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Judgement Call, replace or rebuild
First, a little background. I got a free Raleigh MTB that had been left outside for a small period, enough to rust the chain. The free hub (FH-M40-8) feels fine but I will need to rebuild it anyway considering the bike is around 20-years old.

Recently, I found a similar free hub NOS (FH-M550) an LBS offered for $10 to clear old stuff from shelves. So I am thinking I can just replace the hub and avoid the extra work of rebuilding the old one. But now I am wondering, is replacing the hub really less difficult considering that the spokes/rim will all be removed and re-installed on the new hub, then all trued properly.

I thought maybe you guys/gals have some thoughts about what the best course of action might be from your experiences.

Junkyard Tools rescued from the junkyard!
Your second choice would be preferred by most. The first one would be a great learning experience but take a lot of patience. I would go with the 2nd choice but then again I do have the resources. So this is a good thread for Joe_W to answer.
Good maintenance to your Bike, can make it like the wheels are, true and smooth!
I would have thought servicing a hub is quicker than building a wheel. However, if you've never built a wheel from scratch before, it would be nice to try it out.

I've trued wheels and adjusted the dish, but never built one from scratch and quite fancy having a go. However, I've never actually had the need and it often seems that you can buy a complete wheel for the same price or less than the separate components. :S
Thanks Bill...
1) check condition of rim. If it is worn too much or has flat spots: get new rim
2) check bearings of old hub: it is faster to just clean and grease a hub
3) if hub is worn and the rim is ok you could rebuild, using the new hub. Check what http://www.sheldonbrown.com has to say about that.
4) if hub and rim are still ok: get another rim and spokes and build a second wheel. Nice to have a spare lying around (and a nice skill to learn)

Xerxes is right, however: many wheels can be bought for a price matching (or lower) than the components. The very cheap ones will be poorly built, though, so you have to retension them anyway.
I bought a very cheap set of wheels recently, I got a pair for £20 in a sale. I actually only wanted a rear wheel for use on a turbo trainer with a special tyre, but this was cheaper than I could find a single wheel elsewhere, so I took a gamble.

The spoke tension and trueness seemed fine, but the hub bearings were way too tight and assembled with virtually no grease and would have worn out in no time if I had used them as they were. So it's worth checking the hub bearings if you buy a cheap wheel, or hub I suppose.
Thanks guys! You have ALL provided enough “gristle to chew on” for a while until I decide what to do. There are no right or wrong answers to the question(s). But Joe you do have a way of processing information in order to put it all into a logical decision and outcome. Smile

I finally found Sheldon Brown’s page that specifically deals with free hubs here, http://www.sheldonbrown.com/k7.html

He could sure use a new web design/designer. Big Grin His site is not designed well and really needs an update to put the information in a logical and easy-to-find order. This is a common problem when pages keep getting added as time goes on. His search engine is the only way I found that page, but it is just a google search dedicated to chosen limits instead of a website-specific search found on most dynamic websites today. But back to the subject at hand.

Xerxes you are right too. While at the same LBS “garage sale” mentioned above I also bought an entire NOS rear wheel assembly also for $10, but unfortunately, it did not have the splines threaded for my original cassette. I didn’t see that at the time. My bicycle parts inventory is growing faster than expected. Smile

But I could also consider buying a new cassette. Cost considerations might be the deciding factor. And I haven’t decided to keep this one or sell it at a profit. Either way, I want to keep costs as low as possible while rebuilding a bike that will last a long time.

Anyway, I’ll keep everyone up-to-date on the progress of this bike project. Since I am also thinking of painting the frame due to some rusting it will be a while before it is completed and I have many other home projects in progress at this time. Most of my current projects are dependent upon warm weather.

Thanks again, but anyone else is still welcome to add their own thoughts on this.

Junkyard Tools rescued from the junkyard!
Totally agree with you about Sheldon's site, the guy sure knew is onions when it came to bicycles and the site is a mine of information, but finding stuff can be a real chore.

Regarding the frame, if it's a good one, I'd consider having it done professionally. I once stripped and repainted a frame a fetching metallic purple using aerosol cans. The end result was actually pretty good, I used some clear lacquer over the top and got a very even, high gloss finish. However, it was very time consuming to do, and the resulting finish was rather delicate and very easily marked or chipped. I have a another frame I'd like repainting and I think I'll have it powder coated, which is supposed to be a much tougher finish than wet paint.
(07-30-2010, 11:55 AM)xerxes Wrote:  . . . I'd consider having it done professionally. I once stripped and repainted a frame a fetching metallic purple using aerosol cans. . .

Thanks Xerxes. I'm not exactly a professional painter, but I do have the proper equipment. In fact, one of my current home projects is constructing black steel piping from the (4-hp, 60-gallon tank) air compressor shown below and running the pipe around the top of the garage doors to a water/particle filter to help remove moisture before going to a professional paint gun. The black steel pipe cools the compressed warm air and the moisture condenses inside the pipe. The result is dry compressed air and able to give a professional coat of paint if my untested skills are any good. Smile

In addition, DRY compressed air will keep your air tools from wearing out too soon. FYI Smile

Junkyard Tools rescued from the junkyard!
I had a little airbrush compressor years ago, I'm sure that had a little glass moisture trap doohicky on it. Is there not something similar available for larger compressors?

When I used aerosols I just hung the frame from the garage roof with a bit of wire and hoped that no pesky little bugs decided to go for a walk on the paint before it dried. Smile
LOL, yup bugs are a problem. Edit: Professional paints used for paint guns will often dry much quicker than the aerosol stuff. 30 minutes maybe? It depends upon the type/amount of catalyst/reducer used, thickness, and ambient temperatures.

My compressor didn't have any filters or even attachments. But moisture removal is kinda iffy in most cases. The air must be cooled in order to be effective at moisture removal. And most recommendations say that moisture filters should be located as close to the gun as possible, assuming a long run of piping or hose. Filters located on the compressor output are nearly completely ineffective at moisture removal. And even professionals have made the mistake of using plastic piping instead of steel and ended up replacing new tools and/or having moisture in their final product.

Junkyard Tools rescued from the junkyard!
Well if the problem is with the freehub than why not just remove the old one and put in the new one. Building a new wheel is way too much trouble if your original hub is good.

The wheel looks good and it must be SS spokes as I do not see rust.

From riding the beach path here in Venice CA the non SS spokes on my bikes are rusty.
AS a winter project I may clean them and paint black oil enamel rustoleum. (Silver paint would look too cheap IMO)
OR if I really get bored replace the spokes one at a time with SS.
Never Give Up!!!

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