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Old 08-19-07, 10:17 AM   #1
ricohman
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taking apart a Suntour six speed freewheel

Ok, I am going to service an old six speed freewheel from my Nishiki.
How does one start taking this thing apart? I have never taken a freewheel apart although I am very good at taking apart small things as I restore vintage camera's as another hobby.
I can see the arrows marked unscrew. But it seems not to want to move in this direction.
I really just want to tighten up the pre-load on the bearings as it is a bit sloppy.
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Old 08-19-07, 11:03 AM   #2
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Be ready for a swell adventure! Also be ready to replace the old thing.

It sounds like you may have a New Winner freewheel, which aside from being one of the most awesomely strong freewheels ever, is also one of the few in which the freeplay can be adjusted.

Unfortunately, there is a special tool. If your LBS has been in business 30 years or so, they will have the tool, but only if the mechanic has been there all that time will they know what it's for.

IIRC, the part that says 'unscrew' is the locknut, and the other point at which the tool fits is the outer cone.

DO NOT TAKE IT ALL THE WAY APART! Open it up enough to fill the space with Phil Tenacious Oil, adjust it to the desired freeplay, lock the adjustment down, and leave it sitting upright for a few days to drain the excess oil (you don't want it all over your wheel and frame).

Be prepared for any of this to go horribly wrong. IOW, be ready to buy a new freewheel!

Good luck

Mel
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Old 08-19-07, 11:12 AM   #3
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I assume that you already have the freewheel off of the bike. If not, do a search on BF.net to find out how - you need a specific freewheel tool. No getting around that.

Your best bet is to just pour oil on the backside of the freewheel and let it find it's own way into the workings of the freewheel. There is very little good reason to take a freewheel apart except for the sole purpose of seeing how they work; kinda like disecting a frog - don't expect to be able to fix anything inside, or find anything that your friends will be interested to hear about. Usually, you end up with a mess.

That said, to take the freewheel apart, you have to unscrew the front plate. Usually, there are two drilled holes in the face plate or horizontal slits that you can put a screw driver into. There are tools for this purpose, but...

I use a nail counter-sink punch tool for this job. Put the head of the tool into the hole in the freewheel faceplate and use a hammer to tap until the faceplate starts to unscrew.

Once you get the freewheel open, the tiny bearings will come pouring out, so have a towel under the works to catch them.

Now, you will find you have created a helluva mess.

Good luck.

Hey, Ricohman, contact me if you need a replacement freewheel when you are done. I will sell one to you.

Last edited by mike; 08-19-07 at 11:20 AM.
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Old 08-19-07, 11:16 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by melville View Post
Be ready for a swell adventure! Also be ready to replace the old thing.

It sounds like you may have a New Winner freewheel, which aside from being one of the most awesomely strong freewheels ever, is also one of the few in which the freeplay can be adjusted.

Unfortunately, there is a special tool. If your LBS has been in business 30 years or so, they will have the tool, but only if the mechanic has been there all that time will they know what it's for.

IIRC, the part that says 'unscrew' is the locknut, and the other point at which the tool fits is the outer cone.

DO NOT TAKE IT ALL THE WAY APART! Open it up enough to fill the space with Phil Tenacious Oil, adjust it to the desired freeplay, lock the adjustment down, and leave it sitting upright for a few days to drain the excess oil (you don't want it all over your wheel and frame).

Be prepared for any of this to go horribly wrong. IOW, be ready to buy a new freewheel!

Good luck

Mel
Ha ha, Melville, we must have both been writing responses at the same time because when I hit "submit reply", yours was up. Not surprisingly, we had about the same thing to say; freewheels are best left alone.

Can anybody say with confidence how many tiny bearings are insid a freewheel? Not me. I always get the feeling that there is more space between bearings when I go to re-assemble than I saw when I started. When you see that cat-wisker spring inside the freewheel, you get the immediate impression that you have gone where the home mechanic is not supposed to go.
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Old 08-19-07, 11:24 AM   #5
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Hmm, I like the idea of using a nail since I found a good surdy concrete nail the other day...........
Anyway, here are a couple of pics so maybe I can get a better idea before I start hammering on this thing.

