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Remove freewheel from unmounted hub

Old 01-19-21, 01:44 PM
  #1  
Stormy85
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Remove freewheel from unmounted hub

Hi there

Does anyone have an idea to best loosen a freewheel from a hub that is not mounted in a wheel.
I have tried using a chain whip but no luck. I have tried fixing the body with a bunch of cable ties, well that didnt work either
i have also tried loosening the lockring but after approx two turns the lockring seizes. Not coming off.





Any help would be grateful.
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Old 01-19-21, 01:55 PM
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I have seen a technique where you use a bunch of old spokes placed through the drive-side spoke holes to build up enough material for a "handle" as you gather them all in one bunch. Google "remove freewheel bare hub" and the first results will be a couple of Youtube videos from RJ the Bike Guy. He makes good videos for basic maintenance stuff and for vexing problems like this.
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Old 01-19-21, 02:22 PM
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Is it possible to unscrew the smallest cog? Maybe you can remove the cogs individually and lace up the wheel to get at the hub body. All brands are different. Many have large cogs that screw of the back of the body and that is a bummer.
A guy on Facebook recently posted a frame contraption he made that allowed him to lace all the spoke holes with wire. It allowed him to release the freewheel body. Good luck!
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Old 01-19-21, 02:29 PM
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Only the top two sprockets are threaded to the body, IIRC, and the remaining four are splined and slip off.

Did you turn the retaining ring clockwise to loosen? It does have reverse threads.

Is your intention to save the freewheel or the hub? Or both? Depending on your answer I have different solutions which might solve your conundrum!
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Old 01-19-21, 02:31 PM
  #5  
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Originally Posted by noobinsf View Post
I have seen a technique where you use a bunch of old spokes placed through the drive-side spoke holes to build up enough material for a "handle" as you gather them all in one bunch.
Just to expound on this, I inserted a few old spokes through both sides of the hub. I clamped the spokes in a bench vise and also placed a wooden block under the hub to act as cushion so as not to mar or flatten the hub flange on the vise jaws.
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Old 01-19-21, 02:42 PM
  #6  
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I was in just this same dilemma last week! I picked up an unlaced Maxicar hub with a Suntour NW freewheel. iBOB discussion here.

Basically the biggest recommendation was to re-lace the drive-side of the wheel, even just crudely, into a rim. In my case, this would have required removing the cogs since the large cog obstructed the spoke holes from getting fed spokes.

In the end, I removed the cogs, but instead of lacing the wheel I filed a channel across the inner freewheel body using a dremel with variously sized cutoff wheels, taking great care to avoid grinding into the hub threads or any other part of the hub, then "cracked" the freewheel body open with a cold chisel. Once cracked, the diameter of the body's threads increases slightly so the threads dissociate from the hub threads. I was then able to just spin it off by hand. You can see in the pics how close I came to the hub threads without actually touching them, and you can see the cracks from forcing it open with the chisel. It was like playing Operation when I was a kid! (Only the stakes were higher).

EDIT to add: after getting the cogs off, I first tried immobilizing the hub on a large block of wood using a handful of spokes laced into the hub and passing through small holes in the block, then bent 90 degrees so they sat flat against the underside of the block, and clamped them there, but no go... the torque on the freewheel body just pulled the spokes right out of the block like spaghetti!




Last edited by southpawboston; 01-19-21 at 03:00 PM.
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Old 01-19-21, 03:01 PM
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If you have a friend whos into machining, or a fabrication shop that seems friendly, ask If they can set your hub up in the chuck of a lathe for the time it takes to undo the f/w.
Ive also heard good things about using an impact wrench to break loose f/w and cassette lockrings. Supposedly it can be enough to hold the hub by hand.

Last edited by dabac; 01-19-21 at 03:10 PM.
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Old 01-19-21, 03:35 PM
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You can take a bunch of spokes, and temporarily lace the NDS of the hub to a rim (doesn't need to be a specific size rim or in good condition). THen put the FW remover on the hub and hold it in place with the QR, put the remover in a bench vise and use the temporarily installed rim for leverage to loosen the FW as if it was a complete wheel.

