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  1. #1
    Senior Member Monster Pete's Avatar
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    3-Speed started leaking oil..

    Hi all.

    I've got a 1989 sturmey-archer AW hub on my bike, which has leaked a bit after filling with oil, but nothing major. However today I went out to my bike to discover a puddle of oil under the rear wheel, and a slow but steady drip of oil from around the dust cap on the driver. It's recently got quite a lot warmer so could it be that the oil's thinned enough to start spewing out? The dust cap has always made the driver quite stiff- the pedals end up turning when walking the bike forwards- if it's of any relevance.

    Pete

  2. #2
    afraid of whales Mr IGH's Avatar
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    Two separate issues:

    1.) Oil leak is from too much oil in the hub. No damage will result, brakes might not be so good Next time just add a small amount of oil to the rear hub, SA 3 speeds leak a tiny amount when properly filled, you just replace the oil as needed.

    2.) When the pedals move while coasting, it's a sign the cones are too tight. SA 3 speeds run with a slight amount of play. I loosen the non-drive side cone on the bike until the pedals stop moving while coasting.

  3. #3
    Bicycle Repairman kingsting's Avatar
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    Sturmey-Archer hubs are British. All British machines leak oil. If they aren't leaking oil, it means there is none inside and more must be added...
    There's always room for one more bike!

  4. #4
    Senior Member Monster Pete's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kingsting View Post
    Sturmey-Archer hubs are British. All British machines leak oil. If they aren't leaking oil, it means there is none inside and more must be added...
    Ah, you've worked out the mind of a British engineer then at least it's easier to spot when to change the oil.

    Thanks Mr IGH, I'll get to adjusting the bearing cones once I've fixed a chronic puncture...

    Pete

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by kingsting View Post
    Sturmey-Archer hubs are British. All British machines leak oil. If they aren't leaking oil, it means there is none inside and more must be added...
    There's the old joke about the guy who buys a new Triumph and takes it back to the dealer because its leaking a pint of oil a month. Dealer says "Oh there's definitely something wrong, it should be leaking at least a quart."
    Il faut de l'audace, encore de l'audace, toujours de l'audace

    1980 3Rensho-- 1975 Raleigh Sprite 3spd
    1990s Raleigh M20 MTB--2007 Windsor Hour (track)
    1988 Ducati 750 F1

  6. #6
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    Your main problem is that you've over oiled the hub. It's not like a car's differential housing where the gears need to be submerged half way in an oil bath. It only requires enough to fill the bottom of the shell to a depth of maybe 1/8" which can splash lube the internals as the hub turns. At that depth the bike would have to be leaned way over for it to leak out between the seals.

    SA hubs also use grease between the dust caps and shell to form a flexible seal to keep oil from weeping. By now you've probably dissolved that seal, so might want to back off the cones, (count turns on the right and return to original position) and put a film of heavy grease under the caps to re-establish the seal.



    Regardless of whether the cones need adjusting, which should be checked,
    FB
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    An ounce of diagnosis is worth a pound of cure.

    “Never argue with an idiot. He will only bring you down to his level and beat you with experience.”, George Carlin

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    WARNING, I'm from New York. Thin skinned people should maintain safe distance.

  7. #7
    Senior Member
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    And the old joke about why the British drink warm beer....Lucas made the refrigerators.

    Everything British leaks and has electrical problems.There's even a guy on Ebay that sells replacement smoke for your British automotive wiring harness.
    Last edited by Booger1; 01-14-11 at 10:29 AM.
    Everything should be as simple as possible...But not more so.---Albert Einstein

  8. #8
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    Why did the British end the Death penalty? Lucas made the electric chairs..

    In my Sturmey AW3, I grease the bearings , run Phil Tenacious oil in thru the indicator chain,
    the stickiness makes a little go a long ways, and the grease forms a little seal, also,
    to keep it from leaking ..

