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  1. #1
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    my first tear down

    since this Hercules is so further gone than most of the bikes i have been picking up
    i have decided to use it as my 1st tear down.

    before i get anywhere near ready to tackle it
    i want to collect as many tips and hints as a i can.




    This particular bike has much rust and oxidation to the finish, that one would swear it was painted flat black instead of glossy. Those 4 'reflector?' strips seem to be original. I am hoping once i strip the frame i can get away with just a deep clean and perhaps a coat of poly - i am not interested in repainting her - but would like to replace the cable housing and grips with black ones. The seat is already a goner. I think an All black bike would be wicked.

    I know this will take some time and i may have it disassembled in my living room all winter.
    but i hope it will be a good learning experience. since i only have 20 bucks into it, i can afford to make all the mistakes i want.

    I DO intend to take complete before photos and make diagrams of what goes where
    i found that once you take something off it quite often doesn't WANT to go back where it should fit.

    Please respond with your best advice?, worst case scenarios, what have you..
    many thanks

  2. #2
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    Tearing down a bike is actually one of my favorite things to do. It's systematic with a clear goal--I like that! Having a workstand is very helpful, as well as a big box to keep all of the parts together. Then, my protocol usually is:

    --undo the 3-speed cable at the hub; if that connection is rusted shut, you'll need to cut it and replace that cable.
    --remove the wheels (which some times calls for deflating the tires).
    --cut the brake cables right below the anchor point on the caliper and remove the clips holding the brake cables to the frame.
    --remove the brake calipers but put the brake hardware back on the removed caliper in the order it came off.
    --undo the bolt that holds the handlebar stem so that it comes up about a centimeter (don't unscrew completely); then, give that bolt a good knock with a mallet or a hammer with a piece of hardwood protecting the bolt head.
    --pull the stem/bars: at this point, you have the brake levers and shift lever attached to the bars--you can deal with them at any time though it's easier to remove the grips and levers when the assembly is on a bike in order to hold it still.
    --remove the chainguard and fenders and as much as you can put the hardware back in the bolt holes it came from so that you can keep track of what went where.
    --remove the cotter pins and crankset, but only if the bottom bracket feels particularly crunchy or if a cotter is worn--having a cotter-pin press is essential for this process.
    --Undo the seat binder bolt and pull out that seat post and saddle (hopefully).
    --Use a chain-rivet tool to brake the chain and toss it into the metal recycling bin.

    You now have a fairly naked frame and can clean and shine without knocking your hands against things (unless you left the crankset on, which will nick your knuckles up good). And you can now check all the moving parts for needed overhaul.

    Neal

  3. #3
    Ferrous wheel
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    Cottered cranks can be a bear. Start soaking the bolts at the threads in Liquid Wrench now. Might as well soak other bolts that are coming out too. When you put the bike back together, use a plastic bottom bracket sleeve to keep gunk out of the bearings.

    On that note, replace the bearings in the headset, front hub and bottom bracket. I would use loose balls instead of cages, which is probably what you have in the headset and BB.

    Don't forget to treat the inside of the frame with Framesaver!
    One thing about living in Santa Carla I never could stomach -- all the damn vampires.

  4. #4
    peaced out deez's Avatar
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    Cool bike.... AND you'll get to experience the joy of working on cottered cranks!

    I like to get a bunch of ziplock baggies or plastic beer cups to keep each component and its parts seperated. One cup for the Front Brake caliper and all its parts, one for the Rear, one for the headset...parts are easy to mix up and its always easier to put it back together the way it came apart


    A Dremel or a Polishing Wheel will go a really long way to help you reclaim those chrome parts from the rust. They're probably still plenty shiny...just coated right now

  5. #5
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    nice bike to start with for a tear down. i've done like dozens of tear downs in my times, and the two biggest things are keeping track of all the parts and little pieces and remembering how things are put together. id do the plastic baggies with lables, or in my shop, i got a bunch of old tupperware containers and cambros for the smaller parts and lined boxes for the larger ones. and lable stuff, take notes on how things were adjusted and where they go.

    i take it that you are going to strip it down completly, so don't rush things and go at your own pace. i am about to do the same to my 1959 amf roadmaster cruiser this winter as well as giving it a fresh coat of paint. since the horn tank, fenders and rear rack are missing, i'm gonna do a semi-custom thing to it. when i am done, people will bow to it (hahaha). be ready to spend the time needed to clean everything right and putting things back together. and the feeling you get once your baby is put back together and your riding it down the road knowing YOU built this bike and if anything goes wrong down the road, you'll be that much more inclined to jump in and fix it.

    i am the self proclaimed 3speed guru of norcal, do if you got any 3speed specific questions, don't hesitate to ask. especially if its a sa hub. they are actually not too hard to tear down and rebuild. good luck.

  6. #6
    working on progress treebound's Avatar
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    General things I've learned and done over the years:

    Zip lock baggies are your friend, both the sandwich and the gallon sizes. Use them to put parts in, work okay for loose bearings as well.

    Medicine pill bottles work great for ball bearings too, plus they can be used for parts cleaners with just a little degreaser in the bottle with the bearings.

