15. How to Overhaul Wheel Bearings
Overhaul a hub, replace and grease the wheel bearings, and adjust the cones.
This tutorial will demonstrate how to grease your wheel bearings. For this job you’ll need some rags, waterproof grease, and a 17mm open-end wrench. You’ll also need a 13mm cone wrench for a front hub, and a 15mm cone wrench for a rear hub. When overhauling a hub, you should always replace the ball bearings. Most front hubs need 10 3/16″ bearings per side, while rear hubs usually need 9 1/4″ bearings.
Place the wheel on its side and slide a cone wrench onto the cone flats, and then loosen the left, or non-drive side locknut by turning it counter-clockwise against the cone wrench. Completely un-thread and remove the cone and locknut, and then slide the axle out from the right side of the hub.
Clean all of the old grease off of the axle and cones and remove all of the bearings from both sides, making sure to count how many you take out. Then clean the inside of the hub and carefully inspect both the cones and the inner bearing races. If there is any damage such as pitting then the cone and/or hub should be replaced.
Apply a generous layer of grease to both of the hub’s bearing races. Then carefully insert all of the new bearings by pushing them down in the grease. When all of the bearings are installed, there should be about half a bearing space left. Cover all of the bearings with a layer of grease and lightly grease the axle threads.
Once the bearings are installed on both sides, carefully slide the axle into hub, making sure the bearings stay in place. Thread the left side cone, washer (if any) and locknut all the way on finger tight.
Now lay the wheel back on its side and place the cone wrench on the cone. Tighten the locknut against the cone and check to make sure there is no play in the hub, and that the wheel spins freely. You may have to loosen the locknut and repeat the procedure many times before it is correct. Quick release mechanisms tighten the cones slightly, so if you have a quick release axle, you’ll have to leave a slight bit of play in the hub.
Re-install any seals and then put the wheel back on your bike. Finally, check the adjustment again by moving the wheel side to side at the rim. Again, there shouldn’t be play in the wheel, and it should spin smoothly.
Is the rear wheel on a bike properly dished if the rim is equally distant from the frame? I trued my rear wheel a little today, and I'm wondering if I need to go any further to check if it's centered than measuring the distance between the rim and the frame on either side of the wheel.... Read more >>
Hi. Riding in sub zero temps here and my rear brake has seized for the last three days heading to work but today I started off pedalling but after about 100m my pedals no longer moved the rear wheel. I had a major service a few months back where all cranks, chains etc were replaced. Could it just be the cold that is preventing me moving and if so what can I do to cure it.
Sitting sadly on the bus commute as I type.... Read more >>
I need a couple spoke protectors for a 70+ mm hub. I see some listed on e-bay, but they are the smaller hub spoke protectors.
Can anyone tell me where to find the bigger hub spoke protectors ??... and how do they measure for them ??
Thanks... Read more >>
Hi I need help. I'm rebuilding my bike ready for spring and noticed my rear wheel bearings needed changing so took cones off removed. Axel and the non driver side bearing and cassette and I'm struggling to get the other side bearing out I have tried Everything possible they are sealed bearings any help would be great I can post pictures if needed.... Read more >>
I need to replace the suspension plate on a chariot trailer. The plates slide onto the axle, and therefore I need to remove at least one brake drum from the axle.
This is what it looks like.
However I subsequently found this parts diagram, which suggests what I've labelled as "final part of axle" and "collar" are actually a single part which fits inside the axle (ringed in red)
I can think of several ways of getting this out - unscrew it (seems unlikely), heat the axle with a blow torch, or ... Read more >>
Question: Say you have a bike that was built in every 10 year increment since 1920 or so...
1920, 1930, 1940, 1950, etc...
What grade of Bearing 100, 50 25, etc would have been used for Mfg, and I realize this might be MFG specific too... ??
What I'm trying to determine (And this could be another of those 'unknown' things about 1970--1980 French bikes...)
If you rebuild an old bike, based upon year, what grade of bearing do you think you're replacing?
I would assume there would be a diminishing returns issue....
Jus... Read more >>
i have an old motobecane roadbike, and have been learning that nothing on it is standard sized (relative to american road bikes), which has posed some difficulty when making repairs and replacements.
id like to replace my back wheel- can i use any wheel or do i need to find a french/motobecane manufactured one?
thank you very much for the advice!... Read more >>
hey I'm trying to build a bike for the first time and I would like to build one in its entirety (including putting together the wheels). I am fairly smart, and am confident that I will be ok assembling everything, but I just need help finding what parts I need.
so, I have a 1973 Schwinn Continental frame and fork, and I am currently working on comverting it to a fixie. As I dont have any wheels as a reference (I only have the frame and fork that I bought off of eBay), I was wondering what hubs I should choose for this bike.
thanks for any help!
-cvs1998... Read more >>
One of my bearings collapsed in the free hub so I decided to see if I could fix it. After cleaning all the gunk out I was able to see the circlip on the threaded side of the hub.
I then removed circlip thinking it should be just a case of knocking the old ones out and replacing however there doesn't appear to be anyway to knock these little buggers out.
Here is a pic of the other side
Hopefully you can s... Read more >>
I am looking for a new front wheel to replace my buckled wheel. I have seen a very nice looking wheel with quick release but my fork has a 20mm through axle (see attached picture of my fork). Would the wheel be compatible with my fork?
Thank you for your help.... Read more >>
Took on a front axle rebuild on a 1989 Schwinn World Road bike I saved from the trashman. In seperating the cone from the keeper nut on one end of the axle I must have twisted my spanner when it finally broke free. Bad day - the dust cap was forced off and now the dust cap slides completely off the cone. ( see pic ) Does this mean I need to replace the cone with dust cap or whole axle as now nothing will insure that the dust cap will stay in place other than the grease. Can you just get the dust caps and slide a new one back on the cone? Are the cones slightly beveled above the part of t... Read more >>
I'm new to the term "Dish", and have been pointed to links about it...
I've done rims once before... in 1992. put fixed gauge near rim and made sure both sides were identical.
I am up against a rear wheel assembly where I re-positioned spacers and cones on the shaft.
I know the size of the spacer (2mm) but can only guess about the amount of change done to cones... as it was done once in error, and then a 2nd time (after spacer was moved to opposite side, based upon a 'calculated Chain-Line that was within .7mm of where I thought I was heading.)
I have got a fixie wheel which i wish to change so i can use it on my road bike i want to also change it from 12-25 to 11-28 so it makes it easier on the hills, i have attached a image of the wheel i want to change... Read more >>
Im quite fresh to the sport of cycling. Over the last month ive compacted knowlegde on bikes in this tiny brain of mine. That being said, when i started up i bought cheap bikes to work on, so i could just get my hands dirty. I bought and old Sears "FreeSpirit" bike as the first bike i would tweek with. I found out the hard way that my rims/wheelset required a certain wheel size. 26x1 3/8, and that no other 26inch wheel would fit my rim. So now i have a set of bikes, and this FreeSpirit bike just collects dust. I would like to take the tires off the old bike, and install ... Read more >>
I'm back from trip, and all the loose black ceramic bearings that I was waiting for have arrived (These were a gift by the way, for work I did for associate at work).
The bike. 1980 or so Peugeot U09 with solid axle, Normandy Hubs.
When I put in new #25 5/32" bearings on front axle exam (heard noise), 2-3 Months ago, I found the cones pitted (Polished/re-used at that time, as I did not at first find parts)Front axle was also found slightly bent. (I replaced rims and headset bearings on this 10 years ago). Races were good.
Found an ebay quick release axle that f... Read more >>