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I was OBE (overcome by events) over the holidays, and therefore I'm way behind on posting updates. I originally thought I would capture the entire wheel build in one big update, but instead of trying to boil the ocean I will split it up to keep it short and sweet for visibility and awareness.

My overall goal was to disassemble the wheels, lace up new rims, true them, mount/balance new tires, and convert to dual front disc brakes. While I didn't quite meet my schedule goal, I have made good progress and its all starting to come together. 

I started the process by pulling the real wheel (again). The brake panel assembly and sprocket were the next to go. For whatever reason, my bike was missing the sprocket cover plate (the one with the 34x55x9 oil seal & 92x2 o-ring) - so I had to grab one off of eBay. The brake panel assembly is simple enough to tear down: Remove 2X cotter  pins, and 2X springs and it is basically done.

I soaked the rear bearing retainer nut in penetrating oil, and carefully drilled out the drift punched locks (which can be seen through the 4X retainer nut holes) with a small drill bit. I made my own spanner out of some junk I had laying around and it mostly consisted of perforated square tubing with a couple bolts of appropriate size protruding though to engage the holes in the bearing retainer. I later picked up an OTC 6613 pin spanner which works equally well. If I remember correctly, the rear bearing retainer was a left hand thread and the front was a right hand thread. 

With the rear bearing retainer off, I was able to remove the hub flange, the 79x2.6 o-ring, and all the rubber dampers. My hub flange had some scarring, probably from a past drive chain issue, which I will need to massage to make it look better. With all this removed, all that's left in the hub are 2 bearings and 2 collars. While the bearings can be removed via "classical" methods (a BFH), I choose to take the easy route and use my hydraulic press. Getting the first bearing out is somewhat of a puzzle. One option is to shift the long collar around inside the hub and try to get a "bite" on the edge of a bearing to drive it out. Instead, I found that it was much easier to press out the smaller bearing first by using a 16mm socket to press against the short collar, which fits through the inner race of the larger bearing (i.e. press out the small bearing by pushing on the short collar from the "large bearing side"). Generally speaking, the components in my rear hub were actually in decent shape. The bearings could be been used again, but I will opt to replace them.

Next is the rear tire/tube. I started by removing the valve core to deflate the tube completely. I purchased a cheap bead breaker, but the tire separated from the bead easily by hand. All that is needed here is soapy water, 3X tire spoons, and 4X rim protectors to get the job done. The rim protectors clip over the edge of the rim and give you something to pry against with the tire spoons, so that you don't mark up your rims. Don't forget to remove the hex nut holding the tube valve to the rim. Overall, the process was pretty straight forward. The trick is to pull each tire bead to the outside of the rim on its respective side. In other words, don't try to pull both tire beads over the same side of the rim. With the tire and tube out of the way, the rim strip should also come off easily. This is a good point to stop and take a bunch of pictures of the spoke pattern - they will come in handy when time to re-assemble!  I used a spoke wrench to get each spoke loose, and then used a screwdriver bit on my drill gun to remove all the spoke nipples and separate the hub from the rim. Now you should have a rim, hub, and a bunch of loose spokes. Time for a beer.

The front wheel was easy enough to remove from the bike simply by disconnecting the speedo cable and removing the 2 axle clamps. This is, however, where I ran into a snag. I tried to loosen the front axle nut so that the axle could be removed from the hub. The shop manual suggests that a wrench and a short piece of round-stock (which goes though the hole on one side of the axle to give you leverage) was enough to do the job... I guess 38 years being bolted together and some rust took its toll. I fought with it for quite a while, and no amount of penetrating oil helped. After bending several cheater bars, I finally had to hit it with a torch, an impact gun, and another huge cheater bar to get it loose. I removed the brake disc and then tried to slide the axle out of the hub, only to find that it was stuck to one of the bearings. So I wound up driving it out, complete with bearing, speedo drive, trim ring, and speedo gearbox. I never found the 58x2 o-ring that should have been behind the speedo drive.
 
Once that was taken care of, both front wheel collars came out easily. I had to put the front axle assembly on my hydraulic press to remove the bearing that was seized on it. Turns out that this bearing was in terrible shape. Its obvious the front wheel seals had been bad for a long time, the grease had all fossilized, and the components inside the hub rusted. This particular bearing was one of the worst I have seen - it had about .100" play in the inner race in every direction. I added a short video below to try to capture how bad it was. On the plus side, now I know where all the play in the steering was coming from! The process of removing the front axle and nut mangled it to the point where I opted to replace it with another good unit via eBay. At this point the front wheel bearing retainer came out much like the rear - I drilled the drift punch locks, soaked in penetrating oil, and used a spanner on it. Be careful if using a screwdriver & hammer to remove the retainer, as it is made of aluminum and is easy to distort. The 22x36x8 dust seal simply pried out of the retainer. I again used my press to remove the 2nd wheel bearing, and then removed the tire/tube from the wheel just like I did on the rear wheel.

Before slapping the wheels back together with some new parts, I took some time to file some burrs and sand some scars out of the aluminum. I had intended on putting the hub parts in my cabinet to bead blast and then spray-bomb in gloss black. After some thought, I decided that it would be worthwhile to powder coat instead (I did not want to have to disassemble all this again to re-paint if the hubs started to deteriorate). I ended up taking the parts over to Anderson to be blasted and powder-coated. 3 days later and the hub parts all had a shiny new coat of cardinal P009-BK180 gloss black powder coat on them. Powder coated cast aluminum tends to have bubbles in it, but my parts all looked great. Despite masking critical areas, I still had to cleanup the finished parts a tad - nothing a fresh razor blade and a dremel cant handle.

In the next update I will cover all the new parts and their sources (bearings, seals, o-rings, sprocket, etc.), wheel lace/true, and tire mount/balance.


A short video of the bad front wheel bearing. The video really doesn't do it justice.