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Old 09-04-07, 07:17 PM   #1
maryanne
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Pedaling doesn't propel my bike

I have a Trek mountain bike that has been hanging in the garage for over a year. I tried to ride it this weekend and found the crank arms move freely in the forward direction, just the same as they do (and should) in the backward direction. In a stationary position, you can turn the pedals forward but the rear wheel is not engaged. Chains are on the gears, and it doesn't matter which gear I'm in. Can anyone tell me what is likely the issue? Thanks from a Newbie.
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Old 09-04-07, 07:35 PM   #2
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sounds like the pawls are not engaging in the rear freewheel/freehub
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Old 09-04-07, 07:36 PM   #3
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+1 on the pawls theory, although I've never heard of this happening. A pawl, btw, is the little tooth inside of a freewheel that engages the gears, but lets them spin free.

Post a photo. Or a video if possible.
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Old 09-04-07, 07:36 PM   #4
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It sounds like your prawls inside your freehub body (or freewheel) are possibly rusted to the point where they are not moving, and are all stuck in a non-engaged position. You'll need to spray some penetrating lubricant inside it so they release. It may have to sit for a day or two for the oil to work in. If that doesn't work, you may need to replace the freehub (again, or freewheel depending on what you have).
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Old 09-04-07, 07:48 PM   #5
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If you take the wheel off the bike, you should be able to spin (by hand) the cassette/freewheel backwards but not forward. That's how it's supposed to be. You can spin yours forward, too, right?
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Old 09-05-07, 03:01 PM   #6
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Wow. Thanks so much for all of the insight, guys. I had to look up a picture of a 'pawl', so that gives you an idea of where I am. I took off the back wheel, and yes, it spins in both directions as I hold the cassette stationary. I can't see how I would take off the cassette, but I did get the axle rod out (I'm not sure if that's what you call it). That didn't tell me much. But now the ball bearings fell out. I think I've kept them separate. I sprayed the lubricant into the center of the wheel, and now when it spins it seems to 'click' more. It was barely clicking before. With flashbacks to a dollhouse I once disassembled with a butter knife and could never get back together, I'm starting to thing I should just bring that wheel into a bike shop. I was just hoping the answer would be simple... like maybe something came off the track. Thanks to everyone for the advice.
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Old 09-05-07, 03:07 PM   #7
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Hey pretty good for a first try! Maybe your freehub is actually broken and that's why the bearings fell out. You probably just unscrewed the cones though. The shop can provide you with new bearings cheap if you've lost any.
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Old 09-05-07, 03:19 PM   #8
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The "axle rod" is just the skewer, which is only responsible for holding your wheel in place in the rear dropout. I would recommend working on that hub a bit longer, use some WD-40 or other penetrating spray, but if that doesn't bring the desired result, it wouldn't be too much money to get a new rear wheel and have a store throw your cassette on it for you. It sounds very damaged.
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Old 09-05-07, 03:21 PM   #9
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The "axle rod" is just the skewer
It could very well be the actual axle! That would explain the loose bearings!
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Old 09-05-07, 03:47 PM   #10
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I don't think it's a good idea to do anything but take the bike to a shop. In addition to knowledge you are lacking the tools to do any of the work needed. Some of the advice above is questionable, esp as regards throwing your cassette on a new wheel, as the cassette must be the problem.
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Old 09-05-07, 04:03 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cny-bikeman View Post
Some of the advice above is questionable, esp as regards throwing your cassette on a new wheel, as the cassette must be the problem.
That's not questionable advice at all. If it is a cassette, the problem will be with the freehub Freewheel and Cassette. The cassette should not be the problem. Unless the splines are worn on the cassette, but that is very unlikely. It will very likely be the freehub or freewheel.

Last edited by masiman; 09-06-07 at 07:28 AM. Reason: Fixed link
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Old 09-05-07, 09:19 PM   #12
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Thanks once again. I will update you as to the diagnosis in case you're curious. At this point it is unlikely that I have reassembled the thing correctly so I will seek some professional assistance.
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Old 09-29-07, 10:00 PM   #13
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maryanne, I'd be interested if you found the solution to the problem - my brother's bike is doing the same thing and I'd love to know what you learned. Thanks!
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Old 10-01-07, 01:17 PM   #14
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I had to leave before I was able to bring in the wheel. I'm temporarily relocated due to work. I'll be back in town at the end of Oct and will get it in to the shop then. One thing -- I did spray the wheel with lubricant as the guys here suggested and I noticed that after a couple of days, the cartridge would catch as it was supposed to. But then it would revert back to freely turning. No telling what I'll find when I get back, but I doubt that I repacked those ball bearings correctly so I will need to bring it in regardless. I will post an answer when I get the final verdict.
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Old 10-04-07, 11:44 PM   #15
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Messing up cup and cone bearings is a common mistake when people poke at their rear hub. You need a cone wrench of the correct size to re-adjust it properly ($5), but otherwise its not too tricky, as long as you follow the correct procedure. (See the Park website for instructions.)
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Old 10-04-07, 11:47 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cny-bikeman View Post
I don't think it's a good idea to do anything but take the bike to a shop. In addition to knowledge you are lacking the tools to do any of the work needed. Some of the advice above is questionable, esp as regards throwing your cassette on a new wheel, as the cassette must be the problem.
If it truly is a cassette and not a freewheel than the freehub is the problem, not the cassette.

If this was a freewheel than I would agree, that is the problem since the pawl mechanism is inside the freewheel.
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Old 10-16-07, 05:30 AM   #17
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gumed up free wheel.....blast it with wd-40.
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