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  1. #1
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    NOISE! (angry sturmey)

    I'm getting close to that prestigious position of seniority; one who knows the inner workings of every component on his bike. Well, so far I've dealt with the easy bits. The other bits are scary.
    Following from the chainline thread, I was hoping that the chainline adjustment would eradicate a grinding noise that comes from some part of the drivetrain periodically. It's come and gone over time and I've often thought that it disappears in rain and when my chain is super-lubed. But apparently, at this moment in time, it appears to only happen in 3rd gear on my Sturmey Archer X-RF5 hub, i.e. neutral. It doesn't coincide with any particular part of the crank rotation, it just phases in and out semi-rhythmically, i.e. seems to be connected to the rotation of some component, every so often. So I figure it's got to be the Sturmey internals.
    When I first got this bike, it being my first encounter with hub gears, I wasn't impressed, I thought there was likely something mechanically wrong with the hub as the highest gear was ludicrously grindy. I had it serviced at a reputable bike shop and they told me there was nothing wrong, it just needed a little bit of TLC and that it requires fine tuning to get it to run as smoothly as possible.
    Well, over the last couple of years I've gotten used to how to adjust it to get the best out of all gears. . . but now it seems that there's something unhappy in 3rd gear. I don't want to pay another 30 quid for a hub servicing when probably all that's needed is to stuff a bit of extra grease in there. At the same time the exploded diagrams of hub gears look like Op Art, i.e. a load of wiggly lines. . . scary stuff.
    I'm wondering: if a gear hub uses grease and not oil does that mean it needs re-greasing every year or so? If so, surely it makes sense to covert to oil? And could I, Chagzuki, be up to this job or will I find, on attempted reassembly of the hub, that there's no way those bit could have ever fitted together in the first place?

  2. #2
    Eschew Obfuscation SesameCrunch's Avatar
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    I'm no mechanical genius (like BruceMetras or Jur), but I recently opened and rebuilt my first hub (Duomatic 2 speed kickback hub) and fixed a problem that was rather subtle. It's not that hard, but requires patience and care. I took photos of the part as they were coming out to help ensure they went back in the right way. My Duomatic hub is 40 years old, and documentation is not as good as your Sturmey Archer 5, I'm sure.

    Former frequent poster here, EvilV, used to oil his SA3 hub, even though it was a purportedly sealed. He drilled a hole in the hub body and put a cap on it. He would oil every so often through this hole. He swore by it.

    Go for it. It's fun and you get to learn something. Plus, the max financial damage is not that great.
    Last edited by SesameCrunch; 10-10-10 at 09:49 AM.

  3. #3
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    Fun, yeah. I like mechanical stuff, but I've only got the one bike and I kinda need the confidence to know that if I disassemble the hub it won't take me more than a day or so to get it all back together. . . this is assuming I can leave the shell laced to the rim(?). The sheldon brown site says most hubs can receive oil through the hollow axle, but that when converting to oil one should get rid of the prior grease first as there can be incompatibilities. If that's the case then I've got to open it up and clean it out.
    Are there any aspects of the rebuilding that call for extreme manual dexterity or specialist tools? The blood pressure tends to rise when one is having to hold 4 pieces together with one hand so that one can insert the fifth piece that stops the other 4 from collapsing, etc. . . that's the sort of thing I'm fearing.

    The other thing on my mind is whether it's the norm to have grinding sounds 2 years after the last re-grease or whether this indicates mechanical damage? If it's the norm then perhaps there's a way of injecting grease/oil without taking it all apart and I can forget about mastering the ins and outs of the hub for the time being.

  4. #4
    Eschew Obfuscation SesameCrunch's Avatar
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    I wouldn't recommend doing this on your only bike which you rely on for transportation. Patience and time are your friends when you're experimenting.

    I'll let others speculate on the sound. If I were experiencing it, I would oil or grease first to see if the sound goes away. If it doesn't, I would not let the sound go on for long with investigation. Metallic grinding sounds always worry me...

