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  1. #1
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    Help me remove this cassette!

    Hey there, knowledgeable bike folk. I'm trying to get a 5-speed cassette off a wheel from a Diamondback Curaca of unknown vintage (late 80s?)... and having no luck. My park fr-5 is too big, and I ordered a tool for older shimano cassette lockrings that may do it if I can get that bolt on the axel out of the way. When I wrench that nut, the nuts on the other side conspire against me and move as one right off the axel, at which point, despite ludicrous amounts of play, I can't yank the axel through. This has become quite frustrating. I'd appreciate any help on how to get this off.

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    Senior Member tjspiel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by enicma View Post
    Hey there, knowledgeable bike folk. I'm trying to get a 5-speed cassette off a wheel from a Diamondback Curaca of unknown vintage (late 80s?)... and having no luck. My park fr-5 is too big, and I ordered a tool for older shimano cassette lockrings that may do it if I can get that bolt on the axel out of the way. When I wrench that nut, the nuts on the other side conspire against me and move as one right off the axel, at which point, despite ludicrous amounts of play, I can't yank the axel through. This has become quite frustrating. I'd appreciate any help on how to get this off.
    You mentioned two nuts. Is one the cone? If the cone is still on the left side of the hub, the axle won't come out. You could try wrenching the two nuts on the opposite side tightly together, then loosen the one on the "cassette" side.

    Since this bike is on the older side, is there any chance your talking about a freewheel here as opposed to a free hub? If so, there's no lock ring. The whole deal screws off. They can get pretty tight over time and you might want to investigate some removal methods. It's completely doable, it's just that holding the wheel in one hand and using a normal wrench in the other may not give you enough leverage.
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  3. #3
    Gone, but not forgotten Sheldon Brown's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by enicma View Post
    Hey there, knowledgeable bike folk. I'm trying to get a 5-speed cassette off a wheel from a Diamondback Curaca of unknown vintage (late 80s?)... and having no luck. My park fr-5 is too big, and I ordered a tool for older shimano cassette lockrings that may do it if I can get that bolt on the axel out of the way. When I wrench that nut, the nuts on the other side conspire against me and move as one right off the axel, at which point, despite ludicrous amounts of play, I can't yank the axel through. This has become quite frustrating. I'd appreciate any help on how to get this off.
    If it's really a 5-speed cassette you need two chain whips, one to unscrew the smallest sprocket, the other to attach to one of the other sprockets to keep the cassette from rotating backwards.

    5-speed cassette hubs are very uncommon...cassette Freehubs didn't really catch on until the move to 7-speeds in the late '80s.

    Most 5-speeds are thread-on freewheels, not cassettes. If you're not clear on this, see:

    http://sheldonbrown.com/free-k7

    If it's a freewheel, it probably needs an old style Shimano "Boss" freewheel remover.

    See: http://harriscyclery.com/tools/freewheel

    See also my page about old-style freewheels: http://sheldonbrown.com/freewheels

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  4. #4
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    5 speed would be a freewheel not cassette. Here's some good reading:

    http://sheldonbrown.com/freewheels.html

    edited: never mind you got it straight from the horses mouth!

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    Wow, thanks for the quick replies! I feel honored at all the knowledge dropped. Being a newbie I lumped cassettes and freewheels in the same category - I believe it is a freewheel, and I believe that 12-splined shimano tool is the one I've got. The problem is, I can't slip it past the 'nuts' (cup/cone?) on the drive side of the axel. I also can't just pull the axel through like you can on QRs. Any more ideas on how to go about this?

    Thanks again

    Nick

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    Senior Member tjspiel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by enicma View Post
    Wow, thanks for the quick replies! I feel honored at all the knowledge dropped. Being a newbie I lumped cassettes and freewheels in the same category - I believe it is a freewheel, and I believe that 12-splined shimano tool is the one I've got. The problem is, I can't slip it past the 'nuts' (cup/cone?) on the drive side of the axel. I also can't just pull the axel through like you can on QRs. Any more ideas on how to go about this?

