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Sansin "Sealed System" hub maintenance?

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Sansin "Sealed System" hub maintenance?

Old 08-17-11, 02:03 PM
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mainstreetexile 
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Sansin "Sealed System" hub maintenance?

The wheels that came stock on my Miyata have Sansin "Sealed System" hubs. Excuse my ignorance, but are you supposed to do any maintenance to these to make them last? Since they're 'sealed', I'm assuming you aren't able to (or don't have to) re-grease them. Does anyone know if there are replaceable bearings in these?
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Old 08-17-11, 02:20 PM
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I have 2 sets of these sitting around. I'm curious, too.
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Old 08-17-11, 02:26 PM
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They are well sealed and well made hubs but if they are the conventional cup and cone model regular service should be done to keep them running at 100% to ensure that they have not been contaminated... as older hubs the seals may have suffered a little degradation and may not be working as well as they did when they were new.

The cartridge bearing models, that also say "sealed system", require almost no maintainence.
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Old 08-17-11, 02:28 PM
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If they're what I think they are, Sansin/Suntour/Specialized sealed bearing hubs, you should open them up every so often for re-greasing. How often depends on your riding conditions, they dont need servicing as often as cup/cone hubs but they do need it on occasion.

If they happen to be cup/cone 'sealed system' would be fancy wording for 'lip seal'.
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Old 08-17-11, 02:35 PM
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"Sealed system" was just marketing fluff. It's a conventional bearing cup/cone hub. The system is just a rubber lipped washer.
Overhaul them like any conventional hub. 1/4" balls for the rear, 3/16" for the front. Brand of grease of your choosing.

BTW, I have a pair of these, and they are worth the effort to maintain.
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Old 08-17-11, 03:09 PM
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My old Sansin hubs were sealed cartridge. As others have said some were sealed cartridge with a metal cover that really sealed the hubs good. Hopefully you have the cartridge bearing model, they are a great hub.
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Old 08-18-11, 07:47 AM
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Thanks everybody. I'm glad I asked, I probably would've just pedaled them into the ground assuming they were not serviceable.

I found some pictures of the Sansin sealed cartridge hubs:



Although they're from the same era (circa 86), these look a bit different than mine. From looking at cartridge bearings it looks like all of the cartridges have that little silver bit around the outside. Mine are black the whole way to the hub and I think I can see the rubberized lip that holds tight to the cone area.

I'll tear them down and rebuild them, probably closer to the end of the riding season. I'd like to maintain mine, especially since the rear wheel is 40 spoke. Good to hear other people have been happy with these hubs in the long run.
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Old 08-18-11, 08:04 AM
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these are cartridge bearings. the afore mentioned sealed 'cup and cone' would look similar but would not have the think metal lip right inside the hubshell.

I think loose screws had a good price on the removal too for these cartridge bearings. I would often use the same tool for the 'seal' on the other hubs to help prevent bending the seal/dustcap.

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Old 08-18-11, 08:22 AM
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"Sealed system" = cup and cone hub with a small rubber sealing ring instead of a traditional labyrinth dust seal. Clean, lube and adjust as you would a traditional cup and cone hub.

"Sealed bearing" = "Sealed cartridge bearing" = cartridge-based bearing hub. The cartridge bearing hubs use any one of a handful of industry-standard size cartridges (there will be a code on the rubber seal) and just get replaced when worn. They still do get adjusted, however. The adjuster nuts have to be adjusted in a similar manner as conventional cup and cone adjuster nuts to ensure proper tension on the bearing inner race. But, once adjusted, the adjustment should last the life of the cartridge.
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Old 08-18-11, 08:39 AM
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The Sansin cartridge bearing hubs are excellent... always worth the price of admission.

Sansin hubs in themselves are of excellent quality and as mentioned were branded for Specialized and Suntour and were originally marketed as "Sunshine" as this is an English word that is pleasant and sounds very similar to how Sansin is correctly pronounced in Japanese.

It is not san sin but rather san shin.
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Old 08-18-11, 10:47 AM
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Originally Posted by Sixty Fiver View Post
The Sansin cartridge bearing hubs are excellent... always worth the price of admission.

