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Heliocomatic hub rebuilding??

Old 07-09-21, 09:02 AM
  #51  
Chombi1 
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Originally Posted by Hobbiano View Post
Would yours happen to be the 700 professional version of these hubs? Most bikes came with the destructo version.
My 1982 PH10S came with the "Destructo" version of the Heli....and it sure did eat its bearings just after a year of riding, despite me making sure it was adjusted and lubricated properly.....
​​I doubt if the 83 or 84 PH10 had an upgrade on its hubs to the higher version of the Heli, as the PH10 was always just their entry level "sport" bike.

Last edited by Chombi1; 07-09-21 at 09:05 AM.
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Old 07-09-21, 09:23 AM
  #52  
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Originally Posted by Chombi1 View Post
My 1982 PH10S came with the "Destructo" version of the Heli....and it sure did eat its bearings just after a year of riding, despite me making sure it was adjusted and lubricated properly.....

​​I doubt if the 83 or 84 PH10 had an upgrade on its hubs to the higher version of the Heli, as the PH10 was always just their entry level "sport" bike.
Yeah, I've had several Treks with the destructo version, that suffered a similar demise as yours, including two new Treks, bought by my brother and myself, back in 1984. They lasted less then a year, from new. I now generally consider those throw away wheels, as the rims, spokes, & helico freewheel aren't that great either. But now I've got a low mileage '83 720, with the 700 series helico's, wider matrix rims & stainless spokes, and they're smooth as butter, really, so I'm trying to decide whether to tempt fate and ride them, or just go ahead and sell them (just the hubs) to some helicomatic fanatic, while they're still in such pristine condition.
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Old 07-09-21, 10:14 AM
  #53  
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Jon T, that is interesting on your well used PH10LE. One thought that occurred to me was the small bearings weren’t up to the weight they needed to carry. You frame is larger, indicating you are larger, so that theory bites the dust. Hobbiano references his proper upkeep and failures too.

What’s left? Quality of factory bearings and cones? Quality replacement bearings? Magic dust, or karma? It is encouraging to see one positive report of good luck with this hub. Funny that the steel bits would go as compared to the softer and seemingly more fragile aluminum body.
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Old 07-09-21, 11:56 AM
  #54  
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Originally Posted by Hobbiano View Post
Yeah, I've had several Treks with the destructo version, that suffered a similar demise as yours, including two new Treks, bought by my brother and myself, back in 1984. They lasted less then a year, from new. I now generally consider those throw away wheels, as the rims, spokes, & helico freewheel aren't that great either. But now I've got a low mileage '83 720, with the 700 series helico's, wider matrix rims & stainless spokes, and they're smooth as butter, really, so I'm trying to decide whether to tempt fate and ride them, or just go ahead and sell them (just the hubs) to some helicomatic fanatic, while they're still in such pristine condition.
...I have a low mileage 720, bought years ago, from someone who thrashed one of the wheels and then stuck the bike over in the corner of his garage. It was repairable, he just never got someone to do it. I kept the Helicomatic hubs on it, because it was just easier. I would not use it as a touring bike with those wheels, though. If something goes wron in the vicinity of home, it's not a big deal to fix it, or build new wheels. In a campground at Seldom Seen, WV, on touir, it's a whole different thing

Originally Posted by sd5782 View Post
Jon T, that is interesting on your well used PH10LE. One thought that occurred to me was the small bearings weren’t up to the weight they needed to carry. You frame is larger, indicating you are larger, so that theory bites the dust. Hobbiano references his proper upkeep and failures too.

What’s left? Quality of factory bearings and cones? Quality replacement bearings? Magic dust, or karma? It is encouraging to see one positive report of good luck with this hub. Funny that the steel bits would go as compared to the softer and seemingly more fragile aluminum body.
......what I noticed in working on the Helicomatics on which I've worked, is that it's difficult to properly adjust the rear wheel bearings, because there's some overlap of the Helicomatic freehub body that prevents me from getting a cone wrench on that side, so I have to do the final adjustment from just one side. Which I do not like. I don't know if this is a problem with all of them, or just the ones I've seen. Which is not that many.
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Old 07-09-21, 12:20 PM
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^^ Well, you just remove the freewheel. I adjust after re-greasing the hub bearings, before putting the freewheel back on. I hold the wheel in a vise by the lock nut on one side then adjust the other side. Maybe I'm misunderstanding you?

