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  1. #1
    Senior Member North Coast Joe's Avatar
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    Old 3 speed hub question

    I'm fixing up an old Sears 3 speed men's model for a Winter project. It's coming along nicely and cleaning up well considering how bad it was when I picked it up (amazing how differently it looked in person, as opposed to the eB*y pics!).

    I'm guessing it's a Puch, as the decals said made in Austria (though the frame is stamped made in Germany).

    The 3 speed hub seemed to work in all three gears while the bike was inverted. Couldn't ride it as it had two flat tires. The hub is stamped "3 3 3" then underneath that: "3 Speed Hub".

    I'm not going to mess with the internal workings unless it's proven necessary later. What lube goes into the hub and how much of it? It seems to be empty, but not dry. I have to guess a light oil just by the size of the fill opening. Think Prolink Progold chain lube would work? How much of it?....fill it up just doesn't sound right. Thanks!

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    That may be a Shimano 333 hub. Some info is here: http://sheldonbrown.com/shimano333.html

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    S'Cruzer pierce's Avatar
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    the made-in-austria sears brand 3-speed I had back in the very early 70s used a Torpedo hub, which I think was a Sachs (now known as SRAM). the bike was probably from the mid 60s. it was really a pretty nice bike, lighter than most of the Raleigh 3-speeds I'd seen.

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    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    I had a then JC Higgens , Puch , Austria.. early 60's the hub was an AW3..

    Just the center of the shell was different.

  5. #5
    Andrew R Stewart Andrew R Stewart's Avatar
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    Most all the classic 3 spd hubs wanted only a medium/light oil. I've used 10W auto oil (or stuff close) often. I try to avoid the doped lubes. teflon, waxes, ceramics. Oil can be injected/dripped in through the port (on the shell between the flanges) or down inside the axle after the indicator chain/push rod is removed. If the hub were in good shape maintainance wise, only a teaspoon of oil would be needed. For a neglected hub double to triple that. You can't over oil as the excess will just run out over time (spokes get real messy). Don't shift under pedal pressure at all costs. Do get the gear cable adjustment well centered. The vast majority of problems i've seen with 3 spd hubs are from miss adjustment of gears, bearing miss adjustments (they tend to like a slight slop in the bearings), chain beint too tight and no lube. Do you know how to watch the cog and the flange rotate WRT each other to know which gear you're in? Andy.

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    Depending on the exact year of production the hub might be pre-lubricated with something called Bondalube (or simialr). If so you have to be careful about the oil used. These require non-detergent mineral oil. The detergent in many motor oils will react with the bonded lubricant making a gummy, gooey mess.

    You want something labeled as a machine oil, not a motor oil, though many motor oils for diesel engines are also non-detergent. A light gear oil is OK, as is Singer Sewing Machine oil, and of course, if you can find it, Sturmey Archer oil.

    BTW- do not over oil, the excess leaks out if you tilt the bike making a mess. The right amount is something like 2-5 drops.
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    S'Cruzer pierce's Avatar
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    last 3-speed I had, and several of my friends, we just put 3-in-1 in them. which is probably about 10W, its certainly not 30W

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by pierce View Post
    last 3-speed I had, and several of my friends, we just put 3-in-1 in them. which is probably about 10W, its certainly not 30W
    Not to shill my own stuff, but Chain-L makes an excellent IGH oil. It's heavier than necessary, but very clingy, so it coats parts well and won't run out the way some other oils will. Phil Tenacious is also good.
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  9. #9
    tcs
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    Despite which company might have made the componentry for anyone else's bike, the 3.3.3 is an older Shimano hub.

    Quote Originally Posted by pierce View Post
    last 3-speed I had, and several of my friends, we just put 3-in-1 in them. which is probably about 10W, its certainly not 30W
    3-in-One Multi-Purpose Oil with the black label - NO.
    3-in-One Motor Oil with the blue label - yes.
    "When man first set woman on two wheels with a pair of pedals, did he know, I wonder, that he had rent the veil of the harem in twain? A woman on a bicycle has all the world before her where to choose; she can go where she will, no man hindering." The Typewriter Girl, 1899.

    "Every so often a bird gets up and flies some place it's drawn to. I don't suppose it could tell you why, but it does it anyway." Ian Hibell, 1934-2008

  10. #10
    tcs
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    Cyclists were reporting tens of thousands of miles of trouble-free service out of their hub gears if they only provided proper lubrication - a century ago! There's every reason to think we can do the same, and some reason to think we could do even better today.

