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I hope to squeeze a bit more life out of this old Shimano Altus hub and apart from having to build my own tool:

Do I have to turn the inner part with the two notches clockwise or counter-clockwise?

Shimano Altus hub

Edit: Thanks to you guys I just needed to buy an Allen wrench for 2.75€. Turns out the small tool shop is much cheaper than the big 'we sell everything' construction markets. The hub needs a thorough cleaning and should be fine after that.

  • Side question: is there a site that in detail lists all the names of all the parts (a bit more extensive than 'wheel' and 'saddle')? My inner dictionary has a big hole when it comes to bikes. I know most of the german names though. And my 64kbit internet is not ideal for a search frenzy. – Haunt_House Mar 16 '18 at 21:08
  • +1 for potentially destructive learning opportunity! And your side-question - our Terminology Glossary is found at bicycles.stackexchange.com/q/244/19705 – Criggie Mar 17 '18 at 8:30
  • @Criggie wow, helpful link. I wouldn't try it if the hub was functioning properly. A gallon of wd40 has helped it to use its ratchets again but it sometimes blocks the wrong way, so it's no real use right now. I'm curious about the damage. – Haunt_House Mar 17 '18 at 9:14
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The part with the two notches is left-threaded, so clockwise to loosen from the perspective of your picture.

It should be noted that these are quite the can of worms once apart, and cleaning/lubrication can be done pretty effectively by taking the whole freehub body off using the 10mm internal Allen wrench flats (poke a 10mm Allen into the hole in the center of the freehub; that part is normal threaded). Then on the back you'll find a rubber seal. Carefully pry that out and keep track of its orientation. Then you can easily blow or drip air or whatever lubes/cleaners you want into the mechanism.

The one thing that can't be done this way is take advantage of the seldom-discussed cassette play adjustment that Shimano freehub bodies have. To do that you remove one of the thin shim washers you find inside the freehub internals.

If you do take it apart you must answer the question of what you're going to use to keep the ball bearings in place when putting it back together that's also not too thick for the purpose. You don't want regular bearing grease in there because it can gum up the mechanism. The main thing I know that works is a thin layer of Slick Honey or similar very light grease.

  • Well, the risk is more or less zero since it's not really in working condition. I'll either repair it or at least know its insides. But the information that I can unscrew the freehub and buy a new one made the worst case a lot smaller. -Thank you – Haunt_House Mar 17 '18 at 1:54
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It is left-threaded, turn clockwise to loosen.

On some hubs the attachment bolt that fixes the freehub to the hub also locks this bearing cup, make sure to loosen or completely remove it before attempting to unscrew the cup to avoid destroying its threads.

While often not necessary to overhaul (especially given that the bearings don't take much load and in almost all cases you won't get hold of spare pawls), it is actually not that hard to reassemble. Make sure you disassemble slowly and keep the bearing balls of each bearing separate (25 balls, each). There is also a video on youtube that shows the process.

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One thing you definitely want to do is to disassemble it inside a white bowl. While this old hub doesn't have that many parts, the presumably 50 balls have a tendency to vanish. That's the reason why right now I have only 49 balls, feeling slightly dumb ( :

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