The reason I'm thinking of replacing the rr hub on the 720 is that in like new condition it's maybe worth something to someone, whereas, if I ride it, and it fries a cone, like every other helico I've had, then it's pretty much worthless. So I might offset some of the cost of a new hub & freewheel by selling it while it's in good shape. One, or maybe a pair, of the lesser helico's, not the 700 series, was sold here in buy & sell for about $50, if I remember correctly, not too long ago.

Last edited by Hobbiano; 07-09-21 at 12:28 PM.
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Old 07-09-21, 12:51 PM
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So I probably missed it somewhere earlier in this (or some other helicomaticentric) thread, but how does one distinguish the destructo version from the... not-so-destructo?
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Old 07-09-21, 12:54 PM
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Another reason on a Peugeot to keep this is for the French experience of something breaking and/or being non standard to work on. As I have read, this 83 bicycle should have standard stem and the common sized bb puller threads. It also lacks the Huret plastic front derailleur and the rear is a Simplex also and not a Huret Allvit. Something needs to self destruct so I can learn some French cuss words.
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Old 07-09-21, 01:17 PM
  #58  
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Originally Posted by madpogue View Post
So I probably missed it somewhere earlier in this (or some other helicomaticentric) thread, but how does one distinguish the destructo version from the... not-so-destructo?
I'm not sure, They seem pretty rare. Apparently, Jon T (post #49) had the non-destructo version. I'm trying to figure out if the Helicomatic 700 series, as on the 720 Trek hold up any better than the usual model. They look nicer, and are very smooth, like butter, on at least the fairly unused example I have. I'm scared to use it. I'd hate to trash the only other example of a helicomatic that didn't get cooked in six months.
Sorry If I contributed to sidetracking this thread and I do wish the OP the best of luck with his, and welcome any good news about these hubs.
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Old 07-09-21, 01:24 PM
  #59  
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Originally Posted by sd5782 View Post
Another reason on a Peugeot to keep this is for the French experience of something breaking and/or being non standard to work on. As I have read, this 83 bicycle should have standard stem and the common sized bb puller threads. It also lacks the Huret plastic front derailleur and the rear is a Simplex also and not a Huret Allvit. Something needs to self destruct so I can learn some French cuss words.
No, really.
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Old 07-09-21, 01:31 PM
  #60  
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Originally Posted by madpogue View Post
So I probably missed it somewhere earlier in this (or some other helicomaticentric) thread, but how does one distinguish the destructo version from the... not-so-destructo?
JohnDThompson Showed us the difference in this thread, Helicomatic 700 pics
I think the labryinth seals are pretty obvious too.
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Old 07-09-21, 02:13 PM
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Originally Posted by sd5782 View Post
What’s left? Quality of factory bearings and cones? Quality replacement bearings? Magic dust, or karma? It is encouraging to see one positive report of good luck with this hub. Funny that the steel bits would go as compared to the softer and seemingly more fragile aluminum body.
I have some sort of Shimano cone that I think is a pretty good match for the Helicomatic ones. I think it is from the FH-3500 Sora rear hub. By eye, it looks like it would work, but I could throw it into a hub body to test, if time and sanity permit (and if I can round up enough of the odd-sized bearings). I could send it to you if you want to do some science experiments with your hub and rule out the cones, but you'll have to promise to actually ride on the thing enough to give results!

I can also teach you some good French swear words if you like. That is easier. Or Québecois ones. Those are even more fun.
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Old 07-09-21, 02:53 PM
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Originally Posted by scarlson View Post
I have some sort of Shimano cone that I think is a pretty good match for the Helicomatic ones. I think it is from the FH-3500 Sora rear hub. By eye, it looks like it would work, but I could throw it into a hub body to test, if time and sanity permit (and if I can round up enough of the odd-sized bearings). I could send it to you if you want to do some science experiments with your hub and rule out the cones, but you'll have to promise to actually ride on the thing enough to give results!

