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Can this wheel be saved?

Old 01-22-08, 04:42 PM
  #1  
rnorris
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Can this wheel be saved?

Very strange thing happened while I was riding home the other night- my rear wheel suddenly locked up while I was accelerating after stopping for a traffic light. Hadn't picked up much speed yet, so the stop wasn't dramatic, but definitely a surprise. My first thought was that a brake shoe had somehow planted itself on the rim, but soon found the wheel bearings had seized hard. I couldn't turn the wheel at all by hand. I was 3 miles from home and it was late, so all I could do was loosen the Q/R on the wheel and walk the bike home, with the rear axle turning in the dropouts the whole way. A kind soul stopped and gave me and bike a lift for the final mile.

Next day, I removed the freehub and took the bearings apart. Turns out the cone had come loose from the locknut on the drive side of the axle and had spun until it mashed the balls tight in the race. Amazingly, the races and balls don't show any damage, but the threads on the axle and the cone that spun are trashed. Is it possible to replace the axle assembly with a matching one and reuse the wheel, or will the old balls and races be forever grumpy and grindy with their new partner? Thanks.

-Bob Norris
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Old 01-22-08, 04:47 PM
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Yeah, if the races on the hub body really aren't damaged, then you can replace the axle. Though whether this is cost-effective is another matter!

What kind of hub is it? If it's a common hub, you may be able to find new cones, and the axle itself is likely to be a standard size. If you're on a real tight budget, you can sometimes make do with cones from a different brand of hub... though the results of this are of course widely variable.

And I'd definitely replace the steel balls while I'm at it. I mean, it should be about $2 for the 22 1/4" bearings in a typical rear hub.
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Old 01-22-08, 05:27 PM
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Thanks! The wheel is an alloy one of uncertain age and make; the bike is an old Stumpjumper of late 80's or early 90's vintage that I bought used and converted to a commuter. I have good access to used parts through an excellent LBS that I use (Recycled Cycles in the University district of Seattle) and I've found a couple of matching hollow axles, but none have had the right cones so far. I'll keep looking. In the meantime, I bought a used wheel that will take a 7 speed cassette, and will get the beast going again with that until I find the parts for the other wheel.

I was probably at fault for the bearing failure; had repacked it not much earlier and thought I'd tightened the locknut enough. The bearings had been nicely smooth and free of slop at the start of the ride, though.
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Old 01-22-08, 06:11 PM
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For future reference, I probably over do it but I REALLY cinch down the locknuts against the cones when I overhaul a wheel. Having the cones come loose is the last thing I want to have happen on a ride.
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Old 01-22-08, 06:36 PM
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Originally Posted by moxfyre View Post
Yeah, if the races on the hub body really aren't damaged, then you can replace the axle. Though whether this is cost-effective is another matter!

What kind of hub is it? If it's a common hub, you may be able to find new cones, and the axle itself is likely to be a standard size. If you're on a real tight budget, you can sometimes make do with cones from a different brand of hub... though the results of this are of course widely variable.

And I'd definitely replace the steel balls while I'm at it. I mean, it should be about $2 for the 22 1/4" bearings in a typical rear hub.
18

Sheldon "22 Is Bottom Brackets" Brown
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Old 01-22-08, 07:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Sheldon Brown View Post
18

Sheldon "22 Is Bottom Brackets" Brown
Ah yes, thanks for the correction. Looks like it's time for me to check my hubs, I obviously haven't done it in a while
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