Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Bicycle Mechanics
Reload this Page >

Best freehub with pawls lube?

Notices
Bicycle Mechanics Broken bottom bracket? Tacoed wheel? If you're having problems with your bicycle, or just need help fixing a flat, drop in here for the latest on bicycle mechanics & bicycle maintenance.

Best freehub with pawls lube?

Old 12-03-21, 09:53 PM
  #1  
cubewheels
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jun 2020
Location: Manila, Philippines
Posts: 2,432

Bikes: A really old BMX bike, Jackal Mio Gravel Bike

Mentioned: 8 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1139 Post(s)
Liked 483 Times in 394 Posts
Best freehub with pawls lube?

I'm a noob when it comes to freehub as this is my first use of one. They usually come greased from the factory but some research many are telling light oil is best to use to avoid gumming the pawls.

How much of that is true and what material the pawls rub against, is it steel or aluminum?

In my freewheel, I lube the pawls with 5w30 fully synthetic car engine oil. Every 6 months, a few thousand miles, I take it down and find the remaining oil inside the freewheel very clean, no sign of wear like I only filled them yesterday so light oil seems to work great with freewheel, not sure with freehub.

Do you also put grease or something in the grooved part where the cassette goes in??
cubewheels is offline  
Old 12-03-21, 10:37 PM
  #2  
cxwrench
Senior Member
 
cxwrench's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: Nor-Cal
Posts: 2,477

Bikes: lots

Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1169 Post(s)
Liked 1,563 Times in 856 Posts
If a free hub comes lubricated with grease you can bet your bottom dollar that's what the makers think is best. You can also bet on the fact that the 'many' who say oil is better don't know as much as the guys that designed the free hub. Other than the caveman **** Mavic makes I'm not aware of any that are supposed to be lubricated w/ oil. You want to use a light grease. Nothing to sticky. I really like the DT Special that is used in the ratchet systems.
Also this is a mechanical question and as such should not be posted in GD, but in 'bicycle mechanics'.
cxwrench is offline  
Likes For cxwrench:
Old 12-04-21, 12:32 AM
  #3  
cjenrick
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2020
Posts: 407
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 173 Post(s)
Liked 127 Times in 94 Posts
Shimno Premium Grese perfet for freehub, light weight nd very sticky , won't go nowhere

sorry, broken vowel, new keybord coming in next week

cn i buy vowel plese?
cjenrick is offline  
Likes For cjenrick:
Old 12-04-21, 06:53 AM
  #4  
wolfchild
Senior Member
 
wolfchild's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Mississauga/Toronto, Ontario canada
Posts: 7,072

Bikes: I have 3 singlespeed/fixed gear bikes

Mentioned: 22 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2460 Post(s)
Liked 1,352 Times in 661 Posts
Originally Posted by cubewheels View Post
I'm a noob when it comes to freehub as this is my first use of one. They usually come greased from the factory but some research many are telling light oil is best to use to avoid gumming the pawls.

How much of that is true and what material the pawls rub against, is it steel or aluminum?

In my freewheel, I lube the pawls with 5w30 fully synthetic car engine oil. Every 6 months, a few thousand miles, I take it down and find the remaining oil inside the freewheel very clean, no sign of wear like I only filled them yesterday so light oil seems to work great with freewheel, not sure with freehub.

Do you also put grease or something in the grooved part where the cassette goes in??
Lubing a freehub with oil is OK...Keep doing what you`re doing...The only part where you need grease is the bearings.
wolfchild is offline  
Likes For wolfchild:
Old 12-04-21, 07:01 AM
  #5  
wolfchild
Senior Member
 
wolfchild's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Mississauga/Toronto, Ontario canada
Posts: 7,072

