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Thread: Lefty hub noise

  1. #1
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    New question here. Lefty hub noise

    As I was changing my tires today (goodbye heavy High Rollers, hello light Bulldog UST lights) I noticed the front hub was making some noise when rolling, as if there was some sand inside the bearings or something. I also noticed some sort of humid risidue on the spindle around the hub (not coming from the brake or from the fork itself) so I was wondering if the hub bearings/seal is just dead. Is that damp risidue the bearing grease? The hub is almost new as I just managed to ride the bike a few times...

    I also noticed the air filter cover is a bit damp too and was wondering if it was normal... Perhaps it's only too much oiled. ?

    The bike is a Prophet 2000 with the Carbon Lefty Max 140 SPV, hub is the regular Lefty with Omega written on it. The hub seemed to be perfect last time I rode the bike.
    Last edited by Dan Gerous; 05-05-2005 at 05:07 AM.

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  2. #2
    All Lefty's, all the time Moderator
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Gerous
    As I was changing my tires today (goodbye heavy High Rollers, hello light Bulldog UST lights) I noticed the front hub was making some noise when rolling, as if there was some sand inside the bearings or something. I also noticed some sort of humid risidue on the spindle around the hub (not coming from the brake or from the fork itself) so I was wondering if the hub bearings/seal is just dead. Is that damp risidue the bearing grease? The hub is almost new as I just managed to ride the bike a few times...

    I also noticed the air filter cover is a bit damp too and was wondering if it was normal... Perhaps it's only too much oiled. ?

    The bike is a Prophet 2000 with the Carbon Lefty Max 140 SPV, hub is the regular Lefty with Omega written on it. The hub seemed to be perfect last time I rode the bike.
    Hey Dan, you being even farther North than I, are certainly having the same weather that I have had the last few weeks, ie, cold, damp etc. The moisture on the hub axle is probably just from condensation, like a cold glass of water, on a hot humid day, all wet on the outside. Do you store it in a cold place, like a basement? That would do it.The other question to ask is how wet were your rides lately? Very wet? that would do it, and the axle being aluminum, it will be of no concern, the seal under the rotor is to protect the bearing against crud build-up and infiltration, which happened constantly till they came up with that solution, it is not a water barrier. As long as you don't see rust on the races of you hubs bearings you should be fine, plent of grease on the axle, that's all. The sandy noise, does it come from the hub bearings, when rotated by hand, or only when the wheel itself is rotating? There are often a bunch of little filings inside the rims, especially the UST variety, as there is only one hole they can come out of, and they generall don't do that even! If it's in the rim, don't sweat it, you never noticed it riding, and you never will, and as you can safely assume, it is of zero consequence to you or the equipment. Rock on!

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by MendonCycleSmith
    Hey Dan, you being even farther North than I, are certainly having the same weather that I have had the last few weeks, ie, cold, damp etc. The moisture on the hub axle is probably just from condensation, like a cold glass of water, on a hot humid day, all wet on the outside. Do you store it in a cold place, like a basement? That would do it.The other question to ask is how wet were your rides lately? Very wet? that would do it, and the axle being aluminum, it will be of no concern, the seal under the rotor is to protect the bearing against crud build-up and infiltration, which happened constantly till they came up with that solution, it is not a water barrier. As long as you don't see rust on the races of you hubs bearings you should be fine, plent of grease on the axle, that's all. The sandy noise, does it come from the hub bearings, when rotated by hand, or only when the wheel itself is rotating? There are often a bunch of little filings inside the rims, especially the UST variety, as there is only one hole they can come out of, and they generall don't do that even! If it's in the rim, don't sweat it, you never noticed it riding, and you never will, and as you can safely assume, it is of zero consequence to you or the equipment. Rock on!
    I was sure you'd be the one to respond, thanks Mendon.

    Yeah, weather was very ugly recently, and I have been working like crazy (16 hour days, 7 days a week) so now I'm tired and sick, I haven't been on the bike for a while...

    Back to the hub, I store the bike in my living room so it's warm and dry and I noticed the damp spot getting bigger even with no ride time at all, in fact, I think it appeared after the last time I rode the bike. It doesn't look like a condensation problem, see the attached picture (sorry for the dusty spindle). As for the noise, it clearly is coming from the hub so maybe the seal is not doing it's job well, I remember having a lot of clean grease when I put back the wheel a while back. Maybe I should just take off the wheel, clean off the old grease and put fresh new grease...

