bad bearings in front wheel
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  1. #1
    RoadBikeReview Member
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    bad bearings in front wheel

    Hello,
    I have a 22 year old mtn bike and I think the front wheel bearings, hub, cone - or something in there is not right. I don't have a thin wrench to remove the bearings (watched a YouTube video), so I don't know if it is just a bad bearing or the hub and cone are also damaged. I think if I took it to a bike shop (if they are open) it would cost more to fix it than to just replace the wheel. Any thoughts?

    I know this is a road bike site, but you guys know your stuff and I have an account here.

    Thanks,
    Darren

  2. #2
    RoadBikeReview Member
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    for a cheap solution, you could just buy the wrench and see what the situation is...
    Ancient Astronaut theorists say, 'YES!'

  3. #3
    'brifter' is f'ing stupid
    Reputation: cxwrench's Avatar
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    If it's rough then it's either the balls, the cones, or most likely...both. Is it worth it? No idea...don't know what hub it is. Cones might be cheap and easily sourced, or not. Balls are no problem. Figuring out which cones it has and actually finding them could be near impossible...or super easy.
    #promechaniclife

  4. #4
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    I guess when the weather clears up, I'll bring the bike in and see which wrench I need and order it. I was hoping to get one locally, but have not seen anything - at least on the interwebs.

    And I just got the rear derailleur working and chain cleaned up and then noticed this problem of the front hub. Oh well. I really haven't done anything with this bike in 10 years - I guess it is time. I probably need to replace the tires and tubes too.

    I mainly use this bike when the roads and paths are very wet.

    Thanks

  5. #5
    Banned Sock Puppet
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    What do you mean "something in there is not right"? Is it loose? Do you hear noises?

    For about $24, you could get a set of these:

    https://www.amazon.com/Park-Tool-DCW.../dp/B006RXDOGQ

    You may even get lucky and it may just need to be cleaned and repacked with grease, although on a 22 year old bike I wouldn't bet on it. If you know the exact model of hub, you could probably find replacement balls and cones with a Google search. If there is severe pitting in the cup, then you're SOL.
    "If someone needs 200 rolls of toilet paper for a 14-day quarantine, they probably should have made a doctor's appointment way before the COVID-19 outbreak." -- Unknown

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    bicycles in particular, you need to separate between what's merely true and what's important."
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  6. #6
    Russian Troll Farmer
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    Geez, dude, for less than $10 you can buy a set of serviceable flat cone wrenches, with steps allowing you to use them on 16mm as well as 17mm flats. I mean, yeah, they're cheap, but a set of cone wrenches is an absolute must to have in your tool box.
    "L'enfer, c'est les autres"

  7. #7
    RoadBikeReview Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rocket_Noise View Post
    Hello,
    I have a 22 year old mtn bike and I think the front wheel bearings, hub, cone - or something in there is not right. I don't have a thin wrench to remove the bearings (watched a YouTube video), so I don't know if it is just a bad bearing or the hub and cone are also damaged. I think if I took it to a bike shop (if they are open) it would cost more to fix it than to just replace the wheel. Any thoughts?
    First thought: in the future be LESS specific about what the problem is. That will subject you to more abuse. "something in there is not right" could apply to kidney function, bowel function, or who knows what else.

    First step is to remove the wheel from the frame, remove the quick release from the wheel, and turn the axle slowly with light finger pressure. You should be able to feel a number of possible things. If the axles is binding (tighter at some points than others) it may be that the cones are too tight or that there is dirt in the bearings that gets "caught" as you turn the axle. If it feels "gritty" it might also just be that it needs cleaning. If there is play when you wiggle the axle, it may just need the cones to be adjusted. Once you fork out a few bucks for a couple of cone wrenches, take the hub apart, clean things up, and examine the parts. The bearings should be shiny. If they are dull, they should be replaced. The cups and cones should have smooth groove where the bearings track. If the cones are pitted (wide spots in the bearing track) they need to be replaced. If the cones are pitted, the hub is trash.

    When you put the hub back together, with the proper amount of grease, you should adjust it so there is a tiny amount of play before you put the wheel in the frame. The force of the quick release clamping will probably remove that amount of play. You may also find that you have a choice between smooth turning of the axle and zero play - choose smooth turning. It is better to have a little bit of play than to have binding. The lower the hub quality, the more play you will have to tolerate to eliminate binding. Binding will quickly damage cones and bearings.

  8. #8
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    This is a Specialized 1998 Hardrock bike ( i.e. cheap). I removed the front wheel to do something else and I noticed that the axle does NOT turn smoothly. The wheel will turn freely on the bike, but it clicks from time to time. Obviously, the click could come from something else. Not being a good mechanic, I looked up how to check the front wheel and saw it probably has a cone nut, ball bearings, and the hub. If it is bad bearings or the cone nut, I could replace those - if I can find the correct parts. If the hub is gouged, I don't think it would be worth the effort of replacing it. The diagrams I viewed showed the hub is integral with the spoke holes. That seems like a ton of work. I can buy a cheap wheel for ~ $50.

    But I have a better temporary fix. I will just steal the wheel from my wife's bike. It hasn't been used more than a handful of times. She just didn't like bike riding . Her bike is also a Specialized Hardrock - just smaller.

    I will order a cone wrench and play with my wheel later.

    Thanks guys (or girls?)
    Darren

  9. #9
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    Fixed the bearing, now need new tires

    Found this at the bottom of the toolbox. This let me remove the cone nut, clean it up, and re-grease the bearing. Now, it spins easier and no clicking. Not perfect, but good enough for a 22 year old bike and much older rider. Should last until I can't ride anymore.

    Attachment 327313

  10. #10
    'brifter' is f'ing stupid
    Reputation: cxwrench's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rocket_Noise View Post
    Found this at the bottom of the toolbox. This let me remove the cone nut, clean it up, and re-grease the bearing. Now, it spins easier and no clicking. Not perfect, but good enough for a 22 year old bike and much older rider. Should last until I can't ride anymore.

    Attachment 327313
    See...it's easier to adjust a hub than it is to attach a photo to your post correctly.
    #promechaniclife

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