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

Malfunctioning freehub?

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.

Malfunctioning freehub?

Old 11-25-13, 02:26 PM
  #1  
Calexico
Junior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Posts: 9
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Malfunctioning freehub?

When I attempt to freewheel, my chain completely loses tension and it takes approximately a 180 degree spin to get the tension back. Is this a result of a malfunctioning freehub? Apparently they sometimes have trouble in cold weather? It's a few degrees below freezing now in Chicago and it's sure to get colder.


Is this an easy fix? I have a very fairly priced, non-profit bicycle repair store about 1.5 miles from my dorm, so if it's a bit complicated I can just take it down to them.

Thanks!
Calexico is offline  
Old 11-25-13, 04:06 PM
  #2  
cycle_maven
Collector of Useless Info
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Posts: 1,407
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
The grease is hardened up. If it's a freewheel, you could rebuild the freewheel and lubricate the little bearings, but it's kinda a PITA to take apart and Niagara Cycles has freewheels for $7. For a freehub, I'd remove the cassette and axle, get a can of WD-40 and spray the innards with it until the ratchet makes a nice loud click, then dry it the best I could, and dribble a little tri-flow into it. Then grease the bearings and reassemble it.
cycle_maven is offline  
Old 11-25-13, 04:07 PM
  #3  
dabac
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 8,217
Mentioned: 43 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 927 Post(s)
Liked 93 Times in 71 Posts
Malfunctioning is stretching it a bit, but it sure sounds like it's sticking. Sometimes it's possible to flush a freehub well enough to restore function, other times you need either disassembly otr replacement.
There's an "icebike"-something site that has a walk through on how to winterize a shimano freehub.
dabac is offline  
Old 11-25-13, 07:02 PM
  #4  
Crankycrank
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: San Diego, CA
Posts: 1,707
Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 283 Post(s)
Liked 91 Times in 75 Posts
This^^^ https://www.icebike.com/Equipment/freehub.htm Unless it's a freewheel which this may be but same principle as far as the lube to use.
Crankycrank is offline  
Old 11-25-13, 07:04 PM
  #5  
JohnDThompson 
Old fart
 
JohnDThompson's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Appleton WI
Posts: 21,711

Bikes: Several, mostly not name brands.

Mentioned: 126 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2240 Post(s)
Liked 631 Times in 425 Posts
That's one of the reasons fixed gears are often used in the off-season.
JohnDThompson is offline  
Old 11-25-13, 07:59 PM
  #6  
ThermionicScott 
7-speed cultist
 
ThermionicScott's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: CID
Posts: 20,044

Bikes: 1991 Bianchi Eros, 1964 Armstrong, 1988 Diamondback Ascent, 1988 Bianchi Premio, 1987 Bianchi Sport SX, 1980s Raleigh mixte (hers)

Mentioned: 87 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2779 Post(s)
Liked 699 Times in 491 Posts
Sheldon would have called that a "gooey" freewheel/freehub. Flushing it with some lighter oil should help.
__________________
Originally Posted by chandltp View Post
There's no such thing as too far.. just lack of time
Originally Posted by noglider
People in this forum are not typical.
RUSA #7498
ThermionicScott is offline  
Old 11-25-13, 10:53 PM
  #7  
Calexico
Junior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Posts: 9
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Thanks guys. I'm fairly certain that it's a freewheel. I will take a closer look at it once Thanksgiving break starts on Wednesday. Have you guys winterized freewheels before to good effect? I don't want this to be a recurring issue during the winter.
Calexico is offline  
Old 11-26-13, 03:20 AM
  #8  
dabac
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 8,217
Mentioned: 43 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 927 Post(s)
Liked 93 Times in 71 Posts
Originally Posted by Calexico View Post
Thanks guys. I'm fairly certain that it's a freewheel. I will take a closer look at it once Thanksgiving break starts on Wednesday. Have you guys winterized freewheels before to good effect? I don't want this to be a recurring issue during the winter.
haven't tried freewheels, but I have done freehubs with good results.
dabac is offline  
Old 11-26-13, 11:52 AM
  #9  
ThermionicScott 
7-speed cultist
 
ThermionicScott's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: CID
Posts: 20,044

Bikes: 1991 Bianchi Eros, 1964 Armstrong, 1988 Diamondback Ascent, 1988 Bianchi Premio, 1987 Bianchi Sport SX, 1980s Raleigh mixte (hers)

Mentioned: 87 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2779 Post(s)
Liked 699 Times in 491 Posts
Originally Posted by Calexico View Post
Thanks guys. I'm fairly certain that it's a freewheel. I will take a closer look at it once Thanksgiving break starts on Wednesday. Have you guys winterized freewheels before to good effect? I don't want this to be a recurring issue during the winter.
Once the temps get near freezing, I put away the freewheel/freehub bikes and ride the fixed-gear.