Sansin hubs in themselves are of excellent quality and as mentioned were branded for Specialized and Suntour and were originally marketed as "Sunshine" as this is an English word that is pleasant and sounds very similar to how Sansin is correctly pronounced in Japanese.

It is not san sin but rather san shin.
And weren't they also branded as Sanshin sometimes? And what about Suzue, weren't those also rebranded Sansins?
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Old 08-18-11, 11:15 AM
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southpaw - Suzue is a different company that also made some very high end hubs as well as consumer grade hubs... their cartridge bearing models were some of the first successful production level hubs that were offered and are very well made.

I have a set of early Suzue hubs on my folder and they are brilliant... we build custom cartridge bearing hubs that I would consider to be better due to a more serviceable design but with a cartridge bearing hub service intervals can be measured in tens of thousands of miles.

Sansin was also branded or promoted as Sanshin in literature... tis a case of translating Japanese into phonetically correct English spellings.

I have a great fondness for them all as the Japanese made some rather excellent hubs with some very precise tolerances and high quality materials... the high flange "Sunshine" models are very well finished.
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Old 02-24-12, 08:35 AM
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A bit of thread resurrection here, I know, but I just finally got around to overhauling a pair of these hubs this week. The little rubber lips on the dust seals seem to work well, the grease inside was in good shape and after I cleaned it all out the races/cones/bearings looked clean as a whistle. They seem to be pretty nice hubs and I'm hoping for many more miles on them.

This was my first time using the box-end wrench trick to adjust the bearings under load and that worked great too.
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Old 02-24-12, 10:45 AM
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What is this 'box-end wrench trick' you speak of?
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Old 02-24-12, 10:56 AM
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Originally Posted by brian3069 View Post
What is this 'box-end wrench trick' you speak of?
I'd like to know also, maybe there's a more convenient way than the one I use. I usually lightly clamp the wheel in a vise by the locknut with the rim oriented horizontally, then use two cone wrenches to adjust and lock the opposite side down.
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Old 02-24-12, 11:18 AM
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I read about it in the Park Tool repair book. I guess the basic gist of it is putting a 10mm box-end wrench around the axle on the side of the hub that you're not adjusting, then tightening the skewer around that to simulate the tension and pressure on the bearings when the wheel is clamped into the dropouts. The skewer tension holds the wrench against the locknut so it should turn with the axle/locknut/cones on that side while you adjust the other side. Then, you can also use the wrench as a lever to push/pull to check for play while you're adjusting the cones on the other side. Hopefully that makes sense.
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Old 02-24-12, 11:39 AM
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Yeah, that makes sense. Thanks.
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Old 02-24-12, 12:38 PM
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Thanks for that, I'll give it a try soon. It should save me the trouble of clearing the clutter around my bench vise
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Old 09-26-17, 12:15 AM
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@Bianchigirll -- I'm changing bearings and regreasing Suntour GPX hubs that appear to be Sansin, according to the rubber seals.

The seal on the freewheel side of the rear hub has the numeral 9. The opposite seal is labeled 11. Does this indicate the number of bearings that should go in each side? Each side had nine 1/4" bearings.

I'm curious because the reason I disassembled the rear hub was because I heard a faint tapping sound of a bearing rattling around. I assumed the hub just needed more grease. While it could have used more grease, it was clean and in good shape. I'm guessing the tapping sound indicated the side opposite the freewheel should have had 11 bearings.

Just wanted to check since you're the most active member from this 2011 thread. Thanks.

(Update: Ah, my mistake. I should have dry-fit the bearings first. Only 9 will fit. I'm guessing the tapping was due to the small amount of thin grease. I'll pack in a bit more Phil's grease with new bearings. Thanks again.)

Last edited by canklecat; 09-26-17 at 12:33 AM.
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Old 09-26-17, 04:55 AM
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Originally Posted by canklecat View Post
@Bianchigirll -- I'm changing bearings and regreasing Suntour GPX hubs that appear to be Sansin, according to the rubber seals.

