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Wheel bearing busted?


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I have replaced the rear brake pads about two weeks ago and after that I started to notice a regular howling noise, especially at low speeds. It goes away if I apply the rear brake so I thought it's the new pads. Last weekend I took the pads off, checked everything but the noise won't go away. It is actually getting worse.

Could this be a sign of bearings failing? Any tests I can do to confirm/exclude the bearings? Thanks!

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I have to invent something that would work as a centre stand as the bike doesn't have one...

Looking around it doesn't look like a massive job to change the bearings, so I may just order a kit and replace them next week...

The bike has done only 13k miles, and I wouldn't expect the bearings to fail that soon, but I do ride in all type of weather, so maybe some water got in past the seals.

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Tilt the bike towards you on the side stand to lift the rear wheel off the ground, the wheel should spin round fairly freely, if it doesn't you may have fitted the spacers incorrectly or forgot to put them in.

It could also be the piston sticking so i would give it a clean.

Pump the piston out a bit and clean it up, then put some red rubber grease around it and push it back in.

Pump it out and in a few times, if it isnt possible to push it back in with just thumb pressure i recommend pumping the piston all the way out and removing the seals and cleaning behind them and then putting it back together.

If it still wont go in and out freely you need to fit new seals.

Make sure you protect your bike from brake fluid while working on it, and i recommend brake cleaner to clean the calliper and pistons.

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I think I'll spend some more time inspecting the brakes.

The plan is to remove the pads and check if the wheel rotates without any issues and if there is any movement in the bearings. If nothing is found, then t's probably the brakes.

Step 2 is to check the brake cylinder, grease the pads (no grease or shims on the old ones!) and check the brake operation.

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  • 1 month later...

I spent some time on Sunday and took the brake pads and calliper off.

Checked wheel rotation - no problem at all.

Pads cleaned and some copper grease applied to the back

Brake piston - cleaned and some silicone lube applied

Calliper - cleaned. It has a sling that pushes the pads down, and I discovered there was some sort of carbon style deposits on this spring. Cleaned and slightly lubed the spring (just a tiny bit).

There is also a "retainer" - piece of metal that holds the pads in place - this one too had some sort of deposit on it. Cleaned and slightly lubed (just a tiny bit) with silicone grease.

A long bolt, which goes through the "ear" or "eye" of the pads was cleaned and lubed a bit.

All assembled back and tested this morning on the way to the office - no more problems. My feeling it could have been the deposits on the spring and retainer thing that were preventing the pads from freely disengaging the disk.

Problem solved! Thanks a lot to all who replied!

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With the bike on the side stand crouch down, hold at the seat lightly pulling towards you, and with your other hand using your knee to push your arminto the top of the wheel. You are basically opposing the bearings and if you feel a knocking or clink they are knackered. Doesnt work of your bearing have no freeplay and are only making a noise but more times than not they acompany each other

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