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How much to repack hubs?

Old 03-01-09, 10:59 PM
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troie
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How much to repack hubs?

Ive had the same wheelset for the last 3 seasons and the hubs have never been serviced. At the end of last season I started to hear a bit o' squeaking from the front one. How much does it generally cost to repack both hubs. This is the set I have, XT's.
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Old 03-01-09, 11:15 PM
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Do it yourself. Will only cost you pennies for grease.
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Old 03-01-09, 11:22 PM
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Armed with a few cone-wrenches from your LBS, some grease, and a simple solvents like Gumout carburetor-cleaner from a gas station - you can easily do this job yourself. You should also get new ball-bearings for the hubs: 1/4" rear and 3/16th" front. Here's what it takes to clean and re-pack your hubs:

http://bicycletutor.com/overhaul-wheel-bearings/
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Old 03-01-09, 11:54 PM
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I use kingsford charcoal starter fluid. best solvent in the world. one of the cleanest too (i.e. no added chemicals).

pricepoint has a great deal on a set of cone wrenches: http://www.pricepoint.com/detail/148...ch-7pc-Set.htm

These have lasted me over a year of professional use with not a hint of damage. They're also selling individual ones for $4each.
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Old 03-02-09, 12:09 AM
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Highly combustible solvents are a bad idea for obvious reasons. Mineral Spirits (paint thinner) is a far safer solution, is less volatile, and is quite cheap.
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Old 03-02-09, 12:14 AM
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Just work in a well-ventilated area away from ignition sources like sparks and open flames. And that looks like a good set of cone-wrenches. Ideally you want to overhaul your hubs once a year. But more often if they have been submerged in water and exposed to heavy mud conditions.

So that's worth a small capital outlay to do this work yourself.
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Old 03-02-09, 12:36 AM
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Highly combustible solvents are, first of all, not so highly combustible. If you take a match to it, it will light up until it fizzles itself out, unless its on a stack of newspapers on top of your bed with stuffed animals all around it roasting marshmallows.

Ahem, and what good solvents aren't combustible? They're all petrol based. Mineral spirits are also flammable. Do you use WD-40?: Yoga flame!

Kingsford is the best thing that ever happened to bike cleaning. I swear by it, and I've smoked many cigarettes near it. Its chemical free, so you don't get all the other crap that's in WD-40 and other solvents on your hands. You definitely don't need ventilation for fumes. Its thinner and easier to work with than mineral spirits. Its "odorless" and only smells when you put your nose up on it, and it gets the worst caked grease off with a mere wipe. The most pleasant degreaser to work with by far. If you let the fear of fire steer you away, you'll be depriving yourself of the best, cheapest, easiest to find degreaser around.

Last edited by krems81; 03-02-09 at 12:47 AM.
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Old 03-02-09, 02:17 AM
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Good tip. I'll give a can of Kingsford a try.

Thanks!
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Old 03-02-09, 04:52 AM
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Another vote for doing it yourself, tools/instructions here http://parktool.com/repair/readhowto.asp?id=105.
The tools and supplies are minimal.

Haven't had a shop do something like that in a long time, but shop prices can vary quite a bit just based on where they are due to costs of real estate, prevailing wages, etc. If you're a regular customer that can help, too.
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Old 03-02-09, 07:33 AM
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We would charge about 30-40 bucks for a clean and repack at the shop I work at. New bearings, fresh grease, new cones if needed.
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Old 03-02-09, 08:16 AM
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Originally Posted by trekkie820 View Post
We would charge about 30-40 bucks for a clean and repack at the shop I work at. New bearings, fresh grease, new cones if needed.
Thanks for addressing the OP. Does that 30-40 figure cover two hubs? (I'm pretty much with the DIY crowd but this thread got me wondering how much money I'm saving.)
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Old 03-02-09, 10:46 AM
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Originally Posted by krems81 View Post
Do you use WD-40?: Yoga flame!
I've been lmao'ing at that for the last 5 minutes, thx for the laugh Dhalsim.


And thanks for all the tips for the diy job. If I can rebuild a fork, I can do this.
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Old 03-02-09, 10:53 AM
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Nothing cuts through petroleum grease like a petroleum product. True. But given the safety issues, and given that for most of us its hard to properly dispose of them, I really would rather use a little effort and go with Simple Green or a citrus cleaner of some sort.

And also do not forget that any rags you use with a petroleum product are a potential danger by spontaneous combustion unless properly handled. It really can happen, and the factors that lead to it are not as hard to come by as some people seem to think. Please be careful.

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Old 03-02-09, 12:16 PM
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I'm not sure how much it costs, but I'm with everyone who says do it yourself! You'll learn a lot about bikes that way and have a fun evening-length project.

I shouldn't contribute to the solvent wars, but it's always too tempting. Whenever I can, I soak and brush parts in undiluted Simple Green, rinse in water, and allow to air dry. If the parts are polished aluminum (which Simple Green will corrode enough to haze) or I can't/won't disassemble the parts enough to allow for a good air drying, I'll use whatever petroleum-based organic solvent I have handy (I just finished a bottle of VM&P Naphtha). I use Phil Wood grease for bearings, ordinary lithium grease for other greased bits, Phil oil for things like brake pivots, and motor oil for Sturmey-Archer hub internals. I'm in flux about chain lubes. But it's worthwhile to remember: it's really fun to fight over which solvents and lubricants reign supreme, but it probably doesn't matter all that much in most cases.

