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  1. #1
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    Servicing an early 80's Schwinn Voyageur SP

    Hello,

    I'd like to start off by saying that I apologize if this has been hashed over on this site.

    Today I purchased what I believe is an 82 or 83 Schwinn Voyageur SP. I normally ride a SS, but have been itching for a good touring bike (with gears) and this seemed to fit the bill. It's a one owner bike, and has been garaged for the last 25 or so years. It's actually a bit on the big side for me, but I test rode it and fell in love. I bought it for $150.

    My question is, what all should I be looking at doing to get this thing back on the road? I had been planning on greasing hub bearings, bottom bracket, and headset; as well as degreasing the drive train. I figured I'd need to replace all the cables as well (not sure about housing since I read somewhere Schwinn used some weird housing size?). I also need to replace the tires (obviously) and want to lose the cheesy foam bar grips and retape.

    As far as components go, I'm hoping to keep everything stock. I've never had a bike with down tube shifters, and I think they're cool (I just need to learn how to use them!).

    Is there anything I've missed? I've not done a whole lot of work on bikes before, so most of this is going to be a learning experience. Is there any way to know what kind of tools I'll be needing? I have allen wrenches, pedal wrenches, torque wrenches, that kind of thing. But not really any type of bearing tools, freewheel tools, bottom bracket tools, etc. so I'll be needing those.

    Thank you guys so much. I'm sure you get this kind of thing alot. I'm REALLY excited to get this bike up and running in top shape. I've just begun to get into SS touring, and really can't wait to get take this bike out.

    I appreciate any help and info.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Iowegian's Avatar
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    As far as I know, everything on that bike should be pretty standard except for the stem. The neck of the stem and the fork steer tube are both a tad smaller than other bikes of the era so you'll have to get a Schwinn specific (0.833") stem if you replace that part. Otherwise, you'll need some special tools to get the bottom bracket apart and a special tool to take the freewheel off. You'll need some cone wrenches to adjust the bearing cones on the wheels and probably a 32mm wrench (or 2) for the headset nuts. Otherwise, I think the hex wrenches, pedal wrench and good mechanical sense will do the trick. You might need a few small sockets (8mm, 10mm, etc) as well but I assume you have those or you could probably use a small adjustable wrench if needed.

    The Park Tools website has loads of great how-to information as does the bicycle mechanics section of BikeForums. If there is a bike co-op nearby, you could drop in there and I'm sure they'd be happy to show you the ropes. Or try youtube for how-to's as well.

    I have an 82 SP and it's a nice riding bike. I think you'll like it, especially if you're already into tourng. Have fun!

    Oh...and a crank puller to get the crank arms off the bottom bracket spindle. Also, there are a few left-threaded parts on bicycles as well. Both the left pedal and the right side BB cup are left-threaded on your bike so keep that in mind once you get to that point.
    Last edited by Iowegian; 08-07-14 at 10:02 PM.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Steve Whitlatch's Avatar
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    It is very important that you take pictures and post them here. If you do not then this never really happened.

    Nice bike.
    My bikes - 1950`s Criterium (French) - 1972 Schwinn Paramount P13-9 - 1980`s Guerciotti - 1994 Trek 930
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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Whitlatch View Post
    It is very important that you take pictures and post them here. If you do not then this never really happened.

    Nice bike.
    Okay, can anyone confirm what size cone wrenches I will need? What size bearings (1/4 and 5/16 for both wheels right? What about headset and bottom bracket? Worth replacing them?)

    Is there a special tool for the headset? Or will a regular wrench work for those nuts?

    Thanks!

  5. #5
    Senior Member Steve Whitlatch's Avatar
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    Most old Schwinn bikes I have rebuilt use 15 mm cone wrenches. Get two. Makes it much easier.
    My bikes - 1950`s Criterium (French) - 1972 Schwinn Paramount P13-9 - 1980`s Guerciotti - 1994 Trek 930
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  6. #6
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    Okay, I just got back from the bike shop with some tools to get started. I got 3 different Park cone wrenches that have different sizes on each end, 2 of them have a 15 so hopefully I'll have my bases covered. I also got a tube of Phil Wood grease, some citrus degreaser, a c spanner for my bottom bracket, and a 32mm headset wrench. I also picked up a pack each (25) of 1/4 and 3/16 loose ball bearings hoping those are the correct size. I know I read 1/4 somewhere, but my mind blanked on others. Shimano uses 3/16 so hopefully I guessed right. Hell, I'm not even sure if they really need replaced. Everything else (minus the freewheel tool) I *think* I have. Sheldon brown says you can just get to your rear axle bearings without taking the freewheel off, so I'm hoping that'll be possible and I can just clean the freewheel up with some degreaser.

