How to Overhaul Wheel Bearings
Overhaul a hub, replace and grease the wheel bearings, and adjust the cones.
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.
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.
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.
- Jim Langley: Overhauling hubs
- Park Tool: Hub Overhaul and Adjustment
- Sheldon Brown: Overhauling & Repacking Hubs
- Bicycle Torque Specifications
Discuss this topic in the Wheel Forums
How can I tell whether my rims are worn to the extent that they're liable to split from tyre pressure? They've had about 7000 miles of travel but the wear depth is probably 1/4 mm. It could be more, but since the pads have worn all over the width of the rim, there's no unworn section to compare it to. I could measure the thickness with a micrometer....Read more
Am thinking of buying a new bike and was wondering if anyone could tell me if the wheel,that I use on my trainer would fit on the new bike. The wheel in question is an XRIMS y2000 622x20 6061-T6. It has a Shimano CS H631-8 Cassette on it. I use it on an 08 Trek 7200. I am thinking about buying a Fuji Absolute 1.9 and am wondering if this wheel will fit as is....Read more
Hey everyone, new here, and also new to riding bikes. After 29 years, I finally learned to ride and after a month of riding, this morning my tire messed up. I'm still not sure what happened (and forgive me for not knowing the proper names of specific parts) Here's a picture of the damage, hopefully someone can explain to me what happened and how it can be fixed? Much appreciation. If this is s...Read more
Hi there, I have an old Shimano FH-1055 hub which I have dismounted it and now I cannot figure out the order of reassembly for the spacers/cones/washers (I know, stupid me that I have not take care in the first place) The biggest issue is on the cassette side where I have 4 or 5 separate pieces. Not sure if relevant but note that the cassete is 7 speed and has no dirt seal (like I saw on other ...Read more
Hi everyone, Recently I had some trouble with my freehub. As my local bikes shops are reluctant to fix my bike, because of being a b'twin (it's my work bike), I tried fixing the problem myself. Now, servicing my freehub and bearings wasn't much of a problem. En passent I also installed a fresh cassette and chain. Plenty of information on that online. The problems are now in trying to reinstall ...Read more
I have 2 fairly new, mid-range folders which ride quite well d seem like good bikes for the cost. 8 sp. Shimano components. I have a 7 second video of this. When I was recently cleaning-lubing the drivetrain, one of them was wheels-up and I did the customary pedal-spin the rear wheel and when it the wheel slows down to a near stop, it reverses direction for a small fraction of a rotation, then s...Read more
I have an unusual question I'm hoping to get answered on this forum. I've got a fixed gear bike that I want to convert to a horse training device. How do I get the rear wheel to become free wheeling, so I can turn it backwards as well as forwards? It has a bendix brake on it. Do I need to remove that, and if so, is there a special way to tighten the chain and hub? I'm kind of grasping here, s...Read more
I own a Trek District SSB, which uses Trek's proprietary belt drive system. I'd wanted a bike with an internal gear hub, but they only offered a 3-speed version as an upgrade, so I decided to buy the SSB and upgrade it myself to something a little beefier. The SSB has the same frame as the IGH 3, so it already has the cable guides for the hub. I'm going to take my bike to a local community shop t...Read more
I bought an old bicycle and see an unusual metal part attached on rear axle. Derailleur side. Starting from end I see a closed (no hole) bolt, two washers, then this "handle", a washer, then a deep nut, then a washer, then the derailleur, and then the bike frame. "Handle" is about one inch across and three inches deep, quite thick metal...flat but one edge has a perpendicular flange about 3/8 i...Read more
I think the rearing bearings are 13mm ID and 30mm OD. Are these measurements correct? Please help. Thanks....Read more
I have a 10 year old Trek 7200 Hybrid. I am thinking of replacing the wheels in a while and was wondering what you guys could recommend. It came with Matrix 750's but they are no longer available. I tip the scales around 230lbs. and am looking to spend around $300. any suggestions....Read more
I won a Specialized Daily in a contest. It is a pretty sweet bike. But it has an internal gearhub on the rear wheel. I have never had this type of gear setup before. I am afraid to mess with it to get the wheel off. How the heck do I remove this wheel to change my flat tube? Thank you in advance for any assistance. ...Read more
Hi. I have a fairly cheepish bike, Appolo Evade Mountain Bike. (The reason for it having a freewheel was probably due to price not age). Anyways. So, there is a tiny bit of freewheel wobble which I have come across on a lot of freewheel bikes so I never considered this a problem. Freewheels just tend to get a little bent right? Despite this, shifting is just fine and smooth and the whole drive ...Read more
replaced the rear wheel with new one the axle is slightly longer approx 4mm had to use washers as a temporary measure. i was wondering can you get knurled washers that will do the job better thanks chris...Read more
Hi! I wanted to replace the rim on my roadbike and heard from a friend that I should do it spoke by spoke, that way I don't have to be careful where to put which spoke. I tried that and now the new rim has kinda an egg shape and I can't fit any more spokes (I got stuck after switching 18 of the 32). (both rims are 622x15c) Should I: 1. Buy an already built new wheel and be done with it? 2. Star...Read more