Toasted a wheel bearing on my Cranbrook.

Discussion in 'Motorized Bicycle General Discussion' started by bluegoatwoods, Aug 12, 2013.

  1. bluegoatwoods

    bluegoatwoods New Member

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    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.
     
  2. xseler

    xseler Well-Known Member

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    If you don't get the bearings, I've got some extras I could send you. My friend at the bike shop included quite a few extras when I replaced my bearings a while back....

    I tried to find a retainer bearing that would fit, but the cone and dust cover wouldn't work.

    Good luck!
     
  3. bigbutterbean

    bigbutterbean New Member

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    I'm also dealing with axle slop on a cranbrook hub. My bike is not a cranbrook, just the rear wheel. I've been unsuccessful in my attempts to diagnose the actual cause of the problem, and after several repairs, it's still the same. I'd be weary of repairing that hub. I've got a spare wheel that I just need a different sprocket adapter for, so I'm going that route. The replacement wheel is a 26" Wheelmaster wheel with a genuine Shimano CB-100 hub. I would have saved myself a lot of time and aggravation if I'd simply replaced the wheel in the first place. I wasted too much time and money repairing and even rebuilding the wheel. I don't want to see you do the same.
     
  4. chainmaker

    chainmaker New Member

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    BBB , I think the Shimano is going to fix your problem. The problem is that Pacific Cycles makes these brands (Schwinn, huffy ) as cheaply as possible for people who shop by price, not for quality. These aren't the bike companies of long ago, just a giant Chinese company slapping familiar liscenced name brands on the same low quality bikes.
     
  5. 2door

    2door Moderator
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    Blue and Bean,
    Are you guys paying close attention to the bearing race? Just replacing the caged bearings might not be addressing the problem if there is damage or wear in the race. New bearings would fail prematurely due to a poor rolling surface.
    Just a thought.

    Tom
     
  6. bluegoatwoods

    bluegoatwoods New Member

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    Yes, I've inspected my bearing races. They're smooth with no apparent distortion or breakage.

    Still, I'm fairly well convinced that this hub is not going to be good enough in the long run. Shopping for parts on e-bay last night I found myself tempted toward a 3-speed hub. Problem is I've never owned that type of bike and don't know how to rig up that sort of hub. No doubt I could figure it out, perhaps with the help of Sheldon Brown. But I don't want my bike to be down for the time it takes me to learn how to lace a wheel, install and adjust the shifting mechanism, etc.

    The answer, I suppose, is to cobble my bike together using the existing hub and then get to work on building myself a wheel that's really up to the task.

    I haven't made concrete plans on this yet. But that's the way I'm thinking.
     
  7. maniac57

    maniac57 Old, Fat, and still faster than you

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    Every single hub bearing failure I have seen from my customers ends up being traced to distorted bearing cups eating parts. I have seen several cheap hubs fail under motorized stresses when the bearing cups simply deforms slowly, eating bearings until it fails completely or is discovered. The races seem to be far too soft on the cheap hubs to live at 30+ mph.
    The biggest cause seems to be lack of proper lubrication.
    Grease those hub bearings good and often people!
     
  8. bigbutterbean

    bigbutterbean New Member

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    I checked my bearing races, they were smooth with no damage I could see. I've had at least 3 different sets of bearings in this wheel, they couldnt all have been bad without me knowing it.
     
  9. missle3944

    missle3944 Member

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    I have a cranny and 2 out of 3 races on my back hub failed so I need to get a new hub. I even greased them both with high temp grease before riding the first time. These crannys have pretty bad bearings and races!

    I had a pretty bad wheel wobble and it started to get to around 1/2 inch and thats when the hub finally came to a screeching halt!

    1 more thing is to keep an eye out for the dust cover, because mine was grinded to a pulp in the hub and I think that contributed to the failure
     
  10. missle3944

    missle3944 Member

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    I have a cranny and 2 out of 3 races on my back hub failed so I need to get a new hub. I even greased them both with high temp grease before riding the first time. These crannys have pretty bad bearings and races!

    I had a pretty bad wheel wobble and it started to get to around 1/2 inch and thats when the hub finally came to a screeching halt!

