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Idiopathic Bontrager wheel screech

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Idiopathic Bontrager wheel screech

Old 09-30-19, 09:37 AM
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WizardOfBoz
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Idiopathic Bontrager wheel screech

I have a set of Bontrager Paradigm wheels. They're pretty good, although I'm probably a bit too heavy (240#) for them. But even with my Avoirdupois, they're fast and responsive.

I have one issue I'm experiencing. On my bike (2014 Trek Domane Series 6) I get intermittent screeching in (I believe) the front hub. Some facts

1) Mostly only occurs when I preferentially weight the left side of the handlebar. That is, I can make the screech if I push down on the left and lift the right side of the bar.
2) Does not involve brakes. I can open the brake QR so that the brakes are nowhere near the rims, and I still get the screech.
3) Probably does not involve bearings. I seem to recall a little screeching before replacing bearings and also after putting in new Enduros. The bearings spin smoothly when I turn them by hand.
4) Not sure, but the screeching sound seems to correlate with a bit of increased drag.
5) Yesterday when I started riding the screech was observed frequently and was easy to induce. At the end of a moderate (16 mile) ride, it was harder to induce and less frequently observed.

Trek/Bontrager does not provide easy access to parts diagrams (please correct me if I'm wrong), which is enough to sway me so that I'll not be buying further Trek products (I'm actually delighted with my bike, it's just that not providing adequate information to me is so anti-customer that I'm not going to tolerate it). I read that the hub is really just a DT Swiss 240. Pic below is not what I have (I have straight pull, not j-bend) but I'm assuming that the parts are similar. I'll have to take the hub apart to verify construction. I'm working on two theories:

1) Something in the stationary part of the main axle end (part 1 below) near the dropout is rubbing on something in the rotating mian body of the hub.
2) The axle (part 3) is bent or the end thingies (part 1) that stick into the axle and are bearing mounting surfaces are machined non-concentrically and this is causing rubbing.

Anyone else experience this? Ideas?

On edit, I just thought of one more thing. I believe that most sealed wheel bearings are deep-groove radial. Is it possible that somehow I got angular contact bearings and installed them backwards? This is a stretch, though, as i have about 1000 miles on the bearings.




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Old 09-30-19, 10:00 AM
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You've done well troubleshooting. You're applying a load perpendicular to the axle (which it should handle) and causing a screech. Does the pitch rise with speed? To me it sounds an awful lot like you have contact between the hub and something on the axle.

Since you recently replaced the balls in your hub, I'm going to guess your cones are out of adjustment and you have too much play between your axle and the hub. Well adjusted bearings should be able to resist this force since it's the force directions they're designed for. Hopefully, it's just a dust cap making contact with the exterior of the hub. I would expect the sound to decrease after use, as you grind away the surfaces contacting each other. A bent axle will also make it difficult to adjust the cones, and would move them out of alignment.

Either way, it seems like you'll have to take a good look at your hub bearings, check for play in the axle, and possibly pull the axle to roll on a flat surface to check if it's bent.
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Old 09-30-19, 10:04 AM
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The bearings are sealed units - I replaced the whole unit. My understanding is that in these hubs the bearing settings are pretty limited. You can clamp your QR more tightly, but the parts are set up to limit that preload.

I'll check the bearings for play, and the hub surfaces for any tell-tale wear.

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Old 09-30-19, 10:38 AM
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Is you Trek Domane Series 6 a rim brake or disc brake version? I would like to know in case the screech is in any way related to the brake rotors.

Interesting that you are using idiopathic in this context. Working as a nurse, I recognize the term as meaning "unknown etiology" or unknown cause. Some here may not recognize the term. As to the term, Avoirdupois - that one I'm going to have to google.
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Old 09-30-19, 10:42 AM
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Originally Posted by WizardOfBoz View Post
The bearings are sealed units - I replaced the whole unit. My understanding is that in these hubs the bearing settings are pretty limited. You can clamp your QR more tightly, but the parts are set up to limit that preload.

I'll check the bearings for play, and the hub surfaces for any tell-tale wear.
Yeah, I saw your diagram right after I posted, and I doubt the bearings are loose because of you. Did you use a press to make sure the bearings were seated perfectly?

Looking at the diagram, the likeliest offender is going to be the parts labeled 1, the QR ends. Are those also supposed to be pressed onto the axle? DT swiss describes the 240S (the diagram you used) as having a labyrinth seal, which still seems like the best candidate for the noise.

BTW, Are you north, central, or southern eastern PA? I grew up in the central part.
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Old 09-30-19, 10:44 AM
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Originally Posted by masi61 View Post
Is you Trek Domane Series 6 a rim brake or disc brake version? I would like to know in case the screech is in any way related to the brake rotors.

