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  1. #1
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    How to lubricate a Shimano 3S 3-speed hub

    I posted this awhile back on the Vintage site, got a few replies, but none that confirmed one way or another what's going on inside the older Shimano 3S 3-speed hubs. So, I thought I'd try here. Here's the basics of the question:

    I've run across a couple of older Shimano 3S 3-speed hubs on bikes I've been interested in buying. I have worked on several of the Shimano 333 3-speed hubs and they have the port on top of the hub for adding a lightweight oil - simple enough. But the 3S doesn't have this port. Does anyone know what's up with the lubrication needs of the 3S model? Does it use oil or did they move on to using grease on the 3S units? And how does one go about lubricating the 3S, once you know if it's oil or grease?

    Thanks!!

  2. #2
    Senior Member Bill Kapaun's Avatar
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    I used to just remove the indicator spindle, lay the bike on its side and drip a little oil in it. Wait a couple minutes, spin the wheel & repeat a couple times.

  3. #3
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    so i have one of these hubs laying around with a coaster brake built in (3sc) and mine has no oil port to. you could do as bill says and lay the bike on its side, remove the indicator skewer and drop a few drops of oil in it, but some one told me that shimano makes a specialized lube for some of their hubs.

  4. #4
    procrastinating member
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    I partially disassembled my 3SC and added grease. The innards looked a bit more like a "grease it" hub than an "oil it" hub. YMMV

  5. #5
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    yeah, its definatly been described as a grease type hub. shimano makes a special typr of grease for these hubs, i was told. im just saying.

  6. #6
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    thanks for the replies. Although I got a mix of answers - the hub uses oil, the hub uses grease, it does make sense that the 3S originally used grease - otherwise there should be an oil port on the hub like the other older Shimano hubs (333)? That's too bad, in my opinion. Although you wouldn't need to lubricate with grease nearly as often as oil, if you buy a used bike with the 3S and can't find out it's history on this, you would, more than likely, have to go through the trouble of opening everything up, cleaning out the gunk and re-greasing. And with virtually no technical data/diagrams etc on the 3S, I personally wouldn't want to do this. I'm a beliver in "if all else fails, follow the procedure". Problem is, there is no procedure.

    Thanks again - I think I'll just steer clear of this Shimano hub.

  7. #7
    procrastinating member
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    If you have the option of using a Sturmey-Archer instead of the Shimano, I'd definitely do that- if not, here are about the only things I found online that might help. As far as needing the special grease, I believe the 3SC predates the Nexuses (Nexii?) by quite a bit and would be fine with anything short of lard. If the original grease wasn't too gunky and didn't have any metal bits in it, you could use the light oil for a while to break up the old grease, then disassemble and regrease...

    Or, you could just get a Sturmey-Archer.


    http://www.oldroads.com/shim3spd.html
    http://www.lafn.org/~dave/trans/bicycle/shimano3sc.html

  8. #8
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    definatly go with the s.a. hub if you can, like mikepoole said. they are more durable, and if you are good with bikes, totally rebuildable. i've rebuilt all 5 of my s.a. hubs with absolutly no problem. just steer clear of s.a.'s "SW" hub if you are gonna get a used one. they make the shimano 333 hubs look bullitproof by comparison.

  9. #9
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    Yeah, I concur on SA vs Shimano 3 speeds. I recently picked up a Raleigh with an S3C hub - built in coaster brake. Heard a lot of bad press on the coaster freezing up w/o warning. As a result, I found a used SA AW hub for $10, got the diagrams along with detailed dismantling & re-assembly instructions for the AW from S. Brown and tore the AW down, cleaned it and put it back together. It's now my backup if the S3C ever does die on me. Wouldn't do that on the Shimanos w/o any data to help me out.

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