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Old 01-14-09, 12:50 PM   #1
rhm
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Overhauling the Sturmey Archer XRF8 hub

Various bike forums members have posted information about working on this hub, but it is difficult to find the most informative of these postings because they are often hidden in threads with rather opaque names. So I thought it might be useful to start a thread collecting some of that information.

Sturmey Archer has a pdf manual describing the process, complete with pictures. It also has a number of errors, which make life interesting.

There is also a description of the overhaul of an XRD8 hub, which is very similar: http://www.velovision.co.uk/cgi-bin/...l?storynum=715

1. Before you think about overhaul, try adjusting the cable and, if that doesn't work, try adjusting the left side cones, and then adjusting the cable again. Proper --perfect-- adjustment of the cable is crucial. If the shift cable is not adjusted perfectly, the hub will not shift well. When adjusting it, or when removing the shift cable from the hub, it is helpful to insert a small steel rod (such as a small hex wrench) into the hole on the back of the shift pulley. The hole points directly toward the rear of the bicycle. A rod into that hole provides the leverage to move the pulley easily.

2. To remove the wheel you need a 15 mm wrench.

3. Once the wheel is off the bike, check if the axle turns freely. If the axle does not turn freely, or if it is too loose, the hub will not shift correctly. You may be able to correct this by adjusting the cones on the left side. The locknuts fit a 17 mm wrench; the cone is 16 mm.

4. Removing the cog. To remove the cog, you do not need to remove the fulcrum lever. Pry up the large circlip that holds the cog, and you can slip that and the cog over the whole fulcrum lever.

5. Removing the fulcrum lever. A small C-clip holds the fulcrum lever to its base, which resembles a washer with a flattened hole. Removing the C-clip is a pain in the neck and is NOT ACTUALLY NECESSARY. You can pull the whole fulcrum lever assembly off the axle together with its C-clip, washer and base.

6. You can now remove the cable pulley together with its dust cap.

7. You can now remove the cone locknut (17 mm wrench).

8. You can now remove the cone anchor, which resembles a washer with a flattened hole, but it also has two protrusions on the left (inner) side, which keep the cone from rotating. Note the two "(" shaped holes in the cone; the studes sticking up through these are the shift actuator. There is a spring that keeps the shift actuator turned clockwise; when you lift up on the cone anchor (you can use pliers, or pry the edge up with a flat blade), you will release this spring, so now the whole cone and shift actuator will turn clockwise.

9. You can now remove the driver, but first I would check to see all the balls are correctly placed in the retainer on the inside of the driver. If any have become dislodged, place them correctly and proceed. Note that there is a large but very thin wire C-clip, not mentioned in the Sturmey Archer part list or manual, around the outside of the driver. It does not appear to hold anything, so I guess it's some sort of a dust seal, and rather fragile, but problems can be caused by
Quote:
Originally Posted by jur View Post
... the ring under the plastic seal.
10. You can now remove the plastic dust cap by prying gently upwards with a flat blade screw driver. I found it helpful to replace the shift actuator at this point so it could serve as a fulcrum for prying off the dust cap.

11. You can now remove the large ball cage. It should just lift out. Be careful with it, it is rather fragile. Make sure it has all its balls; if any of them are loose in the hub, find them and put them where they belong.

I did stopped here, but jur did not:
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Originally Posted by jur View Post
OK here goes...

1. ball ring spanner: I made one using a piece of rectangular alum. tubing into which I tapped and screwed 2 M5 machine screws. The screws go right through the material and stick out a few mm on the other end, and those ends engage the semi-circular cut-outs on the ball ring. In the middle of the alum tubing between the 2 screws, a hole is drilled to allow the axle to stick through when engaging the ring spanner. The hole is just large enough, and when I put the ball ring spanner on, I fasten it down with an axle nut so it stays put. Remember to back off the axle nut when unscrewing the ball ring.

IMPORTANT: The ball ring has LEFT HAND THREAD! The manual is wrong!

You could try tapping the ball ring out with a hammer and screw driver. I tried that; didn't work, mostly because I was tapping in the wrong direction. So I made a spanner, and the spanner showed that no amount of force was unscrewing it. So I tried the left hand way, and presto! it came out.


I re-used all parts.

Grease is a problem. I got the best results with something called cable grease which comes out very thin from a spray can, then turns into a gel when the solvent evaporates. Everything else I tried just ran out again.

Very important: Do not make the same mistake as I and deform the ball retainers! Doing so ruined them, and no amount of fiddling could get them right again.

For your service, assuming all is OK with the gear works, don't do anything to the inner works, just remove it and set aside, leave the gel on it. It may be that all you need are new balls; they are standard size. Get rust-proof ones. Carefully pop the old ones out of their retainers, clean the latter and pop in new balls. Grease with ordinary grease and re-assemble the lot.

Work carefully with the plastic seal as it is plastic and can break.