    Current manufacturer's recommended IGH greases:

    Shimano: hub and coaster brake, Y-041 20600

    SRAM: gear and coaster brake, 0369 135 200 – 200gm container
    gear and coaster brake, 0369 135 201 – 35gm container
    bearing, 0369.001.015
    pinions, "quality cycle oil"

    Sturmey: gear, SA103A
    bearing, SA103B
    coaster, SA103E

    SunRace Sturmey-Archer has published in various official factory documents that their SA103A gear grease is an NLGI #00 and suggested Castrol Impervia TR Light as a commercial equivalent. Many American lawnmower repair shops carry NLGI #00 in 4 oz tubes as Snapper 7061017 or Stens 770-123. Sturmey says their SA103B bearing grease is an NLGI #2 and one commercial equivalent is Castrol LMX.

    Aarons Bicycle Repair, an IGH specialist in the Pacific Northwest, relubricates IGHs using Sta-Lube blue marine grease (a hydrophobic NLGI #2 grease) throughout. One might think this could be too heavy, especially in cold weather, but his customers' experiences are quite favorable.

    So how about oil? IGHs were traditionally lubricated with oils and have a history of giving excellent service used that way. The Kyle/Berto drivetrain tests suggested that oil lubrication was more efficient than grease lubrication by a small amount.

    Sturmey-Archer no longer offers their private branded Cycle Oil. 3-in-One's Motor Oil with the blue label (NOT 3-in-One's Multi-Purpose Oil with the black label) is probably our closest modern equivalent to those little bottles of Cycle Oil of yore.

    Shimano now offers an IGH oil, their Y00298010 Maintenance Oil (in a rather expensive "kit").


    In commercially available oils, I've seen the following lubricants recommended, all of which seem reasonable:
    · 20wt motor oil
    · 30wt motor oil
    · 10W-30 (& synthetic) motor oil
    · 75W-90 (& synthetic) gear oil (Note: the viscosity of gear oils is measured differently than motor oil - this is NOT "three times as thick" as 30wt motor oil. At the same temperature, it runs through a viscometer about like10W-30 motor oil.)

    If the IGH uses oil lubrication, some recommend a soap-based grease (Sta-lube blue marine grease or Park Poly-Lube or tan automotive grease have all received votes) on the labyrinth seals/grease channels to minimize weeping and water ingress. Others have suggested the use of this grease on the hub's main axle bearings as well.

    Some feel that Phil's Tenacious Oil is too heavy for IGH pawl springs, especially in colder weather. Others have used it with no problems and swear by it.

    There have been many recommendations for IGH oil lubrication with automotive automatic transmission fluid, a high quality oil common in America. Automatic transmission fluid can be very light weight, some running through a viscometer like 3wt motor oil. Numerous reports on the `net say automatic transmission fluid improves shifting and cold weather performance. I am not aware of any reports to confirm this light weight lubricant adequately protects against wear in high mileage, long term use IGHs, or of any complaints of unusual wear.

    BTW, after the war when times were hard and there were shortages of everything, Sturmey-Archer officially told their customers that if they'd stay on top of their maintenance, they could keep their IGHs going with sewing machine oil, using Vaseline (!) in the labyrinth seals. I guess it worked; many of those 60+ year old AWs and FWs are still giving good service today.

    Coaster brakes used to control speed down long/steep hills can get very hot. (Google 'repack hill' for some interesting bicycle history.) Coaster brakes used in this service should be lubricated with a grease that does not break down at high temperatures. Shimano, SRAM and Sturmey all offer greases suitable for use with coaster brakes, and many brands of high temperature brake greases are common at auto parts stores.

    And lastly, everybody's favorite: that little bottle of 3-in-One you probably have out in the garage. "3-in-One" debuted during the first great bike boom in 1894, making it one of the oldest cycling products you can still buy. The oil was originally intended for bicycle chains, and the name indicated it "1) cleaned, 2) lubricated and 3) rust proofed", hence, 3-in-One. After 115 years, it's still not a bad choice for chain lubrication.

    3-in-One (original formulation, now marketed under the descriptor Multipurpose Oil, with the black label) contains a vegetable based component, citronella oil (ever notice the way 3-in-One smells?), which will go rancid, break down and turn into very much a non-lubricant. This residue would get cleaned off a chain in the next application, but when enclosed in a small metal shell it has nowhere to go. Probably more Sturmeys in the USA have been rendered inoperable by 3-in-One residue than for any other reason. The 3-in-One folks themselves do not list hub gears as a potential use for their Multipurpose Oil, which remains widely available.

    These days the company also makes several other lubrication products: their 3-in-One (electric) Motor Oil with the blue label is SAE 20wt non-detergent oil and should be just dandy for IGHs.