    Whatever the problem is, this weekend is supposed to be sunny and warmer and I need to ride so I'll ride on it, even if it means the death of the hub bearings.
    Attached Images Attached Images

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  4. #4
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    Hey Dan - I'll leave the hub questions to Mendon but I can tell you that my air filter was too oily in the beginning as well. I would notice a residue when wiping the bike down for the fist dozen rides. That was in the beginning. I have about 25 rides on the bike now and it has stopped "oozing". It's good now. In fact the whole bike feels and rides differently now that it's broken in some.
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  5. #5
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    Ah, got it now. That is a nonstarter, based on where it is coming from,,it's just a bit of oily greasy creep. The water mixes with the grease at the edges, and gets thinned out, and spreads over the fork leg, no worries here, just wipe it off. Ryoninct is right about the dust seals, they are oiling them a bit more heavily than before, no biggy there, just a wipe up issue again. As to your bearings, they are most likly fine, if you want to take the rotor off, and access the seal, wipe it down, and the bearing underneath, and regrease, go for it, but there should be no grit getting into your bearing as long as it (the the interface between the grey plastic seal and bearing) was greased the first time. It should be a stellar weekend here too, enjoy!

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by MendonCycleSmith
    Ah, got it now. That is a nonstarter, based on where it is coming from,,it's just a bit of oily greasy creep. The water mixes with the grease at the edges, and gets thinned out, and spreads over the fork leg, no worries here, just wipe it off. Ryoninct is right about the dust seals, they are oiling them a bit more heavily than before, no biggy there, just a wipe up issue again. As to your bearings, they are most likly fine, if you want to take the rotor off, and access the seal, wipe it down, and the bearing underneath, and regrease, go for it, but there should be no grit getting into your bearing as long as it (the the interface between the grey plastic seal and bearing) was greased the first time. It should be a stellar weekend here too, enjoy!
    Thanks again Mendon. I still don't like the sound of it so I'll have a closer look if can eventually get a free minute.

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  7. #7
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    Well, what did you find?! Mines getting rough and I was wondering if there was anything to service, or if you replace the bearings. Had the wheel off about a couple months ago when I had the boot changed and didn't see anything unusual in there.

  8. #8
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    I took off the wheel, cleaned the Lefty's spindle, the hub and the bearings (didn't take off the bearings not even the bearing shield since I didn't have my torx wrench with me to take off the brake rotor when I did it). I then regreased and all was smooth again. If that's not enough for you, take off the rotor and carefully peel off the bearing shield, clean the shield and the bearing and see if that helps.
    Last edited by Dan Gerous; 04-06-2006 at 09:19 AM.

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  9. #9
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    So the bearings can be regreased? No seals to pry out? Do you need to remove the hub bolt and cap to get to the outer bearing? Sorry to be a pest but I've never worked on a lefty hub before. The winter has been tough on my bike! Had to regrease the outboard bearings last night. And I'll be ordering a rear hub. It doesn't sound too good anymore.

  10. #10
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    Well, I didn't pry off the seals, I just regeased the bearings/spindle interface that was covered with dusty grease. If you need to go to the actual balls of the bearings, yes you will have to pry out the seals (carefully of course) and yes you will need to take off the outer cap with a pin spanner. Otherwise, you can replace the bearings for not too much cash.



    I would try to see if you can get to the bearings on the rear hub as well before you spend on a new hub and a wheel rebuild, a freehub spring cleaning wouldn't be a bad idea either... unless you're looking for excuses to upgrade.

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  11. #11
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    Thanks for the tips! I'll tear into it after work tonight and see what kind of trouble is lurking in the hub.

    As for the rear hub (Wind Titanium), I've read so many posts here of failures, my confidence level for it is low. It spins smooth, but there is another noise besides the click-click-click when freewheeling. Like a marble rolling around inside. The dealer where I bought the bike is charging me next to nothing in labor to change it out, so yea, upgradeitis has set in!

    Thanks again for the help

  12. #12
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    Happy upgrading then!

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  13. #13
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    Btw, if you don't have a pin spanner for the lefty hub's outer cap, just use some round nosed pliers.

