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  1. #1
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    First time bearing repack issues

    it is the first time I've repacked the bearings in any kind of hub and it's not going right. I packed in the new bearings and grease everything looked right, I put the axle in and tightened her down (not too tight). I feel like the axle on the non cassette side is not quite as long as it should be (about 1/4 inch or less) and when I spin the wheel backwards and hold the freehub the wheel seems to catch at some point during its rotation. It seems like the axle is not quite going in all the way on the freehub side though it doesn't go in any further into the hub. I'm not really sure what to look for here as like I said this is my first repack. Does anybody have any suggestions?

  2. #2
    Former Bike Wrench
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    Try starting over and following the directions shown on the Park Tool website

  3. #3
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    Also, grease slowly comes out of the freehub side as the wheel rotates

  4. #4
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    Does THIS help?
    Honestly... ahh I give up

  5. #5
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    Cup and cone bearings, right? You should be able to work with the cone nuts to move the axle left and right enough to center it within the hub. Loosen the nuts on one side. Tighten on the other. Work in small increments. Be patient. It's fiddly work, but you should try to center your axle.

    When the wheel "catches" does it completely stop spinning freely, or does it feel like it's hit a rough spot? If there is pitting in your races, then that pitting can cause the feeling of the wheel catching a bit as it turns. Getting the tension wrong on the cone nuts can sometimes cause trouble too. If the catching is due to pitting, and if the pitting is on your cone, then you can buy new axle cones. I did that once. But if the pitting is on the hub side, then you either live with it or replace the hub.

    Read the link highdell posted. That looks useful.

    Don't give up. Be patient. Your first time is always the worst. It's fiddly work, so you just have to be patient and keep at it until you've gotten it right.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by JonathanGennick
    Cup and cone bearings, right? ...

    When the wheel "catches" does it completely stop spinning freely, or does it feel like it's hit a rough spot? ....

    It is a cup and cone bearing. It is definitely not spinning freely. On the non-freehub side everything looks and feels right and as far as I can tell the cup is nicely on the balls which are sitting nicely in the cup. On the freehub side however there seems to be play in the axle and it can move up, down, left, and right (not in and out even if the other cone is off). The wheel was perfectly smooth before I started this and now its not even close. I haven't touched the cone or locknut on the freehub side so I know those should be positioned correctly but they just dont seem to go quite far enough into the cup making all of the balls fall out of position once the wheel starts spinning. It is also completely random as the wheel may spin freely for up to 5 full rotations and then catch slightly, or it may only go halfway around and it will just lock up. I hope maybe this helps. Im going to tear it all apart (again) when I get home from work at 5 and see if I can figure anything out.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by ct_racer
    On the freehub side however there seems to be play in the axle and it can move up, down, left, and right (not in and out even if the other cone is off).
    You shouldn't have play like that. Sometimes a very tiny amount is ok, because the pressure of the quick-release will eliminate the play, but something is wrong if you have enough play to obviously notice.

    I'm curious about your parenthetical. If the other cone is removed, then the axle should come completely out on the freehub side. Maybe I'm not understanding you correctly.

    Quote Originally Posted by ct_racer
    The wheel was perfectly smooth before I started this and now its not even close.
    LOL! Yeah, I know that feeling.

    Quote Originally Posted by ct_racer
    Im going to tear it all apart (again) when I get home from work at 5 and see if I can figure anything out.
    Probably a good plan. Something might leap out at you when you look at everything fresh tonight. Maybe count the number of bearings in each side, to be sure you've gotten the right number in. I once made an off-by-one error that I didn't notice until I had put everything back together and given the wheel a spin. I took the hub back apart again, counted, and I was short by one bearing in one side. Not saying that's your problem, but it could be something as simple as that.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by JonathanGennick
    I'm curious about your parenthetical. If the other cone is removed, then the axle should come completely out on the freehub side. Maybe I'm not understanding you correctly.
    Right, that seemed a little confusing when I wrote it, let me clarify. If I remove the non-freehub cone then the axle slides out fine from the freehub side, but it just doesn't seem to go in all the way on he freehub side. The cone matches up perfectly (as far as I can tell at this point) on the non-freehub side.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by ct_racer
    ...but it just doesn't seem to go in all the way on he freehub side.
    Interesting. There's not much to go wrong there. There aren't that many parts involved. I wonder if maybe you just got one extra ball on that side.

    Well, be sure to post back after you've solved the problem tonight. Don't leave me hanging here in suspense .

  10. #10
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    OK, so i came straight home from work and got back to it. strangely only 8 and a half balls fit into the cup. I can fit 8 balls around the cup but there isn't enough room to fit the 9th ball. The balls are all identical to all the old balls (to the naked eye) so I don't know where this is coming from. According to bikepedia the rear hub is a Kung Ten W5ER which I could find no information on (its a 99 Trek 830 Al)

    Edit: I dont know if this really matters but it looks like the cone is more inset in the hub than the one pictured in the thread about repacking hubs mentioned above.
    Last edited by ct_racer; 03-15-2010 at 02:44 PM.