Good luck!
Reassembling the hub, note that Step 9 in the Sturmey Archer instructions is also wrong. Fit the cone as described, then put the cone anchor over the axle and slide it down almost to its final position. It will not go all the way down because it is not aligned right. Now, holding the axle in a wrench, turn the cone COUNTERclockwise until the indentations in its visible side come into alignment with the flat surfaces on the axle. Turning the cone takes some force, because of the spring, so use a tool that provides good leverage. When the cone is turned to the right spot, you can press the cone anchor into its seat with very little force; even so, a third hand is useful at this point.

Disclaimer: I am by no means an expert in internally geared hubs, so what I have written may be full of errors. I write them in hope that someone will correct them, and perhaps add more useful information, especially links to information already posted in Bike Forums. Anyone?

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Edit:
If the above links don't work, you might try these:
http://www.heliosrace.cz/dokumenty/n...8-techinfo.pdf
http://www.free-coaster.com/assets/a...er_8-speed.pdf

Last edited by rhm; 04-30-10 at 06:25 AM. Reason: Added corrected links
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Old 01-14-09, 04:41 PM   #2
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I will add: If only servicing the bearings, the the ball ring spanner is not needed as the inner works do not need to be removed. Removing the inner works will only be necessary to clean off the grease-gel or make repairs. I would expect the grease-gel to last the entire life of the hub.

The bearings work fine with plain grease.

The large very thin ring or circlip around the driver is a royal pain. It causes the most problems, in particular it drags or becomes dislodged from its groove, causing drag. It becomes dirty, causing drag. In my case it does not seem very successful in keeping out water.

To improve matters, the last time I fiddled with it, I reduced its relaxed diameter a bit so it lodges a bit more firmly in its groove. That seemed to help quite a bit.
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Old 01-20-09, 08:18 PM   #3
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Thank you for sharing experience.
I am in very much need of it.
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Old 04-28-10, 10:59 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jur
IMPORTANT: The ball ring has LEFT HAND THREAD! The manual is wrong!
Does anybody know: Have all the XRF8-Hubs ball rings with left hand threads or did Sunrace change it somewhen?

I have to disassemble my hub because of probably serious damage somewhere deep inside and up to now I wasn´t able to move the ball ring, though I built a special ball ring spanner too and tried very hard...

Thx in advance!

Last edited by firstAid; 04-30-10 at 01:48 PM.
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Old 04-29-10, 01:01 AM   #5
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Sorry, I don't know the answer.

Did you try both ways? When I disassembled mine, I first tried unscrewing anti-clockwise (as for a right-hand thread) but though the ring at first moved a very small amount, after that it was firmly stuck. So I tried the other way and immediately it came loose.

My guess is that all the XRF8 hubs' ballrings have left-hand thread.

My homemade spanner had a very long lever, perhaps 40cm.
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Old 04-29-10, 06:00 AM   #6
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Thank you for consolidating the information. Do you know if everything applies equally to the newer XRF8-[W] vs. the original XRF8 as included on Downtube bikes?
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Old 04-29-10, 06:51 AM   #7
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Thank you for consolidating the information. Do you know if everything applies equally to the newer XRF8-[W] vs. the original XRF8 as included on Downtube bikes?
No, I don't. Concerning the loosening of the ball ring one of the XRF8-Informations definetely is correct
http://www.heliosrace.cz/dokumenty/navody/8spd-xrf8-techinfo.pdf (..."clockwise"...)
http://www.free-coaster.com/assets/applets/Sturmey_Archer_8-speed.pdf (..."counterclockwise"...)
(...if there still is a ball ring...)



Of course I tried both directions. My ball ring up to now didn't move at all, so I will build a bigger tool & apply more power. Before doing this I'd like to know the correct direction...

Last edited by firstAid; 04-29-10 at 07:20 AM.
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Old 04-29-10, 06:52 AM   #8
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I haven't seen a new one; what I do know is the newer one is a progression from the older, not a new design. So I would expect there to be commonality between concepts but parts sizes will be different.
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Old 04-29-10, 07:21 AM   #9
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Perhaps Sunrace will help with further information. I wrote an E-Mail to Amsterdam and to the german distributor & hope to get an helpful answer.
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Old 04-29-10, 05:46 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jur View Post
I haven't seen a new one; what I do know is the newer one is a progression from the older, not a new design. So I would expect there to be commonality between concepts but parts sizes will be different.
Whoa. The older, original XR*8 hub rotary shift disc wrapped around the bottom of the axle and pulled CCW to shift. The new, redesigned XR*8(W) hubs rotary shift disc wraps around the top of the axle and pulls CW to shift. Something is different inside.

Despite the redesigned XR*8(W) hubs being on the market for over a year now, AFAIK Sturmey has yet to publish to the public overhaul/rebuild instructions.

