the bearings in my DT Swiss 240 hub appear to be shot, I have the toolkit for and am used to maintaining Chris King hubs but I wonder if I have to get special proprietary tools for the DT hubs as well?
For the bearings you do need the tools. The hub is advertised as a tool-free maintenance hub, but that's only for light work. Check this post out on bikeradar.com:
I recently e-mailed DT-Swiss on this topic and here's the conversation -
Me - "This one has been mentioned by a couple of people - you advertise a "No tool concept" and a "No tool maintenance concept" while in actual fact only the drive mechanism is serviceable without tools and the rest of the hub requires expensive special tools. I've tried to explain before that bearing replacement probably falls outside of "maintenance" and enters the "overhaul" category but the quote "No tool concept" has being thought misleading. What answer do you have?"
Them - "I've fielded many questions about the no tools concept too. It simply means that you do not need any special tools to perform normal maintenance such as ratchet cleaning and re-greasing. This should be done 1 to 3 times (on average) a year, depending on your riding conditions. This is a 5 min procedure, even for the inexperienced. When you open up our tech manuals, the first picture you see is of a tool set, which looks scary and complicated. I can see how this seems misleading. The tools are required for more in-depth work such as bearing replacements. Want cartridge bearings? Then you need tools to install them. If tools were not part of the equation, then your bearing would simply fall out and the hub would be chronically loose. Show me a hub of any quality that does not require tools for complete tear-downs."
The tools are pretty expensive though. http://www.amazon.com/DT-Swiss-DT-240-440-FR-front/dp/B001CK0S22
You might want to drop at the local bike shop.
In general hubs and freewheel assemblies from different companies require different tools. The lockrings are seldom compatible, and the procedure and tools required to disassemble the freewheel is frequently different.
In my experience and leaving out the internally geared hubs, the crossover of tools required between Shimano and SRAM is the closest. I don't know that much about DT Swiss hubs, but the technical guide makes it look like there are several specialized tools required to get at the bearings.
My guess would be that unless you plan on doing this yourself several times, it's probably more cost efficient to have the shop do it.
You need tools to do the bearings. This is a great price though...65 bucks for real tools: http://www.amazon.com/Swiss-Service-Tool-240S-440-FR/dp/B00G9EMX1K/ref=pd_sim_sbs_468_1?ie=UTF8&dpID=31KHPIDnRtL&dpSrc=sims&preST=_AC_UL160_SR160%2C160_&refRID=1Q5AETTDE5C3TZ8BXFF3