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AIEEEEE! I'm in Helicomatic hell

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AIEEEEE! I'm in Helicomatic hell

Old 01-22-06, 04:08 AM
  #1  
mswantak
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AIEEEEE! I'm in Helicomatic hell

Picked up a nice '84 Peugeot mixte today for $30. Nice Rigida alloys, Stronglight crankset. And... the dreaded Mailliard Helicomatic rear hub. The bike was so cheap because the freewheel was showing off and freewheeling in both directions. Apparently the pawls were just gummed up because it's starting to work again after sitting in a can of mineral spirits all day. I want to open the little rotter up to make sure nothing else is going south; who knows how to get inside one of these things?
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Old 01-22-06, 04:30 AM
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This is only from memory, as at the bike shp long ago it was not worth the time to service them. Remove the freewheel, and look at the back side, this one might adjust and assemble from the spoke side. Might also take a "cluster vice" to hold it firmly to allow access.
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Old 01-22-06, 07:05 AM
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I worked on a 6speed Shimano freewheel from the same era and type.

Here is the topic: http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread.php?t=167261

You can also read sheldons article about it (link included there)

My personal advice:
Make sure you have a nice work area. In my case i wasnt prepared for it and 70 steel balls dropped on the floor bouncing around

Best thing is to:
1. take a bowl or something like that
2. put wheel on it with hub in the middle (duh)
3. remove the lock with a special tool or with a small philips
4. count balls in top bearing if possible (if not no problem)
5. lift freewheel tender (balls may drop down into bowl)
6. remove the wheel while still holding freewheel above bowl
7. whipe the balls on both sides out of their place
8. study the pawl system (mine had 2 pawl and a circle thread with gap (see picture in other topic)
9. remove them too

now clean everything with degreaser, polish whatever as long as it gets clean
you may take pictures now for when you are grandad and want to show off you were mechanicien in the TdF or so

assemblage

10. reassemble the pawl system
11. put new new grease in both the places were the bearing balls gonna be
12. use a pincet or just your fingers to insert the correct amount of balls into about their places.
13. use something little/small (no not that thing ) to arrange balls in their correct place
14. When you lost some balls no problem (see other topic), just make sure the distance between balls is on both bearings the same. (in my case the inner side took more balls (not in that manner ) than the far side
15. With steady hand place the freewheel back on the hub
16. replace the lock
17. guess if you did place it well or go back to 15
18. congrats

that was my procedure last week (with some corrections on the faults i make )

good luck and show us the results!
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Old 01-22-06, 08:09 AM
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I have a pair of 36' helio hubs with freewheel I'll part with if you need them. PM me and we'll work something out. ~ Jerry AKA Tmax1
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Old 01-22-06, 08:59 AM
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Originally Posted by mswantak
who knows how to get inside one of these things?

I've got a bike maintenance book published in '72 that covers dissassembly/assembly and maintenance of standard french rewheels including a handful of photos. Its pre-Helicomatic though. If you think it might be helpful I don't mind scanning a few pages. I used the instructions to successfully rebuild an Atom freewheel. Getting em apart is easy, but there is a trick to getting em back together.
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Old 01-22-06, 11:17 AM
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This is my helicomatic procedure.

1. Carefully rip the thing apart with your 10" and your 12" pipe wrenches, preferrably over the lawn where the tiny pieces will blend in and forever be lost.

2. Take the larger pieces to the large trash can at the rear of your garage and deposit firmly, preferably under something so your wife doesn't ask embarrassing questions about your mechanical abilities.

3. Search eBay for a good cheap set of campy wheels, pay, receive, and mount them firmly in the waiting dropouts. Don't neglect to tighten the quick release skewers.

You'll be happier. Really.
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Old 01-22-06, 11:27 AM
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OK - maybe I'm missing something but.....

Wouldn't it be easier to just spin on another freewheel? I mean, 6 speed freewheels are a dime a dozen. Someone on the list just gave away a boxfull.

And if I am missing something, please be gentle. I'm always willing to learn.....
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Old 01-22-06, 12:21 PM
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helicomatics are "special". Take special tools and everything. Swantak, tell you what. I got a good pair of maillard-hubbed (no helicomatic) wheels from an 80's Gitane in the garage, no scratches, low miles (probably truly nearly no miles). I'll trade 'em to ya for an as yet unspecified set of decals for an as yet unspecified bicycle. If I ever win a bid again, I'll have you make a new set. (I won't look for anything particularly devilish, like, say, Hetchins...)
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Old 01-22-06, 02:19 PM
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Originally Posted by bigbossman
Wouldn't it be easier to just spin on another freewheel?

And if I am missing something, please be gentle. I'm always willing to learn.....
A picture's worth one thousand words.

I know I'll never hear the end of it. "There goes that fellow with the NOS Helicomatic."

P.S.: The LBS has an old Mallard Helicomatic hub with what appears to be an intact 6 speed Helicowheel ( - whatever they called 'em) on it. If you are interested in trading for it, let me know.

