Sunday, August 16, 2009

Hub Overhaul

I'm still sick today, I'm pretty sure I've got swine flu, or ebola, although my wife thinks it's a cold, either way I feel terrible. Sick or not, I couldn't stand sitting around doing nothing. I went to the garage and started working on my new old bike.

I managed to remove the freewheel the other day using a large pipe wrench and what was undoubtedly an awesome display of manly strength. Once the freewheel was off I was able to remove the ugly yellow spoke protector which was then unceremoniously tossed into the garbage. I decided to try something I've never done before, overhaul the rear hub. My bike mechanic skills are on the very low end of the spectrum but I don't mind giving things a try as long as I have enough money to have my LBS repair whatever I've screwed up. I get paid once a month, so depending on the date it can be a long wait until I'm riding again. After a couple of visits to, I dove in.

Here's the hub after disassembly. I managed not to drop the bearings.

The 20+ year old grease had dried up and had plastered itself to the inner surface of the hub. It was much more difficult to remove than I expected. Liberal doses of degreaser and vigorous use of an old toothbrush eventually removed the old grease.

Here's what I ended up with.

Everything went back together with few problems. I was surprised at how much smoother the wheel rolled. I figure that the front hub and bottom bracket will also have to be overhauled. I'll get to the front wheel tomorrow. I'll probably have my LBS take care of the bottom bracket overhaul as I've messed up a crank arm in the past using a cheap crank extractor. I don't want to do that again.


  1. Good job on the hub! it may take a little trial and error on getting the cone nuts properly adjusted. You'll know you're there when the wheel rides smooth and there is no (or almost no) freeplay in it when it is mounted on the bike. There is a little compression on the axle from the quick release when you mount the hub, so a little freeplay is okay before mounting the wheel.

    If the bottom bracket isn't giving you any problems, leave it alone. However, if you do decide to overhaul it, try it yourself before you take it into the shop. Even if you're not successful it's a good learning experience. It's basically the same as the axle hub, only bigger.

  2. Oh, and... if you need help pulling crank arms, I have the right tool. Just let me know.

  3. I love seeing people work and learn on bikes. I am much like you, and have only had hubs apart once before. Nice work!

  4. Yes, you've cleaned out the rear hub very nicely. Like Doohickie says, the hardest part is extracting the crank arms. Try his tool and I bet you'll find it will be easy.

    Good Luck!

  5. Cool...inspires to look for a restoration project.

  6. It wasn't Ebola, was it? It was? I knew it!