    Thanks again

    Nick
    Sorry if I'm talking about stuff you already know. I'm pretty sure the only difference between a solid axle and one with a quick release is that an axle with a quick release is hollow. With the quick release, what you're pulling through is the skewer and not the axle itself.

    From what I remember, you shouldn't have to remove the axle to get the freewheel off. The proper removal tool will fit outside of the nuts holding the axle in place. Now if it's the nut that holds the wheel on the bike that you can't get off, - that's a different story.

    A lock ring removal tool often has a little post that fits inside a hollow axle, -that's not what you want. However, I did remove a cassette on a hub that had a solid axle with one of those tools doing just what you're attempting. I removed all the nuts, spacers, and cone from the left hand side and pulled the axle out from the right. Of course all the bearings may come out too since grease will be the only thing holding them in place at this point. For me this was fine as I wanted to replace the solid axle with a hollow one and repack the bearings.

    This got a little long winded and if it's not helpful I suggest you post a closeup of both sides of your wheel (hub really) and that maybe help clarify to us what the problem is.
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    cyclist/gearhead/cycli... moxfyre's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by enicma View Post
    Hey there, knowledgeable bike folk. I'm trying to get a 5-speed cassette off a wheel from a Diamondback Curaca of unknown vintage (late 80s?)... and having no luck. My park fr-5 is too big, and I ordered a tool for older shimano cassette lockrings that may do it if I can get that bolt on the axel out of the way. When I wrench that nut, the nuts on the other side conspire against me and move as one right off the axel, at which point, despite ludicrous amounts of play, I can't yank the axel through. This has become quite frustrating. I'd appreciate any help on how to get this off.
    Austin Powers: "That's not a cassette, baby. It's a maaaaaaaaaan!"

    But seriously, it's almost certainly a freewheel, not a cassette. You need a pronged tool, the appropriate type depends on the model of freewheel.

    And then you also need a bench vise. You need to apply a TON of torque to remove a freewheel, and the only reasonable way to do it is to put the pronged tool in the vice, press the wheel down on top of it, and rotate the wheel with all your might... like a steering wheel.

    With a big enough wrench, it can be done without the vise (maybe!), but you're liable to hurt yourself, the tools, or the wheel in the process.
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  8. #8
    Senior Member tjspiel's Avatar
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    One more thought. Is it possible it's not a shimano freewheel?

    With cassettes, there's only a couple of different types (AFAIK), - Shimano or Campy. But with freewheels, there were a few manufacturers and maybe half a dozen different types of tools. For example Suntour freewheels used one tool for awhile and then switched to another later on.

    The only reason I'm wondering is that you should be able to fit the removal tool over the nuts. Getting a freewheel off shouldn't require axle removal.
    If you're not riding with a psychedelic gecko on your shirt, you ARE having a substandard experience.

  9. #9
    Sir Fallalot wroomwroomoops's Avatar
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    Just a quick note:

    Quote Originally Posted by tjspiel View Post
    With cassettes, there's only a couple of different types (AFAIK), - Shimano or Campy.
    It's more like Campy vs. everybody else.

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    Again I appreciate all the help... I should have posted pics sooner! Here they are:





    And here's the tool I was trying to use:
    http://www.jensonusa.com/store/produ...hick+Wall.aspx
    Last edited by enicma; 01-15-08 at 10:51 AM.

  11. #11
    cyclist/gearhead/cycli... moxfyre's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by enicma View Post
    Again I appreciate all the help... I should have posted pics sooner! Here they are:

    And here's the tool I was trying to use:
    http://www.jensonusa.com/store/produ...hick+Wall.aspx
    Unfortunately, I think you have the wrong tool. You actually want the "new-style" Shimano freewheel tool, which has thinner walls. Looks like this:

    "Fits all Shimano® freewheels since 1985, as well as Sachs Aris® and SunRace® freewheels."