Interesting that you are using idiopathic in this context. Working as a nurse, I recognize the term as meaning "unknown etiology" or unknown cause. Some here may not recognize the term. As to the term, Avoirdupois - that one I'm going to have to google.
simply, the Imperial system of measurement, versus SI units.
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Old 09-30-19, 11:18 AM
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Originally Posted by Unca_Sam View Post
Yeah, I saw your diagram right after I posted, and I doubt the bearings are loose because of you. Did you use a press to make sure the bearings were seated perfectly?

Looking at the diagram, the likeliest offender is going to be the parts labeled 1, the QR ends. Are those also supposed to be pressed onto the axle? DT swiss describes the 240S (the diagram you used) as having a labyrinth seal, which still seems like the best candidate for the noise.

BTW, Are you north, central, or southern eastern PA? I grew up in the central part.
Thanks, Unca. I concur - I will pull the QR ends off the wheels to see if they, and/or the inner surface of the labyrinth seals are worn, indicating a "screech point.

I'm just West of Philly. West of West Chester. My son went to school in Lancaster. Pretty country.
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Old 09-30-19, 11:27 AM
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Originally Posted by WizardOfBoz View Post
Thanks, Unca. I concur - I will pull the QR ends off the wheels to see if they, and/or the inner surface of the labyrinth seals are worn, indicating a "screech point.

I'm just West of Philly. West of West Chester. My son went to school in Lancaster. Pretty country.
How do they stay on? I can't fault DT Swiss for finding a way to make a thru-axle hub useful for QR users, but if the QR ends rely on friction to stay put, it seems like an obvious failure point if there are potentially lax tolerances.
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Old 09-30-19, 03:49 PM
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Have you made certain that the wheel is not flexing enough to allow the tire to rub? That would jibe nicely with the increase in drag you have noted.
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Old 09-30-19, 04:41 PM
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Unca, In the old days we'd adjust the angular contact bearing cones on a threaded axle and lock the preload in with locknuts. QR compression could possibly overcompress the axle but not by a lot unless you were nutso overtightened.

Most wheel bearings aren't now angular contact, they're deep-groove radial. Not so important to get preload as there's little or now inherent play in the bearings unless they're worn. By rights, you should have enough preload to get rid of any play. I don't think that there's a lot of adjustment available for that.

It may be here that the axle ends have stops machined in, and the axles have stops machined in, and the hubs have bearing shoulders machined, so that when you assemble the thing the bearing preload is correct, and tighting the QR skewer doesn't add any additional preload to the bearing.

dsbrantjs, I don't think that the tires are that close, but its a good suggestion. I'll check.

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Old 09-30-19, 09:01 PM
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It's quite possible that the axle end "caps" are contacting the hub shell. All these parts are AL and subject to both manufacture tolerances and compressive "wear" over time. When the end "caps" are removed are there rub marks on the insides of their flanges? Have you tried a dab of grease on this close gap?

These "caps" are held in place with both a slight interference fit (IIRC using an "O" ring as the compressible aspect) and, more importantly, the QR's skewer's tension. As example Mavic is known for clicks and such when the QR isn't quite as tight as needed. The trendy exposed QR cams that use a plastic pressure plate (the curved piece that the cam rotates on) are no where as secure as the traditional enclosed cam designs. Maybe exchange the QR skewer as an experiment.

I seriously doubt that angular contact bearings were mistakenly subbed for radial contact ones. Possible but not the usual error. The whole radial contact cartridge bearing thing in hubs has been both a blessing and a curse. Well done designs are heavier and more expensive then poorly done ones. When new the feel really nice but small tolerances and miss alignments can cause rapid wear. One aspect of this is the thinking that a side play at the rim is wrong, yet radial contact bearings are designed to have some level of this end play. Then there's the compressive force from the QR and how the hub's design counters this.

Trek has various sources for their hubs over the years with varying levels of "bestness". Frequent removal and reinstalling of a wheel (like fronts often see) further add that aspect of wear and changing conditions. Andy
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Old 09-30-19, 09:52 PM
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Thanks, Andy. I need to pull the wheel and check. The mere fact that these are "labyrinth seals" likely means close tolerances.

Originally Posted by Andrew R Stewart View Post
I seriously doubt that angular contact bearings were mistakenly subbed for radial contact ones.
You are neglecting the fact that I'm an engineer. NEVER underestimate the ability of an engineer's theoretical knowledge and monkey-like curiousity creating massive practical problems. Buwuhahhahhah!

