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  1. #1
    Senior Member bluenote157's Avatar
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    how to get a freewheel off of a wheel/hub..

    i have the tool and a big wrench.. I'm having a hell of a time. My next step is a vise to turn it in place...although I don't have one.
    Anyone in the Boston area got a vise i can use for 5 minutes.

    Thanks,
    Kevin

  2. #2
    cyclist/gearhead/cycli... moxfyre's Avatar
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    The vise is the key. A freewheel that's been ridden for more than a few miles is darn near impossible to remove with a wrench. You really ought to have the leverage and grip of a vise... I've never succeeded in removing a freewheel without a vise, but with a vise I can do it every time (though sometimes it's still a pain in the butt ). Good luck!
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  3. #3
    Last one to the top... Little Darwin's Avatar
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    What do you mean by big wrench? I use a 12" adjustable wrench, and have proven that bigger is better.

    I agree that the vice is an answer... However, I recently removed a freewheel from a 30 year old bike, and have removed several others from old bikes, and I have never needed a vice.

    I sit in a chair, and set the wheel in front of me, just like it was on the bike standing up... I put the tool in, place the wrench so that I can apply pressure downward and push down. Sometimes it will take some time, sometimes some light hammering with the heel of my hand or a rubber mallet.

    If one were really tough, I would even try to work with someone else and stand on the end of the wrench.

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    I used to wander over to the nearest car workshop and ask if I could borrow their vice. Usually its not a problem.

  5. #5
    Senior Member bluenote157's Avatar
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    Cool! Thanks guys!!

  6. #6
    Senior Member Grand Bois's Avatar
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    Moxfyre has a habit of exaggerating to make a point. I've never encountered a a freewheel that I couldn't remove with a wrench. Sometimes it takes a big wrench. I have a vise, but I'd have to move a tool cabinet in order to make enoungh room to put a wheel in it. Little Darwin has it right. You set it up so that you are pushing down on the wrench. That way you are using your weight and not just arm strength.

  7. #7
    me have long head tube TallRider's Avatar
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    I've also never encountered a freewheel that's on so tight as to require a vise. (That said, when I worked in bike shops back in high school, a vise was helpful at times.)
    One thing that a vise does is that the wheel is sitting on the freewheel remover, which helps to hold the interface in place. Another tactic which accomplishes this same goal is to use a q/r lever through the axle and through the freewheel remover tool to hold the tool tight against the freewheel. This is particularly useful on 2- or 4-prong freewheel interfaces; I've never had a problem with the Shimano (and clones) splined interface.

  8. #8
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    Leave the tyre on and inflated. If the freewheel is proving particularly difficult, place the wheel so the tyre is up against a solid vertical surface, such as the corner of a wall. Increase leverage on the wrench by inserting another shifter/crescent wrench into the open end (open the crescent wrench to the thickness of the main wrench). The tyre grabs the floor and wall surface and will *not* let the wheel rotate. Never had a problem undoing any multisplined FW, although the two and four-splined ones can be more problematic. As timcupery says, use the QR to help retain the splines... if the axle has one.

    I have gone to the point of dismantling the freewheel while on the hub and then using a bench vice for a removal using the inside body of the unit. But I was in a remote area without the requisite tools. It's not recommended because of all those tiny ball bearings.
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  9. #9
    jcm
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    After 16 years, I took my old mtb to the shop to have the freewheel removed for replacement. It took six-men-and-a-boy to twist that wheel around the vice to loosen the FW. They can be tough. I bought my own large vice because I have since changed to a different FW. It was still pretty tight even after only a few months. Good thing they greased it. If you don't have a vice, can't get one, no place to mount one, or can't borrow the use of one, try what the others have said. Maybe get a socket and a 3' breaker bar.

  10. #10
    Dr.Deltron
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    Quote Originally Posted by jcm
    Good thing they greased it.
    +1 !

    I recommend greasing the threads before installing/reinstalling a freewheel. I also recommend NOT using "Anti Seize". Just plain old GREASE!

    And for tough removal without a vice, put the removal tool in place & secure with QR. Use as BIG a wrench as you have, stand the wheel up and put the wrench so that it is horizontal. Then CAREFULLY stomp on the wrench handle with your heel! That will usually break loose the freewheel. Then loosen the QR and remove the freewheel.

  11. #11
    Death fork? Naaaah!! top506's Avatar
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    As a confirmed dump picker I've spun off a lot of stuck freewheels. Most come off with a 15" adjustable wrench and the freewheel tool.
    Some have required a 2' helper bar on the above.
    One (and only one) needed a 4' helper bar.
    Top

  12. #12
    cyclist/gearhead/cycli... moxfyre's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dirtdrop
    Moxfyre has a habit of exaggerating to make a point. I've never encountered a a freewheel that I couldn't remove with a wrench. Sometimes it takes a big wrench. I have a vise, but I'd have to move a tool cabinet in order to make enoungh room to put a wheel in it. Little Darwin has it right. You set it up so that you are pushing down on the wrench. That way you are using your weight and not just arm strength.
    My problem with removing a freewheel with a wrench has been more than just getting enough leverage: it's also a question of having a sufficiently good grip on the tool. I've not been able to torque a freewheel tool hard enough with a wrench... without the wrench slipping off the tool, or the tool slipping out of the wheel.

    Maybe you guys are all just a lot more coordinated than me (not unlikely in my case!!), but I personally just can't do it without a vise. The vise saves me a lot of trouble...
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  13. #13
    Decrepit Member Scooper's Avatar
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    One thing you don't want to do is cut the rim off of the hub before removing the freewheel; you need the leverage of the wheel to get the freewheel off whether you're using a vise or a wrench to hold the freewheel removal tool.

