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Old 06-19-10, 08:35 PM   #1
noglider 
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Shimano clone freewheel - WOW!

Bless Shimano for perfecting the freewheel, even after it became close to obsolete.

I was fixing up a dumpster bike for a customer. I literally plucked this bike out of the town dump, because it looked OK. Well, it wasn't, and it needed a ton of work. Live and learn, I guess.

It's a Windsor from about 1978. Ten speed drive train, with SunTour V-GT derailleur and long ratcheted stem shifters.

The chain made a lot of racket around the freewheel, so I replaced it. It looked worn anyway.

Hmm, the racket persisted. The rim wasn't as straight as I wanted, so I overhauled the hub to see what was the matter. Ick, the cones were pretty badly scored. Aha, so that's what was making the noise. Well, sometimes putting stuff back together and not really fixing things can make things better in a mysterious way, so I did that. The noise persisted. Oh well.

I replaced the entire rear wheel. I had a nice wheel with a Miche hub (really smooth) and a Wolber 58 rim. Ooh, nice classic stuff. Some really nice spokes, too. I knew it might come to this because the rim the bike came with was bent, and the truing I did on the wheel didn't produce very satisfying results anyway.

OK, so I replaced the wheel, and the darned noise still persisted! Hmm, new hub, new chain, the derailleur seems good. What could it be?

I put on a generic un-branded freewheel, an exact copy of a Shimano. Oh my God, the noise is gone. The teeth on the old freewheel (SunTour) didn't look worn, but who knows?

And Oh my God again, the shifting is now amazing. It's like indexed shifting! Those tooth profiles must be a brilliant innovation. I give a little credit to this classic of a derailleur, but really, this freewheel makes more of a difference than I ever would have thought.

I was tempted to put the old wheel back on, but I'm too honest to do that. I didn't like it.

I'll supply pictures later. It's too dark out now.
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Old 06-19-10, 09:02 PM   #2
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So what's the origin of this freewheel?
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Old 06-19-10, 09:10 PM   #3
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Maybe IRD. Do they brand theirs? I think I got it from Niagara. I'm sure it's no better than Shimano. Probably not as well made. But Shimano designed it.

So has anyone ever had a freewheel that just made an awful knocking sound while the chain passed over it? I've worked on thousands of bikes and never had that happen to me before.
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Old 06-19-10, 09:47 PM   #4
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You'd know it if it was IRD by the gaping hole in your wallet. Probably Sunrace, DNP, etc.

And yes, I've had the dreadful knocking sound a couple of times, typically with 6 speed freewheels, long cage RD and 7/8 speed chain. Changing any one of those factors has always remediated the problem.
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Old 06-19-10, 09:49 PM   #5
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. . . So has anyone ever had a freewheel that just made an awful knocking sound while the chain passed over it? I've worked on thousands of bikes and never had that happen to me before.
Hi Noglider - -
- It happens to me at least half the time I replace a stretched, worn, rusty or dirty chain. (If a chain is very dirty I just deep six it, because it is inevitably worn too... I think too much sticky lube is even worse than no lube).

It seems that I'm pretty good at making a chain skip, because (1) I'm not a featherweight and (2) I tend to pump really hard (not uncommonly in a high gear from a dead stop or up an incline).
-Usually it only skips a tooth but once, but sometimes much more is it's really worn. Either way I replace the FW and it goes away. I've noted that the FW does not have to LOOK worn, to BE worn.

One other thing I've encountered (that may be more closely related to your problem) is having a chain "pop"off a given tooth:
It sounds like a BB "clunk", but is caused by a chain link hanging instantaneously on the ramp of a tooth.
The problem will follow the freewheel: When you install it on another bike the noise "happens".
Remarkably, I've had this issue (once) on a NEW freewheel. I returned it, replaced it, and the problem went away.
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Old 06-19-10, 10:28 PM   #6
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Three things:

Was the Suntour an Ultra-spaced freewheel?
What chain is on the bike at present?
How many cogs are on the Shimano replacement, and how many on the Suntour?

