Front Hub Started Making Noise ..

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Apr 9, 2008
Central NY
On a ride a week or so ago, the front hub started squaking. Felt a bit of resistance to it too.

Pulled it apart and found this.

Bike is a Raleigh M40DX from 2003 (I believe). I have never serviced any of the bearings. Only things that have had to be replaced are a front fork and shifter cable.


Surprisingly enough, it wasn't destroyed! I pulled out the ball bearings, cleaned them up (no pitting!), then cleaned everything with motor oil.

After that, repacked and reinstalled bearings. Had to play with the preload for a bit and I'm back in action. I might have the preload a bit lose still, but everything seems to be working.

Don't skip on routine maintenance!

Next thing is getting the crankset apart and making a tool to remove the cassette so I can repack the rear.
Originally Posted By: Kestas
Set axial clearance as close to zero as possible without going negative.

Can you explain that in a bit more detail? I have not really worked on bikes in a while. This is the first time I have tore into this.

I have done this on another few bikes and I tighten it up until there's no play, then go a hair tighter. Don't want it overtight, but having it lose is bad as well.
For quick-release hubs, I like to set the bearing preload just a hair loose, as the quick-release squeezes things down when compressed.
The test I learned was to flip the bike or put it in a stand, see what the heaviest point of the wheel was (usually the valve-stem; whatever settles at the bottom), spin that point to the top and let it rotate back. You should get a good pendulum movement, decreasing rotation on each swing. If doesn't rotate, or makes fewer than 3 spins, it's adjusted too tight.
I'd definitely tear into the other bearings and give them a regrease. The bottom bracket is probably sealed, and likely okay, but the rear hub and headset could stand some attention, I bet.
The crankset seems to be fine. But I'd like to take a look at that before too long. Definitely going to be repacking the rear hub and cleaning the freewheel. The bike has seen a lot of hard use when it was new. Last 2 or 3 years was mostly paved trails
I'm with JJ717, and especially on nicer hubs. Too much play is a bad thing, but just the slightest bit of perceptible play is far better than too much preload.

FWIW, those Shimano hubs (FH-M475?) should last just about forever with period overhauls (disassemble, clean, grease, reassemble and properly preload). Also, keep an eye on the bearing adjustments, a quick wiggle of the rim and spin before each ride can tell you a lot and save a big headache over time.
I recently serviced my hubs (Shimano Deore LX) and found one cone on each of the axles to have wear issues. There was no noise or signs - the wheels were spinning just fine so I was surprised to find this.

I replaced these cones. Any guess at what causes this type of wear?

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