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Old 07-27-09, 12:20 PM   #1
bumknees
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Phil Wood tandem hubs - oscillating freehub noise

I have a set of tandem wheels built around Phil Wood cassette hubs (145mm spacing). I've noticed that when coasting, I get an oscillating ticking noise from the freehub. The wheel is perfectly true and round, and I've noticed the noise when I have the wheel on my truing stand and spin while holding the cassette in place.

The noise sounds like it gets a bit louder at one point per revolution, and then gets a bit quieter again. I've taken apart the hub and regreased the hub as suggested in the Phil Wood website, but that didn't change anything.

Is this kind of thing considered to be normal? The wheel spin freely and goes on and on...

I also posted this in the mechanic's section, but being that it's tandem hubs I thought that one of you may have had similar experiences...
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Old 07-27-09, 12:49 PM   #2
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I prefer to call mine a 'plusating' noise.... sounds sexier.

There are two things that seem like they can case this:

1. The pressed-in ratchet cup isn't set-in perfectly. I've had three like this; one back in 1998 right uot of the box that was bad enough that I found myself with pawl skip. It was rebuilt once... unsuccessfully. It was then replaced with a new hub which had a slight pulsing which I still have to this day with some 15,000 miles of use, albeit on a now-retired wheelset. Anohter set acquired in '02 also had the pulsing. I think we put 5k on that set of hubs before we sold that particular tandem.

2. A bent axle. Kind of hard to bend a stock Phil Wood tandem axle, but if you bought one of their SL models (not really recommended for tandems) and really put some loads into it they would deform a bit... enough to create some pawl pusling and to make removing the axle a bit of a pain.

My guess is that if you've had the noise from the git-go it's #1. My fix was to apply a fresh coat of Phil Wood Grease to the pawls and ratchet cup which makes the carrier absolutely silent when you're coasting. Well, that or just keep pedalling and don't coast. Seriously, if it's really bad you could find yourself with some pawl skip under heavy pedal loads and it'll scrare the bejeesus out of you. Only way to get a proper assessment is to send it back for a look-see.
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Old 07-27-09, 12:58 PM   #3
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Thanks for the info. This isn't a SL model, so #1 is likely the answer. I'll take it apart again, lightly regrease and cross my fingers. Otherwise, I guess I'd have to "unbuild" my wheel to send it back...
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Old 07-27-09, 02:09 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by bumknees View Post
Otherwise, I guess I'd have to "unbuild" my wheel to send it back...
Call and talk to their customer support folks as well, just to get your name in the system and to start a dialog. I've always had a good experience in working with Phil Wood on this type of stuff. They may have a silver bullet diagnosis with a better prognosis than what my history bears out.

Also, you won't necessarily have to unbuild the wheel either even if the hub needs to be looked at. Shipping will be a tad more expensive, but they can look at the hub just as easily when it's mounted as to when it's not.

When I had the problems with my '98 wheelset we actually swapped wheels: they sent me a loaner in a PW box and I shipped my wheel back. Unfortunately, as already noted, the fix didn't fully solve the problem once we had our wheels swapped back so instead of sending it back again for them to rebuild I simply asked for the hub and did the rebuild myself.

Anyway, like I said, give 'em a call in tech support and see what they suggest. If nothing else, you at least know that it's not a unique problem nor a recent one. It's also not terminal as best as I can tell from our experiences.
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Old 07-27-09, 02:48 PM   #5
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Way back when . . . had a tick noise on rare occasion on rear Phil hub on our custom Colin Laing tandem (mid-1980s).
Our solution was: coast . . . pedal one revolution BACKwards. Noise ceased.
Have put big miles on Phil hubs on our previous tandems: our Assenmacher: 64,000 miles; Colin Laing 56,000 miles; custom Co-Motion 57,000 miles.
A great product and service.
Pedal on TWOgether!
Rudy and Kay/zonatandem
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