NB. When doing the temporary 'lacing' of the rim to the hub, you needn't do any crosses or any other techniques required to make a rideable wheel.
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Old 01-19-21, 03:39 PM
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i have nothing to add towards a method, but i'd like to suggest a product called "freeze off" i've used on separating dissimilar metals with mostly good results. available at o'reilly, atleast
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Old 01-19-21, 03:51 PM
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It appears that you can get spokes into the drive side through the free wheel. If so do that. Lacing into the non drive side risks splitting the hub in the center from the torque needed to break the free wheel. 9 spokes should be enough to get a rim laced for free wheel removal. If you can get 18 spokes in then even better. As long as all of the spokes are the same length you should get enough purchase to remove the free wheel by locking the removal tool in a vise and turning the rim. Good Luck I had to cut a body off a rather nice hub three weeks ago with not so good results. HTH, Smiles, MH
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Old 01-19-21, 04:06 PM
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southpawboston Great work in saving the hub and sacrificing a PIA freewheel design! It probably helps, that in my experience, the New Winner freewheel bodies were made with very brittle steel. They tend not to deform but instead have pieces crack off.
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Old 01-19-21, 05:21 PM
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If you want to save both bits you'll have to re-lace it, even the drive side. Z-bend spokes are the answer; if necessary get a smaller rim, say 24", and a bunch of old spokes from a larger wheel. Figure out what length spoke fits the hub and small rim, and cut the heads off and make your Z-bend at more-or-less the right distance. It does not have to be more than close, the wheel does not have to be true. Lace the wheel, remove as usual. Save the spokes and rim for the next time.
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Old 01-19-21, 05:34 PM
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Photo in post #1 is a high flange hub; could a u-shaped tool be made from a bar and two bolts to project through the holes in the hub, hold that in a vise, and remove freewheel normally? Kind of a giant version of the two-pin tools used on adjustable cups for a bottom bracket.
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Old 01-19-21, 05:53 PM
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Originally Posted by tiger1964 View Post
Photo in post #1 is a high flange hub; could a u-shaped tool be made from a bar and two bolts to project through the holes in the hub, hold that in a vise, and remove freewheel normally? Kind of a giant version of the two-pin tools used on adjustable cups for a bottom bracket.
depends on what is at hand and ability.
the freewheel has already suffered from an incorrect tool. In my view- it might be worth more than the hub.
The cogs look in decent shape, and it MIGHT be french threaded... (nope, English, that makes it easier)
in the old days we had a shop tool that bent a zig zag into a spoke, lace the wheel provisionally with a dented rim and remove as normal.
This all depends on the correct remover.
If you wish to save the hub, confirm threading type and confirm condition of the cones, no reason to spend energy on a bad hub.
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Old 01-19-21, 06:16 PM
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A couple of threads dealing with freehub but gives you some ideas.

Freehub removal

Best way to remove freehub body from unlaced hub
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Old 01-19-21, 06:33 PM
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Originally Posted by tiger1964 View Post
Photo in post #1 is a high flange hub; could a u-shaped tool be made from a bar and two bolts to project through the holes in the hub, hold that in a vise, and remove freewheel normally? Kind of a giant version of the two-pin tools used on adjustable cups for a bottom bracket.
this is a good idea. there are automotive tools (rentable at auto stores) designed to hold pulleys on the front of the engine so you can remove it's mounting bolt. there's a lot of torque on those bolts sometimes, too..eg. crankshaft pulley

and, if there's not a pulley tool to fit, maybe fashion a two or three pin (using bolts) spanner to engage the flange holes behind the freewheel cluster and use a long breaker bar on the freewheel tool. that's what i'd do.

edit: yeah, shoot.....i've got a headset spanner made of flat steel about 1/8 in thick. with a spanner like that, drill some holes, put in bolts.....boom!....that would work
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Old 01-20-21, 04:32 AM
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Spoiler
 
thanks for all your replies.

