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  1. #1
    Senior Member shortshorts's Avatar
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    Stubborn freewheel removal

    So I have an old 27" road bike wheel, and I want to convert it into a single speed.

    It has the 2 prong/hole freewheel, so I went and bought a park fr-2 tool to remove it.

    Unfortunately someone had fuddled with the freewheel before I got it, and the 2 little grooves were a bit sheared.

    When I tried to remove it with the park fr-2, it pretty much just mangled what was left of the metal notches.


    I read on Sheldon Brown that if the prongs are broken off (they are) then I have to disassemble the freewheel and clamp its core into a vise. I haven't figured out how to take it apart though.

    Is there any other way to get this darn freewheel loose from the hub?
    I don't care if the freewheel ends up ruined or anything.

    I was sort of planning on using a dremmel tool and grinding it away and dissecting it.

    Anyone have any other tips?


    It has a quick release skewer, in case that matters.

  2. #2
    Senior Member DannoXYZ's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by shortshorts View Post
    Unfortunately someone had fuddled with the freewheel before I got it, and the 2 little grooves were a bit sheared.

    When I tried to remove it with the park fr-2, it pretty much just mangled what was left of the metal notches.
    Did you re-install the QR-skewer to hold the freewheel-remover on before trying to wrench it off? Manually screw in the QR nut until it's tight over the freewheel-remover, then unscrew it by about 1/2 a turn to give the tool and freewheel room to back out. After you break the freewheel free, unscrew the QR nut some more and unscrew the freewheel.

    Even if the notches are buggered, it's still possible to remove the freewheel if you keep the QR tight on the tool. If the prongs on removal tool are broken, get another one.
    Last edited by DannoXYZ; 09-16-10 at 10:12 PM.

  3. #3
    Senior Member shortshorts's Avatar
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    I did clamp the tool down with the quick release, very snugly.
    But when I used my crescent wrench to turn it, since the freewheel was a little gnarled, it just made the park tool sort of shift and "derail" out of the path of the little grooves its supposed to stay in & turn.

    The park tool is in great shape still, it just keeps chewing up the grooves of my freewheel, and soon there will be nothing left except a flat flush metal surface.

    I think i'm going to have to dissect it with a dremmel cutting wheel, sadly.

  4. #4
    Insane Bicycle Mechanic Jeff Wills's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by shortshorts View Post
    I read on Sheldon Brown that if the prongs are broken off (they are) then I have to disassemble the freewheel and clamp its core into a vise. I haven't figured out how to take it apart though.
    There should be an article about "destructive freewheel removal" either on Sheldon's site or the Park Tools site, but:

    The top plate of the freewheel is threaded on. Look at the plate carefully- there should be two small divots in it. Get a punch and unscrew the plate (I can't remember if it's right- or left-hand thread). Once the plate comes off, remove the cogs and their half of the body (and be prepared for zillions of small ball bearings all over the floor). Clamp the remnants of the freewheel in a sturdy bench vice, and heave! The carcass of the freewheel should come off.
    Jeff Wills

    All my bikes.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Wills View Post
    The top plate of the freewheel is threaded on. Look at the plate carefully- there should be two small divots in it. Get a punch and unscrew the plate (I can't remember if it's right- or left-hand thread).
    It's a left-handed thread. Turn it clockwise to loosen.

  6. #6
    STFD mcgreivey's Avatar
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    If you have a bench vise available, that's better than using a wrench to try to loosen the freewheel. Attached the remover tool with the QR, clamp the flats of the tool in the vise, turn the wheel in the correct direction (clockwise: the opposite direction to how the chain would normally pull!). Using a vise applies more even torgue than a wrench. If the QR is tight enough, the remover tool shouldn't derail, as long as its notches are intact. If the remover tool's notches are mangled, get another tool.

    If you still have no luck, then yes, consider destructive removal.

  7. #7
    Senior Member DannoXYZ's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by shortshorts View Post
    I did clamp the tool down with the quick release, very snugly.
    But when I used my crescent wrench to turn it, since the freewheel was a little gnarled, it just made the park tool sort of shift and "derail" out of the path of the little grooves its supposed to stay in & turn.
    Ah yes, in rare cases, you actually have to flip the QR lever to the tightened position and give it a little preload to keep the tool from sliding out of the grooves. It will actually bite into the sloped edges and grip if the QR is tight. Then loosen QR after the freewheel breaks free from the hub.

    Quote Originally Posted by shortshorts View Post
    I think i'm going to have to dissect it with a dremmel cutting wheel, sadly.
    Use a hammer and punch on the outer ring of the freewheel. Spin it clockwise:

    http://static.lfgss.com/attachments/...1005815329.jpg

    When you pull the body off, a million little ball-bearings will escape. Then you can squeeze the innards in a vice and spin the wheel off. I've actually ripped vices out of granite bench-tops performing this manoeuvre, so be careful.

  8. #8
    Insane Bicycle Mechanic Jeff Wills's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DannoXYZ View Post
    When you pull the body off, a million little ball-bearings will escape. Then you can squeeze the innards in a vice and spin the wheel off. I've actually ripped vices out of granite bench-tops performing this manoeuvre, so be careful.
    +1

    Some freewheels require a real He-Man heave to crack loose. I've torn up wood workbenches- I guess Danno's got a higher-class shop than me.
    Jeff Wills

    All my bikes.

  9. #9
    Senior Member shortshorts's Avatar
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    Thanks for all the advice, fellas!

    So the park tool didnt work out, the freewheel's notches were mangled to oblivion.
    I did manage to use a punch/hammer and get that lockring off the top portion, then all the gears came off easy peasy.

    Ball bearings everywhere!!!

    So now there is just the heart of the beast that remains on my hub, & yes, it is holding on for dear life.
    I don't have a bench vice, but I might have to improvise one or something.
    These big ol' channel lock pliers I'm trying to use aren't doing the trick at all.

    I might dremmel some notches into it so that the pliers grip better, or something.

    Thanks again!

  10. #10
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    Just find someone with a good vise - take it to a bike or auto shop if you have to. Pliers/channel locks are not going to do it.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by cny-bikeman View Post
    Just find someone with a good vise - take it to a bike or auto shop if you have to. Pliers/channel locks are not going to do it.
    Yep, try a pipe wrench.
    Il faut de l'audace, encore de l'audace, toujours de l'audace

    1980 3Rensho-- 1975 Raleigh Sprite 3spd
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  12. #12
    Senior Member shortshorts's Avatar
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    Me + Giant pipe wrench = emerged victorious!

    Thanks again for all the tips fellas!

  13. #13
    Insane Bicycle Mechanic Jeff Wills's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by shortshorts View Post
    Me + Giant pipe wrench = emerged victorious!

    Thanks again for all the tips fellas!
    It's a good solution: if at first you don't succeed, get a bigger hammer.
    Jeff Wills

    All my bikes.

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