Take care,

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Old 01-22-06, 03:13 PM
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Originally Posted by bigbossman
OK - maybe I'm missing something but.....

Wouldn't it be easier to just spin on another freewheel? I mean, 6 speed freewheels are a dime a dozen. Someone on the list just gave away a boxfull.

And if I am missing something, please be gentle. I'm always willing to learn.....
Only if you could spin on another freewheel. Look at the pic on cudak888's post. The freewheel slides over splines and is held on by a lockring.
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Old 01-22-06, 03:28 PM
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besides that..

imo there is no fun in buying everything otherwise you could close all topics here with: "Wouldn't it be a lot easier to just buy a brand new Bianchi thisandthistype?" (for Bianchi fill in any brand you like)
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Old 01-22-06, 03:46 PM
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Originally Posted by DieselDan
Only if you could spin on another freewheel. Look at the pic on cudak888's post. The freewheel slides over splines and is held on by a lockring.
Just did. All I can say is......eeeeeeewwwww!!!!
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Old 01-22-06, 03:51 PM
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Originally Posted by leunkstar
besides that..

imo there is no fun in buying everything otherwise you could close all topics here with: "Wouldn't it be a lot easier to just buy a brand new Bianchi thisandthistype?" (for Bianchi fill in any brand you like)
Well, that's a bit extreme.

I was under the (mistaken) impression that it was just a spin-on type freewheel. As someone who has taken apart freewheels and spent hours trying to chase down all the bearings and get them back together, it would seem to me foolish to do so when you can just spin on another and be done with it.

In this case, I can see why there is a salvage effort underway, but I'd still probably swap out the wheel or lace in a new hub and move on.

Believe me when I tell you that I'm the first one to spend (waste?) countless hours repairing and/or refubishing things that just aren't worth the effort, just to see how they work (and if I can do it).
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Old 01-22-06, 04:41 PM
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Some more info for you folks:

http://www.yellowjersey.org/helico.html

-Kurt
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Old 01-22-06, 05:31 PM
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Side note: I just went to have a look at the Helicomatic on my '83 LeTour...sure enough, the darn thing has a freewheel adaptor on it.

And it ain't coming out for anybody.

-Kurt
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Old 01-22-06, 05:35 PM
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I like to dink with stuff and make it work/look good again. But I have a special bias against helicomatics. They break when you need 'em most. In the rain usually. With angry pit bulls circling. They suck.
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Old 01-22-06, 05:44 PM
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My '82 Batavus Champion had a Maillard Heliomatic 6speed. The only time i tried to service it I went to the lbs and he opened it for me with this 8-tool. I cleaned it and it worked fine but i gave the bike away to a friend (hope he still rides it).
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Old 01-22-06, 06:56 PM
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Tmax1 has graciously agreed to barter me a new freewheel for decals to be named later.

Thus I am released from Helicomatic hell, and now must wait in...


...Peugatory.

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Old 01-22-06, 07:23 PM
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Hehehe - Welcome to the land of relative peace and tranquility (until you want to take 'em off): Freewheels.

Take care,

-Kurt
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Old 01-24-06, 10:58 AM
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Parcel POst-ed. Enjoy!! ~JG
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Old 01-24-06, 03:38 PM
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Thanks -- I promise to lose 10 pounds and not pedal very hard.
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Old 11-03-06, 12:46 AM
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Originally Posted by mswantak
Picked up a nice '84 Peugeot mixte today for $30. Nice Rigida alloys, Stronglight crankset. And... the dreaded Mailliard Helicomatic rear hub. The bike was so cheap because the freewheel was showing off and freewheeling in both directions. Apparently the pawls were just gummed up because it's starting to work again after sitting in a can of mineral spirits all day. I want to open the little rotter up to make sure nothing else is going south; who knows how to get inside one of these things?
Mswantak,
Must be bad karma as I too, picked up a Peugeot mixte this past weekend. Just started to clean up the rear wheel when I noticed it was that POS Helicomatic. So anybody with a rear wheel with one of these hubs that you don't want, I'll take it. Oh by the way 6-speed. Picked up the bike in Castro Valley for a $20 spot. Bike was real clean and in a Pearl color.
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Old 11-03-06, 03:04 AM
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For future reference, I have a set of Helicomatic hubs on a bike. When I build the bike, it won't be with those buggers, so if anyone ever wants 'em, you can have 'em for shipping.
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Old 11-03-06, 08:37 AM
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I have the Mailliard Helicomatic wheel (700c) from my 1985 Trek. I took them off when I did a rebuild on it. If anyone want's it I'll give it to you for the price of shipping.
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Old 11-03-06, 08:46 AM
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Heheheh. This could turn out to be a regular cache of free helicomatic kit for anyone mental enough to want to specialize! Seriously, though, that would be the right thing to do. Someone here who either actually likes the evil things, or at least feels like their unusualness makes them interesting should pipe up and appoint themselves curator. Then we could all send them our unwanted helicomatic crap. I'd even pay for the shipping if it was gonna be that way......
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