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Freewheel/ Freehub help
#1
Hello,

I have a Sun Tour Power Flo freewheel/hub/cassette. I need to get it off to do the bearings and probably replace it. First I suspected it could have been a cassette but being a bit old I thought it couldn’'t be and it was a screw on freewheel.

The LBS said it was a freewheel, but it’d be OK the axle would come out – it didn’t. I got the required freewheel remover for it (back of the workshop in the dusty corner) but still couldn’'t budge it. So finally I gave in and gave it a squirt of WD40 which got it spinning but still no removal.

The shop where I got the tool said it turns anti-clockwise. But another freewheel I have screws off clockwise.

Last night with a chain whip holding it I hit the notched outer ring with a screwdriver and hammer and got it moving. It came off as a set of cassette rings, not a freewheel but the freehub was different to any I have seen before.

With holding one locknut of the axle I unscrewed it but still can’t get near the bearings on the drive side. I can see them and while the non drive side were in a bearing cage this side they are loose from their cage – which is where I am guessing the noise is coming from.

What to do?

Thanks in Advance
Angus

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#2
It is a freewheel, not a cassette. What you have done is taken apart the freewheel itself. Now you have the chainrings off, but not the base/ratchet part of the freewheel.
All freewheels come off anticlockwise. Otherwise, when you pedal, the freewheel would come off. It's not unusual for a free wheel to be very tight though. You can remove what is on there two ways:
1. Use the tool you bought (it should have two squarish pegs). Put the axle back in and use the axle nut to actually hold the tool onto the freewheel tightly. It will take some force to start it unscrewing. Once it starts, back the axle nut off to give the tool and freewheel room to unscrew from the hub.
2. You may be able to grab what is left on the hub with a vise or big pliers and unscrew it. If this works, it may be easier, but it will likely damage the freewheel and you'll need a new one.
Note that you never need a chainwhip to remove a freewheel. Just the tool that fits into the end and a wrench to grab and rotate that tool.
If you want to keep using this freewheel, you'll need to reassemble it. Can be tricky because there's lots of little pals and springs, but doable. From your description, it sounds like maybe it was seized up anyway. Might be good just to buy a new one. You don't need another suntour one unless your shifting was indexed. But you should stay close if not match the number of gears or you may have clearance problems.
You can remove the axle and service the bearings without taking off the freewheel like the shop told you. But it is a hassle because it's hard to get to the drive side bearings.
good luck

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#3
Yes, I basically had all of that - someone else also said it was a 'freewheel with a removable cluster' and I have been trying to find a vice. The chainwhip helped me get the cogs off but that was pretty much useless except for a good clean.
I'll try grabbing the hub with some multigrips as you said.
You are spot on about the drive side bearings. I cannot get to them and it's there where the problem is. I am happy with the freewheel now.
I did get the axle out but couldn't get to the bearings in their cage.
Thanks
gusk

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#4
Hi, can anyone tell me what I should be replacing? I have a Giant escape m2 which is now 2 years old and gets regular use but is always cleaned and maintained. on my last ride I suddenly started to get some slippage mainly when exherting pressure on pedals, it happened throughout all gear ranges so its not the gears, I feel its the freewheel but does anyone know whether the M2 has a freewheel hub or freelwheel body? I didnt realise there were 2 options, how can I tell just by looking at it without taking bits apart. I intend to fix it myself as although I'm a novice bike mechanic, I'm pretty handy [for a girl] but this is new to me so any advice would be gratefully received. Thanks in advance!

