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Trying to do hub service for the first time...

  1. I have removed the locknuts on both sides. I'm checking to see if I should be able to hammer the axle out because it's firm.

  2. Is there supposed to be a seal on the drive side? Because there was none.

  3. The seal on the non drive side can be safely removed how?

  • I see a 6 speed shimano freewheel. If your intention is to try and increase the number of gears, then the better solution is a replacement wheel based on a cassette rather than a freewheel.
    – Criggie
    Sep 4, 2018 at 11:21

1 Answer 1


First, don't hammer anything, yet.

Non-drive side looks like a sealed cartridge bearing. On the drive side you have a freewheel unit that screws on. You'll need to get that off before proceeding further I believe. The drive side bearing is located at the inboard side of the freewheel, which is why you are not seeing a seal.

Park Tool has a pretty good video on freewheel removal that helps you find the right tool for your particular freewheel.

Next steps depends on what you want to do, either re-grease or replace the bearings. Either way you can find YouTube video how-tos. Try this and this from Global Cycling Network.

If you you want to remove the seals on the cartridge bearings to re-grease, the seal can be very carefully prised off with a thin sharp object such as a box cutter blade.

  • Thanks for the help. So I guess I have to wait 'til I get the freewheel tool. My ultimate goal is to get this centered on my bike. I bought this used wheel (6 speed) hoping to replace my older (5 speed) wheel. I couldn't get the 6 speed wheel on correctly. It wasn't centered and the small cog didn't clear the frame well. The nut/axle spacing is different on the new wheel.
    – dsbmac
    Sep 3, 2018 at 22:40
  • My thought was to add a spacer to match the old wheel's spacing but that would require shifting the axle over to the DS to get more axle room on that side. This is ultimately why I'm taking it apart. Is my approach correct?
    – dsbmac
    Sep 3, 2018 at 22:53
  • I've read stuff on here about moving spacers between DS and NDS to center a hub in the frame, but I have no experience of it myself. Sep 3, 2018 at 23:27
  • 1
    @dsbmac This hub probably has a shouldered axle. Most simple cartridge hubs do. If so, you don't have much latitude to move spacers for clearance problems like you're describing. The axle's relationship to the hub shell is fixed, so you'll quickly get into a spot where you either have too much protrusion past the locknuts or not enough. When people talk about shufling spacers around for such purposes, usually the assumption is that it's standard axle for a cup and cone hub that's being discussed. Sep 4, 2018 at 5:34
  • If you decide to replace the bearings you can press them in without fancy tools or a hammer, as I've done it in the past: youtube.com/watch?v=mr3sweqH9a8 - all components should be available in an average hardware store.
    – Mike
    Sep 4, 2018 at 7:02

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