  5. #5
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    I lay my AW3 down on its side, take out the shifting chain,
    squirt a little oil in there ,
    sticks to stuff Phil tenacious Oil is what I have handy,
    then put the shifting chain back in.

    when it feels rough again, repeat. say annually or every 6 months ..

    have to be realistic its a '92 made hub , in a Mk2 Brompton bike, bought used..
    and its all plain bushings in there , only ball races are the axle
    and the sprocket driver to the freewheel mech. .
    Last edited by fietsbob; 10-10-10 at 12:10 PM.

  6. #6
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    Do you let excess oil drain out?

  7. #7
    Senior Member randya's Avatar
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    The new XRF hubs use grease, not oil. I think someone here already posted on converting an XRF hub to oil and discovered that there are no oil seals in the new hubs to retain the oil.

  8. #8
    Senior Member wahoonc's Avatar
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    Weren't any oil seals in the old hubs either...they depended on the grease at the bearing to help hold it in.

    Aaron
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  9. #9
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    I don't understand the planetary gear mechanism yet, I suppose it has to be the case that grease must spread through all moving parts once all gears have been engaged, i.e. so long as there's a substantial quantity of grease it'll spread? In which case the benefit of using oil is that it can flush particles/debris out. . . supposedly.
    I've only used a couple of different oils and greases but there's clearly some greases that are fluid and some oils that are thick. Would it be safe to assume I want something that's fluid but thick, whether it's called grease or oil?

  10. #10
    jur
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    I found some grease that starts out as a thin foam from an aerosol can. Open up the works, spray that in and allow it to work around by any means. That becomes thick enough not to run out.

    Regarding intricate mechs, there are 2 issues: One is the fear of the unknown, the second is tanking something because of ignorance. Read the service instructions and understand them.

  11. #11
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    Q: Do you let excess oil drain out?

    A: No as it spins internal gears meshing against each other,
    It squeezes the lubricant out thru the hub bearings, that are shielded , not sealed.
    but since the hubshell is larger[radius] than the exit for the leakage, it is only slight.

    Laying it over is because thats is the place where the hole is,
    only half the axle is hollow.

    Yup, its easy to remove just the cones and grease the axle bearings,
    without needing the hook spanner to open the hubshell .
    Last edited by fietsbob; 10-10-10 at 03:22 PM.

  12. #12
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    Any other recommendations as to the oil/grease to use? Would it clearly be a bad move to apply new lubricant without removing what's currently in there or would it be safe to assume that so long as we're talking reasonably fluid lubricant over (a fairly long period of) time the old will be flushed out?

  13. #13
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    A quick web search brings up a load of recommendations of motor oil but the finer points are lost on me. Actually, not really the finer points, I know nothing about motor oils; they seem engineered to run as consistently as possible across a range of temperatures and employ additives to achieve this. Which perhaps isn't at all what I want.

    Phil Wood stuff doesn't seem available this side of the pond and paying more than the price of the product in postage seems a bit daft.

    I've just been trying Green Oil chain lube ( http://www.green-oil.net/ ) on my chain. . . doesn't strike me as ideal for chain use but perhaps would be OK for a hub. It's on the thick side. Or maybe it solidifies over time, or goes rancid and I'd leave a trail of stench in my wake.

    And there's a few threads here in which synthetic ATF is said to be preferable to motor oil(?).
    Last edited by chagzuki; 10-11-10 at 03:55 AM.

  14. #14
    Senior Member wahoonc's Avatar
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    What ever you use in the hub, make sure it is NOT VEGETABLE BASED!! I don't care how "green" it is. For my hubs I run whatever is in my oil can at the moment, it is usually what was gleaned from the bottles the last time I changed oil on a vehicle, it can run the gamut from straight 30w to Rotella 15w-40 from the tractors. Some people swear by ATF. IMHO the best thing is a lubricant that is in there. I grease my bearings with the old brown grease, it stands up to the oil better.

    Is your sound a grinding or more of a roaring?

