Shimano freehub – not running true??

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  • Shimano freehub – not running true??
  • cynic-al

    Lots of freewheels and freehubs aren’t perfect, it will be fine


    Well, I’d not noticed it on any of my other bikes, but since googling a few have said that it’s common.

    How much run out is acceptable though? I’d say that the cassette is moving back and forward by probably around 4-5mm, which seems like a lot to me. Maybe I should just put a chain on and try it!!


    I’ve been building up a late 80’s Nigel Dean road bike, had planned to run it singlespeed originally, but as the frame came with loads of useable bits, I thought I’d try it geared for a little while.

    Anyway, bought a wheelset for it, fitted the cassette tonight and when I spun the wheel in the dropouts, the cassette was moving as if it was on the piss.

    Stripped it off again, double checked spacer, etc, all OK. Put it on again, held a pointer against the hub and that is running true, but the freehub body is moving eccentrically.

    Stripped hub down, all looked OK, nothing obviously wrong, mounting points clean & undamaged. Cleaned, greased & rebuilt – still the same.

    Axle was straight, and inner part of freehub must be running true as it runs on the axle, so I’m starting to wonder if somehow the outer part of the freehub is not true to the inner. Possibly it’s been apart before, but I didn’t bother stripping it completely at this time.

    Has anyone seen this before? Sound likely to be the outer part of freehub running out of true?

    Don’t want to buy a new freehub for the sake of it, but not sure what else I can try or check.

    Very annoying as I want to take it out for a spin!!


    Are you sure it isn’t a pissed cassette? I’ve over-tightened the screws on a screw together cassette which really caused some wobble.


    No, I took the cassette off and put a pointer against the lip of freehub, you can see it moving back & forth.

    I might double check the washer between hub & freehub is OK, and thick enough. Read about someone who had to shim there’s a little as the splines on hub face were contacting freehub in some places, rather than bein seated squarely on the washer.

    As you tighten it, it does look like it pulls over a bit.

    It does seem like too much wobble to me really, if it was a mil or two I’d ignore it. I’ll have a better look tomorrow.


    That does sound a lot.

    It’s the machining on the hub that’s off. If you are using a derailleur chain it may well work fine.


    I’ve found that the quality of Shimano freehubs has gone downhill quite a bit in the last few years. One reason why I woon’t buy one. Seen a fair few ‘wobbly’ freehubs; they just aren’t made to a very good quality standard imo.


    Well, I’ve found the problem.

    Stripped it down again and removed the washer between hub & freehub, it is the same type of washer as in this diagram (12):

    Looking closely I could see it was deformed, possibly from not being totally concentric when first tightened up.

    It ‘s deformed because it doesn’t really locate in anything but there is a thin channel beneath it (almost like std shaped washers/shims should be here) and so when slightly off centre, the lip of the washer had been forced into the groove and made it lift up the opposite end.

    I turned the washer over, kept it central and tightened down gently.

    Put the wheel back in the dropouts and checked with a pointer again, freehub is running nice & true.

    You can guess what effect this has had though, the wheel rim is now all over the place!!! I’d bet that this wheel has been like this ever since it has been built and so was trued to suit the wonky freehub. Now I’ve straightened the freehub, it’s thrown the wheel out.

    Funnily enough the wheels have stickers on saying ‘Handbuilt by M Steel Cycles’ – so either they were rubbish wheel builders, or someone has fiddled since.

    I’ve never bothered truing wheels before, but this is annoying me now so I have to get it right!! How much can true out of a wheel with spoke tension? I reckon the wheel is out of true by as much 5mm each side, so 10mm side to side. Too much?

    It’s a Rigida DP18 on an unknown Shimano hub if it makes any difference.

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