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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a 2005 Garry Fisher Bitter that I have become attached to it over the years. Took it to a bike shop since I have recently ran into an issue with shifting only to find a myriad of problems. The freehub is worn and would need a replacement. I also found out that the front axle and hub must have gotten bent from a hard landing. It is enough for me to have issues with aligning my disk brake. I found a new (old stock) set of XT hubs for around $100 total. Is it worth repairing or should I be looking for something new? Would it be dangerous to ride/take off jumps in it's current state? I want to get every last bit of fun out of this thing.

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Here is the axle. I don't think it is that badly bent. Bearings have a lot of play though.

View attachment 1248627
That's actually the quick release, not the axle. If the bike shop said you need a new wheel set, run away. Replacing that QR (quick release) is $20 for a good one.

The freehub is a different story. You could get away with it being cleaned. If the prawl teeth are broken, it might need to be replaced.

What does the freehub do that you don't like?
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
That's actually the quick release, not the axle. If the bike shop said you need a new wheel set, run away. Replacing that QR (quick release) is $20 for a good one.

The freehub is a different story. You could get away with it being cleaned. If the prawl teeth are broken, it might need to be replaced.

What does the freehub do that you don't like?
Quick Release:

Tested the rear quick release on the front hub. It won't pass through despite it being strait. The axle has some observable runout as I spin it.

Freehub:
It is crusty sounding and quiet (compared to a similar XT hub on a different bike). It also catches a little while spinning the drive train. I am not sure what would be considered worn.

I'll try getting a second opinion from another shop.
 

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It sounds like these hubs require a good, thorough service, not replacement.

Front: In shimano hubs bearing play is adjustable - all you need are cone wrenches. Adjusting the bearings is something you do once per two-three years or when bearing play develops. If that is done then those hubs will serve you until they bio-degrade. I'm serious. I've seen 40 year old shimano hubs spin like new.

If the front axle is indeed bent - you can replace it with a new axle for $10 + labor if you can't do it yourself. Replacing the axle only makes sense if cups in the hub are not damaged though. If you were to replace the axle - do yourself a favor and get a nutted one, instead of QR. Nutted axles are a great way to stiffen up the front.

Freehub being quiet is normal for Shimano hub, especially old ones. Being crunchy, but still working means that it needs a service. Freehubs can be detached from the hub shell. In Shimano this is done, after removal of the axle, with a 10mm ( more likely in your case ) or 15mm allen wrench. Once you have the freehub on hand, rinse it in gasoline / isopropyl alcohol / some other solvent ( depending how brave you are, gasoline works best, but is toxic in handling ). If you have access to ultrasonic cleaner - use it.

Once the freehub is clean, inject heavy oil into it ( through the seals ) and it should spin freely.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
It sounds like these hubs require a good, thorough service, not replacement.

Front: In shimano hubs bearing play is adjustable - all you need are cone wrenches. Adjusting the bearings is something you do once per two-three years or when bearing play develops. If that is done then those hubs will serve you until they bio-degrade. I'm serious. I've seen 40 year old shimano hubs spin like new.

If the front axle is indeed bent - you can replace it with a new axle for $10 + labor if you can't do it yourself. Replacing the axle only makes sense if cups in the hub are not damaged though. If you were to replace the axle - do yourself a favor and get a nutted one, instead of QR. Nutted axles are a great way to stiffen up the front.

Freehub being quiet is normal for Shimano hub, especially old ones. Being crunchy, but still working means that it needs a service. Freehubs can be detached from the hub shell. In Shimano this is done, after removal of the axle, with a 10mm ( more likely in your case ) or 15mm allen wrench. Once you have the freehub on hand, rinse it in gasoline / isopropyl alcohol / some other solvent ( depending how brave you are, gasoline works best, but is toxic in handling ). If you have access to ultrasonic cleaner - use it.

Once the freehub is clean, inject heavy oil into it ( through the seals ) and it should spin freely.
Don't have much to lose to try it. I was told these parts where not user serviceable. Could I use Acetone/ MEK as the solvent or would it kill the seals? Light oil for the free hub and grease for the bearings.
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I am going to keep these spare hubs on hand. Good upgrade from the M475 series. If I have a bent front axle, I will get a good upgraded hub.
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Find the oldest shop in your area. Or the oldest mechanic. They'll have the know-how to rebuild your Shimano hubs if they can be, and will tell you if you're better off with a new wheelset. (a loved old bike often benefits from a new wheelset if it is otherwise in usable condition)
 

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All of the suggestions to repair are good advice, but don't discount looking for a new (probably used) wheelset. 26" wheels with QR axles and 135 rear spacing are worth next to nothing on the used market. You can probably find something cheap.

For example, I have an Azonic Outlaw rear wheel hanging in my garage. The rim has a few dents but it's still straight and I'd give it away if I had a friend who could use it.
 

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Could I use Acetone/ MEK as the solvent or would it kill the seals?
I strongly recommend using OMS as a cleaning solvent. It's much less volatile than acetone and it won't damage any oil/grease compatible rubber or plastic parts like acetone and MEK can. And it works way better than any aqueous based stuff.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Pulled the hub apart. Looks like they used Vaseline as grease. Some pitting on the races but I think it is still serviceable. Mine seems to have 10 balls per bearing for some reason. Got some marine grease for these.

I noticed that my hub does not contain any rubber seals for the bearings. Is this normal? I only see a metal shield over them.
 
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