  14. #14
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    Thanks, I may have to do that! I have a snap-ring plier with 90' bits I was going to use to remove the cap, but I haven't used them in years so if I can't find them...

  15. #15
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    I'm back!

    During lunch I got started on it, made it all the way to prying the seal out of the inner bearing. Looks like water/mud got in it. Now, can you pop the seal off the rear of the bearing to push the grease through? And then get the seal back into place? All without removing the bearing of course! If not I'll try to flush it out the best I can with new grease, and plan on ordering a new bearing.

  16. #16
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    I doubt you can take seals off both sides of the bearings without taking the bearing off the hub... Can you take the ball bearings out to clean the inside and the balls?

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  17. #17
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    Not sure. I didn't try to remove the cage/ball bearings, but I will check it out and let you know tomorrow. Can you picture me crawling around my garage floor looking for bearings?

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by milt k
    During lunch I got started on it, made it all the way to prying the seal out of the inner bearing. Looks like water/mud got in it. Now, can you pop the seal off the rear of the bearing to push the grease through? And then get the seal back into place? All without removing the bearing of course! If not I'll try to flush it out the best I can with new grease, and plan on ordering a new bearing.
    You don't need to open the other side. Flush out the bearing completely with tri-flow or some other spray lubricant from the open side. Then you need to dry it out completely before re-greasing. Compressed air works best. If you don't have a compressor then use a can of compressed air - the kind used to dust computers. Once it's dried out completely, you can pack it full of high-quality grease. Spin the bearing to draw in the grease and pack in some more. Replace the seal and you should be good to go for a while. If there are balls that are obviously damaged then you should probably get a new bearing.

  19. #19
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    FWIW my opinion is yer bearings r on the way out, have been contaminated in some way. Water/mud/degreaser ETC.

    How do i know? cos mine need replacing 4 same reasons after 400 miles, I only ride in the dry on the Prophet, just as well cos the so called sealing aint gonna work v well, mine got killed by detergent ingress, when cleaning the bike.

    Still better than the rear hub bearings which died 3 times in 1st 120 miles untill cdale gave me a DT Swiss.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Gerous
    As I was changing my tires today (goodbye heavy High Rollers, hello light Bulldog UST lights) I noticed the front hub was making some noise when rolling, as if there was some sand inside the bearings or something. I also noticed some sort of humid risidue on the spindle around the hub (not coming from the brake or from the fork itself) so I was wondering if the hub bearings/seal is just dead. Is that damp risidue the bearing grease? The hub is almost new as I just managed to ride the bike a few times...

    I also noticed the air filter cover is a bit damp too and was wondering if it was normal... Perhaps it's only too much oiled. ?

    The bike is a Prophet 2000 with the Carbon Lefty Max 140 SPV, hub is the regular Lefty with Omega written on it. The hub seemed to be perfect last time I rode the bike.
    The right (large) bearing wears pretty fast (especially if you hose off your bike). The seal design just doesn't provide the protection needed for this location on the bike where water and dirt are being shred off your front tire. I replace mine when it starts to make noise, however isn't really necessary until it starts binding up on you. The bearing will cost $8 at the LBS (sometimes he gives them to me) and takes about 15 minutes to replace. This is the size you need for the large one 35mm x 27mm by 7mm wide. The small one rarely needs replaced, however the size is 28mm x 15mm x 7mm

    BTW - That front rotor looks way too clean, not even any dirt around the rotor screws, what's up with that? I'm guessing it has something to do with the noise in your front hub...
    Last edited by MarkHL; 04-07-2006 at 06:00 AM.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by MarkHL
    BTW - That front rotor looks way too clean, not even any dirt around the rotor screws, what's up with that? I'm guessing it has something to do with the noise in your front hub...
    That's a very old picture, I think the bike just had a few miles on it then, and since the trails were still a mess from the melting snow, it wasn't very ugly miles... I don't even ride with that wheel anymore. But I do keep the rotors clean usually.

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  22. #22
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    Thanks all for the replies!

    Tried cleaning and regreasing, better but still a little rough. Looks like whatever contaminated the bearing never made it past the bearing itself, the inside of the hub was clean. Need the bike tomorrow AM so I put it back together. After the ride it goes to the shop to get the bearing replaced.

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