puch front wheel bearing play

Matthew Libhart /

Army,

'78 Puch Maxi-Luxe, ~2900 miles. Wondering how much play I can/should leave in the front wheel bearings around the axle. I noticed on a ride that when I was idling, a noise was coming from the front hub that would stop completely if I applied the break. Does that sound like something is really wrong (a noise generally is, but...), just the play that's supposed to be there, or too much.

If I take almost all play out of the axle to where I don't think I'd hear this noise (haven't tested yet), then the wheel barely turns, meaning that if I pick the wheel up by the axle, it won't turn on its own. Should it turn on its own when off the ped, just picked up, an axle side in each hand?

Thanks again.

Re: puch front wheel bearing play

When wheel bearings get worn, you hafta' tighten `em too tight to get the play OUT. Best thing is replace the wheel bearing cups, inner races, and ball bearings at the same time every 5,000 miles or so.

Use Hi-Temp wheel bearing grease to surround the balls and impregnate the bearing cup.

Also,it's a good idea to replace an axle at this same junction if the brake seems to oscillate to a a stop. Been there........suffered that!

NEVER overtighten a wheel bearing(watch that the inner cone doesn't move as you tighten the axle nuts).........t'would be better that it be a hair loose. don-ohio (:^)

Re: puch front wheel bearing play

Matthew Libhart /

Thanks Don.

So I want no play at all in the axle? It seems like the wheel would barely turn if I did that, but if that's the right thing to do, no problem.

Braking seems good, so I'm not sure what the noise is, maybe just the bearings as they're beginning to wear just over half way to 5K miles.

Thanks again.

Re: puch front wheel bearing play

Ideally, ball bearings should have zero free play. This can be approached but is hard to get unless all bearing and wheel hub components are in perfect shape.

If you've ever adjusted automobile tapered roller wheel bearings, you know those have a torque rating. Sometimes this is like 15 foot pounds. This initial pressure seats the bearing and move any extra grease away from the bearing surface. Then instructions will tell you to back the nut off perhaps 1/8th turn while spinning the wheel, and lock everything down. This 1/8 turn provides proper clearance, which is close to zero. Some engineer calculated these instructions.

I dont recommend cranking down 15 Ft/lbs on the little ball bearing moped wheel bearings.. a pound or two will do.. but i do recommend using that general procedure. Clean, inspect everything before starting. Something serious enough to cause a bearing noise should also be very noticeable to the naked eye. If everything is OK, use fresh grease and go for it.

I don't see how applying a brake could silence a bearing noise unless damage to the bearing or wheel was extensive. My guess is you have a brake problem of some sort..

Re: puch front wheel bearing play

Matthew Libhart /

You're absolutely correct. My pessimism got the better of me in assuming that this noise had to be the worst possible problem. So I took the wheel apart as far as I dared. I've never repacked bearings, so I didn't pull the axle out. In the end the noise was from the fact that both nuts on the brake cable adjuster were on top of the holder (don't think that's the right term, but you know what I mean if you've seen it). Therefore this piece wasn't actually fastened to anything. It was just flopping around in there. It took all I had to break these two nuts apart, don't know who decided take the shortcut of not actually fastening this thing. But I did verify that when I applied my break the cable tightened up to the point that the adjuster was actually tight in that holder...aka no noise.

I did end up learning a lot about that wheel, got to see the brakes (good to inspect them anyway) and how they worked, and did remove some play in the end I believe, which I'm sure was a good thing.

Thanks again everyone.

Re: puch front wheel bearing play

Glad you got `er fixed..............just remember that on loose ball bearing set-ups, you must have a little play, or you'll bind the balls,causing premature wear and dragging.

Just a teensy bit of play,you can barely feel it, and that is the correct adjustment for wheel bearings. don-ohio (:^)

Re: puch front wheel bearing play

Troy Brown /

can i go to my local bicycle shop to get ballbearings? sounds like a good idea to change my bearings on my Puch.

Re: puch front wheel bearing play

I doubt they have 1/4" bearings like mopeds.........I remember them being smaller. don-ohio

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