Author Topic: Front hub sounds/feels rough  (Read 1523 times)

j-ms

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Front hub sounds/feels rough
« on: November 01, 2021, 10:56:13 PM »
Hi

The missus and I are currently on tour in Guatemala having started in Mexico City two months ago.  We're having a rest day and I have a nice area in which to check the bikes out so I gave them a once-over.

The missus' bike's front wheel sounds and feels a bit rough.  I checked out brakes, mudguards and magnet and they all seem OK so I suspect it is the hub. She hasn't noticed anything but I want to pre-empt any problems (bike shops aren't a dime a dozen out here).  The hub is a Shimano Deore HB-T610 (on a Thorn Raven ST, wheel built by SJS).

Any pointers ?

Jean-Marc

Danneaux

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Re: Front hub sounds/feels rough
« Reply #1 on: November 02, 2021, 01:22:50 AM »
This may prove helpful, Jean-Marc...

https://www.parktool.com/blog/repair-help/hub-overhaul-and-adjustment

All good wishes to you both for a pleasant and trouble-free tour going forward.

Best,

Dan.

mickeg

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Re: Front hub sounds/feels rough
« Reply #2 on: November 02, 2021, 01:39:39 AM »
Both these tests are with the wheel off the ground.

If you spin a wheel by giving it a quick throw by hand that is a non-dynohub wheel and no brake pads are rubbing, it should go for quite a few seconds before it comes to a stop.

And the way I check a wheel to see if the bearings feel loose is to wrap my hand around a fork blade, I will hold a spoke with index finger and thumb and try to move it sideways, my other fingers are wrapped around the fork blade to hold my hand tight on the fork.  If I can feel any perceptible movement, then the bearings are a bit loose.  By movement I mean free play between two solid points were it stops, I do not mean simple flexing.

And of course if you heard any noises from the hub that you should not hear, that would be  a bad sign.

If it sounds quiet, spins nicely, and has no play, I would be tempted to just quit at this point and keep using it.

If you want to pursue further, see attached file in pdf format, looks like 11 loose balls on each side.  It does not say what cone wrench sizes, but I think one is probably 17mm.  The other, not sure.

When I have opened up Shimano front hubs for the first time, they always seemed to be pretty stingy with grease.

And usually the first time you open up a Shimano front hub, the cones are so tight you could almost bend a cheaper cone wrench.

A few videos that may help:

Just the first half of this one.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uQJm43eCpWo

And another.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=opommURFB4o

And I now see Dan found a Park Tool video.  So, I will quit looking for a Park one.

I have no clue how far you want to go in trying to figure this out on your own, so I will just quit here.  If you get things apart and have no grease or oil to lube the bearings, cooking oil should last until you can get to a good bike shop.

Good luck.

j-ms

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Re: Front hub sounds/feels rough
« Reply #3 on: November 02, 2021, 02:14:08 AM »
Thanks Dan & Mick.  You've scared the hell out of me!  Hopefully things will hang in until I can get to a bike shop.  There doesn't seem to be any play, just roughness and a light rubbing-like noise.  I am guessing the grease might be a bit low or dirty.  I must be honest, I haven't even thought of servicing the hubs since we bought the bikes and they have done almost forty thousand kilometers (with lots of rain, mud and dust) over five continents, so if anything goes wrong I know who to blame.  There is an old Afrikaans saying "As jy nie wil leer nie moet jy voel" which loosely translates as "If you don't want to learn you are going to feel pain" and I am terrified I might have a painful episode ahead of me.  I am carrying grease (for the ExBox and other bits) but I am not sure I have the right tools to complete the job.  It is dark now and the rain is chucking down so I can't even think about looking at the bike.  We've got over a hundred kilometers to Rio Dulce tomorrow and I will have another look the day after that.  Fingers crossed until then.

mickeg

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Re: Front hub sounds/feels rough
« Reply #4 on: November 02, 2021, 04:14:12 AM »
I do not have any Deore front hubs, I have some XT front hubs.  I just checked, my older steel axle XT hubs take 13mm and 17mm cone wrenches.

On my older XT hubs, there is a rubber seal that goes over the flats on the cone and lock nuts.  If yours have any rubber seals that you can peel off, you might want to pull those seals off first and see if there is grit there that you can clean off.  If you are lucky, there is some grit under the seal but not inside the hubs yet.

