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Replacement hub/wheel dilemma

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Replacement hub/wheel dilemma

Old 02-25-18, 09:02 PM
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Replacement hub/wheel dilemma

I recently added an update to a thread that was a couple of weeks old but didn't get any response so I thought I should post a new thread. I will skip over the previous details and start fresh here.

Bike: 2014 Trek 7.4 FX
Rear Hub: Shimano FH-RM30 /135MM / 9 speed
Wheel: Bontrager Nebula 32 hole/double wall

I had difficulty getting the cones adjusted properly with my rear axle. The cone was either too tight or too loose with a side to side wiggle. I took it to the shop hoping to get a replacement axle as the threads were damaged on the axle and I thought that might be the cause of the cone adjustment problem.

The bike shop couldn't get the Shimano axle so they tried a generic. They also had the same trouble getting the cone adjusted and concluded that the hub was damaged and needed to be replaced.

The wheel itself from Trek isn't available and the replacement offering (Mavic A319) the shop had was different than my front wheel so it would look a bit weird. (Not to mention, it was expensive.) They are going to see if Shimano has just a replacement hub but from my brief experience with Trek and Shimano, it won't be available. (Just my opinion... Anything over a month old appears to be obsolete in their eyes.)

I have a little over 5K on this bike and this was the 3rd time I re-packed the hubs. Should I be re-packing more often than that? Is it normal for a hub to go bad this soon? The bike shop said for this hub, that was quite a few miles. (Hinting that this hub is lower end.)

I have never re-laced a wheel, but am willing to try if I can find a replacement hub at a reasonable cost. I have a homemade truing stand but I am a novice at truing wheels. So far, this model hub does appear to be out of production. How can you determine what hub would be compatible with my wheel? I would want a good quality hub at a reasonable price. (The best for the least = value is my motto.) I don't want junk, but I do want long life and dependability while not breaking the bank. Would a Shimano FH-T610 be a good choice?

I would also consider replacing 1 or both wheels if I found a good quality wheel at a reasonable price. (75 each or less?) I am not sure how accurate the bicycle blue book is, but my bike is only valued at around 250-275 so I hate to throw too much money into it.

I'm having trouble identifying what the best option would be. Any thoughts or suggestions would be appreciated.


Thanks!

Last edited by gnrboyd; 02-25-18 at 09:06 PM.
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Old 02-25-18, 11:56 PM
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The FH-T610 is a definite upgrade from what you've got and is a dependable workhorse of a hub, standard equipment on many touring bikes. You shouldn't have trouble relacing your wheel with an FH-T610, the flange diameter and offset ought to be the same as an FH-RM30 or close enough--just make sure you get one drilled with 32 spoke holes, and spaced for 135mm dropouts. If you carefully follow Sheldon Brown's wheelbuilding instructions you should be alright. If something goes wrong you can always take it to a shop, pay them to build it, and spend about as much money as you would on a new wheel, but it will match your front. If you get it mostly built but have trouble truing it, you can take it to a shop for the final true and you'll still have saved some money!

When you unlace the wheel, make sure you keep the drive-side and non-drive-side spokes separate, the drive-side spokes will be 1 or 2mm shorter and if they get mixed up you'll have to sort them back out!
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Old 02-26-18, 12:33 AM
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It is annoying when replacement part availability becomes limited in the bike industry, but it's not a realistic expectation to get exact, cosmetically identical replacement parts for bikes more than a couple years old. Getting wheels that will work mechanically and have the same rim, hub, and spoke color is trivially easy for your bike.

Have you looked at the hubs yourself? The only reason that should warrant replacement is if the bearing races are pitted--you should be able to source new cones that are identical or close enough, though it can be a bit of a research mission. Wheels mfg makes a number of replacement cones, notably. Also, I don't have the hub in my hands, but it may be worthwhile considering a nonperfect bearing adjustment--if it merely has a rough bearing feel when play is eliminated, it may roll well for many thousands of miles more.

5k with 3 overhauls would be a very poor service life for your hub, but it's possible certainly if it was ridden in the rain much, got contaminated with grit at some point, was ridden in poor adjustment for a while, etc. It does not help that it's pretty low end and has very limited bearing seals.

If you want to replace the hub, you'll need one that has very close flange diameters and spacing and identical hole count. I searched for published dimensions on your current hub and couldn't find any, but most Shimano qr hubs have pretty similar dimensions, so I suspect you can rebuild with the hub you mentioned. Doing so only really makes sense if you want to do the work, otherwise it's really more economical to replace the wheel.
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Old 02-26-18, 01:59 AM
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I've actually done the exact swap, except 36 holes.
No issues.
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Old 02-26-18, 02:27 AM
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9mm and 10mm axles are fairly generic, so replacement can be any one that fits.

