Yes, the "bitmap-bandit" is back......This project is focused on the typical Shimano Hyperglide hub circa 1997-ish, but covers most mid-level freehubs on the market today. Designs may vary between manufacturers, but the basic principal remains amongst many others. Some information provided here applies to ALL bicycle hub-bearings in general, so this is worth a once-over by those interested in DIY bicycle maintenance.
Since I lack the specialty-tools, and you might not have $25 to spend on each tool required as well, I will demonstrate my method for you to try at your own risk.
Please review the entire project before attempting to start this for the first time, and be meticulously clean with your workspace. Hair, lint, and dust can undermine the whole of this project, so treat this as a surgical procedure. Effort taken now toward perfection saves effort later walking home and getting new parts later on.
The picture will show you a cross-section of the typical Hyperglide freehub used in this project. I will make reference to the color-coding in following steps and reference this image again...
This project is for those serious about longevity of their machine....The careless need not apply...
USE OF "IMPROPER" TOOLS IS NOT AN APPROVED METHOD IN A COMMERCIAL ENVIRONMENT. NO RESPONSIBILITY FOR DAMAGE OR MISUNDERSTANDING OF THESE STEPS SHALL BE HELD UPON ME, THE AUTHOR. USE THESE METHODS AT YOUR OWN RISK. Many of these parts are made of case-hardened-steel / triple-tempered Chromium-Molybdenum, which is very to extremely brittle. Use eye protection and great care when exerting stress on these parts with the dictated method. Use the minimum force possible and do not put the face or the eyes within view of brittle parts or serious injury will result. Shattering of any such part can result in a spark and a projectile traveling at greater than 2000 feet-per-second, so don't think you have an ice-cube's chance in a fusion-reactor-core's chance at dodging it.
I thought I had these in focus, but it seems the focus-finder does not have good aim on my camera. My apologies for the blurry pix, but you should get the idea.
As I like to say, "Use care or lose hair" (applied to loose hair around mechanical equipment....same philosophy applies)
If this is your first attempt, I recommend much paranoia of part-explosion and attempting this on a non-valuable part as practice first. Attempt this only with a laced (already complete) wheel. NEVER clamp a freehub in a vice for ANY reason, or any part of it thereof.
If you have read this far, I take it you are serious about doing this as safely as possible without all of the specialty tools, and understand the risks. If so, proceed...Refer to the shown image or save it to your computer for reference as needed...
On to step 1
Step 1: Remove the Cassette Lockring
I lack a photo for now as my camera is being a retard, I hope to upload it soon...
Basically use a pair of needle-nose pliers on the bearing-cone-locknut as if trying to remove it, but wedge it's "noses" into the splined keyway of the external lockring....Hold the sprockets firm as you try to turn in the direction that they freewheel. For the right-handed wheel, this is the same "righty-tighty / lefty-loosey" method, so force the freehub lockring to turn counter-clockwise.
The external lockring is a "right-hand" thread....Anytime when working with bicycle drivetrains, always remember the direction of pedal pressure. this will always be the direction of tightening, so the CCW direction of the freewheel spinning is often the "loosey-way"...All rear hubs incorporate the RH-threading when the drivetrain is on the right-hand side.