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New Phil Wood Rear Hub Problem

Old 10-07-13, 06:45 PM
  #1  
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New Phil Wood Rear Hub Problem

I recently bought a new old stock set of Phil Wood hubs and I am having a bit of trouble with the rear hub. There is 1/32"+ of play at the rim (700c). I have disassembled the axle and reassembled but no difference. I called PW but since I bought these on ebay and not from an official dealer they will not warranty them. The hubs certainly were new when I bought them. Does anyone have an idea of what the problem might be? I did put a few hundred miles on to see how they break in but still see no difference. Is Phil Wood no longer the brand they used to be?

Thanks all!
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Old 10-07-13, 08:14 PM
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I don't know enough about Phil hub to say whether this is typical or not, but that much play at the rim of a radial bearing hub isn't unheard of. Nor does it cause any problems.

There's a very fundamental difference between the radial bearings that hubs like Phil use, and the angular contact cup/cone bearings of a classic hub. Angular contact bearings need to be adjusted to zero play, and a slight preload, otherwise the diameters of the contact lines don't match correctly and you get something some call "axle drop" which causes wear and vibration.

Radial bearings, are engineered with the correct radial preload, so axle drop isn't an issue (until the bearing wears beyond the limit). However the balls run in U-shaped races. If there's an adjustment the axial play can be taken up, but you don't want to preload them for thrust, and it's better to leave a bit of axial play. Over tightening a radial bearing (axially) has the balls running at the edges of the races and causes rapid wear and premature failure.

Hubs of the same design as Phil's are dimensioned with the bearing's axial play built in. Hopefully it's be very small, though some can be fine tuned by using thin shim washers.
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Old 10-07-13, 10:50 PM
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Originally Posted by dwmckee View Post
I recently bought a new old stock set of Phil Wood hubs and I am having a bit of trouble with the rear hub. There is 1/32"+ of play at the rim (700c). I have disassembled the axle and reassembled but no difference. I called PW but since I bought these on ebay and not from an official dealer they will not warranty them. The hubs certainly were new when I bought them. Does anyone have an idea of what the problem might be? I did put a few hundred miles on to see how they break in but still see no difference. Is Phil Wood no longer the brand they used to be?

Thanks all!
Take in what FB said for sure, lots of great info there.

To defend Phil Wood, I have no idea if yours are or not but there has been plenty of counterfeit goods sold on ebay, many times they aesthetically look very similar to the real thing but are far from the same quality of the parts they copy so I can not blame them for being hesitant to cover them, especially since lots of companies dealer agreements do not allow you to sell online or do not allow you to sell below a certain price. I can not remember if Phil Wood falls into that category or not but I personally am not very trusting of most sellers on ebay
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Old 10-07-13, 11:04 PM
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Originally Posted by dwmckee View Post
.... I did put a few hundred miles on to see how they break in but still see no difference. ....
So, did that play cause any problems, or anything you could notice when riding. If not see rule #17

#17 , any mechanical problem that doesn't noticeably affect riding isn't a mechanical problem.
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Old 10-07-13, 11:23 PM
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You talking cassette or freewheel hub?
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Old 10-08-13, 07:26 AM
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I have two pairs of Phil hubs. The tandem's hubs (cassette) have about the same amount of play. They have around 10,000 miles on them. The set, with less then 1,000 miles and also cassette, have no play yet detected. The other two pairs that i once had, both tandem and FW, had play.

When i had my shop I use to show concerned customers the Sutherland's manual page describing radial contact cartridge bearings and why they need a bit of end play to wear properly. Andy.
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Old 10-08-13, 07:15 PM
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Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
So, did that play cause any problems, or anything you could notice when riding. If not see rule #17

#17 , any mechanical problem that doesn't noticeably affect riding isn't a mechanical problem.
Not sure if the play is a sign of impending failure or means it will wear out quickly. Also, I am wondering of the play is the source of some vague handling I notice with the bike.
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Old 10-08-13, 07:17 PM
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Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
I don't know enough about Phil hub to say whether this is typical or not, but that much play at the rim of a radial bearing hub isn't unheard of.
I cannot say for sure but I have a near identical hub on our tandem and it has no play at all after 6 - 7,000 miles.
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Old 10-08-13, 07:18 PM
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Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
You talking cassette or freewheel hub?
Cassette
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Old 10-08-13, 07:42 PM
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Originally Posted by dwmckee View Post
Not sure if the play is a sign of impending failure or means it will wear out quickly. Also, I am wondering of the play is the source of some vague handling I notice with the bike.
The bearings in Phil hubs can be replaced, so there's no reason to worry about imminent bearing failure, since it's a bridge you can cross if/when you get there. The hubs aren't adjustable for axial play, and depend on precise locations of the shoulders in the shell and on the axle. It's possible that you can correct for play by not pushing a bearing fully into the shell, or by micro spacing behind it at the axle or shell.

