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Not knowing what size Allen to take off freehub

Old 03-03-22, 10:45 PM
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jswbiki
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Not knowing what size Allen to take off freehub

Schwinn Axum 29 inch, 8-speed. Here's what it looks like:



Here is a gif of me using a 12mm that I recently ordered:



As you can see, it doesn't slip but it catches enough where it might strip it. Would ordering a 13mm be my best bet or should I get something in the SAE range?
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Old 03-03-22, 11:31 PM
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From the pics it looks like (but I may be wrong) that the 12mm is too big and not engaging in the bolt head. Start with some smaller wrenches from 10mm on up.
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Old 03-04-22, 12:42 PM
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Originally Posted by Crankycrank View Post
From the pics it looks like (but I may be wrong) that the 12mm is too big and not engaging in the bolt head. Start with some smaller wrenches from 10mm on up.
I have the key all the way in. When I turn it, it has slack. It does not spin but catches.I'm afraid of stripping it out. 12mm is too small. If I do that I may have to buy the whole rim the way it looks.
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Old 03-04-22, 01:01 PM
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Looks like you need a 13mm! (or 14?) I wouldn't expect SAE to fit since Shimano and the rest of a bike is almost always metric. Ironically, I just had to visit the hardware store for a 12mm. Picked up an 11mm while I was there. I THOUGHT about also grabbing a 13mm for anything that pops up in the future. But since they were out and I didn't feel like spending $21 on three allen wrenches, I was happy to not buy the 13. But now it looks like a 13mm will be in my future at some point! Sheesh!
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Old 03-04-22, 01:13 PM
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Try a 1/2" (12.7mm) and see if it works. SAE is unlikely but worth a try and it may be close enough.
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Old 03-04-22, 01:19 PM
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Is this a 12mm thru axle hub (or are there thru axle varieties)?

Can you measure the inside diameter of the race. That will give you the maximum size of the tool.

13mm = 0.512". If you could find a 1/2" Allen wrench, that would give you an idea of how close you will be with the 13mm.

A metric bolt with a 13mm head would also give you something to test. Even a bolt with a 1/2" head will tell you if you are close.

Because of the way those are designed with the 12 point, I would choose a wrench that fits tight.

Whew, it looks like finding a 13mm Allen Wrench will be a pain. A few that might work coming from Europe.

Back to trying 1/2"?
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Old 03-04-22, 01:33 PM
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Originally Posted by CliffordK View Post
Whew, it looks like finding a 13mm Allen Wrench will be a pain. A few that might work coming from Europe.
If you think finding a 13mm allen is tough try finding a 15mm like Shimano uses in their GRX rear hub! The only source I could find was Park Tools who make it specifically for that hub and charges accordingly. I did find a 15mm 1/2"-square drive allen bit on Amazon at a reasonable cost and I hope the bit is long enough.
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Old 03-04-22, 01:45 PM
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Originally Posted by HillRider View Post
If you think finding a 13mm allen is tough try finding a 15mm like Shimano uses in their GRX rear hub! The only source I could find was Park Tools who make it specifically for that hub and charges accordingly. I did find a 15mm 1/2"-square drive allen bit on Amazon at a reasonable cost and I hope the bit is long enough.
I was wondering about using hex bar stock, and a simple ratchet wrench which would also solve the problem of how to hold it and leverage.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/184299990411

However, 13mm seems to still be a pain to find.

The harder, the better, of course.

Where there is ambition, one might be able to grind 5/8 down to 15mm, or 9/16 down to 13mm (assuming 1/2 won't work).

Chisels may also be made out of hex bar, of unspecified size.
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Old 03-05-22, 07:29 AM
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Originally Posted by HillRider View Post
If you think finding a 13mm allen is tough try finding a 15mm like Shimano uses in their GRX rear hub! The only source I could find was Park Tools who make it specifically for that hub and charges accordingly. I did find a 15mm 1/2"-square drive allen bit on Amazon at a reasonable cost and I hope the bit is long enough.
McMaster Carr PN 7289A62, in stock, <$5 plus an always reasonable shipping charge. Their ground rate shipping usually shows up next day by some miracle, even cross country. They also have sockets in that size.

