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the Musigician
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why not ask here? i've fixed tons of bikes! mine and the kid's mainly, but other's as well, and i'm sure lots of others here do too.

ask away!

DM
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Bicycle wheel wobble

My son lost a nut??? on the front wheel of his mountain bike and kept riding. When I found it wobbling and inspected I noticed he actually road to the point where the hub is cracked. Our bikes are just used back and for trans to school , nothing offroad but I would like to keep them better tuned now that the kids are getting rougher on them

We had a spare parts bike so I swapped the front wheel but I know the inner nuts on the hub need tightening to avoid the same type of wobble and some brake alignment as well.

Just wondering if I should open and repack the bearings and if a special tool is required for front wheels... or just a pair of flat wrenches and what grease is best, high speed type bearing, white lithium , etc.

I believe there may be a cone tool or free wheel tool required for rear, or do I just gently tighten the inner nuts with a flat wrench and deep socket until the play is gone

I was 12 years old fixing my single speed bike when I last adjusted chains and wheelsand replaced spokes... but there seem to be a lot more wear points now...
So I'm also looking for a good bike book. The Haynes Bike manual seems to be out of production.. any thoughts on tools like a one of a kind wrench or tool kit or manuals would also be appreciated
 

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the Musigician
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10,404 Posts
the only special tool i ever found i needed is a spoke wrench. i'd repack the bearings and tighten the casings. white lithium should be fine.
true the wheel after remounting with the spoke wrench, and the brakes should line up fine.

DM
 

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I have gas!
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Just wondering if I should open and repack the bearings and if a special tool is required for front wheels... or just a pair of flat wrenches and what grease is best, high speed type bearing, white lithium , etc.
It doesn't hurt to take the hub apart, clean and repack the bearings. I used to do this once a year when I was racing and rode a lot. A pair of flat wrenches is all you need. Each side has the cone adjustment and a nut that backs into the cone. Only take one side apart so you don't have to re-center the axle. Don't use lithium, use bearing grease made for bicycles. It has the correct viscosity.

I believe there may be a cone tool or free wheel tool required for rear, or do I just gently tighten the inner nuts with a flat wrench and deep socket until the play is gone
It depends on the type of hub that you have but mainly you tighten the cones until there is no play left and then tighten the outer nuts. I always snugged down a tiny bit, loosened and then did the final adjustment.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks for the tips guys,
After lunch, I'll just finish front rotors and pads on my van then I'll get to the bikes, size the new chain, true up the wheels,rebuild the derailer, adjust the cables, maybe sqeeze in a test ride..

Always good to have a day off :laughing: Should have it all done by Miller Time. Now where's my Mister Incredible mask
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks again, I m getting a bit frustrated ....found a bent axle on the rear wheel. Put in a fresh one with new bearings and can't seem to lose the side play with the cones snugged down. This is a basic mountain bike, not high end, but the hub showed no signs of wear. Do I have to tighten the cones till they poke into the seals and then back them off?
 

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Ex bike mechanic here :D

Did you put the new axle in without removing the freewheel? you might have not tightened the cone against the inner nut on that side before you put the axle in.

or if you cant remove the play it could be because the bike was ridden a while with a bent axle and the bearing cups got unevenly worn, then the hub is kaput.

also if you have a vice put the axle nut from the other side in there (dont clamp to hard) and you can adjust it without the 3 hands normally required.

usually a bent axle is because the dropouts are not parallel. (the part of the frame where the axle clamps to) if they are not, just straighten the bent one with an adjustable wrench, they are usually quite soft metal, especially on the low end bikes. (dont do that on aluminum bikes!)
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks DF,
I had bought a free wheel tool for future use and removed the free wheel again to inspect for play before I wrote this, although the bike shop had also removed my freewheel when I took the wheel in.
Inside I have 9 fresh loose balls packed in gease,per side, then the seal, then the cone, then the long shaft spacer, then outer locking nut.
The old axle had the seals seated right onto the cones from torque but there is no visible wear on the inside of the hub bearing cups and the old original grease was still relatively clean and intact. I have repacked a lot of bearings through the years, the side play just doesnt seem right to me.
If I overtighten the cone nuts the wheel wont spin but as soon as a I back them off the wobble is there.
BTW this is a department store bike, standard steel frame, no shocks but decent qualiity with a lot of upgrades for the time, Shimano Exage shifter and derailer, aluminium cranks, etc., no off road use, just street, not an agressive rider at all, just nicks and scrapes from the school yard.
It's Canadian Made 10 years old but rarely ridden till last year. Interchangeable parts with Raleigh and CCM.
I guess the real question is how much side to side play should the axle have. I have a smaller 20" spare wheel spare and there is no play in it whatsover.
 

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There should not be any play and it should spin freely. there are a number of things that could be wrong though.
wrong size bearings, in almost every case on a bike like that they should be 1/4"
wrong cones.
there are a lot of different ones, if they are wrong the bearings will not be riding on the curved area and will not be able to be adjusted.

to many bearings. 9 is almost always right though, too few can be adjusted fine but wont last as long.

if the cups are good, they themselves can be loose, then the hub is toast.

for such a simple thing there is a lot that can go wrong!
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thanks, I got a new bag of bearings, fresh axle came with cones and new seals, so the only old piece is the actual hub and wheel. I saved the old bearings and will compare but got them bulk 1/4" spec.
I have a lot of expierince rebuilding high RPM motors with multiple fans and bearings, so it's not rocket science, I just know it's not right... YET!
Then again..." a lesser man would have conceded by now":laughing: or is it a smarter man?
 
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