I love Wodent Wheels and use a lot of them for my hams, who love them too!
What I don't love is the rattly and at times grinding noise they make. I used to solve those issues at least partially by oiling (vegetable oil preferred over vaseline, which accumulates dirt fast and leaves black residue on the metal rivets on front and back panels) and re-assembling and tweaking the tilt when positioning my wheels.
My two latest wheels have too-tight metal rivets, causing the wheels to make a grinding metal-against-metal noise when rotated, especially noticeable if any sand gets onto the axel and sticks to lubricants like vaseline.
I was recommended Teflon tape! And what an ear-saver it was! So this is a guide to making your Wodent Wheels quieter by using Teflon tape (which is a stretchy white tape you can get very cheaply at a hardware store, and it's normally used for plumbing to make pipe joints leak-proof) and proper assembly.
This is an example of Teflon tape (also known as "pipe tape" and under a few other names):
1/2 in. x 260 in. PTFE Tape-017850 at The Home Depot
It's white and stretches quite well. It's very thin and filmy and sticks to itself a bit, so unwrap it carefully and use about a 20cm long strip for your Jr. axels and maybe 30cm for Sr. axels.
- You do not need to use lubrication when using Teflon tape. In fact, I would discourage it, as it might increase wear on the tape, requiring more frequent re-wrapping, by having particles stick to the axel and grind the tape off between the rivets and the axel.
- Using sand such as play sand will increase wear on the tape if your hamsters frequently run through the sand and bring it on their feet into their wheels. It's not an issue for most of my hamsters except for my Campbell brothers whose wheels have particularly tight rivets.
- Re-apply tape when fully disassembling your wheels for thorough washing or if you don't disassemble for washing that often, when your notice that the tape is wearing out.
: Disassemble and clean your wheel parts
Step 2: Wrap a ribbon of Teflon tape over the axel
Start at the angle end, making a few revolutions around the part before the protrusions that keep a washer in place to secure the tape, and then keep going in a spiral toward the front end of the axel. The important parts are those that will be under the metal panel rivets, so you don't need to layer the tape over anything else. I just wrap in a diagonal spiral all the way to the end, making a few circular revolutions at the end to secure the tape.
Fully wrapped axel:
: Assemble your wheel:
*Note: Your wheel might be rattly from being a bit loose between the front and back washers. It will rattle about when rotated. You can help by inserting an additional washer between the white back washer and the back panel. I used an additional metal washer on two of my latest wheels, wrapping them in Teflon tape in a spiral through the central hole.
- Connect the track
- Insert the track into the back panel in such a way that the clear connector does not interfere with plastic protruding spokes on the sides of the panel, as shown on the photo
- Attach the front panel in the same manner, avoiding the spokes being too near the clear track connector.
Step 4: Put the first washer onto the axel
If it goes on tightly, make sure to rotate it as you insert it, as if screwing on a nut onto a bolt. Rotate it in a direction that will not unwrap your Teflon tape.
Step 5: *Insert the wheel onto the axel in the same way you inserted the first washer: by gently rotating ("screwing it on") it onto the axel. This is so that the Teflon tape does not get too stretched out / scraped off by the metal rivets, as they can be quite tight on some panels. If you see dents in the tape after insertion--it's fine, the tape is very stretchy and becomes thin as it gets worn out.
Step 6: Insert the outer washer and then use a skinny pin or a needle to puncture a hole through the tape where the hole for the securing pin is located. It is to make inserting the pin more easily.
Step 7: Insert the securing pin and your wheel is good to go!
Also note that older style Wodent Wheels were made with metal washers instead of white plastic, thus if you have such a wheel, wrapping those washers in Teflon tape will also help making your wheel quieter in addition to wrapping Teflon tape over the axel.
To add to the first post, I now also do the following if my wheels still rattle. I substitute the original white plastic washers with other white plastic washers I get from a hardware store. These new washers have a larger radius of the inner hole, which allows me to do 2-3 rounds of Teflon tape wrapping--enough for the hole to become snug around the axel but not too tight. This cushions the wheel on the front and back and makes it rattle less or not at all--results vary wheel by wheel.
I recommend plastic washers, as metal ones will probably wear out the Teflon tape faster.
: this is only good for wheels that are slightly loose between the front and back washer and rattle because of it. If you try it on a wheel that's already tight, it will become harder to turn.
Original washer on the right and my new washer on the left:
New Teflon-wrapped washer at the front of the wheel:
New Teflon-wrapped washer on the back of the wheel: