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I repacked a front hub I haven't worked on before and can't get rid of the clicking. (It wasn't clicking before I repacked it, just sluggish and overdue for an overhaul.) Bike is a 2016 Kona Sutra; hubs are Shimano Deoro.

I adjusted the cones so there was minimal play that went away when I reefed down the QR, and got constant clicking when I spun the wheel and put my ear next to the hub. Figured it was grease starvation. (This is the first hub I've owned that has dust covers you're not supposed to remove when cleaning and repacking. Not a fan; I like to see how clean the bearing cups are and know exactly how much grease I'm putting in.)

So I took the hub apart again and squeezed more grease on the bearings.

Re-adjusted for minimal play when lightly mounted, and none when reefed down. Clicking's reduced now, but still audible when I spin the wheel and put my ear next to the hub.

I gave bearings, cones, and cups a thorough eyeball inspection when I cleaned them; nothing dramatic there. (I suppose they could be pitted or brinneled at a magnified level, but I wouldn't expect that to cause this kind of noise.)

Any ideas? Thanks.

(PS: While researching this issue, I've twice found references to the same problem on Shimano hubs. One answerer said, "That's just Shimano; live with it." Another on the other post said approximately the same thing. Any thoughts about this, Shimano people?)

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    Does it click if you spin the wheel backward? The comment about Dust Covers is confusing me - Shimano use cup and cone, whereas "dust covers" sounds like the sides of a cartridge bearing. Or are these dust shields around the cone nut ? – Criggie Aug 3 at 23:32
  • I wonder if you got some crud in the bearing. – Daniel R Hicks Aug 4 at 1:16
  • Yes, these are the dust caps around the nuts. On my old hubs they were metal and popped out easily with a tire iron or screw driver, giving me full access to the bearing assemblies. The dust caps on these Deores are rubber, and said to be too fragile to remove. Thanks for your advice, I'll remember it if my new theory turns out to be false. – 80sTourist Aug 4 at 4:12
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Does it only click with the QR closed and tight? Tighten the QR only tight enough to hold the wheel in place and spin the wheel. If the click is gone the QR is so tight it is compressing the cones. It may take some trial and error to find the sweet spot where the wheel feels too loose off the bike but just right when the QR is compressed.

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    Do you know what, I went out the shop to test your hypothesis, and while I was at it I noticed a few things that have led me to believe that the whole "problem" is rubber whiskers on the new tire I installed hitting the fender! It's hard to be certain, because whatever the noise is, it's being transmitted across the wheel through the spokes, but it seems louder up top where the fender is. And the fender isn't perfectly true, so the tire does pass very close to it there. So that's my new theory. Thanks for the advice! It may have solved my problem, however inadvertently. – 80sTourist Aug 4 at 4:05
  • @80sTourist lol yeah those whiskers can be loud when you're listening carefully! btw If an answer is helpful the best way you can say thanks is to also place an upvote on the answer – Swifty Aug 4 at 9:44
  • I'm a Shimano guy and there hasn't been any chronic problem with clicking or other bothersome noises from their hubs, especially after a rebuild. The dust covers that sit on the inside of the cup, just above the ball-bearings do come out. They have a metal ring skeleton. I work a flat-blade screwdriver, gently prying up, around the underside of the dust cover. Eventually it yields, undamaged – Jeff Aug 4 at 23:12
  • Thanks, Jeff. I'll look for that when I do the rear wheel. Several sources I've read say those caps won't seal again when you put them back on; that they won't be watertight anymore. Frankly, I don't ride a lot in water or wet conditions; my old bike had the non-watertight metal caps and it was never a problem; and not being able to see and work on the cups is annoying. So I may see if the world ends when I pry one of these new ones up. – 80sTourist Aug 5 at 2:06

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