What's wrong with my XT hub?

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  • What's wrong with my XT hub?
  • Legoman
    Member

    I was investigating a squealing rear brake at the weekend – the brake seems fine but there’s lateral play in the wheel which is causing the brake to drag.

    The axel appears solidly held by the QR but there’s quite a lot of movement between the hub and axel. Not enough for the wheel to foul on the chainstays, but still an alarming amount of movement.

    I’ve never dismantled a hub, so:
    – what’s the likely problem? Is there something which could just need tightening up, or am I more likely looking at replacement of the loose hub bearings. Or could the whole axel be worn?
    – how straightforward is it to replace the bearings? Looks easy enough on Youtube, but in reality….?

    Cheers.

    cynic-al
    Member

    Loose bearings most likely – adjustable with cone spanners.

    You may need new bearings, and for the mechanically able, it’s straightforward if fiddly.

    Premier Icon kimbers
    Subscriber

    bearings, probably cones too, fit new bearings regrease and tighten up will buy you a bit more time, but the hub is shagged,

    next time buy a hope (ducks and runs for cover)

    Legoman
    Member

    Cone spanners? Specialist tool needed or can I work around it?

    Lots of differing opinions on Hope… But after reading ‘that’ thread I was dismayed to see the only universally derided piece of Hope kit is the seat post QR – that’s the only Hope item I’ve got!

    Cheers

    Premier Icon wwaswas
    Subscriber

    easiest with the proper tool and they’re really cheap as they’re stamped out of sheet steel on the cheap ones.

    I’d assume that you’ll need to dismantle and regrease everything before you reassemble and sort the tightness on the bearings out.

    Have a look at the park tool site for details on how to do this.

    Premier Icon sandwicheater
    Subscriber

    This was my first ‘proper bike mechanic’ job when I got into cycling.

    Get yourself the proper spanners, watch a couple of videos on you tube, is fiddly.

    My cones were pitted but new bearings/grease and went another few years.

    Now replaced with hopes.

    rascal
    Member

    Had a very similar problem recently.
    Cups of my rear XT hub were knackered – after a lot of pondering my options, which included stripping out the old cups and using a donor hub to replace them, I bought a Hope hub on a DT Swiss rim! Got that nice clicketty-click noise which annoys other people now too 😉

    Saying the hub is knackered buy Hope is not very helpful since no one could possibly know if it was damaged from that description……

    Its could be as little as the cones needs tightening cos they have come loose, which is 2 minutes job, may want to locktite it too.
    if you don’t have cone spanners, adjustable ones will most likely work

    However it may be a good idea to take a peek inside to check bearings, grease etc are ok before just tightening them up
    Loads of stuff on Park tool website and look at the hub specs on the Shimano website so you know how many bearings each side takes (just in case you drop one and don’t notice when re-assembling)
    Its not Hard just make sure you lay the pieces out in order so that you don’t get confused when putting back together

    Good luck

    Premier Icon mikewsmith
    Subscriber

    cone spanners, spare balls and grease and the know how on tightening them.

    Could be easier to throw at a good LBS 🙂

    It’s the major problem with using the bearing system that shimano do, it may have a technically higher performance but only when it’s perfect.

    Legoman
    Member

    Thanks for the help guys.
    Think I will invest in a couple of cheap cone spanners (I won’t use them often enough to justiy expensive ones) and have a go at replacing the bearing and tightening up the cones.

    Are bearings just bearings, or do I need to look for a certain type/spec?
    Anyone know how many there are in an XT hub?

    Cheers.

    Premier Icon mikewsmith
    Subscriber

    Are bearings just bearings, or do I need to look for a certain type/spec?
    Anyone know how many there are in an XT hub?

    By bearings you mean actual steel balls…. come in a packet.

    jonba
    Member

    Trent Steel – Member
    Saying the hub is knackered buy Hope is not very helpful since no one could possibly know if it was damaged from that description……

    He said he had a Shimano hub, from that it is very clear what the problem will be, it always is.

    Legoman
    Member

    By bearings you mean actual steel balls…. come in a packet.

    yep – loose ball bearings

    trail_rat
    Member

    “if you don’t have cone spanners, adjustable ones will most likely work”

    for about 37 seconds – they will come loose again if you use an adjustable as the cones will not be locked in place

    Multi fit cone spanners and a rear axel are one of the staples i keep in my touring kit when im loaded touring on shimano hubs.

    you can do the job with 2 cone spanners but without cone spanners anything you do is temporary.

    Premier Icon cookeaa
    Subscriber

    TBH I’m coming back round to the idea of using Shimano Hubs, Nothing against Hope or the like, I don’t think they are mechanically unreliable as some seem to find (YMMV), but an XT “Donor for the OPs would be ~£30 (You could probably go cheaper and cannibalize a Deore I think for ~£20) and for that you’ll get a new axle, Bearings/cones, QR and Freehub…

    Vs all these suggestions of buying a new Pro2 and building a new wheel… ~£140 plus the cost of spokes/rims and time to build (or getting a shop to, or just buying an off the shelf “Hope Hoop”)… and even then you are still going to need to do some maintenance/bearing replacements down the line… what have you really saved?

    IMO for the cost of a pair of spanners, a “Donor Hub” and a bit of time learning a (not all that tricky) skill you’d be saving upwards of £100, and have the wheel back in a functional state much quicker…

    Are people really that profligate and/or averse to mucky nails?

    Premier Icon alexpalacefan
    Subscriber

    Where are you? If you can get to Notts one evening I’ll show you how to do it.

    APF

    johnners
    Member

    I’ve done a fair bit of maintenance on Shimano hubs over the years, but I can’t say I’ve ever replaced the cups. How do you get them out?

    Legoman
    Member

    Madpierre – thanks, thats probably the clearest guide I’ve seen

    APF – very generous offer mate, but I’m in Hertfordshire. Thanks anyway

    Are people really that profligate and/or averse to mucky nails?

    I’m more averse to taking stuff apart, buggering it up more that it was already, then taking a box of bits to the LBS and confessing my incompetence!
    Agree with your point though – I’d rather learn how to do it as it seems like one of those things I’m likely to do more than once

    Premier Icon alexpalacefan
    Subscriber

    How are the LBS?
    Maybe go and have a chat and buy the tool and balls. You can then let them know that you might be back with a box of bits. They should be cool with that.

    APF

    duckers
    Member

    Had a similar issue wih XT wheelset a few years back, stripped for investigation and found the inner hub shell cracked, so returned under warranty. Strip it and have a look, its not too difficult but unless you already own, or can borrow the correct tools (casette tool, cone spanners, wrench, etc) it can quickly turn into an expensive job, although you should probably own that kit anyway and carry in your trail bag, so its a good investment.

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