot imagine how to get uncaged bearings back into a headset or BB.

  3. #3
    Senior Member wahoonc's Avatar
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    I use needle nose pliers or a set of forceps...my hands aren't particularly large but due to arthritis I have trouble holding small things. I would not replace the loose bearings with a cage. Just put some grease in the bearing race and stick the bearings into it, they won't fall out if there is enough grease in there.

    Aaron
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    ISO: A late 1980's Giant Iguana MTB frameset (or complete bike) 23" Red with yellow graphics.

    "Cycling should be a way of life, not a hobby.
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  4. #4
    Decrepit Member Scooper's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wahoonc
    Just put some grease in the bearing race and stick the bearings into it, they won't fall out if there is enough grease in there.
    +1

    Make sure there's plenty of grease in the race and a little on each bearing, then use tweezers to imbed each bearing solidly into the race grease. They won't fall out.
    - Stan

  5. #5
    The Legitimiser Sammyboy's Avatar
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    That makes sense. I was imagining flipping the bike every which way up to try to get them into the BB!

  6. #6
    Senior Member wahoonc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sammyboy
    That makes sense. I was imagining flipping the bike every which way up to try to get them into the BB!
    I can just see THAT!

    It does help to have the bearing race in a horizontal plane vs a vertical plane, but I have done it both ways.

    Aaron
    Webshots is bailing out, if you find any of my posts with corrupt picture files and want to see them corrected please let me know. :(

    ISO: A late 1980's Giant Iguana MTB frameset (or complete bike) 23" Red with yellow graphics.

    "Cycling should be a way of life, not a hobby.
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    "Steel: nearly a thousand years of metallurgical development
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  7. #7
    The Legitimiser Sammyboy's Avatar
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    Can you imagine, somehow getting them all in the fixed cup side, then having to hold the axle in while you flip the entire bike over without spilling any balls, to get to the adjustable side? You can see why I've been putting it off.....

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    Thanks, sounds like I need some thicker grease.

  9. #9
    Decrepit Member Scooper's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dtipton
    Thanks, sounds like I need some thicker grease.
    I use Phil Wood waterproof grease (green tube). Great stuff.
    - Stan

  10. #10
    Senior Member wahoonc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scooper
    I use Phil Wood waterproof grease (green tube). Great stuff.
    +1 The only way to go. I have been using it as long as I can remember...

    Aaron
    Webshots is bailing out, if you find any of my posts with corrupt picture files and want to see them corrected please let me know. :(

    ISO: A late 1980's Giant Iguana MTB frameset (or complete bike) 23" Red with yellow graphics.

    "Cycling should be a way of life, not a hobby.
    RIDE, YOU FOOL, RIDE!"
    _Nicodemus

    "Steel: nearly a thousand years of metallurgical development
    Aluminum: barely a hundred
    Which one would you rather have under your butt at 30mph?"
    _krazygluon

  11. #11
    Since 1938... JunkYardBike's Avatar
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    Marine waterproof grease works as well (available at many auto parts stores or marine retailers). Put in as much as possible, then wipe the extra after it's all assembled and starts oozing out of the bearing assembly!

    Also, with the thick grease, you can usually get a bearing ball to stick to your fingertip for installation.

  12. #12
    Glutton for Punishment
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    And just in case, I always work on hubs over an old dinner plate, so whatever falls out doesn't roll under the sofa.

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    <<so whatever falls out doesn't roll under the sofa.>>

    HAHA. The hub was very "dry" when I disassembled it and several of the bearings dropped right out. Thankfully I was working on an old light colored rug in the basement so they were easy to find. I'll pick up some grease tonight and give it a shot!

  14. #14
    Senior Member Old Yeller's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mswantak
    And just in case, I always work on hubs over an old dinner plate, so whatever falls out doesn't roll under the sofa.
    Along with the dinner plate, an old towel rag on top of the plate keeps the bearings from bouncing off the plate.

  15. #15
    Senior Member wahoonc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Old Yeller
    Along with the dinner plate, an old towel rag on top of the plate keeps the bearings from bouncing off the plate.
    I usually do place a shop rag under what ever I am taking apart...and I keep a magnet on a stick handy just in case

    Aaron
    Webshots is bailing out, if you find any of my posts with corrupt picture files and want to see them corrected please let me know. :(

    ISO: A late 1980's Giant Iguana MTB frameset (or complete bike) 23" Red with yellow graphics.

    "Cycling should be a way of life, not a hobby.
    RIDE, YOU FOOL, RIDE!"
    _Nicodemus

    "Steel: nearly a thousand years of metallurgical development
    Aluminum: barely a hundred
    Which one would you rather have under your butt at 30mph?"
    _krazygluon

  16. #16
    Dolce far niente bigbossman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JunkYardBike
    Marine waterproof grease works as well (available at many auto parts stores or marine retailers). Put in as much as possible, then wipe the extra after it's all assembled and starts oozing out of the bearing assembly!

    Also, with the thick grease, you can usually get a bearing ball to stick to your fingertip for installation.
    +1 on the marine grease. I prefer Quaker State high temperature waterproof bearing grease, myself. Why? Because the Dollar Store has it.

