Extremely tight freewheel removal

General cycling advice ( NOT technical ! )
pete75
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Joined: 24 Jul 2007, 2:37pm

Extremely tight freewheel removal

Postby pete75 » 9 Jun 2015, 8:09pm

Trying to remove a free wheel from a tandem hub and it has so far resisted all attempts. Final attempts made mounting my Park freewheel remover in a large engineering vice attached to a substantial bench in a farm workshop. Two 6ft tall strongly built chaps turning the wheel failed to budge the thing and yes we were turning it in the right direction. This was after the free wheel threads had been soaked in plus gas for about 10 hours.
The last go knackered the free wheel remover. Have ordered another one , Kamasa this time as I know from experience in fairly heavy engineering they are a proper tool company who make tough tools. Will have another go with this method but if it doesn't work what else can I try short of dismantling the free wheel and then resorting to the likes of an angle grinder and chisels or even gas bottles to get the freewheel centre off the hub - and the latter likely a very bad idea for a steel item screwed onto an aluminium thread.
Only other thing I can think of is using an air impact driver but I'm loath to do something that involves a lot of percussive force - has anyone ever tried one of these on bicycle components.

TonyR
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Re: Extremely tight freewheel removal

Postby TonyR » 9 Jun 2015, 8:19pm

I had that problem on a tour in Denmark - tandem freewheels can get very tight. The freewheel remover wasn't doing it so we took the freewheel apart until we just had the central body left and then clamped that in the vice instead. Felt very guilty because the bike shop owner who lent me his workshop was in his first week home after a heart attack but insisted in joining in the tugging and straining till we broke it free.

Brucey
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Re: Extremely tight freewheel removal

Postby Brucey » 9 Jun 2015, 9:50pm

stupid question; do you really need to remove it?

I ask because most of the things you might need to do (fix body, replace axle, new sprockets, new spokes) are often possible by stripping the freewheel body down.

I agree that stripping the body down might well be the next step; I have strong doubts that any remover will be strong enough if the freewheel is stuck on there badly enough.

A couple of ideas;

-if you want to save the freewheel body, consider making a tool up from 1/4" thick plate which goes round the body centre, with two welded lugs that engage with the pawl pockets.

- once the body centre is exposed you can often give the thing a few smart taps with a flat drift, radially, in order to loosen it slightly; precessing the blows ACW round the periphery can help too. Even the heat from a hot air gun will help (too much can wreck stuff) as can using a cold wet rag on the hub body when the freewheel is hot.

BTW for dealing with the worst splined freewheels, I have made my own remover tool (to fit shimano etc) by grinding splines into the OD of a 1/2" drive socket with the correct major diameter. This allows the tool to work up to the shear strength of a decent 1/2" square drive, (about 400ftlbs). Probably something else will break before that fails, in fact...

Last resort is to grind slots in the body and then to shatter it in situ; if this is done carefully the hub need not be damaged.

good luck!

cheers
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~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Brucey~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

pete75
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Re: Extremely tight freewheel removal

Postby pete75 » 10 Jun 2015, 6:54am

Thanks for the replies chaps.

I'd prefer to remove it for a variety of reasons - not least because being able to remove is vastly preferable in the event of any problems out on the road. Grinding and smashing the body is what I think I'll end up doing but want to avoid if possible.

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Mick F
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Re: Extremely tight freewheel removal

Postby Mick F » 10 Jun 2015, 8:22am

I wonder if stripping the wheel down and fitting a new hub would be the easiest solution.

Is that an option?
Mick F. Cornwall

pete75
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Re: Extremely tight freewheel removal

Postby pete75 » 10 Jun 2015, 7:48pm

Mick F wrote:I wonder if stripping the wheel down and fitting a new hub would be the easiest solution.

Is that an option?


It's always an option but finding tandem hubs that take an Arai drag brake is not that easy....

Brucey
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Re: Extremely tight freewheel removal

Postby Brucey » 10 Jun 2015, 8:16pm

being able to remove a freewheel body in the workshop may give you some confidence that you'll be able to d it again when you need to 'in the wild' but IME this confidence can be somewhat misplaced. Tandem freewheels pretty soon get so tight that they are complete so-and-sos to remove, especially if you have a strong crew and you use low gears.

