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How do I remove a freewheel if the tool doesnít fit over the axle nut?

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How do I remove a freewheel if the tool doesnít fit over the axle nut?

Old 05-01-21, 07:49 PM
  #1  
hihik
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How do I remove a freewheel if the tool doesnít fit over the axle nut?


I canít remove the axle nut because the nuts on the other side untighten instead and thereís no grip. At my wits end here - please help!
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Old 05-01-21, 07:56 PM
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There's a different tool with extremely thin walls that will fit, by Bicycle Research. You might try breaking loose that locknut but it might unscrew the cone with it. I've done that.
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Old 05-01-21, 07:57 PM
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Put a wrench on the flats of the cone of the non-drive side (the cone is under the locknut), then another wrench on that locknut+spacer on the drive side and turn counter clockwise.
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Old 05-01-21, 08:07 PM
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Originally Posted by nlerner View Post
Put a wrench on the flats of the cone of the non-drive side (the cone is under the locknut), then another wrench on that locknut+spacer on the drive side and turn counter clockwise.
It unscrews the non-drive side by turning the axle itself
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Old 05-01-21, 08:21 PM
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This is not rocket science.
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Old 05-01-21, 08:25 PM
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Originally Posted by hihik View Post
It unscrews the non-drive side by turning the axle itself
On the non-drive side, tighten the locknut while loosening the cone. That should lock them together and allow you to break free the drive side locknut using nlerner's method.
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Old 05-01-21, 08:30 PM
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Take the axle out, It will not matter what side you remove it from. Take off the keeper nut and the cone from the NDS and pull the axle. Be prepared to have some bearing fall out but this will make it easy.
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Old 05-01-21, 09:01 PM
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Originally Posted by bwilli88 View Post
Take the axle out, It will not matter what side you remove it from. Take off the keeper nut and the cone from the NDS and pull the axle. Be prepared to have some bearing fall out but this will make it easy.
And clean everything and re-grease before you put it all back. PS-while you have the axle out break the lock nut loose before reassembly. it will help greatly when you go to pre-load the bearings.
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Old 05-01-21, 09:10 PM
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Atom removal tools presented the same problem.
I suggest cone wrench on the non drive side cone, remove the offending spacer nut
side on remover- then remove the freewheel.
repack the hub and adjust, lube hub threads and assemble after you service or exchange the freewheel.
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Old 05-01-21, 09:52 PM
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I was able to remove the freewheel by getting a second nut stuck on the nd side even harder. The threads on the nut and/or axle are stripped. Now Iím not able to get that nut off. Two-wrench method is not working as both lock nut and cone turn instead of staying stationary.


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Old 05-01-21, 10:02 PM
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Originally Posted by SurferRosa View Post
This is not rocket science.
Not helping.

Originally Posted by T-Mar View Post
On the non-drive side, tighten the locknut while loosening the cone. That should lock them together and allow you to break free the drive side locknut using nlerner's method.
They kept breaking loose because the axle itself would turn when I went after the frozen nut.

Originally Posted by bwilli88 View Post
Take the axle out, It will not matter what side you remove it from. Take off the keeper nut and the cone from the NDS and pull the axle. Be prepared to have some bearing fall out but this will make it easy.
This should have worked but Ö it didnít. I should have tapped it harder from the ND side I guess.

Thanks everyone for suggestions! I guess Iíll cut the stuck nut off Ö
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Old 05-01-21, 10:08 PM
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try running it under water and throwing it in the freezer first. it might be enough to break the surface tension of the stuck nut

Last edited by thook; 05-02-21 at 09:27 AM.
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Old 05-01-21, 10:09 PM
  #13  
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Well, freewheel is off, so that’s good! Replacement axles are easy to obtain, too.
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Old 05-02-21, 04:23 AM
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Originally Posted by hihik View Post
I was able to remove the freewheel by getting a second nut stuck on the nd side even harder. The threads on the nut and/or axle are stripped. Now I’m not able to get that nut off. Two-wrench method is not working as both lock nut and cone turn instead of staying stationary.
Do you mean that when you turn the two locked nuts such that they should unscrew from each other they each turn (in different directions) but do not separate?

If so what has happened is you have removed the threading from a short section of the axle underlying the nuts; and further raised an edge from the portion of the threads just outboard each nut such that the nut will not engage the thread leading away from the damaged section.

Congratulations.

In any case, the cheap-and-cheerful solution is a new axle complete with cones. Save at least one locknut, and when you get the new axle do this:

Check to see if the drive side has a cone, then a locknut (with possibly a washer between), then the spacer, then an outer locknut to hold the spacer on. It probably doesn't, it probably just has the spacer locknut holding the cone as well.
If it doesn't, take the locknut you saved and put it next the cone (with washer between if there is one).
Use a smaller spacer to compensate for the additional locknut.

