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  1. #1
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    Old Free Spirit - how do I adjust the 3 speed?

    I just got a matching his and hers pair of old Schwinn Free Spirit 3 speed cruisers. The internal gear hub is way out of adjustment and I dont know how to fix it! I have tinkered with the tensioner but I still cant get it right. Can anyone walk me through the proper adjustment of this internal 3 speed?

  2. #2
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    Go to the c&v subforum or sheldonbrown.com.

    Oil them first and make sure the cable is free.

    The spokes may have loosened which will let the wheels quickly go out of whack, and the bearings may need fresh grease. I like to carefully drip a little oil into an old hub if I can't take it down and regrease it. The cranks and steering can use some, too.

  3. #3
    Senior Member billnuke1's Avatar
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    Hey D,
    Fairly easy thing to do.
    #1. Don't do any adjusting until everything is moving freely.

    #2. Undo knurled adjusting screw at end of shift cable down by rear hub. Make sure that the adjuster barrel turn freely on chain piece that goes into hub.

    #3. Third gear or High gear is engaged when the cable is slack. Start there.

    #4. Put the gear selecter into 2nd. Turn the barrel to pick up slack. Turn the pedals until they engage as you tighten the barrel. When you engage 2nd gear put the gear selecter into 1st and do the same as finding 2nd

    #5. Go for a ride. If 1st or 2nd skip, slowly tighten barrel a 1/4 or less until the gear does not skip. You'll get the concept real quick.

    Good Luck!

  4. #4
    No Money and No Sense sillygolem's Avatar
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    Also, make sure the indicator chain (that's the chain/barrel thing sticking out of your hub) is screwed in 1/2 turn away from finger tight. It's supposed to move freely.
    Quote Originally Posted by Scrodzilla View Post
    I ride fixed because I'm mad at my parents. **** you Mom!

  5. #5
    Old fart JohnDThompson's Avatar
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    I've found Free Spirits equipped with either Austrian-built Sturmey-Archer clone hubs or Shimano hubs. Which does your's have?

    If it's a Sturmey-Archer clone, put the shifter in "Normal" (2nd) gear and adjust the cable tension so the end of the indicator rod is flush with the axle end when viewed through the window in the axle nut.



    If it's a Shimano hub, again put the shifter in "Normal" (2nd) gear and adjust the cable tension so the (N) mark on the bell crank is visible through the window on the axle nut and the line on the bell crank aligns with the slot on the nut.


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    Can'tre Member 3alarmer's Avatar
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    What John Said

    I run mine on lubrication with a combination of Tri Flow
    (good but too light by itself) and a good quality 20 weight
    machine oil.

    You can kinda tell how well it's lubricated by how much
    noise it makes while freewheeling, once you get used to
    how they sound. The Shimano hubs sometimes give up
    after a while, but YMMV.
    Quote Originally Posted by Terrierman View Post
    No wonder everybody hates you.

  7. #7
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    Thanks

    Its the Shimano hub - the one with the red indicator thingy. There is no chain at all. Thanks for all the advice!

  8. #8
    Senior Member ka0use's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by billnuke1 View Post
    Hey D,
    Fairly easy thing to do.
    #1. Don't do any adjusting until everything is moving freely.

    #2. Undo knurled adjusting screw at end of shift cable down by rear hub. Make sure that the adjuster barrel turn freely on chain piece that goes into hub.

    #3. Third gear or High gear is engaged when the cable is slack. Start there.

    #4. Put the gear selecter into 2nd. Turn the barrel to pick up slack. Turn the pedals until they engage as you tighten the barrel. When you engage 2nd gear put the gear selecter into 1st and do the same as finding 2nd

    #5. Go for a ride. If 1st or 2nd skip, slowly tighten barrel a 1/4 or less until the gear does not skip. You'll get the concept real quick.

    Good Luck!

    i truly wish i had had this info on my '66 sears english racer when i was 13. it never shifted right from day one. all i could get was, at best, 2 out 3- first and second, first and third, or second and third. broke my heart, but i loved that bike. probably 40 patches between the two tubes, rode the tires bald. got baskets for it and heaven had arrived. i could stuff both baskets full of library books, said library was 3 or 4 miles away and a loooong way to carry 2 arms full- and no school backpacks back then.
    Last edited by ka0use; 09-25-11 at 12:10 PM.

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