DIY: Service Your Own Freewheel The Correct Way Avoid the dreaded "Flush & Dribble!"
I have been an active member of www.bikeforums.net/classic&vintage since 2005 (username pastorbobnlnh). It was there that I was inspired to launch Freewheel Spa in 2011, motivated by forum members who advocated the "flush and dribble" method of freewheel service.
If you are not familiar with this approach to freewheel service, basically it is as follows: Run or flush solvent or degreaser through the gap between the two body halves until the fluid emerges clean, and then dribble a sticky machine oil into the gap.
I'll not argue all the ways this is such an inadequate and wrong way to service your vintage freewheel, but let me ask (rhetorically), would you service your hubs, bottom bracket, headset, or even your rear derailleur jockey and pulley wheels with such neglect?
Servicing a vintage freewheel, can be accomplished with just a few tools. Below are the instructions to DIY. Enjoy.
... to this!
Vintage Suntour Winner Six-Speed
1) Gather the Needed Tools and Supplies
A few plastic food containers, such as yogurt or Cool Whip, etc.
Dish Detergent (I prefer Dawn)
Wire Tea Strainer Basket (for bearings)
Plastic Putty Knife
Green 3M Scrub Pads
Grease (I prefer Super Lube synthetic, but any quality grease can be used)
A quality thin machine oil
Freewheel removal tool and the appropriate wrench
2) Disassemble Sprockets and Freewheel Body on Hub
Using the appropriate freewheel removal tool and wrench, remove the freewheel from the hub, clean the hub and freewheel threads.
Grease the threads and reinstall the freewheel on the hub, hand-tight only.
Remove the sprockets with the chain whips in order to clean them. Place sprockets and spacers in plastic container. Pay attention to the order of the spacers.
With the freewheel body facing you, and the wheel and tire resting on a solid surface (floor or workbench), place the two small indent holes in the retaining ring at the 3 and 9 o'clock positions.
Insert the punch in the 3 o'clock hole, and strike with the hammer towards the floor or workbench. The retaining ring is reverse threaded.
When the ring is loose, move the wheel from vertical to horizontal, with the freewheel body pointing upwards.
Hold the outer body of the freewheel tight against the inner body. Carefully thread off the ring using the pointed end of the punch. You don't want to let the ball bearings escape and spill onto the floor or workbench!
Once the ring is removed, place a plastic container over the freewheel body, and quickly flip the wheel 180 degrees, allowing the bearings, possibly the pawls and springs, and the outer body, to fall into the plastic container.
Carefully lift the wheel, while checking to see if any bearings are sticking to the inner body which is still attached to the hub.
Using the freewheel removal tool, remove the inner body from the hub
Place dirty parts in separate plastic containers
3) Clean the Sprockets, Spacers, and Freewheel Body Parts
Spray body halves, outer retaining ring, bearings, pawls and spring(s) with WD40.
Scrape off sprocket grime with plastic putty knife.
Place sprockets and spacers in hot soapy water to soak.
Using a generous amount of Dawn on the green 3M scrub pad, clean sprockets and spacers and rinse with clean water. Use toothbrush as needed.
Wipe away excess WD40, grease, grime, dirt, etc., with paper towels or rags,