I bought this 1990 Raleigh cheap on eBay. It had been sitting in a garage for decades and it was barely running when I picked it up. Surprisingly, given its age, most components were fine. But there was an awful clicking and grinding in the rear hub, so I took it apart and the axle and cones were coated in dirt and grime. (And being fairly new at this, I might have lost some ball bearings...)
More to the point: during a thorough clean and degrease, I found that the axle is heavily pitted and the threading has been badly chewed up. I can't even remove the drive-side cone – it keeps getting stuck on the last few threads and no amount of GT85 is shifting it.
The axle is beyond rescuing. But I've never bought an axle before and the measurements I've taken don't match up with what I've found online. It measures 162mm with a diameter of about 8.5mm.
Is it the case that I can't find this because it's some legacy axle size? Will a replacement axle of, say, 175mm x 9.5mm do the trick, like this one here? And will the 'default' nine 1/4" ball bearings be compatible with that?
Sorry for any stupid questions. I am fairly inexperienced with hubs.
UPDATE: It is now fixed. I removed the Shimano freewheel, and it turned out the metal shavings were from the dust cap itself. The ball bearings were apparently scraping against it. I've installed a new slightly longer axle, regreased and reassembled the hub with new ball bearings, adjusted the cones and it seems to be running very smoothly, no clicks or grinding.