So when people tell me that wheel bearings are deep groove radials, I might say "Oh yeah, but back in MY day Campy and Dura Ace hubs were the best and they both were AC. Hmmmm. Maybe I'll try an AC cartridge rather than a DGR." Seriously though, I think that these are DGRs. I would have remembered calculating optimal contact angle if I'd tried to switch to ACs. Then again, my BB bearings are ACs but they were standard items offered by Enduro.

So I have to pull the wheel and check the hub.

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Old 09-30-19, 09:55 PM
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to dsbrantjr, I checked the wheel clearance. Wheel is centered, with about 8mm on both sides. Because the brake are much tighter/have less clearance than the fork does, and since the squeal doesn't vary when I open the brake QR up, I don't think it's that. I'll try this static with my weight on the bike next to ensure fork integrity.
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Old 09-30-19, 10:01 PM
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Originally Posted by WizardOfBoz View Post
Thanks, Andy. I need to pull the wheel and check. The mere fact that these are "labyrinth seals" likely means close tolerances.



You are neglecting the fact that I'm an engineer. NEVER underestimate the ability of an engineer's theoretical knowledge and monkey-like curiousity creating massive practical problems. Buwuhahhahhah!

So when people tell me that wheel bearings are deep groove radials, I might say "Oh yeah, but back in MY day Campy and Dura Ace hubs were the best and they both were AC. Hmmmm. Maybe I'll try an AC cartridge rather than a DGR." Seriously, I think that they're DGRs. I would have remembered calculating optimal contact angle if I'd tried to switch to ACs. Then again, my BB bearings are ACs but they were standard items offered by Enduro.

So I have to pull the wheel and check the hub.
And Your BB has an ability to adjust preloads? I ask this because the Shimano design does but the FSA design doesn't (unless you consider a spring/wave washer a preload device). To my knowledge both use radial contact. Now there are some that do spec AC bearings. Just no where near as common as the Big S or FSA.

As to an engineer's ability to over think stuff... Andy
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Old 09-30-19, 10:21 PM
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It's a Dura Ace Hollowtech II (I think that's right) crank in a Trek BB90. So one has limited preload ability with the little Shimano finger wrench. The Shimano TL-FC16 Hollowtech II Tensioner Crank. Oy vey.

IIRC the torque spec is really low - much lower than most torque wrenches I have. And the Shimano thing doesn't even have a socket for a wrench. So take up all play and put a very little tension on it using your patented FingerTork(R) Thumb and Forefinger combo wrench.


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Old 10-02-19, 09:08 AM
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All, I removed the axle ends ("plugs"). I made a sketch (not to scale), shown below. The design is that each end has a plug that goes into the axle with two o-rings to hold each plug. Each plug has two integral "disks" that are machined into the plugs. One disk butts up against the bearing in the hub body. It's OD is a little less than the bearing bore. In my case, the plug disk is either 1) too large, or 2) due to poor design, the moment arm on the plug is causing it to rub on the inside of the hub (at the points circled in red, below). I did observe the black anodizing rubbed off on the outside of the disk.

IMHO, the design is flawed: the plug width is too large. This has two bad effects. First, it shortens the axle and bearing-to-bearing distance providing a narrower, less stable support. Perhaps more importantly, the long plug creates a large lever arm on the plug (the lever forces are provided by the fork tip pushing down, and the wheel pushing up through the hub). The torsional force must be resisted by the axle and plug (and o-rings!). In my case, pushing down on the left side of the handlebar increased the torsion so much that I'd get rubbing where the circles indicate.

I took the plugs out, put a bolt through them with a nut tightened down, and put the thing in a hand-drill. Then I used 600 grit sandpaper to reduce the diameter (from exactly 1 inch, 25.40mm) to slightly less (I think I took off about 0.05mm). We'll see if this solves the squeaking.

It seems to me that the bearing bores for this hub are absolutely needlessly deep. Less deep bores, a longer axle, and narrower plugs would make a much better design.


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Old 10-02-19, 09:24 AM
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Fantastic!

Here, I thought cartridge bearings were an upgrade. Apparently, only if well designed.

IIRC, these hubs are adapted through-axle hubs. Poorly, it seems.
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Old 10-04-19, 07:56 AM
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Originally Posted by Unca_Sam View Post
Fantastic! Here, I thought cartridge bearings were an upgrade. Apparently, only if well designed.
There are advantages in that you can replace both inner and outer races. In the old cup and screw-on cone bearings the cups were generally not replaceable. Then again, I have a pair of 40 year old campy hub wheels that you can't see any wear on the cups. Cup and cone angular contact bearings don't have seal friction. But they don't have seals either. So dirt can get in. Angular contact bearings (cup and cone) are better at handling side forces. Not sure that cartridge bearings are a slam dunk upgrade. They are more convenient.