    How careful will I need to be with the citrus degreaser? I'm assuming keep it away from paint but it's not gonna eat my spokes or something will it? It's the Finish Line stuff in an orange can.

    So tomorrow, I'll delve into something I've never done before. I know for some of you this is child's play, but for me it's a bit more complex than I'm used to.

    I just wanna get this thing on the road! Hope I don't screw it up...

    Oh, and I'll see if I can get some pics up sometime.

    Any more help or information is much appreciated.
    Last edited by Shinkers; 08-08-14 at 06:15 PM.

  7. #7
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    And here are some pictures. Man, if only this bike was a touch smaller. In it's current configuration, I need to lose about an inch from pedal to saddle, and lose an inch off of the stem. It's got a 100mm stem on it right now, if anyone could point me to a 75mm that would fit, I'd be very grateful.


  8. #8
    Senior Member etherhuffer's Avatar
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    Good grief! Nice copy! The front rack is original too! The TA water bottle cage fetches good bucks on ebay as well. Real find! Do the bearings then ride it awhile. You may not want to change this one much. Here in Seattle that bike would sell for 300 easy.

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    *beaming* Would you do cables too?

    There is definitely something about this bike that has touched me a bit deep down inside. This thing is 13 years older than me, but I really feel something. That's why I'm determined to make the bigger size work. I want to ride the hell out of this thing.

  10. #10
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    That bike is AWESOME!!!

    I really hope you get that to work out for you, that is a really super special bike.
    *Recipient of the 2006 Time Magazine "Man Of The Year" Award*

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  11. #11
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    Oh, I'll find a way to get it to work for me . The more I ogle over it, the more I know I can make the size work. I just need to get it up and running in tip-top shape.

  12. #12
    Senior Member zukahn1's Avatar
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    *beaming* Would you do cables too?

    Yes If you have gone this far most of the guys here redue all of the cables when rebuilding a bike.

  13. #13
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    Anyone know how hard it's going to be to repack the rear hub without removing the freewheel? Is cleaning the freewheel while it's on the bike still suitable?

    I'm hoping to do the greasy bits this weekend so I can at least ride it around a little.

  14. #14
    Senior Member Steve Whitlatch's Avatar
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    On some cassettes you can repack the bearings without removing them. I have never been able to do it with a freewheel. It is much easier with the Cassette / freewheel off. My LBS removes them for $5. Easy to put back on. If you think you will be doing this a lot then buy the removal tools. You can clean the freewheel while it is attached to the wheel. I use Mineral spirits and a good thick rag (NOT RED!! Don`t ask how I figured that out.). Just get the rag wet and wedge it between the cogs and pull back and forth. Clean them the same way when removed.

    That bike is in very nice shape. Great find. A nice Brooks Saddle would look sweet on that bike.
    Last edited by Steve Whitlatch; 08-08-14 at 11:03 PM.
    My bikes - 1950`s Criterium (French) - 1972 Schwinn Paramount P13-9 - 1980`s Guerciotti - 1994 Trek 930
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  15. #15
    Senior Member etherhuffer's Avatar
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    If you have space and don't want to beat the original parts, pull the racks and put a new one on. Those are not real heavy duty on the front. A quick rub on the pads with a coarse file will help braking. Consider some Kool Stop pads. I would suggest a recable too. There is a freewheel service tutorial on youtube. Remove, spray WD40 through it to degrime it, then oil it. If you don't have bike tools, get a Park tool for each job and soon you have a set. At a minimum, get a cable/housing cutter. Regular wire cutters mash cables. Get a freewheel tool. Crank remover. Pedal wrench. Chain tool. Bottom bracket tool. Spoke wrench. Oh BEWARE! I think some of these used SAE threads on the eyelets for rack and fender! Pull one out, walk it to the hardware store and have them check.

    a tub of boat bearing grease for wheel bearings and headsets and bottom brackets.

    if it turns into too much of a project just let me know and I will just come and pick it up.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by etherhuffer View Post
    If you have space and don't want to beat the original parts, pull the racks and put a new one on. Those are not real heavy duty on the front. A quick rub on the pads with a coarse file will help braking. Consider some Kool Stop pads. I would suggest a recable too. There is a freewheel service tutorial on youtube. Remove, spray WD40 through it to degrime it, then oil it. If you don't have bike tools, get a Park tool for each job and soon you have a set. At a minimum, get a cable/housing cutter. Regular wire cutters mash cables. Get a freewheel tool. Crank remover. Pedal wrench. Chain tool. Bottom bracket tool. Spoke wrench. Oh BEWARE! I think some of these used SAE threads on the eyelets for rack and fender! Pull one out, walk it to the hardware store and have them check.

    a tub of boat bearing grease for wheel bearings and headsets and bottom brackets.

    if it turns into too much of a project just let me know and I will just come and pick it up.
    Definitely do ^that.