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Old 08-19-07, 11:27 AM   #6
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So, is the out ring the cone adjustment?
Then the next ring is the locknut?
The inner ring removes the freewheel from the wheel.
Does the cone adjustment and lockring unscrew clockwise or counter clockwise?
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Old 08-19-07, 11:35 AM   #7
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That is a New Winner. Even if you had the special tool, I'm not sure that you'd be able to do much with the slots being rounded now. The other thing is that in the worst case scenario of replacing, what you've got here is a New Winner set up as an Ultra-6. The only 6-speed FW available these days are wider and may not clear your frame without wheel and frame mods. Be ready to buy a 5 speed!

Working from inside to outside, the 2 slot recesses are:

1. removal
2. locknut (pretty sure)
3. cone (reasonably sure, will be obvious once the locknut is loose)

What you've got there is IMO the best freewheel ever made, killed by a market that wanted things to go all clicky-clicky.

Good luck

Mel
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Old 08-19-07, 11:39 AM   #8
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The 'unscrew' is a heads-up to mechanics who would normally expect a left hand thread there on a conventional freewheel, so it's righty-tighty/lefty-loosey.

Again, good luck

Mel
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Old 08-19-07, 11:41 AM   #9
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The only thing this freewheel does wrong is it makes a slight ticking/clunking on the bike stand when under power.
You can feel it slightly when you spin the wheel and hold the axle. Kind of a tick/clunk from inside the hub.
It's not the rear hub as the noise disappears when I remove the freewheel or put a nother freewheel on this hub.
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Old 08-19-07, 11:44 AM   #10
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And your noise is exactly the thing you can adjust out with this freewheel. The noise is the outer body rocking from one pawl to the other. It will stop when properly adjusted.

Later

Mel
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Old 08-19-07, 12:08 PM   #11
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Wow, Melville, great instructions!
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Old 08-19-07, 12:49 PM   #12
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+ 1 on the instructions! very rare that you find someone with knowledge on components like these. The local LBS's parts replacement staff (i utterly refuse to call them mechanics) are clueless when it comes to the finer things in life, like serviceable freewheels.
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Old 08-19-07, 03:17 PM   #13
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I agree, thank you for the tips.
I put some synthetic gear lube through it and that seemd to take away 90% of the noise.
It needs to be adjusted and I will leave that until the winter as the bike rides fine.
To bad I boogered up the notches. But I will get it loosened one way or another.
I may tack on two small amounts of metal with my mig and then put a spanner across it.
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Old 08-19-07, 09:57 PM   #14
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Coupla heads up on the adjustment: Suntour intended the tool to be used on a mounted freewheel, as it includes provisions for using the QR or an axlenut to hold the spanner ends in place. I've done the adjustment with the FW in a FW vise (the kind that expands in the threads) but it was a high effort job to keep the tool engaged.

The New Winner was and is a personal favorite of mine. I had as many as four going at any time when I was racing. Toward the end (and to this day) I had stuff to make 6 and 7 speed combinations anywhere from 12 to 38 and 15 to 20 (I was a restricted gear Junior when I started).

Later

Mel
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Old 07-11-11, 07:23 PM   #15
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Do you need 2 of there new winner adjusting tools with 1 on the lockring and the other one with the other end on the cone or can you just use 1 tool to do the whole job of adjusting the cone?
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Old 07-11-11, 07:30 PM   #16
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Fwiw, have some NWP bodies and cogs I'm not using.
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Old 07-11-11, 11:02 PM   #17
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Do you need 2 of there new winner adjusting tools with 1 on the lockring and the other one with the other end on the cone or can you just use 1 tool to do the whole job of adjusting the cone?
You only need one tool- there's a toothed washer in between the adjusting cone and locknut that keeps the locknut from turning the cone. As said in the original postings, this works best with the freewheel mounted on a wheel or hub. The loops on the tool center it on the hub's axle:

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Old 07-11-11, 11:45 PM   #18
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I have always found freewheels slightly time consuming but basically fairly easy to work on. After the first one it is pretty straight forward.

