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Thread: Freehub lubing

  1. #1
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    Freehub lubing

    Don't know if it's the weather (cold and wet) or if it's me, but my old Shimano freehub seems to getting a bit louder lately.

    How regularly should I consider lubing/servicing my freehub and how much of a difference does it make?

    - Jeff

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    Senior Member miamijim's Avatar
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    How often is one of those questions there is no answer to. Obviously if it sounds different maintenance should be adressed. Several methods, from most basic to comlex are:

    1. While repacking your hub force some grease down into the freehub area while the hub is apart. When you ride it grease may work its way in.

    2. While repacking your hub lay/lie? you wheel at a 45 degree angle. Using whatever it is you lube your chain with, lubricate the freehub where it rotates by the bearing race. Lube it, spin it around, lub it spin it around. Be aware that all the lube you put in there will run out the back and get all over your spokes. Wedge a paper towel behind there to absorb the lub. Keep adding and spinning until the runoff is no longer dirty. Let drain over night.

    3. without dis-assembling anything lay/lie the wheel at 45 degree angle with the gear side down and lub it from the back. (most difficult of the 3 and not highly recommened)
    WWW.CYCLESPEUGEOT.COM 2005 Pinarello Dogma; 1991 Paramount PDG 70 Mtb; 1976? AD Vent Noir; 1989 LeMond Maillot Juane F&F; 1993? Basso GAP F&F; 1989 Terry Symmetry; 2003 Trek 4700 Mtb; 1983 Vitus 979

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    Quote Originally Posted by miamijim
    While repacking your hub lay/lie? you wheel at a 45 degree angle. Using whatever it is you lube your chain with, lubricate the freehub where it rotates by the bearing race.
    I am currently using Finish Line's "Dry" Teflon chain lube. Is that okay to use for the freehub? Or should I go with something that is wet?

    - Jeff

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    Senior Member miamijim's Avatar
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    Jeff, thats a good question of which I have no solid answer.
    I've used grease, Tri-Flow, and Phil Wood Tenacious oil in the past. Theres no reason your current chain lube cant be used. The only problem is that you may need alot of it to properly flush out the freehub. I doubt you want to use half a bottle of $6 lube. Tri-Flow is realtively in-expensive. Some synthetic Mobil 1 would work well.
    WWW.CYCLESPEUGEOT.COM 2005 Pinarello Dogma; 1991 Paramount PDG 70 Mtb; 1976? AD Vent Noir; 1989 LeMond Maillot Juane F&F; 1993? Basso GAP F&F; 1989 Terry Symmetry; 2003 Trek 4700 Mtb; 1983 Vitus 979

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    Quote Originally Posted by miamijim
    1. While repacking your hub force some grease down into the freehub area while the hub is apart. When you ride it grease may work its way in.
    Oh... I can tell you live somewhere warm. Never, never grease the interior of a freehub. The pawls will get jammed (especially in cold weather). As a person who "Superman-ed" once from a failed freehub pawl I am qualified to speak on this

    I'll put a drop of Tri-Flow into the freehub every second time I'm overhauling the hub (so every one to two years?) but just a drop and give it ample time to run into the freehub body. Excess oil will destroy the grease you pack the hub with.

    IMO, freehubs need no oiling. They don't spin under load, they lock.

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    Quote Originally Posted by F1_Fan
    Oh... I can tell you live somewhere warm.
    [clip]
    IMO, freehubs need no oiling. They don't spin under load, they lock.
    Hmmm. I read the opposite, that if the oil gets too thick, that the paws don't engage so all you do is freewheel in both directions. I can't argue with the actual experience of someone who has actually taken a header, though. Maybe the mechanic was off.

    Tri-Flow seems like a good solution. I may see if I can get some Mobil1, too. Funny thing is I remember almost 20 years ago, I used to run Mobil1 in my car and I thought it was pricey. Now it's cheap compared to the Finish Line stuff

    - jeff

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    Quote Originally Posted by Toki
    Hmmm. I read the opposite, that if the oil gets too thick, that the paws don't engage so all you do is freewheel in both directions.
    Well yeah... true. I'd never use a Phil Wood Tenacious oil or any oil heavy enough for chain use.

    When I say one drop of Tri-Flow I meant it... one drop will disperse more than enough to not cause problems. My secret lube for freehubs is a single drop of 3-in-1 oil. It's not sexy or hi-tech but it gets the job done.

    But I'm really only putting that drop of oil in to improve the longevity of the internals in case water has seeped in. There is no load on the rotating parts when they are rotating therefore no need for significant lubrication.

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    Senior Member miamijim's Avatar
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    The idea is to use enough lube to 'flush out' the freewhell/freehub. Your more or less rinsing the contaiminants out of the freehub. A drop or two for periodic maintence is fine. Freewheels/freehubs will both 'freewheel' or jam from improper maintence. I've seen both. FWIW I previously lived in a cold climate. Grease works it way in there regardless......
    WWW.CYCLESPEUGEOT.COM 2005 Pinarello Dogma; 1991 Paramount PDG 70 Mtb; 1976? AD Vent Noir; 1989 LeMond Maillot Juane F&F; 1993? Basso GAP F&F; 1989 Terry Symmetry; 2003 Trek 4700 Mtb; 1983 Vitus 979

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    Ok ... I'm confused, how do you take apart a freehub to service it anyway? :confused:

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    http://www.sheldonbrown.com/freewheels.html

    I have never had to do anything to a shimano cassette freewheel. Unless it gpes wrong it's proberly not worth the bother.

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    If you have questions about freehubs, a good place to start is Chapter 25 of Barnett's.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by miamijim
    How often is one of those questions there is no answer to. Obviously if it sounds different maintenance should be adressed. Several methods, from most basic to comlex are:

    1. While repacking your hub force some grease down into the freehub area while the hub is apart. When you ride it grease may work its way in.

    2. While repacking your hub lay/lie? you wheel at a 45 degree angle. Using whatever it is you lube your chain with, lubricate the freehub where it rotates by the bearing race. Lube it, spin it around, lub it spin it around. Be aware that all the lube you put in there will run out the back and get all over your spokes. Wedge a paper towel behind there to absorb the lub. Keep adding and spinning until the runoff is no longer dirty. Let drain over night.

    3. without dis-assembling anything lay/lie the wheel at 45 degree angle with the gear side down and lub it from the back. (most difficult of the 3 and not highly recommened)
    If you are going to overhaul a hub, and if you have the tools and don't mind removing the axle and cassette, then
    you can use a 10mm allen wrench to "unscrew" the freehub body from the freehub (if it is a non-Dura Ace Shimano freehub). The hole in the middle of the freehub body is where you put the wrench. Barnett's doesn't illustrate this, but it is easy to do requiring maybe 25 or 30 ft lbs of pressure.

    Then you can put a few drops, or a lot of drops of light lube in the back of the freehub where there is a small gap between the outer part that rotates and the inner part which doesn't. I don't think that light lube will gum up the springs which ratchet the pawl, plus any excess will be spun out.

    Also, it is much easier to clean, lube, handle and repack the whole apparatus with the freehub body removed.

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    I use Pennzoil hypoid gear oil in my freehub; same stuff I use in the rear axle of my truck. The high sulphur content will allow it to stick to metal parts within the freehub body. I remove my "body" and then the rear seal (carefully and just pour a little in and spin it. Keep repeating until it comes out clean.

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