Edit, they also have a couple options in 13 mm for a few dollars more.
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Old 03-05-22, 05:27 PM
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for what it's worth : i had them same problem with my existing 12mm allen wrench. i read someone's older BF post with the same problem and he tried a different 12mm and it fit perfect!? so i went to the local pawn shop where they have a big bin of allen wrenches and brought the wheel with me. the first one i grabbed and test fit - fit perfectly!? just a weird happenstance certain 12mm seem to fit better. not sure i ever figured out why but i bought the other allen wrench just in case i ever needed again. cost .50 cents
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Old 03-05-22, 09:39 PM
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I recently worked on a Novatech hub that required a 14mm to remove the freehub.
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Old 03-06-22, 09:50 AM
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Originally Posted by LV2TNDM View Post
Looks like you need a 13mm! (or 14?) I wouldn't expect SAE to fit since Shimano and the rest of a bike is almost always metric. Ironically, I just had to visit the hardware store for a 12mm. Picked up an 11mm while I was there. I THOUGHT about also grabbing a 13mm for anything that pops up in the future. But since they were out and I didn't feel like spending $21 on three allen wrenches, I was happy to not buy the 13. But now it looks like a 13mm will be in my future at some point! Sheesh!
13mm will be my next step. Thanks.
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Old 03-06-22, 09:54 AM
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Originally Posted by CliffordK View Post
Is this a 12mm thru axle hub (or are there thru axle varieties)?

Can you measure the inside diameter of the race. That will give you the maximum size of the tool.

13mm = 0.512". If you could find a 1/2" Allen wrench, that would give you an idea of how close you will be with the 13mm.

A metric bolt with a 13mm head would also give you something to test. Even a bolt with a 1/2" head will tell you if you are close.

Because of the way those are designed with the 12 point, I would choose a wrench that fits tight.

Whew, it looks like finding a 13mm Allen Wrench will be a pain. A few that might work coming from Europe.

Back to trying 1/2"?
I never though about that. I may try it although I think a 13mm will fit perfectly. There's no where in my area that has these size keys. The biggest they got is 10mm. Therefore I have to keep ordering and sending back these packages until I find the right one. So time consuming.
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Old 03-06-22, 09:57 AM
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Originally Posted by CliffordK View Post
Is this a 12mm thru axle hub (or are there thru axle varieties)?
I have no idea. I'm new to mountain biking.
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Old 03-06-22, 09:59 AM
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Originally Posted by brooklyn_bike View Post
for what it's worth : i had them same problem with my existing 12mm allen wrench. i read someone's older BF post with the same problem and he tried a different 12mm and it fit perfect!? so i went to the local pawn shop where they have a big bin of allen wrenches and brought the wheel with me. the first one i grabbed and test fit - fit perfectly!? just a weird happenstance certain 12mm seem to fit better. not sure i ever figured out why but i bought the other allen wrench just in case i ever needed again. cost .50 cents
One of the wrenches was probably marked incorrectly.
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Old 03-06-22, 11:12 AM
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Originally Posted by jswbiki View Post
I never though about that. I may try it although I think a 13mm will fit perfectly. There's no where in my area that has these size keys. The biggest they got is 10mm. Therefore I have to keep ordering and sending back these packages until I find the right one. So time consuming.
That is why 1/2" or 13mm bolt heads can be used as an approximate measuring device. I probably wouldn't use them as an extractor though.

I like the idea of digging through pawn shop bins.
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Old 03-06-22, 11:19 AM
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Originally Posted by CliffordK View Post
That is why 1/2" or 13mm bolt heads can be used as an approximate measuring device. I probably wouldn't use them as an extractor though.

I like the idea of digging through pawn shop bins.
Thanks for your help. Will be heading to the local hardware store tomorrow!
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Old 03-06-22, 04:42 PM
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Originally Posted by jccaclimber View Post
McMaster Carr PN 7289A62, in stock, <$5 plus an always reasonable shipping charge. Their ground rate shipping usually shows up next day by some miracle, even cross country. They also have sockets in that size.
That's great, thanks for the lead. I did a Google search for 15mm allen keys a while ago and that never showed up. 15mm sockets are everywhere but hex keys that size are less common.
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Old 03-07-22, 10:12 AM
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Your first step is to identify the hubs. Schwinn makes no components. Quick Google research found a site that said the hubs were Novatec. You should verify this.

Rolla indicated above that the Novatec hub he worked on needed a 14mm allen wrench.

Also, no mfg makes a product, especially lower end, that requires customizing a wrench by having grind it or buying hex stock to make a tool.

This is pretty simple stuff once you find out what you have first.

