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Old 02-16-08, 09:15 PM   #1
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Freewheel DESTRUCT. removal - anyone managed to reassemble it afterwards?

I have one of those freewheels that cannot be removed save for the destrucive method described at ParkTool's website

I managed to remove the top cone, and as I look inside my freewheel, I wonder if it would be possible to reassemble it once I remove it from the hub. Park Tool states that it's "very difficult". What's the difficulty? The many tiny bearings? That doesn't frighten me. Something with the pawls? Something else?
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Old 02-16-08, 10:03 PM   #2
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Might depend on the particular freewheel, but it's possible...you just have to put all the tiny bearings back into place (grease keeps them from falling back out...), and somehow keep the pawls/springs in place so you can stick the two halves back together...
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Old 02-16-08, 10:12 PM   #3
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7. Dispose of the freewheel parts and install a new one.
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Old 02-16-08, 10:18 PM   #4
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Might depend on the particular freewheel, but it's possible...you just have to put all the tiny bearings back into place (grease keeps them from falling back out...), and somehow keep the pawls/springs in place so you can stick the two halves back together...
Yes, I devised a simple strategy of how to keep the bearings in place while putting the outer body in place. I have no idea, yet, what to do with the pawls. Maybe if I turn the outer body counter-clockwise while I do that, maybe that would do the trick, but it strongly depends on the shape of the pawls on the underside (the side facing the wheel). Or, hey, how about this: I put a loop of some thin string on the bottom of the pawls to keep them closed and remove that string once the outer body is about halfways down. That could work!

Thanks for your input, kramnnim!
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Old 02-16-08, 10:20 PM   #5
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7. Dispose of the freewheel parts and install a new one.
You just reminded me why I have you on my extremely short "ignore"-list.

This'll teach me not to click on "Reveal post".
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Old 02-16-08, 10:27 PM   #6
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String idea is good, maybe some sewing thread? You might actually be able to pinch the pawls "closed" with one hand, while lowering the outer body onto the inner... (assuming there's only two pawls...)
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Old 02-16-08, 10:31 PM   #7
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You just reminded me why I have you on my extremely short "ignore"-list.

This'll teach me not to click on "Reveal post".
Why? Because I happen to agree with Park Tool?

Have fun with it.
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Old 02-16-08, 10:36 PM   #8
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String idea is good, maybe some sewing thread? You might actually be able to pinch the pawls "closed" with one hand, while lowering the outer body onto the inner... (assuming there's only two pawls...)
There are four pawls - I really don't have the dexterity to keep them closed with my fingers. Alright, time to remove the outer body. Wish me luck!
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Old 02-17-08, 03:19 AM   #9
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Easy enough to dissassemble and reassemble. The problem is that the vice will likely damage some of the internal surfaces, in particular I've found that the only way the vice grips hard enough is if it bites into the "notches" where the pawls go.

Tony S
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Old 02-17-08, 04:22 AM   #10
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Dude you can buy brand new freewheels for like 20 bucks.

Throw that thing in the garbage.
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Old 02-17-08, 06:35 AM   #11
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As an earlier poster said, use grease to hold the bearing balls in place for reassembly. Also use grease (the thickest grease you have on hand) to hold the pawls down flat against the body; after you're reassembled the freewheel, flush the thick grease out with a light lubricant to let the pawls pop back out.

I agree that freewheel overhauling is pretty pointless, but it's an interesting challenge to do it once. Once.
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Old 02-17-08, 08:15 AM   #12
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If you have to disassemble the freewheel and then use a wrench on the inner core to remove it, you may very well damage it to the point that reassembly isn't possible.

Freewheels are generally cheap enough that replacement is recommended over repair by nearly every authority including Sheldon Brown. In your case you may have no choice if the removal is damaging enough.
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Old 02-17-08, 09:50 AM   #13
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I've done it before. It's not really that difficult. The biggest problem I had was adjusting the bearings after reassembly. Instead of a cup and cone hub where a locknut is used to hold the cone in the correct position on a freewheel the cone just tightens against the freewheel body. Adjustment is provided by very thin washers between the cone and freewheel body which alter the position the cone ends up in when tightened.

After I put mine back together the bearing adjustment was out and I had no washers to correct it. At that point I gave up.
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Old 02-17-08, 09:50 AM   #14
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Somethings are ment to be thrown away.

What if you need to repack the bearings or happen to break the axle right after you put the freewheel back on? You'd have to do that long process again.