-Kurt
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Old 06-20-10, 06:35 AM   #7
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Probably a Falcon, Epoch or Sunrace freewheel. Did once have a freewheel 'groan' as I pedaled that I believed was due to too much play between the inner and outer bodies.
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Old 06-20-10, 06:51 AM   #8
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Lotsa mid-80's Italian bikes end up with ramped Shimano freewheels as soon as practical. OP's issue is one reason why.
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Old 06-20-10, 07:28 AM   #9
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Kurt, it wasn't an ultra-spaced freewheel. It was a regular 5-speed. I assume the chain was original. I don't know what the new one is, and it's a used chain but not worn. It has bulging plates, so it's at least semi-fancy. The replacement freewheel, which is brand new (except that the brand doesn't show ) has seven cogs. So my customer gets a nice upgrade from a 10 speed bike to a 14 speed bike. Both freewheels are 14-28, I think.

WNG, it didn't seem that there was play between the two parts of the body. It sounded a little like grinding bearings (which is why I thought it was in the hub bearings), though it didn't make that sound when the freewheel was in my hand. And I think it was something subtle in the chain-to-cog meshing, because it was worse in the small cogs. Perhaps I should provide a picture of the freewheel, because I can't see any wear on the cogs' teeth.
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Old 06-20-10, 07:47 AM   #10
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So you replaced both chain and freewheel?

It's a shame you don't have a freewheel injector - would be interesting to see if the problem would persist if the freewheel were cleaned out and re-lubed.

-Kurt

P.S.: Bulged plates do not determine fanciness.
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Old 06-20-10, 08:34 AM   #11
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Quote:
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So you replaced both chain and freewheel?

It's a shame you don't have a freewheel injector - would be interesting to see if the problem would persist if the freewheel were cleaned out and re-lubed.

-Kurt

P.S.: Bulged plates do not determine fanciness.

I did meticulously lubricate the freewheel. Come to think of it, it sounded gritty when I spun it. So that grittiness must be the source of the loud clacking noise when it was under load.

And yes, I replaced both chain and freewheel. As I said, the freewheel is brand new, and the chain is used but not worn.

And I made a mistake. It's not a 7-speed, it's a 6-speed. I was surprised that 7-speeds fit on that old hub, and now I'm less surprised, of course.

The guy just paid for and rode the bike off. He's happy. I told him it didn't come out looking good but it's running extremely well. I'm satisfied. I asked for $190 for it, and he gladly paid without haggling. I think we both did well.

Maybe it's not a fancy chain, but it's not a lousy one, I guess, if it's possible to tell just by looking.
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Old 06-20-10, 09:04 AM   #12
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Here is the bike on flickr.

Quote:
Added new handlebar, handlebar tape, brake levers, and freewheel. Added used chain, seat (from another Windsor), and rear wheel. The rear wheel has a Miche hub, Wolber 58 rim, and nice stainless steel spokes.


It looks like heck, but it runs well now.
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Old 06-20-10, 09:37 AM   #13
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I did meticulously lubricate the freewheel. Come to think of it, it sounded gritty when I spun it. So that grittiness must be the source of the loud clacking noise when it was under load.
Probably, for a 5-speed Suntour freewheel - even with a wide chain with protruding pins - wouldn't cause the pins and the cogs to rattle upon each other.

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And I made a mistake. It's not a 7-speed, it's a 6-speed. I was surprised that 7-speeds fit on that old hub, and now I'm less surprised, of course.
That adds up. A 7-speed Shimano freewheel wouldn't have worked with a bulged-type chain - they only work with Shimano-pattern narrow chains.

