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Sturmey Archer Symptoms

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Sturmey Archer Symptoms

Old 04-15-21, 01:31 PM
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Sturmey Archer Symptoms

Hey guys,

I picked up a 1953 Rudge and oiled the hub. It hasn't been ridden for a long time and is in pretty amazing shape for it's age. There's a couple of quirks that seem to be occurring that I'd love to get your opinion on.

Couple notes: The hubs been oiled, I've replaced the chain, and I can get all 3 gears while shifting.

1) If I pedal hard in 3rd, (like if I wanted to go really fast) the gear skips. Like a big chug.
2) If I'm working my way up a big hill and putting heavy pressure on the pedals, I can hear/feel the teeth of the gears connecting. Like a tick tick tick.
3) Bike feels a little more sluggish. This might just be because I've been a lazy pandemic person, but if does feel a little more sluggish than other 70's all steel hub bikes I've ridden.

Are these symptoms of a problem in the hub that some maintenance would help? More than just adding oil? Can I flush it without taking it apart? Is there a youtube video for that? I'm not eager to tear apart a hub, but I don't want to damage this or put more wear than necessary.

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Old 04-15-21, 04:00 PM
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A new chain skipping under pressure is a sign of a worn sprocket. Sturmey-Archer hubs will "tick" in all gears except first, as the higher gears mean the low-gear pawls are over-ridden. Or is the ticking something other than the pawls?
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Old 04-15-21, 04:35 PM
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I can thing of three different possibilities for high pressure pedaling skip with a SA AW.

1- The "gear adjustment" isn't correct. However this is generally seen with 2nd gear first and is a simple cable length adjustment. Even with modern IGHs that have little painted points to line up when the lever is in a certain gear I still check that the cog rotates faster, the same speed as or slower then the spokes are. One can also discover the range of cable length (threaded adjuster placement) that second gear starts to engage and stops being engaged then place the adjuster at the half way point to center the adjustment. This is handy when the indicator chain might have been changed to one of different spec. or the indicator shaft end is not viewable.

2- The pawls could not be fully engaging due to broken springs (they are really tiny/thin spring steel), the springs are displaced or the pawls are becoming damaged at their engagement end. Of these broken springs have been more common then the others but not common at all.

3- The clutch isn't staying put on the pinion ends because the clutch and/or pinion ends are rounded off or otherwise damaged. Again not very common at all Due to riding the bike with a poorly adjusted cable length and the clutch wasn't fully engaging the pinion ends for a long time.

Both Sheldon Brown's site and Sutherlands Manual have great advice to diagnose and fix many SA AW issues. However it's been many people's experience that these hubs are very robust is kept in adjustment and lubed periodically.

That last bit, the lube, can also be an issue. If the old lube has become gummy the internals might not be moving WRT each other as intended. I have overhauled more then one AW to find no wear/damage issues and on reassembly they worked fine. Andy
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Old 04-15-21, 06:28 PM
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Old 04-15-21, 09:27 PM
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Speaking strictly as an amateur, if you have to disassemble the hub, Sheldon Brown's site now has reproductions of Sutherland's manuals for old gear hubs including the AW, reproduced with permission. I have found these to be quite clear. Even if you never open the hub, Sutherland's manuals are works of art.
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