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  1. #1
    Prefers Cicero cooker's Avatar
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    freewheel and spoke replacement questions

    HI all, I searched old threads for this basic info and read Sheldon Brown, but couldn't find all the answers, so I am asking here. I have a Raleigh Century beater with a broken rear spoke on the freewheel side. The head snapped off at the elbow and so I could remove it but I can't replace it, so I am going to use this as a chance to do my first wheel re-build. The broken spoke was a stndard 10" spoke and I'm gong to replace all of them. The freewheel is labeled Shimano Z012, and as far as I can tell it is a 6 speed freewheel with 12 internal splines. Somehow I broke the plastic spoke protecter at the same time as the spoke...I think the hook on my bungee cord got caught in their a few days earlier so the damage probably happened then. I've read Sheldon Brown but I still have a few questions. I'll ask the LBS when I go in to get some equipment I need, but I'd love to have some pre-advice from you all.

    1) can I assume the standard 12 spline Shimano compatible Park freewheel tool will work?
    2) I understand I don't need a chain whip, right? Unless I plan to open the freewheel bearings or remove individual cogs, which I won't.
    3) I know the freewheel tool is placed inside the outer axle nut when you use it, but will it fit right over the cone and locknut, or will I have to remove them? I intend to repack the hub bearings but I'd rather not move the cone on the freewheel side of the axle as that is the reference one that keeps the axle centred.
    4) I'm geeky enough to replace the spoke protector, since I might have a derailleur maladjustment some day. Are they standard or will I need a particular one to fit my hub? I'll be doing a standard 36 spoke (or 18, actually) cross three design on the freewheel side. The old one, which I ripped out with difficulty, seemed to have nobs that snapped into the crosses in the spokes
    5) Should I replace all the nipples?
    6) any opinions on radial spoking on the non-freewheel side? I understand the concept of spoke sizing.
    Thanks

    RGC

  2. #2
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    1. Assumptions where freewheel removers are concerned are always dangerous. My guess is that the 12 spline Shimano tool will do the job.
    2. You don't need a chain whip for this job.
    3. I've got several freewheel removers. Some have thinner walls and fit around the cones and locknuts easier than others. The splined ones are easier to use than the Suntour style ones with two or four dogs.
    4. Most spoke protectors for use with spin-on freewheels just slide on the hub before you spin on the freewheel. They are one size fits all. The ones that snap onto the hub flange are specific for the number of spokes so that the nubs are spaced right to fit between the spokes.
    5. When you buy spokes, new brass nipples will come with them. So why wouldn't you want to use the new ones?
    6. I've got two dofferent answers to this question. One contains a lot of technical mumbo-jumbo and one's the simple truth. The truth is that I think a wheel that's 3 crossed on both sides looks better.

  3. #3
    Senior Member grolby's Avatar
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    1) Yes. I know, because that is the exact model of freewheel that came on my touring bike, and the Park tool worked perfectly.
    2) You don't need a chain whip if you have a big enough wrench for the freewheel tool flats. On the other hand, the Park chainwhip has a hexagonal hole that is the perfect shape to fit the freewheel too, and it makes a great lever.
    3) It'll fit right over cone and locknut.
    4) Are you kidding? Derailer maladjustments are ridiculously easy to avoid. Go ahead and buy a new dork disc if you want - I don't think they're that dorky, really - but why spend money on something unnecessary? Just keep on top of your derailer adjustments (maybe check it once a month), and you'll be fine.

    Other than that, I don't really know wheels very well. I have heard good things about half-radial spoking on a drive wheel, but I've also heard that Bad Things can happen if you do it on a hub with stress risers or with a flange that simply isn't strong enough to take the load. It is an option, though, and it looks cool!

  4. #4
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    The standard Park Shimano-type splined freewheel remover should fit over the axle and hub cones and, no you don't need a chain whip. I recommend holding the freewheel remover in place with the qr skewer or axle nut (whichever you have) to keep it from slipping while you break the freewheel loose. It may take a big wrench as these things get cranked on really tight.

    Spoke protectors are still available. Freewheel and freehub protectors are not identical so be sure you specify the hub type you have. The ones I've seen for freewheel hubs have a flat inner diameter. The ones with knobs that snap over the hub flange are intended for freehubs. You apparently had the wrong type.

    Yes, replace the nipples when you repalce the spokes. They corrode and you may have trouble removing some of the old ones. They're cheap so treat yourself.

    Radial spoking? Why? This is a "beater"! Avoid it for no other reason than your hub may not tolerate radial spoking as the flanges weren't designed to take the stresses. It's already been laced 3X and you should duplicate the original pattern.

  5. #5
    Si Senior dbg's Avatar
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    No chain whip needed. Standard removal tool, and big wrench in case it resists. Replace all the spokes if you are replacing many (learn wheelbuilding). 3X both sides (radial non-drive side is for weenies. AND you should probably follow the old pattern to avoid crossing against the old wear marks on the hub (or file them clean).) Spoke protectors are for obsessive compulsives. You will figure out the limit screws on the rear derailer. And if you don't, you will already have learned wheelbuilding from the previous step.
    David Green, Naperville, IL USA "The older I get, the better I used to be" --Lee Trevino

  6. #6
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    The easiest way to remove a freewheel is to mount the splined tool in a bench vice. Rest the wheel on top, engaging the splines and rotate the wheel (with an inflated tyre) anticlockwise.
    This is much easier than using a wrench and you dont need to fix the tool in place with a QR or bolt.
    I borrowed the vice of a friendly neighbourhood car repair shop.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by MichaelW
    I borrowed the vice of a friendly neighbourhood car repair shop.
    Which vice? Drinking, smoking, chasing skirts?? Oh, you mean vise.

