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Twist-tooth? Any help gratefully received!

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Twist-tooth? Any help gratefully received!

Old 03-19-21, 05:29 PM
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Albion 
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Twist-tooth? Any help gratefully received!

Hi All, if anyone can provide a little advice I would be truly grateful. My lovely 1980 Fuji Gran Tourer SE is clicking. I narrowed it down to the rear hub, and the click occurs once per revolution of the wheels, regardless of the gear. I stripped down the rear wheel, and found that the six-speed freewheel cluster (14/30) has axial runout - it wobbles - by about 2mm back-and-forth along the axis of the rear axle when measured at the 30 tooth sprocket.

So my question is - does anyone know of anything with which I could replace the 40-year-old freewheel? It's a Suntour Perfect WG. I read that just about any cluster would fit. I'd really like to fit a twist-tooth if any improvement to the shifting might be obtained. Here's a couple of photos (and, by the way, does it look worn to you?)

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Old 03-19-21, 05:44 PM
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It doesn't look worn, but it could be. You can replace it with a freewheel in current production. Most of them are good, including the Shimano ones.
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Old 03-19-21, 06:05 PM
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Does it wobble after putting it back on with a spoke protector behind it? I have had this happen before when changing freewheels. Sometimes certain spoke protectors don’t play nice with certain freewheels or need a second attempt at seating properly. To verify try it without one to check for wobble.
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Old 03-19-21, 06:12 PM
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I don't have a spoke protector (I very rarely use the 30T ring anyway). I took off the pie plate up front as well, the risk-taker that I am . . .
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Old 03-19-21, 06:26 PM
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If you don't use the 30-tooth very much, you'll have good luck with Sunrace freewheels, which come as 14-28 or 13-28:

https://www.sunrace.com/en/products/detail/mfr2a
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Old 03-19-21, 06:28 PM
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It doesn't look worn at all but the wear patterns are so different from modern bevelled teeth. Your third largest cog (21?) shows roller wear in the valleys of the cogs but little side wear across the freewheel. Old freewheels were typically overbuilt that way. New ones will perform better. I think a flush and lube is a good idea and perhaps a spacer is not a bad idea if you want to keep it original?
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Old 03-19-21, 06:30 PM
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I agree that the freewheel does not appear to be worn very much at all. The edges still look sharp and the shape of the curve between the teeth looks uniform (they start to look like shark fins with prolonged use, more so with the front chainrings). It's natural for some freewheels to have a little wobble. That retaining ring with the "Suntour Perfect" script can be unscrewed in order to overhaul the freewheel. (*Note that it is left-threaded*) I sort of doubt it is the issue, but it may be worth taking a punch or pin spanner and trying to tighten that faceplate (counter-clockwise) to see if it will reduce the wobble. Anyway, the chain should move with the slight freewheel wobble. I think the freewheel is probably fine.

All that said, the main issue is that you are getting a clicking sound with each wheel rotation? The freewheel is still performing as it should? I think you may be trying to treat the problem in the wrong way, especially since you say it's an issue you're getting once per wheel rotation.

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Old 03-19-21, 08:03 PM
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In my experience, when the entire freewheel cluster is wobbling back and forth with each revolution it is the wheel hub that is the problem. One of the issues with freewheels (verses freehub and cassette) is that the end bearings at the hub/freewheel interface flange is centered between the dropouts and loads the area in bending. A hard enough bump or hit can bent the hub at the threads. Usually the hub is aluminium or softer steel compared to the harder steel in the freewheel.
I have overhauled the freewheel type hubs on more bikes than I can remember and a slight wobble is fairly common. A few times I have changed the freewheel and it does not get rid of the wobble. This is easy to check by installing another freewheel if you have one. You may also be able to measure the distortion on the hub threads with a caliper, but I have never tried that. I have seen them bad enough to affect shifting a little bit if you pay enough attention, but I have not seen it so bad the chain was clicking.
I guess you could have a bend in the freewheel but I have not seen that before. If the freewheel has been "bent" I would think its bearings would bind.

I have added the following image where to help with my explanation. The red arrows are the down load on the axle at the dropouts where the hub is supported and the blue arrows show the up load from the spokes into the flanges between the dropouts. The load on the RH hub at the freewheel interface is quite inboard of the dropout resulting in the bending loads at the hub/freewheel interface.