On the exploded diagram for your hub, there are seals on each side, but I do not know if they are like mine or if they require tools to remove the seals.

When I open up a cup and cone hub, if the ball bearings have a mirror like shiny look, I usually just add some grease and close it up again.  I do not bother to clean things out when the balls are shiny.  But, with a hub that sounds like something abrasive is in it, I suspect that the bearings need to be taken out and the hub and bearings cleaned.  Even if the balls are not as shiny after cleaning, they should still function.  That said, I am assuming no ball bearings are cracked.   If you can shift some of the weight off of that wheel onto other wheels until you get to a bike shop, that might be a good idea, just in case there is a cracked bearing.

Just be careful if you disassemble it that you do not lose any ball bearings.  If the grease is largely gone, they could start rolling in a dozen different directions all at once.  I have no clue how easy it is to find replacement ball bearings if you lose any.  Even if you find some new ones, I would keep the old ones stashed away just in case.

You are fortunate that you have steel axle cup and cone hubs.  Nobody carries cone wrenches, or almost nobody does on a tour, so do not feel that you are unprepared, as you are as prepared as anyone else.  Cup and cone hubs are easily repairable, if they were cartridge bearings you would have more difficulty and would likely have to wait for parts to be shipped to you.  Or you would need a new wheel.

Good luck.

martinf

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Re: Front hub sounds/feels rough
« Reply #5 on: November 02, 2021, 08:32:25 AM »
I've had both XT and Deore front hubs, though probably not the same model as yours.

The XT hubs had grease ports, so could be lubricated without undoing the cones, the Deore had to be dismantled. Mine needed 13 mm cone spanners.

One temporary fix might be to prise off the seals and try and get a little oil into the bearings, but you will still need to get to a bike shop (or to a bike owner who has cone spanners) to strip down and regrease the bearings.

Even if the cone and cup faces are slightly pitted, it might be possible to just to replace any broken ball bearings (I generally replace them all), regrease and keep going.

I had some Mikashima pedals that were rough when I got them on a second-hand bicycle about 40 years ago. I stripped them down, cleaned the cones and cups, which were slightly pitted, replaced all the ball bearings with new ones and put fresh grease in. I also drilled a 2 mm hole in the end caps so I could inject grease without having to dismantle in the future. I'm still using these pedals on my utility bike after more than 48,000 kms, they aren't absolutely smooth but they still work well.


steve216c

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Re: Front hub sounds/feels rough
« Reply #6 on: November 08, 2021, 01:08:15 PM »
I feel for you!

I had an old trusted Shimano Deore well ridden hub that I ignored, and by the time I addressed re-greasing the bearings I had already pitted the cones to the point of being cheaper to replace with new hub than the put in new cup/cone and bearings.

The upside was, this is when I bought my first hub-dynamo to replace the Deore hub with.

These days, a complete HB-T610 is under $30, so if a roadside regrease like suggested doesn't work, and if a bike shop doesn't have replacement bearings and grease for you (which they ought to), then the total repair is not going to break the bank if you did have to replace the hub.

But if they do suggest replacing the old with a new hub- you should seriously consider a hub dynamo and some LED head and rear lights to increase your visibility to all road users if you ride 24/7 with them on like I do. A one time investment I have not regretted.
If only my bike shed were bigger on the inside...

j-ms

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Re: Front hub sounds/feels rough
« Reply #7 on: November 08, 2021, 06:47:11 PM »
The good news is that we are back in Flores, Guatemala and have found a good bicycle shop (BiciPlus located at a fuel station just south of the bus terminal).

Leigh's front hub was bone dry with some pitting on the races.  The bike mech cleaned everything up, changed the bearings and packed it full of grease.  It is still rough but we have less than two thousand kilometers to go so I am sure it will be OK.

I had my bike checked out as well.  It still had lots of grease with no pitting.  Both bikes (Ravens) were bought at the same time from SJS and have covered about thirty eight thousand kilometers so I can only think that the hubs were from different batches, one of which was manufactured on a day after a big party in whatever country Shimano farm the business out to.