I can also teach you some good French swear words if you like. That is easier. Or Québecois ones. Those are even more fun.
Thanks for the offer, but this bike isn’t assembled yet and may take a bit of time still. With retirement looming perhaps I may get it destroyed by this time next year.
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Old 07-09-21, 02:53 PM
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Originally Posted by Hobbiano View Post
^^ Well, you just remove the freewheel. I adjust after re-greasing the hub bearings, before putting the freewheel back on. I hold the wheel in a vise by the lock nut on one side then adjust the other side. Maybe I'm misunderstanding you?

.


....I'm talking about this business ^^^. And I can't easily get a good adjustment on wheel bearings without a cone wrench on each side. I can do it, eventually, but it's much more painful than it needs to be. I always assumed that was the reason for so many hub cone failures on these.
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Old 07-09-21, 04:10 PM
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Originally Posted by 3alarmer View Post

....I'm talking about this business ^^^. And I can't easily get a good adjustment on wheel bearings without a cone wrench on each side. I can do it, eventually, but it's much more painful than it needs to be. I always assumed that was the reason for so many hub cone failures on these.
Are you talking about when you use the two wrenches opposing each other to back off the cones with both locknuts already snugged down, to get a smidgen more play in the adjustment? I understand. I just use the trial & error method from one side, with the other end held in a vise. Usually just takes a couple tries.
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Old 07-09-21, 05:59 PM
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Originally Posted by Hobbiano View Post
Are you talking about when you use the two wrenches opposing each other to back off the cones with both locknuts already snugged down, to get a smidgen more play in the adjustment? I understand. I just use the trial & error method from one side, with the other end held in a vise. Usually just takes a couple tries.
...yes. Trial and error is filled with trials and errors.
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Old 07-09-21, 06:53 PM
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Originally Posted by 3alarmer View Post


....I'm talking about this business ^^^. And I can't easily get a good adjustment on wheel bearings without a cone wrench on each side. I can do it, eventually, but it's much more painful than it needs to be. I always assumed that was the reason for so many hub cone failures on these.
Looks like you put the lock ring back on after removing the freewheel in this shot. I would think if you left it off, you'd have plenty of room for a cone wrench.

Edit -- looks like the one pictured would have room for a cone wrench with the lock ring out of the way. But I just removed the freewheel from one of my destructo-model hubs, and indeed, even without the lock ring, the flats of the cone are out of reach.

Last edited by madpogue; 07-09-21 at 07:02 PM.
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Old 07-09-21, 08:05 PM
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Originally Posted by madpogue View Post

Edit -- looks like the one pictured would have room for a cone wrench with the lock ring out of the way. But I just removed the freewheel from one of my destructo-model hubs, and indeed, even without the lock ring, the flats of the cone are out of reach.
....when I first disassembled one, I thought maybe it was put together improperly. I mean, how much would it take to make that drive side cone stick out a little more, so you could get a wrench on the flats ? It's very mysterious to me. There must be some approved servicing procedure of which I'm unaware.
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Old 07-09-21, 08:56 PM
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Originally Posted by 3alarmer View Post
I can't easily get a good adjustment on wheel bearings without a cone wrench on each side. I can do it, eventually, but it's much more painful than it needs to be. I always assumed that was the reason for so many hub cone failures on these.
A Shimano cassette hub also cannot be adjusted on the right side, and they have a reputation for robustness, not failure.
I agree, it's a pain, but I would not go so far as to say it's the cause for the Helicomatic bearings' poor longevity, or else by that logic, Shimano cassette hubs would also be dropping like flies. I chalk the poor reliability up to too small bearings, too few bearings, and possibly bad metallurgy in the cones.
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Old 07-09-21, 10:39 PM
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Originally Posted by Hobbiano View Post
Would yours happen to be the 700 professional version of these hubs? Most bikes came with the destructo version.
I don't remember off-hand for sure. I'll have to check but methinks they're black oxided. Maybe I just lucked out and got the one-in-a-million good one.
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Old 07-10-21, 04:09 AM
  #70  
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Originally Posted by scarlson View Post
A Shimano cassette hub also cannot be adjusted on the right side, and they have a reputation for robustness, not failure.
I took him to mean that without a way of holding the axle (from the drive side) he finds it difficult to adjust (the non-drive side).

