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Hub friction noise

Old 03-06-18, 08:33 AM
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tonyfourdogs
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Hub friction noise

Hello again

I need your help again please.

I'm fixing up a nasty viking road bike as a quick pocket money project, and I just finished up. Actually it rides better than I thought it would since it's made from cheap components. Maybe hence my problem.

When I spin the front wheel it sounds like it's rubbing against the brake pads a little on every turn. So I disconnected the brake. Still a noise. Bit odd, so I disassembled the hub, cleaned and regreased the bearings. IT STILL MAKES THE NOISE! What gives?

Is this just a cheap wheel, am I missing something or do I need to call an exorcist?

Thanks for your suggestions.
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Old 03-06-18, 08:44 AM
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What you're missing is the cause of the noise.. (sorry couldn't help myself).


What kind of ft hub? How many balls came out on each side? And went back in, both sides? What is the condition of the cones, balls, hub shell cups? You haven't said that the rim isn't rubbing against the rim/frame/fender. Is it? Try this wheel on a different bike. Try a different wheel on this bike. How true is the rim? How tight are the spokes? Does the tire have any damage? Andy
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Old 03-06-18, 08:48 AM
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If the bearings feel smooth and you don't find the rim or tire rubbing anything, then maybe best to just put it out of your mind before you spend lots of money to fix something that may not cause any future problems.

A slightly out of round wheel or tire not seated to depth evenly might let the tire tread hit the calipers or another part of the frame.
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Old 03-06-18, 08:53 AM
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Hi Andy

Thanks for your reply and apologies for being vague.

No, neither the rim nor tyre is rubbing, and if I hold the axle in my hand and spin the wheel I still hear the noise.

While I'm no expert I've repacked several hubs in my time and never had an issue, even with vintage comparatively worn parts.

The cups and races looked good. 10 bearings per side came out and went back in. Can't tell you what the hubs are as they are unbranded.

The bearings looked like they could have been a better fit... It's possible someone before me opened the up and either lost bearings or installed the wrong size. The rear hub which looked the same size yielded 9 larger bearings per side.

If it was an issue with the bearings I would expect the noise to be consistent though...?
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Old 03-06-18, 09:03 AM
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10 3/16" balls is a very common count per front side. Usually there's a gap between the balls that almost but not quite allow for an 11th ball, but don't do that.


Cones and cups can have pitting/rough surfaces in one spot on the ball track which results in varing feel/sound spin. Dust caps (or seals) can be rubbing, thin sheet metal can make noises sound bigger then they are. Of course how the bearing adjustment is set also contributes. It's noy uncommon on old/worn hubs to need to set the bearing with a slight slop, to accommodate uneven wear and not have any grabby or rough spin. Andy
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Old 03-06-18, 11:14 AM
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Thanks again Andy, that's a helpful reply. I think you might be on to something with the dust caps. One of them looked a bit mis-shapen.

When you say a bit of slop do you mean a bit of play?
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Old 03-06-18, 12:42 PM
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Yes. Metal dust caps can be worked on with the right ratchet wrench socket. Picking one that fits inside the rolled flange and can act as a mandrel to hammer the dust cove back into shape. Repositioning the dust cover in/on the shell/freehub body/cone using the socket as a assembly sleeve is another trick. Andy

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Old 03-06-18, 04:21 PM
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Thanks for the socket wrench tip, I'll give that a try, sounds like it will do the trick.

Thanks for chipping in iride01 - only just noticed your post a moment ago.
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