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Old Freewheels

Old 09-08-09, 06:57 AM
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UprightJoe
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Old Freewheels

What would you guys do before using a 20 year old NOS freewheel? Would you try to flush it with degreaser and relube it prior to use or just install it and go?
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Old 09-08-09, 07:05 AM
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I picked up a bunch of NOS suntour 5 - 6 speed freewheels last year from the 80's and just added a few drops of synthetic oil to be on the safe side. haven't had any problems.
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Old 09-08-09, 07:59 AM
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Ditto. If it is a NOS freewheel, all it should need is some oil. In order to preserve it for as long as possible. Remove from the hub once or twice a year, scrub off the grease and dirt from the cogs, oil the mechanism again, regrease the threads, and reinstall.
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Old 09-08-09, 10:46 AM
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+1 on the oil. It should re-invigorate the old grease that is in there.

I have a weird tool thing which screws onto the back of freewheels. You then use a grease gun to squish new grease into the freewheel. It is great for blasting out years of gunk and cruddy grease, but it leaves what I believe to be too much grease in the freewheel body (the clicking is gone). I uised to be of the belive that any void not filled with grease is simply a place for dirt and water. I think I am past that now. I am running one over the winter to see how it works. If -10F, snow, and road grit won't kill it, then too much grease may not be a bad thing.
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Old 09-08-09, 12:46 PM
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Originally Posted by bct555 View Post
I picked up a bunch of NOS suntour 5 - 6 speed freewheels last year from the 80's and just added a few drops of synthetic oil to be on the safe side. haven't had any problems.
How could get me one of those 6 speeds? Any for sale?
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Old 09-08-09, 07:22 PM
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Sorry Bockman, I'm down to just a couple left, they went fast
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Old 09-08-09, 11:58 PM
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Originally Posted by balindamood View Post
+1 on the oil. It should re-invigorate the old grease that is in there.

I have a weird tool thing which screws onto the back of freewheels. You then use a grease gun to squish new grease into the freewheel. It is great for blasting out years of gunk and cruddy grease, but it leaves what I believe to be too much grease in the freewheel body (the clicking is gone).....
I've seen those tools. Weren't around long, a they were a poor substitute for disassembly, clean and lube, and reassembly.
The clicking is gone because the grease is where it shouldn't be - in the pawls and springs. They get oil, the ball bearings get the grease. When I service freewheels, that's how I do it.
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Old 09-09-09, 12:34 AM
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Bikemeister-

When you service freewheels, how do you keep the large bunch of little ball bearings from going everywhere? Seems like every other time I open one up, they all make a break for it.
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Old 09-09-09, 05:39 AM
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They come apart. The Lockring with the two holes is reverse thread as I recall. Try to loosen it BEFORE you take the free hub off the rim.

There are spacer shims under the outer race so pay attention when you pull it apart.

Count the top bearing before you let the center drop through.

I always take them apart over a Magnetic parts bowl to catch the bearings. https://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/cta...emnumber=90566

You can buy bearings if they are rusty. Nashbar and Niagra sell them. When assembling put enough grease in the bearing race to hold the bearings. Very light grease on the dogs (the ratchet tabs).
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Old 09-09-09, 05:56 AM
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I've never found it worth the trouble to disassemble a freewheel. Just a few drops of oil now & then.
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Old 09-09-09, 03:28 PM
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Originally Posted by balindamood View Post
Bikemeister-

When you service freewheels, how do you keep the large bunch of little ball bearings from going everywhere? Seems like every other time I open one up, they all make a break for it.
After I loosen the lockring, I set the freewheel over a petri dish (or any wide and shallow plate) to catch all the little buggars as I finish unscrewing by hand. Although, that magnet idea sounds great!

The problem with all of the "external only" lube solutions I've seen is that they really don't do the job right.
Pawls need oil, bearings need grease. The only way to get that right is disassembly. Although, I know Sachs freewheels have a oil port hidden under the second or third largest cog. Removing the cogs uncovers that port, which is located in the pawl/rachet area. A few drops with a fine needle injector puts the oil where it's needed. It's a pain to remove the cogs, but far easier than a total disassembly. All of the other freewheels I've pulled apart never revealed such an opening.
I use gun oil and grease for my freewheels. That stuff is formulated for a heavy duty, high heat, high stress application - works perfect for freewheels! And with 5-speed freewheels getting hard to find, I want to keep all the ones that come across my repair station working as long as possible.
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Old 09-09-09, 03:45 PM
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Never ever never ever take a freewheel apart. Period. Never.
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Old 09-09-09, 06:32 PM
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Originally Posted by miamijim View Post
Never ever never ever take a freewheel apart. Period. Never.
Chicken!!!!
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Old 09-09-09, 08:57 PM
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I fished a Raleigh Marathon out of a dumpster. The hubs were so bad they barely rolled. The freewheel.... didn't.

I repacked the bearings on the wheels, then I cleaned up the freewheel with WD-40. Once it was moving well, I applied chain lube on the crack where the moving and non-moving parts meet. A couple drops, then spin, spin, spin until it absorbed in, a couple more, etc.; then I flipped it over and did the same from the back side. The thing runs great now.

I had a similar story with a Schwinn Varsity I pulled out of the city dump. Only I don't have a Normandie freewheel remover and couldn't take it off. So I just gave it the same treatment, only from from just the front. It works fine, too.
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