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Old 03-19-21, 09:11 PM
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if it was ticking twice per revolution, I'd suggest checking that the freewheel's cone was tight. I've had two of them unscrew themselves while riding, resulting in the bearings scattering into the curb and the freewheel not engaging.

The cogs themselves look very good. I don't see any obvious wear.

Diagnosing a sound via the internet is not easy. I'd suggest trying one of the most basic troubleshooting methods.. start swapping parts with known good parts until the problem goes away.

Steve in Peoria
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Old 03-20-21, 12:03 AM
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I had no idea this could happen . . .

Thank you so much for all the useful information. I would definitely like to try a replacement 6-speed 14/30 or 14/28 (the largest sprocket is not important since I very rarely use it anyway) - if a thread-on freewheel (not a cassette/freehub) can be found anywhere that would be terrific (the link was to a cassette).

Now the interesting part - I found that the axle bearings were tight when I stripped and cleaned them. Really, not like me, I am so obsessive. So i am beginning to wonder about bikeaddiction1's hypothesis of a bent axle - and thanks for the lucid diagram. I need to eliminate one thing or another - cassette first. Anyone know where I can get one, maybe even a modern twist-tooth?

Thanks to all!
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Old 03-20-21, 02:58 AM
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Originally Posted by Albion View Post
Now the interesting part - I found that the axle bearings were tight when I stripped and cleaned them.
If you (or others) do not already know -

an insufficiently tightened cone/locknut pair on the drive side can loosen, and the cone will precess inward.

The first symptom is tight bearings.

The second is a destroyed hub.

And thus when (re)building a rear axle it is a dangerous economy to leave out a locknut inboard of the spacer and dropout-facing nut.


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Old 03-20-21, 03:24 AM
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Are you using an indexed shifter (it clicks into each selected gear) or a friction shifter (you feel where it goes until the chain is in the right gear). Many old school shifters allow for both. Switch to friction mode and see if the problem goes away. The other possibility is a stiff link. If it clicks on every gear that suggests to me not every sprocket has exactly the same problem, the chain however drives all of them. Just observe the chain passing over the freehub at speed (not on the road but raised off the ground) ,a stiff link will reveal itself promptly and it will click as it jumps the teeth. If stiff just try and break the errant link by twisting it every way with your fingers. It won't break but it will lose its stiffness.
All freehubs wobble, even brand new ones. - the old school ones like yours especially so. I imagine without wobble they wouldn't change properly.

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Old 03-20-21, 09:45 AM
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As Johno59 says above, freewheels wobble, and no doubt yours always wobbled, so I would look elsewhere for the noise,

and leave the freewheel alone- it looks barely worn.
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Old 03-20-21, 10:33 AM
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Thanks to all for such helpful replies. So my investigation of the once-per-revolution click has now taken on far more important proportions - from an annoying sound - to possible hub damage. So now to strip down the axle again, this time scrupulously checking the drive side locknut (it's all there, but I assumed it was properly tight). It's going to get some Loctite as well. BTW, it's a friction shifter and I assume it came that way when built (also the catalog doesn't mention indexing). I also found a Shimano 6-speed https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Now my search goes from a replacement freewheel (which I'd like to try anyway with twist-tooth, just for the experience of seeing what difference it makes) to checking the hub bearing. Of course, if there's no visible damage it will get new bearings. But if there is, it's wheel-rebuilding time - if I can ever locate NOS hubs . . .
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Old 03-20-21, 05:22 PM
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check your shoelaces. check that you're not brushing against cables. I doubt that it's your axle. If it was broken, it would clunk or make no sound at all. If it was a bent axle, it would make a scraping sound. Click implies a short, tight sound; something is being loaded and suddenly released. Broken or loose spoke? If it's closer to a clunk sound than a click, might be the freewheel.
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Old 03-20-21, 06:40 PM
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Originally Posted by Ferrouscious View Post
check your shoelaces. check that you're not brushing against cables. I doubt that it's your axle. If it was broken, it would clunk or make no sound at all. If it was a bent axle, it would make a scraping sound. Click implies a short, tight sound; something is being loaded and suddenly released. Broken or loose spoke? If it's closer to a clunk sound than a click, might be the freewheel.
I agree that the axle can't be broken, but the hub itself can be bent at the freehub threads in a hard hit, just enough so the freehub wobbles but it wold never touch the axle. I have also seen bent axles but that won't cause a wobble. The ones I have found with a bent hub you could not even see it, but every freewheel you put on that hub will wobble.
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Old 03-20-21, 10:06 PM
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“Once a revolution click”
if a pedal revolution, that points crank it pedal, or like Kevin had, chainring bolt. The front was there the backside was missing! Unusual.
upon inspection the other 5 had what appeared to be single ring parts... not enough threads engaged. Problem solved. Went away.

the freewheel shown May have threatening wear on the smaller cogs.

