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One rear spoke gets loose

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One rear spoke gets loose

Old 08-02-18, 08:23 AM
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83cannondale
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One rear spoke gets loose

This is a weird one for me. On vintage bike I laced campy 1970s record 36h hub to ambrosia nemesis tubular rim. Used park tension gauge. Wheel tightened up and trued up well.

After a couple years of sporadic riding, maybe 700 miles including a couple hundred roller miles, one spoke in the rear wheel drive side is loosening up! Interestingly. It's an "idler" spoke, not a drive spoke. if I bring it back to full tension the rim will pull too far toward that spoke.

dt swiss, competition spokes. Greased threads.

Anyone have thoughts on this? I'm trying to avoid removing then having to reglue the tire.

thanks for any comments.
todd
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Old 08-02-18, 08:29 AM
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Get the grease off the threads
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Old 08-02-18, 11:53 AM
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NDS side spokes have need about 70% (10%) of the tension force of the DS spokes for a 5 to 12 speed derailleur hub.

Ideally the stress level in all the spokes would be the same, to do that, the NDS spokes need to be smaller. Some of the rears I build have DB14 spokes on the DS and DB15 spokes on the NDS, which results in very close to even stress in all the spokes, and a very strong wheel.
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Old 08-02-18, 12:29 PM
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Originally Posted by 83cannondale View Post
This is a weird one for me. On vintage bike I laced campy 1970s record 36h hub to ambrosia nemesis tubular rim. Used park tension gauge. Wheel tightened up and trued up well.

After a couple years of sporadic riding, maybe 700 miles including a couple hundred roller miles, one spoke in the rear wheel drive side is loosening up! Interestingly. It's an "idler" spoke, not a drive spoke. if I bring it back to full tension the rim will pull too far toward that spoke.

dt swiss, competition spokes. Greased threads.

Anyone have thoughts on this? I'm trying to avoid removing then having to reglue the tire.

thanks for any comments.
todd
Is the rim distorting or cracking at that hole?
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Old 08-02-18, 02:42 PM
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The rim may have a flat spot at the loose spoke.
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Old 08-03-18, 06:53 AM
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No rim distorting or flat spot

Originally Posted by ThermionicScott View Post
Is the rim distorting or cracking at that hole?
no rim distortion or flat spot.
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Old 08-03-18, 07:02 AM
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Originally Posted by 83cannondale View Post
no rim distortion or flat spot.
-1, this is most likely as seen with the rim fully built up and after truing. So any lateral bend has been trued out. Now take that same wheel and release all the spoke tension, keeping just enough to not have the rim floppy loose and take a second look at the rim's roundness and flatness. Without any spoke tension pulling the rim this or that way the true condition of the rim can be seen. I wonder if this rim has a sideways bend that doesn't show because the wheel has been trued. If a spoke is loose, has zero tension, and the rim still looks true then for that current condition the wheel doesn't need that spoke. You could remove that spoke and the wheel would be no worse off. Zero tension equals zero influence. Andy
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Old 08-03-18, 03:16 PM
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Originally Posted by trailangel View Post
Get the grease off the threads
That's not the problem.
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Old 08-03-18, 03:22 PM
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Originally Posted by 83cannondale View Post
This is a weird one for me. On vintage bike I laced campy 1970s record 36h hub to ambrosia nemesis tubular rim. Used park tension gauge. Wheel tightened up and trued up well.

After a couple years of sporadic riding, maybe 700 miles including a couple hundred roller miles, one spoke in the rear wheel drive side is loosening up! Interestingly. It's an "idler" spoke, not a drive spoke. if I bring it back to full tension the rim will pull too far toward that spoke.

dt swiss, competition spokes. Greased threads.

Anyone have thoughts on this? I'm trying to avoid removing then having to reglue the tire.

thanks for any comments.
todd
1. Detension the wheel about 50%, both NDS and DS.
2. As you start to retension the wheel, at least once do relative tensioning PER SIDE.

- Get NDS spoke within one mark of each other on the tensionmeter.
- Repeat for DS

Check relative tension again for both sides - mark spokes that have dropped a little with green tape.
Mark spoke that have increased a little with red tape.

Continue truing wheel as much as is possible taking care not to ignore green spokes while also trying to make sure you don't over do on red spokes.

After a few cycles AND after doing a stress relief (super hard squeezes of parallel spokes on both sides for a full rotation) check again.

If all the NDS are within a mark of each other, and all DS are within two marks of each other, rim is fine and you're doing fine.

If not, take a closer look at the rim...flat spot? lateral bend?

=8-)
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Old 08-04-18, 08:28 AM
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If the spokes are all the same length and the NDS spokes are tightened correctly does the extra length make any difference? It would seem the little extra length into the wheel wouldn’t effect the distribution of the load.
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Old 08-04-18, 12:15 PM
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Spoke was Wound-up, spoke twist relaxed , and then it seemed looser..
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Old 08-06-18, 08:18 AM
  #12  
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Thanks all - some good suggestions here. I was thinking about replacing just that spoke and nipple - maybe spoke/nipple threads slightly out of spec and pulling out? I wonder if that's common? Will probably have to loosen all spokes and re true. I'm intrigued by the red and green tape method, may give that a try.
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Old 08-06-18, 09:08 AM
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Originally Posted by 83cannondale View Post
Thanks all - some good suggestions here. I was thinking about replacing just that spoke and nipple - maybe spoke/nipple threads slightly out of spec and pulling out? I wonder if that's common? Will probably have to loosen all spokes and re true. I'm intrigued by the red and green tape method, may give that a try.
If you can bring the spoke up to the tension of its neighbors without any surprises, I highly doubt it has to do with the threading.

