15. How to Overhaul Wheel Bearings

Overhaul a hub, replace and grease the wheel bearings, and adjust the cones.

IMPORTANT: Nuts and bolts on your bike should always be tightened to the manufacturer's specifications.
How to Overhaul Wheel Bearings
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This video is available on DVD

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.

Dis-Assemble Hub

If you're overhauling the rear hub, you'll need to remove the cassette or freewheel before you begin. Carefully remove any seals that may be protecting the cone and locknut.

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 Hub Parts

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.

Grease Hub and Bearings

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.

Re-Assemble Hub

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.

Adjust Cone and Locknut

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.


Related Links

Discuss this topic in the Wheel Forums

09/21 Mavic Crossroc wheel


I bought a wheel set of Mavic Crossroc. The rear hub came with a 12 X 135 set up, but I need to a 12 X 142 mm so I got some adaptors and I have disassembled the hub but I can't figure out how to remove the actual end cap on the axle. Do I have to remove them, if yes how ? If no do the 142 mm just slides over these caps ??

Thanks...

09/05 Rear Axle - tough pedaling

I removed my rear wheels on my single drive ancient Miami Sun trike, right rear bolts to bearing, left wheel has a nut on end of shaft ... I had the wheels trued, and tubes and tires replaced ... tires are .25 wider than original. Now when I try to ride it is quite a bit harder to pedal. Is there a proper tightness for the rear wheel axle nut ? or is the wider tire the culprit ? I just assume I did something slightly wrong ... Thanks... Read more >>

09/01 Replace or repair wheel?

Hello All,

I need some advice on whether to repair or replace my rear wheel. I have a decent single speed road bike that a friend built together for me. I let another friend borrow it, and he decided it was a good idea to ride 6 miles on a flat (lessen learned not to let people borrow your stuff). So in doing so, he busted a spoke, and bent the rim. I removed the busted spoke and got a new tube. Its rideable but the wheel wobbles a bit, not terrible but enough to be annoying. Im not an experienced mechanic so I was wondering if this is something that is worth taking to a bike shop... Read more >>

08/12 Fitting tubeless tyres on a rim?

Hi guys

Question for you cycle experts. Would tubeless tyres fit on a magnesium alloy wheel? Please see link below of 26" magnesium alloy wheels that i am interested in.


Thank you...

08/11 Remove Hub End Caps

How can I remove the hub end caps from my front wheel? The wheel is a 2014 TBC Revolution Trail 27.5 with 32 spokes. I tried pulling them off by hand and with a pair of pliers but was unsuccessful.

The reason I'm doing this is because I noticed movement when I grip the wheel and move it side to side. I suspect the hub bearings and would like to remove the caps to have closer look and possible replace the bearings.

Here are some pictures of the wheel and hub:

[Image: 2nvs56h.jpg]

07/30 What freehub do I have?

Hello to everyone,
I'm new to the forum and I want to congratulate with all of you for your excellent work! Now we can go to the serious stuff:

I'm not an expert of bikes and I'm trying to fix my old TREK. The freehub is broken so I decided to replace it. It was not easy but, finally, I removed it from the bike. Now I have two questions:

1) I'm not sure I removed it correctly because the back of the freehub is different from what I can see online
2) if I removed it correctly, can someone tell me what kind of freehub is this? I want to buy the replacement <... Read more >>

07/27 Replace Cassette with Freewheel

I have a road bike with a Shimano Tiagra, 12-25T cassette.  I have a freewheel that should provide higher power on top gears.  How would I go about removing the cassette and hub and installing the freewheel?
What exactly is needed?  Is it possible

Will swapping the cassette...

07/23 Started my 10 speed to 3 speed hub conversion from 27" to 26" wheels.

The rear wheels seems to fit fine. The spacing was perfect. Both wheels are off of  different Raleighs. The  rear brakes need changing. The bent 27" forks are being replaced with 26" forks. I serviced the bottom bracket and put a single chain drive and new peddles on as well. I think it will work but until it's finished, you never know for sure. There will be 4 or 5 pics. Will change the drop bars to flat bars, put a comfort seat on and see where it goes from there. If anyone has any advice I am interested in hearing it.

07/20 Swapping 27" wheels for 26" wheels.

I have a fairly nice Raleigh with a bad 27" front wheel. Too far gone for truing. I have a nice spare 26" wheel set.
Can I replace the 27"wheels with 26" wheels. I'm thinking the brakes pads would need to be move 1/2 inch and as the replacement rear 26" wheel is a 3 speed Shimano hub, their would be no dersillers to set up. Am I missing anything that would derail my plan?... Read more >>

07/20 Shimano 600 freewheel question.

I picked up Nishiki Custom Sport with what I think is a Shimano 600 freewheel. Odd set up. The freewheel has the axel bearings were the freewheel removal tool would normally go. the only adjustment on the free wheel side is a single nut which goes up against the bearing seal. I wondering if I am missing a part or is that the way it is supposed to be? anyone familiar with this setup?... Read more >>

07/13 Fitting Wrench on Nipple

Recently the front wheel on my 2012 Specialized Sirrus Sport became wobbly. I'm the kind of guy who would normally just take this to the shop to get trued by a professional, but I'm planning a long bike trip this Fall and decided I need to learn how to keep my wheels true myself. I went down to the bicycle dealer and bought two things: a triangle-shaped spoke wrench that fits three size nipples (0, 1, 2), and a $100 truing stand. I wanted to do this right.

I was not expecting the problem I ran into: I could fit the wrench (size 2) onto about 2/3rds of the spoke nipples, bu... Read more >>

06/30 How to choose the correct rim tape for my wheel?

Hi guys

Can anyone tell me how to choose the correct rim tape width for my wheel/rim? My wheel has an inside rim width of approx. 19mm. Would an 18mm wide rim tape thus be the ideal size for my wheel?

Thank you...

06/20 Will this work on 20" rim?


I want to buy a electric conversion kit for my bike but the smallest rear wheel that they supply is a 26"
rim. I asked if they can supply a 20" rim with spokes and the fella said he just sells them he dose not know if that is possible. If I do buy the 26" rear wheel can I change the rim and spokes for a 20" one?
and what size spokes would I need?
...

04/14 Replacement axle for Ritchey V4 or V5 hub

I need to replace the axle on Ritchey hub that is part of a set of Pro DS wheels. Based on the hub ID document http://ritcheylogic.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/Ritchey-HUB-ID-Sheet-20140121.pdf, I believe that it is V4 or V5 hub. It doesn't precisely match any of the pictures. It has a Shimano-compatible freehub.

Would this axle kit work? http://www.amazon.com/Ritchey-WCS-Roa...

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