All in all I wouldn't fret over this, though I can't help you more without having the hub in my hands.
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Old 10-08-13, 08:23 PM
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As others have said just ride these you can make sure all the adjustments and spacing are right Ie try adding some 1mm spacers to each side new bearings are easy to purcahces replace on thes if your not sure.
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Old 10-08-13, 10:17 PM
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yea, radial bearings, angular contact bearings, like cup and cone hubs can be adjusted,
but may also allow user screw-ups .

so the minor play is maybe only a perceived problem for the OCD types.


got ten years of flawless service from a Phil Freewheel hub on my Touring Bike.
it was their old design , steel sleeve with alloy flanges ,and the bearing assembly Pressed in.
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Old 10-09-13, 01:30 PM
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Hmmm, you bought some Phil wood hubs on eBay, think you have a problem with them, and then give the impression you're upset that Phil Wood won't warranty them?! Are you nuts? Based on my 30+ years experience and a couple of recent service requests, Phil Wood components continue to be among the best and their support for legitimate stuff is second to none - it's consumers like you that's not what they used to be!
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Old 10-09-13, 01:42 PM
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Well If you think they have problems, Mail them to SanJose, Cal where Phil & Co are,
and have them brought back to good as new contition , if anything is needed , then pay them for their services.
and they will ship the hub back.

(In a wheel?,ship the wheel)
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Old 10-09-13, 01:47 PM
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Originally Posted by gruppo View Post
Hmmm, you bought some Phil wood hubs on eBay, think you have a problem with them, and then give the impression you're upset that Phil Wood won't warranty them?! Are you nuts? Based on my 30+ years experience and a couple of recent service requests, Phil Wood components continue to be among the best and their support for legitimate stuff is second to none - it's consumers like you that's not what they used to be!
I know it's the trend partly as a way to prevent discounting via the internet. But I think it's a ridiculous policy to not warranty clearly (if it is) defective products based on where they were bought. I can understand on foreign goods, since they might be "backdoor" or geray market goods and the US agency never handled them. But for a USA manufacturer, there's no excuse. They made the goods, sold and profited on the sale, and therefore should stand behind them.

BTW- in some states, it's illegal for the manufacturer to deny warranty based on how or where the item is purchased. In states that don't explicitly cover the issue by law, odds are a consumer would prevail in small claims court --- if the item is clearly defective when new or close to new.
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Old 10-09-13, 03:16 PM
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Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
Well If you think they have problems, Mail them to SanJose, Cal where Phil & Co are,
and have them brought back to good as new contition , if anything is needed , then pay them for their services.
and they will ship the hub back.

(In a wheel?,ship the wheel)
^ this. A sneaky way of getting around the warranty issue. That or see if your LBS can service the hub.
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Old 10-09-13, 09:14 PM
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Originally Posted by gruppo View Post
Hmmm, you bought some Phil wood hubs on eBay, think you have a problem with them, and then give the impression you're upset that Phil Wood won't warranty them?! Are you nuts? Based on my 30+ years experience and a couple of recent service requests, Phil Wood components continue to be among the best and their support for legitimate stuff is second to none - it's consumers like you that's not what they used to be!
Please reread my original post. I did not dish Phil Wood service nor complain that they did not warranty the hubs. I simply stated the facts so as to not get post replies suggesting I send them back under warranty. I do understand that there are tradeoffs when you buy in ebay and sometimes you do not get the deal you think you are. I am simply looking for possible solutions, not complaining about Phil Wood service. I am however a bit surprised that a new Phil Wood hub had this much play in it, regardless of warranty or post purchase service.
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Old 10-09-13, 09:22 PM
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Your surprise speaks to your not having a full understanding with Phil or many other cartridge hubs. As has been said here, radial contact bearings need a slight end play to allow the balls to roll on the inner and outer surfaces properly. This is a reason why the drop out alignment is more critical with these bearings then with angular contact ones (which can also be cartridge/sealed units). Andy.
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Old 10-10-13, 04:18 PM
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Originally Posted by Andrew R Stewart View Post
Your surprise speaks to your not having a full understanding with Phil or many other cartridge hubs. As has been said here, radial contact bearings need a slight end play to allow the balls to roll on the inner and outer surfaces properly. This is a reason why the drop out alignment is more critical with these bearings then with angular contact ones (which can also be cartridge/sealed units). Andy.
Thanks. But why do some Phil Wood radial contact bearing hubs have no play at all after thousands of miles and other Phil Wood hubs have noticeable play when new even though they have similar design? If the reason is variance in tolerance then I think my original concern about out of box quality may have merit...

I do appreciate the education here though as I did not realize the differences in bearing design could mean so much.

So, if the play (which is more than 1/32 but certainly less than 1/16) is still of concern to me, I guess you are saying it must be the bearing itself and replacing the bearings may or may not fix the play, depending on the particular bearing that is put in (some are tighter than others?).