    Fun fact: In the 1920s, pioneer American Birth control advocate Margaret Sanger was married to then president of the 3-in-One Oil company, J. Noah Slee. She smuggled illegal European-made diaphragms into the USA in secretly coded barrels of the citronella oil imported by 3-in-One.
    Last edited by tcs; 01-15-13 at 07:31 AM.
    "When man first set woman on two wheels with a pair of pedals, did he know, I wonder, that he had rent the veil of the harem in twain? A woman on a bicycle has all the world before her where to choose; she can go where she will, no man hindering." The Typewriter Girl, 1899.

    "Every so often a bird gets up and flies some place it's drawn to. I don't suppose it could tell you why, but it does it anyway." Ian Hibell, 1934-2008

  11. #11
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    I use Phil Tenaceous oil in my AW3/BSR hub, I Repacked the wheel bearings and greased those ,
    then the grease keeps the oil from seeping out so much..

    the tenaceous nature, keeps the oil sticking to the gear and bushing surfaces..

  12. #12
    Senior Member North Coast Joe's Avatar
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    Wow! Thanks for all the thoughtful, detailed replies, folks! Repacking the bearings first seems to be a great idea; I just finished rust removal on the rims & spokes and hubs, so it would be a shame to have oil leak out on all my tedious efforts doing that.

    I'm now slightly concerned that the Shimano 333 won't be durable in the long run, but I just happened to get a "Two-for" deal" so have an extra hub. After getting experience trueing the wheels recently, it will be a great future project lacing the newer one in, if necessary.

    Headed to the store to grab grease and blue 3-in-one this afternoon...thanks again!

  13. #13
    Senior Member North Coast Joe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew R Stewart View Post
    Do you know how to watch the cog and the flange rotate WRT each other to know which gear you're in? Andy.
    Andy (or other veterans), can you translate this for a total noob? The only way I could see that all the gears were working when the bike was inverted was to make one crank rotation and count the number of wheel rotations that occurred. I had to manually pull/release the shift chain because (I guess) the shift cable was so out of adjustment. Kinda surprized that there was only a 1/2 to 3/4 of a full rotation difference in wheel rotations between gears, but I've got to redo this test again, paying more attention.

    Thanks again!

  14. #14
    tcs
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    Quote Originally Posted by North Coast Joe View Post
    I'm now slightly concerned that the Shimano 333 won't be durable in the long run...
    They don't have a stellar reputation, but a poster on another board said he'd gotten good service out of his 333 for 35 years and counting. Lubrication! Adjustment!

    The 333's gear ratios, input to output, are:

    1 to 0.75
    1 to 1
    1 to 1.33

    These are identical gear ratios to common Sturmey-Archer 3-speed hubs of the last 90 years but very slightly different from today's Nexus 3 hub.
    Last edited by tcs; 01-15-13 at 07:43 AM.
    "When man first set woman on two wheels with a pair of pedals, did he know, I wonder, that he had rent the veil of the harem in twain? A woman on a bicycle has all the world before her where to choose; she can go where she will, no man hindering." The Typewriter Girl, 1899.

    "Every so often a bird gets up and flies some place it's drawn to. I don't suppose it could tell you why, but it does it anyway." Ian Hibell, 1934-2008

  15. #15
    Senior Member loubapache's Avatar
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    I have a few bikes with Shimano 333 hub and they have been reliable. The bell crank/pushrod adjustment is superior. The later cartridge versions (without oil port) are very nice.

  16. #16
    Andrew R Stewart Andrew R Stewart's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by North Coast Joe View Post
    Andy (or other veterans), can you translate this for a total noob? The only way I could see that all the gears were working when the bike was inverted was to make one crank rotation and count the number of wheel rotations that occurred. I had to manually pull/release the shift chain because (I guess) the shift cable was so out of adjustment. Kinda surprized that there was only a 1/2 to 3/4 of a full rotation difference in wheel rotations between gears, but I've got to redo this test again, paying more attention.

    Thanks again!
    What i was referencing is that the cog and shell will rotate at different RPMs when in 1st or 3rd gears (second gear is typicially a direct through, 1:1 ratio. Which BTW is the most efficient gear to pedal in friction wise). If you shift into 1st gear (and the shifting adjustment is proper) the cog will rotate faster then the wheel will. So you watch the cog/chain and the spokes and see how they rotate in relation to each. As you pedal the cog will be moving past the spokes. When in 2nd gear the cog and spokes are rotating at the same pace so they will stay in phase. When in 3rd gear the spokew will travel faster then the cog and will pass them.

