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Wheel Hub Friction / Noise after change of ball bearings in Cup and Cone hubs

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Wheel Hub Friction / Noise after change of ball bearings in Cup and Cone hubs

Old 09-13-21, 01:55 AM
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karldub
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Wheel Hub Friction / Noise after change of ball bearings in Cup and Cone hubs

I have a pair of Mavic Wheels with Shimano Cup and Cone hubs that came on a Peugeot PX10 från 1984 that I bought. Due to slow rolling, I tried to change the hub ball bearings. The front wheel hub already seemed fine but I figured I might as well replace those bearing balls as well. After getting the necessary equipment, I opened up the front wheel hub, cleaned everything up, removed the old ball bearings and put in new ones in the same amount and size (10 balls of 3/16") and greased everything up generously. After reassembly, when I try and spin the wheel, there is noticeable hub noise (friction) that was not there before the bearing change. I can also feel a "dirt"-like friction when I spin the wheel.

To fix this I've tried to adjust the load pressure on the cones/bearings gradually from tight to barely any pressure at all and everything in between. With low pressure, the noise is definitely reduced, but at some point too little pressure leads to play on the axle and there still some noise/friction at all levels of adjustment - there was none before.

Now, since the friction was not there before opening, I can't Image that I somehow damaged the bearing races in this process, since I have not had to use any fore or pressure in any part of the process. The only part that may have suffered damage in the process would be the washers/split keyrings that are parts of the cone-nut, and are "second in line" to the cones regarding contact with the ball bearings and races. These are non-fixed/movable/loosey goosey and they may have gotten less tight during the cleaning process. Even though they don't touch the ball bearings directly, they are in contact with the "locknut"


Can the broken open washers be a source of the friction? Any other ideas of what the issue could be?
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Old 09-13-21, 04:22 AM
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Hopefully someone here can answer your question. But you might have better luck getting an answer in the Bicycle Mechanics forum.

If you don't get an answer here in a reasonable amount of time, you might want to ask one of the moderators to move your thread to that subforum. I believe duplicate threads in multiple sub-forums are frowned upon - but I'm also rather new here, so I don't know that with certainty.
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Old 09-13-21, 10:36 AM
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Those "washers" are seals. They act like piston rings, the slits allowing them to compress enough so that they form a good seal without causing drag. They shouldn't make any noise, but adding a drop of oil could help make sure they are able to move freely. Usually some of the grease from the wheel bearings migrates into there to do that job.

You do know that quick-release wheels need to have the bearings adjusted slightly loose when off the bike, right? The bearing play should just disappear when you close the quick release.
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Old 09-13-21, 12:15 PM
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ThermionicScott

Thanks! Yes, a little play to account for the QR's is what I'm going for, although that isn't the case on my other wheels (or barely perceptable anyhow).

I redid the front wheel today and also did the rear wheel. I spend a lot of time cleaning both the races, inside of hub ("flossing"), the hub axle and cones, but somehow it just feels like there's a little bit of dirt in there - both of them - same thing on the rear wheel. However, I don't know what level of smoothness to expect, but I have other wheels that are 40+ years old that are smoother (that I have never repacked).

I don't know if the likeliest explanation still would be dirt inside the cones, any imperfections in the races or something else? Wheels seem to be in perfect condition otherwise. All input appreciated.
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Old 09-13-21, 12:48 PM
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I can tell from the pictures that there is some light wear to the cones. It's possible that you won't be able to get the adjustment perfectly smooth with no play, but my experience is that the hubs will still last a long time with regular cleaning, regreasing, and adjustment. Sometimes a tiny bit of roughness you can feel with your fingertips will be unnoticeable when riding.

You might also check to see if the axle is bent. That would cause the bearing adjustment to alternate between loose and tight, which could cause it to feel rough at times. Sorry if this is stuff you already knew; just thinking through the steps I'd take diagnosing a wheel I just bought.
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Old 09-13-21, 02:39 PM
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@karldub

All good advice here so far and assuming you know this too but did you check all the balls with a caliper, old and new, could be a funky off size new one in the mix or happy worn old ones that are one with the cups and cones, further drilldown may uncover something.

And as already said there is some wear so upsetting the mix may have gotten you here.

My backstop for some of this is to use regular thick Auto bearing grease so you end up with a bit of drag no matter what.

I would also loosen them up until the roughness is gone and clamp them in place to see if its ok, patience is key and they may wear in if a bit tight but I wouldn't push my luck, you should be able to find a happy medium if you stick with it.
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Old 09-14-21, 03:26 AM
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ThermionicScott True, on some wheels you just can't tell the friction while riding although it's very noticable between your hand - I might just test ride and see how it feels then.

merziac Yes, that might have an impact. I only measure a sample of the old balls and switched out to new ones. "My backstop for some of this is to use regular thick Auto bearing grease so you end up with a bit of drag no matter what.". Sorry, I didn't quite get this, do you mean that the bearing grease itself is so thick that it has some friction itself?