As additional info, my LBS who is a Phil Wood dealer pointed out the play to me and they thought it was excessive.
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Old 10-10-13, 04:39 PM
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Originally Posted by dwmckee View Post
Thanks. But why do some Phil Wood radial contact bearing hubs have no play at all after thousands of miles and other Phil Wood hubs have noticeable play when new even though they have similar design? If the reason is variance in tolerance then I think my original concern about out of box quality may have merit...

I do appreciate the education here though as I did not realize the differences in bearing design could mean so much.

So, if the play (which is more than 1/32 but certainly less than 1/16) is still of concern to me, I guess you are saying it must be the bearing itself and replacing the bearings may or may not fix the play, depending on the particular bearing that is put in (some are tighter than others?).

As additional info, my LBS who is a Phil Wood dealer pointed out the play to me and they thought it was excessive.
No the play isn't (or shouldn't be) in the bearings which are produced with correct radial preload, and some axial play. However bearing makers hold excellent tolerances, and the variation is in the relative positions of the locating shoulders in the hub shell and axle.

The redial play won't change with age, until the bearing nears the end of it's service life, at which it'll begin to change quickly (relatively).

One thing that some producers of hubs with similar design is to not press one of the bearings fully to the shoulder in the shell (or axle). I don't know if Phil does this during assembly, in which case you might have created the play via your assembly sequence.

No promises, but if you remove the axle, tap one bearing out a hair in the shell, (or out on the axle) then reassemble and let the last step drive the bearing home, you might have zero play. This will leave a slight axial preload which must be resolved with a gentle tap with a wooden mallet (or hammer handle).

BTW- a working definition of manufacturing tolerance is that amount of variation which is acceptable and which cases no functional difference. Good designs have wider manufacturing tolerances, so as to minimize rejects, or the need for greater precision than might otherwise be necessary. Some producers of parts like hubs locate 3 out of 4 bearing shoulders, and use something like a wavy washer to zero out axial play without the danger of excessive axial preload.
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Old 10-10-13, 05:27 PM
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Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
No the play isn't (or shouldn't be) in the bearings which are produced with correct radial preload, and some axial play. However bearing makers hold excellent tolerances, and the variation is in the relative positions of the locating shoulders in the hub shell and axle.

The redial play won't change with age, until the bearing nears the end of it's service life, at which it'll begin to change quickly (relatively).

One thing that some producers of hubs with similar design is to not press one of the bearings fully to the shoulder in the shell (or axle). I don't know if Phil does this during assembly, in which case you might have created the play via your assembly sequence.

No promises, but if you remove the axle, tap one bearing out a hair in the shell, (or out on the axle) then reassemble and let the last step drive the bearing home, you might have zero play. This will leave a slight axial preload which must be resolved with a gentle tap with a wooden mallet (or hammer handle).

BTW- a working definition of manufacturing tolerance is that amount of variation which is acceptable and which cases no functional difference. Good designs have wider manufacturing tolerances, so as to minimize rejects, or the need for greater precision than might otherwise be necessary. Some producers of parts like hubs locate 3 out of 4 bearing shoulders, and use something like a wavy washer to zero out axial play without the danger of excessive axial preload.
Hmmm this sounds like something I could try. Do you have any suggestions for how I "tap one bearing out a hair in the shell?" Does this require any special tools?

Thanks!
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Old 10-10-13, 05:31 PM
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Originally Posted by dwmckee View Post
Hmmm this sounds like something I could try. Do you have any suggestions for how I "tap one bearing out a hair in the shell?" Does this require any special tools?

Thanks!
Go the the site, and review the disassembly/service procedure. Once you have the axle and one bearing out you can consider your options for moving one bearing so it's jammed when you reassemble. Don't forget that you have to relieve the axial preload before riding.
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Old 10-10-13, 08:18 PM
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Got around to pulling mu copy of the Sutherland's Manual and scanned the pages pertaining to cartridge bearings. Here they are. Remember this is from 1995 and this info actually was published a few editions before this sixth one (black cover). Note references to Phil servicing. Andy.
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Old 10-10-13, 08:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Andrew R Stewart View Post
Got around to pulling my copy of the Sutherland's Manual and scanned the pages pertaining to cartridge bearings. Here they are. Remember this is from 1995 and this info actually was published a few editions before this sixth one (black cover). Note references to Phil servicing. Andy.
Phil Wood & co. has a nice tech document on servicing the hubs on their site. (go to bearings, service instructions top right). The process is pretty well explained, and the OP can tweak to achieve his goal of less axial play.
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Old 10-10-13, 08:43 PM
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dwmckee
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Originally Posted by Andrew R Stewart View Post
Got around to pulling mu copy of the Sutherland's Manual and scanned the pages pertaining to cartridge bearings. Here they are. Remember this is from 1995 and this info actually was published a few editions before this sixth one (black cover). Note references to Phil servicing. Andy.
Andy - Thanks, this looks helpful. It gives me a better understanding of how these are put together and why there are limitations. I may give it a shot and if I do I will let you know how it goes.

Thanks!

Don
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