Re: should freewheel be reintroduced? - Saab Vintage Models Bulletin Board -

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Re: should freewheel be reintroduced?
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Posted by kansas (more from kansas) on Tue, 6 Jul 2004 17:10:47 Share Post by Email
In Reply to: should freewheel be reintroduced?, chuck, Tue, 6 Jul 2004 16:18:29
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Hmmmm. If all drivers of a freewheel car could be trained in driving it, fuel savings would result. The problem is, you need to drive differently with it than without it, and there is no practical way to train all the potential drivers. Untrained drivers break freewheel mechanisms causing great agony and expense. And different handling/driving characteristics of freewheel cars handled by the untrained are bound to cause accidents. Sorry, nice idea, I can't support it.

Some misstatements have appeared in previous posts in the thread. Freewheel is not hydraulic. It was not invented in the US, or at least the SAAB version was not developed there; the principle of an overrunning clutch is old and there are many ways to achieve it. I will speculate that SAAB did not invent the 2-stroke engine that necessitated freewheel as well-explained above, but built on existing technology; and that likely earlier designs of other manufacturers also used 2-stroke engines that required similar fixes to keep from burning them up driving down long hills; but I cannot cite examples and would welcome elaboration.

The racing adaptations of driving technique with a freewheel car, mentioned by one poster, are admirable but completely irrelevant to the driving public, and a good thing too.

The system broke because drivers did not know how to use it. It may also have been underdesigned, there was a running change in the mechanism from 6- to 10-ball clutch (or vice versa).

Of course it can be fixed. Anything can. The question is, what are you willing to pay? It was made once and given information about how to construct the pieces, can be made again.

On cars made with the system, there was no extra cost to the customer, it was not an option. If you mean "What was the cost to incorporate freewheel into a transmission, as opposed to leaving it out," I would guess that as a few dollars per unit at the manufacturing level.

I applaud your practice of coasting downhill where engine braking is not required, and agree that this will improve fuel economy.

Bottom line: Nice idea, if you could get every driver lined up behind it then fuel savings would result, but you can't.

The freewheel on my '69 95 wagon is neutered, thanks to Jack Ashcraft.

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