John
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Old 03-07-22, 05:59 PM
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Originally Posted by 70sSanO View Post
Also, no mfg makes a product, especially lower end, that requires customizing a wrench by having grind it or buying hex stock to make a tool.
That's true but allen keys over 10 or 12mm are not commonly found in bike shops or home stores. As jccaclimber referenced above, McMaster-Carr does sell metric allen keys over 12mm (some WAY over) but you have to know where they are available. Google did not find them when I looked.
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Old 03-07-22, 06:18 PM
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Originally Posted by 70sSanO View Post
Also, no mfg makes a product, especially lower end, that requires customizing a wrench by having grind it or buying hex stock to make a tool.

This is pretty simple stuff once you find out what you have first.
Ummm...

I have a mini space heater that takes a triangle shaped screwdriver to open it up for cleaning or basic repairs.

And there are plenty of cars that have bizarre access points for doing repairs.

Some manufacturers either don't plan on people repairing their products, or don't want them repaired.

As far as bikes, most of them are straight forward. However, one might find a few rivets here and there not intended for maintenance. And a lot of tools are very much Bike specific.

Personally I would not be happy spending $100 for the wrench to remove a freehub, as a one-off project.

I haven't seen freehubs that remove from the NDS. One issue that a person surely will run into is that most Allen wrenches are made in an L-shape. So trying to get access to that inside bolt, one would generally have to use the long end of the Allen wrench, and have a short handle to twist with. So, one is left either using a cheater bar on the Allen wrench, or pliers, or perhaps a vise.

Using a straight piece of bar stock would allow simply using any standard socket ratchet. So, grab your 2-foot ratchet

I did get a monster set of Allen wrenches, I think from Harbor Freight a while ago, but don't see them listed now. But, I wouldn't be surprised if sets would skip some of the odd numbered sizes.

Custom tools?
We've had long discussions about 15mm sockets to remove Campagnolo cranks. I think an odd Allen for my 3T stem.
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Old 03-07-22, 07:09 PM
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14mm Allen wrenches can be found on eBay for $10-$20.

Harbor Freight socket hex wrenches go for $15 for a set of 9 metric wrenches. (4mm-17mm includes a 14mm). Not a big fan of Pittsburg tools, but I have a set I’ve used for freehub body removal.

John
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Old 03-08-22, 01:07 PM
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Originally Posted by CliffordK View Post
Ummm...

I have a mini space heater that takes a triangle shaped screwdriver to open it up for cleaning or basic repairs.

And there are plenty of cars that have bizarre access points for doing repairs.

Some manufacturers either don't plan on people repairing their products, or don't want them repaired.

<snip>
Things that are closer to assembly jigs than tools aside, these still tend to be commercially available. Your triangle drive screws on the space heater arenít in the 12 piece Sears screwdriver set, but they still have a standard and are commercially available under $5.
It isnít like weíre dealing with anti theft skewers with truly custom interfaces.

No disagreement that some things definitely donít have service access designed into them though.
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Old 03-11-22, 11:03 AM
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First thing, those pictures are terrible. Sorry, but they are. It doesn't look like an Allen key was meant to work in there is my guess. SAE? Surely not. Some kind of splined removal tool maybe. In over 45 years of wrenching on bikes I've never had to pull a freehub or freewheel, but ... as I understand it, there is LOTS of torque needed. Vises and wrenches with seriously long handles come out of hiding for freewheel removal. If it were my bike I would have long since contacted Novatec.
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Old 03-11-22, 11:12 AM
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Originally Posted by Leisesturm View Post
First thing, those pictures are terrible. Sorry, but they are. It doesn't look like an Allen key was meant to work in there is my guess. SAE? Surely not. Some kind of splined removal tool maybe. In over 45 years of wrenching on bikes I've never had to pull a freehub or freewheel, but ... as I understand it, there is LOTS of torque needed. Vises and wrenches with seriously long handles come out of hiding for freewheel removal. If it were my bike I would have long since contacted Novatec.
It's hardly uncommon to replace freehubs.
That one most likely takes an allen wrench, regardless of what it looks like in the photo.
Yes, it can take a bit of effort to break them loose, but it's not a Herculean task. A vice can help.

When I recently had to warranty the freehub on a Novatech D982, they initially sent the wrong one, but then shipped out an entire replacement hub. I didn't really want to rebuild the wheel when it only needed the freehub, but at least they were responsive.
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