Yes it costs you zero to little money to [try to] put it back together. And if you do, thats great! But now you've spent 30min to an hour doing so. If you think of cost of time (how much you would pay yourself to do the job), you'll probably end up breaking even
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Old 02-17-08, 10:06 AM   #15
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Why? Because I happen to agree with Park Tool?

Have fun with it.
Unless it's an expensive freewheel... It'd not be really worth it to repair it.
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Old 02-17-08, 10:35 AM   #16
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Some people don't like to unnecessarily throw things away, it's called recycling.

I just put a freewheel back together yesterday, held the pawls down with tape (though the string idea would have worked better as grease and tape don't get along with each other).
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Old 02-17-08, 10:39 AM   #17
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Some people don't like to unnecessarily throw things away, it's called recycling.
You might also want to look up in your dictionary, opportunity cost.
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Old 02-17-08, 10:45 AM   #18
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Some people don't like to unnecessarily throw things away, it's called recycling.
You've got to be careful that the "cost" of recycling doesn't exceed the benefit. It isn't always an environmental gain despite the virtuous claims.
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Old 02-17-08, 11:16 AM   #19
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If you have to disassemble the freewheel and then use a wrench on the inner core to remove it, you may very well damage it to the point that reassembly isn't possible.
I've used the small end of a hook spanner* to remove the freewheel core. Hook it in the nothch where the pawls go.

Hook spanner=the tool for the lockring on the adjustable side of a bottom bracket.
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Old 02-17-08, 11:25 AM   #20
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I repaired a 6 speed Shimano in 2003. I used no special tools. I don't remember the details except in general. After taking it apart I found the return spring for the pawls had broken due to rust accelerated by several dunkings in the bayou before I got it. I went to the bike shop to get one and they looked at me like I had two heads and laughed. Offered me another one for $15.00. So I went home and cut a piece of spring from a 1966 horn button installed it and it worked fine. I never took the freewheel off the wheel. The only difference between it and original is that it was a stronger spring and made the pawls noisier.
Lets see $15.00 plus tax for a new one = $16.28
Fixing it myself = about 1 hour
That's why I have all the material things I want and no debt.
The bike shop still looks at me like I have two heads.
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Old 02-17-08, 01:29 PM   #21
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You might also want to look up in your dictionary, opportunity cost.
opp. cost is quite different for different people.

this rebuild cost me ~20 min. of my time, and a weee bit of grease

if I were being paid to do this, at my current pay rate of $10 per hour (L1 tech support doesn't pay sh*t, but i like it better than making $20 an hour and having to find a new job every few months like I was when I did construction), and a new freewheel cost ~$20 I'd say it was worth it.

plus I rather enjoy taking things apart and putting them back together, it all started when I was 4 years old and took the headlight and door off my dads Ford Pickup
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Old 02-17-08, 02:58 PM   #22
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Easy enough to dissassemble and reassemble. The problem is that the vice will likely damage some of the internal surfaces, in particular I've found that the only way the vice grips hard enough is if it bites into the "notches" where the pawls go.

Tony S
Yes, and the structure of those notches is not critical to the engagement of the pawls - it's the surface of the outer body that is. The vice engages those spaces were the pawls are housed, and as long as the pawls don't fall out, they are fine.

I'll post pics of the before and after. At the moment I am trying to figure out the clicking noise from the hub.

Hopefully, once reassembled, the freewheel will be as good or better than new. I've already learned a lot, and just finding out little tricks how to do things was worth it. In general, keeping your brain active is a healthy thing.
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Old 02-17-08, 03:00 PM   #23
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I've used the small end of a hook spanner* to remove the freewheel core. Hook it in the nothch where the pawls go.

Hook spanner=the tool for the lockring on the adjustable side of a bottom bracket.
I've tried to use a Hozan lockring tool exactly the way you describe here, but could not generate enough torgue. Will go to the LBS in the morning and ask them to use one of their vices - mine is just slightly too narrow.
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Old 02-17-08, 03:03 PM   #24
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I've done it before. It's not really that difficult. The biggest problem I had was adjusting the bearings after reassembly. Instead of a cup and cone hub where a locknut is used to hold the cone in the correct position on a freewheel the cone just tightens against the freewheel body. Adjustment is provided by very thin washers between the cone and freewheel body which alter the position the cone ends up in when tightened.

After I put mine back together the bearing adjustment was out and I had no washers to correct it. At that point I gave up.
Did you not keep the washers during disassembly?
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Old 02-17-08, 03:08 PM   #25
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Would a large pipe wrench be a good alternative to the vice? Just a thought...
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