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What was wrong with my hub?

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What was wrong with my hub?

Old 09-02-13, 08:03 AM
  #1  
Tpcorr
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What was wrong with my hub?

The front Shimano 105 hub (circa 1987) would not spin freely. It would spin fine for 2 or 3 revolutions then bind, as if the rim were out of true and hitting the brake pad. I took it apart, cleaned it, greased it, and put it back together. I inspected the ball bearings and the cups, they looked good to me, shiny and not pitted, but I have no experience in this area and they may be toast. The wheel has been fine for the about 300 miles now. It appears I have fixed the problem, but I'm still not sure what was wrong.

Was it just old grease? I had expected to find flattened bearings or badly pitted cups. Any ideas?

Tom
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Old 09-02-13, 08:21 AM
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My guess is a dust seal knocked out of place. It could also have been some dirt affecting the dust seals too. I've seen some nasty bearings that still rolled ok.
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Old 09-02-13, 08:36 AM
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Originally Posted by Tpcorr View Post
The front Shimano 105 hub (circa 1987) would not spin freely. It would spin fine for 2 or 3 revolutions then bind, as if the rim were out of true and hitting the brake pad. I took it apart, cleaned it, greased it, and put it back together. I inspected the ball bearings and the cups, they looked good to me, shiny and not pitted, but I have no experience in this area and they may be toast. The wheel has been fine for the about 300 miles now. It appears I have fixed the problem, but I'm still not sure what was wrong.

Was it just old grease? I had expected to find flattened bearings or badly pitted cups. Any ideas?

Tom
A few possible problems:

The cones are too tight. The bearings should roll smooth with no binding when you spin them off the bike. You should also have a very, very slight amount of play in the bearings if you are using quick release skewers. When the skewer is tightened it can tighten the bearings as well.

You have too many or too few bearings. You should have enough bearings in the hub to look like you need one more but can't fit it in.

Bent axle.
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Old 09-02-13, 08:56 AM
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On caged bearings the cage can sometimes become so worn that it sinks through and jams under the balls. But I don't think I've ever seen a Shimano hub with cages.
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Old 09-02-13, 10:33 AM
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Or the ball bearings rolled out of their races as you screwed down the cup. This can happen easily.

Partially disassemble the hub on the non-drive side. Remove the cup. Make sure the axle balls are in place, each side has the correct number of balls, and that the axle spins easily on the drive side. Now, instead of screwing the cup clockwise, keep the wheel stationary and turn the axle counter-clockwise from the bottom until the cup makes contact with the non-drive side balls.

Carefully make sure the wheel spins smoothly, fine-adjust the side load and lock nut, and buena sera.
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Old 09-02-13, 11:02 AM
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Thanks guys. Just to be clear, this hub had not been serviced since 1987. I did try adjusting the hub prior to taking it apart. I even had a bike shop adjust the hub before I bought the right size cone wrench. I just couldn't get it to not bind every few revolutions. But since I took it apart, cleaned and re greased, all is good. I was just curious as to the problem.

Tom
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Old 09-02-13, 11:27 AM
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It could have been as simple as old grease which as dried out and stiff.

Fact is it doesn't matter what might have been wrong, if the bearing races looked OK, and you've solved the problem, that's all that counts.

Worry about the "mgiht have beens" only if problems recur.
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Old 09-02-13, 04:28 PM
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FB, not concerned with might have beens, just trying to understand the original problem. I also believe it was just old dried out grease.

Tom
Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
It could have been as simple as old grease which as dried out and stiff.

Fact is it doesn't matter what might have been wrong, if the bearing races looked OK, and you've solved the problem, that's all that counts.

Worry about the "mgiht have beens" only if problems recur.
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Old 09-02-13, 04:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Tpcorr View Post
FB, not concerned with might have beens, just trying to understand the original problem. I also believe it was just old dried out grease.

Tom
The problem is that you have to analyze causes as you take things apart. Once you solve a problem, it's too late to guess what the problem might have been because you've destroyed the back trail.

In your case, the key is that you've examined the bearing surfaces and they were OK, so rebuilding with fresh grease made sense. Time will confirm that you did a good job, and there's no reason to look back.
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