That said, it's not very hard to flush either one. I take the freewheel off the bike, hold it at an angle, look for the gap between the two moving/moveable parts, and dribble a little oil into there. I twirl the inner part to work the oil in, then dribble more in until it starts to dribble out the rear. If you're like me, and figure that you can't use too much oil or grease, you repeat until what dribbles back out looks clean. Then you'll know that you've chased out all the moisture, old lube, and grit. At that point, I'll set the freewheel down on its back on a paper towel overnight to let the excess drain out before reinstalling.
__________________
Originally Posted by chandltp View Post
There's no such thing as too far.. just lack of time
Originally Posted by noglider
People in this forum are not typical.
RUSA #7498
ThermionicScott is offline  
Old 11-26-13, 12:37 PM
  #10  
fietsbob
Banned
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: NW,Oregon Coast
Posts: 43,598

Bikes: 8

Mentioned: 197 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 7607 Post(s)
Liked 1,277 Times in 798 Posts
Clean or toss in the Bin.
fietsbob is offline  
Old 11-26-13, 06:25 PM
  #11  
FastJake
Constant tinkerer
 
FastJake's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Madison, Wisconsin
Posts: 7,777
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 81 Post(s)
Liked 35 Times in 29 Posts
If it's a freehub, flush and lube with light oil. All my Shimano freehubs run great in the winter, at temperatures down to -10F.

If it's a freewheel the process is the same, but I've had less luck with freewheels. They're not that expensive and a they're a consumable item so sometimes the best thing to do is toss them. Then lube the new one with light oil.
FastJake is offline  
Old 11-27-13, 10:58 AM
  #12  
ThermionicScott 
7-speed cultist
 
ThermionicScott's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: CID
Posts: 20,044

Bikes: 1991 Bianchi Eros, 1964 Armstrong, 1988 Diamondback Ascent, 1988 Bianchi Premio, 1987 Bianchi Sport SX, 1980s Raleigh mixte (hers)

Mentioned: 87 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2779 Post(s)
Liked 699 Times in 491 Posts
While we're at it, one thing that's nice about cassette freehubs is that it's much easier to isolate the freehub body than it is to whittle a freewheel down to the freewheel body. That makes it easier to drop the freehub body into a glass jar of mineral spirits and put that jar into an ultrasonic cleaner in order to really scrub any grit or varnished grease out of the internals. There's an OCD kind of satisfaction in knowing that it's way cleaner than necessary before relubing with one's favorite oil.
__________________
Originally Posted by chandltp View Post
There's no such thing as too far.. just lack of time
Originally Posted by noglider
People in this forum are not typical.
RUSA #7498
ThermionicScott is offline  
Old 11-27-13, 11:37 AM
  #13  
davidad
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 6,276
Mentioned: 16 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 439 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 65 Times in 59 Posts
You can spray WD-40 into it to clean it and a light weight oil to lube it for winter. We only have real winter down here for two weeks every ten years or so, so lube thickening up is not a problem.
davidad is offline  
Old 11-27-13, 11:49 AM
  #14  
bhchdh 
Senior Member
 
bhchdh's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2003
Location: Hampton Roads VA
Posts: 1,788

Bikes: '07 Trek 520, '09 Gary Fisher Triton, '04 Trek 8000, '85 Trek 500, '84 Trek 610, '85 Trek 510, '88 Trek 660, '92 Trek 930, Trek Multitrack 700

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 19 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
https://www.parktool.com/blog/repair-...reehub-service
https://sheldonbrown.com/freewheels.html#lube

Lubricating Freewheels


Freewheels should be oiled from time to time with a medium-weight oil. This is easy to do, and generally requires no disassembly.

The bike should be held with the rear wheel off the ground, and leaning to the left at about a 45 degree angle. An assistant may be helpful for this. Turn the pedals around a couple of times to get the wheel spinning fast, then let it coast (helps to be in high gear for this.)

Look inside the smallest sprocket. The sprocket will be stationary, since the wheel is coasting, but you'll see an inner part of the freewheel that is spinning with the wheel. Drip oil onto the crack between the turning part and the stationary part. Gravity and capillary action will help work oil into the freewheel.

Repeat this a few times, until you hear a change in the sound of the clicking pawls (they'll generally get quieter when the oil reaches them.)

This should be done every year or so, or any time that coasting sounds loud and gritty.
bhchdh is offline  
Related Topics
Thread
Thread Starter
Forum
Replies
Last Post
LoriRose
Bicycle Mechanics
4
11-23-15 03:28 PM
yannisg
Bicycle Mechanics
11
08-17-13 06:34 AM
KS_rider
Bicycle Mechanics
6
04-14-13 08:16 AM
Raleigh71
Bicycle Mechanics
32
02-25-13 11:35 PM
Cannonsnail Joe
Bicycle Mechanics
3
08-03-11 06:56 AM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

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

Copyright 2018 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.