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Replacing rear wheel bearings?

Old 04-02-17, 08:59 PM
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Replacing rear wheel bearings?

This is for a sealed bearing rear wheel, not a hub with loose ball bearings and cone nuts. My rear axle was showing some play, so I took it apart and found that the bearings are kind of loose, and giving play (see pic). I have since greased the free hub body and the axle, which eliminated the play. The bearing still feels slightly draggy, but not going to affect me in a race. So I'm wondering if I need to replace the bearings or if it's normall for there to be play and that all I needed was to rebuild the fhb.
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Old 04-02-17, 10:16 PM
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Cartridge radial contact bearings (which is what I assume you have, no bearing # provided though) are not meant to have and real radial slop and maybe a very minimal axial slop. But they should spin smoothly regardless. They are subject to wear and contamination like any other bearing. There should be a spec # on the seal. If not then a dimension, ODxIDxthickness should be enough to find replacements. Installing new bearings is another topic. Andy
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Old 04-02-17, 10:45 PM
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Cheap, poorly machined hubs will either have play, or turn roughly by hand. Set them up to eliminate play, even if it means they don't turn perfectly smoothly.
As long as there is no pitting on cups and cones - put new balls, some grease, and that's it. Wrote a how to here:

Bicycle hub overhaul - Cycle Gremlin
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Old 04-02-17, 11:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Andrew R Stewart
Cartridge radial contact bearings (which is what I assume you have, no bearing # provided though) are not meant to have and real radial slop and maybe a very minimal axial slop. But they should spin smoothly regardless. They are subject to wear and contamination like any other bearing. There should be a spec # on the seal. If not then a dimension, ODxIDxthickness should be enough to find replacements. Installing new bearings is another topic. Andy
well they're relatively smooth compared to the loose ball bearings that come with the older bikes.

as far as new bearing hunting goes, what tools do I need to press them in and out? Also, what are some bearing selections that should be used? ABCE 5, 7, 9? if so, which one? Thanks
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Old 04-03-17, 01:46 PM
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The picture looks like loose ball bearings to me. The trick for those, once they're adequately greased, is to adjust the cones so there's just a little bit of play. The theory is that tightening the quick release increases the preload so there's no wiggle room. The difficult part is tightening the lock nuts while keeping the "just a little bit of play" in the bearings.
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Old 04-03-17, 01:53 PM
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OP says the hub is a sealed bearing type. (Although in the picture he has the freehub removed, so it looks weird.)

I've never seen a sealed bearing on a bike that wasn't removable by hand. (They typically fall out.) So replacing one would be as simple as buying the right one and plopping it back in.
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Old 04-03-17, 03:09 PM
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yea this is definitely not a loose ball bearing with cone nuts. in the pic, you can see the axle connected to the bearing that's recessed behind the freehub body. on the other side, the bearing is more visible. I did not try to force the bearing in or out. It seemed pretty solid in place to me. About how much force do you need to get those out? It would make more sense to me that they're pressed in, instead of just sliding in, which doesn't seem to be a very stable interface to me.
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Old 04-03-17, 03:49 PM
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Originally Posted by spectastic
yea this is definitely not a loose ball bearing with cone nuts. in the pic, you can see the axle connected to the bearing that's recessed behind the freehub body. on the other side, the bearing is more visible. I did not try to force the bearing in or out. It seemed pretty solid in place to me. About how much force do you need to get those out? It would make more sense to me that they're pressed in, instead of just sliding in, which doesn't seem to be a very stable interface to me.
OH. It's a BMX hub.

You'd get better responses over in that forum. Most of us rodies and mountain goats don't know what a BMX hub looks like.

EDIT: A bmx wheel with bladed spokes?.... That's.... interesting...
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Old 04-03-17, 03:53 PM
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Originally Posted by corrado33
OH. It's a BMX hub.

You'd get better responses over in that forum. Most of us rodies and mountain goats don't know what a BMX hub looks like.

