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Bent Skewer = broken axle?

Old 03-04-14, 07:43 AM
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awunder
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Bent Skewer = broken axle?

Doing an annual overhaul, I discovered that the skewer for my rear (free)wheel is bent a bit - not a huge amount, but enough that it doesn't pass through the axle smoothly. But then I discovered that the axle itself was broken!

Could the bent skewer have caused the axle to break? And should I replace the skewer?
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Old 03-04-14, 07:53 AM
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other way around. the broken axle caused the bent skewer. replace the broken axle and the straighten the skewer and reuse.
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Old 03-04-14, 08:25 AM
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Originally Posted by awunder View Post
Could the bent skewer have caused the axle to break?
How do you think it had room to bend?

I'm guessing you're a big guy or this is a 7s freewheel? In either case, I'd recommend a freehub instead of condemning another axle to eventual death.
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Old 03-04-14, 09:03 AM
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Done many of these repairs. Pull freewheel then axle halves. Clean and check hub races condition. If still in good shape then replace axle, and cones if they're damaged too. If hub races are damaged then replace wheel and consider a cassette hub.

But whatever is done make sure to check the drop outs parallelness. I often find drop outs that are not aligned when there's a bent/broken axle. Andy.
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Old 03-04-14, 09:33 AM
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Originally Posted by Gonzo Bob View Post
other way around. the broken axle caused the bent skewer. replace the broken axle and the straighten the skewer and reuse.
+1, the axle breaks from metal fatigue due to flexing. Most likely it broke at the 1st thread inside the right cone. Then the skewer was the only thing holding the axle together, and the loads that broke the axle, were now bending the skewer.

Hint. It's hard to predict when an axle will break, but once they do, you'll get what sounds like a bottom bracket creak when you pedal hard. The peak chain loads are pulling the freewheel forward and the broken axle allows the ends to flex against the dropouts making the creak.
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Old 03-04-14, 09:39 AM
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Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
It's hard to predict when an axle will break, but once they do, you'll get what sounds like a bottom bracket creak when you pedal hard.
Sometimes they remain dead quiet even after breaking. A friend's late 80's Trek with a 6-speed freewheel broke the rear axle on a Maillard hub and we never discovered it until he had a flat tire and we removed the wheel to repair it. The drive-side axle stub was obviously very loose so we fixed the flat and very carefully reinstalled the wheel just to get us home. No prior warning at all.
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Old 03-04-14, 09:41 AM
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I did this to a work bike going uphill a couple of months ago, and then had to keep riding the bike for a couple of clicks.

Derived perverse enjoyment from the carnage; I hate that Ala Mode POS. Call it the Ala Merde.
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Old 03-04-14, 09:59 AM
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Originally Posted by HillRider View Post
Sometimes they remain dead quiet even after breaking. A friend's late 80's Trek with a 6-speed freewheel broke the rear axle on a Maillard hub and we never discovered it until he had a flat tire and we removed the wheel to repair it. The drive-side axle stub was obviously very loose so we fixed the flat and very carefully reinstalled the wheel just to get us home. No prior warning at all.
Yes, I wrote this badly. It's a one way relationship, Creaking is often a sign of a broken axle, but not all broken axles cause creaking.
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Old 03-04-14, 10:05 AM
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yes ...
A tightly stretched QR has been effective in holding the 2 parts of a broken axle together ..
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Old 03-04-14, 10:12 AM
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Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
yes ...
A tightly stretched QR has been effective in holding the 2 parts of a broken axle together ..
I think the OP proved this. It doesn't even have to be that tight.
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Old 03-04-14, 10:44 AM
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Just Adding my 'been there, done that' .. .02p
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Old 03-04-14, 03:46 PM
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Thanks for thoughts, all!

In reply : I'm not terribly large, but do use the bike in question for loaded touring and commuting. Hence the load. It is a 7 Speed freewheel, but it's an old (1987) aluminium frame, so moving to a freehub is not an option.