Is there any chance you received a spoke of the wrong gauge with your order? (It's happened to me.) Check it with your gauge. If it's thinner than it's supposed to be, that could explain why trying to achieve the same tensiometer number as the other spokes would throw off the true.
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Last edited by ThermionicScott; 08-06-18 at 09:14 AM. Reason: Had my thinking backward. I think.
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Old 08-07-18, 07:07 AM
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Will check - thanks - I'm planning on replacing spoke and nipple anyway, just in case.
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Old 08-07-18, 07:16 AM
  #15  
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Are you saying...?

I've always just used the same gauge for both sides. Is an advantage to using different gauges? I've noticed even with the old 120 mm rear axle I can't seem to get left and right side tension the same because of the dish. Usually I do an initial "true" on the drive side which results in too much dish then pull the rim to the left using the NDS spokes. Then final tensioning, hopefully not needing to tighten too much more.

Originally Posted by nfmisso View Post
NDS side spokes have need about 70% (10%) of the tension force of the DS spokes for a 5 to 12 speed derailleur hub.

Ideally the stress level in all the spokes would be the same, to do that, the NDS spokes need to be smaller. Some of the rears I build have DB14 spokes on the DS and DB15 spokes on the NDS, which results in very close to even stress in all the spokes, and a very strong wheel.
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Old 08-07-18, 08:18 AM
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Using a lighter gauge spoke on the non drive side is an old trick. The thinner spokes have more stretch as they are tensioned up. This means that they don't reach zero tension as easily. With the wheel rotation's varying the spoke tension and the peaks/valleys of road surface and handling bring the thinner spokes mean that there's less chance for zero tension and the resulting nipple loosening. Personally almost all the wheels I build for myself (and a few friends) use butted spokes. The work wheels use whatever the ticket specs (as previously chosen). Andy
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Old 08-07-18, 11:09 AM
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Originally Posted by 83cannondale View Post
...... Is an advantage to using different gauges? .......
Two reasons: (1) what Andrew said; and (2) closer to equal stress in the all the spokes.

A desirable feature of a design is to have all the component of the design fail at about the same time (# of cycles; miles, etc) Having more equal stress in the spokes means that a failure is just as likely for any spoke.
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Old 10-25-18, 02:52 PM
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Oops - on closer examination I did notice a slight flat spot on the rim - Thanks for the input, I did get some good tips on greasing spoke threads, etc.
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Old 10-25-18, 04:11 PM
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And the prize goes to Tom in post 5! I don't know how many times I've had a customer say he's never hit anything yet some of his rim's spokes are uneven/loose. Yet when I untension the wheel as described in post 7 the rim's actual condition tells another story. I attribute this to our having a lack of long term perception. We don't suffer any initial issue when we rode down that stretch of road so there was no problem that happened. Andy
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Old 10-25-18, 07:02 PM
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Well, lads, figure this one out. About 10 and 15 years ago I built two wheels from all new parts, Mavic Open Pro rims and Campy hubs, 32 spoke 2.0 DT x 3. On each wheel every 800 to 1000 miles one spoke loosened up. It was the same spoke every time. Rims were never damaged, perfectly round and true, perfectly tensioned. All I had to do was add tension back to the single loose spoke and all was well for another 800 or so miles. Never could figure it out, but the wheels are still in service on friends bikes and still do the same thing like clockwork.
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Old 10-25-18, 07:04 PM
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For what it is worth, DT Swiss recommends lubing the spoke threads and nipple seats. They do not recommend Spoke Freeze.
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Old 10-25-18, 07:53 PM
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Originally Posted by TiHabanero View Post
Well, lads, figure this one out. About 10 and 15 years ago I built two wheels from all new parts, Mavic Open Pro rims and Campy hubs, 32 spoke 2.0 DT x 3. On each wheel every 800 to 1000 miles one spoke loosened up. It was the same spoke every time. Rims were never damaged, perfectly round and true, perfectly tensioned. All I had to do was add tension back to the single loose spoke and all was well for another 800 or so miles. Never could figure it out, but the wheels are still in service on friends bikes and still do the same thing like clockwork.
If it were me, I'd consider removing that nipple, cleaning the spoke threads and threading on a new nipple with blue Loctite. If that loosens up, I'd try red. I'd do the same with the OPs wheel. (Unless or until I wanted to rebuild with a new rim or re-bend the existing.) Now the DT police might fly in from Switzerland to reclaim the wheel and protect their reputation but I'd take that risk.

Much of the advice above is to do a lot of the work of a wheelbuild. To do this to see if the wheel is good strikes me as tilting at windmills. Save that one problem spoke his wheel works fine.

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Old 10-26-18, 08:36 AM
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If the loosening spoke cannot be tensioned to roughly the same spec as the others on the same side then the rim is distorted at that point, period. It does not matter whether or not you can see it. Spokes only hold a rim in position in relationship to the hub - they do not straighten it or make it more or less round to any significant degree.
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