  11. #11
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    Do you have the old bearings to compare to? Are you certain the new ones are the same size? Is it possible that the hub takes a different size on each side? I've never seen it myself, but I've read that some hubs actually run on two different bearing sizes.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by JonathanGennick
    Do you have the old bearings to compare to? Are you certain the new ones are the same size? Is it possible that the hub takes a different size on each side? I've never seen it myself, but I've read that some hubs actually run on two different bearing sizes.

    Well I've just "completed" another night of wrenching, unfortunately the hub still isn't quite right. its better but it still catches. Also Unfortunately I tried to keep the balls in the hub until I had everything for my rebuild and they wound up getting scattered. I found 19 of them oddly enough and assumed I lost one, though I'm pretty sure they were all the same size (unless these things differ by fractions not visible to the naked eye and I'm not aware of it). Upon rebuilding 9 fit perfectly on the non-freehub side and today after finding that 10 balls fit perfectly in a different race than I was trying before I thought I might have been onto something. While its better it still isn't there. I didn't tear back into it tonight so I'll have to see what the turnout was after giving it some spinning tonight. I was sick of dealing with the hub and had a new derailer, cassette, and hanger to install plus all the adjustments on that stuff which seemed more interesting to work on right now.

    If anyone had an old trek and remembers that hub and might be able to help me out I could really use it at this point, I'm getting a little frustrated about how I should go about this at this point.

  13. #13
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    It may not help, but here's a link to the company that made your hub:

    http://www.ktgroup.net/index.html

    You could shoot them an email and ask about the W5ER.

  14. #14
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    Most rear hubs use equal amounts on each side, and same size. 9 per side is the most common, but that just depends on the hub. The old standard if you have no idea how many were in there is to fill up the race and subtract one (if you can fit ten, then 9 is the proper amount for loose, no-cage balls).

    Are you using new bearings? If so, are you positive you got the correct size? If they aren't the same size, that can cause binding once you snug up the cones. Doesn't look like a lot of difference when you eyeball it, but the races are made to fit one size only.

    I'm wondering if you're getting the drive side bearings out of whack when you insert the axle...? It's easy to get those wonky since the freehub dust shield limits access. I just load the race with grease, drop in the balls and press them lightly into place with my pinky fingertip or whatever's handy. Then drop the (lightly greased) axle straight in, grab it on the other side and apply tension, and flip the wheel over. You can rest the wheel on the floor and let gravity keep the axle in position while you fill up the non-drive race with grease and pop the bearings in.

    Grease coming out the seals on either side just means that you used a lot more than you needed to. Not a big deal, but wipe away as much as you can because it's a good way to introduce grit and trap water.

    Your axle should protrude evenly from both sides after the cones are adjusted and locknuts are tight. If it's off by one mm, that's not horrible. For QR hubs, you won't have much sticking out, just enough to fit in the dropouts (doesn't ever seem to fill them fully, though). I've never measured, but it's not much...maybe 5mm or 6mm protruding.

    Also....very important. Did you inspect the races when you removed the old bearings and got it all cleaned up? If they were pitted from rust, misadjustment, etc, then new bearings won't ever feel right anyway. If that's the case, then you just live with a gritty hub until you buy a new one since the races aren't replaceable. A bent axle is another situation that will prevent proper adjustment and can make you chase perfection over and over just like the first time truing a wheel.


    EDIT: Also, when adjusting the cones, I'm assuming you aren't just overtightening them? It's tricky until you get some experience. You have to be careful when tightening the locknut to not change the adjustment. When you're all snugged up, you should be able to detect just a slight (very slight) wiggle in the axle when you force it up/down/in/out with your thumbs. The tension of wheel installation will usually remove that (very slight) amount of play. If you have no play at all, then chances are they're too tight. In that case, and as long as they aren't *really* overtightened, then a quick fix is to put a cone wrench on the cone of each side and loosen them against each other. This will back them apart and simultaneously push them tighter against the locknuts. Sometimes it's tricky to get a grab on the drive side that way...depends on the hub.

  15. #15
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    [QUOTE=CrankenatorFor QR hubs, you won't have much sticking out, just enough to fit in the dropouts (doesn't ever seem to fill them fully, though). [/QUOTE]

    I used to wonder about the axle not quite extending the width of the dropouts. The reason for that is to allow the quick-release to exert tension on the dropouts, pressing them against the hub. If the axle was wider than the dropout, then the axle would be the limiting factor, and you would not be able to tighten your quick-release.