    The VSP is a real special bicycle.

    There's a big temptation to just think "Schwinn Voyageur." But this really is it's own bike and a really special bike at that. Your model is a big step up from the regular Voyageur. It's also in incredible shape. A lot of those parts are pretty rare- those racks and those shifters/derailleurs are pretty hard to find.

    Everybody and their mom is going to tell you to get rid of the suicide/turkey/safety brake levers. I believe if you get some good Kool Stop salmon pads and have your brakes adjusted properly, the lever extensions will work fine for 90% of your braking. Just be aware that they are secondary lever and they pull the lever that pulls the primary brake lever.

    You really do have a cool, cool bike.





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  17. #17
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    I love the suicide levers. They really give it a nostalgic feel. I was hoping to keep the racks on and use them though

    Today when I get off work I'll be doing the hubs, bottom bracket, and cleaning everything up on it. Good times! Then I'll work on getting some cables and pads.
    Last edited by Shinkers; 08-09-14 at 08:26 AM.

  18. #18
    Senior Member curbtender's Avatar
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    You can get a shorter stem, even one more upright, to adjust the seat-to-handlebar length. And you also have seat options. You can have the freewheel removed at your local shop. No special tools to install, just replace chain and riding will tighten it back on. Nice bike, have fun.
    Last edited by curbtender; 08-09-14 at 08:39 AM.
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  19. #19
    Senior Member etherhuffer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shinkers View Post
    I love the suicide levers. They really give it a nostalgic feel. I was hoping to keep the racks on and use them though

    Today when I get off work I'll be doing the hubs, bottom bracket, and cleaning everything up on it. Good times! Then I'll work on getting some cables and pads.
    Small point. We called shifters on the stem suicide levers or nut snatchers. The brake levers are "turkey wings" in our locale. I unlike many loved those and now use interrupters instead. Same idea, braking from the tops. But turkey wings flex a lot, so less stopping power.

    go ahead and use the racks, but if you trash one you will hate yourself! Those are rare!

  20. #20
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    Okay, I'm almost done with the front hub. I wiped everything down with degreaser, and then with a water damp paper towel. After that, I did run some water through the hub to make sure all the degreaser was rinsed out, and then dried with paper towels and blew some compressed air through it. I should be good right?'

    FWIW, I diluted the degreaser quite a bit, and I'm more concerned about the possibility of rust.
    Last edited by Shinkers; 08-09-14 at 03:58 PM.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by etherhuffer View Post
    Small point. We called shifters on the stem suicide levers or nut snatchers. The brake levers are "turkey wings" in our locale. I unlike many loved those and now use interrupters instead. Same idea, braking from the tops. But turkey wings flex a lot, so less stopping power.go ahead and use the racks, but if you trash one you will hate yourself! Those are rare!
    I've heard them called suicide levers, because in an emergency if you grab them real hard you may not stop in time!

  22. #22
    Senior Member bikemig's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shinkers View Post
    Okay, I'm almost done with the front hub. I wiped everything down with degreaser, and then with a water damp paper towel. After that, I did run some water through the hub to make sure all the degreaser was rinsed out, and then dried with paper towels and blew some compressed air through it. I should be good right?
    As long as its dry, yeah. But in the future, I wouldn't run water through the bearing surfaces; just wipe them off with a rag.

    I'd overhaul very ball bearing (rear hub, bottom bracket, headset, and pedals) on the bike. I'd replace all the cables and cable housing and use some kool stop pads for the brakes. I'd pull out the jockey wheel and put a bit of oil on the bushings. I'd replace the chain. I'd grease every nut that screws into the frame (e.g., water bottles, rack braze ons, seatpost). I'd grease the seatpost, the stem, and the binder bolts on the stem. You will want to check the spokes for tension as well.

  23. #23
    Senior Member etherhuffer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shinkers View Post
    Okay, I'm almost done with the front hub. I wiped everything down with degreaser, and then with a water damp paper towel. After that, I did run some water through the hub to make sure all the degreaser was rinsed out, and then dried with paper towels and blew some compressed air through it. I should be good right?
    Look at the bearing race in the hub. It should be clean. That is what matters. I run solvent or acetone on a qtip in there. Did you get new bearings? Look for grade 30 if I remember right. The grade 300 stuff is ok but lower quality. VXB bearings online has quality stuff.

  24. #24
    Senior Member etherhuffer's Avatar
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  25. #25
    Senior Member bikemig's Avatar
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    Grade 25 ball bearings are what you want; here is a discussion on the Park website, Park Tool Co. » ParkTool Blog » Ceramic Bearings

    Wheels manufacturing sells them; if you google around, you can pick up them up in different quantities. I tend to buy them in a container that holds 150 ball bearings.

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