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Rear hub becomes loose after riding
#1
I have a ball bearing, not sealed cartridge bearing, rear hub on a specialized transition bike. The hub has about 6500k miles on it. After overhauling, adjusting cones for correct play and mounting with quick release skewers so there is no play in the hub once mounted on the frame, I notice that my hub begins to get loose again, after about 50 miles of riding, while mounted on the bike frame. This looseness continues to get worse the more I ride it. I am tightening the QR skewers plenty tight. Has anyone ever experienced this problem and know how to correct it?

Many thanks!
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#2
(03-01-2010, 03:56 PM)gherron Wrote:  I have a ball bearing, not sealed cartridge bearing, rear hub on a specialized transition bike. The hub has about 6500k miles on it. After overhauling, adjusting cones for correct play and mounting with quick release skewers so there is no play in the hub once mounted on the frame, I notice that my hub begins to get loose again, after about 50 miles of riding, while mounted on the bike frame. This looseness continues to get worse the more I ride it. I am tightening the QR skewers plenty tight. Has anyone ever experienced this problem and know how to correct it?

Many thanks!

Here is a little video, more information then you asked for but noticed at the beginning how Alex takes apart the Wheel Hub assembly. Make sure that all the parts are present on your bike, especially noting the first nut that comes off.

http://bicycletutor.com/overhaul-wheel-bearings/

If that is not it please reply back and we "wheel" help ya out,
Bill
Good maintenance to your Bike, can make it like the wheels are, true and smooth!
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#3
Thanks for the initial help Bill. I used this exact video to deal with the problem that started after my bike came back from a LBS getting a hub rebuild. The problem began after about 200 miles. When I first noticed the problem after the winter, I felt it was too long after my LBS had their hands on it to take it back.

All the parts are there on each side. On the left side I have a 4mm inner lock nut, then cone and nine 3/16" bearings. On the cassette side, 9 1/4" bearings, cone, spacer, then 4mm inner locknut.

Briefly, here is the process I went through to reinstall: assembled bearings and grease on both sides of hub, installed cone and inner nut to leave 5 threads of axle on cassette side. Tightened inner lock nut. then on left side, installed cone with very slight play. Tested play while hub, wheel and axle tightly skewered on frame; no play could be felt. Retested play when when wheel was removed from frame; again very slight play. Finally, installed wheel and tightened with skewers on frame with no axle play. After riding 50 miles, I have play in axle while tight to frame. I'm clueless!
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#4
(03-01-2010, 04:52 PM)gherron Wrote:  Thanks for the initial help Bill. I used this exact video to deal with the problem that started after my bike came back from a LBS getting a hub rebuild. The problem began after about 200 miles. When I first noticed the problem after the winter, I felt it was too long after my LBS had their hands on it to take it back.
Understandable.
(03-01-2010, 04:52 PM)gherron Wrote:  All the parts are there on each side. On the left side I have a 4mm inner lock nut, then cone and nine 3/16" bearings. On the cassette side, 9 1/4" bearings, cone, spacer, then 4mm inner locknut.
You have two different sized ball bearings on one wheel? Most of the bikes I have worked on so far have 10 3/16" bearings on each side OR 9 1/4" bearings on each side. This could be your problem.

(03-01-2010, 04:52 PM)gherron Wrote:  Briefly, here is the process I went through to reinstall: assembled bearings and grease on both sides of hub, installed cone and inner nut to leave 5 threads of axle on cassette side. Tightened inner lock nut. then on left side, installed cone with very slight play. Tested play while hub, wheel and axle tightly skewered on frame; no play could be felt. Retested play when when wheel was removed from frame; again very slight play. Finally, installed wheel and tightened with skewers on frame with no axle play. After riding 50 miles, I have play in axle while tight to frame. I'm clueless!

See what some others on here have to say as what you have MAY be normal then again I MAY be right.
Good maintenance to your Bike, can make it like the wheels are, true and smooth!
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#5
Yeah, VERY few hubs have different size bearings. Rear wheels normally use 9 1/4". I would look into that first. But the next question is what is becoming loose. I've seen a lot of people not tighten the lock nut against the cone enough. (It doesn't need to be that tight, but if they aren't snug against each other when you take the wheel off, it could be your problem.)

