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SunTour 2 prong Freewheel removal woes!

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SunTour 2 prong Freewheel removal woes!

Old 07-30-22, 08:21 AM
  #1  
wellerchap
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SunTour 2 prong Freewheel removal woes!

I'm having a pain of a job trying to free a not-very-free freewheel.
Sadly, being new here I can't yet post the detailed photo I've taken of it.
Within the centre of the top cog, but outside the centre hole occupied by the axle, are two locking rings - the outer thinner ring has "MAEDA INDUSTRIES LTD" and "<<<------UNSCREW" stamped into it....it's 2 small grooves seem bevelled towards the outside.
The inner, thicker ring has "SunTour Japan VF (possibly VE)" and "Patent - NWN" stamped into it & the 2 slots for removal are 7mm long.
I've "made" a 2 prong tool from a socket but the whole thing just seems too tight (turning anti-clockwise).
I've also tried driving the smaller, outer slots round with hammer/punch, but again, no joy.
Does one lock the other?
Do both need freeing?
Is this one of those where I could simply turn off the top cog with a couple of chain whips?
I intend to keep/service the whole thing, so destruction is really a very last option.
Thanks for any advice given - I can't find an image or video on the internet for this particular assembly.
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Old 07-30-22, 08:56 AM
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It can take some effort, the last Suntour freewheel I removed I needed the tool clamped to the body and a long cheater to extend the wrench.
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Old 07-30-22, 09:00 AM
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I usually put the freewheel tool in a vise, set the wheel with freewheel down and unscrew. As Mr. 66 mentioned they can be on there pretty darn tight. Take your time and I noted that you "made" a 2 prong tool. You need to make sure this tool is right and not sloppy so that it slips off the freewheel. Good luck.
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Old 07-30-22, 09:29 AM
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...And install the axle nut to hold the tool in place.
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Old 07-30-22, 10:09 AM
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...these are difficult to remove when they've been in place a long time...which is mot of them. This applies even using the correct, purpose built tool for removal. I cannot imagine trying to remove one using a homemade tool ground from a socket. What usually happens is that the wheel and freewheel assembly slips off the tool prongs, and this leads to damaging the either the tool prongs themselves, rounding the flats and corners, or damage to the removal slots themselves.

I presume that the "outer ring" you mention is the one that holds the freewheel cog mounting base to the freewheel body itself. You don't take that apart to remove the freewheel, and if you do, it is left hand threaded, not right hand like the mounting threads themselves that attach to the hub threads. What will happen if you do that is that all the little pawls, bearings, and springs will drop out, when you lift off the cogs. They will drop on the floor and hide under your workbench.

But if the slots for removal of the entire freewheel assembly are damaged enough, you'll never get it off except through destructive removal. Which is accomplished by doing exactly that, as described above, then using a bench vise to clamp the freewheel body, while you twist the wheel to remove the hub threads from the freewheel. There has to be at least one Youtube video that shows you what I mean, under "destructive removal of freewheel". That way, you at least save the hub and wheel assembly.

My first step in your situation would be to find and borrow or buy the genuine two prong removal tool for Suntour. And mix up a batch of 50/50 ATF and acetone, using it for a penetrating oil at the interface between the freewheel body and the hub threads. Many of these freewheels were origanlly mounted without using grease or anti-seize. So there's been some corrosive binding over the years of steel freewheel body to aluminum alloy hub threads. Sometimes they just cannot be salvaged.
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Old 07-30-22, 10:12 AM
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Old 07-30-22, 10:26 AM
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just in case you've damaged the two notches beyond using the suntour two prong removal tool :

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Old 07-30-22, 10:26 AM
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Thank you everyone - that's very helpful....I'll get in the shed & report back when a grown up can help me
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Old 07-30-22, 10:38 AM
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Originally Posted by Steelman54 View Post
I usually put the freewheel tool in a vise, set the wheel with freewheel down and unscrew. As Mr. 66 mentioned they can be on there pretty darn tight. Take your time and I noted that you "made" a 2 prong tool. You need to make sure this tool is right and not sloppy so that it slips off the freewheel. Good luck.
Yup. Bench vises rule for FW removal. Used mine yesterday. OP, you "made" a remover? SunTour made very high quality removers and we still occasionally broke them. I wouldn't expect anything sort of that to work at all. Go online and find one or I bet Park makes one.

