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Old January 27th, 2018, 08:51 PM   #12
fierocious1
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Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Texas
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I tore down about 50 pair of old skates. Some were 7mm and some 8mm. Some observations.
1. Most 8mm bearings were junk. They are cheap and just did not hold up to skate duty with no maintenance. However some 8mms were fine. These skates were old enough that spacers were still in the wheels for the most part. These wheels were typical Labeda rentals, and others that were made of urethane. The wheels had no hubs so the bearings could seat if they were a little snug.
2. Plastic hubbed wheel's hub can give a little over time, where it may take longer for metal hubs to wear if things are tight.
3.On the 7mm, all had spacers. The wheels varied in tightness, I would estimate that about 70% were too tight.
4. There were lots of bad bearings in the bunch as well. Been setting too long. Most of the time I would find that usually both bearings in a wheel would not be bad. But bad bearings, worn bearings dry bearings all were present.
5. I could loosen up the nuts of the tight ones and about 50% of the time the wheels would roll better.
6. A lot of these skates did not have nylocks. 100% tensioned axles to lock the nuts.
7. A lot of 7mm bearings were actually fairly smooth rolling and could be used again. They were dirty but I could make out that they were made in USA.
8. Also, more 7mm bearings were in good shape compared to the 8mm bearings. By a lot! Out of the app 50 pair, I probably got 2 or 3 sets of 8mm. Way more than that in 7mm.

I salvaged a lot of old rink wheels that would be good for the slider guys out there. Also got a lot of the old hub cap bearing shields with their spacers too. Some of the wheels are in pretty good shape. I have no idea if the slider dance guys hunt for the old stuff or not for retro style skates but I have some stuff if it is needed. Even some old roller bearing Metalflex wheels too.

After all this, bearing spacers are good on 100% tensioned axles on wheels with no hubs, the spacer will stabilize the wheel somewhat. Wheels with hubs don't really need them. The biggest difference is that a lot of these skates also had 100% tensioned axles because of using older plain nuts, not nylocks. Nylocks solved a lot of issues when they were introduced to skates. If you are running metal hubs, really no need for spacers.

Edit: Maybe spacers would have prevented the hub caps from falling out of the Atom Strokers several years ago... possibly preventing hub flex. All hubs are not created equal. Some plastic hubs flex.
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Last edited by fierocious1; January 27th, 2018 at 09:56 PM.
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