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rear cone/axle: what would cause this kind of damage?

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rear cone/axle: what would cause this kind of damage?

Old 12-28-13, 11:40 AM
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rear cone/axle: what would cause this kind of damage?

let me preface this by saying I don't know anything about bicycle repair. I got a park tool advanced mechanics set for Christmas and I've been watching youtube to teach myself how to perform maintenance on the various assemblies.

my rear wheel was wobbly at the axle. it has been since the beginning of last summer when I had someone from a bike shop clean and lube it as a side job. from what I've learned the quick release cone/axles have to be precisely adjusted due to the quick release skewer applying additional pressure on the bearings. I watched 2-3 videos on how to perform the adjustment.

when I tightened my cones so the wheel wouldn't wobble I noticed the wheel became difficult to spin and I heard a nasty grinding noise. I took the assembly apart and this is what I found. first, I think i'm missing a bearing. I count 17. I think there should be 18, or 9 per side. the cones are trashed. it looks like someone took a pair of vise grips to the axle. It almost looks as if the missing bearing fell into the hub when the axle was re-installed but I can't find any trace of it. I don't know if a bearing would have caused that kind of damage to the axle.

I also wonder if the freehub could have failed and caused the damage to the axle? I didn't pay attention to how the axle came out so I don't know if the damage would have been in the center of the hub or under the freehub.

also, if the axle is damaged frome some sort of foreign debris, I wonder if the hub is trashed as well? I don't want to spend the money rebuilding this hub if i'm going to have to replace it. ultimately I want to convert to disk brakes anyway. I might just see about buying different wheels with disk brake hubs, maybe from craigslist. I can't see any obvious damage, the bearing races look fine, but I need to remove the freehub body to clean out all the grease and get a closer look. my 10mm allen wrench don't do the job, I think I need an 11 or 12.

also, I can't tell if the freehub body is damaged. having never done this before I don't know what it should feel like. as soon as it uploads I will include a youtube video of the freehub

freehub
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Last edited by tpolley; 12-28-13 at 11:55 AM.
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Old 12-28-13, 11:56 AM
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It certainly looks like a ball was fractured or crushed and the pieces rolled around causing some of the axle damage. The axle itself is fine, but you'll have to inspect the hub itself, especially the bearing surfaces (cups) for damage. If you see gouges on the inside of the shell feel free to disregard if the cups are OK.

The cones themselves are shot due to extreme wear on the rolling surface. One thing that's a bit puzzling is that the wear area is too far to the small end. Normally the balls ride about midway on the ground surface leaving a fine wear track. It's possible that the hub was ridden for a long time with loose cones, which allows the cone to wedge between balls (sometimes called axle drop) and ride at the smaller end this way. That combined with dirty or contaminated grease could have been the problem.

If you look at the cone with the chipped edge, it's likely that the balls were riding on that edge leading to the fracture, and eventually splitting one of the balls.

Since the worst of the wear is off the designed contact area, there's a chance that it'll be decent (not perfect) if repackd with new balls, and fresh grease. If you try use the cone with the narrower worn area on the right, since that side takes a greater load than the left.

Otherwise, if the hub is OK, you might shop for cones, or salvage them from a trashed wheel.

Watch the total cost, and consider the general condition of the wheel because a new wheel might make more sense, except as a learning process.
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Old 12-28-13, 12:02 PM
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Yep the marks mid axle are wierd , there's no need to clamp an axle there when doing hub adjustment . Maybe the last guy in there dun goofed.

Sounds like its been running on loose cones a long time. New cones and a new set of 18 1/4"bb for sure.
Cant comment on hub cup damage without seeing inside. Clean out grease and see for yourself, it'll be obvious if bad.

Check dumpster at LBS, tacoed wheels dead before their time are a good source of replacement cones .


EDIT- typing too slow, yeah, what the guy above said .

Last edited by xenologer; 12-28-13 at 12:05 PM.
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Old 12-28-13, 12:10 PM
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Originally Posted by FBinNY
It certainly looks like a ball was fractured or crushed and the pieces rolled around causing some of the axle damage. The axle itself is fine, but you'll have to inspect the hub itself, especially the bearing surfaces (cups) for damage. If you see gouges on the inside of the shell feel free to disregard if the cups are OK.

The cones themselves are shot due to extreme wear on the rolling surface. One thing that's a bit puzzling is that the wear area is too far to the small end. Normally the balls ride about midway on the ground surface leaving a fine wear track. It's possible that the hub was ridden for a long time with loose cones, which allows the cone to wedge between balls (sometimes called axle drop) and ride at the smaller end this way. That combined with dirty or contaminated grease could have been the problem.

If you look at the cone with the chipped edge, it's likely that the balls were riding on that edge leading to the fracture, and eventually splitting one of the balls.
as far as I know the cones were loose for hundreds of miles. it was last summer when it was serviced. that would explain the wear/damage on the inside of the cones. that would probably explain a fractured ball (sounds extremely painfull!!!). the fractured ball would explain the damage to the axle and why I can't find the ball. it's probably still inside the hub imbedded in the grease in a thousand pieces by now. I just hope it didn't screw up the hub. like I said, the races, or cups I guess look fine.

