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Front wheel hub/bearings

Old 10-22-20, 03:02 AM
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Smithston
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Front wheel hub/bearings

I replaced the bearings cleaned the cone and everything. Packed new grease in set new ball bearings in place and packed grease on top. Now I've been trying to just screw it back together for a good hour and I can't seem to get it at that sweet spot. What am I doing wrong???
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Old 10-22-20, 03:32 AM
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Originally Posted by Smithston View Post
I replaced the bearings cleaned the cone and everything. Packed new grease in set new ball bearings in place and packed grease on top. Now I've been trying to just screw it back together for a good hour and I can't seem to get it at that sweet spot. What am I doing wrong???
Nothing. You have found the sweet spot but you didn't know it. Get it as good as you can put it on the bike and ride it. See do you notice anything.
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Old 10-22-20, 04:18 AM
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I agree, ride it, as all that fresh grease needs to find a home, and a bit of riding will do that.
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Old 10-22-20, 04:51 AM
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I don't know that I would just put it together and ride it without knowing that the bearings are properly loaded. I tighten the cones similarly to how I do automotive wheel bearings. I bring the cones up until I begin to notice resistance to spinning, then back them off just until the wheel spins freely without noticeable endplay. Then I reinstall the locknuts and check for spinning again. If tightening the locknuts reduced how freely the steel spins, I back off the locknut and cone a bit and try again. When I am satisfied I reinstall the wheel on the bike and see how it spins. HTH.
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Old 10-22-20, 05:09 AM
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Originally Posted by psychodad View Post
I don't know that I would just put it together and ride it without knowing that the bearings are properly loaded. I tighten the cones similarly to how I do automotive wheel bearings. I bring the cones up until I begin to notice resistance to spinning, then back them off just until the wheel spins freely without noticeable endplay. Then I reinstall the locknuts and check for spinning again. If tightening the locknuts reduced how freely the steel spins, I back off the locknut and cone a bit and try again. When I am satisfied I reinstall the wheel on the bike and see how it spins. HTH.
Even on automotive applications one should do a test run and recheck. Set up the bearing as best as you can, give the bike a short ride, then recheck.
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Old 10-22-20, 05:42 AM
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Adjust to where it feels a tiny bit loose, then put the wheel on the bike and tighten the quick release or axle bolts. Should be just right.
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Old 10-22-20, 06:05 AM
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Originally Posted by Smithston View Post
I replaced the bearings cleaned the cone and everything. Packed new grease in set new ball bearings in place and packed grease on top. Now I've been trying to just screw it back together for a good hour and I can't seem to get it at that sweet spot. What am I doing wrong???
Some (low quality) hubs can either be a bit loose, or a bit rough.
Decent quality ones (Shimano and the likes) can be set to turn smoothly, without any play.
For full axles (not hollow) - keep tightening until you loose any play with the last 1/8, or even less of a turn of the cone (then locking it).
For quick release (hollow) axles - there should be some play, that gets eliminated with the QR lever locked using the appropriate force (not too tight, but enough to leave a mark on your palm when tightening).
Quick way to test for this is to use old spacers at axle ends, before installing the quick release. So you can test without mounting the wheel on the bike (how I set the hub bearing preload).
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Old 10-22-20, 07:06 AM
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Use two of each wrench. On the front, that's two 17 mm combination wrenches and two 13 mm cone wrenches.

This is from Sheldon Brown's site:

Faster With Two

Even when two identical cone wrenches are not essential, they are a great aid in adjusting the cones quickly and exactly.

If you do not have two of each needed size, to make even the smallest change in the cone adjustment, you must first loosen the locknut, then adjust the cone, then re tighten the locknut. If you get the cone adjustment just right but the locknut is not sufficiently tight, tightening the locknut will throw the cone adjustment off. Careful cone adjustment by this technique is a very time-consuming process of trial and error. (emphasis provided)

If you have two wrenches of each needed size, the fine adjustment can be done much more quickly and easily! First, get the cones in roughly correct adjustment, with the locknuts fairly tight. Now, if the cone adjustment is too tight, put a wrench on each cone and back the cones away from each other.

This will simultaneously loosen the cone adjustment and further tighten the locknuts. If the cone adjustment is a bit too loose, put a wrench on each locknut and tighten them together. This will tighten both the cone adjustment and the locknuts at the same time. This approach will enable you to make very small adjustments to the cones without loosening the locknuts.


It's really easy to make exact adjustments. Often the ends of the wrenches are moved just a few millimeters. Here's the whole article.

Last edited by andrewclaus; 10-22-20 at 07:11 AM.
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Old 10-22-20, 10:20 AM
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Originally Posted by andrewclaus View Post
Use two of each wrench. On the front, that's two 17 mm combination wrenches and two 13 mm cone wrenches.

This is from Sheldon Brown's site:

Faster With Two

Even when two identical cone wrenches are not essential, they are a great aid in adjusting the cones quickly and exactly.

If you do not have two of each needed size, to make even the smallest change in the cone adjustment, you must first loosen the locknut, then adjust the cone, then re tighten the locknut. If you get the cone adjustment just right but the locknut is not sufficiently tight, tightening the locknut will throw the cone adjustment off. Careful cone adjustment by this technique is a very time-consuming process of trial and error. (emphasis provided)

If you have two wrenches of each needed size, the fine adjustment can be done much more quickly and easily! First, get the cones in roughly correct adjustment, with the locknuts fairly tight. Now, if the cone adjustment is too tight, put a wrench on each cone and back the cones away from each other.

This will simultaneously loosen the cone adjustment and further tighten the locknuts. If the cone adjustment is a bit too loose, put a wrench on each locknut and tighten them together. This will tighten both the cone adjustment and the locknuts at the same time. This approach will enable you to make very small adjustments to the cones without loosening the locknuts.


It's really easy to make exact adjustments. Often the ends of the wrenches are moved just a few millimeters. Here's the whole article.
Yup - that works. Just be very careful and use this only for very, very fine adjustments - since threads can get damaged, especially with relatively thin locknuts on most Shimano front hubs.
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Old 10-22-20, 12:22 PM
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I use the two wrench mode and a 7/16" nut on the left side of the hub and the quick release installed. I adjust for a small amount of preload (drag) and tighten the lock nut. When the QR is opened there should be a small amount of play. When the wheel is installed and the QR is tightened there should be no play at the rim.
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Old 10-22-20, 02:26 PM
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For years I adjusted the cones to have just a very very slight amount of play. It really involved a process of osmosis and magical voodoo to get it right. That with a hope and a prayer worked for many years.

I started using a suggestion I read on another BF thread, and also given in this one, to adjust the amount of play to the point where it disappears when the quick release is tightened. This really helps in that the adjustment is not too tight, but also lets you periodically check for play. This rarely happens, but it did recently on one bike.

As far as adjusting the cones to get them right, sometimes it does take some time. Generally I'll hold the cone wrench in place with the spokes on the NDS and loosen the lock nut enough to turn the let me turn the axle with my fingers from the DS. It can take a few tries but you can feel how much pressure there is and then just try to hit the sweet spot. Keep the NDS cone wrench from turning and tighten the lock nut.

John

John
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Old 10-22-20, 09:02 PM
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JA Stein Tools makes a axle preload device that can be held in a bench vise for easy access to one side cone/lock nut. Then one can adjust the bearings with the axle compressed (or bowed...) from the QR. Saves some time but like a cadence readout on your computer it is only a bit of time before you learn what amount of no load slop in the bearings equates with a tightened QR bearing load that works well. Andy
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