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Unsealed hub?

Old 09-10-08, 01:25 AM
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Unsealed hub?

I recently got an 80's road bike and love the thing. But, I was recently riding in the rain, when I noticed something oozing out of my rear hub. So, I opened it up later on, and (as I suspected) it was grease that had been leaking out. I hadn't noticed this before it got wet (though I can't say with 100% certainly it wasn't happening). Is this abnormal? Is my hub missing a seal or gasket? I am going to replace the bearings and regrease the thing, which all seems simple. But, I want to do it right. The only parts on the side opposite my rear gear set (i.e. the left, the one I opened up) are what look like two nuts, and what I am assuming is called the "cone." This last part is the lid to the component that contains the bearings (cup?). But, there it seems there is no seal to keep water out, or grease in. Seems odd. What do you think?
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Old 09-10-08, 06:20 AM
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Hubs can be designed in a number of different ways. It's rare to be able to see straight into the ball bearings, but many hubs aren't sealed beyond having the cone(or a spacer)sitting through a washer with fairly fine tolerances. MTB hubs tend to have some sort of overlapping ridges.
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Old 09-10-08, 08:07 AM
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Excess grease leaking out is common if the hub was "overpacked". I do it intentionally as the grease forms a pretty good seal all by itself to keep out dirt and water. After an overhaul, the hubs will leak for the first couple of rides and i just wipe it off.
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Old 09-10-08, 10:23 AM
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A lot of the older hubs and many of the new less expensive ones used nothing more than a shield with a close fit as dabac mentioned. On some the shield is pressed into the hub and on others it's a skirt attached to the cone. If it's the style pressed into the hub then go easy on the prying when removing since they are just thin and soft metal. Some damage is almost unavoidable but try to minimize it and then carefully restore the shape.

There's really nothing wrong with using unsealed shields. I've commuted for years on a couple of wheels with them in the winter rains without issue. In one regard yes they can let water in. But on the other hand the opening also lets the water dry away if the bike is stored in a warmer place like my basement. When these hubs were stripped down for cleaning and relubing after a couple of years they were in fine condition inside with no signs of rusting.

However having the grease froth up and come out on an older hub is not a good sign for any reason. You may want to get in there and clean, inspect and relube. Hillrider is right about some may migrate out for the first week or so due to overpacking and being pushed around but for this to happen on an older wheel isn't right.
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Old 09-10-08, 03:30 PM
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oh campy-- oh the grease fittings-- oh-- just love I tell ya--- grease guns pushing the old stuff out
and putting in the new--- a properly greased vintage set will outlast any jap sealed set.....
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