Edit: base2 mentions using the hub nut to secure the remover. If quick release, use it. (For both, remember to back them off as you unscrew the FW. When using this much force, forgetting the obvious happens, And man, is it hard to unscrew that FW against that restraining nut/QR!)

Bench vises - I bought my first house to have a place to bolt one to. In years of apartment life, I did just fine with everything else but living 3000 miles from my dad's vise just didn't work. Bought the house n September. By December, a 5" vise was bolted to a 1/2" 100# steel plate on the workbench. Straightened some frames with it. Next house - bought 4x4s, flooring plywood and 1/2" ply for the table. Vise bolted to it. In the first few weeks after move-in.

And what I didn't know back then - no bench vise? Do you have a local bike coop? They've got one for sure. (The remover also.)

Last edited by 79pmooney; 07-30-22 at 10:47 AM.
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Old 07-30-22, 11:11 AM
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Here's the tool-
https://www.parktool.com/en-us/produ...l-remover-fr-2

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Old 07-30-22, 11:47 AM
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Originally Posted by wellerchap View Post
I've "made" a 2 prong tool from a socket
Sounds resourceful, but I've never heard of anybody doing that successfully. It's difficult enough to remove these 2-prong freewheels. The Park FR-2 is only $12 (plus tax, unless you're lucky enough to live in NH, DE, MT, AK, or OR).

https://www.ebay.com/itm/19478047132...YAAOSwBIJh9XLO
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Old 07-30-22, 12:55 PM
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I live in the UK - the parktool FR2 is approx USD 21 here inc shipping - I only paid USD 35 for the bike in question - the wheels were kaput, so I paid USD 25 for an old Weinmann pair which this freewheel's attached to.
With new tyres, tubes, cables, brake shoes already bought the bike is now worth far less than the sum of it's parts & I'm trying to keep costs down.
I have a good friend who's very useful with power tools, so we're giving it a go.
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Old 07-30-22, 02:17 PM
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Originally Posted by wellerchap View Post
I live in the UK - the parktool FR2 is approx USD 21 here.
If you're going to keep the freewheel, it's a good idea to have the right tool on hand, so you can service it and the hub later. If you're going to scrap the freewheel, then you can either tear it apart, or just take it to a bike shop and they can remove it for you probably at a cost less expensive than buying the tool.

There's also an ebay.uk site that will quote you a better cost than the one I provided.
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Old 07-30-22, 02:42 PM
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The danger is that if your tool fails, it may take the FW with it. Then you are reduced to the FW destroying methods of removal and I presume you'd have to buy a new one.
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Old 07-30-22, 03:05 PM
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As noted in an earlier post, but repeated here for emphasis:

The crucial factor for using 2-prong Suntour removers with stubborn freewheels (i.e., almost all of them by now) is that the tool must be clamped to the freewheel as firmly as possible. That means fixing the tool against the freewheel with an axle nut or a quick-release skewer. Important: use about as much force as you use to secure the wheel in the dropouts.

Once you've secured the removal tool in place, then turn it just far enough to break the freewheel free of the hub. A few degrees of rotation will do it. Once the freewheel has moved, loosen the axle nut or QR skewer a little and then turn the tool a bit more. You will then be able to run the freewheel the rest of the way off the hub.

Skeptical? I once saw a mechanic who was working for me ruin two Suntour freewheel pullers, one right after the other, damaging the slots in the freewheel in the process. I stopped him from grabbing the last puller we had in the shop and secured the tool as decribed above. Even though the freewheel slots were deformed, I had the freewheel off in 20 seconds.
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Old 07-30-22, 04:13 PM
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Originally Posted by SurferRosa View Post
Sounds resourceful, but I've never heard of anybody doing that successfully. It's difficult enough to remove these 2-prong freewheels. The Park FR-2 is only $12 (plus tax, unless you're lucky enough to live in NH, DE, MT, AK, or OR).

https://www.ebay.com/itm/19478047132...YAAOSwBIJh9XLO
Back in the day, before I worked in bike shops, I used a flat file as a SunTour Perfect FW remover. Removed the file handle, slid the tang into where the axle had been and engaged the FW's slots with the ends of the file. I did use a wood bench vise. One time this worked, the second time the file broke. This was among the early learning moments of my doing this stuff.