IRD and Sunrace, Shimano all make freewheels that should work. Send your old one to Pastor Bob
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Old 03-21-21, 06:28 AM
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I just completed a quick read and scan of this thread, so I might have missed someone else mentioning that a Suntour Perfect 6 speed could be either Ultra (or narrow) spacing or normal spacing. If someone else mentioned this, my apologies for repeating. If it is Ultra spaced, you need to be careful about your replacement freewheel. A 6 speed Shimano, IRC, or Sunrace will be too wide.

My hunch would be that a 1980 Fuji would have a rear spacing of 120mm +/- and not the 126mm spacing comonly used for 6 or 7 speed hubs. 120mm can easily handle a 6 speed narrow spaced freewheel, but rarely will a 6 speed normal spaced one fit.

Your Perfect looks to be in good shape. However, in my experience, the wear will manifest itself on the inside of the sprockets first. This is nearly impossible to see unless you remove the sprockets from the body for inspection.

An internal cleaning and fresh lubrication (grease in the races, a few drops on oil on the pawl pivots, and an oil smear on the ratchet teeth, and a Perfect is one happy freewheel!. I do use Blue Loctite (as mentioned earlier) on the outer bearing race/retaining ring because of the possibility of treading off. It has occurred to several members of C&V.
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Old 03-21-21, 09:32 AM
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Hi all, Ferrouscious makes a good point - one time the fabric of my new bike shoes was creaking - it really spoiled my ride in them until I realized what was going on! Sadly, the click is a real on from the rear hub. It becomes more apparent (though it's not very loud at worst) under pedal pressure. Not so when coasting. But still once per revolution of the wheels, regardless of the gear although more pronounced in 14T and the larger chainring up front (perhaps associated with the maximum leverage on the freewheel, or the segment of the axle between the freewheel threads and spoke flange on the hub?) Bikeaddiction1 kindly provided an annotated diagram above, showing exactly how this arises. Thankfully my hub doesn't appear to be bent as in Oneclick's photo.

Pastor Bob's advice is well-received. I have 126mm dropout separation, so hopefully a modern Shimano 6-speed (14/28) will fit: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1 The old Suntour Perfect WG will receive a complete dis-assembly, new ball bearings and lubrication as suggested. And lesson learned, I will be using Loctite on the drive side cone and locknut. Talking of lessons, I hope one day to hear one of yours and promise to put something better in the offertory plate than an old freewheel.

In the meantime, I found a Suntour Perfect VIA 14/28 devoid of wobble and will service this to try a substitution. I hope it fits . . .
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Old 03-21-21, 10:01 AM
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Twist tooth?

Originally Posted by Albion View Post
Hi All, if anyone can provide a little advice I would be truly grateful. My lovely 1980 Fuji Gran Tourer SE is clicking. I narrowed it down to the rear hub, and the click occurs once per revolution of the wheels, regardless of the gear. I stripped down the rear wheel, and found that the six-speed freewheel cluster (14/30) has axial runout - it wobbles - by about 2mm back-and-forth along the axis of the rear axle when measured at the 30 tooth sprocket.

So my question is - does anyone know of anything with which I could replace the 40-year-old freewheel? It's a Suntour Perfect WG. I read that just about any cluster would fit. I'd really like to fit a twist-tooth if any improvement to the shifting might be obtained. Here's a couple of photos (and, by the way, does it look worn to you?)

When you say “modern twist tooth” I am confused. The most modern freewheel cog design that folks usually say are so great would be the inexpensive, Shimano freewheels with Hyperglide cog contouring. As pastorbobnlnh pointed out, if you go with one of those it might be a bit too wide.