EDIT: A bmx wheel with bladed spokes?.... That's.... interesting...
it's a road wheel. 700x15 aluminum wheel. haven't seen enough hubs to know what a bmx hub looks like. I've serviced mavic before, but I understand they're weird, so...
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Old 04-03-17, 04:07 PM
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Originally Posted by spectastic
it's a road wheel. 700x15 aluminum wheel. haven't seen enough hubs to know what a bmx hub looks like. I've serviced mavic before, but I understand they're weird, so...
Well it is built like a BMX hub. Again, I'd go there for more guidance. I've never serviced a bmx hub.

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Old 04-03-17, 04:20 PM
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Originally Posted by corrado33
OP says the hub is a sealed bearing type. (Although in the picture he has the freehub removed, so it looks weird.)

I've never seen a sealed bearing on a bike that wasn't removable by hand. (They typically fall out.) So replacing one would be as simple as buying the right one and plopping it back in.
I've only had a couple of cartridge bearing hubs where the bearing was removable by hand...Phil rears. All the other required a little persuasion. They aren't a super tight fit but they still need to be driven out and pressed back in.

To get them out, spectastic, you may need this tool and a drift punch. They don't need a lot of pounding to get out. Once out, the replacements are pressed back into place with with socket or with fender washers on all-thread.

Check with the manufacturer, however. There are usually procedures to remove and replace the cartridge bearings. Phil Wood, for example, uses the axle to remove the bearings. It's not difficult but it is a little elaborate. Others have other procedures.
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Old 04-03-17, 05:04 PM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute
I've only had a couple of cartridge bearing hubs where the bearing was removable by hand...Phil rears. All the other required a little persuasion. They aren't a super tight fit but they still need to be driven out and pressed back in.

To get them out, spectastic, you may need this tool and a drift punch. They don't need a lot of pounding to get out. Once out, the replacements are pressed back into place with with socket or with fender washers on all-thread.

Check with the manufacturer, however. There are usually procedures to remove and replace the cartridge bearings. Phil Wood, for example, uses the axle to remove the bearings. It's not difficult but it is a little elaborate. Others have other procedures.
Yeah, in all honesty I've only seen 1 hub with sealed bearings, and those bearings came out with the axle. (I suppose I saw another axle (minus hub) with sealed bearings on it, so those must have come out easily as well.)

I'm honestly really not familiar with bmx style hubs, which this seems to be. (Regardless of what size wheel it's on.)
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Old 04-03-17, 07:23 PM
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Originally Posted by corrado33
OP says the hub is a sealed bearing type. (Although in the picture he has the freehub removed, so it looks weird.)

I've never seen a sealed bearing on a bike that wasn't removable by hand. (They typically fall out.) So replacing one would be as simple as buying the right one and plopping it back in.

You should have been in our shop last week. The Easton hub required a lot of love taps with a hammer and long punch to both remove then install the cartridge bearings. Andy
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Old 04-04-17, 09:56 AM
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Originally Posted by Andrew R Stewart
You should have been in our shop last week. The Easton hub required a lot of love taps with a hammer and long punch to both remove then install the cartridge bearings. Andy
do tell
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Old 04-04-17, 11:03 AM
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Doesn't all sealed bearings come out with the entire cartrage? I thought that was the advantage with them? Fancy hubs or less so, with a bit of work, grease and maybe new bearings they can improve vastly. I once had a 1954 hub rebuilt and greased, and the bike mechanics who did it was very impressed on how the old hub cleaned up. I don't think sealed bearings are lubricated, I think you just replace the whole thing?
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Old 04-04-17, 10:21 PM
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Originally Posted by Mickey2
Doesn't all sealed bearings come out with the entire cartrage? I thought that was the advantage with them? Fancy hubs or less so, with a bit of work, grease and maybe new bearings they can improve vastly. I once had a 1954 hub rebuilt and greased, and the bike mechanics who did it was very impressed on how the old hub cleaned up. I don't think sealed bearings are lubricated, I think you just replace the whole thing?
The cartridge is the bearing or rather the bearings are inside the cartridge. If you need to replace them, they are replaced as a unit.

Sealed cartridge bearings are, indeed, lubricated. The lubrication is inside the cartridge behind seals. The seals can be pried off and grease added if necessary or desired. But it is often more effective to just replace the cartridge.
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