    I'm guessing that the tool you're using won't fit into the splines because of the large nut on the axle.

    If you get the right tool, it should be pretty straightforward with a vise.
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  12. #12
    Senior Member Deanster04's Avatar
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    This is one job I would try and find an old school mechanic in your area and have it done with the right tool. You don't want to bugger up the threads or splines when removing the freewheel. I have an old regina that I removed from a set of large flange hubs on my 1969 Cinelli. Luckily I have the proper tools. Good luck.

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    Sir Fallalot wroomwroomoops's Avatar
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    ^^^It's pretty much impossible to do any harm to splines if you use the wrong freewheel/cassette tool. I ALWAYS try the wrong tool first, because I just can't be bothered to memorize which one is for what, so I just grab the first one in the toolbox, try it, fail and grab the next one - fail or succeed, and then if necessary, try the thrid. The wrong tool just won't go in, try as you may.

    Anyway... what moxfire said. A chainwhip would be nicer than a vise, though.

  14. #14
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    I had the same problem you have just a few days ago. The nut on the axle stuck out farther than the freewheel removal tool would reach to the freewheel.

    I used the tips of a thin nose plier as a spanner wrench and turned out the retainer ring. In the photo the retainer ring has the two round dimples and has the word "Shimano" on it. The threads are left-hand thread, so turning clockwise loosens it. Do this over a large pan so you can catch the loose bearing balls.

    The cluster of sprockets will fall right off of the freewheel body. There is a portion of the freewheel body where you can attach an ordinary pipe wrench without damaging the threads in any way. With just a little pressure on the wrench handle, the freewheel body will come right off.

    You can reassemble the freewheel to use it later. The ratchet paws on a Shimano freewheel are self-contained and do not fall out of place during assembly. Smear some grease on the bearing races and put the bearing balls into place. Put the spacer shims back over the retaining ring threads Slide the cluster of sprockets down over the freewheel body with a slight counter-clockwise twist. Install the retaining ring again and you are good to go.

    I had a problem with my old freewheel. The retaining ring worked itself loose twice. Each time I lost the bearing balls while out on the road. You might want to try some Locktite on the threads, just in case. Another freewheel I removed this way has a planned roughness in the threads that serves to keep the retainer from working loose.
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  15. #15
    rebmeM roineS JanMM's Avatar
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    judging by the picture, you should be able to push the axle out the drive side since the nut and cone are off the non-drive side. A tap from a hammer might help.

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    Healthy and active twobikes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JanMM View Post
    judging by the picture, you should be able to push the axle out the drive side since the nut and cone are off the non-drive side. A tap from a hammer might help.
    This does not work. There is a flange on the bearing cone that makes it too wide to pass through the opening in the freewheel. Trust me. I am the voice of experience on this one.
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  17. #17
    Senior Member tjspiel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by twobikes View Post
    This does not work. There is a flange on the bearing cone that makes it too wide to pass through the opening in the freewheel. Trust me. I am the voice of experience on this one.
    Hmm. I'm pretty sure I've pulled axles out with the freewheel still in place.
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    Senior Member tjspiel's Avatar
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    If the axle won't come out, you'll need to remove that nut. Put some liquid wrench on it and then put two nuts on the other side. Using two wrenches tighten the two nuts together, - very tightly. I suppose you could even add a third nut on the outside of those two.

    Holding the inner of the two nuts you just put on on with a wrench, try to loosen the nut on the drive side. Since there is some play in the axle, would it be possible to tighten the cone on the drive side? Probably tough to reach with the freewheel in place.

    If worse comes to worse, you can get another axle cheap from loosescrews.com and just cut the nut off of this one. The one worry I'd have though is that you'd then need to get the axle out somehow.
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  19. #19
    Sometimes knows stuff. rmfnla's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by twobikes View Post
    This does not work. There is a flange on the bearing cone that makes it too wide to pass through the opening in the freewheel. Trust me. I am the voice of experience on this one.
    Then unscrew the bearing cone and pull the axle out.