3rd party cones are available if you can't find factory originals.

3 parts for smooth hubs.
  • Bearings
    Cheaply replaced.
  • Cones
    Inspect, replace if pitted.
  • Cups/Races
    Visually inspect. Less commonly damaged unless severely neglected.
"Bad Hub" isn't a diagnosis without specifying why.

I find RM30 hubs are rough out of the factory.

Races in the hub and freehub are generally good.

I polish all of my replacement cones.

I have a couple of junk axles for the purpose.

Mount new non-pitted cone+lockout on axle and chuck it in mini drillpress. Hand sand with 320 to 400 grit sandpaper then 600, and maybe 1000. Maybe finish with oiled paper.

It makes a huge difference in how smooth the hub will be.

.

Last edited by CliffordK; 02-26-18 at 02:35 AM.
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Old 02-26-18, 07:53 AM
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Everytime i had problems adjusting a hub bearing (either to tight or to lose) it was because of a bent axle.
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Old 02-26-18, 09:36 AM
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I overhaul my hubs every 2500 miles and usually don't have to replace anything other than the grease.
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Old 02-26-18, 06:10 PM
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Originally Posted by davidad
I overhaul my hubs every 2500 miles and usually don't have to replace anything other than the grease.
And I'll bet you don't have RM-30's.
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Old 02-26-18, 08:33 PM
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The FH-T610 is a definite upgrade from what you've got and is a dependable workhorse of a hub, standard equipment on many touring bikes.
Great, that's good to know!

Have you looked at the hubs yourself? The only reason that should warrant replacement is if the bearing races are pitted.
I looked at the hubs when I repacked them and they appeared good to me. (Additional info about this diagnosis in another response below.)

Also, I don't have the hub in my hands, but it may be worthwhile considering a nonperfect bearing adjustment--if it merely has a rough bearing feel when play is eliminated, it may roll well for many thousands of miles more.
There seemed to be no middle ground between too tight (not spinning freely at all) and the axle having a side to side wobble. I tried adjusting several times with very minute changes and it was either one way or the other. I am not opposed to running a non-perfect adjustment as long as it isn't dangerous and won't damage anything else with the idea that I will replace the hub or wheels at some point.

5k with 3 overhauls would be a very poor service life for your hub, but it's possible certainly if it was ridden in the rain much, got contaminated with grit at some point, was ridden in poor adjustment for a while, etc. It does not help that it's pretty low end and has very limited bearing seals.
The bike has been wet on only few rides when I got caught in the rain several miles from home. However, I do ride on a limestone gravel trail for most of my miles which tend to get everything dusty. I have to constantly clean the bike but I do limit the amount of water used and where I use it.[/QUOTE]

I've actually done the exact swap, except 36 holes.
No issues.
Looks like I may have my hub picked out if I go that route.

"Bad Hub" isn't a diagnosis without specifying why.
The bike shop said there must be enough wear to cause the cones not to seat properly. I do not know if the shop cleaned out all of the grease and looked at the surface or if they just put the new axle in the fresh grease that I had already put in and made the determination based upon the new axle. When the shop called, it was a fairly quick call and it was a Saturday so I am sure he was busy. I should have asked more questions. I think I need to pick it up and while there in person get a better explanation and then take it home and inspect it myself again making a decision on what to do.


I polish all of my replacement cones. I have a couple of junk axles for the purpose.

Mount new non-pitted cone+lockout on axle and chuck it in mini drillpress. Hand sand with 320 to 400 grit sandpaper then 600, and maybe 1000. Maybe finish with oiled paper.

It makes a huge difference in how smooth the hub will be.
You said you mount in a drill press but you also said to hand sand. Is the drill press running or are you just using it to hold the axle while you sand by hand?

Everytime i had problems adjusting a hub bearing (either to tight or to lose) it was because of a bent axle.
Hmmmm.. Interesting. I did notice that when turning the axle while in the wheel, it did seem to be slightly out of round. I didn't think it was enough to cause concern though. The bike shop tried a new axle and it had the same problem but they did say it wasn't quite as bad as mine but they still couldn't get it adjusted to their satisfaction.

I overhaul my hubs every 2500 miles and usually don't have to replace anything other than the grease.
Are you riding pavement ? I ride a dusty limestone trail which I think may have some "bearing" (pun intended) on the problem.


I had another thought about something that might be a factor. When repacking the bearings, I took the free hub off. When I put the free hub back on, I cranked it down pretty hard. Do you think it is possible that the hub could have been slightly bent during this process causing the cones not to set exactly in place? Probably not, but I thought I would see if you thought this was a reasonable possibility?

Thanks to everyone for your replies
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