Last edited by tpolley; 12-28-13 at 12:17 PM.
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Old 12-28-13, 12:14 PM
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The axle is fine , as FBinNY said you need new cones and ball bearings . check the cups in the hub for wear , if they are good then do the rebuild if not then replace the wheel . As far your video go the freehub have dirt in it . Flush it out with something like WD-40 as you spin it ,when dry re-lube it with something like triflo . To remove the freehub you'll need a 11 MM or a 12 MM to do so . When spinning the freehub it should have a racket sound (clicking sound ) to it .
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Old 12-28-13, 12:19 PM
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Originally Posted by bikeman715
To remove the freehub you'll need a 11 MM or a 12 MM to do so . When spinning the freehub it should have a racket sound (clicking sound ) to it .
If it's a Shimano hub he will need a 10 mm Allen key to remove the freehub body.
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Old 12-28-13, 12:35 PM
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HillRider , The OP said the 10 MM didn't work for him , why I suggested the other two . I agree with you yes if it a Shimano 's hub then the 10 MM will work .
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Old 12-28-13, 12:37 PM
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Infrequent service intervals . ignored too long.

what is the left side Cup looking like ?, if that one is damaged , buy a new wheel .

I doubt you want to invest in a hand-built wheel ..

get one built by a machine, through one of the many wholesalers supplying your LBS,

They will likely hand check the spokes and such , before it goes out the door..

Last edited by fietsbob; 12-28-13 at 12:50 PM.
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Old 12-28-13, 12:48 PM
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Unless the freehub itself is exhibiting problems, such as a sticky or noisy ratchet, there's no need to remove it from the hub shell. An eyeball exam of the cups' condition on both sides, and a thorough clean out of old grease and crud from within the central clearance, including behind the left side dust cap is all that's needed.

Then new balls and grease.

Since the wear is away from the designed wear track, there's a decent chance that once adjusted it'll be OK, or atleast good enough to ride until the OP can scrounge up a pair of cones.
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Old 12-28-13, 01:58 PM
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What's the Shimano number on the hub?
I built a wheel with a NEW FH-RM30 hub a year ago.
It's already "eaten" the NDS cone!
I even added additional grease and adjusted the bearings before the wheel hit the road.

Those cones look VERY similar size/shape wise.
Same cone is used on both sides.
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Old 12-28-13, 03:20 PM
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the bike shop said is 11mm. they didn't have a wrench to sell me. they also said not to bother taking the freehub off, just clean it, grease it and put it back together with new cones and bearing, which I bought, about $20 in parts

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Old 12-28-13, 04:04 PM
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Originally Posted by tpolley
the bike shop said is 11mm. they didn't have a wrench to sell me. they also said not to bother taking the freehub off, just clean it, grease it and put it back together with new cones and bearing, which I bought, about $20 in parts
You can get the allen wrench at a good hardware or auto parts store. That is not a shimano hub. I would remove it, pop out the seal in the back, run solvent through it, dry it and put a heavy oil through it.

The bearings should be adjusted so hat there is a small amount of play that goes away when the QR is closed. You should end up with a small amount of preload. https://www.sheldonbrown.com/brandt/cone-adjustment.html https://www.parktool.com/blog/repair-...and-adjustment
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Old 12-28-13, 05:09 PM
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Originally Posted by bikeman715
HillRider , The OP said the 10 MM didn't work for him , why I suggested the other two . I agree with you yes if it a Shimano 's hub then the 10 MM will work .
Good point! I didn't read the OP in enough detail.
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Old 12-29-13, 07:03 PM
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Is there a chance the fellow doing the "side job" put the wrong cones in the wheel?

Or the wrong cones were installed from the mfg?

Cones from a doner wheel may have a slightly different angle (and depth) causing a new track in your cup. Which in your case "may" be a good thing.
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Old 12-29-13, 07:29 PM
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looks like channel lock marks in an older attempt to remove all cones
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Old 12-29-13, 08:37 PM
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I agree with different replies. The axle sure has channel lock/vice grip marks on it. the cones look to be the wrong ones in that the bearing surface wasn't small enough and the balls rode on the edge of the cone, not toward the center of the curved rolling surface. I doubt that a ball just vaporized. No mention of a fragment was made. The hub is no Shimano one (besides the 11mm freehub body Allen wrench reference Shimano never made a hub with this barrel shape).

So if the wrong cones were installed by the "side job mechanic" (who is potentially subject to the conflict of interest recently discussed) then the adjustment of the bearing spin would be VERY sensitive, the balls contacting the edges of the cones. (Been there, know better now). So I can see how the mechanic was either searching for a better assembly, that would adjust better. Or he had already hit the six pack and just left one ball out. The last possibility is that the OP didn't keep track of the balls he pulled out of the hub.

As others said, fit the correct cones and fresh balls, do a proper bearing adjustment. Then recheck all after a week or two of riding. If no change ride is bliss. if things are going down then budget for a replacement wheel. Perhaps the lesson here is the side job. Andy.
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Old 12-29-13, 09:25 PM
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I can't explain the axle, but I stick to my original theory that it's simply a result of riding for a very long time on very loose cones.

Various cones have different ODs and fit the dust caps differently, but there's very little difference in the position of the ball track, since they all start with the 10mm axle. The wear zone having shifted inboard to the smaller diameter is perfectly consistent with what happens when ridden with loose cones, and he OP reports that that's been going on for 6 months.
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Old 01-01-14, 08:26 AM
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Having been down this road very recently I will thrown in my .02. I agree with FB that the damage could have been caused by the cones being way too loose. I also think those cones could be wrong in profile. If the taper is too steep it will put the track too close to the edge. I would clean everything up, paint the cone bearing surface, dry assemble, spin, then disassemble and check the bearing track. Then you will know if those cones are the correct shape. Either way those cones are toast so get new ones and new bearings too.
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