    Ask me how I know.
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  14. #14
    cyclist/gearhead/cycli... moxfyre's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scooper
    One thing you don't want to do is cut the rim off of the hub before removing the freewheel; you need the leverage of the wheel to get the freewheel off whether you're using a vise or a wrench to hold the freewheel removal tool.

    Ask me how I know.
    Haha, agreed... I have some crappy old hub sitting around with a 6-speed freewheel on it, and some half-spokes trailing from it. I oughta just throw that thing out
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  15. #15
    Last one to the top... Little Darwin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by moxfyre
    Haha, agreed... I have some crappy old hub sitting around with a 6-speed freewheel on it, and some half-spokes trailing from it. I oughta just throw that thing out
    If the freewheel is more important that the hub, I would suggest a pipe wrench... if the hub is more important than the freewheel, I would say to remove it destructively. (I believe Sheldon Brown's site has a method for that) I guess that removing the freewheel destructively could still lead to a need to damage the hub anyway, but just food for thought.
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  16. #16
    cyclist/gearhead/cycli... moxfyre's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Little Darwin
    If the freewheel is more important that the hub, I would suggest a pipe wrench... if the hub is more important than the freewheel, I would say to remove it destructively. (I believe Sheldon Brown's site has a method for that) I guess that removing the freewheel destructively could still lead to a need to damage the hub anyway, but just food for thought.
    Neither actually, it's a worn-out freewheel on a junky hub. I have no idea why I didn't throw it out when I scavenged the rim from that wheel
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  17. #17
    Last one to the top... Little Darwin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by moxfyre
    Neither actually, it's a worn-out freewheel on a junky hub. I have no idea why I didn't throw it out when I scavenged the rim from that wheel
    Ah, I see... I don't have a useless hub/freewheel, but I do have other worthless bike stuff.

    I have a hard time throwing away two things. Bicycle parts, and books. Almost anything else is easier to throw away. I can throw away bike stuff and books, it is just not easy...

    Perhaps we need to call it an *ism so we can start a 12 step program.
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  18. #18
    cyclist/gearhead/cycli... moxfyre's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Little Darwin
    Ah, I see... I don't have a useless hub/freewheel, but I do have other worthless bike stuff.

    I have a hard time throwing away two things. Bicycle parts, and books. Almost anything else is easier to throw away. I can throw away bike stuff and books, it is just not easy...

    Perhaps we need to call it an *ism so we can start a 12 step program.
    Glad I'm not alone in that regard

    For me, I think of it as this-will-be-immensely-valuable-in-the-event-of-a-massive-civilation-destroying-nuclear-attack-ism ... I'll obviously need lots of books to single-handedly reconstitute human civilization and technology. Bikes because they'll obviously be the ultimate form of transportation in any apocalyptic scenario (I somewhat seriously believe that).
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  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by moxfyre
    Glad I'm not alone in that regard

    For me, I think of it as this-will-be-immensely-valuable-in-the-event-of-a-massive-civilation-destroying-nuclear-attack-ism ... I'll obviously need lots of books to single-handedly reconstitute human civilization and technology. Bikes because they'll obviously be the ultimate form of transportation in any apocalyptic scenario (I somewhat seriously believe that).
    Process goes something like this:

    I may need that.
    I may need that sometime.
    Workshop cleanout No 1: I might need that when I build a bike one day.
    Workshop cleanout No 2: I might need that eventually.
    Workshop cleanout No 3: Everything that's been sitting around for three years gets tossed.
    Two days later: DARN IT!! Where's that bit I had laying around for three years...

    Ask me.
    Dream. Dare. Do.

  20. #20
    cyclist/gearhead/cycli... moxfyre's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rowan
    Process goes something like this:

    I may need that.
    I may need that sometime.
    Workshop cleanout No 1: I might need that when I build a bike one day.
    Workshop cleanout No 2: I might need that eventually.
    Workshop cleanout No 3: Everything that's been sitting around for three years gets tossed.
    Two days later: DARN IT!! Where's that bit I had laying around for three years...

    Ask me.
    Yeah. I'm a stupid stingy bastard when it comes to buying good tires, so I have waaaay too many worn out punctured cheapo tires lying around... my logic is very much like yours. And then when I do throw them out I have a bike with an even worse puncture and I want to swap out the old one temporarily, and it's gone
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  21. #21
    truthiness detector
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dr.Deltron
    CAREFULLY stomp on the wrench handle
    does anyone else find this funny?

  22. #22
    Dr.Deltron
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    Quote Originally Posted by tuck
    does anyone else find this funny?
    ME!

    But it works every time!

  23. #23
    cab horn
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    *jots down tips of wisdom*
    Mes compaingnons cui j'amoie et cui j'aim,... Me di, chanson.

  24. #24
    truthiness detector
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dr.Deltron
    ME!

    But it works every time!
    . Im too clumsy to carefully stomp on anything . I tried it once and stripped an 8mm hex key on one of my pedals......dont even ask how I got it into the position to be stomped on , Im still trying to forget about that extraordinary peice of mechanical artistry. . After a few stitches, a new replacement ceiling fan, and a new dog and all is well!!

  25. #25
    cyclist/gearhead/cycli... moxfyre's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tuck
    . Im too clumsy to carefully stomp on anything . I tried it once and stripped an 8mm hex key on one of my pedals......dont even ask how I got it into the position to be stomped on , Im still trying to forget about that extraordinary peice of mechanical artistry. . After a few stitches, a new replacement ceiling fan, and a new dog and all is well!!
    Dog? Ceiling fan? Woah....

    I've gotten stitches 4 or 5 times I believe. I was a mechanically curious yet clumsy kid. But I've never gotten an injury that needed stitches while working on a bike. I am generally very cautious to make sure that I have a good grip on whatever tool I am using, as I mentioned above.
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