    Having a small magnet of some sort is handy to have handy when removing loose bearings. Put the magnet into the bearing race to capture loose bearings.

    An old towel laying on the ground or floor will reduce the chance of loose ball bearings bouncing away during disassembly and reassembly.

    Loosely re-assembly screw and bolt and nut and washer stackups back together right after you take them apart and get the component you were removing removed from the bike. Helps you to remember the order stuff was in before you took it apart, and helps to keep things arranged and orderly until you get ready to clean or repair or replace the hardware pieces. For example, remove the fenders, then once removed put the screws back into the stays and mounting brackets, and put the brake nuts back onto the shaft when you remove each brake assembly. Same with the hardware on that chain guard on your bike, keep the hardware and screws and nuts with the chainguard until you get ready to sand or clean or paint the chainguard, then baggie up the hardware and put a small piece of paper in the baggie saying what the parts go to.

    If I know I'm going to be replacing cables anyway I'll just cut the cable in half and coil it up with half left on the brake or shifter lever and the other half coiled up to the derailer or brake assembly. I'll leave them like this until I get ready to work on or clean up the components. This also helps keep the cables around for when you need to replace them and want to find matching ends on the cables, helps to have the old ones handy to match up and compare with new ones. Also helps to have the old ones if you need to modify or trim down the new cable ends, sometimes new cables have flashing or deformities or are a slightly different size than the original ones.

    Plan on buying a few tools along the way. This is how my tool set grows over the years, buying what I need as I need it. And make friends with your LBS and make deals for the use of their specialty tools if you have a need for them. A 6-pack of soda and some pizza will get you all sorts of fair use of occaisionally used tools. Specialty tools like something to remove your crank cotters and maybe to get inside the rear hub, stuff like that.

    And always remember, this is supposed to be fun, so if it stops being fun then zip shut the baggies and take a break.

    Hope this helps a little.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by ogbigbird View Post
    i am the self proclaimed 3speed guru of norcal, do if you got any 3speed specific questions, don't hesitate to ask. especially if its a sa hub. they are actually not too hard to tear down and rebuild. good luck.
    Then i am glad to know you. Oddly with all the bike variations out there, i am specifically being drawn to 3-speeds. I have a few of each floating around, but show me an english 3 speed and i go weak in the knees.

    I am definitely going for the Park Tool repair course up in Nashua but that's not till January and that seems to very far away. there are a few bike mechanics around, but no one has time for me beyond a very specific question now and then, i have even offered money. I suppose i should have discovered old bikes 25 years ago, but i think i have a greater appreciation for something the same age as myself.

    Until January - it's me and thee, ya'll.

  8. #8
    Freewheel Medic pastorbobnlnh's Avatar
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    J,

    Is the Park Tool Repair School going to be held at Goodales? If there is anything on truing and building wheels, I'm in! When in January?
    Bob
    Dreaming of Summertime in NH!

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  9. #9
    holyrollin' FlatTop's Avatar
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    Consciously enjoy the process as much as you are able. This isn't work, it's the opposite of work.

    You take good pictures. Take plenty during disassembly, especially of little details like cable routing, hardware, clips, decals...because 3 speeds are simple bikes, they can be just a bit deceptive, and leave you wondering months later why the shifter cable isn't long enough to reach the hub.

    That's a neat bike. You've picked an excellent start for your build.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by pastorbobnlnh View Post
    J,

    Is the Park Tool Repair School going to be held at Goodales? If there is anything on truing and building wheels, I'm in! When in January?
    all i know is the little they have told me.
    it's 2 consecutive saturdays in January
    from goodale's site:
    There will also be Park Deluxe Classes $219.99 (covers the same as our deluxe overhaul package).

    and it's the best i could find outside of Boston.
    i figure at least it will get me to a point where i will know my ass from a hot rock.

  11. #11
    Senior Member Road Fan's Avatar
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    E-girl, you need some boy bikes!

    Seeing that Herc makes me think my old 3-speed was a Hercules. I think they were absorbed by Raleigh.

    Overall, don't force things loose. Brawn can be damaging, and you want to get all the old parts back on the bike as much as possible. It looks like her cable routing is not right the way it is. See if you have the right parts to model it after your Robin Hood. That one looked correct and original. I don't know if you've removed and replaced cotter pins yet in any of these projects, but it might be a good time to look for a cotter pin tool, that presses them out and back in. Var was the classic item.

  12. #12
    Senior Member Road Fan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by EraserGirl View Post

    ... being drawn to 3-speeds. I have a few of each floating around, but show me an english 3 speed and i go weak in the knees.



    Until January - it's me and thee, ya'll.
    What could be better - 3-speeds and Erasergirl!!

  13. #13
    Seņor Member USAZorro's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by EraserGirl View Post
    all i know is the little they have told me.
    it's 2 consecutive saturdays in January
    from goodale's site:
    There will also be Park Deluxe Classes $219.99 (covers the same as our deluxe overhaul package).

    and it's the best i could find outside of Boston.
    i figure at least it will get me to a point where i will know my ass from a hot rock.
    awww c'mon. You already know that.

    I bet you'll be the head of the class.
    The search for inner peace continues...

