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rear wheel is intermittently dragging like parking brake engaged

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rear wheel is intermittently dragging like parking brake engaged

Old 06-26-23, 07:04 AM
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rear wheel is intermittently dragging like parking brake engaged

I just completed a bike build and am using a recently purhcased well used pair of ROL Volant wheels. Bearings spin smooth. Rims straight. When not pedaling and wheel is in coasting mode the pawls make the usual click, click, click sound. But louder than any other freehub I have. Having the wheel spin while holding it by the axle ends with the skewer removed everything feels good. Extending a finger to stop the cassette from rotating, no problem. While having the bike on the stand over a couple of months and installing derailers and chain and brakes and spinning the pedals backward and forward there was no sign of any problems, except for the what I consider the louder than normal freehub pawls tick noise when in coast mode.

Frame is a Trek 400 Elance with 126 mm chainstays coldset to 130 mm. I did the coldset myself using the method suggested by Sheldon Brown. I wanted to use a method that insured that each rear fork dropout moved outward the same 2 mm. Dropouts appear parallel when checked with a 130 mm length of hardwood block cut square.

Bike is now set up as 3 x 9 drivetrain. RD is New Shimano Deore 592. 9 speed chain is new. Crankset is Sugino xd 600 I think, like new.

First test ride yesterday. Only went half a mile due to rain starting but no issues. Second ride after rain stopped. Went less than 100 feet and rear wheel suddenly felt like brake was dragging. But brake was functioning properly, pads not touching rims when released and wheel/tire centered within frame. While dismounted I rotated wheel by hand but met a fair amount of resistance. Released skewer lock lever and backed off 1/2 turn and checked that wheel was centered and relocked. Rode off and everything was fine till it happened again a little over a half mile later. Unlocked skewer and backed off another 1/2 turn and relocked. Rode about 2 and 1/2 miles further with no issues.

Back home I spun the wheel while holding the axle ends with skewer removed and everything seems fine. Extended a finger to stop the rotation of the cassette and no problem.

I don't think I had the skewer compressing the axle too tight. I have installed enough wheels on my many bikes over the last ten years to feel comfortable locking a skewer into positioin. My method is to start meeting resistance while raising the lock lever when it is approximately 70-80 degrees from horizontal. Having the lever meet resistance at 90 degrees has always seemed to provide too much compression to the axle and hard to unlock when removal time comes.

Never encountered this problem before. Not sure where to begin. I am aware I am in debt with you folks for the help you have provided me over the years. Your help is much appreciated and has made my cycling days safer and far more trouble free than if I were left to my own self reliance. As always many thanks!

Last edited by cyclehealth; 06-26-23 at 07:17 AM. Reason: It takes so long for me to type I keep getting logged out against my will.
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Old 06-26-23, 07:20 AM
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My initial thought is that the QR is compressing improperly adjusted bearing. My second thought is that you might not understand how your quick release works.
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Old 06-26-23, 07:54 AM
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You probably didn't have the QR tight enough and the right axle pulled forward in the horizontal dropout from chain tension during pedaling, causing the tire to rub on the inside of the left chainstay.
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Old 06-26-23, 08:16 AM
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Originally Posted by cyclehealth
Back home I spun the wheel while holding the axle ends with skewer removed and everything seems fine. Extended a finger to stop the rotation of the cassette and no problem.
I don't think I had the skewer compressing the axle too tight
The best way to check this is to lock the QR with the wheel out of the frame - you'll need to fit a stack of 10 mm washers in place of the dropouts for the skewer to clamp on. Then it's easy to assess how smoothly the bearings are running.

Last edited by grumpus; 06-26-23 at 08:17 AM. Reason: Messed up the quoting.
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Old 06-26-23, 08:34 AM
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Possibility- if the axle has an adjusting nut for a sealed bearing or traditional cone plus another locknut, perhaps the locknut isnn't wrenched rimly tight the to adjusting nut or cone. As you ride, the nut is spinning tighter.