The single biggest piece of advice i would give is to leave the freewheel on the wheel and lay it on a large bath towel (to catch lose balls) before you get started.

Remove the lock ring.
Slowly lift the cogset and while holding it over the towel, invert it and flick any clinging bearing onto the towel. Scrub it clean and bright with solvent and a wire brush and air dry. Inspect the ring teeth and bearing grooves for pits or damage. If you find any toss it and find a replacement. If it is ok, apply a bead of lite grease to the bearing grooves and a very thin film of grease to the ring teeth.
Insert/ replace the balls on the bearing groove on the inner side ( biggest cog side). The idea here is for there to be just enough grease to keep the balls in place.

On the main body, carefully note the position of the pawls. Carefully remove them by lifting them out of their pivot points.
Inspect the wire hair springs. If they are corroded or damaged you will need to fabricate new ones (trickey), find replacements (good luck) or toss the freewheel and find a new one.

If the springs are in good condition, thoroughly solvent clean the freewheel inner body, reinstall the pawls and liberally lube it with a lite oil such as Tri Flow Gun Oil or 10w.

Slowly and carefully lower the outer body onto the inner body. when the pawls make contact, gently turn the outer body clockwise as you continue to lower it to cause the pawls to retract and slip between the ring gear teeth. When it is seated and in it's proper place, replece the balls in the outer/small cog end bearing groove using the grease you applied earlier to hold them in place.

Install the shims.
Tighten the retaining ring.

Note:
When you remove the lock ring there should be several shims under it of varying thicknesses. If your freewheel is sloppy or noisy, when you reassemble it try first leaving out the thinnest one. If still sloppy, replace it and try leaving out the next thinnest one.
You don't want it too tight or draggy or you will end up with upper chain run slack when coasting, just tight enough to remove all the slop but still allow the freewheel to turn freely.
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Old 07-12-11, 01:27 AM   #19
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That's pretty much how to overhaul a Shimano cassette body, too. Replacing the bearings is a bit of a fiddle, but it's as easy as can be.
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Old 07-12-11, 06:40 PM   #20
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Y'all realize that this thread started 4 years ago, don't you? Daniel revived it with a specific question about the Suntour New Winner Pro adjustment tool.
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Old 12-06-11, 02:57 PM   #21
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I know this thread has been dormant for a while but I have a question... Jeff Wills you had a nice picture of the Suntour tool that unlocks the freewheel. Is there any way you could take another picture of the other side of the Suntour tool? Thank you.
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Old 12-06-11, 08:00 PM   #22
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I'm glad this thread is back as I had almost forgotten about the Ultra-6 Sun Tours. I installed them on my first good bike in the mid-80's because they were really cheap on the remainder table at Nashbar's Youngstown, OH outlet store and were the only 13x28 6-speed freewheels I could find at the time. They shifted very poorly (maybe the Sedisport chain had something to do with it too) but did have the desired gear range and price.
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Old 12-06-11, 09:25 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mike View Post
to take the freewheel apart, you have to unscrew the front plate. Usually, there are two drilled holes in the face plate or horizontal slits that you can put a screw driver into. There are tools for this purpose, but...

I use a nail counter-sink punch tool for this job. Put the head of the tool into the hole in the freewheel faceplate and use a hammer to tap until the faceplate starts to unscrew.
I suspect the OP has a SunTour "Winner" freewheel. The proper tool for adjusting the preload is this:

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Old 12-06-11, 10:33 PM   #24
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FWIW, I have a bunch of Winner and Winner Pro bodies. These are the last generation bodies, used for 5-7 speed freewheels, with splines for all positions except the first one or two depending on the number of speeds. If anybody wants one, please email me via the Chain-L site.
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Old 12-09-11, 12:39 PM   #25
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Does anyone have a "spare" Suntour freewheel tool?
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