  14. #14
    DRF aka Thrifty Bill wrk101's Avatar
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    +1 Zip lock bags, label them, and use zip ties to connect parts in the proper order.

    Use a digital camera, take a lot of close up on details. A picture is worth a thousand word note...

    Don't reuse old ball bearings. Either get new ones from your LBS, or buy them by the 100 or so from your favorite mail order supply house. They are cheap.

  15. #15
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    you outta learn how to overhaul the s.a. hub on that bike. the good thing about a "girls frame" bike is that they generally tend to not be as abused as your typical conv frame. i don't know what the facination with 3speeds was to me when i first saw one some 12years ago. someday i will tear down and rebuild my 68' raleigh superbee, i allready rebuilt a early 60's steyr clubsman and eventually redo my 67' wester flyer. did all the s.a. hubs years ago. and all are still working today. for those who don't get it, their loss.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by ogbigbird View Post
    you outta learn how to overhaul the s.a. hub on that bike. the good thing about a "girls frame" bike is that they generally tend to not be as abused as your typical conv frame. i don't know what the facination with 3speeds was to me when i first saw one some 12years ago. someday i will tear down and rebuild my 68' raleigh superbee, i allready rebuilt a early 60's steyr clubsman and eventually redo my 67' wester flyer. did all the s.a. hubs years ago. and all are still working today. for those who don't get it, their loss.
    tearing down the bike is one thing
    overhauling the hub seems scary..


    btw
    am i the only one who gets a thrill out of just cleaning an old bike?
    the thing i can't wait to do when i get a bike home is clean it and see what i have got.

  17. #17
    hi YoKev's Avatar
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    I love cleaning a dirty bike as well.

    Nice choice by the way. That paint will shine right up no problem.

    Best,
    Kevin

  18. #18
    Freewheel Medic pastorbobnlnh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by EraserGirl View Post
    btw
    am i the only one who gets a thrill out of just cleaning an old bike?
    the thing i can't wait to do when i get a bike home is clean it and see what i have got.
    Does this prove I share this same obsession?
    Before:


    After:
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  19. #19
    www.onecycles.com douchebagonwhlz's Avatar
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    Here's my tip. Keep lots of beer handy. when you first start out, one big overhaul might be a 24 beer job. then as you get better, it might be a 6 pack job, or even 2 beer or less. Older hubs seem to be easier for me to service, the tolerances aren't as exact. But front only, 3 speed hub schematics look like a 24 beer job.
    new hubs: 2 beers just to get the adjsutment right.
    very satisfying- the job, not the beer.

  20. #20
    www.onecycles.com douchebagonwhlz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pastorbobnlnh View Post
    Does this prove I share this same obsession?
    Before:


    After:
    That is a great job.
    similar to one I tried to do for my sister, but she had problems with it. Broke a brand new chain! Confusing, made it a single speed with just it's cassette and front chainring, but had good chianline. Down on the list of projects now.....

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by ******bagonwhlz View Post
    Here's my tip. Keep lots of beer handy. when you first start out, one big overhaul might be a 24 beer job. then as you get better, it might be a 6 pack job, or even 2 beer or less. Older hubs seem to be easier for me to service, the tolerances aren't as exact. But front only, 3 speed hub schematics look like a 24 beer job.
    new hubs: 2 beers just to get the adjsutment right.
    very satisfying- the job, not the beer.
    see? this is where we part company..
    in the evening when all my 'work' work is done
    i settle in with some cds or an old movie and a glass or two of port.
    and work until my fingers hurt or i get too tired - usually 2 or 3 am.
    tonight...i started in on a Raleigh Sprite with world class rusty chrome.

  22. #22
    Senior Member mparker326's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by EraserGirl View Post
    tearing down the bike is one thing
    overhauling the hub seems scary..
    As others have mentioned, don't fear the hub. It probably won't need to be taken apart, but just in case. . .

    Check this site out:

    http://www.karrot.org/ascotto/three_...air_page1.html

    It gives a very detailed step by step of a hub cleaning.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by mparker326 View Post
    As others have mentioned, don't fear the hub. It probably won't need to be taken apart, but just in case. . .

    Check this site out:

    http://www.karrot.org/ascotto/three_...air_page1.html

    It gives a very detailed step by step of a hub cleaning.
    SWEET!
    thanks

  24. #24
    Too many bikes bikemore's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mparker326 View Post
    As others have mentioned, don't fear the hub. It probably won't need to be taken apart, but just in case. . .

    Check this site out:

    http://www.karrot.org/ascotto/three_...air_page1.html

    It gives a very detailed step by step of a hub cleaning.
    Jeez, that is what I've been looking for. I got a pile of SA sitting around to
    be made working, then laced up. Wonder how close the SA are to the Suntours.
    I don't yet have a Shimano.

  25. #25
    Senior Member mparker326's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bikemore View Post
    Jeez, that is what I've been looking for. I got a pile of SA sitting around to
    be made working, then laced up. Wonder how close the SA are to the Suntours.
    I don't yet have a Shimano.
    You may have to lace them to remove the innards from the shell unless someone knows a better way.

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