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Stuck Freewheel(19 posts)

Stuck FreewheelMisJG
Aug 11, 2003 7:58 PM
I broke a spoke on the drive side of the rear wheel of my commuter. I look at the problem, think "replacing a spoke is easy enough", so I decide to save myself some money and do the repair myself. I have a truing stand, repair stand, etc. The LBS wanted $16 to replace a $0.54 spoke, so I bought the spoke and home I went. Here's the problem. As I mentioned, the broken spoke is on the drive side, so I have to remove the freewheel. Negative. I have the right tool (Park FR-1) for my freewheel, and even the Park SR-1 that is designed to fit on the end of the tool to torque with. Nope. Won't budge. So (plan B) I drive to my parent's house to use my Dad's bench vice like I read in "Bicycling's guide to maintenance and repair". Put the tool in the vice and tried to turn the wheel. I about twisted the vice off the workbench, but still couldn't get it loose. OK, Plan C, last resort. I decide I will just remove the individual cogs and maybe that will give me the needed clearence to replace the spoke. I have two chain whips (one came with a tool kit and the aforementioned SR-1) so it should be easy enough. Any guesses? Right. I can't get them loose either. I guess years of torquing them on (by riding) have made it near impossible to loosen. Any ideas for more leverage? I am about to take it to the shop and let them wrestle with it, but I really hate admitting defeat. Before you ask, yes I am turning in the right direction to loosen. Trust me. I checked at least a dozen times.

PS. If it comes to it, does anyone even make 27" wheels anymore? I love the 27 x 1 1/4 for commuting. Very comfy.
re: Stuck FreewheelM_Currie
Aug 11, 2003 8:18 PM
I've had best luck on stuck freewheels by putting a large wrench on the remover (make sure it's a good fit, either the correct wrench, a very large adjustable wrench, or as a last resort a big pipe wrench) standing the wheel up and then hitting the wrench smartly with a very heavy hammer with a soft head. A "dead-blow" mallet works best, a lead hammer pretty well. The biggest rubber or rawhide hammer might even work. Steel hammers will usually just knock everything around and make noise. But the sharp initial impact of a hammer blow works better than steady torque.

If it's a Suntour freewheel, make sure the puller is snugly pressed in when you hit - otherwise it will just tear the teeth off the puller.
It's a ShimanoMisJG
Aug 12, 2003 8:23 AM
It's not Suntour, but I am making sure the remover is correctly positioned. Aslo threading the skewer through to hold it in place.
Durn freewheelsJervis
Aug 11, 2003 8:20 PM
Sorry, I can't help with the stuck freewheel but it seems that many people are still selling new old stock 27" wheels on e-bay, though I don't know how nice they are. I think I saw that Mavic makes a 27" rim too, but I could be wrong on that as well. Your shop can probably get the freewheel off, unless they're about as competent as garden tools (most of population) but if they can't, you can always keep your rims and relace different hubs. Since your bike takes 27" rims you might want to check out the spacing on the rear hub as well. It's probably 126mm as opposed to the modern 130mm standard (I have the same problem). Good luck, and just out of curiosity what tires are you riding?

Aug 13, 2003 5:05 AM
Right now, Continental Super Sport, but those are coming off because they've done their duty. I have a pair of Vittoria Competition Pheonix 32 Kevlar to put on, but I don't know how they ride yet. The Conti's were great tires. I usually don't run anything but Conti's but I succumbed to Nashbar's claim that good 27" tires are hard to find and I should buy the Vittorias NOW!!
Liquid wrenchTom C
Aug 11, 2003 8:48 PM
If it's a 27" wheel odds are the freewheel has been on there a while. Possibly it was screwed on without someone greasing the freewheel and hub bosses threads. Get some Liquid Wrench, a brand of penetrating lubricant with graphite powder suspended in it. Spray behind the largest cog where the freewheel body meets the hub boss. Spray it generously and leave it overnight with the freewheel facing down. Fix your tool on the next day and secure with the quick release sans the spring. Give the wrench you use a few healthy raps with a metal headed hammer. You're trying to break probably corroded threads free. After the raps, give it another generous spray with the penetrant and start hauling on your wrench again. It will break free but the whole process might have to be repeated once or twice. Good luck.
Liquid wrench, of courseMisJG
Aug 12, 2003 8:45 AM
I thought of using L.W., but was unsure where to apply it. I will try this tonight and let it sit for 24 hrs and try to remove it again. I definately wouldn't have let the wheel sit with the cog side down. Good tip.
27 inchSteve_0
Aug 12, 2003 3:42 AM
you can find 27 inchers at nashbar and harris (and other retailers, im sure) not to mention a garagesale near you.