Bikes: I have 3 singlespeed/fixed gear bikes

Mentioned: 22 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2460 Post(s)
Liked 1,352 Times in 661 Posts
Originally Posted by cxwrench View Post
If a free hub comes lubricated with grease you can bet your bottom dollar that's what the makers think is best. You can also bet on the fact that the 'many' who say oil is better don't know as much as the guys that designed the free hub. Other than the caveman **** Mavic makes I'm not aware of any that are supposed to be lubricated w/ oil. You want to use a light grease. Nothing to sticky. I really like the DT Special that is used in the ratchet systems.
Also this is a mechanical question and as such should not be posted in GD, but in 'bicycle mechanics'.
Grease can gum up the pawls and make them stick, especially in dirty or cold environments. It`s better to use oil on anything that has pawls. The only parts that require grease are the bearings and bearing races.
wolfchild is offline  
Likes For wolfchild:
Old 12-04-21, 08:34 AM
  #6  
Trakhak
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Baltimore, MD
Posts: 2,994
Mentioned: 9 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1054 Post(s)
Liked 883 Times in 517 Posts
Originally Posted by wolfchild View Post
Grease can gum up the pawls and make them stick, especially in dirty or cold environments. It`s better to use oil on anything that has pawls. The only parts that require grease are the bearings and bearing races.
Yes. Back when I used to disassemble and service freewheels, the only time I'd use grease would be when I'd use a dab under each pawl to keep them temporarily glued down during reassembly. Then I'd drip oli in to dilute the dabs of grease to free the pawls.

Light grease in freewheels/freehubs is fine until the volatile components of the grease evaporate to the point where it becomes sticky.
Trakhak is offline  
Likes For Trakhak:
Old 12-04-21, 08:54 AM
  #7  
ratell
Senior Member
 
ratell's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Portland, OR
Posts: 382
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Liked 18 Times in 10 Posts
My new bike suddenly had the hub stop engaging. Took to the shop and they blamed the factory grease causing the pawls to stick. They cleared out all the grease and replaced with Dumonde freehub oil.
ratell is offline  
Likes For ratell:
Old 12-04-21, 08:57 AM
  #8  
JohnDThompson 
Old fart
 
JohnDThompson's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Appleton WI
Posts: 23,171

Bikes: Several, mostly not name brands.

Mentioned: 134 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2816 Post(s)
Liked 1,659 Times in 1,015 Posts
A light machine oil is sufficient. If you use a motor oil, non-detergent oil is better.
JohnDThompson is offline  
Likes For JohnDThompson:
Old 12-04-21, 09:05 AM
  #9  
70sSanO
Senior Member
 
70sSanO's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2015
Location: Mission Viejo
Posts: 4,310

Bikes: 1986 Cannondale SR400 (Flat bar commuter), 1988 Cannondale Criterium XTR, 1992 Serotta T-Max, 1995 Trek 970

Mentioned: 17 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1366 Post(s)
Liked 1,261 Times in 794 Posts
I’ve used Phil’s Tenacious Oil for decades on freewheel and freehub bodies.

John
70sSanO is offline  
Likes For 70sSanO:
Old 12-04-21, 09:54 AM
  #10  
cxwrench
Senior Member
 
cxwrench's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: Nor-Cal
Posts: 2,477

Bikes: lots

Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1169 Post(s)
Liked 1,563 Times in 856 Posts
Originally Posted by wolfchild View Post
Grease can gum up the pawls and make them stick, especially in dirty or cold environments. It`s better to use oil on anything that has pawls. The only parts that require grease are the bearings and bearing races.
Wow, that's interesting. Can you explain how the grease knows it's lubricating bearings and thus knows not to gum up? And why Some manufacturers actually supply grease for their free hubs? Like DT for example that actually sells 2 types of grease, 1 specifically for the ratchet hubs and the other for their pawl hubs? Why would they do that if oil was so much better? It would be just as easy for them to sell oil.
cxwrench is offline  
Likes For cxwrench:
Old 12-04-21, 12:32 PM
  #11  
wolfchild
Senior Member
 
wolfchild's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Mississauga/Toronto, Ontario canada
Posts: 7,072