Which it is.
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Old 07-12-21, 06:34 PM
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Well Tripple Alarmer,
It looks like we are rebuilding this Varsity! To start I will say that I always adjust the hub from the non drive side. When taking them apart it is easier to leave the drive side cones and lock nuts in place, so the only adjustment comes from the nds. To get adequate pre-load I lock the axle in a shop vise, and pull the cone down to the bearings by hand. Then add the spacer and lock nut and screw them down to the cone. Hold the lock nut secure, and back the cone off by 1/4 turn and it should be just right.
Now on to more fun... Here is what I got in the mail from Steve: You can see the damage to the cones in the first pictures, and the last is the way they will go back to him. It was a two beer job with a break to talk to another member about a super small track frame. The wheel went out today to another member who wanted it, so my shop is now closer to Helicomatic free. Smiles, MH

Both cones as they came to me.

Hopefully a good shot of the damage to one cone.

Damage to the other cone.

These are what are going back to Steve. The final run was with two passes of 1500 grit wet or dry paper which produces the mirror finish that Campy cones have.
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Old 07-12-21, 06:58 PM
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.
...did you case harden them again for him, or will he need to do that upon receipt ?
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Old 07-13-21, 11:23 AM
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Originally Posted by dddd View Post
"Minus one" is almost always the wrong number.

Think about it. Why would the component designer leave any more than the absolute minimum of clearance/space between balls?

It's only space which can accumulate between two particular balls, causing very significant stress increases on the local balls, race and cone!

If in doubt, check for any binding of the assembled full-complement bearing. No binding equals no problem, and the minimum of clearance is what maximizes the bearing's load capacity and rigidity.

The two most persistent errors that I've found in old-days bike publications might be the "minus one" myth and also the myth that Schwinn bicycles of the day were not good, high-quality machines.
I've never felt right removing that one ball, so I like hearing this. Is the thinking behind that advice that one might put too many bearing balls in the race if they're just loading it up quickly and not taking care to push them away from the center?
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Old 07-13-21, 03:21 PM
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Originally Posted by 3alarmer View Post
.
...did you case harden them again for him, or will he need to do that upon receipt ?
Tripple Alarmer,
Your fascination with fire and flames has me wondering about you?? Har! I am not so sure that going through the annealing process and then ramping the temperature back up to oil quench them is a wise thing. They are hardened to start and all that happened was to polish off a bit of damaged metal. Smiles, MH
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Old 07-13-21, 03:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Mad Honk View Post
Tripple Alarmer,
Your fascination with fire and flames has me wondering about you?? Har! I am not so sure that going through the annealing process and then ramping the temperature back up to oil quench them is a wise thing. They are hardened to start and all that happened was to polish off a bit of damaged metal. Smiles, MH
...I was a blacksmith long before I started squirting water on flames.

Yes, generally speaking, parts made from steel that requires machining are often made from the steel before it is hardened. Things like hub cones, that need to bear some impressive impact loading from time to time, are usually made by a process of case hardening. You don't heat and quench them, which would make them hard but somewhat brittle. Or do nothing at all if the steel is low in carbon content. You pack them in a compound that contains a lot of carbon, and bake them at a controlled temperature, in an attempt to make the surface hard, while still keeping the interior flexible. I'm not sure not all axle cones get this any more, but I am pretty sure the better ones used to.

It's not an especially sophisticated process, and one of the old case hardening compounds was mostly hoof trimmings. And it usually doesn't harden the steel very deeply....it's more of a surface treatment. Which is why polishing out the cones you have is possible, and I see a lot of how to do it's on the internet. But I always wonder about it as a practical matter, in terms of how long they last. ONce you get down past that hardened surface, you're just back to regular old steel. Still pretty hard, but not nearly as durable as a bearing surface.

The reason I mention it at all, is that improper metallurgy in manufacturing these cones originally, has often arisen in the speculation over all the premature failure.
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