Take the hub off and see if all the nuts are tight. If not, you will need a cone wrench, probably a 14mm. There are a lot of older bike manuals that describe how to adjust the bearings. Those instructions also seem to work in my experience with sealed bearing and the key part, tightening the cone or adjusting bearing firmly against the locknut is the same.
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Old 06-26-23, 11:36 AM
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Originally Posted by Kontact
You probably didn't have the QR tight enough and the right axle pulled forward in the horizontal dropout from chain tension during pedaling, causing the tire to rub on the inside of the left chainstay.
No, as I stated the wheel remained centered in the frame.
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Old 06-26-23, 12:02 PM
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Originally Posted by 79pmooney
Possibility- if the axle has an adjusting nut for a sealed bearing or traditional cone plus another locknut, perhaps the locknut isnn't wrenched rimly tight the to adjusting nut or cone. As you ride, the nut is spinning tighter.

Take the hub off and see if all the nuts are tight. If not, you will need a cone wrench, probably a 14mm. There are a lot of older bike manuals that describe how to adjust the bearings. Those instructions also seem to work in my experience with sealed bearing and the key part, tightening the cone or adjusting bearing firmly against the locknut is the same.
I am familiar with adjusting traditional cone nuts. But this wheel appears to have no nuts. It is my first experience with this style hub.
And if a cone nut was spinning tighter as I ride as you suggest, once it wound up tight wouldn't it stay tight untill mechanicly loosened? As stated in my original post I was able to continue riding after unlocking skewer, backing off half a turn, and then relocking skewer lock.
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Old 06-26-23, 02:09 PM
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No matter how tight you adjust the cones, I don't believe you'd cause it to drag so much it felt like the parking brake was on. At least the only thing I've ever noticed of too tight cones is that when spinning the axle by hand you can feel a clicking or pulsing as the bearing do something I heard others refer to as indexing.

I do believe the skewer may have been loose and something rubbing. Even if the tire looks fairly centered. Might be between the hub and dropouts if it wasn't in fact the brake pads rubbing.

Different brands and even different models of the same brand of free hub and freewheel will make different levels of noise and some with distinctive patterns. So you'll have to get use to it. Some you might could add some heavier lube, but then you risk the pawls not engaging fully all the time and that might be issues further down the road.
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Old 06-26-23, 02:47 PM
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Did you check if the axle is broken?
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Old 06-26-23, 03:36 PM
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Originally Posted by Kontact
You probably didn't have the QR tight enough and the right axle pulled forward in the horizontal dropout from chain tension during pedaling, causing the tire to rub on the inside of the left chainstay.
Kontact, I owe you an apology. I now believe the problem was exactly as you described. I went on a seven mile ride this afternoon and halfway thru the ride the tire was dragging. And it was dragging on the left chainstay. I do not know how I missed this yesterday.

I did wax the entire frame including dropouts after a thorough cleaning before building the bike back up. I wonder if this combined with my not tightening the skewer enough could have been the cause? I tightened it so much this afternoon after it slipped that I had all I could do to release it when I got home. I ended putting a light oil on the skewer lever cam and pivot in the hopes it will make it easier for me to release when needed.
I don't know why I am finding this particular skewer so difficult, skewers have never given me this sort of trouble before.
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Old 06-26-23, 04:37 PM
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Open cam skewer in horizontal dropout
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Old 06-26-23, 07:16 PM
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Originally Posted by alcjphil
Open cam skewer in horizontal dropout
Thank you for mentioning this. I had no idea what you were talking about until I looked it up. Sheldon Brown had a good explanation. I will be getting closed skewers if I can not locate any in my parts bin.

Last edited by cyclehealth; 06-26-23 at 07:26 PM.
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Old 06-26-23, 07:41 PM
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Originally Posted by cyclehealth
Thank you for mentioning this. I had no idea what you were talking about until I looked it up. Sheldon Brown had a good explanation. I will be getting closed skewers if I can not locate any in my parts bin.
You only need one for the rear
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Old 06-26-23, 08:03 PM
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Originally Posted by alcjphil
You only need one for the rear

Hopefully this will solve the problem.
Many thanks to everyone who worked to solve my problem today!
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