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Freewheel fails intermittently - K2 Cycling

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I assume you means that it slips sometimes. This is usually due to the ratchet mechanism just needing a bit of lube. If you have a thread-on type freewheel (see image below) then you can usually just squirt some WD40 into the little holes near the center of the freewheel. Those holes would be facing the table in the threaded freewheel pictured below. If that doesn't work for you, it's not all that difficult or expensive to just replace the whole freewheel. However, if you have the splined type pictured on the right, the ratchet mechanism is in the wheel's hub, making replacement more of a big deal. WD-40 would probably do the trick on this type too, but I never had one some I'm not certain how easy it is to get the lube where you need it. Good luck!freewheel fails - 11_8_2012_3_08_02_pm.jpg

Posted on Nov 08, 2012

Testimonial: "To Al Kupchella..........YES, YES, YES! And thank you, thank you so much. Although I can't tell if I have a threaded or splinned cluster, I was liberal with the WD-40 and your solution worked. Much appretiated.....Bob "

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10 speed roadmaster


Sounds like your freewheel is a little too free. First off, I'd recommend replacing the rear sprocket, or freewheel/gear cluster. If you DO get it working again, there's no guarantee it'll work well enough to not skip when you're pedaling hard. Ever had a freewheel fail or a chain break when you're really honking on the pedals? It ain't pretty.
That said, it could be the ratcheting mechanism is gunked up with old grease--try squirting some WD40 or other light lube into the guts of the thing and tap it lightly (!) on the side with a wrench or hammer to loosen up the pawls. Better would be to remove the freewheel and soak it in solvent to loosen it up, then re-lube it. To do THAT, though, you'll need a freewheel tool to pull the rear cluster off. If you have the tool, great. If not, time for a trip to the bike shop, and you're best off getting the freewheel replaced.
If there aren't too many miles on the drivetrain, you might get away with having a bike shop replace that rear cluster. If it's old and worn, you might end up having to replace the chainwheels (front sprockets) and the chain, too. I know, what a pain, but as these parts wear into each other, they can skip around when only one part of the drivetrain is replaced. One step at a time, though, and good luck.

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