Bikes: I have 3 singlespeed/fixed gear bikes

Mentioned: 22 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2460 Post(s)
Liked 1,352 Times in 661 Posts
Originally Posted by cxwrench View Post
Wow, that's interesting. Can you explain how the grease knows it's lubricating bearings and thus knows not to gum up? And why Some manufacturers actually supply grease for their free hubs? Like DT for example that actually sells 2 types of grease, 1 specifically for the ratchet hubs and the other for their pawl hubs? Why would they do that if oil was so much better? It would be just as easy for them to sell oil.
I don`t know why manufacturers put grease into freehubs, maybe they just want your hubs to malfunction so you spend more money on overpriced grease and more frequent service....I remember when one of my Shimano XT hubs started acting up in cold weather many years ago, I took it apart , cleaned the freehub with some solvent, then I lubed it with a little bit of oil and never had problems since.
wolfchild is offline  
Old 12-04-21, 03:07 PM
  #12  
70sSanO
Senior Member
 
70sSanO's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2015
Location: Mission Viejo
Posts: 4,310

Bikes: 1986 Cannondale SR400 (Flat bar commuter), 1988 Cannondale Criterium XTR, 1992 Serotta T-Max, 1995 Trek 970

Mentioned: 17 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1366 Post(s)
Liked 1,261 Times in 794 Posts
Originally Posted by wolfchild View Post
I don`t know why manufacturers put grease into freehubs
I would imagine the same reason they use grease with shifters.

I understand that weather might cause a problem, but I think both freehub bodies and shifters are by and large ignored when it comes to maintenance. Mtb and CX might be exceptions due to the riding environment, but as long as they work Iím thinking the average rider is oblivious to any maintenance on those components.

I also understand why oil is used after those components require old grease to be flushed out since few people have the skill to disassemble and apply new grease in the appropriate areas.

I know Iíve never attempted to disassemble a Shimano freehub body, much less an STI shifter. Using oil does not seem to have the longevity and needs additional applications compared to the factory grease.

John
70sSanO is offline  
Old 12-04-21, 03:22 PM
  #13  
Iride01
Hits [ENTER] b4 thinking
 
Iride01's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2017
Location: Mississippi
Posts: 9,229

Bikes: '20 Tarmac Disc Comp '91, '78 Raleigh Competition GS

Mentioned: 36 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3680 Post(s)
Liked 2,256 Times in 1,579 Posts
I'd not bother trying to extend the life of a free hub. You probably will need new wheels anyhow by the time it gives you issues. Unless something about the conditions you operate in are on the extremes of wet and dirty.

If I was to take one apart, I'd see what the mfr recommends. There are some really light greases that you'd think would not do anything at all for lubrication. But since the free hub doesn't do anything but during the brief time you coast, then it's doing nothing most of the time as well. Or do you coast a lot? <grin>
Iride01 is offline  
Old 12-04-21, 03:52 PM
  #14  
Trakhak
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Baltimore, MD
Posts: 2,994
Mentioned: 9 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1054 Post(s)
Liked 883 Times in 517 Posts
Originally Posted by cxwrench View Post
Wow, that's interesting. Can you explain how the grease knows it's lubricating bearings and thus knows not to gum up? And why Some manufacturers actually supply grease for their free hubs? Like DT for example that actually sells 2 types of grease, 1 specifically for the ratchet hubs and the other for their pawl hubs? Why would they do that if oil was so much better? It would be just as easy for them to sell oil.
Not surprised that you, in Northern California, haven't encountered pawl failures resulting from the use of grease. In New England, where I worked in bike stores from the late '60s through the late '70s, every winter we'd see freewheel failures after overzealous bike owners packed their freewheels with grease. If you've never disassembled and serviced a freewheel or freehub body, you might not know that the pawl springs are delicate, with barely enough tension to do their job, so grease was a no-no in Connecticut winters.

