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Suntour Winner Freewheel Disassembly Help

Old 03-18-21, 09:15 AM
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Suntour Winner Freewheel Disassembly Help





I am perplexed on how to open this freewheel up. The perfect and pro-compe freewheels had pin tool holes on the freewheel cone on the outside but this is assembled differently. I want to open it up because the removal prong has a tiny malformed bit that is rubbing slightly and creating more friction than I'd like.
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Old 03-18-21, 09:23 AM
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wow, that's new to me!

I can't imagine that it doesn't need a specialized tool to apply the required torque to those recessed holes.

Steve in Peoria
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Old 03-18-21, 12:25 PM
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I've had a couple of those in hand and have never been able to determine how to disassemble. There are so few out there that I'd say it is not worth the effort to service.
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Old 03-18-21, 12:51 PM
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In the second picture, are those dimples or pin holes near the edge and opposite each other?
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Old 03-18-21, 01:14 PM
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Originally Posted by SJX426 View Post
In the second picture, are those dimples or pin holes near the edge and opposite each other?
Those are pin holes.

I may take a few whacks at it from different angles to see if it will unscrew somewhere.
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Old 03-18-21, 01:39 PM
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I am guessing (and this is purely guesswork, as I've never disassembled a freewheel before) that getting the interior to rotate clockwise using the pinholes in the back would loosen the outer body from the inner. I think the notches at the back must be for bearing adjustment, so getting those to rotate clockwise would tighten the two together. I found this on which to base my armchair mechanics:

Suntour Freewheels at Yellow Jersey

I dunno -- take my advice for what it's worth, and that ain't much... If Pastor Bob is stumped, I can't be of much help...
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Old 03-18-21, 02:51 PM
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So the piece with the removal prongs on the front and the rear bit with the two pin holes appears to be the same single piece of metal. I tried clamping the small ring and beating the pin holes in the only way it would catch but that didnt go anywhere. Maybe it has something to do with the lock ring.
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Old 03-18-21, 03:10 PM
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Maybe try removing the smallest outer cog and there’s pin spanned holes underneath. Just a guess.
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Old 03-18-21, 04:21 PM
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The thing you all are calling pin holes, if you mean the ones recessed down inside where the hub threads stop, those are not for a pin wrench, they are where the pawls pivot. You can also add lube through those holes, but they're useless for disassembly.

The wrench for disassembly needs to grab those two larger rectangular notches, near the large sprocket. You work those against the two notches on the other side, the ones for removing the freewheel from the hub.

Since the notches on the back side are already damaged from a tool slipping, it looks like someone has tried to disassemble it already. Maybe they succeeded, maybe failed, but either way, by rounding off the edges, they made it harder to do again.

For your stated purpose, seems like disassembly would not be necessary. Wouldn't a Dremel with the right tool mounted do the trick?

EDIT: Sorry, now I see where you mean, and why a Dremel can't get in there, sorry.

I used to rebuild freewheels, and maybe I will again someday, but I kinda hope not — it's a serious PITA. Pastor Bob is a saint! (I originally typed "Pasta Bob", I must be hungry...)

Anyone know the full list of "Winner" freewheel models? I think they had maybe four completely uninterchangeable freewheels with that name, something like
  1. Winner
  2. New Winner
  3. Winner Pro
  4. Winner (re-using the original name for a different design)
I definitely am not remembering all the details and some of that is probably totally wrong, don't quote me! Anyone have a definitive timeline?

Oh yeah there was also the Microlite, which I think had the word Winner in there somewhere.

EDIT: No, I looked it up, Microlite didn't say Winner on it, but there was an alloy-cog version of the Winner, pre-Microlite. That original alloy-cog Winner was like Narhay's: no pin-holes in front, disassembles from the back.

Mark B

Last edited by bulgie; 03-18-21 at 05:09 PM. Reason: correction
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Old 03-18-21, 05:16 PM
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Originally Posted by noobinsf View Post
That link explains it all, thanks so much! This line from Yellow Jersey is super interesting: "The actual adjustment could be done in one's hands once the middle cog was unscrewed."

So that's the Rosetta Stone that unlocks everything — just take all the sprockets off, then the body can be unscrewed, maybe even without any special tools, heat or violence.

I kinda like the simplicity of that design — although it is inscrutable, it is unscrewable.

Mark B

Last edited by bulgie; 03-18-21 at 05:20 PM.
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Old 03-18-21, 06:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Narhay View Post
Those are pin holes.
Are you sure those aren't holes for the pins on which the pawls pivot?

I may take a few whacks at it from different angles to see if it will unscrew somewhere.
I can't watch…
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Old 03-18-21, 06:25 PM
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Originally Posted by JohnDThompson View Post
Are you sure those aren't holes for the pins on which the pawls pivot?



I can't watch…
The horror!

To be fair it is a poorly (currently) performing freewheel with an even worse corn cob assortment of nearly impossible to find cogs. I didnt knock it around too much.

