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Sudden excessive play in rear wheel

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Sudden excessive play in rear wheel

Old 07-02-15, 05:19 AM
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robotron9000
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Sudden excessive play in rear wheel

Hey,

So I came back to my bike after work and had a flat. Put in a new tube, pumped it up, took the pump off and the valve core ejected and all the air came out. Pumped it again and the same thing happened again It worked fine the third time but I was kind of annoyed by now.

So anyway, when I went to put the wheel back in I remembered that it won't go back in easily with the tire pumped up because of the horizontal dropouts and fenders. It was really close to going in though and I was fed up with futzing about so I just gave it a fairly reasonable smack to get it in.

Then I noticed that the back wheel had a huuuge amount of play in it. It felt like maybe about a quarter inch of side to side play. (Edit: no it's not nearly that much I was exaggerating) I rode it home and it made a bit of noise but didn't explode or anything.

What did I do? Could I have really messed it up that bad by giving it a light tap? Should I try to fix it by adjusting the cones?

Last edited by robotron9000; 07-02-15 at 06:03 AM.
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Old 07-02-15, 05:22 AM
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Originally Posted by robotron9000 View Post
Could I have really messed it up that bad by giving it a light tap? Should I try to fix it by adjusting the cones?
Not likely. Probably the locknuts on the axle were loose and allowed the cones to come out of adjustment when you had the wheel out of the bike.
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Old 07-02-15, 06:47 AM
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My bet is that you have a broken axle.
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Old 07-02-15, 07:14 AM
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Withholding info is a critical lacking for us. How is the wheel held in place? A QR skewer or axle nuts?

If nutted then a simple screwdriver placed between the RH drop out and the cog and pry will reveal a broken axle. The drop out and axle stub will be able to be pried away from the rest of the hub. If a QR the wheel will need removal to show this.

If nutted it's likely that as the nuts were tightened the axle also spun within the drop outs. As John said this will often allow the cones to either tighten up or back out. Having the cone/lock nuts tightly locked to each other and only tightening one side enough to barely start the axle spinning then go to the other nut and repeat back and forth will keep the axle from turning and result in a well secured wheel. Andy.
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Old 07-04-15, 02:58 AM
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Thanks guys. Sorry, I forgot to mention that it is a quick release. Turns out that the it was the locknuts somehow coming loose while I had the wheel off or was putting it back on.

I hadn't taken a wheel off this bike in probably well over a year. Is it a common thing for a locknut to loosen up like this over time, or was it probably too loose to start with?
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Old 07-04-15, 06:50 AM
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Probably loose to begin with. These sorts of problems usually start without the rider knowing, then only when the issue is large enough does the rider say "Look my wheel is loose". I spoke to this in another thread a while ago. The start of the problem is claimed to be when the rider sees it, not before their perception allows the knowledge. But the reality had already began. Andy.
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