I have a Giant ATX and, during the process of removing the skewer in the rear wheel, found that quite a few the ball bearings (which were designed to be loose in the raceways – a terrible design) had come out of the raceway and were sitting in the center of the inside of the hub. I have been trying to re-center them in the raceways without any positive results. The ball bearings keep on coming out before I can put the skewer back in. Should I just take it to a bike shop or does anyone have useful advice or help with getting them back in?
That only occurs due to improper cone adjustment. Get to a bike shop and gitter set properly. Loose ball hubs are rather rare these days but do work just fine when they are properly set up. Also, check for broken axle by tugging both ends of the axle when the wheel is off your bike…
1) completely remove axle and freewheel, if necessary. Keep the nut and cone in place on one side so you have a starting point for reassembly.
2) confirm you have all parts and none are damaged (note: some hubs have different sized bearings and different count on the left and right)
3) clean and grease
4) insert axle from back side to plug the hole just to the race then add a good amount of grease this will help the bearings stay in place. Once you have one side done carefully switch sides with the axle
5) when the second set of bearings are in place gently push the axle the whole way through and install the cone.
You want it to be tight enough that there is no extra play but not so tight that the wheel won’t spin.
I replaced my driver yesterday on a deore hub using this method and my bike is finally up and running. Ready for the season.