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Thread: How do I know when to replace the bearings on the rear axle

  1. #1

    Question How do I know when to replace the bearings on the rear axle

    I have a tilite ZRA and after running around on cobbles and other bad surfaces - I have had the chair for three years. The rear wheels seem just a little more wobbly than they used to but that could be my memory. How often should you consider replacing the bearings on the rear axle? Should the axle be replaced as well or is that a harder material than the bearings? What tests should you use to determine if the bearings are worn?

    If I consider replacing the bearings what is the best bearing?

  2. #2
    Take the wheels off. Take the axle out. Put your finger in the axle hole and turn the bearing. It should move smoothly. Do the same for both bearings on the wheel. It it catches or feels at all rough, get new. There have been a lot of discussions on here about bearings. My only thought is not to waste your money on a high end bearing (like ceramic) we just don't go that fast. I stick with Timken. They are an american company and I've had the same set in my chair for 20 years.

  3. #3
    With all the vibration from the cobblestones, check your axle receivers to make sure they haven't loosened up. That'll definitely make your wheels more wobbly. When was the last time you had your spokes tightened? The last thing you want is a collapsed wheel from too loose spokes or the receiver so far out it comes out of the camber tube.

    It sounds more like it's loose receivers or spokes need tightening than bad bearings. Take them to a bike shop for truing and if you prefer, they can change out the bearing at the same time.

  4. #4
    I was thinking spokes too. If metal they should all sound the same high pitch when plucked.
    I have had periodic paralysis all my life. I lost my ability to walk in 2011 beginning with a spinal block, which was used for a hip fracture caused by periodic paralysis.

  5. #5
    Senior Member lazierdog's Avatar
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    +1 for what Patrick said. Loose receiver or spokes would be my guess. But if there is grittiness in the bearings, replace both the outer and inner at the same time. I doubt you wore down an axle. They should outlast the chair.

  6. #6
    Ok - how do I tighten the axle receiver - it looks like a solid piece of metal

  7. #7
    Senior Member lazierdog's Avatar
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    Take the wheel off and look at the receiver. There should be two flat sections where you can use an adjustable wrench to tighten it. The smaller one, gray tube, moves the tube in and out for spacing and the larger, silver piece, locks it into place. Make sure you have a good hold on the chair so it doesn't move on you while you turn the wrench. Check to make sure the spokes don't rub on anything after you tighten it up. It's been awhile since I've done this so hopefully someone will correct me if I'm wrong, but it's fairly straightforward.

    Last edited by lazierdog; 06-29-2014 at 07:00 PM.

  8. #8
    Big wrench on the large flat areas. Smaller wrench on the smaller flat area. Hold the larger wrench and crank on the smaller one. If you have camber, make sure the toe-in/out is adjust right or you'll have drag.

  9. #9
    Senior Member TiLite's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Icarus View Post
    I have a tilite ZRA and after running around on cobbles and other bad surfaces - I have had the chair for three years. The rear wheels seem just a little more wobbly than they used to but that could be my memory. How often should you consider replacing the bearings on the rear axle? Should the axle be replaced as well or is that a harder material than the bearings? What tests should you use to determine if the bearings are worn?

    If I consider replacing the bearings what is the best bearing?
    I spoke to our Engineering department and they concur with the other folks. Check your axles and spokes first. Your bearings should last more than three years unless you are really pounding your wheels.
    TiLite. The Ultimate Ride.

  10. #10
    I asked a bike shop to tune the spokes before the rip and they refused saying they were afraid to break one and were not sure how to hold the end while tightening - any tips for them?

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