I did try unscrewing some cogs but I think I need some more leverage. I nearly took my elbow out.
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Old 03-18-21, 07:13 PM
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Originally Posted by bulgie View Post
.......
Anyone know the full list of "Winner" freewheel models? I think they had maybe four completely uninterchangeable freewheels with that name, something like
  1. Winner
  2. New Winner
  3. Winner Pro
  4. Winner (re-using the original name for a different design)
I definitely am not remembering all the details and some of that is probably totally wrong, don't quote me! Anyone have a definitive timeline?
.....
Mark B
I'm pretty hazy on the precise evolution of the Winner/New Winner/Winner Pro line too. The Yellow Jersey's page does help, but I wonder if there aren't some odd freewheels that aren't covered by that.

Specifically, I've got pics of one of my freewheels that has the cog arrangement of a Winner Pro, and it has 4 remover slots, but the lockring says "Winner". I don't recall if the Winner Pro's had "Winner Pro" on the lockring or not... although I might have one stashed away to check if I get desperate.

the "Winner" marking is legible here...



and here the cogs are removed, showing the arrangement of cog splines, threads, etc.


Steve in Peoria
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Old 03-18-21, 09:42 PM
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I don't know/remember much about the original Winner.

The New Winner was the awesome 5-U6-R6-U7spd jack-of-all-freewheels, with adjustable bearings, dual pawl engagement with offset solid/non-split pawls. Folks sometimes trashed the removal slots, and stripping the adjusting bits was easy.

Winner Pro/Winner were "improved designs" that had a totally botched rollout, and took more than a year to make relatively safe and useable. I've posted about this in detail before here, no energy to go through that again, a search outghta find more than one post of my droning on about these.

Anyway, the 4-slot/prong removal setup is the key to recognition.

Winner Pro had a gold lockring, and an oil port located on the inner body, in the mounting threads. Winner had a silver lockring and no oil hole. I think that was the only difference, I guess enough money was saved not drilling a hole in the inner body to justify a lower price point? Ah, who am I kidding, Suntour likely lost money on all of them.
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Old 03-19-21, 06:01 AM
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Another difference between Winner Pro and the Winner (last generation, not the Narhay's Winner) included better polished bearing races and brass seals to keep contaminants on the outside on the Winner Pro.

Interestingly on the box of a Winner Pro (IIRC) it says something to the effect, "Do Not Grease." I don't know if this was because only oil was used or by that point the screw in freewheel grease tool was coming into wide use and Suntour didn't want us amateur mechanics gumming up the internals of their finally crafted devise. The last place you want too much grease is on the pawls.

I've always wondered if the oil hole on the Winner Pro was to add a drop or two for the pawls and not to flood the interior with oil which could spin out, soak the sprockets, and help attract more grit and dirt to the freewheel. But this is me just spit balling ideas.
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Old 03-19-21, 08:12 AM
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this discussion has prompted me to pull out my box o' freewheels and check on my Winners & Pro's. To my surprise, two of them were actually Alpha freewheels! I don't think I've ever noticed that before!
While they were out, I took a few pics to document the various differences in features.

In the category of textbook Winner Pro:
Here is the gold lockring that says "Winner Pro".


and here is the oil port on the back....



in the category of a Winner Pro labeled just "Winner", with a silver lockring, here is one set up as a 7 speed. The two small cogs are removed to show the lockring, and also reveals the splines for the next group of cogs.


and there is the oil port on the back.....



in the category of Alpha freewheel with a brown lockring (similar to the color of a Perfect)
... yeah... it needs to be cleaned!


no oil port on the back. The finish is rougher than on the Winner Pro's, and doesn't have the black finish. Not sure how much this matters.



in the category of Alpha freewheel with a black lockring


no oil port on this either. Similar surface finish to the other Alpha freewheel.


In my stash of SunTour freewheels, I've got these 4-prong'ers and 9 New Winners (3 still NIB). I really do like the ease with which the cogs can be removed from the 4 prong bodies. My stash of freewheels and cogs are heavily oriented towards the New Winner family though, which means that my chain whips will get a bit more use.

Steve in Peoria
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Old 03-19-21, 09:45 AM
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Originally Posted by steelbikeguy View Post
this discussion has prompted me to pull out my box o' freewheels and check on my Winners & Pro's....

In the category of textbook Winner Pro:
Here is the gold lockring that says "Winner Pro".


and here is the oil port on the back....

....
Steve in Peoria
Notice the brass seal in the gap between the outer and inner body on the rear view of the Winner Pro? There is one for the outward side as well, but I don't believe I can spot it in your picture. Only Sachs Aris 7 and 8 speed freewheels incorporate a similar seal. But in the Sachs variant it is red plastic, and it doubles as a bearing cage.
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Old 03-19-21, 10:15 AM
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Originally Posted by pastorbobnlnh View Post
Notice the brass seal in the gap between the outer and inner body on the rear view of the Winner Pro? There is one for the outward side as well, but I don't believe I can spot it in your picture. Only Sachs Aris 7 and 8 speed freewheels incorporate a similar seal. But in the Sachs variant it is red plastic, and it doubles as a bearing cage.
that's a good point about the seal.
I don't recall ever opening up a Winner Pro, so can't say that I've seen it myself. I did stumble across one of Sheldon Brown's pages that does discuss the details of the variations of the Winner evolution:
https://www.sheldonbrown.com/suntour.html

some of the more pertinent text:
"The Winner Pro went back to conventional shim-adjusted bearings, but was better sealed than previous models. The Winner Pro also had more splined sprockets and fewer threaded sprockets. The Winner Pro briefly offered an 11 tooth option in the wide six format. The Winner Pro also introduced the 4-prong extractor (previous models used 2 prongs.) There was also the Alpha series, basically a cheaper version of the Winner Pro."