    Sorry, couldn't resist.

  8. #8
    MADE IN HONG KONG
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    note: last few bags of DT spokes I bought came with ALLOY (alum) nipples.
    If you are not having any fun, it's all your fault

  9. #9
    Prefers Cicero cooker's Avatar
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    Thanks, everyone...I have a plan.
    I'll replace the spokes and nipples. I'll use thePark tool and I have a bench vice/vise.
    I'll stick to cross 3 design on both sides. I'll find a generic spoke protector.
    RGC

  10. #10
    Prefers Cicero cooker's Avatar
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    Bent my bench vise....

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by cooker
    Bent my bench vise....
    I told you those things can be tight! However, the bench vise can't be much of one. A good vise would have held even if you had twisted the rim off the hub.

  12. #12
    Prefers Cicero cooker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HillRider
    I told you those things can be tight! However, the bench vise can't be much of one. A good vise would have held even if you had twisted the rim off the hub.
    I guess it was a cheap one. Good opportunity to buy a better one. Meanwhile I've been letting some penetrating oil sink in. Now I'll probably have to get the chain whip with the hex hole in the handle and try that technique.
    Thanks

  13. #13
    Senior Member DannoXYZ's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cooker
    Bent my bench vise....
    Whoops, you can use a wrench. I think it's a 22 or 24mm. Install the freewheel-remover. Make sure you have the QR or axle nut to hold the tool in place, but not too tight to give it room to back out. Roll the wheel against a wall with the freewheel on the left side. Put the closed end of the wrench over the tool so that it's horizontal and facing the wall. Steady the top of the wheel with your hands and step on the wrench's other end. This spins the wheel into the wall and stops it. Your weight easily unscrews the freewheel. With coordination, you can actually stand on that wrench with all your weight.

  14. #14
    been ridin? shaq-d's Avatar
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    just use a big wrench, 1" if i remember. just bring the tool to canadian tire and see which wrench fits. you don't necessarily need the QR/axle to hold it in, but it helps, especially if it's a first time. just like danno says. be careful that you don't slip, it might hurt.

    u don't need new spokes/nipples.

    sd

  15. #15
    Prefers Cicero cooker's Avatar
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    It's off! I was able to use a pipe wrench because the freewheel tool had a round knobby section just below the hex end that the wrench could grab without damaging the hex, plus the penetrating oil and a rubber mallet.
    Thanks everyone.

    ps. I've added a new bench vice/vise to my Christmas wish list!

  16. #16
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    Why are you rebuilding the wheel if only 1 spoke broke? Just replace that spoke unless the rim is too bent to get it back in true, in which case, rebuild with a new rim. Grease the threads on the freewheel when you put it back on.

  17. #17
    Prefers Cicero cooker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by San Rensho
    Why are you rebuilding the wheel if only 1 spoke broke? Just replace that spoke unless the rim is too bent to get it back in true, in which case, rebuild with a new rim. Grease the threads on the freewheel when you put it back on.
    I bought this beater partly as a project/shop bike to practise technical skills on. (Having said, that, I may just replace the one spoke after all.)
    Thanks

  18. #18
    Senior Member AD-SLE's Avatar
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    Cooker: Enjoyed reading this thread as on the way to the office today....TWANG! My first broken spoke on the freewheel side of course! Made it home and then the magic began after I got the family to bed. Like you are learning with your shop bike, (excellent idea) I had built these wheels years ago. Got the freewheel remover (Atom), box of spokes and nipples and a quality Park spoke wrench. 23 years later...I found the Atom FW remover, still have the quality Park spoke wrench and even the original box of spokes! I have moved 6 times coast to coast and I have the original box! There is a bike god after all looking out for me!!

    Just finished whipping off the freewheel, lacing a new spoke (4x ugh!), torqued up the spoke, and as a bonus, used my brand new 13/15 Park cone wrench based on Sheldon's advice and got those cones perfect! Put it all back together. All in under 30 minutes! Ok, ok. I'll true the wheel tomorrow.

    My point, keep all you bike junk in one place. I use the stackable/nestable box with the fold-in top. Got two of them with all my small part bike crud. Keep all my bike tools in a special bike only tool box. Viola! Nice when it all works! If I had not had my "project bike", I would never have attempted this starting at 11:00 after the family went to bed or completed it in 30 minutes.

    I agree, just do the one spoke. Better places to spend money...the right basic bike tools is a good start! Can't believe I have suffered without a proper cone wrench all these "el cheapo" years!

  19. #19
    Senior Member DannoXYZ's Avatar
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    One thing to be careful about is to route the new spokes in the same direction as the old ones so that you don't cut new grooves into the spoke-holes on the hub. If you don't re-use the old grooves, you end up cutting a new one leading to more stress-risers that can cause cracks to start. Have fun!

  20. #20
    Prefers Cicero cooker's Avatar
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    AD-SLE, DannoXYZ, thanks for the additional comments. I'm aware of the need to line up the new spoke(s) in the same grooves as the old to prevent hub flange failure. I really need better cone wrenches...I agree that is one place where it's easy but not ideal to be cheap.

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