The seal on the freewheel side of the rear hub has the numeral 9. The opposite seal is labeled 11. Does this indicate the number of bearings that should go in each side? Each side had nine 1/4" bearings.

I'm curious because the reason I disassembled the rear hub was because I heard a faint tapping sound of a bearing rattling around. I assumed the hub just needed more grease. While it could have used more grease, it was clean and in good shape. I'm guessing the tapping sound indicated the side opposite the freewheel should have had 11 bearings.

Just wanted to check since you're the most active member from this 2011 thread. Thanks.

(Update: Ah, my mistake. I should have dry-fit the bearings first. Only 9 will fit. I'm guessing the tapping was due to the small amount of thin grease. I'll pack in a bit more Phil's grease with new bearings. Thanks again.)
Glad I was able to help!!
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Old 09-26-17, 12:06 PM
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On most cup/cone hubs, and especially those with rubberized shields pressed into the hubshell, I recommend never to remove the shields.


I've seen quite a few hubs with the rubberized metal shields over the years which, once the shield(s) had been removed, would not stay retained in the hubshell, so the hub and perhaps the entire wheelset suddenly became one big step closer to the garbage heap. OUCH.


The rubberized shields do a good job of greatly extending a hub's service interval, provided that the bearing tension adjustment has been made to compensate for axle compression from the quick release skewer. Failing to correct for axle compression when adjusting hubs very greatly reduces the life of the bearings. Ouch again.
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Old 09-26-17, 01:11 PM
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Originally Posted by Bianchigirll View Post
Glad I was able to help!!
Heh! Hey, gimme a chance, I'll come up with a real question.


Originally Posted by dddd View Post
On most cup/cone hubs, and especially those with rubberized shields pressed into the hubshell, I recommend never to remove the shields.


I've seen quite a few hubs with the rubberized metal shields over the years which, once the shield(s) had been removed, would not stay retained in the hubshell, so the hub and perhaps the entire wheelset suddenly became one big step closer to the garbage heap. OUCH.


The rubberized shields do a good job of greatly extending a hub's service interval, provided that the bearing tension adjustment has been made to compensate for axle compression from the quick release skewer. Failing to correct for axle compression when adjusting hubs very greatly reduces the life of the bearings. Ouch again.
Yup, when I inspected the Sansin seals they looked like new on a 1989 bike. I didn't try to pry them out. I just used cotton swabs to clean out the old grease and worked around the seals.

Regarding the cone and bearing tension, I tried the method described above -- using a 10mm open end wrench as a substitute for the dropout while adjusting the tension. Not sure it really helped but we'll see.

At least the tapping sound is gone after filling the cups with heavier fresh grease.
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Old 09-26-17, 01:29 PM
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As long as there is some slight bit of detectable freeplay at the axle, which then goes away when the wheel is secured in the frame, the bearings should do well in service.
I'd used a few thick washers in the past to simulate the dropouts with the wheel off the bike, but the 10mm box-end wrench does sound like a perfect substitute for the washers or dropouts themselves.
Remove both springs from the QR shaft first though!


The degree of tightness of the quick release nut adjustment is effectively the final adjustment of the bearing tension, so it's best if you can still feel some freeplay at the rim after the wheel is installed with a lower-than-normal tightness at the quick release. The freeplay should then vanish after the QR nut has been adjusted normally and the lever closed.
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Old 09-27-17, 12:50 AM
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Thanks, @dddd, that's the setup I was aiming for -- just barely discernible play before mounting. I'll ride it awhile and check the hubs again in a few weeks to be sure.
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Old 01-22-20, 09:21 AM
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Thread revival to ask about the sleeved nut below the spacer in these cartridge systems and shown in post number 7. I've heard them referred to variously as sleeved nuts and bearing end caps. Either way, the unit has a cylinder that extends through the bearing and around the axle effectively fitting the bearing to the axle and the top is a nut with 2 wrench flats. I ask because I need to find replacements for these and can't seem to track them down. If no replacement, might there be another way of replicating or improving on this design?
Thanks much for any insight or help!
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