If nothing is loosening up on the axle parts, check the axle threads to make sure nothing is stripped. If you can't see anything there, it could be the cup in the wheel slowly getting pressed in. Rare, but I've seen it. But I'm suspicious that the mismatched bearings might be doing something odd.
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#6
This is how my bike came back from the LBS. At first I thought the cone and inner lock nut were not tight enough against each other and have made sure they were tight. One side of my rear hub will not hold 9 1/4" bearings and on the other side, there is room for a 10th 3/16" bearing. Holy cow, I have an alien hub. I will check into this further.
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#7
(03-01-2010, 08:58 PM)gherron Wrote:  This is how my bike came back from the LBS. At first I thought the cone and inner lock nut were not tight enough against each other and have made sure they were tight. One side of my rear hub will not hold 9 1/4" bearings and on the other side, there is room for a 10th 3/16" bearing. Holy cow, I have an alien hub. I will check into this further.

Could try 10 3/16" bearings on both sides see how that fancies it. Ultimately I'm with Dave as there is something very weird going on inside the hub.
Good maintenance to your Bike, can make it like the wheels are, true and smooth!
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#8
Well, there are plenty of hubs that have that (well, I have two: my old Maillard, + an old Campa, Ok, the maillard is alien). Check the manufacturer's homepage, though.
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#9
I saw "Specialized" bike and just assumed Shimano parts. But you're right, it could be campy. Not sure if they use mismtched bearing on any more recent stuff, but they did like to experiment more with that sort of thing.
Maybe it's a loose freehub.
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#10
(03-02-2010, 03:47 PM)DaveM Wrote:  I saw "Specialized" bike and just assumed Shimano parts. But you're right, it could be campy. Not sure if they use mismtched bearing on any more recent stuff, but they did like to experiment more with that sort of thing.
Maybe it's a loose freehub.

Dang! Yes, there can be another bearing there that needs to be adjusted...
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#11
I rechecked everything last night. In an earlier post, I incorrectly stated that I had 9 3/16" bearings on one side of the hub; I had 10 bearings instead of 9; my apologies! Here is more information about the hub: it is on ALEX-295 wheels, has a shimano 9-speed, hyperglide cassette (I think you call it a 9 speed, it has 9 rings on the cassette). Both cones are Wheels Manufacturing CN-R081 (10 x 1). My axle is 10 x 1 141 mm QR.

I tried using either 1/4" bearings on each side or 3/16" bearings on each side and it does not work. They are either too small or too large depending on the bearing.

My bike is a Specialized Transition.
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#12
I poked around a little and I can't find anything that says what types of bearings this hub takes. But maybe they are correct. What I did find was a lot of references to them getting loose, so I don't think you're alone. Some people reported loose freehubs, so you might want to check that. But more people mentioned loose spokes. If the spokes aren't tensioned correctly, you will be able to move the rim side to side a little as if the hub was loose. The two things feel a bit different, but it is possible to confuse the two problems. Loose spokes can be a serious problem because it weakens the wheel.

Sorry I/we can't give you a more definitive answer...
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#13
(03-02-2010, 10:33 PM)DaveM Wrote:  I poked around a little and I can't find anything that says what types of bearings this hub takes. But maybe they are correct. What I did find was a lot of references to them getting loose, so I don't think you're alone. Some people reported loose freehubs, so you might want to check that. But more people mentioned loose spokes. If the spokes aren't tensioned correctly, you will be able to move the rim side to side a little as if the hub was loose. The two things feel a bit different, but it is possible to confuse the two problems. Loose spokes can be a serious problem because it weakens the wheel.

Sorry I/we can't give you a more definitive answer...

Dave,
You think that Specialized would answer this of gheron asked in an email or called? This sounds like one of those things that companies do to try and cover up a goof on the assembly line because of an engineering goof. At any rate here is there website....

http://www.specialized.com/us/en/bc/home.jsp
Good maintenance to your Bike, can make it like the wheels are, true and smooth!
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#14
Who is the hub manufacturer? Maybe try and contact them...
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#15
It makes sense to contact both Specialized and the hub maker. There may be a technical bulletin on the wheels or hub. But I doubt they're going to want to diagnose anything over the phone. The big question is what exactly is actually getting loose. I'd call Specialized first to see what they say. But you'll probably need to take it into a shop while it's loose to have them figure out what is loosening. Ask the shop manager to check with Specialized if there is any technical bulletins on these wheels. They come out all the time but usually end up in a pile on someone's desk and the regular mechanics won't have any idea other than "yeah I had another guy with that problem."
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#16
Lol Dave on the last part, I have heard that from people in different situations.
Good maintenance to your Bike, can make it like the wheels are, true and smooth!
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