When you build the axle
1. do the freewheel side first, get the cone/(washer)/locknut/spacer/locknut package on so you have enough axle sticking out that side to hold it in the frame
2. tighten the freewheel-cone and its locknut TIGHT. *Very* tight. You want that to come apart last next time, and you don't want it loose and spinning inward destroying your hub.
3. put the axle in and adjust the bearings from the non-drive side, tighten that side locknut tight, but not as tight as the freewheel side.
4. put the spacer and its locknut on, tighten them as the non-drive side.
5. put the freewheel back on
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Old 05-02-21, 07:04 AM
  #15  
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Originally Posted by thumpism View Post
There's a different tool with extremely thin walls that will fit, by Bicycle Research.
You're thinking of Phil Wood or Zeus. The Bicycle Research CT-2 presents the same problem the OP suffers.
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Old 05-02-21, 07:07 AM
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Right. Remembered I have one but was too lazy to go out to the garage to check.
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Old 05-02-21, 07:11 AM
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Originally Posted by oneclick View Post
Do you mean that when you turn the two locked nuts such that they should unscrew from each other they each turn (in different directions) but do not separate?
No, thatís not it. Hereís what I think Iím supposed to be doing: unscrew both cone and lock nut up to the stuck nut, that should ensure that the lock nut has no axle thread left to screw down on, effectively locking it between cone and frozen nut, then with two wrenches tighten the lock nut and loosen the frozen nut. This isnít working as the cone below starts to screw down together WITH lock nut and I donít have opposing tension to unscrew the outer nut. Do I make sense?

The backstory is as follows: after realizing that I canít fit the freewheel tool over the lock nut and ND side is not able to provide sufficient tension to unscrew the drive side locknut I panicked and tried to hold the axle on the drive side with a locking wrench damaging the threads. I then tried to force the frame (outer) nut on to see if I can still get it on. I could but with a lot of force which I think damaged the nut threads. I took it off then and after some more fiddling must have put the damaged nut on the ND side without realizing. While trying to get that on (very tight) I broke the drive side lock nut loose allowing me to remove the freewheel. I noticed that the nut I was trying to screw on the ND side got very hot. So hereís where it leaves me. In hindsight forcing the nut was a bad idea but I was worried that I had the freewheel stuck. Embarrassing
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Old 05-02-21, 07:16 AM
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Originally Posted by thook View Post
try running it under water and throwing it in the freezer first. it might be enough to break the suface tension of the stuck nut
I will try this, else Iím just thinking to take the sawzall to it.
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Old 05-02-21, 08:03 AM
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If you are planning to possibly destroy the axle anyway, why not grip the non-threaded portion of the axle tightly in a vice or with vice grips and try unscrewing the stuck nut? Best case it comes off with only a bit of cosmetic damage to the unthreaded portion......

(And by tightly I meant TIGHTLY)
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Old 05-02-21, 10:42 AM
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Originally Posted by hihik View Post
No, thatís not it. Hereís what I think Iím supposed to be doing: unscrew both cone and lock nut up to the stuck nut, that should ensure that the lock nut has no axle thread left to screw down on, effectively locking it between cone and frozen nut, then with two wrenches tighten the lock nut and loosen the frozen nut. This isnít working as the cone below starts to screw down together WITH lock nut and I donít have opposing tension to unscrew the outer nut. Do I make sense?
Yes. It sounds as though you have essentially friction-welded the outer nut to the axle.

Better luck next time.
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Old 05-02-21, 12:16 PM
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OP used the wrong tool.

A larger splined tool would engage the outer splines on the freewheel, missing the lock nuts all together.

Having the right tool makes all the difference in the world, even if used infrequently. Albeit a non-professional, I still have about 10 freewheel removal tools and some other odd ones.
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Old 05-02-21, 02:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Bad Lag View Post
OP used the wrong tool.

A larger splined tool would engage the outer splines on the freewheel, missing the lock nuts all together.
Perhaps, but from the photo posted it looks as if the splines are the same diameter as the tool, and we do know that a great many freewheels were built with splines small enough that the tool used required the locknut to be removed.

And I'm having trouble seeing these "outer splines" on the freewheel.

Originally Posted by Bad Lag View Post
Having the right tool makes all the difference in the world, even if used infrequently.
No difference at all if you don't know how to use it.
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Old 05-02-21, 03:48 PM
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Originally Posted by oneclick View Post

And I'm having trouble seeing these "outer splines" on the freewheel.
I think what was meant was the splines IN the freewheel that are to the outside of the TOOL, lol.

And for any stubborn threaded nut on an axle, whether it's a locknut, cone or axle nut, there are ways to make them easier to turn.

Penetrants or heat do have some effect. Another favorite method I devised is to put the nut in the vise and compress heavily on two opposing flats. Repeat this several times, turning the axle and nut 1/6 turn between compressions. This causes elastic ovalization of the nut so creates clearance between the threads of the mating parts, loosening them. Using some oil at the same time makes this even more effective, the nut may then spin off by hand!
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Old 05-02-21, 07:15 PM
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Cut off the nut to liberate the cone. Ordered a new axle as the threads were messed up on the old one. In hindsight, the best solution (in my case) would have been pushing out the axle after removing the nuts from the ND side. Had I remembered that the dustcap was separate from the cone I would have pushed it harder. I thought they were a unit and the cap is blocked by freewheel. Then the drive side lock nut could be dealt with using something like this. Big fiasco, a lesson learned. Hopefully I wonít mess up the new one.

Again, thanks to all who chimed in with suggestions!
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Old 05-02-21, 07:50 PM
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Originally Posted by oneclick View Post
And I'm having trouble seeing these "outer splines" on the freewheel.
Perhaps this will help. Then again, maybe I don't understand the OP's problem.



"No difference at all if you don't know how to use it." - well, that's kind of raspy. :-)

OP has solved his problem. That's good.

Last edited by Bad Lag; 05-02-21 at 07:58 PM.
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