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Front axle: cones, axlenuts '62 Hercules

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Front axle: cones, axlenuts '62 Hercules

Old 12-07-12, 12:00 PM
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Front axle: cones, axlenuts '62 Hercules

hello all,

I recently got a Hercules bike and noticed there was a slight wobble from the axle. I did go to Sheldon Brown's page about adjusting the cones and the axle nuts.

There seems to be a back and forth about tightening loosening the axle cones and then the same for the axle nuts.

How tight go I go with the front axle nuts? Seems I get the cones ok but I need to have the axle nuts tight enough to stay on but not interfere with the cone adjustment. I don't have a torque wrench, I use a ratchet/socket combo, actually 2-one set to loosen, the other for tightening.

Don't want to lose a front wheel. I never have, but wanting to make sure.

The wobble is gone, that was an interesting excercise & lesson last night, it took me a while to do this. Once I got the cones adjusted to where the wheel would roll, stop, then pendulum back n forth, I'd tighten the axle nuts. But I'd tighten, then it would interfere with cone adjustment, so back off and try again. I think I have it now, just want to make sure.

It is a beautiful bike, not pristine but I love it. The front hub and bottom bracket oil ports surprised me, like that. Might post pics in Classic & Vintage in a few days.

Any suggestions or advice is welcome, thank you!

Kerry
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Old 12-07-12, 12:18 PM
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By "axle nuts" do you mean the locknuts that keep the cones in place, not the nuts that clamp the hub to the fork's dropouts? If so, I turn the locknuts down quite hard against the cones once I've got the bearings adjusted properly. Using a cone wrench to hold the cone in place I tighten the locknut very tight using a short box wrench so i guess i'm applying say 10 ft-pounds or so.

If you have a nutted axle (nuts clamp the wheel in place on the fork) then you do not need to leave any play in the bearings. If you have a quick release hub, leave a barely detectable amount of axle play as tightening the qr skewer will remove it.
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Old 12-07-12, 01:23 PM
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Does your bike have the Raleigh-style hub with a locknut on only one side? If so, Sheldon Brown explains the process:

Most front wheels can be installed without regard for which side is left and which side is right. This is not the case with Raleigh 3-speeds. Raleigh front hubs usually don't have cone locknuts. Instead, they have one cone with wrench flats, the adjustable cone. The other cone is round, with no place for a wrench. The non-adjustable cone is supposed to screw down all the way on the axle until it runs out of threads (there is a raised shoulder on the axle for this purpose). All adjustments are to be made with the adjustable cone. The fixed cone must go on the bicycle's right, the adjustable cone must go on the bicycle's left. On the left side, the axle nut will keep the left cone from loosening up. If the wheel is accidentally reversed, so that the adjustable cone is on the right, it can tighten itself up and ruin the hub.
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Old 12-07-12, 04:23 PM
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Once you have the cone adjusted right, hold the adjustable cone with a cone wrench and then tighten the axle nuts?
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Old 12-07-12, 10:13 PM
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Back in the day, my method for installing these wheels was to install with adjusting cone to the left. Then tighten the right axle nut tight -- about as tight as possible with a 6" wrench, or less force on an 8". Not using a longer wrench virtually eliminates the risk of over-tightening.

Once the wheel is bolted on the right, check the cone adjustment, leaving the least amount of vestigial play possible (barely detectable). Then tighten the left nuts. Because the right side is already tight, the axle won't turn, and the fork end will keep the cone from turning. When finished, the wheel should spin free and have no detectable play. You may not get it the first time, so you can loosen and adjust on the left side only, letting the right keep it all stable.

BTW- the reason you want to leave barely detectable play before tightening is that the fork end will press the cone inward on whatever float is in the thread, so if it starts tight, it'll end overtight.
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Old 12-07-12, 10:38 PM
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Yes I mean the end nuts that tighten against the fork.
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Old 12-07-12, 10:42 PM
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It has regular nuts on both sides, both cones are adjustable.
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Old 12-08-12, 02:35 AM
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Oops-seems the left side is adjustable, not the right side~~~I just heard from the seller, I hope I didn't mess up anything. He gave me an explanation about it, and FBinNY will go back and try what you explained.

Will see what I can do about it in the morning or tomorrow night after work. I don't think I messed up anything, the wheel spins okay without wobble, but having never done this, didn't know the wheel has to be off to adjust cone. So off it will go again.

Thanks to all of you for your input..will report back on progress.

Last edited by ko57; 12-08-12 at 03:12 AM. Reason: added to post
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Old 12-08-12, 07:53 AM
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The wheel can stay on when you adjust the cone. When the left axle nut is not fully tighten, you can adjust the cone with a cone wrench.
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Old 12-08-12, 11:38 AM
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Originally Posted by ko57
didn't know the wheel has to be off to adjust cone. So off it will go again.
Don't adjust it while it's off, except close enough that the balls can't fall out. It'll just move when you put it back on. Secure the right side which will old the axle so you can adjust the left while also feeling for play.
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