Noisy freewheel

For discussions about bikes and equipment.
RobC
Posts: 124
Joined: 5 Feb 2008, 3:27pm

Noisy freewheel

Postby RobC » 7 Jan 2021, 2:01pm

I’ve read with interest the various threads about freewheels lately.

I’m just using one (7 speed) until my rim runs out, when I plan to finally get a new wheel with a freehub.

But in the meantime my current cheap n cheerful freewheel has got pretty noisy after a few years use. I’ve just cleaned up the drivetrain and lubed the freewheel with thickish oil but it’s still noisy under load. Is it shot? It’s only a cheap one I fitted a few years back.

Video here https://youtu.be/FkoL1VzkvYI . The noise most definitely isn’t a poorly adjusted derailleur by the way! Even tho it sounds a little like that.

If so I’d like to replace it with something reasonable to get me through until I come to upgrade the wheel properly.

From the recent freewheel threads on here it seems the current sunrace and shimano ones (I’m definitely not going to be forking out £50+ for a IRD one!) merit discussion. Which one should I go for or is it much of a muchness? 13-28 or 14-28 is what I’m after.

Cheers

Brucey
Posts: 42102
Joined: 4 Jan 2012, 6:25pm

Re: Noisy freewheel

Postby Brucey » 7 Jan 2021, 2:38pm

if the freewheel is noisy most people would (rather than fiddle with it) just replace it, along with the chain. I think that sun race freewheels are good for the money, but you need to

a) be able to get the old one off the wheel and
b) know what size/number of sprockets you want in the new freewheel.

Most 7s freewheels end up about the same width on the hub but even so you may have to adjust the rear derailleur once the new freewheel is fitted.

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

PT1029
Posts: 949
Joined: 16 Apr 2012, 9:20pm

Re: Noisy freewheel

Postby PT1029 » 7 Jan 2021, 2:49pm

I'd say the noise is NOT:
The freewheel bearing (no noise when freewheeling - when the freewhel bearing is rotating, and noise only when pedalling - freewheel bearing static when pedalling. The freewheeling noise sounds good to me.
The rear hub, noise would persist when freewheeling.

Does the noise happen on all the sprockets?
I have known noise (almost) like that when a very worn chain runs on a little used (so unworn) sprocket (usually the larger sprockets). So, is your chain very worn? If you don't have a chain checking tool, can you pull the chain away from the the teeth at the front of the chain wheel? If you can, it is probably worn. This method is a but rough and ready, you can get the same effect with a fair chain and very worn chainwheel teeth.
There is also using a long ruler or metal tape measure to measure chain wear (each link should be 1/2", the pin distances increases with wear, I forget what the wear per 12" is for 0.5% wear).

You mention you have just cleaned the chain, sometimes cleaning an okish but mucky chain washes all the muck out from the pins/rollers/plates etc in the chain, allowing to worn bits to suddenly "stretch" out ie the pins can move into the worn bits previously filled by crud. Something I learnt years ago, cleaning a chain to find its worn out, very annoying...!

So, probably a new freewheel + chain time.

RobC
Posts: 124
Joined: 5 Feb 2008, 3:27pm

Re: Noisy freewheel

Postby RobC » 7 Jan 2021, 3:41pm

Thanks for the suggestions. It's a brand new chain and the noise is the same in all gears. I'd already successfully removed the freewheel for cleaning (and flushing out and then soaking in oil), so I think I'll go ahead and get a replacement sunrace freewheel on brucey's recommendation. hopefully it will last until the rims finally wear out!

Rob

peetee
Posts: 2756
Joined: 4 May 2010, 10:20pm
Location: Cornwall

Re: Noisy freewheel

Postby peetee » 7 Jan 2021, 5:01pm

Sounds like it’s a problem to do with the cones or bearings of the wheel axle. It’s not happening when freewheeling in the workshop but does it do it when riding and freewheeling?
Winter had arrived in the land of Kernow. Along with it came wet roads and cool winds.
“Oh, my wheels and coupling rods!” Peetee exclaimed.

RobC
Posts: 124
Joined: 5 Feb 2008, 3:27pm

Re: Noisy freewheel

Postby RobC » 7 Jan 2021, 5:32pm

I had considered the wheel bearings / axle being at fault, but I put the wheel in the frame after removing the freewheel, span it, and there was no noise at all. The wheel bearings are smooth as a whistle when turning by hand, with no play whatsoever

peetee
Posts: 2756
Joined: 4 May 2010, 10:20pm
Location: Cornwall

Re: Noisy freewheel

Postby peetee » 7 Jan 2021, 5:58pm

This can be the case when unloaded but when ridden or when cranked in the workshop a perpendicular load on the axle can be enough to make the rough bearing audible.
Winter had arrived in the land of Kernow. Along with it came wet roads and cool winds.
“Oh, my wheels and coupling rods!” Peetee exclaimed.

RobC
Posts: 124
Joined: 5 Feb 2008, 3:27pm

Re: Noisy freewheel

Postby RobC » 7 Jan 2021, 6:03pm

Interesting! I will fit a known good single speed freewheel i have lying around somewhere and see if the noise is still there. (i dont have any other multispeed freewheels to test with). thanks.

Edit: No noise with the known good freewheel, so new freewheel it is

RobC
Posts: 124
Joined: 5 Feb 2008, 3:27pm

Re: Noisy freewheel

Postby RobC » 8 Jan 2021, 7:43pm

Just wondered, while I await delivery of a replacement, if there is any danger of using the bike as it is with a freewheel that it’s now clear is making that noise. Is it just an annoyance, or does it indicate that the pawls or whatever could fail at any time under load, causing an accident?