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I am pretty new to bicycle maintenance. I've replaced brake cables, and patched tubes, but not much else. This week my plan was to clean up my back hub, because the wheel hadn't been turning as smoothly as it should. It felt like I was riding with my brakes on, and I couldn't find anything else wrong with it.

When I removed the skewer, the axle came out with it, and the bearings started falling out. This was completely unexpected, since it didn't happen the last time I took removed the skewer, and I hadn't ridden since then. At this point, I'm not sure how to approach the issue. So, here is what I'm asking:

  • What is the best way to tell whether the hub or axle is damaged? ** Edit: The axle is broken. I didn't notice before, but when I went to take pictures, I could see it. (Pictures didn't take well, though) Should I assume there is other damage to the hub that I haven't noticed?
  • Should I be able to repack the hub with new bearings, or do I need to replace the cartridges entirely? ** Edit: At this point, it looks like I should replace the whole wheel, as suggested.

I can tell that the skewer is slightly bent, and I think that is why it pulled the axle out, but the axle shouldn't have been that loose. I'm guessing that the damage to the skewer was done when I had trouble putting the wheel back on the frame.

This same issue happened to this bike five years ago, and a shop repaired it, but my deal with that shop has long since expired.

  • Well, to start, what kind of hub it is would help. – Batman Jun 8 '15 at 22:43
  • I can't tell much other than that it's a cartridge bearing hub. I don't know the model, or how to figure that out. – Nathaniel Grisham Jun 8 '15 at 22:51
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    It would appear that there's structurally something wrong in this hub. Use it as a learning exercise, but get a new wheel. – andy256 Jun 8 '15 at 22:52
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    Maybe take a photo or two of the whole mess (all parts) and add to your question (use edit feature)? It might help people understand the situation or at least help document visually what this specific kind of damage looks like. – TehMacDawg Jun 8 '15 at 23:28
  • The pictures didn't take well, or I just don't know how to best do them. But when trying to take them, I noticed that the axle is broken in two pieces. The big piece was what came out with the skewer. The rest is still stuck in the nuts on the other side. I made a note of that in the question, but I think I'll have to replace the whole wheel at this point. – Nathaniel Grisham Jun 9 '15 at 0:23
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Hi you say this is the second time it has happened , did the axle snap/break on the previous occasion ? is it a mountain bike ? does it take a bit of hammering ?

if the they are cartridge bearings ,you shouldn't need a new wheel ,just a couple of new cartridge bearings ,and an axle . just take what's left of the bearing cases , get a ruler , measure inner ,outer and width , you''ll probably get a couple new for a fiver on e bay, then measure the length of the axle ,if you can source the specs for the bike , even better ,should state it. then the thickness of the axle(9,9.5,10 mm ),you might have to buy an old school axle with cones, but you can just use the axle ,stick it all back together. good as new . fixed for under a tenner . p.s if it is taking a lot of stress ,go for a solid axle over quick release,plus you have the added bonus of your wheels not getting nicked if the thief hasn't brought a spanner he he

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