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Breathing new life into Suntour a-3000 6 speed?

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Breathing new life into Suntour a-3000 6 speed?

Old 05-03-12, 06:58 PM
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EpicSchwinn
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Breathing new life into Suntour a-3000 6 speed?

Hey all,

I just bought an old Raleigh Technium 440 with Suntour a-3000 (alpha 3000) derailers, shifters, and a 6 speed freewheel. The PO said the freewheel was all gummed up when he got it so he cleaned it out and lubricated it with oil (instead of grease). It makes some pretty rumbly sounds that he assured me were normal but I'm pretty sure somethings amiss or could be better. I figure since the bike is about 25 years old and has been neglected, a new freewheel wouldn't be a bad idea. What's a good place to go for an old obscure part like that? There's one NOS on eBay for about $70 right now but that seems really steep. Can I replace it with any 6 speed indexed freewheel or does it have to be one specifically made for Suntour or the a-3000 group?

I've been riding almost strictly single speed and fixed gear since I got into bikes a while back so this whole gears thing is still rocket science to me lol.

Thanks for the patience and help!

Obligatory pic of bike:
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Old 05-03-12, 07:25 PM
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If the freewheel isn't locked up or making clicking noises as you ride then just relube it and ride it. Only reason to change it would be to go with more gears in my opinion. Things are basically indestructible. Lean the bike over say at a 45* angle, spin the wheel so the freewheel is going around, and spray your choice of oil on the inner part of the freewheel where the one part is stationary and the other is rotating. Keep doing so until it runs out the back. Then wipe off and go ride for awhile. Probably sound like new when you're done.
And if you still want to change it and those are friction shifters, you should be able to find a new 7 speed shimano freewheel for 10-15 shipped. They may be cheap but they work and last great. I've used em on all my older bikes: mountain,cx,roadie. 14-28 gears.

*edit* That's a sweet bike too, by the way
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Old 05-03-12, 09:09 PM
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They're actually indexed and 6 speed so I doubt a shimano 7 speed is what I'd want to replace it with... I'll try re-lubing it.
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Old 05-03-12, 09:33 PM
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Your freewheel is accushift. 5.5mm space between the cogs. No other manufacturer made compatible freewheels; most are 5.3mm between cogs. Several other contemporary indexed SunTour groups used the same freewheel, so you might be able to source one. Earlier friction-only suntour 6speeds were the standard 5.3mm spacing, and shan't work.

Best bet, as you already know, is to keep this one going as long as possible. If/when it does die, it'll likely be cheaper/easier to buy friction DT shifters (or upgrade to barcons) to run with a current-production shimano or sunrace 7 speed freewheel.
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Old 05-03-12, 09:53 PM
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i would buy friction shifters if you can find any that mount to the frame correctly and a ramped 7 speed shimano freewheel and 7 speed chain. friction shifting is better than ever on a ramped shimano freewheel.
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Old 05-03-12, 10:18 PM
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The alpha-3000 dt shifters should have a friction mode.
unscrew the bolt a few turns, then turn the black plastic cap 90degrees, screw the bolt back down. Look closely, there should be some markings indicating the orientation.

Then you can use whatever freewheel you want.
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Old 05-03-12, 10:22 PM
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Originally Posted by surreal View Post
Your freewheel is accushift. 5.5mm space between the cogs. No other manufacturer made compatible freewheels; most are 5.3mm between cogs. Several other contemporary indexed SunTour groups used the same freewheel, so you might be able to source one. Earlier friction-only suntour 6speeds were the standard 5.3mm spacing, and shan't work.

Best bet, as you already know, is to keep this one going as long as possible. If/when it does die, it'll likely be cheaper/easier to buy friction DT shifters (or upgrade to barcons) to run with a current-production shimano or sunrace 7 speed freewheel.
+1

Unlikely you'll find another (cheap) freewheel to index with the Suntour stuff.

Best thing to do is run it until it dies and then either switch to friction mode or setup the bike with Shimano indexed components, which are still inexpensive and plentiful.

Sweet bike BTW...
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Old 05-03-12, 11:33 PM
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Sweet. Thanks for all the info. Half of me is feeling:

and thinking of trying to disassemble, clean, and rebuild it because I always enjoy a challenge and a good project. If I had more money I'd probably throw a different groupset on there as you suggest but indexed shifting was a big selling point for me on this bike. Maybe try to refurb what I have for the time being since it's free and if I'm still not satisfied I can always save up and get another group. I tried looking around for other 6spd suntour freewheels and they seem to be pretty art to find.
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Old 05-04-12, 03:37 AM
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Fun info:
alpha-3000 6speed shifter (really any suntour 6speed accushift), will index a shimano 7speed cluster if it is connected to a shimano derailer. The index 'clicks' just happen to line up right. One cog will be innaccessible without filing down the limit stop on the shifter though.
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Old 05-04-12, 05:15 AM
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EpicSchwinn:
If you have some time on your hands, you should definitely rebuild that freewheel. If the cogs are very worn, it might not be worth it. If the pawls end up being thrashed, you might not be able to...but you won't know that til you try. I say, good luck! I think you can do it.

If you do fail, but your shifter does indeed have a "friction" mode, you can easily buy a new 7speed freewheel and live it up. I agree that ramped freewheel with friction shifters is a winning combo.

Originally Posted by xenologer View Post
Fun info:
alpha-3000 6speed shifter (really any suntour 6speed accushift), will index a shimano 7speed cluster if it is connected to a shimano derailer. The index 'clicks' just happen to line up right. One cog will be innaccessible without filing down the limit stop on the shifter though.
I find this to be very surprising; shimano 7speed has 5.0mm between the cogs, whereas accushift has 5.5mm between the cogs. .5mm is a tiny distance, but it should be enough to cause problems with clean indexed shifting. Even switching to a Shimano RD will not change the fact that the cogs are spaced differently.

-rob
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Old 05-04-12, 09:00 AM
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Originally Posted by surreal View Post
I find this to be very surprising; shimano 7speed has 5.0mm between the cogs, whereas accushift has 5.5mm between the cogs. .5mm is a tiny distance, but it should be enough to cause problems with clean indexed shifting. Even switching to a Shimano RD will not change the fact that the cogs are spaced differently.
Yeah, but it's all about cable pull. According to what xenologer said, a 6S Suntour shifter pulls the same amount of cable as a 7S Shimano shifter.

Apparently, 10S Campy brifters pull the right amount of cable to shift a Shimano 8S cassette with a Shimano RD. I am looking forward to to trying this as the options for 8S Shimano STI shifters are very limited (and I'm too much of a retro grouch to use 9 or 10 speed.)
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Old 05-04-12, 09:57 AM
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I've bought the clamp on sunrace 7 and 8 speed index right, friction left downtube shifters and loved em on a few bikes with cheap shimano freewheels and I think suntour cassettes. Not sure if they would bolt on and work with your braze-on mounts or not, but they are cheap at 15-20 bux a set and work perfect. They have some plastic thing that the cable exits out of, you can cut that off and run them on the lever just like a regular shifter..Not sure why they have that big plastic thing on there, seems like a waste of money to manufacture it when it doesn't need it.

Google sheldon brown and freewheels. I think he has a part on there about servicing them. Anyhow, good luck.
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