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Thread: Frozen Hub II

  1. #1
    meaculpa
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    Frozen Hub II

    Hi. First, thanks to all the other folks who participate in this forum. That is a very formal-sounding statement but it is sincere. I am in your debt for helping solve some of the mechanical puzzles winter hits us with.

    Ok, so...tonight's commute was fun, exilerating actually. 15 minutes of riding then I stopped to pick up wine for dinner. 5 min in/out. Jumped on my beloved commuter & zip! nothing. The cranks just spin around forwards & backwards. 2nd seriously cold ride this winter (below 15 deg F) & 2nd time this has happened, EVER. I have ridden bikes in the winter for years and never, EVER, has this happened. So I have a problem.

    3 wks ago I regreased the rear hub w/ Park grease. That should have solved the problem, right? Or not? Well, apparently not.
    Its just that no one else around here seems to have this particular issue.

    Ok so...I'm taking my thermos w/ hot water and pouring onto the hub next time just to get the pawls loose again.

    ps Could this be due to me rinsing the drivetrain and water seeping in?

    Crazy talk, I know.

  2. #2
    succumbs to errata jaypee's Avatar
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    What happened is that the grease god cold enough to keep the spring from actuating the pawls. I had this happen a couple of times a couple of years ago with a cheap freewheel on my winter bike. I ended up taking it apart, cleaning out the grease, and replacing it with a lighter lubricant. The problem with this is that it'll wash out easier, leading to increased maintenance intervals.

    I'd rather have a freewheel that works all of the time, personally.

  3. #3
    Former Member
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    Your careful maintenance was your undoing.

    Low-temperature grease or no grease are the options.

  4. #4
    Senior Member coldfeet's Avatar
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    Yes, the grease basically got too thick and hung up the pawls. I had this, and tried to get the freehub apart to re-lube with low-temp oil. In the end I couldn't get that freehub apart and switched to a different wheel with a hub that didn't give me problems. There is a a gadget out called a "freehub buddy?" that you use by pulling out the dust cap and replacing with it, then pumping light oil thru the freehub. It is usually necessary to replace the dust cap with a machined one by the same people.

    Found a link
    http://www.morningstartools.com/freehub_buddy1.html

  5. #5
    Senior Member coldfeet's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by meaculpa View Post

    Ok so...I'm taking my thermos w/ hot water and pouring onto the hub next time just to get the pawls loose again.
    Errr, I have read of a method which doesn't need a thermos, and is easily done by, err, guys, (as long as you have some privacy)
    Supposed to be good for 20-30 minutes or so. Have not tried it.
    Quote Originally Posted by meaculpa View Post
    ps Could this be due to me rinsing the drivetrain and water seeping in?

    Crazy talk, I know.
    No, not likely, much more likely to be the grease getting too thick.

  6. #6
    meaculpa
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    [QUOTE=coldfeet;6045902]Errr, I have read of a method which doesn't need a thermos, and is easily done by, err, guys, (as long as you have some privacy)
    Supposed to be good for 20-30 minutes or so. Have not tried it.

    Yeah, yeah. I thought about doing this...seriously.
    I stopped by the lbs & got a new freehub on order, 7-10 days $50 w/labor.
    Fact is I did briefly consider just buying a new wheel altogether (this one is an Alex ACE19, came stock w/ the Volpe & no problems up until now.)

  7. #7
    meaculpa
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    Low-temperature grease or no grease are the options.[/QUOTE]

    Could a hub work (ie spin) w/out grease? But its funny how it lasts until I do one of those brief stops THEN the pawls stick.

    Also, the shop guys suggested that (until the new freehub gets installed) I should lightly tap the rear hub or bounce the rear wheel to unstick the pawls. Fancy that. I could have avoided walking the bike home if I knew that. Live/Ride - Learn/Dammit.

  8. #8
    Senior Member coldfeet's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by meaculpa View Post
    Also, the shop guys suggested that (until the new freehub gets installed) I should lightly tap the rear hub or bounce the rear wheel to unstick the pawls. Fancy that. I could have avoided walking the bike home if I knew that. Live/Ride - Learn/Dammit.
    Did try that, didn't work. YMMV etc.

  9. #9
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    ????

    So, you regreased the hub, you don't mention the freehub. There is a difference. The bearings in the hub aren't the same as the freehub. Pull the freehub off the hub, pull the seal (O-ring) off the spoke side of the freehub and drip in some synthetic motor oil, I use Mobil One 5-30wt, drip in all you can get it to take. You just need some thinner lube in the FREEHUB.

    I ride in below zero (F) and have no issues at all after doing this on 6 bikes, my wife's and mine. BTW, I'm using Shimano and Chris King hubs, Campy may be different. Park tools website can walk you through the procedure to remove your freehub. I'm sure this will end your problem.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Intheloonybin's Avatar
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    I blew a bunch of WD40 through mine early this winter, and it has been fine down to -10F so far. I'm curious to see if/where it does fail. (hope it does not!)

    The problem with the "alternate" method of defrosting, is that you would have to find (three layers of long johns with shirts tucked into them and a pair of tights later- not "find" because it's that small. Well wait, it is freakishly cold out) said "tool", then expose it to the bitter cold.

    I'll call for a ride, thanks.

  11. #11
    meaculpa
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    At this point, I feel obliged to take the new freehub installation as the shop (one of 3 lbshops I utilize) recommended. Yet its better if I try to fix the 2 yr old (thats 2 *winters*-old) freehub, at least accdg to my conservationist values.

    Well, it can't hurt to try though. I say that tongue-in-cheek as I am friggin scared to try most of my own repairs.

    The shop said 3-5 more days before the freehub arrives. I'll talk to the local 'do-it-yourself' lbs to see if they'll help me try Rocky Rode's method. If they agree then I'll buy something from them, quid pro quo.

  12. #12
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    this is one of the reasons I moved to a fixed wheel on my commuter.

  13. #13
    Senior Member Intheloonybin's Avatar
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    I rode in this morning at -15F, and had no mechanical problems. (knock on wood!)

    I don't know how it would have gone if I hadn't blasted the WD40 into my freewheel.

    Good luck and let us know how it goes!

  14. #14
    All Weather Cyclist mcorbeil's Avatar
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    Frozen freewheel

    I thought i would bump this topic as it happened to me on the way home today. Did anything end up working for you guys? Or was there any recurrence?

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