    Aaron
    Webshots is bailing out, if you find any of my posts with corrupt picture files and want to see them corrected please let me know. :(

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  15. #15
    Senior Member Russcoles11's Avatar
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    If its a grinding noise, you may want to clean the grease inside the hub to remove any grit etc. That will also give the oportunity to check everything is as should be inside. Then regrease inside, oil may work but the hubs are designed to use grease. Sturmey hubs should only need greasing when you do a major service, its not something that will need to be done regularly. If you decide to use oil, you will need to oil it more regularly as they are not designed to retain the oil.
    If you decide to strip the hub down there are videos on youtube that you may want to check out 1st so that you have an idea what your getting into. Make sure you can lay out each part as you remove it in a logical way so you can remember what order they go back in. It isn't essential to know exactly how these hubs work (it involves invisible gear pixies I believe) as long as you fit it back together and can spot anything that looks out of place or broken.

  16. #16
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    It's certainly not a roar, more of a grumble. A sore throat.

    As for being designed for grease, it seems the opposite is true. I don't understand why they switched to grease. . . and it begs the question of how often the hub ought to be regreased. If at all (they're supposed to be greased for life or some such slogan?).

    I think I'm best buying a knackered AW hub on ebay and messing with it before I move onto the 5 speed. Though I think I remember it stated somewhere that the 3 speed designs are quite different and much simpler than those with more gears so I'm not sure how useful a learning object it'll be.

  17. #17
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    Automatic transmission fluids. . . Dextron II and Dextron III. Fracking Dextrons.

    This is like a fractal, every time you fix one term you get a load of new sub-terms.

    Oh, hang on, those are non-synthetic and I'd want synthetic, supposedly.

  18. #18
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    Just had a quick ride, it's definitely only gear 3/neutral. For those that understand the mechanism is there any obvious sense to that, to do with neutral being somehow physically isolated from other gears?

  19. #19
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    Chainsaw bar oil has some sticky ness to it .. bought at the chainsaw store ..

    [though the firewood cutters and loggers, just use used motor oil in the chainsaw bar oil tank, around here]

    a 3 speed never disengages the gears, what changes is which direction the power flows thru.
    the roles reverse .. driving gear versus driven ... low is 3/4 of direct, high is 4/3rds of it.

  20. #20
    Junior Member Barcodezebra's Avatar
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    I've got an old Sturmey AW hub ('86) and I've got some Sturmey Hub Oil on order from my LBS (a Sturmey specialist). I'll let you know how that goes.

    Sheldon seems to reckon that "light motor oil" is the thing. 30w (whatever that is) Supposedly lawnmower oil.

  21. #21
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    I'm having to apply eyedrops as I've got a bout of iritis and they're blurring my vision. . . so isometric diagrams of hubs are even harder to read than usual.

    I've just checked that the axle on my X-RF5 is indeed hollow at both ends: it is. So at what point, if oil is delivered through the axle, does it find it's way to the cogs?


    A bike shop told me today that they recommend servicing sturmey hubs every 18 months. If I didn't do that myself it'd end up costing a lot of money and would be a PITA.
    Last edited by chagzuki; 10-12-10 at 03:28 PM.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by chagzuki View Post
    A bike shop told me today that they recommend servicing sturmey hubs every 18 months. If I didn't do that myself it'd end up costing a lot of money and would be a PITA.
    i thought IGH are maintenance free ? or just putting oil as a maintenance ?

  23. #23
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    Maintenance free except for every 18 months? Obviously bike shops have a vested interest in generating custom. . . Harrumph.

  24. #24
    jur
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    I would just put a few drops of oil down the hollow axle every few months. The oil will find its way around everything. The noise is unlikely to stop, I also have a noisy 3sp which stayed that way no matter how much I tried to fix it. Sometimes there is a bit of internal rub but it should not be a big issue unless it drags terribly.

  25. #25
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    So Jur, you don't think it'd be a crime against Lubrication to add some oil on top of whatever grease is already in there?

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