Odd sized ball bearings

All uphill

I didn't recognise you but I knew your bike
This afternoon I was happily investigating the slightly wobbly front wheel of a friend's latest bike purchase.

Turned out the cones were loose and one side was missing three out of nine balls. I didnt have the correct size ball bearings, but did have plenty 1/16" smaller.

I ordered new ball bearings and will replace all the existing ones when the new ones arrive.

Here's my question. If I had used three of the slightly smaller bearings distributed between the correct sized ones, just to keep them apart, would that have worked?


Quite dreadful
lost somewhere
Probably, for a while. I guess the bigger balls and the raceway would wear faster, but nothing too awful for a bit.

Ajax Bay

East Devon
The smaller ones would not have 'touched the sides'; would take no load and inserting them would make no difference.
Having said that, the bearing would continue to have 'worked' and maybe there's some merit in your separation motive.
But, gosh, your local LBS will have a set of ?20 in a small plastic bag for small change. Don't waste your time: don't put the hub back together till you can use (edit) a complete new set (they need to be from the same 'batch' as they must have identical diameters).
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You could use the undersized balls to space out the good 6 more evenly. That would have a small benefit.

But not worth the time/effort for a few miles of riding!
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