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Old 04-29-10, 06:19 PM   #11
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Whoa. The older, original XR*8 hub rotary shift disc wrapped around the bottom of the axle and pulled CCW to shift. The new, redesigned XR*8(W) hubs rotary shift disc wraps around the top of the axle and pulls CW to shift. Something is different inside.
Perhaps you misunderstood the meaning ... I know there are differences but what I also know is that SA didn't redesign the thing from scratch, but merely robustified it (is that a word?) and made other small incremental improvements, such as the gear change pulley and gear range. But it is still 3 planetary gear systems switched in and out of cascade.
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Old 04-29-10, 08:55 PM   #12
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So I would expect there to be commonality between concepts...
Ok, jur, have it your way. Which way does the ball ring screw off on the new XR*8(W) hubs?

Best,
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Old 04-29-10, 08:59 PM   #13
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Tech links in the OP are now dead. I have had trouble finding tech info on the SA 8-spd hubs, anyone here have a clue?
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Old 04-29-10, 10:57 PM   #14
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Tech links in the OP are now dead. I have had trouble finding tech info on the SA 8-spd hubs, anyone here have a clue?
I don't know, what OP means. These Links:
http://www.heliosrace.cz/dokumenty/n...8-techinfo.pdf
http://www.free-coaster.com/assets/a...er_8-speed.pdf

are still correct; I just checked them. You'll get there two different versions of orginal SA-Tech Infos concerning the old 8-speed hubs. If you can't open them, send me an E-Mail & I'll send you the documents attached to an E-Mail.

Last edited by firstAid; 04-30-10 at 06:01 AM.
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Old 04-30-10, 06:24 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by firstAid View Post
I don't know, what OP means. These Links:
http://www.heliosrace.cz/dokumenty/n...8-techinfo.pdf
http://www.free-coaster.com/assets/a...er_8-speed.pdf

are still correct; I just checked them. You'll get there two different versions of orginal SA-Tech Infos concerning the old 8-speed hubs. If you can't open them, send me an E-Mail & I'll send you the documents attached to an E-Mail.
OP is either Original Poster (that would be me), or Original Posting. But, at any rate, thanks for posting current links. I will edit my original posting to make 'em easier to find.
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Old 04-30-10, 08:15 AM   #16
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Oh, I see. The velovision-Link in your OP is broken as well. The current one is here:
http://www.velovision.com/cgi-bin/sh...l?storynum=715
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Old 04-30-10, 12:37 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by firstAid View Post
I don't know, what OP means. These Links:
http://www.heliosrace.cz/dokumenty/n...8-techinfo.pdf
http://www.free-coaster.com/assets/a...er_8-speed.pdf

are still correct; I just checked them. You'll get there two different versions of orginal SA-Tech Infos concerning the old 8-speed hubs. If you can't open them, send me an E-Mail & I'll send you the documents attached to an E-Mail.
that works, thanks!
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Old 05-03-10, 10:46 PM   #18
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I got it too. The OP and the loosening clockwise-version of the manual seem to be correct. The ball ring in my XRF8-Hub has a left-hand-thread too.
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Old 05-11-10, 12:47 PM   #19
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Here's the reason for my problems too:

I hope, I'll get the HSA628-Spare part & it's not too expensive...
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Old 05-11-10, 04:58 PM   #20
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Looks like the same planet system that broke on mine. This problem surfaced from time to time and the current hub is beefier, ie bigger gears which can stand more force.
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Old 05-11-10, 05:47 PM   #21
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I have two of these hubs, but have not experienced the trouble you guys have had....... yet?

It bugs me that these hubs had such a bad wrap like this but were still being sold by reputable LBSs, (mine were from Sheldon Brown's shop.)

The manufacturer should be held accountable.
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Old 05-11-10, 07:02 PM   #22
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In my case, I was sent a free spare semi-complete hub to strip for parts. I agree that this issue is a known design problem and must be dealt with so the user does not have to pay for spares. (Labour is another matter.)
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Old 05-12-10, 09:28 AM   #23
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Quote:
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In my case, I was sent a free spare semi-complete hub to strip for parts. I agree that this issue is a known design problem and must be dealt with so the user does not have to pay for spares. (Labour is another matter.)
is this issue inherent to the XRF8 in general ? is this IGH really that bad or just a case of 1 bad apple in a million apples ? i am concerned too as i am about to jump in and install an IGH (XRF8 in particular) on my Tikit. appreciate it.
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Old 05-12-10, 06:43 PM   #24
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is this issue inherent to the XRF8 in general ? is this IGH really that bad or just a case of 1 bad apple in a million apples ? i am concerned too as i am about to jump in and install an IGH (XRF8 in particular) on my Tikit. appreciate it.
I would choose the new hub instead of the XRF8. The problem was in the first generation of SA 8sp hubs. They did tweak the design AFAIK but there is only so much you can do. It is not guaranteed all hubs will suffer failure but they are not as robust as they should be.

The smaller the bike wheel, the less stress there is on those pinions. So the tikit would be slightly better off. But why chance it if the newer hub can be had for about $150 at aebikes?
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Old 05-12-10, 10:19 PM   #25
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If you want an 8-speed IGH, get a Shimano, they are much more solid
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