There is a contribution to the page from Bruce Dance that discusses the details of this era of SunTour freewheels:
"When the 'Winner Pro' and 'Alpha' series were launched they also (confusingly) launched a middle model which they called the 'Winner'. So there are two SunTour freewheels called the 'Winner', separated by about ten years.

The 'Winner Pro' has labyrinth seals and post-hardening-ground bearing races. The 1985 (newer) 'Winner' does not. They are otherwise identical, apart from the color of the lock-ring."

That certainly helps clarify my little collection, and makes me less inclined to think that SunTour's designs varied randomly.

Steve in Peoria
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Old 03-19-21, 12:25 PM
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I think the mystery of how to open or adjust one of these original Winner freewheels was solved with the Yellow Jersey link but I don't recall if there they mention that the adjustable race (in back, locked by the third position cog) is a left hand thread.
I like these old freewheels, my only complaint being that the biggest aluminum sprocket available was 24 teeth. Larger ones could be had in steel but the weight savings is most prominent in the larger cog sizes.
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Old 03-20-21, 08:46 AM
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Originally Posted by Narhay View Post




I am perplexed on how to open this freewheel up. The perfect and pro-compe freewheels had pin tool holes on the freewheel cone on the outside but this is assembled differently. I want to open it up because the removal prong has a tiny malformed bit that is rubbing slightly and creating more friction than I'd like.
Quoting to see pics
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Old 03-20-21, 09:17 AM
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Originally Posted by Narhay View Post
jeez... I just bothered to look at the cog sizes.. looks like a 13-17 "corn cob".
Please tell me that this is going on your time trial bike and not on your touring bike!

I've got a 13-18 six speed for time trials, and it is an interesting change from the usual 13-24 six speed. Such tiny changes in gear size!!

Steve in Peoria
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Old 03-21-21, 09:26 AM
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Thanks for the reminder on the WPro seals/races. And the 2nd-gen Winner also had the oil hole, evidently, so then the seals/races and gold lockring would be the only differences.

The prohibition on greasing Suntour freewheels goes back to New Winner days, when Stein, I think, introduced a freewheel greaser. Was it called the Grease Injector? Threaded into the freewheel mounting threads, had its own smaller thread opening to directly screw in a grease tube, usually Phil. You'd squeeze the tube and rotate the body, distributing the grease.

Problem with the New Winner was the grease would get jammed under the pawl, preventing the pawls from properly engaging, yielding a freewheel that only spun. Esp likely to happen with any contaminants that entered the mix, worse in cold weather. And usually the pawls would partially engage, or only one would engage, and the extra load would break them. We started getting lots of broken freewheels as soon as the Grease Injector hit the market, and had to send out dealer service bulletins warning against greasing the freewheels, and stating we'd deny warranty replacement if a freewheel was greased.

The W/WPro pawls used a significantly weaker/worse pawl design, so I'm guessing the ramifications of using grease to lube the freewheel would've been even worse.

Originally Posted by pastorbobnlnh View Post
Another difference between Winner Pro and the Winner (last generation, not the Narhay's Winner) included better polished bearing races and brass seals to keep contaminants on the outside on the Winner Pro.

Interestingly on the box of a Winner Pro (IIRC) it says something to the effect, "Do Not Grease." I don't know if this was because only oil was used or by that point the screw in freewheel grease tool was coming into wide use and Suntour didn't want us amateur mechanics gumming up the internals of their finally crafted devise. The last place you want too much grease is on the pawls.

I've always wondered if the oil hole on the Winner Pro was to add a drop or two for the pawls and not to flood the interior with oil which could spin out, soak the sprockets, and help attract more grit and dirt to the freewheel. But this is me just spit balling ideas.
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Old 03-22-21, 05:07 AM
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I’ve often wondered how hard this is.
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Old 03-22-21, 06:06 AM
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Originally Posted by mech986 View Post
I’ve often wondered how hard this is.
"Hard" is in the mind of the beholder. As you can see, servicing most freewheels, is an easy opportunity to keep your drivetrain in the best possible operating condition.

However, not wanting to be bothered, or spend the time tackling a task correctly, or lacking the best tools for the job in hand--- usually transforms the task into something which is "too hard."
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Old 03-22-21, 06:19 AM
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I think the only thing holding me back at this moment is not having two breaker bars for my chain whips. Or at the very least one breaker bar and actually mounting my vise on a bench somewhere.
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