Rear wheel bearings – 10 Mar 2016.

I said I would be checking out the rear wheel bearing adjustment next. The MOT tester had agreed with me that there was a bit more play than there should be. The rear tyre had to come off anyway and there is a spoke to adjust so it seemed sensible to look at it now.

First, I made up a bracket out of scrap aluminium to mount my dial gauge on the bevel box so that I could see just how much play there was.




I marked the rim of the hub so that I did all my tests at the same point then set the gauge to zero(ish).


Then pushed the wheel in,


and out.


The total movement was about 0.16mm. There needs to be some movement to allow for heat expansion. The figure I have is 0.05mm.

I removed the wheel then took the tyre off. This involves removing the brake cable and the brake torque arm from the brake plate. Getting the wheel out is helped by the flip-up rear mudguard section as you only need to have the bike on the main stand.


However, getting the brake plate and wheel out of the swinging arm and past the left shock absorber is fiddly. When mounted, the brake plate sits in this position (I took this photo later when the tyre was off).


I find the easiest way is to remove the torque arm completely then turn the hub like this before removing the axle and pulling the wheel off the drive splines.


When I removed the manky looking rim tape the heads of two spoke nipples fell out! I removed the rest of the nipples and ordered some replacements.


So back to the rear wheel bearings. I knew from my notes that the two spacer shims currently fitted were 1 and 2mm. I ordered 1.5, 1.4 and 1.3mm shims so that I could reduce the combined size by 0.01mm at a time. I had also ordered replacement oil seals because I knew they would be ruined when I took them out.

I’ve covered the assembly of the wheel bearings in an old post here so I haven’t taken pictures of the process this time. I levered out the oil seals and the bearings came out easily.

I rechecked the thickness of the original and replacement shims then changed them to give a combined thickness of 2.9mm instead of 3mm. I reinstalled the wheel and brake plate without fitting the oil seals and tightened everything up.

Using my dial gauge again the free play was about plus and minus 0.02mm giving a total of 0.04mm. I was happy with this so the wheel came off again so that I could press in the oil seals and finish the job.

I’m now waiting for the spoke and nipple sets to arrive before I can go any further.


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