And now that you mention it - I DID have a bit of creaking that I assumed was the BB and that I figured I would take care of when I repacked said BB.

Appreciate all your help - Axle is replaced and now I can breath easier knowing that I don't have to replace the skewer as well!
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Old 03-04-14, 03:53 PM
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I had a Phil Wood Freewheel hub at the center of my loaded touring wheel..

way stronger than the typical 10x1mm axle.
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Old 03-04-14, 04:21 PM
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Originally Posted by awunder View Post
Thanks for thoughts, all!

In reply : I'm not terribly large, but do use the bike in question for loaded touring and commuting. Hence the load. It is a 7 Speed freewheel, but it's an old (1987) aluminium frame, so moving to a freehub is not an option.

And now that you mention it - I DID have a bit of creaking that I assumed was the BB and that I figured I would take care of when I repacked said BB.

Appreciate all your help - Axle is replaced and now I can breath easier knowing that I don't have to replace the skewer as well!
I would STRONGLY recommend that you replace that wheel with a freehub wheel or at least rebuild the wheel with a freehub if you are commuting and touring. You will break another axle unless you go with a Phil Woods freewheel setup which is a lot more money than a generic 7speed freehub setup.

A 7 speed freehub is 126mm in width is the standard for mid-late eighties alloy frames like cannondales and Raleigh Techniums. There is no reason at all that you can't move to a freehub wheel even with 126mm spacing.
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Old 03-04-14, 08:33 PM
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Originally Posted by bobotech View Post
I would STRONGLY recommend that you replace that wheel with a freehub wheel or at least rebuild the wheel with a freehub if you are commuting and touring. You will break another axle unless you go with a Phil Woods freewheel setup which is a lot more money than a generic 7speed freehub setup.

A 7 speed freehub is 126mm in width is the standard for mid-late eighties alloy frames like cannondales and Raleigh Techniums. There is no reason at all that you can't move to a freehub wheel even with 126mm spacing.
+1 7-speed freewheel hubs were 126 mm OLD just like 7-speed freehubs so changing to a freehub will not bother your frame one bit.
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Old 03-04-14, 09:04 PM
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If buying a new wheel I can see switching to a freehub.

OTOH, he already has this one, and if the wheel (hub and rim) is OK, he can keep it alive for the cost of an axle (which he already had installed). Even if the axle breaks again some time down the road, think about how many axles one can but for the price of a new wheel and cassette.

My 7s commuter with 25,000 tough miles is in it's 4th axle. But being a std hub and freewheel allowed me to build it as a near zero dish wheel on a 135mm axle. If/when the rim dies, I'll give due consideration to replacing with something more modern, but until that happens, I'm willing to replace an axle every year or so.
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Old 03-05-14, 07:56 AM
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Yeah, $15 for a replacement axle is a bit less than the price of a new hub (+ wheel building costs) and I must confess that I have never seen a freehub with 126 mm spacing. Not new at any rate (Phil Wood aside).

But truth be told, this bike has done a lot of miles for a lot of years, and this is the first time I've broken an axle on it, so I'm more inclined to proceed cautiously before getting into replacing the hub!
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Old 03-05-14, 09:53 AM
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True .. 10mm threaded axles are cheap ... I went the way I did
because I didn't want a broken axle in a remote location on tours.

and a Bike shop in Sausalito had a garage sale .. where I got the hubshell
(old type.. stainless steel sleeve, aluminum flanges)
mailed it to PW Co, and got my choice of axle assembly.
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Old 03-06-14, 12:30 AM
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Originally Posted by Andrew R Stewart View Post
But whatever is done make sure to check the drop outs parallelness. I often find drop outs that are not aligned when there's a bent/broken axle. Andy.
+1. Listen to Mr. Stewart. VERY IMPORTANT to align the dropouts or you can expect to replace axles on a regular basis with old freewheel hubs.
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