Replacing the Wheels on an Old Samsonite Carry-on Suitcase

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The wheels on our old Samsonite carry-on suitcase, otherwise in great shape, lost their rubber threads. Once the rubber was gone and the plastic exposed, the suitcase became very noisy. I figured it would not be long before the plastic wheel would completely fall apart.

Here are the steps I took to replace the wheels.

Step 1: Remove the Wheel Assemblies

Unzip the suitcase liner and take a look at the wheel assembly from the inside. If you see screws that can be removed using a hex wrench, congratulations, you are in luck. Unfortunately, some models use rivets instead of screws making it much harder to service. If you see rivets instead, you may want to look up youtube videos that deal specifically with that type of assemblies.

Using a hex wrench, unscrew the 4 visible screws as well as the one hidden under the liner. Pull the wheel assembly from the suitcase.

Step 2: Remove the Wheels

Using a screwdriver pop up the C shaped retaining ring ("E-clip"). Drill a hole right above the bolt; this will allow us to insert a punch and hammer out the bolt. The picture shows the sum of all the components. Using a caliper, measure the diameter of the bolt as well as the diameter of the wheel. In my case, the bolt axel was exactly 8mm, the plastic wheel diameter (without its rubber thread) 68mm and the wheel width 24mm. The wheel casing was 29mm.

Step 3: Buy the Replacement Wheels

I ended up ordering the 76mm replacement wheel from The Flight Attendant Shop: 76mm-wheels

The wheels are advertised as 76mm diameter, 24mm wide and as having 8mm inside bearing diameters (I discarded the flanged bushings). The ABEC 9 precision bearings makes for a nice upgrade to the original wheel, which did not have bearings.

Step 4: Install the New Wheels and Test Drive

The process for installing the new wheels follows the reverse steps from the disassembly process. I reused the original bolts and E-clips but discarded the metallic round washers as I was not able to reinstall them. They should not be necessary.

All in all, it took me a few hours to take the wheels apart and put them back together, taking my time and documenting the process.

The new wheels are super quiet compared to the original ones and should last a lot longer!

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