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  1. #1
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    Freewheel Maintenance - Question

    Read a few write ups on freewheel oiling from some popular sites

    re: dipping drops of oil into the gap between the moving and non-moving parts.

    Here is my concern. Even with a good wipe down on the surface, there may still be some fine particles trapped in the gap. Wouldn't the oil draw/carry the dirt inside the freewheel? Does this mater? how can we prevent the dirt from being drawn in?

    Have a 6 spd regina and a ST 7 speed winner-pro, so I would like to keep them healthy for a while
    If you are not having any fun, it's all your fault

  2. #2
    Last one to the top... Little Darwin's Avatar
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    Clean as well as you can, then lubricate. Repeat as necessary.

    I have had successful results with WD-40 in several applications, followed by oil.

    I also wouldn't hesitate too much to flush with some mild solvent then lubricating.

    As Sheldon Brown points out on his site, you can take freewheels apart and do it right, ut it isn't really necessary since it is about the least critical of the bearings on a bike, only used when you are not pedalling.

  3. #3
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    Spray liberally with WD40 or degreaser until it runs clear out the back. Let dry for around 24 hours (probably longer). Dribble in the oil. Don't go squirting it. A heavier oil is preferred.

    Taking apart a freewheel is pretty simple, and can be a fun experience... if you like hunting around for umpteen bearings that fall, spray and bounce everywhere. A magnet on the bench can be a very handy thing.

    And you can never find enough of the little blighters to entirely fill the races (I don't think they do anyway in the factory), and you need smears of grease to keep them in place. And by the time you have picked 100 or more little balls out of the solvent and wiped them clean with a rag... well, boring.

    Then you need to make sure you don't misplace the very thin spacers that determine the preload on the bearings, and how much the freewheel moves up and down when you're coasting.

    Having said that, it's something every aspiring bike mechanic should try... once. Of course, knowing what to do comes in handy when you haven't got the correct fit of tool to remove a recalcitrant freewheel body from the hub using a vice, or if you desperately wish to service the pawls and springs inside.
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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rowan
    Spray liberally with WD40 or degreaser until it runs clear out the back. Let dry for around 24 hours (probably longer). Dribble in the oil. Don't go squirting it. A heavier oil is preferred.

    Taking apart a freewheel is pretty simple, and can be a fun experience... if you like hunting around for umpteen bearings that fall, spray and bounce everywhere. A magnet on the bench can be a very handy thing.

    And you can never find enough of the little blighters to entirely fill the races (I don't think they do anyway in the factory), and you need smears of grease to keep them in place. And by the time you have picked 100 or more little balls out of the solvent and wiped them clean with a rag... well, boring.

    Then you need to make sure you don't misplace the very thin spacers that determine the preload on the bearings, and how much the freewheel moves up and down when you're coasting.

    Having said that, it's something every aspiring bike mechanic should try... once. Of course, knowing what to do comes in handy when you haven't got the correct fit of tool to remove a recalcitrant freewheel body from the hub using a vice, or if you desperately wish to service the pawls and springs inside.
    Completely agree. Flush and lube is all you need. I'm lazy, I just squirt motor oil in the FW/CASS every time I have the wheel off the bike for maintenance. Never had a FW/CASS failure.
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  5. #5
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    I really don't want to have to take it apart. As much as I lament the death of watch makers world wide.

    So I flush from the small cog side and wait until it runs clear out the back/inside?

    The flushing won't flush in grit?

    then let dry and drip in the Tenacious or other oil?

    This is too simple, there has got to be a catch some where
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  6. #6
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    I put a free wheel in gasoline is that a problem?
    The Ferrari ('05 Bianchi Forza) had a flat (Stupid Glass) the Japanese wagon ('77 Nishiki with Arkel Utility Basket) was in the body shop (On my bench being repainted...repent ye rust)
    so I took the SUV ( Cannondale V2000 Active 100SL)

  7. #7
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    Gasoline would not be my choice of solvent. But there is nothing in a freewheel that I am aware of that can be destroyed by a solvent. Even if it might use plastic for the spacers. Go ahead, dunk away. But I never clean freewheels or cassettes (or chains for that matter, even with washing devices) on the bike because the solvent has a habit of getting into the wheel bearings.

    For the OP, a good scrubbing over with a brush will remove any grit. It really is that simple. I like a heavier oil because it sticks better inside and the freewheel doesn't run quite so noisily (both in races and pawls).

    But like most things, you can experiment once you've got the clean-and-lube routine down pat, and decide for yourself.
    Dream. Dare. Do.

  8. #8
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    DO NOT USE GASOLINE TO CLEAN ANYTHING. There are many reasons to not use gas as a degreaser, there are many safer degreasers you can use. Only put gas in your gas tank.
    I have used the flush and oil many times, there is no need to take a freewheel apart to clean and relube it.
    I did take one apart once, I wouldn't do it again.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by leob1
    DO NOT USE GASOLINE TO CLEAN ANYTHING. There are many reasons to not use gas as a degreaser, there are many safer degreasers you can use. Only put gas in your gas tank.
    I have used the flush and oil many times, there is no need to take a freewheel apart to clean and relube it.
    I did take one apart once, I wouldn't do it again.
    are you thinking safety sake and enviromental worries. If so then the gasoline has been sitting in the shed for a long time so I didn't go out a purchase gas for this specific reason. If I did ruin the materials that make up the rear and front derallier thank goodness I singlespeed my bike and no longer need em
    The Ferrari ('05 Bianchi Forza) had a flat (Stupid Glass) the Japanese wagon ('77 Nishiki with Arkel Utility Basket) was in the body shop (On my bench being repainted...repent ye rust)
    so I took the SUV ( Cannondale V2000 Active 100SL)

  10. #10
    so much for physics humble_biker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by poopncow
    I really don't want to have to take it apart. As much as I lament the death of watch makers world wide.

    So I flush from the small cog side and wait until it runs clear out the back/inside?

    The flushing won't flush in grit?

    then let dry and drip in the Tenacious or other oil?

    This is too simple, there has got to be a catch some where
    The only catch is that freewheels are originally packed with a light grease. By replacing it with an oil you will need to lube it more frequently. And since the oil doesn't dampen any sound it will probably be a tad bit louder. In any case the best way is to flood it from the back like everyone is pointing out, let the wd-40 evaporate and then lube.

  11. #11
    Chrome Freak Rabid Koala's Avatar
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    I disassemble freewheels and clean them. I always use either an empty 2 or 5 gallon plastic paint bucket to catch everything as it falls apart.

    Every time I have flushed then oiled, they still feel and sound gritty.
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  12. #12
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    The original instructions i had, & still follow, is not to use solvent but simply flush with heavy oil, from the front. Seems to work fine.

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