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  1. #1
    CityCycle
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    Freewheel jamming my balls

    Hello, I'm having trouble putting a freewheel on a wheel that I want to start using again, it came with my 80's touring bike. Then I had a 6 speed freewheel on the wheel and have since upgraded to a 7 speed one. The freewheel is coming in contact with the bearing cap enough to cause the bearings to bind. I don't think the upgrade would have anything to do with the problem but is there a washer or something that can be used to remedy this problem ? thanks in advance,Bill


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  2. #2
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    The space allowed for the freewheel on the threaded part of the hub shell has always been pretty standard, and freewheels has enough internal depth that they'd always bottom against against the shoulder, and not touch the face where the dust cap is.

    It seems you've found a freewheel that's shallower, which is the problem. With the freewheel mounted, I'll bet that there's a gap behind it and it's not resting flush against the stop shoulder.

    The fix is easy. Add a steel spacer behind the freewheel to push it out. The spacer needs to be a bit wider than the gap you had there before, so ensure that there's no contact at all of the end of the shell.

    It's possible that the added spacer pushes the freewheel out too far, and there's inadequate space between the outermost sprocket and the frame, in whch case you,ll need to add a spacer to the axle also.
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  3. #3
    Catching Smallmouth BradH's Avatar
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    I had that happen to me when I swapped a 14-28 6 speed for a 13-28 7 speed on my '88 Trek 400 equipped with the stock Maillard hubs. The metal shield pressed onto the bearing cone rubbed on the freewheel. I simply moved the shield in a bit and it solved my problem.
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  4. #4
    Senior member Dan Burkhart's Avatar
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    Whew! I thought we were going to get way too much detail about a personal problem.
    Gearhubs demystified and other cool stuff.


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  5. #5
    CityCycle
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    Quote Originally Posted by BradH View Post
    I had that happen to me when I swapped a 14-28 6 speed for a 13-28 7 speed on my '88 Trek 400 equipped with the stock Maillard hubs. The metal shield pressed onto the bearing cone rubbed on the freewheel. I simply moved the shield in a bit and it solved my problem.
    thanks for your reply, what do you mean by moving the shield ?

  6. #6
    Senior Member Bill Kapaun's Avatar
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    Is this possibly a French hub?

  7. #7
    CityCycle
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    yes, it says made in france

  8. #8
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    Reread my earlier post. Screw on the freewheel until it bottoms, see if there's a gap behind it, if so that's your problem and the fix is to put a spacer behind the freewheel.

    On a side note. Did you rebuild the hub--- replace or relube the bearings? If so and if they have a retainer, is it possible you installed it backward?
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  9. #9
    Catching Smallmouth BradH's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JTownCitycycle View Post
    thanks for your reply, what do you mean by moving the shield ?
    In my case, the shield that keeps foreign particles from entering the hub, was pressed onto the cone. I simply moved it in to eliminate the contact and all was well. I only had light friction between the shield and the freewheel. My ball bearings were not bound tight when the freewheel was spun down.
    Last edited by BradH; 01-20-14 at 03:06 PM. Reason: more info
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by BradH View Post
    In my case, the shield that keeps foreign particles from entering the hub, was pressed onto the cone. I simply moved it in to eliminate the contact and all was well.
    That's a different design than the OP's hub where the dust cap is pressed into the shell, so the advice isn't applicable here.
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  11. #11
    bike whisperer Kimmo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
    That's a different design than the OP's hub where the dust cap is pressed into the shell, so the advice isn't applicable here.
    If that was the case, the OP wouldn't have any symptoms, since there'd be no relative movement between the dustcap and the freewheel.

    In any case, futzing with the dustcap seems easier than chasing down a well-fitting spacer.

  12. #12
    CityCycle
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    Quote Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
    Reread my earlier post. Screw on the freewheel until it bottoms, see if there's a gap behind it, if so that's your problem and the fix is to put a spacer behind the freewheel.

    On a side note. Did you rebuild the hub--- replace or relube the bearings? If so and if they have a retainer, is it possible you installed it backward?
    I beleive I did repack it but I'm pretty sure the bearings were loose. I tried making a spacer, took a tin snips and cut out a washer like piece of metal, wasn't easy and it didn't work,it wasn't thick enough I guess. I wonder if removing one of the bearings would solve the problem?

  13. #13
    Senior Member Bill Kapaun's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JTownCitycycle View Post
    yes, it says made in france
    French has a slightly smaller diameter than British.
    I wonder if using a "British" threaded FW is allowing it to screw on a bit further than it should???

    http://sheldonbrown.com/freewheels.html#threading

  14. #14
    Catching Smallmouth BradH's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kimmo View Post
    If that was the case, the OP wouldn't have any symptoms, since there'd be no relative movement between the dustcap and the freewheel.

