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Old 09-04-08, 06:55 AM   #1
supergymnast
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3-in-one oil in SA hub?

(sorry, I meant AW hub)
Hello,

Will 3-in-1 oil in a 1967 Sturmey Archer 3 speed AW be ok? Hub seems a little dry from many years of neglect.. it's ticking loud but gears work fine.

Thanks,

Alex
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Old 09-04-08, 07:04 AM   #2
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No... it's too light for extended use.

I use 5-30 semi synthetic motor oil in all my SA hubs and at our shop.
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Old 09-04-08, 07:14 AM   #3
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A medium weight oil is what you're supposed to use. The oil Sixty Fiver suggested will work.

However, I have used 3-in-1 oil when I didn't have anything else available, and it worked fine. You may have to oil the hub frequently, which is counter productive.
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Old 09-04-08, 07:23 AM   #4
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Why not use something like Shell Rotella T Synthetic? 5W40, in the dark blue bottle.

Get the added advantages of a full synthetic, reasonably priced at Wally World, and a Qt. should last you a very long time.

What are the advantages? The ability to hold more stuff in suspension, the BIG advantage of manufactured polymers (all the molecules are the same size,) and the all temperature consistency that only synthetics provide.

This stuff has really proved itself in the harsh environment of motorcycle wet clutch use. I use it in EVERYTHING, car, truck, motorcycles, lawnmowers, snowblowers, etc.
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Old 09-04-08, 07:23 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yohannrjm View Post
A medium weight oil is what you're supposed to use. The oil Sixty Fiver suggested will work.

However, I have used 3-in-1 oil when I didn't have anything else available, and it worked fine. You may have to oil the hub frequently, which is counter productive.

How would SAE 30W be?
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Old 09-04-08, 07:39 AM   #6
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Thanks for the good advice... just wanted to make sure 3-in-one won't harm the hub/gears.
I'll get a heavier oil for the future. I once heard someone say they used vegetable oil(like Crisco or Wesson) to get by!
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Old 09-04-08, 07:59 AM   #7
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I wouldn't use vegetable oil unless you had a desire to open up and clean the hub completely. It will congeal with time, and you'll probably wind up with stuck pawls.

That being said, I've never used vegetable oil so I'm speaking theoretically here. I don't think it's made to stand up to mechanical shear.
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Old 09-04-08, 09:34 AM   #8
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Semi - full synthetic is great for internal hubs, especially if you find yourself riding in cold weather as things keep spinning smoothly and the protection it offers is superior to convention oil which will turn to honey in cold temps. This is fine in a car as a combustion engine generates a good deal of heat... an IGH does not.

I was riding in -40 temps last winter on a Shimano IGH and the bike was spinning along like it was summer.
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Old 09-04-08, 10:43 AM   #9
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I used to use 3 in 1 oil, until I found out it congeals like vegetable oil. It seems to me that 3 in 1 may indeed be part vegetable oil-- when I opened my hub up I found the telltale "muck" that happens when vegetable oil congeals. I had used nothing but 3 in 1 for some time and the result was a bit disturbing since it was promoted for years as "bicycle-friendly".

I also experienced similar results in a New Departure oil coaster brake hub from the 1930s- 3 in 1 oil only for years, but a congealed mess of muck on opening up the hub. The impact was not as great though since the coaster brake had no internal gears.

In both instances the original grease had gone, so it wasn't that either.

My suggestion is to use motor oil. I prefer SAE 30 or 10W 30 oil since it's a good moderate weight product. I've never had to use synthetics-- it never gets that cold here in Maryland. Whatever motor oil you get, it should NOT congeal like 3 in 1 because it is made to run with automotive engines rather than "around the house" use.

I think the bottom line is to avoid 3 in 1:
yes it's too light, but it also acts disturbingly similar to vegetable oil. It won't "destroy" your hub, but it can gum it up and make cleaning it out a necessity. A glass eyedropper helps here too- I put a little motor oil in and then put a few drops directly in the oil port.

Needless to say, Crisco and Wesson are off the list.

Last edited by SirMike1983; 09-04-08 at 10:48 AM.
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Old 09-04-08, 11:25 AM   #10
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I had a feeling 3-in-one is not a good idea..I only put it once, and the loud clicking softened, but from this point on I'll definitely take everyone's advice and go with motor oil. I just thought the vegetable oil story was funny and ridiculous. Thank you all! Alex

BTW, I'm looking for a chainguard in good condition for my '67 Raleigh Superbe. Ebay has a bunch right now with a matching font, but the green is wrong. It's hard to find that green to match. It has the 60's 'collegiate' font that simply reads R A L E I G H. The green is a solid, deeper forest green, unlike the brighter gold speckled green that came later, into the 70's. A clamp screwed to the down tube attaches to two 'slits' on the back of the chainguard.
I know this is pushing it, but I'm also looking for a rear fender in good condtion, as well as Raleigh pedal dust caps that screw on to the pedals(as opposed to screwing into) - all for the same bike.
Thought maybe someone out there(mechanics, bike shop owners, Raleigh collectors) might have an old '60s Superbe or Sports model designated for parts sitting around. If so, please PM me - you'll make my day a brighter one!
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Old 09-04-08, 11:29 AM   #11
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How would SAE 30W be?
As mentioned by SirMike, it should work fine. It's thick enough that a real oilcan would be helpful to get it into the hub.
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Old 09-04-08, 11:57 AM   #12
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I have my trusty little red oil can that gets used for filling SA hubs, English copaster hubs, bottom brackets, and in some cases, front hubs.

