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Sticky freewheel? Something else?

Old 01-18-11, 07:46 PM
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Sticky freewheel? Something else?

I purchased a 198x Univega Grand Touring a few months ago, with a busted rear hub. I got that fixed, so it's good to ride now, but I cannot backpedal. When I ride, if I backpedal, the chain just flops down and hits the chain stay, however, if I'm pedaling and then coast, the chain will act like it's supposed to. Is this indicative of a bearing that needs servicing in the freewheel? As I'm typing this, I'm thinking that since the spinning wheel doesn't impact the chain, it might be a jockey wheel on the rear derailleur that is gummed up? Am I on the right track?
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Old 01-18-11, 08:03 PM
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What was broken? Do you know if you have a casette or freewheel rear hub? sounds like the ratcheting mechanism is gummed up a bit. On the casette style the ratcheting mechanism is part of the hub, where as the freewheel contains the ratcheting mechanism.

There could be variations, but I am not aware of them.


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Old 01-18-11, 08:22 PM
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The hub where the spokes thread thru was cracked, and a part was missing. It's a freewheel, according to the sheldon brown guide.
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Old 01-18-11, 09:13 PM
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To a freewheel, there is no difference between coasting and backpedalling. If it is so gummed up you can't backpedal, it shouldn't freewheel either - or at least not easily. If you coast with your feet off the pedals, does the crank spin on it's own?

Take the rear wheel out and spin the freewheel by hand, then try to pull the chain away from the jockey wheels and spin those, that should tell you if anything is sticking.
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Old 01-18-11, 09:18 PM
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If you need to consult the sheldon brown guide to determine whether you have a freewheel or freehub, you should post a picture. Others have misinterpreted the guide.

You should be able to observe whether it's the cogs or the jockey wheels that are not turning when you are backpedaling. Just lean the bike against a wall, backpedal and observe. My guess is with the cogs.
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Old 01-18-11, 09:39 PM
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1. If the freewheel is sticking, and you can remove it, you can soak it in degreaser or brake cleaner and then lube it with a small amount of oil.

2. If the jockey pulleys are sticking the rear derailer should be disassembled and cleaned.

Test them independently to determine the problem. Also, are you sure the rear wheel was repaired correctly? Something weird could've happened there. If I understand you correctly the rear hub was cracked. If that's the case I assume it was replaced, as I've never heard of repairing a cracked hub.
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Old 01-18-11, 10:20 PM
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I had a Peugeot that had what I called "chain droop", where it would pedal fine, but when I would stop, the chain slack would not be taken up and the chain would literally fall off of the front chainring. Very disconcerting. I tried several things, thinking it was the RD, then one day told a guy at my local LBS what was going on and he said, "Oh, a sticky freewheel", like it was very common. Probably is, but it was the first time I'd had it happen. What he recommended was to flush the freewheel out with penetrating oil or WD40 (I used penetrating oil) using the straw attachment. With the wheel on its side so that the freewheel is flat,I shot the oil into the small gap in the freewheel and then let it all run out. I spun the freewheel several times and then put the wheel back on. Perfect, problem fixed. He then recommended some light oil as a lubricant. I ended up using 5W-30 motor oil and it was fine for years. You might give it a try.
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Old 01-19-11, 01:42 AM
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The grease inside your freewheel is probably old and dry. You need to degrease and re-lube those bearings. Here is a how-to posted by Capecodder.
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