    1 more thing is to keep an eye out for the dust cover, because mine was grinded to a pulp in the hub and I think that contributed to the failure
     
  11. crassius

    crassius Well-Known Member

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    the real problem here is the coaster brake - much more heat at motor speeds than it was designed to handle - add real brakes to it & never use the coaster
     
  12. crassius

    crassius Well-Known Member

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    also seen some folks have bearing problems because they unhook the brake arm before both axle nuts are loose - if the brake arm moves while one or both axle nuts are tight, the bearing will be out of adjustment
     
  13. missle3944

    missle3944 Member

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    So are you saying I should pull the axle out on the brake arm side?

    So should I only unscrew the cone nut and the tightener nut on the pedal sprocket side?
     
  14. bluegoatwoods

    bluegoatwoods New Member

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    Well, I got my ebay bearings in. That was quick. Wish I could remember the vendor, in order to give a nod.

    Felt the bearing races and they seemed fine. Visual inspection showed no hub issues. (Though I'm still going to think about an upgrade.)

    Installed the new bearing. I sat next to the bike, sitting on the center stand, and pedalled the bike by hand for some time. No bind-up. Okay, so far so good.

    Took it out for a test ride of about a half mile or so. All went well.

    So it looks like I'm back on the road. I'll be taking it out for a longer test ride a bit later on. Then more tomorrow. But all's looking well.

    A really good hub assembly does sound pretty inviting, though.
     
  15. Nunyadam

    Nunyadam New Member

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    this is the exact situation I'm looking at now.
    I need good suggestions on a hub/brake setup that will take the abuse I'm going to give it. lacing a rim isn't a problem for me.
     
  16. bluegoatwoods

    bluegoatwoods New Member

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    Well, Nunyadam, if lacing a rim isn't a problem for you, then you're halfway there. You might get a Shimano E-110 hub assembly. I'm no expert, but that model seems to have a good reputation around here. Or you could look at single speed, drum brake hubs. Multi-speeds, too. I'll bet some of the folks here could recommend models that are up to the job.

    In fact, I could use such recommendations myself because I'm going to put the stock rim on a better hub.

    Just this morning I found that same rear wheel bearing ripped up and spit out once more. So I'm giving up on the stock hub. I placed an order today for a Wheelmaster with E-110 hub and 12 ga spokes.

    While riding around on that I'm going to lace up the Huffy rim to a hub that's even better.
     
  17. silverbear

    silverbear The Boy Who Never Grew Up

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    I find it interesting that there is mention of so many hub failures on the cheap Chinese bikes. When some of us suggest that the Chinese bikes are of poor quality the ranks close and everyone has great things to say about the bikes, justifying their purchases. I have never had an old Bendix hub fail. Look inside an old Bendix and then look at the parts in the Chinese hubs. The difference is obvious to anyone. If you have the interest and want to build your own wheels you can save some money and use superior parts at the same time. It isn't as hard as people seem to think. There are a few good tutorials on the internet showing how to lace a wheel.
    SB
     
  18. bluegoatwoods

    bluegoatwoods New Member

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    Well, I suppose we 'justify' our purchases because we're not willing to concede the notion that one must, must spend big money on bikes or components.

    We're not blind to the fact that higher cost materials mostly wear better than cheap ones.

    But we are cheap. We're not ashamed of it and we intend to make it work and to tell others that they, too, can make it work.
     
  19. silverbear

    silverbear The Boy Who Never Grew Up

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    I do understand. I'm cheap, too, which is why I use old parts. I had a couple of the Chinese "heavy duty" wheels (hubs) fail on me and felt like I had wasted my money (Wheelmaster' heavy duty wheels I purchased thinking they would last.) Replacing wheels adds up aside from the hassle factor of breaking down. And I can't afford a new Worksman set either. The answer for me to was to build my own using quality old rims, hubs and buying new spokes.
    SB
    SB
     
  20. bluegoatwoods

    bluegoatwoods New Member

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    Silverbear....you're breaking my heart.......

    I just ordered a Wheelmaster heavy duty wheel today. Are you saying that even those aren't up to the task?

    Here's what makes it even harder; I wanted to order the Worksman with 11 ga spokes. But there were none in stock and there was no info on how long it would be.

    This is getting worse and worse......

    But wait....gotta pull myself together here....even if those Wheelmasters don't do the trick I'll have plenty of parts..I can cobble something together....

    But it might be a long winter...
     

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