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Old 08-12-2013, 08:36 PM
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bluegoatwoods bluegoatwoods is offline
Motorized Bicycle Elite Member
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Central Illinois
Posts: 1,576
Default Toasted a wheel bearing on my Cranbrook.

And I would've been fine, at least for a while, except I was trying to do the right thing.

I built this bike for my daughter in the spring of 2012. She rode it with some success and some failures into the late summer. One day she called me and asked me to come pick up her and the bike because the drive chain had snapped. As I was wheeling the bike over to the car I noticed some slop in the rear hub. It only took a quick look to see that the cones had worked loose and that there was a great deal of slop. I ordered a new 415 chain from one of the vendors and took apart the rear hub.

I had never opened up one of these or worked on one before. The last bike of that type I had had was when I was seven years old. But I didn't need any experience to recognize mangled parts sitting in my hand.

I cannibalized parts out of another wheel that I had in my pile of junk bikes. They were identical. I had hoped so. This wouldn't be so bad. I figured out how they went together inside there and put them in. But I went light on the grease; I wanted to be sure that I could see what I was doing. Particularly since I didn't have any more spare parts. So I put it together carefully and tested it carefully. Checked frequently during use over the summer so far. I've asked my daughter a few times whether she wants to take this bike back or not. She says that she doesn't have the know-how to keep it operating properly. (Easy for her to say; she just drives my car instead. But...(shrug)....she's a good kid. I just wish she'd ride a bike more.)

So all was going well. Today I decided to open up that hub and put some real grease in it for the rougher weather that's bound to come in the not too distant future. There were a few narrow wear spots on the brake shoes. But nothing alarming. I'm still no expert, but I recognized the parts and how to assemble them.

Re-assembling the hub it did seem, though, that the bearing under the torque arm (brake arm?) was not settling into it's race just right. Seemed a little crooked. So I pulled it all apart again and re-assembled paying special attention to that one trouble spot. And this time all seemed well. I got those cones tightened down. Mounted the wheel with it turning freely, brake operating, no wiggle in the axle. So I took it for a test run.

I don't need to explain a lot here. You can see it coming, I'll bet. That wheel froze up not very far from my home. Got it home and had a look and -wouldn't you know it?- that bearing was the one. The cage was all mangled. Most of the balls had fallen out. I found all but one. But it didn't matter; there was no saving that bearing.

I don't have any spares. I looked, but I knew I wouldn't find anything. So it was a bummer.

But it didn't work out all that badly in the end. I shopped online a bit for a new wheel. There were some decent buys out there. But I didn't really want to go that far. So I started searching for bearings. I didn't find what I needed on the bicycle websites, nor the bearing websites. But somewhere along that line I saw a link to e-bay. And, sure enough, there I found my bearings. (Someone or other is selling at least one of everything on that site.)

I ordered four of them. Now I just gotta wait until they arrive. It might take me a week to repair this wheel. But even that is not all that bad. I still ride a regular old pedal bike quite a bit. So this weeks commute to work is by pedal. Big deal. The weather's supposed to be nice anyway.

I'll put that wheel back together. Even allowing for another goof or two I should have enough parts. Things might have been worse.
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