    Easy to take the cones out to pack the bearings without touching anything inside.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Monster Pete's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
    [B]
    SA hubs also use grease between the dust caps and shell to form a flexible seal to keep oil from weeping. By now you've probably dissolved that seal, so might want to back off the cones, (count turns on the right and return to original position) and put a film of heavy grease under the caps to re-establish the seal.
    I've adjusted the left side cone to free up the pedals (which led to stripping one of the old axle nuts- one problem leads to another...)

    As for grease, I have some white lithium grease I use on the other bearings on the bike, and some leftover grease from my car's wheel bearings which is a bit thicker. Would either of these be suitable?

    Thanks

    Pete

  10. #10
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    I use Boat Trailer Wheel bearing grease, where you use the lithium,
    .. on most bearing servicing,
    so the clean grease you use to repack your car's
    wheel bearings should be fine.

    I put Phil Wood Tenacious oil in my AW3, it's stickiness
    keeps it where it needs to be .
    Chainsaw bar oil may do,
    [woodcutters around here use old oil from the last change in the truck]
    Last edited by fietsbob; 01-19-11 at 01:14 PM.

  11. #11
    Bicycle Repairman kingsting's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Booger1 View Post

    Everything British leaks and has electrical problems.There's even a guy on Ebay that sells replacement smoke for your British automotive wiring harness.
    I saw that auction a few years back. The "Ask the seller a question" section was hilarious! There were about 4 or 5 pages and the sellers responses were brilliant.

    Electrical Theory by Joseph Lucas

    Positive ground depends upon proper circuit functioning, the transmission of negative ions by retention of the visible spectral manifestation known as "smoke". Smoke is the thing that makes electrical circuits work; we know this to be true because every time one lets the smoke out of the electrical system, it stops working. This can be verified repeatedly through empirical testing. When, for example, the smoke escapes from an electrical component (i.e., say, a Lucas voltage regulator), it will be observed that the component stops working. The function of the wire harness is to carry the smoke from one device to another; when the wire harness "springs a leak", and lets all the smoke out of the system, nothing works afterwards. Starter motors were frowned upon in British Automobiles for some time, largely because they consume large quantities of smoke, requiring very large wires.

    It has been noted that Lucas components are possibly more prone to electrical leakage than Bosch or generic Japanese electrics. Experts point out that this is because Lucas is British and all things British leak. British engines leak oil, shock absorbers, hydraulic forks and disk brakes leak fluid, British tyres leak air and the British defense establishment leaks secrets...so, naturally, British electrics leak smoke.
    There's always room for one more bike!

  12. #12
    Senior Member
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    That is funny.

    And even more silliness is at this site.

    http://www.mez.co.uk/lucas.html
    Il faut de l'audace, encore de l'audace, toujours de l'audace

    1980 3Rensho-- 1975 Raleigh Sprite 3spd
    1990s Raleigh M20 MTB--2007 Windsor Hour (track)
    1988 Ducati 750 F1

  13. #13
    Bicycle Repairman kingsting's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by San Rensho View Post
    That is funny.

    And even more silliness is at this site.

    http://www.mez.co.uk/lucas.html

    It even has the old eBay auction! Thanks for posting...
    There's always room for one more bike!

  14. #14
    holyrollin' FlatTop's Avatar
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    Lucas, far ahead of their time in EV:
    http://www.carlectro.com/node/33

  15. #15
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    Any more than about a table spoon of SAE 30 oil in those is too much.
    It's not supposed to be full, just enough to wet the gears inside.
    If it's leaking out the side, and not from the bearing or axle area, make sure the end cap of the hub isn't loose.
    (I've never seen one loosen up on it's own, but if it's been apart recently, then maybe it wasn't seated down tight?)

    I'm not a fan of white lithium grease on bikes, it tend to dry up over time. Car wheel bearing grease is usually too heavy, if it don't create resistance, the chance it working it's way inside would also be a concern of mine. Go find a good light grease to use. Many automotive greases are intended to be used under higher loads and higher temps, they don't normalize or flow properly when used at low speeds under super light loads as in a bicycle.
    I tend to stick with Park grease, it's not expensive and any decent bike shop will have it.
    Last edited by reelfishin; 01-19-11 at 01:06 PM.

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