-Kurt
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Old 06-20-10, 09:48 AM   #14
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Hi Noglider - -
One other thing I've encountered (that may be more closely related to your problem) is having a chain "pop"off a given tooth:
It sounds like a BB "clunk", but is caused by a chain link hanging instantaneously on the ramp of a tooth.
The problem will follow the freewheel: When you install it on another bike the noise "happens".
Remarkably, I've had this issue (once) on a NEW freewheel. I returned it, replaced it, and the problem went away.
I think this is what was happening with a brand-new Sachs 13-28 freewheel that I installed on my Versailles. Typically, after tension on the chain has been relaxed for a while, e.g. while parked or just coasting, there would be a clunk from the drivetrain like you describe, upon the initial applicatoin of power. I measured the chain and it has no appreciable stretch. I revised my gearing to 13-23 with a Shimano freewheel and the clunk has not recurred. The Sachs freewheel has nominally straight teeth with some kind of machined ramp, while the Shimano has the typical canted teeth (Hyperglide, I think this is called). Actually, my favoriite freewheels are still Suntours, since they run so quietly.
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Old 06-20-10, 09:55 AM   #15
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One other thing I've encountered (that may be more closely related to your problem) is having a chain "pop"off a given tooth:
It sounds like a BB "clunk", but is caused by a chain link hanging instantaneously on the ramp of a tooth.
The problem will follow the freewheel: When you install it on another bike the noise "happens".
Remarkably, I've had this issue (once) on a NEW freewheel. I returned it, replaced it, and the problem went away.
It is impossible to mistake one for the other. A worn cog popping the chain will be instantly noticeable when the crankset jumps.

The problem results from mis-matched chain wear and the cog wear. Had you replaced both freewheel and chain, the problem would have likely gone away entirely. Just the same, some freewheels are more sensitive than others to this problem - did you swap the problematic replacement freewheel for an identical piece?

-Kurt
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Old 06-20-10, 01:38 PM   #16
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SunTour freewheels are quiet? Not to me! They're the loudest ratcheting freewheels I know. That's why I like the Shimanos and clones.

And for me to say I prefer Shimano over SunTour is really saying something.
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Old 06-20-10, 02:01 PM   #17
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I was given a mid eighties Giant road bike several years ago. After cleaning and repacking, etc. I went on my first ride. There was a loud noise from the freewheel, turned out that it was so worn that one cog was loose on the body and that was making the rapping noise. New freewheel installed and quite restored!
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Old 06-20-10, 08:20 PM   #18
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It is impossible to mistake one for the other. A worn cog popping the chain will be instantly noticeable when the crankset jumps.

The problem results from mis-matched chain wear and the cog wear. Had you replaced both freewheel and chain, the problem would have likely gone away entirely. Just the same, some freewheels are more sensitive than others to this problem - did you swap the problematic replacement freewheel for an identical piece?

-Kurt
Kurt -
The second issue I had described - that of a freewheel "pop" condition that sounded like a bb clunk, is a separate from a chain skipping on a worn cog.

I did replace the problematic FW with an identically spec'd FW and this resolved the issue.
I could make a good bike bad, and back again, simply by installing and removing the suspect FW.

BTW - I knew all along it wasn't the bb making the noise, because it was not in cadence with rotation of the crank. It just sounded as if it was emanating from the bb - a horrendously loud "clunk". (It's funny how noises can project themselves through a bike frame).
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Old 06-21-10, 12:31 AM   #19
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Kurt -
The second issue I had described - that of a freewheel "pop" condition that sounded like a bb clunk, is a separate from a chain skipping on a worn cog.
Gotcha. I wonder if the manufacturer of your freewheel used Regina's shifty cost-saving trick on their cheap freewheels: Fitting only four ball bearings to the entire inside raceway, then installing four curved spacers between each bearing to ensure that each bearing would remain at the 12, 3, 6, and 9-o'clock positions in the raceway.

Saved them a heck of a lot on bearings, but very prone to the clunking issue you describe.

-Kurt
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Old 06-21-10, 10:31 PM   #20
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Kurt, your last comment makes me think my noise was a bearing noise, not a chain-against-teeth noise. In theory, I could overhaul the freewheel and get it working again. But I swore off overhauling freewheels many years ago.

I'm going to send pictures. The spare wheel I installed on the bike came with the most damaged freewheel I have seen in my life. Wait until you see it. I hope my camera is up to the task.
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Old 06-26-10, 05:38 PM   #21
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SunTour freewheels are quiet? Not to me! They're the loudest ratcheting freewheels I know. That's why I like the Shimanos and clones.
Ratcheting noise is a different matter altogether. I spend very little time freewheeling. The noise I'm talking about is generated while pedalling. It is a whirring sound coming from the RD and/or cluster. My Suntour setups do not make this sound, or much of any other noise while pedalling.
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