    In any case, futzing with the dustcap seems easier than chasing down a well-fitting spacer.
    Yes. This is mine. It says "Sealed" and "France" on the shield. Maillard hubs on an '88 Trek 400T. Standard freewheel threads, not French. The shield is pressed to the axle and not the hub. At any rate, for the OP's benefit and not for the sake of arguing unnecessarily, simply tweaking where the shield sat on the cone fixed my problem in about 5 minutes.

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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kimmo View Post
    If that was the case, the OP wouldn't have any symptoms, since there'd be no relative movement between the dustcap and the freewheel.

    In any case, futzing with the dustcap seems easier than chasing down a well-fitting spacer.
    If you read the OP (and take it at it's word, he's saying that the freewheel is bearing on the dust cap and jamming it into the bearings when tightened.

    I tried to say it was unlikely, but I never say impossible. In any case, the OP need only hand tighten the freewheel and see if it bottoms against the thread shoulder as it should, or against the face of the shell, leaving a gap behind it. That will give a definitive answer as to whether he's diagnosed and described it properly, and point the direction to a solution, use a spacer behind, or inside between the inside face of the F/W, and rim of the hub shell.

    As I also mentioned, the dustcap shouldn't be able to press against the bearing, so I suggested the possibility that the real problem might be a retainer installed backward.

    I'm not psychic, nor am I willing to consider and list every conceivable possibility, so I depend on the descriptions of the problem posted by the person who has the parts in his hands, and suggest remedies accordingly. As such, my answers are only as good as the information provided.
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  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by JTownCitycycle View Post
    I beleive I did repack it but I'm pretty sure the bearings were loose. I tried making a spacer, took a tin snips and cut out a washer like piece of metal, wasn't easy and it didn't work,it wasn't thick enough I guess. I wonder if removing one of the bearings would solve the problem?
    Before we go at this to cross purposes, we need an accurate description of the hub and problem.

    Is the dust cover (shield) pressed onto the cone like Brad's or into the shell? Everything turns on that (no pun).

    If it's part of the axle or cone, then simply tapping it in deeper is the answer. If it's pressed into the shell, you have to check the why the freewheel body is pressing on it, and why it jams.

    As I said earlier, you're the only one here who has it in your hands, so the quality of the answer anybody gives depends on the accuracy and completeness of the description.

    As for removing a ball, that won't change anything, unless you put in one too many when you rebuilt.
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  17. #17
    CityCycle
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    Quote Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
    Before we go at this to cross purposes, we need an accurate description of the hub and problem.

    Is the dust cover (shield) pressed onto the cone like Brad's or into the shell? Everything turns on that (no pun).

    If it's part of the axle or cone, then simply tapping it in deeper is the answer. If it's pressed into the shell, you have to check the why the freewheel body is pressing on it, and why it jams.

    As I said earlier, you're the only one here who has it in your hands, so the quality of the answer anybody gives depends on the accuracy and completeness of the description.

    As for removing a ball, that won't change anything, unless you put in one too many when you rebuilt.
    sorry for the confusion guys, you're always so nice and helpful here ! Here's some photos that I hope help. I think it's just a case of the freewheel pressing against this dust cap over the bearings. I noticed the hub and the wheel that I'm presently using on this bike although not an exact match has a dust cap that is noticeably set down into the shell then the one giving me problems. edited.. the bearings are loose, no retainer.
    jam3.jpgjam4.jpg
    Last edited by JTownCitycycle; 01-20-14 at 05:45 PM.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by JTownCitycycle View Post
    sorry for the confusion guys, you're always so nice and helpful here ! Here's some photos that I hope help. I think it's just a case of the freewheel pressing against this dust cap over the bearings. I noticed the hub and the wheel that I'm presently using on this bike although not an exact match has a dust cap that is noticeably set down into the shell then the one giving me problems. edited.. the bearings are loose, no retainer.
    OK, this is exactly like BradH's hub, the freewheel isn't pressing the cap into the bearing, it's simply rubbing on it. Assemble the hub and use a piece of wooded dowel to gently press the cap in a bit deeper. It should be able to go to where it's just slightly sub flush to the shell without rubbing. (if it's straight)

    If you want to know how far it can go remove the balls, and drop the cone into the right side so it rests on the dust cap. Obviously it can't go that far or it would rub, but it can go to within 1mm of that depth.
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  19. #19
    CityCycle
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    Quote Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
    OK, this is exactly like BradH's hub, the freewheel isn't pressing the cap into the bearing, it's simply rubbing on it. Assemble the hub and use a piece of wooded dowel to gently press the cap in a bit deeper. It should be able to go to where it's just slightly sub flush to the shell without rubbing. (if it's straight)

    If you want to know how far it can go remove the balls, and drop the cone into the right side so it rests on the dust cap. Obviously it can't go that far or it would rub, but it can go to within 1mm of that depth.
    hey thanks a whole bunch, that did the trick. I had initially banged it in too far but I backed off the cone a bit and it's doing pretty good now. Now after 25 years I can get back to using this 40 spoke wheel because I need it, I weigh about 265 lbs. thanks again everyone, you're great !

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