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  1. #1
    Senior Member southpawboston's Avatar
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    Need a Sturmey-Archer 3-speed hub expert!

    i picked up a 1975 raleigh with the venerable AW hub. the hub works well enough but it has this strange noise and some other mysterious behavior that my other AW-equipped bikes don't have. i want to know if this is normal for this hub, a sign of a bad adjustment/lack of lubrication, or a sign of a faulty/worn hub:

    1) whenever i coast after pedaling, there is a single clunk (or click) sound, immediately as the hub begins to coast. it does this in every gear, and you can hear it and feel it in your foot through the drivetrain.

    2) i get the same clunk again if i downshift from 3rd to 2nd while coasting. just as the hub engages into 2nd from 3rd (while still coasting), there is that same single clunk. it doesn't do it downshifting from 2nd to 1st.

    3) when i got the bike, the cones were too tight. rear wheel had no play at the bearing and the pedals rotated when coasting. i loosened the left cone 1/8th turn to introduce slight play at the bearing. the pedals don't spin when coasting now, HOWEVER, they still want to turn less than one complete revolution and then "settle" into a position for the remainder of the coasting.

    the spindle indicator is adjusted perfectly (totally slack in 3rd, and about 1 mm of movement left in 1st). i have had no problems with shifting or sudden freewheeling (since adjusting the indicator), and there are no unusual noises when pedaling in any gear.

    i haven't added oil to the hub yet, but there is a pretty expansive film of dust-covered oil all over the hub, so i'm guessing it's had oil added over the years.

    also, on a different note, does anyone know when SA changed their stamped hub logos from the plain text STURMEY ARCHER to the current outlined version? i have an S-A AB hub on a bike that should be an 80s bike, but the hub is not date stamped. it is chrome and has the more current "outlined" lettered logo.

    thanks!

  2. #2
    Bicycle Repair Man !!! Sixty Fiver's Avatar
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    The hub could be pretty cruddy and you never know what kind of oil people were putting in it and that can cause some misbehaviour.

    Cleaning out the hub and filling it with fresh oil is often all an SA hub needs to set it right and sometimes, they just need oil.

  3. #3
    Senior Member southpawboston's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sixty Fiver View Post
    The hub could be pretty cruddy and you never know what kind of oil people were putting in it and that can cause some misbehaviour.

    Cleaning out the hub and filling it with fresh oil is often all an SA hub needs to set it right and sometimes, they just need oil.
    interesting. is there a way to flush out old oil/grit without dismantling the hub? what about filling it with something really light like WD40, working it in by pedaling, then allowing it to drain from the fill hole, repeating several times then refilling it with oil?

  4. #4
    Bicycle Repair Man !!! Sixty Fiver's Avatar
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    Everything you ever wanted to know about Sa hubs is here...

    The Care and feeding of English Three Speeds

    Kerosene is often advised as an excellent solvent for flushing out SA hubs but I'd start by using a lighter weight oil to see if that flushes things out.

  5. #5
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    I would take the SA hub apart for inspection and, most of all, a thourough cleaning.

    Rinsing the hub's gut with diesel or kerosene may do the trick and get you riding again, but you never know if any parts (usually springs or pawls) might be damaged, worn or broken, unless you fully disassemble the beast. (Servicing the SA hub completely may take up to 2 or 3 hours, depending on the experience of the mechanic.)

    It is perfectly possible for the handy man to succesfully disassemble (and reassemble!) the SA. Stick to the step by step manual available on the internet. It's not rocket engineering.

    BTW: "filling" the SA hub with oil should be read as: "injecting 3 teaspoons of motor oil." Any excess of oil will be expelled and make a slippery mess. Eventually, oil spills on the rim's brake surfaces will make the brakes fail...
    Last edited by Berre; 09-05-08 at 11:48 PM.

  6. #6
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    Depending on how enterprising you are, I'd start with a flush (I just fill it up with oil and ride). If that doesn't clean things out, you'll want to pull it apart, which is fun. I've done it to several AWs and it gets pretty quick once you get the hang of it.

  7. #7
    Upright bars SirMike1983's Avatar
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    I'm a minimalist with my repairs. I'd start with a flush using very light oil or kerosene. What I do to flush is to take the wheel and "wall off" the hub with paper towels or something else to absorb excess fluid. Usually what I do is wrap the spokes and the like up in paper towels. You don't want a mess.

    Once I'm ready with that I take light oil (light sewing machine oil has been suggested by some) or kerosene and flush the hub. Basically you're putting a bunch of this stuff into the hub. I sometimes also take canned air and blow the canned air into the oil port to force the thin oil or kerosene into the hub mechanisms. Then the waiting begins- you let it sit for awhile. Come back later and check your progress- you should start seeing excess running into the paper towels. Once you're ready, clean up and liberally drop in your lubricating oil-- in my case 30 weight motor oil. Again, wall off the hub with paper towels- the one time I purposely "over oil" is on the first fill after a flush. I want to make sure I get as much oil in as I can. After that clean it up again and give it a test run.

    If your problems continue a disassembly is needed.
    English Roadsters, American Roadsters, and Balloon Tire Bicycles
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  8. #8
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    Hi, how is your hub working ? My '71 does the same thing , when I stop pedaling, there is a bit of a ' click '. I figured it was normal ? I dunno.

    The bike shifts great and there should be plenty of oil in it as i way overfilled at one time and oil was drippin' out for a few days. I used 10-30, 4 stroke motorcycle oil. Would ATF be a better oil ?

    Take Care, dave


    [QUOTE=southpawboston;7404327]i picked up a 1975 raleigh with the venerable AW hub. the hub works well enough but it has this strange noise and some other mysterious behavior that my other AW-equipped bikes don't have. i want to know if this is normal for this hub, a sign of a bad adjustment/lack of lubrication, or a sign of a faulty/worn hub:

    1) whenever i coast after pedaling, there is a single clunk (or click) sound, immediately as the hub begins to coast. it does this in every gear, and you can hear it and feel it in your foot through the drivetrain.

  9. #9
    Insane Bicycle Mechanic Jeff Wills's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by neondave View Post
    Hi, how is your hub working ? My '71 does the same thing , when I stop pedaling, there is a bit of a ' click '. I figured it was normal ? I dunno.
    You are replying to a four-year-old thread.
    Jeff Wills

    All my bikes.

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