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Friday, July 17th 2009


Wheel Maintenance

I got to do a little unscheduled maintenance today and it turned out to be simpler than I thought it would be, in fact no problem at all.

While Ruth was in grocery shopping yesterday I opted to stay with the quadracycle. I usually do that to chat with people about the Rhoades Car, which is more fun than Wal-Mart is, by far. This time there was no one to talk with, so I started inspecting the quadracycle over and discovered that the left-hand rear wheel brake disc-retaining nuts were loose. I checked the right-hand side and those were fine.

The rear wheel set up is interesting - the wheel rides on the axle, of course, which passes through the wheel's hub-mounted bearings. The brakes are mounted inboard of the hubs and use a machined spacer to mount the brake discs at the right location with respect to the brake callipers. The spacer is attached to the wheel with three studs on one side and attached to the brake disc with three different studs on the other side, all evenly spaced. On the inside of the wheel, the nuts for the studs that retain the brake discs can be seen (photo). These were only finger tight, so obviously my plan was to tighten them. This was thwarted by the fact that you can't get at the stud-heads as the brake disc is over top of them, blocking access. I tried just tightening the nuts, but, of course, they just rotate with the bolts.

So today I rolled the quadracycle out, blocked up the rear bumper on a bin and, with some degree of trepidation, removed the brake callipers and then the main wheel-retaining nut. The wheel then slid off the axle easily. Laying the wheel down, I was able to remove the studs that hold the brake disc to the spacer easily and then the brake disc itself. This nicely exposed the stud-heads and with a hex wrench on the stud-heads and a 11 mm wrench on the nuts I was able to tighten the studs in place. Then I reassembled the rear wheel in the reverse order without any problem at all, adding some new axle grease and inspecting everything over as I went.

I have to admit that I was surprised it was that easy! After also adjusting the crank nuts with the enormous wrench that I have for that purpose I took the Rhoades Car out for a test run and it worked beautifully. I do think, in general the Rhoades Car is easier to maintain than a bicycle, especially when it comes to removing wheels and such.

Total quadracycling for 2009 so far - 183 km

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