--
The rear wheel actually got better than before, but the front wheel got worse although I cleaned it twice. Would it make sense to buy new cones for the front wheel hub or is there a million different standards and difficult to find the right one?
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Old 09-14-21, 10:15 AM
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Another possible cause is a deformed dust cap. It's quite common to damage the dust caps by prying them out with screwdrivers. This can produce in a slight bulge forming on the inside surface which the cone seals contact, resulting in higher friction. This is more common on cheap hubs with dust caps manufactured from thin metal and I've even seen cases where bearings without contact seals have rubbed on deformed dust caps. I always use a cartridge bearing puller to remove dust caps, to mitigate the probability of dust cap deformation.
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Old 09-14-21, 10:25 AM
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Thanks,

The dust caps are one of the only parts that I realistically feel I could've damaged, if only a little. On the front wheel did just that with the screwdriver, and it's possible that left some small mark. I think the dust caps were all plastic or metal coated plastic.

On the rear wheel, the dust caps I think were metal and non-removable so I did the cleaning and switching process with them in their place.

Do think there's anything to do to salvage this possible deformation?
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Old 09-14-21, 10:33 AM
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+1 on the dust cap. I have installed them upside down & pressed them all the way down to the balls before & got similar results to you. Flip the cap around & see what happens. My guess is it will press only as far as a chamfer machined into the hub shell.
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Old 09-14-21, 10:42 AM
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I just remembered that I experimented with mounting without the dust caps with only the cones (and locknut on one side) keeping the balls in place and I still had the noise/friction. Damn.
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Old 09-14-21, 03:04 PM
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Do you still have the old 3/16" balls for the front hub? If so, it might be worth repacking the front hub with them as you said it rolled smoothly before you replaced them with the new ones.
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Old 09-14-21, 04:57 PM
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This is just a wild possibility, do you have all 20 of the old ball bearings?

I have had one hide on me behind the race and it makes it impossible to get things adjusted right and turning smooth. The axle wouldn’t seat right. Couldn’t figure it out until I went back in.

John
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Old 09-14-21, 05:32 PM
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Originally Posted by karldub View Post
without the dust caps ... and I still had the noise/friction.
Well, that sucks.
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Old 09-14-21, 05:34 PM
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Originally Posted by 70sSanO View Post
This is just a wild possibility, do you have all 20 of the old ball bearings?

I have had one hide on me behind the race and it makes it impossible to get things adjusted right and turning smooth. The axle wouldn’t seat right. Couldn’t figure it out until I went back in.

John
I once miscounted on a rear wheel - 8 instead of 9 on one side - and it had a recurring 'gravelly' sound. It would spin smoothly for a bit then *grunch* then back to spinning smoothly. I pulled the axle, counted TWICE, checked 5 different sources of information and added the missing ball. No more *grunch*.
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Old 09-16-21, 12:56 AM
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Originally Posted by karldub View Post
ThermionicScott True, on some wheels you just can't tell the friction while riding although it's very noticable between your hand - I might just test ride and see how it feels then.

merziac Yes, that might have an impact. I only measure a sample of the old balls and switched out to new ones. "My backstop for some of this is to use regular thick Auto bearing grease so you end up with a bit of drag no matter what.". Sorry, I didn't quite get this, do you mean that the bearing grease itself is so thick that it has some friction itself?

--
The rear wheel actually got better than before, but the front wheel got worse although I cleaned it twice. Would it make sense to buy new cones for the front wheel hub or is there a million different standards and difficult to find the right one?
I use the thick grease to mitigate some of the excess or otherwise wear when the races and, or cones are mildly compromised and I am not prepared to replace more than just the bearings.

May or may not get ridden much, will be ok just to get by, completed for a show or display, etc.

And yes I have ridden many miles to great effect many times with this process.

You still have to get the adjustment just right.
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Old 10-08-21, 04:23 AM
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I got the adjustment to a level where I they spin nicely without any play once the quick releases are clamped on. When I'm riding the bike however, the wheels still spin much worse than my other old tubular bike wheels. Just like before I changed the bearing balls, it's like they're braking me to (eventually) a halt even on low gradient slopes.

If the wheels hadn't been so nice looking and If I hadn't just put on new tubular tires and worked hard to change the freewheel, I might have just scrapped them, but I feel like I'm too invested now.

Would it make sense to try and buy new cones for these 80's shimanos wheels? Any input regarding cone sizes/standards?

https://www.bike-components.de/en/Sh...hoCs2gQAvD_BwE
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Old 10-08-21, 10:05 AM
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It could be that your lube has been contaminated somehow in your process of reassemble. The cones look good to me, I tend to not replace bearings on rebuilds if the cup and cones are clear of pitting.
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