I think that provided you are happy to destroy the freewheel body, there should be no need to scrap the hub in the event of a stuck freewheel though.

cheers
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~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Brucey~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

LWaB
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Re: Extremely tight freewheel removal

Postby LWaB » 11 Jun 2015, 6:36am

Removing a tandem freewheel required 3 big blokes and a fair bit of swearing when I had to do so a few years back. Cassette hubs are a much better option.

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Mick F
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Re: Extremely tight freewheel removal

Postby Mick F » 11 Jun 2015, 8:13am

LWaB wrote: .................Cassette hubs are a much better option.
This was my thoughts I suppose, but getting one with a drag brake appears to be a problem.

What I know about the ins and outs of tandems, you could write on a postage stamp. However, if something is stuck solid, it either needs removing by destruction or giving up and renewing the whole assembly.

If it were me, and I wanted to keep the hub, I'd strip the freewheel down to just the stuck boss, then cut and chisel it off. Hopefully because the steel is very hard, it would crack cleanly.
Mick F. Cornwall

rjb
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Re: Extremely tight freewheel removal

Postby rjb » 11 Jun 2015, 2:12pm

I've only had to remove splined free wheels. The ones which require a notched remover would be much more difficult. Couple of tips, make sure you hold everything in place - ie if a bolt on hub replace the nut to stop the tool from slipping, or qr. I have previously held the remover in a vice but the reaction forces when the freewheel came free on one occasion caused the cast iron bench vice to break. I then resorted to putting a ring spanner in the new vice and the remover in the ring. I finally used to wedge the wheel with tyre on against a solid door frame or end wall and with someone holding the wheel I used the ring spanner with a scaffold tube as an extension. this allways worked for me.
And after you have removed it make sure you clean up the threads well and use some anti seize copper grease before putting the new one on :wink:
At the last count:- Focus Variado, Peugeot 531 pro, Dawes Discovery Tandem, Dawes Kingpin, Raleigh 20, Falcon K2 MTB dropped bar tourer, Longstaff trike conversion on a Falcon corsa. :D

pete75
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Re: Extremely tight freewheel removal

Postby pete75 » 11 Jun 2015, 4:52pm

Got it off. Kamasa free wheel remover arrived today and is obviously tougher than a Park one. Retried the vice method and remover stood up to it but freewheel didn't budge , hell of a lot of spoke wind up though. Tried a different method , using decent 21mm socket on remover and breaker bar both from 1971 vintage Hilka socket set and a single blow from a 12lb sledge on breaker loosened the freewheel. Nothing damaged so a good result. Tightness was in no way corrosion enhanced - well no sign of it on either hub or freewheel threads.

james01
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Re: Extremely tight freewheel removal

Postby james01 » 11 Jun 2015, 5:05pm

pete75 wrote: , hell of a lot of spoke wind up though. .


Yes, I've often wondered at what point collateral damage starts when unscrewing gets this serious. Any sign of spoke pull-through? Anyway, congratulations!

pete75
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Re: Extremely tight freewheel removal

Postby pete75 » 11 Jun 2015, 5:41pm

james01 wrote:
pete75 wrote: , hell of a lot of spoke wind up though. .


Yes, I've often wondered at what point collateral damage starts when unscrewing gets this serious. Any sign of spoke pull-through? Anyway, congratulations!


Nope all looks fine. They just sprung back when pressure released. Tension doesn't seem any different and wheel is still true. There's a lot of strength in 40 2mm diameter spokes.

Brucey
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Re: Extremely tight freewheel removal

Postby Brucey » 11 Jun 2015, 6:01pm

well done! Presumably this means that your touring toolkit should contain;

1) kamasa remover
2) breaker bar and socket
3) twelve pound sledgehammer

:roll: :mrgreen:

cheers
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~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Brucey~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

pete75
Posts: 12436
Joined: 24 Jul 2007, 2:37pm

Re: Extremely tight freewheel removal

Postby pete75 » 11 Jun 2015, 6:13pm

Brucey wrote:well done! Presumably this means that your touring toolkit should contain;

1) kamasa remover
2) breaker bar and socket
3) twelve pound sledgehammer

:roll: :mrgreen:

cheers


What do they say about sarcasm being the lowest form of wit. :)