Originally Posted by noobinsf View Post
I have seen a technique where you use a bunch of old spokes placed through the drive-side spoke holes to build up enough material for a "handle" as you gather them all in one bunch. Google "remove freewheel bare hub" and the first results will be a couple of Youtube videos from RJ the Bike Guy. He makes good videos for basic maintenance stuff and for vexing problems like this.
A bit embarrassing but I was actually looking at RJ's channel to find a solution as I also find him very informative. I tried his method of creating some Z-Bend spokes and lacing the NDS. Worked really good but the damn thing is ridiculously tight. Will have to try with some leverage later on.

Is your intention to save the freewheel or the hub? Or both? Depending on your answer I have different solutions which might solve your conundrum!
I would like to save both but have a slight feeling that the freewheel will be toast as I cant remove the lockring. And yes, loosened it by going clockwise.
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Old 01-20-21, 05:30 AM
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thook is on to something. In conjunction with any/all of the above, try putting the whole works in the freezer for a while then re-attempt separation.
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Old 01-20-21, 08:28 AM
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Originally Posted by thook View Post
this is a good idea.
...and we might have found yet another reason that high-flange hubs are better.
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Old 01-20-21, 10:02 AM
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Originally Posted by Stormy85 View Post
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thanks for all your replies.

...I would like to save both but have a slight feeling that the freewheel will be toast as I cant remove the lockring. And yes, loosened it by going clockwise.
If you didn't remove the threaded sprockets first, the retaining ring will thread off towards the underside of the sprockets and become jammed. If this is the case, this is why it made two turns and then it would not continue to thread off. The sprockets need to be removed first.

If your preference is to save the hub, removing the sprockets and outer body will provide plenty of space to facilitate a temporary lacing of the hub to a rim for leverage. You then have a choice of using the removal tool and attempting a salvage of the freewheel or use a pipe wrench to grab the inner body. Attempting the second option could damage the inner body and thus ruin the freewheel.

Before attempting either of the above, try heating the inner body with a torch first. The expansion of the steel body from the aluminum hub threads might provide some help.

Best of luck!
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Old 01-20-21, 11:13 AM
  #21  
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Originally Posted by tiger1964 View Post
...and we might have found yet another reason that high-flange hubs are better.
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Old 01-20-21, 11:22 AM
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Originally Posted by Stormy85 View Post
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thanks for all your replies.


A bit embarrassing but I was actually looking at RJ's channel to find a solution as I also find him very informative. I tried his method of creating some Z-Bend spokes and lacing the NDS. Worked really good but the damn thing is ridiculously tight. Will have to try with some leverage later on.


I would like to save both but have a slight feeling that the freewheel will be toast as I cant remove the lockring. And yes, loosened it by going clockwise.
pretty darn sure with the idea of pinned spanner tiger and i posted about you can save both the hub and freewheel. i've worked on a lot of cars, dude, and the application here is not much different. i think it'd be easier than using a temp lacing of a wheel. it's up to you, though

oh, and the freezer suggestion by old's'cool....it's also a good idea. leave it in several hours/overnight. you need the expansion and contraction to relieve the surface tension on the threading. a torch, while it will very likely work, will destroy the freewheel. a freezer is also more readily available...hopefully

Last edited by thook; 01-20-21 at 11:26 AM.
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Old 01-20-21, 12:21 PM
  #23  
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automotive pulley spanner examples....





clutch pulley spanner/adjustable


flywheel spanner in action

you can/should be able to rent any one of these at an auto store...ie. free!!

ps. sorry for the large image files. got tedious to try and reduce the size
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Old 01-20-21, 12:55 PM
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Originally Posted by thook View Post
i have nothing to add towards a method, but i'd like to suggest a product called "freeze off" i've used on separating dissimilar metals with mostly good results. available at o'reilly, atleast
+1 on freeze off and fastest way is to do the lace up a rim
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Old 01-20-21, 01:15 PM
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Get a 2x4, cut in half. Cut 4" down so it fits between the flanges. Clamp pieces together, drill hole slightly larger than barrel diameter down the "seam". Screw wood together around barrel. Nail through spoke holes. Clamp wood in vice.

And Bob's yer uncle.
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