In hubs, in contrast, you could get away with using the most glutinous grease on the market without it having a perceptible effect on the hub's ability to rotate smoothly and efficiently. Maybe you remember the story published in Bicycling! magazine by a writer covering the 1975 Tour de France who visted the mechanic's area before a stage, picked up the front wheel from the Peugeot bike ridden by maillot jaune wearer Bernard Thevenet, and was shocked that the hub felt as though it was grinding on dry balls. He pointed it out to the team mechanic, who shrugged and said, "Doesn't slow him down."
Trakhak is offline  
Old 12-04-21, 04:28 PM
  #15  
JohnDThompson 
Old fart
 
JohnDThompson's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Appleton WI
Posts: 23,171

Bikes: Several, mostly not name brands.

Mentioned: 134 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2816 Post(s)
Liked 1,659 Times in 1,015 Posts
Originally Posted by cxwrench View Post
Can you explain how the grease knows it's lubricating bearings and thus knows not to gum up?
Both grease and oil become more viscous at low temperatures, but grease is more viscous to start with and can prevent the pawls from engaging with the ratchet teeth at low temperatures. This means you lose the ability to drive the rear wheel with the chain. Grease on bearings also becomes more viscous, but in that application it only increases rolling friction since there are no teeth to engage a ratchet ring.
JohnDThompson is offline  
Old 12-04-21, 04:31 PM
  #16  
cxwrench
Senior Member
 
cxwrench's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: Nor-Cal
Posts: 2,477

Bikes: lots

Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1169 Post(s)
Liked 1,563 Times in 856 Posts
Huh...DT Swiss...being in Switzerland, you'd think they test their products in cold conditions. I guess it can and does get super cold back east...I certainly wouldn't be calling those conditions 'normal' though. I was under the impression that this thread was about normal conditions and not severe winter. If it's insanely cold, sure, do whatever it takes to keep rolling. For normal conditions I'm sticking w/ grease. I've not seen any hub that gets at least minimal maintenance get 'gummed up' and stop working.
cxwrench is offline  
Likes For cxwrench:
Old 12-04-21, 08:33 PM
  #17  
Hermes
Version 3.0
 
Hermes's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: SoCal
Posts: 12,554

Bikes: Too Many

Mentioned: 294 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1020 Post(s)
Liked 1,316 Times in 807 Posts
Moved to Bicycle Mechanics
Hermes is offline  
Old 12-04-21, 08:56 PM
  #18  
veganbikes
Clark W. Griswold
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Location: ,location, location
Posts: 9,145

Bikes: Foundry Chilkoot Ti W/Ultegra Di2, Salsa Timberjack Ti, Cinelli Mash Work RandoCross Fun Time Machine, 1x9 XT Parts Hybrid, Co-Motion Cascadia, Specialized Langster, Phil Wood Apple VeloXS Frame (w/DA 7400), Cilo Road Frame, Proteus frame, Ti 26 MTB

Mentioned: 40 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2577 Post(s)
Liked 1,648 Times in 1,100 Posts
Those darn shyster grease salespeople always out to steal your money, I lubricate my free hubs with cooking oil. They aren't going to get my money! You know they put fluoride in the grease and bearings are flat.

For real, I would use what the manufacturer recommends, if they are using grease there is probably a reason and if they are using oil there is probably a reason. I haven't had any free hub issues period but certainly none to require cleaning out the grease to replace with oil. I keep what they use in it and if I feel like they are so wrong I would make a change but I didn't design the free hub so I should probably just leave it as is.
veganbikes is offline  
Likes For veganbikes:
Old 12-05-21, 01:25 AM
  #19  
cubewheels
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jun 2020
Location: Manila, Philippines
Posts: 2,432