    I'm not sure why this is becomming so complicated. I've seen lots of bikes with those oversized locknuts; just take it off and use the correct freewheel tool.
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  20. #20
    cyclist/gearhead/cycli... moxfyre's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wroomwroomoops View Post
    Anyway... what moxfire said. A chainwhip would be nicer than a vise, though.
    Actually, you cannot use a chainwhip to remove a modern freewheel (or even this one from 1985). The tool engages the freewheel body in such a way that the cogs do not need to be immobilized from coasting, unlike with a cassette. What is critical is having a good grip on the tool, since you're basically unscrewing a giant stuck screw... hence the vise or giant wrench (which clamps onto the tool, not the cogs).

    Follow the directions at http://parktool.com/repair/readhowto.asp?id=48, in the section on "Threaded Freewheel Removal and Installation".

    There seems to be a lot of confusion between freewheels and cassettes in this thread...
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  21. #21
    Sometimes knows stuff. rmfnla's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by moxfyre View Post
    Actually, you cannot use a chainwhip to remove a modern freewheel (or even this one from 1985). The tool engages the freewheel body in such a way that the cogs do not need to be immobilized from coasting, unlike with a cassette. What is critical is having a good grip on the tool, since you're basically unscrewing a giant stuck screw... hence the vise or giant wrench (which clamps onto the tool, not the cogs).

    Follow the directions at http://parktool.com/repair/readhowto.asp?id=48, in the section on "Threaded Freewheel Removal and Installation".

    There seems to be a lot of confusion between freewheels and cassettes in this thread...
    I was just going to respond to that effect.

    The LBS trick is to secure the freewheel tool in the vise and use the wheel for leverage; I have yet to see this fail when done properly.
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  22. #22
    cyclist/gearhead/cycli... moxfyre's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rmfnla View Post
    I was just going to respond to that effect.

    The LBS trick is to secure the freewheel tool in the vise and use the wheel for leverage; I have yet to see this fail when done properly.
    Right, that's exactly what I propose. Works every time... doing it with a wrench is hard.

    To the OP: take this one step at a time, first remove the freewheel, then decide what to do about the axle. Resist the advice of those telling you to do everything at once
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  23. #23
    Healthy and active twobikes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rmfnla View Post
    Then unscrew the bearing cone and pull the axle out.
    I have had wheels on two different bikes where it is not possible to unscrew the bearing cone and pull the axle out. On both of these the flats on the bearing cone were recessed down inside the freewheel so that you cannot hold the cone with a wrench. There was a spacing collar between the bearing cone and the locknut. When you turn the locknut, the whole assembly turns without the nut loosening from the collar or the cone. I also tried putting two nuts on the other end of the axle and tightening them against one another. Again, the locknut would not come loose from the spacing collar or the bearing cone.

    I still recommend what worked so easily for me. With the tips of a thin nose plier turn the freewheel retaining ring out (left hand thread). Do this over a pan to catch the bearing balls. Lift the sprocket cluster off of the wheel. Use a pipe wrench to remove the freewheel core from the wheel. It is faster and easier than some of the other things people have suggested, and you can reassemble the freewheel to use it again later.
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    Hey, thanks again everyone... I'm gonna give this a go again later on, I'll let you know what works!

    Nick

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    Quote Originally Posted by wroomwroomoops View Post
    ^^^It's pretty much impossible to do any harm to splines if you use the wrong freewheel/cassette tool. I ALWAYS try the wrong tool first, because I just can't be bothered to memorize which one is for what, so I just grab the first one in the toolbox, try it, fail and grab the next one - fail or succeed, and then if necessary, try the thrid. The wrong tool just won't go in, try as you may.
    tell that to both of the BB-5 tools at my shop that some idiot jammed into a shimano cassette, then sheared the splines off of. the wrong tool may not damage the freewheel, but it's not so great for the tool itself.

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