Introduction: Old Bike Freewheel Cleaning

Picture of Old Bike Freewheel Cleaning

Hi so i got an old road bike in need of some tlc while trying to disassemble my cassete i disassembled the freewheel it wasn't has hard has people make it out to be so i decided to share how to disassemble and clean your freewheel (this old model only)

(I'm not responsible for how you use this information or any harm that you get while doing this)

Step 1: What You Need

Picture of What You Need

You will need :
Assorted rags
Cleaning pad
Something to open the wheel (i use an old philips screwdriver)
A tray (very important)

Step 2: Opening the Freewheel

Picture of Opening the Freewheel

When opening the freewheel be careful and do it slowly if needed use a hammer to tap the srewdriver GENTLY til it starts moving and after that take it on top of your tray (very important)

Step 3: Clean the Bearings

Picture of Clean the Bearings

Carefully take the casing of the freewheel out and let the bearings drop in the tray 
Take the rest of them and put them in the tray for cleaning ( to clean them i put them inside the rag and scrubbed them clean)

Step 4: Disassemble the Freewhel

Picture of Disassemble the Freewhel

so i took the rest of the freewheel apart and cleaned everything 

Step 5: Clean the Body of the Freewheel

Picture of Clean the Body of the Freewheel

Just use your pad and scrub everything really nice till it's clean

Step 6: Reassembling

Picture of Reassembling

Start reassembling everything in the inverse order you disassembled

Step 7: Reassembling the Bearings

Picture of Reassembling the Bearings

Put the grease in the lower place for the bearings and start ''glueing'' the little balls there (keep a little bit of grease in your fingertip and use it to put the bearings in place)

Step 8: Reassembling the Cassete to the Wheel

Picture of Reassembling the Cassete to the Wheel

with the metal pieces in the right position slowly insert the cassette while rotating it counter clockwise till it gets in place

Step 9: Rest of the Bearings and Close

Picture of Rest of the Bearings and Close

Once again grease everything and add the balls 
put the cover slowly once again and tap it lightly till it feels firm again and tada you got a clean freewheel again :D

Hope someone finds this usefull !!!!
Please give me your opinion on the instructable has it's my first one
If you can't understand something or would like better clarification please tell me and i will try to explain 


Nosanon (author)2013-05-19

Super informative instructable, very thorough and well documented.

møsterlund larsen (author)2013-01-09

This is great! Definitely helped me disassemble my Regina BX Extra freewheel:D

robertv (author)2012-12-24


Thanks for sharing this instruction, it has been very helpfull. After reading your instructions i finally know how to disassemble my shimano uniglade 5 speed freewheel.
Last weeks the weather conditions have been very wet here at the dutch coast causing my freewheel to get stuck. I good greasejob will fix that I hope.
Thanks yawneth!

gamberrete (author)2011-08-23

Hi, and sorry for my english. I'm a spanish boy and this instructable is very useful. This is my first comment and really your work deserve it. Thanks.

yawneth (author)gamberrete2011-11-25

Thank you :D glad to have helped :D

dhoward7 (author)2011-11-23

which way do i turn the ring to open it? i have been tapping both ways but i dont know, im trying left but i ride fixed too and the lockring is reversed threads so that makes me wonder

yawneth (author)dhoward72011-11-25

from left to right it takes a little force for it to move the first time and if it's really hard put some degreaser on it and let it sit overnight hope it helps :D

BtheBike (author)2011-04-13

awesome . i've never gotten down to the pawls . 1 trick i've used is soaking in degreaser (detergent,wd-40, simple green..) then working the gunks loose. I'll
have to dig into an old unit with your instructions .

yawneth (author)BtheBike2011-06-05

how did it went?