    In addition to putting the bearing on your fingertip, I find that for small places a little glob on the end of a flat blade screwdriver works very well, too.
    "Love is not the dying moan of a distant violin, itís the triumphant twang of a bedspring."

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  17. #17
    Freewheel Medic pastorbobnlnh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sammyboy
    Please please please someone answer this. I need to know too. I have huge fingers, and I cannot imagine how to get uncaged bearings back into a headset or BB.
    I'm a fan of Phil Green Grease as well. Sammy, have you pulled out the grease/dust covers? If you left them in place I can see the difficulty in replacing the bearings. There is no room to manipulate two fingers and a bearing in such a tight spot! Gently pry the cover off, clean everything, smear in a generous amount of grease, don't clean the grease off your fingers, and you should be able to pick up the bearings and place in the grease. Add a thin final coat of grease and replace the covers. Now you are ready to put the axle back in place.

    I replace bearings when some or all look dull or grey instead of shinny and bright. Speaking of which, I was amazed when I cleaned and repacked the BB on my '62 Continental. The bearings are in cages and they were clearly stamped "62" which I assumed was the date made. It was obvious it had been decades since the BB had been looked at, if ever. Yet it cleaned right up and the bearings were as shinny as the day they were new. Everything went back together and now spins like the day the frame made its way across the factory floor in Chicago back in June of '62.

    Good luck with your Super Sport dtipton! Is it Kool Lemon? Post some pictures!
    Bob
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  18. #18
    Unique Vintage Steel cuda2k's Avatar
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    I just repacked bearings on my new hubs. I did it in the spare bathroom over the sink - though with the plunger down and a paper towel in the bottom to prevent bounce.

    I too use marine grease, works pretty well so far for in my opinion and if you use enough bearings stick to it no problem and stay in place.

  19. #19
    Yet another vegan biker
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    I did it in the spare bathroom over the sink - though with the plunger down and a paper towel in the bottom to prevent bounce.
    <old married man mode>My wife would burn my bikes!</old married man mode>

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    <<Good luck with your Super Sport dtipton! Is it Kool Lemon? Post some pictures!>>

    It's the light blue color. It's too tall for me (24 inch and I need a 22) but I still get a kick out of riding it.

    I purchased it and a 73 ladies suburban (also in blue) last year from an older couple that was selling their house and moving into a condo. The gentleman claimed they were purchased in 1973 and had been hanging in his basement since 1975.

  21. #21
    Senior Member FRANKIEJ's Avatar
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    Most of the old Schwinn hubs I've came across (Normandy) have removable metal dust covers that press in over/around the bearing races. I usually use a plastic tire lever or a stick of wood and pry them out VERY CAREFULLY, working around the diameter slowly and with light pressure. Be careful though, because they will bend easily if you do some gorilla-esque prying with a metal screwdriver. Once the little metal caps are off, access to the race for cleaning is a breeze, and the bearings go back in easily. I usually press the cover back on after I've got all the balls back in the race and the grease is holding them in place.

  22. #22
    Senior Member FRANKIEJ's Avatar
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    Also, those Super Sports are indeed excellent. I've got a '73 SS that I really didn't like at first. I didn't see what all the hype was about. I've since removed the suicide levers, put on brake lever hoods, added bar end shifters, chrome fenders and a saddle bag. I've really been riding it a lot and giving it a chance to grow on me, and it is slowly becoming my favorite bike. I even like the ashtabula crank. It is easily my most comfortable bike. They are really special bikes.

  23. #23
    Unique Vintage Steel cuda2k's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by silversmith
    <old married man mode>My wife would burn my bikes!</old married man mode>
    I'm a young married man. I wouldn't dare do it in the kitchen or the main bathroom, but the spare one off the study/bike room has pretty much been taken over as bike work area. Better than on the carpet!

  24. #24
    Senior Member wahoonc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cuda2k
    I'm a young married man. I wouldn't dare do it in the kitchen or the main bathroom, but the spare one off the study/bike room has pretty much been taken over as bike work area. Better than on the carpet!
    Kitchen is my room of choice when it is cold out...but my wife is usually gone 4 days a week for work

    Aaron
    Webshots is bailing out, if you find any of my posts with corrupt picture files and want to see them corrected please let me know. :(

    ISO: A late 1980's Giant Iguana MTB frameset (or complete bike) 23" Red with yellow graphics.

    "Cycling should be a way of life, not a hobby.
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  25. #25
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    Hmm, I've always hated the Phil grease, doesn't seem to last long. I've always used white grease from the auto parts store. Hubs, bbs or headsets, wipe a layer into the cups, insert the bearings one at a time, wipe another layer over. With loose bearings there should be 1 bearing space left open.

    For bbs, I usually leave the fixed cup in the frame and work from the open side. With headsets, I flip the frame upside down in my stand, grease and insert the bearings in the lower cup, flip upright, insert the fork from below and screw on the upper cup already prepared with grease/bearings.

    I always use a fair amount of grease, and wipe off what comes out the first few rides. Usually last years, depending on riding conditions.

    Rereading previous posts, I NEVER remove the dust covers on hubs in less damaged. Too fragile and too hard to get back in square!

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