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Thread: Bad Freewheel ?

  1. #1
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    Bad Freewheel ?

    I'm reconditioning an early eighties Raleigh Rapide 10-speed road bike.

    I repacked the rear hub and mounted it in the frame to true the wheel. (Or at least as good as I can get it.)

    Anyway, my question is how can you tell if a freewheel is bad? After I trued the wheel, I put the freewheel, chain and derailleur on. Now, I can hear a dull clicking sound (not the freewheel click) when I turn the crank. It appears to be coming from the hub area. It's almost as if there were some rocks rolling around inside the hub. I know that sort of sounds like a bearing problem but I did not hear the noise at all while truing the wheel. When I stop cranking and the wheel is just rolling, most of the clicking noise goes away. Again, when I am describing the clicking, I am not talking about the normal freewheel click noise.

    I'm also wondering if I could have got the spokes too tight and they are flexing against one another and that is what I'm hearing under a load.

    The bike isn't back together yet so I don't know if the sound will go away when ridden or not. Even if it does, that sound isn't normal.

    Sound like a familiar problem? Any ideas? Thanks for your help.

  2. #2
    black betty DeadSailor's Avatar
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    you must have had the fw off to rebuild the hub so id just try swaping it out and seeing if that make it go away.

    asfar as the tension on the spokes making a clicking, yea thats possible. but there has to be weight on the bike. they wont do it just spinning on the stand.

    some stuff is unclear though, does it make when the wheel moves but not pedaling or when you pedal? or all the time?

    either way i wouldnt look too into it, stuff like that your better off just replacing and moving on to whatever else needs attention

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    Great State of Varmint Panthers007's Avatar
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    A lot of times it's the chain and freewheel. It might well be you need a new one of each. Take a look at the teeth on the Frw. Does it appear worn? Or have waves? If this bike hasn't been tended to since the 1980's - you are likely overdue. New freewheels are pretty inexpensive. More $$ for better ones. Anytime you replace a freewheel or chainrings/cranks, you want a new chain.

    At very least you should overhaul and lube the freewheel.
    How do you keep an idiot in suspense?

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    I did take the freewheel off and cleaned it real good before putting it back on. The teeth look to be in good shape. I did wonder if the brake cleaner I used somehow got inside of the freewheel and dissolved any grease that was inside. I've never been inside a freewheel but I thought I read somewhere that they really are not meant to be opened up. When I rode the bike last fall for the last time, this sound was not present. Is the brake cleaner a possibility?

    The chain is brand new. (Shimano)

    The clicking noise is heard while cranking. It stops making that noise when the wheel is just turning but not cranking. However, when I put my ear down to the hub I can hear a constant rubbing noise what would be similar to having dry bearings. That can't be possible because I just repacked them with trailer wheel bearing grease and it was oozing out the dust covers when I put it back together. I did, however, replace the cones so perhaps that is them just wearing in. ?? Is that possible? I tightened the cones up so that any side to side play was gone and the wheel rotated smoothly. Like I said, the problem was not present until I put the freewheel back on but then again, it was fine last fall when I used it last. That leads me back to the brake cleaner theory.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gnrboyd View Post
    I did take the freewheel off and cleaned it real good before putting it back on. The teeth look to be in good shape. I did wonder if the brake cleaner I used somehow got inside of the freewheel and dissolved any grease that was inside. I've never been inside a freewheel but I thought I read somewhere that they really are not meant to be opened up. When I rode the bike last fall for the last time, this sound was not present. Is the brake cleaner a possibility?

    The chain is brand new. (Shimano)

    .
    Sounds like the brake cleaner washed all the gritty stuff off the thing,to the inside the hub..look on Sheldons site for cleaning instructions..

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    Senior Member bikeman715's Avatar
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    try replacing the freewheel and see if the noise is gone, if so then the problem is the freewheel. if you think it was the brake cleaner ,then try flush it out with WD-40 as you spin the freewheel backward ( can see some space between the gears body and the cone the bearings ride on ), let dry or blow dry if you have a compressor, then oil with something like triflo , and you should be good to go.

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    Sounds like the brake cleaner washed all the gritty stuff off the thing,to the inside the hub..look on Sheldons site for cleaning instructions..
    When I cleaned up with freewheel with brake cleaner, it was off the wheel and not near the hub. The hub and freewheel were spotless before I started putting it back together.

    I just now tried to lubricate the freewheel as per the instruction on Sheldon's site. That definately made the freewheel quieter but the clicking noise is still present but only when pedaling. I would think if it were the bearings, it would make the sound even when coasting. I keep going back to spoke tension. (too much) Someone said in an earlier post in this thread said it wouldn't do it without weight on it. The bike is hung with rope from the ceiling but the clicking sound I'm hearing sounds like it could be spoke related. This weekend, I think I will try backing off the tension and seeing what that does. It took me forever to get the wheel fairly true so I am not eager to touch the spokes again but it looks like that is the direction I need to go. I don't have a "spoke tension ear" but I do know several of them are very tight and don't flex much if any.

