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When to change cartridge bearings?

Old 09-19-13, 04:37 PM
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When to change cartridge bearings?

At what point do you folks change the cartridge bearings in your hubs? I have a a set of HED wheels that the front still feels silky smooth. The rear I took apart last night because of sticky pawls. Cleaned that out and lightly greased. When spinning the wheel it spins freely and goes for quite a long time, but I can feel a little grittiness, not as smooth rotati as the front, yet not horrendous with a squealing hub. (I've had that before) I've ordered the bearings and the new casette body, but am wondering if there is a certain tolerance that is acceptable for a gritty feeling? Is slightly gritty acceptable? Or do you change immediately? Or change when the wheel starts to spin less freely.
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Old 09-19-13, 05:14 PM
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First thing I look for is for grease contamination, last year, my wheels cartridge bearings felt really gritty. Popped the seal off, and it was full of nasty monkey poo grease. I have no idea how that happened, I was being cheap and pulled the cartridges out and cleaned them, regressed and reinstalled. So far, so good.
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Old 09-19-13, 05:22 PM
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If I knock them out, at that point ill just press new ones in. Ya know...
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Old 09-19-13, 05:34 PM
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I think you already know your answer to your own question

No amount of grittiness is a "good thing" in a bearing assembly !!!
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Old 09-19-13, 06:26 PM
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This is true. I'm rebuilding the whole hub next week. Ordered new axle, casette body and bearings.
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Old 09-19-13, 06:41 PM
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If they dont wobble when cleaned out and rebuilt and they don't resist, reinstall and call it good. Otherwise replace. www.mcmastercarr.com is usually a good source for industrial grade. With any cartridge bearing I would recommend however, replace the grease with your preference from the beginning. I have had more than my fair share of units shipped with low temp junk grease(then they fail quicker).
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Old 09-19-13, 07:36 PM
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If it spins freely and feels smooth, don't worry about it. Quite a paradigm shift for those of us who grew up with traditional bearings.
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Old 09-19-13, 07:48 PM
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Slightly gritty yets spins freely
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Old 09-19-13, 07:58 PM
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Originally Posted by Danielle
Slightly gritty yets spins freely
Clean 'em out. If they feel gritty or catchy after they're cleaned out they should be replaced.
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Old 09-19-13, 09:07 PM
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If you do a search on McMaster-Carr for "cartridge bearings" it will give results for bearings only. Nothing matches "cartridge bearing". That seems to be because the bicycle industry coined the term "cartridge" bearing, when for decades prior, they were called sealed bearings by everyone else in the universe.

Just a minor point.

Carry on.
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Old 09-19-13, 09:19 PM
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One thing not yet mentioned about cartridge bearing is the install pre loading. Meaning that there is a compressive load when a bearing is pressed into it's placement. Some don't have as much of this, all carbon BB shells, placements with a sliding fit. But many where a serious press fit is needed will have a tighter spin after installing. many times I have removed a bearing cartridge with a notchy/rough spin only to have the in hand spin be much looser. So you pull the seal. clean out and relube then reinstall to find that the rough spin is back.

So my advice is to not gage the condition with the bearing in your hand but when it's in place, in the hub shell, BB or head tube. Most cartridge bearings are so low cost, compared to the effort to get at them, that assuming replacement is the way that many shops go.

Also not mentioned is the often poor or not quite right manufacturing/design of end play. Many designs don't have any ability to change the in place end play of cartridge bearing components. SO MANY hubs fall into this category. When the QR is clamped the spin binds up. My understanding of the radial contact bearing cartridge (the vast majority of "sealed" bearings) is that a slight end play is needed to allow the balls to track in the center of the races. If this center tracking is off. the inner and outer races being off set enough to eliminate the end play, then the bearing will wear MUCH faster then a well designed system would. Andy.
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Old 09-19-13, 09:44 PM
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Originally Posted by 2 wheeler
If you do a search on McMaster-Carr for "cartridge bearings" it will give results for bearings only. Nothing matches "cartridge bearing". That seems to be because the bicycle industry coined the term "cartridge" bearing, when for decades prior, they were called sealed bearings by everyone else in the universe.

Just a minor point.

Carry on.
I i disagree. It's been my experience that the bike business coined the term "sealed bearing" to describe the cartridge bearing with one of a few seals. Wiper, shielded, Neoprene, Teflon, being some of the seal types. The marketing departments control the consumer understanding far more the the design engineers do. All bearings have some type of shielding, sealing, attempt to keep the outside world out. "Sealed" is so broad a term. Simple metal dust caps common to decades of hubs, the reverse rifling of Campy BB cups, "O" rings found on head sets, plastic rings on same, the Stein Zerk fitting system with it's various external seals and rings, Sturmy Archer's labyrinth dust caps, even Wald's big washers are all examples of sealing methods.

To me, as a wrench at your LBS, the bearing design (not it's "seals") is far more important a factor to how it's dealt with. Is the bearing a radial contact, angular contact, does it have rollers or balls, is it pressed, LockTited, threaded or "C'/"E" cliped in place? They all need maintenance, cleaning, lubing and eventual replacement. Whether is has some sort of sealing element is more the concern of the advertisements then what happens on the road and on my work bench. Andy.
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Old 09-19-13, 09:53 PM
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Originally Posted by Andrew R Stewart
I i disagree. It's been my experience that the bike business coined the term "sealed bearing" to describe the cartridge bearing with one of a few seals. Wiper, shielded, Neoprene, Teflon, being some of the seal types. The marketing departments control the consumer understanding far more the the design engineers do. All bearings have some type of shielding, sealing, attempt to keep the outside world out. "Sealed" is so broad a term. Simple metal dust caps common to decades of hubs, the reverse rifling of Campy BB cups, "O" rings found on head sets, plastic rings on same, the Stein Zerk fitting system with it's various external seals and rings, Sturmy Archer's labyrinth dust caps, even Wald's big washers are all examples of sealing methods.