When I think “twist tooth” in a freewheel I think of Uniglide. A 6 speed Shimano 600 Uniglide might fit here but they can be a bit rare. Many times over the years on these forums, some folks opinions turn to venom. I have seen some Uniglide “haters” who would say that it was more of a transitional design and not the last word in shifting precision. I have used Uniglide (Dura Ace 7 speed, and 105 6-speed) in the past with decent index shifting so long as the derailleur hanger is aligned properly.
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Old 03-21-21, 01:22 PM
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Hi Masi61, thank you for your comment. I am speaking from a fund of ignorance about twist tooth but Sheldon Brown wrote about how he preferred the modern design and that he even filed down the teeth of some older cogs, seeking to replicate that. I'm keen to try it - those varied profiles and ramps are intriguing. The original RD on the machine works quite well - a Fuji Vx (really a Suntour), although the best RD in all my experience is the Suntour V-GT on my 1974 Araya.
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Old 03-21-21, 01:41 PM
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Hah! The Great Sheldon Brown had something to say about Perfect freewheels which may explain everything:

". . . some Perfect and Pro Compe bodies, have an even number of ratchet teeth and two pawls directly opposite one another. As you turn the freewheel slowly backwards, you can hear it go ttick-ttick-ttick as the two pawls engage at (nearly) the same time. Unless the freewheel's bearings are adjusted just short of binding, chain pull rocks the outer body one way, then the other as the wheel turns, making a light clunk-clunk noise."

So I am going to rebuild my as-fitted Perfect WG 14/30, try out another Perfect VIA which I discovered in the barn, and experimentally try this one with all its intriguing ramps and twists:


Shimano Tourney/TY MF-TZ500 6-Speed Multiple Freewheel, 14-28 Tooth
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Old 03-23-21, 06:07 AM
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Albion just to clarify, the Blue Loctite is used on the outer bearing race/retaining ring threads, which hold the outer freewheel body and the inner body together. The "cone and locknut" are usually associated with the hub axle and not a freewheel assembly.

When you grease the races keep the grease away from the pawl and pivots. Use a few drops of high-grade machine oil there and smear on the ratchet teeth. Finally, if your bearings are bright and shiny after cleaning, there is no need to replace them.

Good for you for tackling the servicing of your Perfect. Hot water, liberal amounts of Dawn dish detergent, an old toothbrush, and rinse in hot water, is all you need to clean. Dry in a toaster over at 200F for 15 or so minutes, and reassemble.
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Old 03-23-21, 07:07 AM
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First: I think your freewheel looks fine. They all wobble a bit so that doesn't concern me. It's great that you want to spend some time with this - we all learn a lot by messing about with things. When you tear your hub apart you can check for a bent axle by rolling on a piece of plate glass.

Second: I'm a bit confused by your description of a click on each wheel rotation. How did you sense this? It would be awfully hard to count rotations while riding so I assume you did this on the stand. Did the click occur while spinning the wheel slowly with the crank or were you just doing the rotation by hand without pedaling? I'm not sure that it makes a difference but it's all part of figuring things out. A click per revolution of the wheel may be more likely a problem with the rim or spokes than it would be the hub. In any case, post back and let us know what you find.
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Old 03-23-21, 07:47 AM
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Originally Posted by Albion View Post
Hah! The Great Sheldon Brown had something to say about Perfect freewheels which may explain everything:

". . . some Perfect and Pro Compe bodies, have an even number of ratchet teeth and two pawls directly opposite one another. As you turn the freewheel slowly backwards, you can hear it go ttick-ttick-ttick as the two pawls engage at (nearly) the same time. Unless the freewheel's bearings are adjusted just short of binding, chain pull rocks the outer body one way, then the other as the wheel turns, making a light clunk-clunk noise."

So I am going to rebuild my as-fitted Perfect WG 14/30, try out another Perfect VIA which I discovered in the barn, and experimentally try this one with all its intriguing ramps and twists:


Shimano Tourney/TY MF-TZ500 6-Speed Multiple Freewheel, 14-28 Tooth
I had the same clicking problem with a couple of SunTour freewheels and eventually deduced (without taking them apart) that they were rocking on the pawls. Funny to see that Sheldon and I were thinking along the same lines. Mine evenually quieted down and are still in service.

Also should mention that I have one SunTour Winner Pro where the previous owner had removed all the cogs and very carefully held each tooth to a bench grinder to produce a twist-tooth profile on each tooth. That one shifts great.
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My C&V Bikes:
1972 Bottecchia Professional, 1972 Legnano Olympiade Record, 1982 Colnago Super,
1987 Bottecchia Team C-Record, 1988 Pinarello Montello, 1995 Bianchi Campione d'Italia,
1995 DeBernardi Thron Super Record






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