Step 2: Remove cassette cluster and axle

Picture of remove cassette cluster and axle
Once the lockring has been removed, simply slide the cassette off....Most are riveted, but if you went custom on your gearing, you will have a mess of spacers and cogs. Some freehubs have two different diameters for cogs, so do your best to keep the sprocket-cluster in the same order as removed. If you are a pro cyclist, now's the time to grind those rivets off if you intend to alter your gearing setup for any reason....If you are not going to alter your gearing with spare parts, leave the rivets alone.

If the cassette was never riveted, or you ground the rivets out, feel free to soak all of the cogs in acetone / MEK / kerosene to remove excess slime....There is a very good opportunity to take them to a wire brush at this point for deburring at the least. DO NOT soak the spacers in anything lest they be aluminum. Simply wipe clean and maintain order in your disassembly.

In this step, also remove the axle itself. Start with the end opposite the sprockets and remove the axle hardware there....pull the axle out only enough to let the loose bearings free....

GENTLY pry the external seal opposite the freehub working around it's circumference. Again, this requires somewhat of a skilled hand. Just be very careful to "nudge" it out, rather than using force. The idea is to attempt to pull it as straight out as possible...

By now you will notice two equidistant slots on the hub's bearing cone......
rdav4 years ago
Hey Prometheus I do like the reassembly and has helped a lot in my doing this, but am surprised you didn't include a section on inspecting bearing surfaces before reassembly!!
Anyway what I do to inspect:
1) "visual inspection" breakout magnifying devices and have a close look at the surfaces and note the pits and holes in the cups and cones!
2) "tactile inspection" drag little finger nail across bearing surface and feel for the scratching of the pits....
After frightening self into realising this hub would very quickly fail  and now convinced that this hub is well and truly broken, explore options for a new hub and wheel rebuild ... and instructable!