Free Hub Sticking?

avc8130

Active Member
#1
So last ride my free hub started sticking HARD. It would get stuck "engaged" to the point that while descending the chain would wrap up and drop. When I spin the wheel it would make a very rhythmic grinding noise once per revolution and stick hard once there wasn't much momentum in the wheel. I took it apart and inspected and cleaned the ever living heck out of the free hub, I can't for the life of me see what is wrong. The pawls look good. The ratchet ring looks good. The spring is in place, the pawls move freely. It's a Novatec, so I know it's a piece of crap, but the tinkerer in me still wants to figure out WHY it isn't working. What could I be missing?

ac
 

Karate Monkey

Well-Known Member
#3
Clean, lubricate, and check assembly. Common stumbling points:

-ring-type pawl springs must have their ends seated midpoint between pawls, not on them.

-leaf-type springs only fit in one direction

-pawls need either oil or grade 0-1 grease for proper operation.

-most cartridge bearing hubs need a spacer of some sort between the hub shell and freehub body. Many also need spacers between ALL the bearings, in the hubshell and freehub body.

These assume no external issues (bearings, as @qclabrat noted, something rubbing...)
 

huffster

Well-Known Member
#5
All I can add here is that I have learned the hard way...once it starts acting like shit (as u described), it will fail soon. I’ve cleaned and lubed, and all that (on the bench) and 2 rides later I’m walking out of the woods.
 

avc8130

Active Member
#9
Clean, lubricate, and check assembly. Common stumbling points:

-ring-type pawl springs must have their ends seated midpoint between pawls, not on them.

-leaf-type springs only fit in one direction

-pawls need either oil or grade 0-1 grease for proper operation.

-most cartridge bearing hubs need a spacer of some sort between the hub shell and freehub body. Many also need spacers between ALL the bearings, in the hubshell and freehub body.

These assume no external issues (bearings, as @qclabrat noted, something rubbing...)
This hub uses a ring type spring, and there is a designated spot for it to end so I know it's in the right spot.

I put a dab of 3n1 oil on each one.

Yes, there is a spacer inside the free hub on the axle, and that is in place. There is a spacer in the hub between the 2 main wheel bearings as well.

I don't SEE any external issues and swapping in a different free hub body I had on the shelf seems to work. I'm at a loss.

ac
 

huffster

Well-Known Member
#11
I do have something else to add, after all. I had a Novatec hub on a Weinmann (sp?) wheel. The symptom was more "slipping when pedaling". The pressed in ratchet ring itself had spun inside the hub. Even though the free-hub itself was fine, the ratchet teeth that the pawls were supposed engage was rotating under load. It took a bit of pressure to make it slip - which was easy when putting your pedaling weight on it. It was a little harder to realize on the bench. But with the chain whip on the cassette, I could make it spin. The hub was shot, as opposed to the free-hub in that case.
 

avc8130

Active Member
#12
I do have something else to add, after all. I had a Novatec hub on a Weinmann (sp?) wheel. The symptom was more "slipping when pedaling". The pressed in ratchet ring itself had spun inside the hub. Even though the free-hub itself was fine, the ratchet teeth that the pawls were supposed engage was rotating under load. It took a bit of pressure to make it slip - which was easy when putting your pedaling weight on it. It was a little harder to realize on the bench. But with the chain whip on the cassette, I could make it spin. The hub was shot, as opposed to the free-hub in that case.
That must have been the threaded ratchet ring style, right?
 

jShort

Well-Known Member
Team MTBNJ Halter's
#14
I broke the freehub on my cross wheels that used that hub. It was a slight crack and only stuck at the the most inopportune moments in a race.