Bikes: A really old BMX bike, Jackal Mio Gravel Bike

Mentioned: 8 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1139 Post(s)
Liked 483 Times in 394 Posts
Originally Posted by wolfchild View Post
Lubing a freehub with oil is OK...Keep doing what you`re doing...The only part where you need grease is the bearings.
The only minor issue I had using light motor oil with freewheel is draining and re-applying oil whenever I got caught in strong rain so it's added maintenance in rainy season. I guess that won't be a problem with freehubs were the pawls are in sealed compartment? Can water still get in?
cubewheels is offline  
Old 12-05-21, 01:55 AM
  #20  
cubewheels
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jun 2020
Location: Manila, Philippines
Posts: 2,432

Bikes: A really old BMX bike, Jackal Mio Gravel Bike

Mentioned: 8 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1139 Post(s)
Liked 483 Times in 394 Posts
Originally Posted by JohnDThompson View Post
A light machine oil is sufficient. If you use a motor oil, non-detergent oil is better.
The only low or non detergent motor oils I know are single viscosity, car racing oils that are labeled with warning "not legal for street use"

Problem is they are a little difficult to find in this country where demand for car racing supplies is incredibly low. I hope the ones that are available like the 5w-30 full synthetic motor oil I use is good enough. It has been more than good enough for freewheel.
cubewheels is offline  
Old 12-05-21, 04:44 AM
  #21  
cjenrick
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2020
Posts: 407
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 173 Post(s)
Liked 127 Times in 94 Posts
i used a Phill Wood grease adapter for about 3 months, you would screw it into the threads of the freewheel, it had a grease fitting for a gun, instructions were to pack that baby until the grease started to come out the front, this was during the beginning of the MTB thing, supposed to make your freewheel waterproof so you could ride thru creeks, what a disaster that thing was.

i have a shimano dt freehub that was locking up after every rain ride, hard to get anything in there, pb blaster would free it up but it would be locked up again two days later. settled on tri-flow until i can buy a freehub removal tool for less than 60 dollars.

the shimano premium is kind of between oil and axle grease as far as viscousity.(sp)
cjenrick is offline  
Likes For cjenrick:
Old 12-05-21, 06:28 AM
  #22  
Kapusta
Cyclochondriac
 
Kapusta's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2017
Posts: 4,960
Mentioned: 26 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2157 Post(s)
Liked 1,642 Times in 925 Posts
My experience with re-lubing free-hubs is mostly DT-Swiss and Hope. In my experience, liquid oil does not stay in place and eventually leaks out of the freehub past the seals.

I use something like slick honey. It is a very light grease. Some times I have added a few drops of a very thick oil.

You just need to be careful not to overpack, as that can slow down the pawls and prevent them from engaging. I imagine a thicker grease could also do that.
Kapusta is offline  
Old 12-05-21, 07:35 AM
  #23  
grizzly59
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2016
Posts: 654
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 255 Post(s)
Liked 234 Times in 143 Posts
If you commute in North Dakota through the winter you won't be using grease in a freehub.
grizzly59 is offline  
Old 12-05-21, 07:38 AM
  #24  
Kapusta
Cyclochondriac
 
Kapusta's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2017
Posts: 4,960
Mentioned: 26 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2157 Post(s)
Liked 1,642 Times in 925 Posts
Originally Posted by grizzly59 View Post
If you commute in North Dakota through the winter you won't be using grease in a freehub.
Iíll keep that in mind next time I commute through the winter in ND.

No issues with it here in Upstate NY.
Kapusta is offline  
Likes For Kapusta:
Old 12-05-21, 08:09 AM
  #25  
easyupbug 
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 1,901

Bikes: too many sparkly Italians, some sweet Americans and a couple interesting Japanese

Mentioned: 8 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 342 Post(s)
Liked 215 Times in 160 Posts
I try to follow manufacturers recommendation which is easy with newer wheelsets and get away with only two lubes, Dumonde Freehub grease and Dumonde Freehub oil. My son in law with only one bike uses DT-Swiss grease but it is nearly twice as expensive as the Dumonde and just can't be twice as good. As I recall Swiss and Campagnolo get grease as well and most of the others oil, Shimano, Reynolds, Mavic and maybe my Eastons.
easyupbug is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information -

Copyright © 2021 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.