When I am travelling with certain bikes I have a small tri-flow bottle filled with oil in case I need to lube things on the road.

People in warm climes don't have to worry about using winter weight oil.
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Old 09-04-08, 12:18 PM   #13
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Here in NYC it usually gets no colder than 20 degrees. A little oil can is a great idea for longer road trips - like if I go up to Nyack for the day.
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Old 09-04-08, 12:54 PM   #14
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I have the remnants of a can of SA Cycle Oil. The folks from Nottingham described it as "...specially blended oil ..ideal for lubricating any mechanism which requires a high quality light oil, such as sewing machines, motor car windscreen wipers, hinges......" Doesn't say exactly what it was blended from.
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Old 09-04-08, 02:11 PM   #15
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I use automatic tranny fluid, about 20 wt oil. Maybe its my hub, but the oil leaks out of it like a sieve (which is actually good, since it keeps the chain lubed), so I don't know about synthetic.
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Old 09-04-08, 03:38 PM   #16
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I use automatic tranny fluid, about 20 wt oil. Maybe its my hub, but the oil leaks out of it like a sieve (which is actually good, since it keeps the chain lubed), so I don't know about synthetic.
A certain amount of seeping out is normal. You get the hang of how much oil to put in from experience. The amount will vary based on how you ride, how much you ride, and the conditions around you, as well as the weight of the oil you use. Slower flowing oils will go slower of course, and lighter oils will tend to run a little faster.

What you do want to be careful of is chronic over oiling. What can happen is that the oil seeps out and follows the spokes down to the rim and then gets into the rim holes and onto the rubber of the tube and around the bead of the tire. This can cause these rubber parts to degrade. I've seen people who had flats on their rear wheels because they chronically over oiled and they rotted their tubes out. Eventually they'd blow.
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Old 09-04-08, 03:58 PM   #17
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Motor oil is best, say 5W-30 or 5W-40, or even straight SAE30. Interested to hear that vegetable-based oils are not good for SA gear hubs - that puts paid to the stories about drivers in remote areas using mashed bananas as Automatic Transmission Fluid with no ill effects! I'd guess that most Sturmey Archer hubs have been filled with 3 in 1 at some time or another, simply beacause there is a picture of a bike on the tin!
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Old 09-05-08, 09:16 AM   #18
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Never (!) apply vegetable oil for mechanical purposes. It's evil.

"Mashed bananas" sounds like a fine myth to be busted on Discovery Channel.
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Old 09-06-08, 07:42 AM   #19
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.
Hi,
.
I read somewhere, maybe Sheldon Brown's site, that 3in1 oil
is vegetable-based
.
I don't know if I'd go so far as to call it "vegetable based" but one of its components is citronella, which definitely comes from plants. It was originally designed (by George Cole) as a bicycle lubricant, although (as others here have mentioned) any of the things that it did in the 1890s with respect to bicycle maintenance are probably much better done with more modern oils and blends.
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Old 09-06-08, 07:55 AM   #20
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FWIW, not all 3-IN-One is the same. The red/white can oil is similar to wd-40 in that it will gum up over time. The blue/white "motor oil" product is SAE 20 oil that will not gum up.
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Old 09-06-08, 10:03 AM   #21
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It was originally designed (by George Cole) as a bicycle lubricant, although (as others here have mentioned) any of the things that it did in the 1890s with respect to bicycle maintenance are probably much better done with more modern oils and blends.
To further complicate things, it seems quite unlikely the formula has remained unchanged since the 1890s, too.

I'm inclined to think much of the stories behind 3-in-1 are largely folklore, similar to the lore surrounding WD40. According to the msds, 3-in-1 is mostly naphthenic oil, which should theoretically be more immune to "gumming up" than typical mineral (petroleum based) oils.
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Old 09-06-08, 10:04 AM   #22
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Issues with 3-in-1 gumming up may be due more to mixing with residue of the original oil than with any issues with 3-in-1 itself.

I've used 3-in-1 for oiling up my model airplane engines and stored them for years at a time and they come out of the bag ready for action with no signs of gumming up at all.

That being said I'd be more likely to opt for a thin motor oil as well.

To Road Fan who asked about straight 30W. Real single weight 30W oil is quite thick at room temperature. I would suspect that it would slow down the hub due to the viscous drag of the system. Sort of act as a "shock absorber" but in this case aborbing your leg energy. A thinner multiweight oil will pour a lot thinner and still provide gobs of lubricity but absorb less engery as you push it around inside the hub.

I'd stick with either the synthetic 0-40 Mobil 1 or any of the current automotive 5-30 or 5-40 oils. Modern car oils are super slippery. In fact they are SO slippery that motorcycles with wet clutches can't use the car oils without suffering from slipping clutches. So "we" have to use specific motorcycle oil which is nothing more than the older formulation of SG car oil. But this means that the new car oils perform like nothing ever before and any of them are going to work superbly in any SA hub as long as they aren't too thick and as long as the internal brake isn't a wet style in which case the low friction additives may backfire on us for this use.
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