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Old 07-27-07, 10:50 AM   #1
Charles Wahl
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NOS hubs with suspect bearings

I bought a set of 20 year-old NOS Shimano Deore XT hubs on eBay. They clearly are box-new, never used, but the rear hub seems to have a somewhat gritty feel to the bearings, plus the freehub turns with a bit of effort. And the front hub is either adjusted too tight or there's something else preventing super-easy turning of the axle, and there's also a little bit of gritty feeling.

Is there something I should know about grease/lube sitting for 20 years? I don't have a 17 mm cone wrench yet, so I haven't opened them up (also waiting for a response from the seller). Is there any reason to expect corrosion from sitting around? These were in the box, and don't look like they went through a flood or anything.

If the seller is alright with it, then I will disassemble, de-lube and re-lube them; otherwise they go back.

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Old 07-27-07, 11:39 AM   #2
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The grease might be OK but I would re-pack the bearing just to be on the safe side.

New hubs often come improperly adjusted, even XTs, but if you re-pack you will have to adjust them anyhow.
Today, I believe my jurisdiction ends here...
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Old 07-27-07, 12:20 PM   #3
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20 year old grease MIGHT separate or???
Of course, my tub of 25 year old grease still seems fine.
Now you've got me wondering....
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Old 07-27-07, 12:45 PM   #4
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It seems that all Shimano hubs come adjusted too tight, usually with too little grease in them. I repack and adjust any new hub before I use it.
You probably need a 15mm cone wrench more than a 17mm. You can usually use a normal wrench on the 17mm lock nut.
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Old 07-27-07, 12:57 PM   #5
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I bet that 20 year old grease is Powerbar consistency by now. I bet if you repack, it will be smooth as silk.
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Old 07-27-07, 07:10 PM   #6
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20 year old grease is for all practical purposes useless. DO NOT build up or ride these hubs until they have been cleaned thoroughly, regreased and adjusted.

I once got a bike that had only 200 miles on it but hadn't been ridden in 15 years. The grease in the hubs, headset and bottom bracket was like dried rubber cement and riding it would have ruined them. A disassembly, cleaning and relubing was all they needed to be smooth as new.
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