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Old January 26th, 2018, 10:22 PM   #2
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Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Texas
Posts: 5,293

Originally Posted by Sunnyape View Post
I'll re-hash it.

I think the need for a spacer between the bearings is valid for people using wheels with axles with nuts. The spacer effectively prevents the bearing inner races from being pushed in too far if the skater over-tightens the axle nut. Pushing the races into a permanently offset position will result in premature wear when rolling. For those using flip axles, they're of no real use. There's sufficient clearance in the system that the inner races will never get into that offset position.

I've read some descriptions of spacers being responsible for transferring loads between the inner and outer bearings when cornering, which seems rational, but if you swap your wheel positions from time to time to balance their wear rates, you'll be balancing any differences in bearing wear too. Same happens when cleaning, re-lubricating and re-installing the bearings.

Skate bearings are more than capable of accommodating the side loading we subject them to will no ill affects other than marginally more wear on the sidewalls of the race channels, but probably well within the range of being proportional to the lifespan of the materials they're made from. When bearings wear out from excess side-loading induced wear, then they're probably worn out from normal use anyhow and need to be replaced.

All the other reasons I've read about spacers being able to compensate for bearing alignment, slippage in the hub, axle flex etc. all seem a little too fanciful for my liking. Even if they did perform all those duties, it's not as if you'll achieve some measurable increase in the lifespan of the bearing, the hub or the axle anyhow, because all the other normal usage and wear factors will prevail.
I have used them before. Depending on hubs of the wheels the spacers would require lots of time to do perfectly. I have probably 200 pair of older 7mm skates that have the D axle ends but are precision. I went through them this last weekend preparing to cull a bunch. What I found while moving these skates is that these old skates had varying amounts of bearing bind. Some spun freely, some did not. I would say probably55 to 60% had some binding going on. I know they were probably thrown together but that is fairly common from rink skates/rentals. The plan is to take off all the wheels and as I do, check to see if the bearings free up, determine if other bearings are just junk and find out how many have spacers.
If you take the time to do spacers correctly, there will still be no gain over a flip axle setup(basically the same as a nut backed of 1/2 turn, which is where I have always ran them)...... other than a marginal increase in axle tension.
"Liberal Logic", not possible.... a phrase in conflict with itself....
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