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#5
Do the sprockets move, when the pedals are slipping? Most problems like this come from worn chains and sprockets. Measure the chain as described in
http://bicycletutor.com/chain-wear/
If the chain is "stretched", replace it. Most probably you will also have to replace the rear sprockets.
Tools needed for replacing chain and cassette: cassette tool, chain whip, chain tool. Follow the instructions
http://bicycletutor.com/chain-tool/
http://bicycletutor.com/replace-cassette-cluster/
I think replacing a cassette is very easy, replacing a chain is a bit more difficult, but the tutorial is good. Maybe practice with the old chain, open and reconnect the chain (when it is off the bike) two or three times until you feel comfortable.
You have a freehub (if the specs from the giant homepage http://www.giant-bicycles.com/en-GB/bikes/lifestyle/347/15249/ are correct). There are (to my knowledge) no 8speed freewheels.
A good site explaining the difference between freehubs and freewheels is
http://sheldonbrown.com/free-k7.html
In the past years, only very low-end bikes had freewheel hubs, the 7 speed freewheel hubs were a failure by design.
Oh, and the argument "for a girl" does not count. There are many gals out there that are better bike mechanics than me, there are female bike mechanics at two local bike shops.

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#6
Hey thanks for all the info Joe!
I will check the sprockets and chain etc for looseness and wear etc. I will let you know how it all pans out...I know, the 'for a girl' was a bit 'tongue in cheek' really but you will be amazed at how many comments you STILL get when seen doing your own repairs, but I'm actually ok with all of that. Thanks again.

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#7
I had thought so, but getting the finer points of the English language is difficult for a non-native speaker like me ;-)
And I forgot to mention: Maybe the derailleur (front or rear) is just misadjusted... check that first ( http://bicycletutor.com/part/derailleur/ ), I keep forgetting to tell people that (old age?). Though after two years of regular use, the chain is most probably the culprit. Get a decent quality chain, the somewhat higher price is justified, it will last longer than a cheap one, but stay away from the very high end spectrum since those chains are built mainly to be lightweight, not robust. The additional 20 (or whatever) grams don't matter.
Good luck with the maintenance!
Remark: I cannot help myself, I keep reacting this way, since I have been teaching tutorials (maths, physics) at university for many years and giving private lessons before that, and by now I have heard too often "I'm a girl, so I suck at (maths, physics, insert subject here)" and, of course, the all time favorite "my mom was also bad at..."
voilà: Pavlovian reflex. Hey, I'm a guy, I'm simple...

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#8
Hi Joe,
I have replaced cassette and chain, the sprockets had all the shark teeth hallmarks of trouble but strangely the chain had not stretched at all. However, the problem is still there, It did happen suddenly whilst out on a ride with no previous indications of any problems, the derailleurs seem fine, so are there any other possible causes to eliminate before I replace the freehub?
I could leave it with my bike shop but I really want to work it out for myself [along with all the great help from here of course].
Footnote: you poor thing having to lecture students! no wonder you have been sensitized, I am studying art history at the moment which is full of quite tedious gender issues... now don't start me on the 'guys being simple' topic!
Cheers, Sally

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#9
Yippee hey ho!
Bike is running like a dream, I discovered that my original problem - at this point unbeknown to me was solved by cassette replacement - was masked by another. When I replaced the chain I had slightly kinked a link and this was causing an identical problem of the slippage I had before the cassette and chain replacement, ridiculous I know and so I didnt suspect the chain and therefore continued to pursue the freehub body replacement, but after taking off the cassette again I just couldn't see any fault with it and had a doubt that it could be the problem. So after another gaze at the bike going through gear changes I spotted a regular little snatch at the pulleys which appeared to be causing the chain to jump sprockets. Replaced the link and et voila!
Another bonus is that I gave the bike a really good service and thanks to the tutorial on this site cleaned my rear hub bearings which I discovered needed doing. So its all been a great learning experience and teaching me to 'tune in' to my bike.

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#10
Hi Sally,
great to hear that your bike is running well again! I forgot about the "stiff link" problem but good to hear that you discovered it. Well, we live and learn... (me too, every day). A bike needs a good service every couple of 1000km (depending on the weather), you will be (are?) able to do some (or most) of the maintenance yourself. Try to find a check list for maintenance tasks (with check boxes to indicate wear, etc.) that you can print out and use, also look at http://bicycletutor.com/tune-up/ . My list is in German, so it will probably not help you. If anybody has such a list to share, it would be greatly appreciated.
(Oh, and thanks for the sympathy!)

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