BtheBike (author)yawneth2011-06-05

havent yet had a chance to try. only worked on single speeds lately

ganglion (author)2011-03-29

I remember when I was about 17 I did this on my bike because the freewheel had stopped working. I ended up going into the bike shop with this tiny metal part (the ratchet pawl) and asking if he could replace it. The bloke in the shop then explained (very nicely) how it doesn't work like that and I needed to buy a new freewheel!

yawneth (author)ganglion2011-04-03

It's evil to have to buy a new freewheel after all the work of opening and finding the problem on a freewheel :S

phish814 (author)2011-03-29

While this method obviously works (you did it already) you might also note that a properly sized spanner wrench is the right tool for the job. It will prevent damaging the ring.

yawneth (author)phish8142011-04-03

Yes thats the propper way of doing it, but i didn't have it so i tryed with wat i did have around. But yes that's the propper way

5048 (author)2011-03-27

Thank-you this helped a lot but are they all the same basically and what about the axle you didn't take it out rite

yawneth (author)50482011-03-29

there are diferences his method is for this type of freewheel
and i didn't take out the axle this time the way to cleaning the axle is diferent and i didn't want even more ball bearing roaming around

caarntedd (author)2011-03-25

How come you didn't unscrew the whole gear cluster from the hub? Is it difficult to dismantle once it is off? I thought it might be easier to drop the whole thing in some solvent to clean it. Nice instructable.

yawneth (author)caarntedd2011-03-26

Because i'm a dumbass (don't tell anyone) and had no idea i could :S

caarntedd (author)yawneth2011-03-26

Ha,ha. :D Sorry about that, I thought there might be a reason for it. I'm sure it would be easier to dismantle the freewheel while it was still on the hub, but I haven't done stuff like this for about 30 years.

seriy12 (author)2011-03-24

Oh, nice bike

yawneth (author)seriy122011-03-26

Thanks :D

snotty (author)2011-03-19

If you do this often, you may want to consider an alternative: I used to volunteer at a non-profit bike shop where we worked on all kinds o ratty rusted bikes. Often times things were so rusted we couldn't open them or there wasn't time to get in there or we simply didn't want to invest hours into a teeny part of a $25 bicycle.


We used a freewheel flusher! These things simply screwed or press fit onto the freewheel and we squirted oil in them. The oil filled up and lubricated the freewheel and flushed a lot of the crud out the other side. This works quite well and pretty much turned a 2 hour job into a 15 minute job.

yawneth (author)snotty2011-03-20

Didn't know about that, interesting!!!
I'm pretty much learning has i go (first bike repair/restore).
So i'm learning and teaching almost simultaneously :D

but thank you for the info and if i ever need to do this more often now i know XD

snotty (author)yawneth2011-03-23

Yeah, I like to avoid diving deep into things like a freewheel. It's always good to do it once to learn about how they work.

That said, it's easy to bend one of the teeny springs, loose parts when they explode and spill.....

So, even when I don't have a freewheel flusher handy, I just dribble a lot of automatic transission fluid (or even light motor oil in a pinch) into the cracks of the freewheel and spin it for a few minutes. This won't do a 100% job but it will usually keep the bike running for a few more hundred or thousand kilometers.

2% of the work for 70~80% of the payoff is a reasonable tradeoff.

couchchangeracing (author)2011-03-22

I too have resurrected many an old bike. I usually pull the freewheel off, give it a good blast of brake clean as you spin it. As it cleans, it flushes all the junk out the back. Then I inject a light grease back in. Definitely not the perfect or right way but down and dirty and effective.

Great job on the detail.

Thank you :)
I think if i get to do this again i will probably try to use that way :D

toad (author)2011-03-21

Good job on repacking the freewheel. Wow. Working on bikes for the last twenty years I have found flushing it with spray lube on its side. Is messy but easy and quick. But for a labor of love this is the way to go.

yawneth (author)toad2011-03-22

yeah i found out about doing it that way after i did it like this but i would still probably do it like this again because it's FUN (and i'm not doing it has a ''job'')

tbone121 (author)2011-03-17

great job, great pictures, this was a big help!

yawneth (author)tbone1212011-03-18

Thank you glad it was helpful!!!!
I will be uploading some more on bike cleaning and repair (did one on cleaning a front wheel hub today :D ).

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