It is VERY important to have the remover's dogs (those tabs) fit and be held i the FW really well. Always secure the tool against the FW with the QR or axle nut. Only crack loose the initial tightness bond and stop. Loosen/remove the Q or nut and continue removing the FW. Andy
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Old 07-31-22, 03:29 PM
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My pal is well on the way to completing the impromptu tool - I've seen a photo & the machining of the open end of the socket to produce 2 square & very strong looking prongs looks superb.
I'll let you all know how we get on with the job!
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Old 07-31-22, 05:08 PM
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Originally Posted by wellerchap View Post
My pal is well on the way to completing the impromptu tool - I've seen a photo & the machining of the open end of the socket to produce 2 square & very strong looking prongs looks superb.
I'll let you all know how we get on with the job!
Unless the tool is hardened steel, I'm skeptical that it will work. Since you're already fabricating it, go ahead and try. The tool is more likely to fail than it is to damage the hardened steel freewheel body. But maybe I'm wrong. If it does fail, either buy the proper tool or find a bike shop with the proper tool to remove it for you.
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Old 08-01-22, 01:13 AM
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OK - you fellas have more experience & knowledge than me (and, probably more expendable income!)...I promise if this goes wrong, and the freewheel survives, I'll admit so on here & get the correct tool.
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Old 08-01-22, 01:33 AM
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Originally Posted by wellerchap View Post
OK - you fellas have more experience & knowledge than me (and, probably more expendable income!)...I promise if this goes wrong, and the freewheel survives, I'll admit so on here & get the correct tool.
I’ve been successful in using DIY tools like the one you’ve described. It’s the downside of having a mill and wanting things done now. The important piece of information in this case is that freewheels are somewhat known for breaking the tabs off of proper hardened tools.
All that said, I managed to remove one in a pinch with a DIY mild steel tool last year, so sometimes you get lucky.
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Old 08-01-22, 09:05 AM
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Originally Posted by wellerchap View Post
I live in the UK - the parktool FR2 is approx USD 21 here inc shipping - I only paid USD 35 for the bike in question - the wheels were kaput, so I paid USD 25 for an old Weinmann pair which this freewheel's attached to.
With new tyres, tubes, cables, brake shoes already bought the bike is now worth far less than the sum of it's parts & I'm trying to keep costs down.
I have a good friend who's very useful with power tools, so we're giving it a go.
There are many knockoffs of the Park tool. I would expect them to be well under the price above. Tools typically pay for themselves by the second or third job. If you never plan to do it ever again, around here, a bike shop will remove a freewheel at a low nominal cost.

Another "trick" to finding tools at a lower cost is to search bicycle tool lots. I have bought a single "lot" of tools, where one tool was worth the price of the entire lot. Have to look closely. I've bought lots where I sold just a couple of tools out of the lot that exceeded the price of the entire purchase. At that point, the remaining tools were cheaper than "free". I do NOT look for tool sets, I look for a random pile of tools someone is selling.

Sure enough, I just bought a lot of tools off ebay. 6 tools for the price of 2. Not a deal of the century, but not too bad either.

Last edited by wrk101; 08-01-22 at 10:25 AM.
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Old 08-07-22, 11:21 AM
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Well chaps, I'm thrilled but equally relieved to report success in the shed - my pal's diy socket/2 prong adapter worked a treat (held perfectly in the vise in the flatted sides my pal made) & the freewheel is off and cleaned - relatively painlessly too.
I believe it's a 6 speed SunTour Winner - can anyone put a year of issue on this?


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Old 08-07-22, 01:51 PM
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Originally Posted by wellerchap View Post
I believe it's a 6 speed SunTour Winner - can anyone put a year of issue on this?
Date of Manufacture of Bicycle Components can be used to date a bike: component dating
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Old 08-07-22, 04:11 PM
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Thank you - what an excellent document.
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