are you sure you're turning in the right direction?
(sorry, couldnt resist).
re: Stuck Freewheelukiahb
Aug 12, 2003 6:49 AM
another trick to remove the fw cogs is to break the chain and wrap the top run over an intermediate cog and the bottom over the smallest (from underneath), then pedal backwards...tried this myself and it worked well, though be careful as the cogs cut loose suddenly. Some freewheels have the first few cogs threaded FWIW...
How 'boutAtombomber
Aug 12, 2003 7:19 AM
Visiting your local auto repairer and have them use their impact gun? With a bracka-bracka-bracka-bracka, it should just whhirrrrrr off.
you sure you're going the right direction?gtx
Aug 12, 2003 7:55 AM
never seen the bench vice method fail, but some people get confused about which direction to yank in when using this method. It is MUCH better than the big wrench method. It does, however, require a solid bench vice and that you secure the frewheel removal tool.
Aug 12, 2003 8:20 AM
Yes, I am sure, but as addressed in other posts, I think it's just frozen on. Will try pouring on the Liquid Wrench tonight and give it another try in 24 hrs
Already well covered, but one more precautionretro
Aug 12, 2003 8:08 AM
I haven't pulled a freewheel in years, but if the hammer trick doesn't work, I used to have a Great Ceremonial Cheater Pipe, a 4-foot length of galvanized pipe that would just slip over the end of Lester the Molester, the 18-inch Crescent wrench. You can generate a mess o' tork (too much to spell it with a 'que') that way.
One precaution--to keep the freewheel tool from popping out under pressure and rounding off everything, you might run the skewer through or thread the nut on loosely to hold it in before you bear down.
re: Stuck FreewheelMrDan
Aug 12, 2003 8:50 AM
Definately, it's a bit "frozen" on. It uses a conventional right-hand thread, so wranch should turn counter-clockwise relative to wheel. The impact method, with perhaps some liquid wrench as another has said is the way to go.

When you do finally get it off, make sure to coat the thread on the hub (lightly!) with whatever bearing grease you use.

At this point the $16 probably is looking pretty good... have them completely retension and true the wheel as well... this will alot more but will be a lasting repair.

If you want the new wheel route, I know Lictons ( and Sheldon Brown carry them. They can build you a good wheel... but you'll probably need your old freewheel, or pick up a new one...

Good Luck,
I had the same problem recently.OldEdScott
Aug 12, 2003 9:42 AM
Finally went the BFH route and knocked the sucker free. It takes nerve.
Pull the cogs?Alexx
Aug 12, 2003 9:46 AM
I'm betting that, if the freewheel is stuck, you'll find the cogs on the freewheel body in a similar state. If you want to break the cogs apart, make sure the second whip is on at least the 3rd cog rom the outside, not the second. Good luck.
Aug 12, 2003 11:04 AM
The cogs are good and stuck too. I will be investing in an industrial size can of liquid wrench and giving the whole thing a good going over. I want to disassemble and clean and grease the whole she-bang, so I wanted to get the cogs off too. I don't really want to go inside the freewheel mechanism, just want to give a little TLC to the cog set. The abuse has gone on too long due to my fear of this area. It's the only thing left on a bike I haven't fixed.
Aug 12, 2003 7:30 PM
If you do manage to get the freewheel off whole and still want to disassemble the cogs, one way to do this that has worked for me is, instead of using two chain whips, take the freewheel and screw it down to a sturdy bench by the teeth of the largest sprocket. You can then get some real torque on the remaining whip.
Use a crescent wrench with a cheater pipechar
Aug 12, 2003 10:02 AM
I use a 5-foot length to remove freewheels. You made need someone to hold the wheel, leave the tire on.