I'd say the trickiest bit is cleaning the hub shell, since it's connected to the wheel. The way I do it is to wipe out the old grease as well as possible with a paper towel and then actually go to my bathtub and scrub it out with Simple Green and an old toothbrush. It's also a nice opportunity to get the rest of the wheel (tire, rim, spokes, outside of the hub shell) nice and clean too. Note, however, that you will probably need to clean the bathtub itself after this, depending on the hygienic standards of you and those you share the house with.

With respect to flammability, there may still be some chlorinated solvents on the market. They are high-strength and not flammable at all, though I really can't recommend them due to their environmental/toxicity hazards. Basically all of them cause cancer, and personally I'd rather use mineral spirits/charcoal lighter fluid/kerosene/whatever. They're really not all that bad given adequate ventilation and very basic safety precautions.

Last edited by FLYcrash; 03-02-09 at 12:22 PM.
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Old 03-02-09, 12:49 PM
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Charcoal lighter is mineral spirits. Since bicycle hubs, cones and ball bearings are free of heavy metals, I suppose you could still reuse the solvent, after you clean your hubs, to fire up the next weenie roast.
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Old 03-02-09, 01:07 PM
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Can you guys suggest a good set of bearings for XT hubs?
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Old 03-02-09, 03:16 PM
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I like McMaster Carr (www.mcmaster.com) for all my hardware needs.
Their Grade 25 ball bearings in bags of 100 are cheap.
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Old 03-02-09, 03:29 PM
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I like these guys. Faster service.

http://www1.mscdirect.com/CGI/NNPDFF...0&PMT4TP=*LTIP
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Old 03-02-09, 03:38 PM
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Repacking and replacing the wheel bearings on a bike (front and rear) is a $40.00 service at my shop... it covers 1 hour of shop time (cleaning, repacking, adjusting) and the cost of new grade 25 bearings.

Bearings are rated by grade with 25 being the best steel bearings you can get and because of small variations in production runs one should always use bearings from the same batch.

I always find the most challenging things for folks to master is setting the bearing pre-load properly and knowing how that pre-load varies between nutted axles and those fitted with QR's.
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Old 03-02-09, 07:09 PM
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Originally Posted by Sixty Fiver View Post
Repacking and replacing the wheel bearings on a bike (front and rear) is a $40.00 service at my shop... it covers 1 hour of shop time (cleaning, repacking, adjusting) and the cost of new grade 25 bearings.
$40 sounds like a pretty darn good deal.
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Old 03-02-09, 07:19 PM
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Originally Posted by operator View Post
$40 sounds like a pretty darn good deal.
Hell yeah it does. I just called 3 shops and it was $50 minimum not including parts!
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Old 03-02-09, 07:56 PM
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Originally Posted by troie View Post
Hell yeah it does. I just called 3 shops and it was $50 minimum not including parts!
My shop is MY shop... I only do repairs and service and don't have much in the way of overhead.

This is what I have been charging for quite some time and when I look at the time it takes and the parts cost I feel that is fair to me and to the customer.

Most shops have a $50.00 - $60.00 / hr shop rate which I think would be fair if they actually paid their mechanics a living wage.

I also volunteer at our bike co-op and the other afternoon a fellow brought in a front wheel that was not running very smoothly... I repacked and replaced the caged bearings with loose balls and charged him $5.00 for what was all of 15 minutes work.

The bearings at the co-op are also grade 25 and we use Park grease so the $5.00 more than covers the parts cost... my time here is donated but most folks are pretty generous and often donate a near market price to the co-op.
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Old 03-02-09, 08:06 PM
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I wouldn't trust any shop to service my hubs are any other part of any of my bikes. At the shop where I worked, we were only allowed to use new bearings to replace broken ones. If a ball wasn't broken, it went back in. I'm sure that doesn't go on at most shops, but I have no way of knowing which ones I can trust. If I do it myself, I'll know it's done right. I'll save money, too.
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Old 03-02-09, 08:25 PM
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Originally Posted by Dirtdrop View Post
I wouldn't trust any shop to service my hubs are any other part of any of my bikes. At the shop where I worked, we were only allowed to use new bearings to replace broken ones. If a ball wasn't broken, it went back in. I'm sure that doesn't go on at most shops, but I have no way of knowing which ones I can trust. If I do it myself, I'll know it's done right. I'll save money, too.
That is shoddy workmanship and cheap to boot... good bearings are just not that expensive especially when you buy them at wholesale prices.

I have never taken my bike to a shop and the number of people I would trust to work on my bike are very few in number.
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Old 03-02-09, 08:40 PM
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Originally Posted by Dirtdrop View Post
I wouldn't trust any shop to service my hubs are any other part of any of my bikes. At the shop where I worked, we were only allowed to use new bearings to replace broken ones. If a ball wasn't broken, it went back in. I'm sure that doesn't go on at most shops, but I have no way of knowing which ones I can trust. If I do it myself, I'll know it's done right. I'll save money, too.

So you helped perpetuate the incompetent mechanic myth by not fighting your shops folly into false economy. And that is about as stupid as you can get in the false economy department. Charge a dollar more, replace all the balls, have a satisfied customer.
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