Then again, the world seems to be trending towards convenience rather than quality. Look at CDs vs records. CDs have a limited bandwidth compared to records. So a good record with no scratches, played through truly high fidelity equipment, has better sound than CDs. Super Audio CDs (SACD) are better, but rare. Sigh. I'm a dinosaur.

Originally Posted by Unca_Sam View Post
IIRC, these hubs are adapted through-axle hubs. Poorly, it seems.
This is interesting. Yeah, if they were an adaptation of another design they could have been done better. The axle could have been 8mm longer. The bearing bores could have each been 4mm less deep (or 4mm spacers could have been used). This would have made the end plugs smaller, with less moment. This lower moment might have solved the problem completely. If not, the "labyrinth seals" (the disklike protrusions on the end plugs) could have been made with a diameter about 0.06mm smaller. This would mean that when force is applied, the disk would not touch the hub.

As long as I'm criticizing, there is a raised portion on the inner face of the inner disk. This keeps the plug away from the bearing face. The raised portion is not raised enough. If one has grease on the disk (which the hub had - presumably to avoid the screech) then you've added a lot of viscous drag between the disk and the bearing seals and outer race.

I'm going to pull the plugs again and remove most of the grease, with only a little bit left near where the red circles are in the sketch.

I'm surprised that DT didn't make the axle longer, the end plugs shorter, and the stand off raised section thicker. These are no-brainer improvements in design. But they may have had a bunch of extra hubs that they could pawn off on Trek/Bontrager. The hubs work ok except for the screech. But if you pay 1200 (originally) or 950 (now) for a wheelset, you kind of expect not to have any screeching!

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Old 10-04-19, 08:02 AM
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Originally Posted by masi61 View Post
Is you Trek Domane Series 6 a rim brake or disc brake version? I would like to know in case the screech is in any way related to the brake rotors.

Interesting that you are using idiopathic in this context. Working as a nurse, I recognize the term as meaning "unknown etiology" or unknown cause. Some here may not recognize the term. As to the term, Avoirdupois - that one I'm going to have to google.
Masi61,

Sorry for the delayed response. My bikes all have rim brakes. The Avoirdupois system is a system of weights - using pounds and ounces. And I work in medical research (and am, as we all are, a patient of doctors sometimes) and I hate the work idiopathic.

Idios - one's own, pathic - malady or sickness. One's own sickness, or a sickness with a cause that is unique to you. Roughly, "we have no idea what's causing this". As a nurse, I suspect that you and the rest of the team tries to figure out the cause of an illness quickly and treat it!

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Old 10-04-19, 04:50 PM
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I donít think your wheels have DT hubs. DT inturnals are only on the high end Aeolus and RXL wheels. Check with your Trek dealer
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Old 10-04-19, 05:28 PM
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So who is making those delirium tremens hubs anyway? Smiles, MH
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Old 10-04-19, 06:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Mad Honk View Post
So who is making those delirium tremens hubs anyway? Smiles, MH
I don't know who makes the hubs, but Brouwerij Huyghe makes this tremen-dous beer.
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Old 10-04-19, 10:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Unca_Sam View Post
Here, I thought cartridge bearings were an upgrade. Apparently, only if well designed.
Not even then, IMO. This hub is particularly crap, but cartridge bearings in hubs is just slack if you ask me.
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Old 10-05-19, 09:25 AM
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Originally Posted by Kimmo View Post
Not even then, IMO. This hub is particularly crap, but cartridge bearings in hubs is just slack if you ask me.
Shhh, Kimmo. If you make posts like this they'll ID you as reactionary. Then they'll come after both of us!

I, too, feel that the older cup and cone angular contact bearings were better: 1) AC gives lateral stiffness, 2) as a result of lateral stiffness, AC bearings wear more slowly, 3) the deep groove radial design means that the inner and outer races are "stacked" and not "nested", meaning that AC hubs can be more compact, 4) the AC hub is held together with the cone nuts and lockwashers - none of the loose pieces held together with the QR and .... o-ring friction!

The only advantage I see to the cartridge approach is that the outer race is easily replaced, which is not so on the older AC bearing wheels. Shops love em I think, because the deep groove radial design wears out every couple years due to higher wear rates from side forces. So it makes for more shop revenue. Sigh.
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Old 10-05-19, 05:40 PM
  #25  
Mad Honk 
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Wiz,
The reason is they are easy to replace, and do not require a sense of touch to adjust. Put a new one in and it should be fine. Another thing about being a milenial; do the easy thing! I just finished the front wheel for my Ochsner and it is waiting for a new Vitoria kevlar tyre installed to match the rear. I am finding some interesting things about the 59 cm frame I have that I bought to match the decal placement on my 57 cm. The rear triangle has been stretched to fit a seven speed hub. Argh! but the wheel build was a success. Smiles, MH
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