    I've also just noticed that the crank/chainrings may be bent causing the front derailleur to hit the chain in first or 5th gear. (cottered cranks) I can get 1-4 adjusted right but 5 rubs. Or I can get 2-5 adjusted right but 1 rubs. When you watch the chain go through the derailleur, it goes back and forth. You can also see the chainring wobbling a bit like it is either bent or it isn't on the shaft correctly. When you watch the actual shaft, it appears to be ok. Is there any way to get them off center somehow when installing them? Or is this something that just gets out of true over the years? I didn't have this problem last fall when I put the bike up for the winter. I do not think this has anything to do with the clicking noise but since I was thinking about it, I thought I would add it to the post.

    Thanks

  8. #8
    Senior Member bikeman715's Avatar
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    try removing the crankarm and move them 90 *, remount them & check if the rubbing has improve ? if not try again. either your chain rings are bent or the arm is. if it the arm time to replace. if the chain ring try bending back or replacing also. once in awhile the bb axle can be bent and if so it need replacing.

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    I can't rotate the cranks 90 degrees. They are cottered and they only go on in one position. The shaft has a flat spot on it where the beveled cotter bolt goes. I don't see how it's possible but is there any way to get these back on incorrectly?

    If I can find time this weekend, I guess I will have to take it apart and look closer.

  10. #10
    cab horn
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    Come on people

    You shouldn't ever clean the freewheel with any solvents, you don't need to. Dirt only needs to be wiped off the cog teeth.

    Take the freewheel off the bike and spin just the rear wheel off the frame, and then on the frame. This will tell you if it's the freewheel or the hub repack that is the problem. Or none of the above. While the wheel is still off the bike, go ahead and test the crankarms for play and at the same time note whether or not the BB is loose/tight/noisy.

    Let's also assume that the noise and you repairing the bike is a coincidence, because if you don't you will be wasting a lot of time. Noises can seem to come from one part of the bike but be generated from a totally unrelated part.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by gnrboyd View Post
    If I can find time this weekend, I guess I will have to take it apart and look closer.
    I'd recommend you not mess with the cottered cranks unless you know what you're doing. And even then leave it as the last thing. The more things you take apart to diagnose this, the more things you have to second guess yourself on.
    Mes compaingnons cui j'amoie et cui j'aim,... Me di, chanson.

  11. #11
    Senior Member Bearbig's Avatar
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    Take the gears off the freewheel body and there should be a small hole in the freewheel body. Spray WD 40 in there while spinning the wheel. Let dry and then put lube in ( I use 90 wt gear oil).

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    Senior Member bikeman715's Avatar
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    then your chain rings are bent. you need to find where and try to bent them back into place. it would be very hard to find replacement at this time. try ebay.

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    Update on 2 issues:

    1. I took the wheel off. Spun it and could somewhat hear the same noise. I took the freewheel off the wheel and no more noise when spinning wheel. I put my fingers through the freewheel and simulated cranking and I could hear a little noise. I then shook the freewheel in my hand and I can hear a little bit of clanking around in there. Should I hear anything when doing so? If not, it appears something inside has worked its way loose. The freewheel seems to operate fine though. ??

    2. I took a 2x4 and rubber mallet to the chain rings. I got them bent back fairly close. I hope it will be enough. I'd say within a mm or so play. (hard to measure) I kept getting it close and while fine tuning, made it worse. After a few times of this, I said learn from your mistakes and quit while you're ahead. I don't know if this will be enough to solve the derailleur rubbing problem or not. I won't be able to tell until I put it back together and I can't do that until I solve #1.

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    Senior Member bikeman715's Avatar
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    try some oil in the freewheel. if the freewheel work don't worry about it, if not then replace it. i think your brake cleaner have remove the grease inside it. and you are hearing the bearings hitting each other. I'm glad to hear you bent the chain rings back in shape. the 1 mm should not rub on the dérailleur. if it does just use a crescent wench to fine tone them.

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    i think your brake cleaner have remove the grease inside it. and you are hearing the bearings hitting each other.
    I think you're exactly right. I did not hear that sound coming from the freewheel last fall when I put the bike up. It only started when I cleaned it up. I assume there isn't any way to get more grease inside. I have been able to put oil in there and it made it much quieter while spinning the freewheel but that clicking noise is still present while pedaling. I don't think adding more and more oil will solve the problem.

    There are two holes on the outside of the freewheel. Is that how you take the freewheel apart? With some type of special tool?

  16. #16
    Senior Member bikeman715's Avatar
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    yes you need park red handle pin tool ( park spa-2 ). to use it turn it clock wise to loosen the race. then put some grease on or in where the bearing are and put the race back on by turning counter clockwise. you can also use a hammer & a punch to open the race. now most people here will tell not to do this and go out and buy a new one. but me ,I like taking freewheel apart & overhauling them and how noting how silence they are when I'm done. yes I do have time to kill, my wife is ill and I need to be near her and doing this give me a chance to clear my mind.

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