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Repairing wheels on a 21" Roll Aboard

I have a model of Rick Steves luggage that is no longer offered for sale. It's the 21" Roll Aboard Luggage Carry On. That name sounds like models that are still available, but it's different. In particular, the configuration of the wheels are different, and that's the point of my question. This trusty bag has served me so well for years, and it's still in great shape, so I want to keep using it...except that the wheels are now cracked. They no longer roll. I'd like to repair this, somehow.

I've got a call in to the Rick Steves Shop online, and perhaps they'll have an answer for me. I've looked at several different posts and YouYube videos online about replacing wheels (sometimes with aftermarket kits), but none of those bags have wheels like mine does. Has anyone out there repaired broken wheels on a 21" Roll Aboard?

I have photos but see no way to post them here. This is a link to a photo album of the bag, however.



Posted by
190 posts

Where do you live-I know a place in Chicago that can repair
any kind of luggage and have used them twice for wheel repair?

Posted by
1516 posts

Check for shoe and luggage repair places locally.

If you’re good with DIY there are YouTube videos. If you replace with solid rollerblade type wheels you should be good for a number of years.

Posted by
8914 posts

There must be a good luggage shop in LA. Call one and they should be able to direct one that does repairs.
I have used a luggage shop, not in LA, to repair the same exact RS bag, not the wheels, rather the fabric that wears through, tears. I would buy a new one if it were available.

Posted by
190 posts

I have made similar repairs to my son's catchers bags. I see many of the Youtube posts are done on bags with the axle ends exposed which make it easy. Looking at the pictures of your bag you will need to access the ends of the axle from inside the bag by opening the lining or by drilling the rivets out of the entire wheel assembly/scuff plate and removing that. Once you have accessed the axle ends you can removes the nut if a bolt or drill or grind off the end if they are have a peened over rod for an axle. If there is room between the wheel hub and the housing you can cut on both sides of the wheel and remove the axle in pieces. Once the axel is removed you can then install a replacement wheel kit of suitable size. If the ends of the axles are accessible from inside the bag it will not be that difficult. If you have to remove the whole assembly that won't be that hard either it is just more work removing the rivets and then reinstalling it with new rivets or machine bolts and nylon lock nuts. And all of this depends on how handy you are and what tools you may have. If you are handy you have little too lose and it will come out fine.

Posted by
2005 posts

My spouse found some replacement wheels that worked (with a shim/washer) via Ebay. My husband is dictating this to me, and said to go to Ebay and search: Replacement luggage wheels and the ones that he got were 68mm x 24mm x 6mm, and you wind up needing to add a shim (a washer). But, it took the equivalent (I exaggerate) of open heart surgery to take the suitcase apart for installation. He said it was not really a major problem, but you have to drill out rivets and then find replacements for rivets (best to use stainless steel). He said the rivets are not standard size., and he said it is very hard to install stainless steel rivets with a standard rivet gun, and the rivet gun could be damaged in the best to have some experience in that regard. He said aluminum rivets could work, but just would not be as strong to last as long.

Spouse just checked old records re: the rivets he ordered on Amazon, and he is reading to me that they are: 610LF (stands for Large Flange Stainless Steel).

Here: my spouse just sent me an email with all this,that I am copying and pasting below. He said this is what worked for our suitcase and he said he cannot guarantee that these are what you need...just need to do your homework. He said going aluminum might be much easier, as he has said three times while I am typing how hard it is to use the stainless rivets.

Mon, 19 Dec 2016 Rivets for Rick Steve Luggage:
1) POP Rivet 610LF Large Flange SS - 3/16" x 5/8" Grip (.501 - .625) Qty-25
Sold by: Raw Products Corp $15.00

2) POP Rivet 68LF Large Flange SS - 3/16" x 1/2" Grip (.376 - .500) Qty-25
Sold by: Raw Products Corp $15.00

We now have my sister's old RS suitcase that she was going to discard due to a malfunctioning handle, so we have back-up wheels for future use.

RS store kindly sent a replacement case to us, which was before my husband was ultimately able to hunt for and find replacement wheels and then figure out what else was needed....washer/shim and rivets. But, as you can see on-line, the new suitcase is so much smaller....we just have not used it....I prefer the old model for anything other than a 1-3 night trip. RSteves staff had us send photos, so they could tell the suitcase was not abused...almost mint...we hardly ever checked it and may have never checked it..just do not recall doing so. They told us they had experienced some manufacturing issues with the wheels. Ours probably died sooner than yours, just because for several years we took 3 big trips each was a very well-traveled, but much loved suitcase, and still is. Still looks almost mint condition....both of ours do.

Good luck!!! Hope it works for you...........the suitcase is priceless and a keeper in our opinion....worth the ole college try. My spouse is one of those guys who can fix darn near anything.

Note: I am just assuming your old rollaboard is the same a ours.......ours was from the mid-late 2000s....likely 10 years or so ago +/-. I did not open your link (sorry, but we just don't open links to things we have not personally searched on line...thank you for understanding.)

Posted by
173 posts

If you really like the case, have the wheels replaced at a shoe or luggage repair shop. I really regret not spending the money to replace wheels on a much-loved 19" Travelpro. I have yet to find a bag I like as much as that one.

Posted by
9309 posts

If RS does not have a solution, my suggestion is to find a luggage repair shop in your area.

If I were to do it, I would check TravelPro and Briggs and Riley websites to see who their approved repair shops are. ( I know its not the brand you have). Manufacturers like these would have good shops doing their work, so absent any other way to select a luggage repair shop ( i.e,. personal recommendation by friend or family) this is how I would look for a good place to get repairs done.

Posted by
5697 posts

A friend's mother had a saying for this ..."The man at the store does it better."
Unless you're WAY handier than I am. Good luck.

Posted by
3789 posts

Other than looking for wheels on eBay, maybe you can find a replacement Roll Aboard instead? One likes to repair, but after Maggie's reply, one does have to wonder about the value of it. At least reusing is better than brand new.