I have a pair of Shimano XT wheels and recently had issues with the hub on the rear wheel requiring new cones and bearings. These were fitted carefully but I've had issues getting the right adjustment tightening the cones.
On the one hand I can tighten it to a point which effectively prohibits rotation, and there is no play. But to get the hub to anything close to a smooth rotation I get a tiny amount of play. I have experimented extensively and cannot find any way to balance not having any play with having smooth rotation - in context smooth means turning cleanly, I realise there may be some friction, particularly with new parts. Conversely when I loosen so there is just a hint of movement I get very smooth rotation.
I've been testing with very small increments in tightness - probably around 3 degrees at a time.
The only thing I can think of is that I've used a general purpose grease rather than a hub bearing specific one, but I would expect that to be a difference between degrees of smoothness, rather than the difference between working and not working.
Can anyone provide any tips or suggestions as to how to address this?