    I use this to check hub function when servicing a bike or when estimating one for service. I also use this cog/spoke rotation to fine tune the cable tension adjustment. When in 2nd gear, you can run in and out the cable adjuster and see where the point of shift happens by watching the cog/spoke relationship. This way you end up establishing the "ends" of 2nd gear adjustment and I'll then adjust the cable in the center of this range. Andy.

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    Here's my Sears Puch

    I found a Sears 3-speed by the side of the road. Someone left it on the curb for trash pick-up. It took about 6 months, but, it came out looking nice. Worked well, rode nicely, great machine.
    Alot of fun and good experience with this one!
    Before and after shots:
    Attached Images Attached Images

  18. #18
    S'Cruzer pierce's Avatar
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    what about traditional red ATF, like dex/merc IV ? I would think that would work well. its about 20 weight, very clean and highly refined.

  19. #19
    You gonna eat that? Doohickie's Avatar
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    That's what I used in my Sturmey Archer AW.
    I stop for people / whose right of way I honor / but not for no one.



    Originally Posted by bragi "However, it's never a good idea to overgeneralize."

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    So if either Dex-Merc or 20W non-detergent is used, how is the oil transferred into the hub? A medicine dropper?
    Best,

    -T

  21. #21
    Senior Member North Coast Joe's Avatar
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    Nice job with your Sears model. Bikemeister! Mine appears to be very, very similar in markings. I hope mine turns out as well.

    The ATF lubricant sounds very promising, too. As I recall from past experience, it's not prone to dry out and congeal into a gummy mess. We'd use it to lube shutters in mechanical cameras on occasion as it stays fluid.

  22. #22
    Senior Member loubapache's Avatar
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    I use a small syringe with a needle attached to it. The needle goes into the oil port or the axle hole (for those without the oil port). I typically shoot about 2 CC into it. I am using 75W-90 gear oil now.

    Here is a viscosity chart. Many have misconception about the numbers. Gear oil uses different numbering system. 75W-90 gear oil has similar viscosity as 10W-40 motor oil. For our application, the temperature is low so the 75W-90 gear oil performs very closely as a between 10W and 20W straight oil.

    http://www.bobistheoilguy.com/viscosity-charts/

    I bought the syringe and needles from Tractor Supply in the vet care section. The syringe (20CC) is about $0.50 and the needles are about $2.50 for six pack. I also use the same syringe/needle for WD40, Marvel Mystery oil (a 5W cleaning oil), etc for lubing cables, chain, etc. It makes a very clean application. The rubber piece in the syringe will expand with fluid like WD-40 so it is pretty much a one time use only.

    The best syringes are the older glass ones. You can still buy these on the auction site. I bought a very large lot of the 2 - 3 CC ones and they work much smoother than the plastic ones.

    I have about 10 bikes with both SA and Shimano 3-speed hubs. Either is a beauty in design, performance, and longevity.
    Last edited by loubapache; 01-16-13 at 05:53 AM.

  23. #23
    S'Cruzer pierce's Avatar
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    i keep ATF in a trigger pump little oil can with a flex spout, as its used to lube a bunch of stuff like the throttle linkage on a 80s/90s vintage mercedes, we have a 260E


  24. #24
    Senior Member loubapache's Avatar
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    pierce: That 260E would be a model W124 with a 6 cylinder M103 engine? I used to be a forum moderator (same username) for a MB forum and have also owned/own several. These are some of the best built E-class models. The subsequent ones (W210) got corners cut.

  25. #25
    S'Cruzer pierce's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by loubapache View Post
    pierce: That 260E would be a model W124 with a 6 cylinder M103 engine? I used to be a forum moderator (same username) for a MB forum and have also owned/own several. These are some of the best built E-class models. The subsequent ones (W210) got corners cut.
    that it is. its a 1991 300E 2.6 with very low mileage, but in bad shape, was given to us by a friend who'd inherited it from his great aunts estate and he got tired of pouring money into it. said great-aunt had a habit of banging into things, so the body has multiple dents, then she lost her license, and the car sat for 15 years under the pine needles, which stripped the paint. it only has 56000 miles total on it, but due to neglect, runs erratically, especially at and just off idle. everything I've done to it seems to fix it for a few days, then the gremlins come back and it starts stalling. I'm about ready to recycle it in frustration. the car was nominally a gift to my teenage daughter, but she didn't like it ('its an OLD LADY car, Dad!") prefers my wife's old 1987 Volvo 240, whihc is in really good condition (white refrigerator on 4 wheels, we're original owners and it has about 400K miles on it).

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