I got front & rear Phil Wood hubs for a touring setup back in Oct of 2011. I'd been using them for commuting to work -- averaging 20 KM a day. Except I'd been off the bike for the month of January, started again in Feb.

A week ago, things felt weird. Discussed with a fellow cyclist at work, who said it sounded like the hub was going. The following day, there was a loud crunch from the rear and the chain felt like it was slipping. I took the wheel into the LBS who built the wheel for me. They told me one of the four palls had an issue, and a spring was bent, so they corrected. I picked up the wheel today, and got 10 KM before things started again - crunching noise from the rear, and a slip. So I dropped the wheel with the LBS, who said they'll look for a rebuilt kit.

What is a pawl? Is it part of the freehub? Is a rebuilt kit enough, or should I be pressing for the LBS to RMA the hub?

Edit: In case anyone's interested, Phil Wood said they're aware of quality problems and wouldn't expect a rebuild kit to do much. RMA time...

  • I assume they mean "pawl", and it's inside the freewheeling mechanism of the freehub. On some hubs the freehub portion can be totally removed and replaced, while on others it's more integral to the rest of the hub. Don't know about the Phil unit. Commented Feb 19, 2012 at 4:00
  • @DanielRHicks: That would explain why a quick Googling didn't turn up remotely related results :)
    – OMG Ponies
    Commented Feb 19, 2012 at 4:04
  • 1
    What exactly is your question? Is it the last paragraph in this question, or it is your title? Commented Feb 19, 2012 at 14:34

2 Answers 2


Phil Wood Hubs rarely have issues. If it is the pawls that are the problem, a rebuild kit will be enough. They are replaceable parts. They are the "teeth" that the freehub use to drive the hub shell (and the rest of your wheel) forward.

Let them try a rebuild. You won't lose anything by it, and it will be faster than an RMA. But if you continue to have issues after, then warranty the hub.

  • So they directly interface with the hub body?
    – OMG Ponies
    Commented Feb 19, 2012 at 4:06
  • On some designs, including the Phil Wood hubs, yes.
    – zenbike
    Commented Feb 19, 2012 at 18:45

Phil Wood freehubs come apart with a pair of 5mm hex wrenches. Insert into the axle ands and twist. There are four pawls in the cassette body that engage the steel ratchet ring wedged into the aluminum hub shell. A single spring is coiled around the four pawls.

A rebuild kit will replace the pawls and spring. It will not replace the ratchet ring. If you have a Phil freehub fail under warranty by all means get it back to the home office for repair.

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