To me, as a wrench at your LBS, the bearing design (not it's "seals") is far more important a factor to how it's dealt with. Is the bearing a radial contact, angular contact, does it have rollers or balls, is it pressed, LockTited, threaded or "C'/"E" cliped in place? They all need maintenance, cleaning, lubing and eventual replacement. Whether is has some sort of sealing element is more the concern of the advertisements then what happens on the road and on my work bench. Andy.
That's ok, you can disagree. Do a google search and you'll find that what I've said it true.

From a google search you'll find that Timken has one small line of "cartridge bearings" that are specialty items as the term isn't used widely to cover all sealed bearing types. ALL the other results for "cartridge bearings" relate to bicycles ONLY.
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Old 09-19-13, 10:34 PM
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I believe that because a large majority of bearing elements are of the cartridge style. That the three aspects of a bearing unit are pre assembled and installed as a single piece. A cartridge of sorts. So in the non bicycle world many/most bearing units are a cartridge. The need to say such has long ago been lost. Instead the dimensions or design aspects of said cartridges are speced.

When was the last time a fan, compressor, starter motor, or other spinning device was marketed (or actually made with) with angular contact and threaded adjustable bearing design?

The bike industry is way behind in this area.

Back in the mid 1970s a movement started (in my life) to use different bearing designs in our bike world. Phil, HiE, MaxiCar were among the earlier adapters of the industry bearing designs. To differentiate their bearing types that were a single preeassembled unit they some times used the reference "sealed". The marketing department likes this term, suggesting that nothing would get into the bearings. It was the Southerland's manual that I attribute to making the distinction between the unit/cartridge designs (VS a threaded assembly one) and those with a sealing aspect INDEPENDENT of the bearing design. I have followed this understanding ever since.

We are talking about what others with a financial interest in the appeal of the terms we use call the designs we describe. I think my view is not wrong or misleading. And it stops here. Andy.
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Old 09-19-13, 10:41 PM
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Originally Posted by JanMM
If it spins freely and feels smooth, don't worry about it. Quite a paradigm shift for those of us who grew up with traditional bearings.
Yep. Also they take a long time to go bad.
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Old 09-19-13, 11:57 PM
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Originally Posted by bikemig
Yep. Also they take a long time to go bad.
They should take a long time to go bad.
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Old 09-20-13, 12:04 AM
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In 2009 I bought a pair of Mavic Classics SSC wheels for $50...seller got them with some bike he bought and didn't want or need them. They were perfectly true and the hubs are, of course, super smooth.

In the time I've used them off & on, the rear hub has developed a sound like marbles hitting each other. It comes and goes, and only under load; never on the repair or truing stand. I bought a freehub repair kit on eBay that didn't fix the problem.

Does this sound like the main rear hub bearings need to be replaced? This set of wheels is the first "cartridge" bearing wheel set I've ever owned.
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Old 09-20-13, 04:59 AM
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Originally Posted by Eric S.
In 2009 I bought a pair of Mavic Classics SSC wheels for $50...seller got them with some bike he bought and didn't want or need them. They were perfectly true and the hubs are, of course, super smooth.

In the time I've used them off & on, the rear hub has developed a sound like marbles hitting each other. It comes and goes, and only under load; never on the repair or truing stand. I bought a freehub repair kit on eBay that didn't fix the problem.

Does this sound like the main rear hub bearings need to be replaced? This set of wheels is the first "cartridge" bearing wheel set I've ever owned.
It's all it really can be. Once to take the axle out with the casette body/pawls there are a couple bearings in the hub.
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Old 09-20-13, 08:10 AM
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Originally Posted by 2 wheeler
That's ok, you can disagree. Do a google search and you'll find that what I've said it true.

From a google search you'll find that Timken has one small line of "cartridge bearings" that are specialty items as the term isn't used widely to cover all sealed bearing types. ALL the other results for "cartridge bearings" relate to bicycles ONLY.
On page two of the link you provided (which may not give the same information for each user), there is a listing for Thomas Register which has 48 hits for companies that provide "cartridge" bearings. An example is Applied Industrial Technologies
www.applied.com
Cleveland, OH 44115
Phone: 216-426-4000, 866-580-7848 (toll free)

The Thomas Register blurb states

ISO 9001:2008 certified distributor of cartridge bearings. Types of cartridge bearings include B-1 unit, ball bearing, CRT, D unit, hinged cap S-1 unit, S-1 unit, sleeve, spherical, split cylindrical & tapered roller bearings. Available in expansion, fixed/expansion & non-expansion bearing designs & inch or metric sizes. Cartridge bearings range in shaft dia. from 1/2 in. to 24 in. & ODs from 1-13/16 in. to 36 in. Cartridge bearings are also available with different style locking devices.
If you follow the link to their website, they aren't a bicycle company. The other 48 have similar statements.
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