  16. #16
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    Correct. I do think that the axle should fill the dropouts, however....but that would require a standard in dropout thicknesses, and as frame components are now, it's anything but standard.

  17. #17
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    Faily Common

    Quote Originally Posted by JonathanGennick
    Is it possible that the hub takes a different size on each side? I've never seen it myself, but I've read that some hubs actually run on two different bearing sizes.
    Although I'd assume that on a low end hub like that they are the same on both sides.
    *** --- *** --- ***

  18. #18
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    SUCCESS!!!... almost.

    Ok, so day three of this wheel project. Decided to try any possible combination of ball arrangements in the hub, this meant finding as many of the old balls as I could to try and really fill this thing (i seemed almost like there was 2 races on the freehub side). upon doing so I discovered that one of the balls that I had bound back (I lost the original 19 again) was smaller than the others. Also smaller than the new ones that I had bought. This leads me to believe that the freehub side indeed needs smaller bearings than the other side. So all I needed to do was run out and pickup a new set of balls for that side and I should have been good to go. Unfortunately for me I go to college in the middle of nowhere (my apologies if your from the big rapids, mi area) and apparently your not allowed to have any sort of project going on during the week because any form of hardware store withing 20 miles closes at 5:00. which an be a real problem if you have a job that gets out at 5:00 (you know, like all of them) And forget about bike shops the closest one is 60 miles away and guess who has homework and saint patty's day tomorrow so I guess thats out. So I guess I'll have to try to find some time to get the new balls either tomorrow or Thursday but I'll keep you posted.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by ct_racer
    ...upon doing so I discovered that one of the balls that I had bound back (I lost the original 19 again) was smaller than the others.
    I'm confused. You found 19 of the original balls? And only one of those 19 was a different size? So you found 18 balls of one size and 1 of another?

    I'm also puzzled by your comment that it "seemed almost like there was 2 races on the freehub side". There should be only one race. This is one of those times I wish I could actually see the part. Hard to diagnose over the Internet sometimes.

    What size bearings have you been using? What size is the smaller one that you found?

    You must go to Ferris State, right? I recall going through Big Rapids just once. Don't remember much about it, actually. Was a long time ago. I'm certainly aware of FSU though.

  20. #20
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    Success for real this time

    Hey everyone, I had a little stroke of luck today. I finally had a morning that I was free to go out and try to find some bearings and after a couple of stops finally found them. Though they werenít 3/16 or ľ, they were somewhere in between so the store only 7 in stock. I got home, went straight to work, came back and looked around to find 3 more balls. The hub needed 10 of these so now I was in business. Got it all back together and itís running beautifully. Spend about 3 hours tonight doing tune ups and getting it trail ready. My classes are cancelled already tomorrow so Iím hitting some trails. Thanks everyone for your help, I donít think I would have been able to figure this out without all your help. Iíll let you all know how it rides tomorrow, but as far as I can tell brakes are good, it shifts great up front, and it goes down in the back great, but Iím having some trouble getting it to go up the new cassette. Oh well I just need to adjust it a little bit more, its close.

    The bike is 11 years old and the parts are starting to get worn on it so Iím slowly starting to replace them. All I need now is a new set of chain rings and a new chain and I have a whole new drivetrain. Its supposed to be a crappy weekend up here so I think Iíll repack the front then (Iíll remember to keep the balls together this time). My buddy was moving so he just gave me the bike so I really donít mind having to put new parts on it, plus itís a great way to learn to wrench. Itís a little heavy but I donít mind and if I ever upgrade to something else then Iíll be able to go that much faster. Again, thank you all.
    Life is all about knowing how to be lucky

  21. #21
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    Congrats to you CT!! Definitely one way to learn!! Park tools makes a multi ruler for measuring spokes, ball bearings and cotter keys; part# SBC-1. I dunno how much it costs but it should be farily cheap. Good luck with all that, too bad you live too far away I would have just said bring it over and I'd teach you.
    Training on Hills Builds Character, That's How I Got To Be One!

  22. #22
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    Just thought I'd leave one last note on this thread because I took her to the local trail yesterday. I got this bike from my buddy who has always been fairly good about maintenance on everything he owns (he's an ASE mechanic) so I had just always assumed he had taken care of everything. I've had it for about a year and tried to stay up on it though I am new to wrenching so it wasn't always easy or right. I asked him if he new of any tricks to rebuilding this hub adn he said he'd never done it and that it just came built. After 11 years I guess it was time for a rebuild anyway and I can safely say that I've never had the thing pedal as smoothly as I had it go yesterday. I might be meeting up with a local adventure racing club tomorrow to hit the trails again so we'll see how it goes when I'm with other people out there. Thanks again everyone for your help.
    Life is all about knowing how to be lucky

  23. #23
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    Where was adventure racing when I was in college? That sounds way cool.

    Glad the bike is working out so well.

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