Thanks for all the info and advice.

mickeg

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Re: Front hub sounds/feels rough
« Reply #8 on: November 08, 2021, 07:03:37 PM »
Glad to hear that you are back on the road.

Based on my experience with Shimano front hubs, you probably were the lucky one with your bike where they accidently put enough grease in it.  I have never opened one up yet and found as much grease as I would have put in.

When you finish your trip, you might want to check your rear hubs too.  I like the Shimano steel axle hubs that use quarter inch ball bearings, they hold up rather well.  But adding some grease on occasion is a good preventative measure.  For the rear I have Deore or the older (steel axle) XT hubs on several bikes.

Thanks for the update.

j-ms

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Re: Front hub sounds/feels rough
« Reply #9 on: November 08, 2021, 11:06:28 PM »
Hi Mick

Your response begs my next question.  Naive as I am, I thought all I needed to do with the Rohloff hubs was to change oil and grease the exbox.  I am guessing that the bearings also need to be cared for.  I have done a quick scan on the 'net but can't find anything definitive on servicing the bearings on the hub axle.  Is there anywhere I can look for advice ?

Jean-Marc

EDIT: Just found this, if true, makes me feel a bit better.  http://thorncyclesforum.co.uk/index.php?topic=340.msg2077#msg2077

And a post by Robin Thorn: https://singletrackworld.com/forum/topic/rohloff-hub-bearings/
« Last Edit: November 08, 2021, 11:11:04 PM by j-ms »

mickeg

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Re: Front hub sounds/feels rough
« Reply #10 on: November 09, 2021, 12:27:46 AM »
Oops.  My mistake. 

Your initial post said you have Rohloff bikes, but my brain a few days later after thinking about Deore front hubs started to think you had derailleur bikes with Deore rear hubs to.  I did not go back and re-read your other posts before I responded.

Sorry about that.  Glad you got things functioning.

j-ms

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Re: Front hub sounds/feels rough
« Reply #11 on: December 23, 2021, 12:56:50 PM »
We are back in South Africa and I have started steps to replace the missus' dodgy hub.  It turns out that the distributor doesn't stock Shimano HB-T610 hubs.  Shimano's website lists it as being "made for trekking bikes with rim brakes".  Is there anything particular about this (cycling dummy asking questions here) ?  Does anyone know of a more generally available alternative to use ?

PH

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Re: Front hub sounds/feels rough
« Reply #12 on: December 23, 2021, 06:47:46 PM »
Do you know what Shimano hubs the distributer does stock?  There's another Shimano Deore, 590 I think, which shares the same axle and workings, it's just the look and finish which is different.  Or one step down the Shimano hierarchy would be OK, that's the Alivio, also listed by Shimano as a Trekking hub.
I've never had a bad Shimano hub, they sometimes benefit from extra grease and an adjustment once the wheel is built, but even without that they usually last well.

John Saxby

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Re: Front hub sounds/feels rough
« Reply #13 on: December 23, 2021, 10:30:01 PM »
Jean-Marc,

+1 for PH's suggestions, with Deore being preferred to Alivio if poss.

Another option might be a search on eBay for your 610, as well as of course the Deore/Alivio items, if they're not available in SA.

Good luck, and best wishes for the holiday and the coming year.

John

j-ms

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Re: Front hub sounds/feels rough
« Reply #14 on: December 28, 2021, 11:52:43 AM »
Thank you for the advice John and PH. 

A visit to my preferred LBS had me walking out with a Shimano Deore XT M785 and a date with Rob Rudman, one of South Africa's most experienced wheel builders.  It's a disc brake hub but I am not going to get a suitable rim brake hub here in South Africa any time soon.  The M785 appears to be a higher spec than the M610 it is replacing so hopefully Leigh will get good service out of it.  The hub will be going into a Ryde Andra 30 rim so I expect a good few years of riding from it.  I had received new rims, spokes and nipples amongst a lot of other spares from SJS before we left for Central America so I have everything needed for Rob to do the job.  Despite being retired, he will also be rebuilding our rear wheels on new Ryde Andra 30 rims some time in the new year once we return from a short tour of the Groot River valley.  Leigh's new wheel should be ready before we leave so I won't have the spectre of the dodgy hub scrambling my brains while on the rough roads through the eastern Karoo.