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Sram Spectro S7 2003 shifting issues

Old 01-20-23, 08:25 PM
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Sram Spectro S7 2003 shifting issues

Anyone have experience with this hub that could help me? Manual says 2005, but drum plate is stamped 2003. Don’t know which year it’s from or if it matters.

Im having difficulty with the clickbox shifting. I rebuilt the hub over the summer and I think the overhaul went fine. Everything is really smooth and the rod pushes in no problem, springs back well. Im at a complete loss as to what might be happening. I install the clickbox with the grip shifter in first gear, I can shift to 2, but I can’t tell if it is shifting or not. When I try to shift to third it is very difficult to do, to the point that I don’t want to force it for fear of breaking it.

The clickbox will shift through the gears if it isn’t installed on to the hub, but as soon as it’s on the hub axle, it has issues.

Really could use some help everyone.

Last edited by boneshaker78; 01-20-23 at 08:48 PM.
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Old 01-20-23, 09:13 PM
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There should be a spring loaded rod and an outer sleeve protruding from the axle with the clickbox removed. The fingers in the clickbox engage with the rod and sleeve and push on them to select the various gears.
You should be able to push the rod and sleeve both back into the axle without too much resistance and they should spring back. If you find you can not then something is wrong inside.
It is also important that the notch in the sleeve is correctly oriented so the fingers in the clickbox can properly engage. That is the job of the red plastic clip that fits over the axle.
If that clip is missing it will not work correctly.

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Old 01-20-23, 09:24 PM
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Originally Posted by Dan Burkhart View Post
There should be a spring loaded rod and an outer sleeve protruding from the axle with the clickbox removed. The fingers in the clickbox engage with the rod and sleeve and push on them to select the various gears.
You should be able to push the rod and sleeve both back into the axle without too much resistance and they should spring back. If you find you can not then something is wrong inside.
It is also important that the notch in the sleeve is correctly oriented so the fingers in the clickbox can properly engage. That is the job of the red plastic clip that fits over the axle.
If that clip is missing it will not work correctly.
Thanks for the reply. The rod pushes in and springs back very freely. I had the hub completely disassembled and nothing inside seemed broken or worn that much at all. I followed the manual instructions when assembling the rod, tube and red clip. It sounds like everything you mentioned is in good order. Some of what you mentioned does help to understand it better though. Thank you
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Old 01-20-23, 09:41 PM
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Originally Posted by boneshaker78 View Post
Thanks for the reply. The rod pushes in and springs back very freely. I had the hub completely disassembled and nothing inside seemed broken or worn that much at all. I followed the manual instructions when assembling the rod, tube and red clip. It sounds like everything you mentioned is in good order. Some of what you mentioned does help to understand it better though. Thank you
I took another look and made sure the red clip clicked in, actually engaged the way the manual says and it made all the difference. Shifting through the gears when attached to the hub axle. Not sure why I didnít think to make sure that the red clip was fully engaged, but thatís what seemed to be the fix. Iíll have to test ride tomorrow to confirm itís working correctly, but everything seems right now. Thanks for your help, understanding the importance of that red clip made me take a second look at it.

I know nothing about IGH, but this was one hell of a learning experience, going back 5 or 6 monthsÖ what a journey.
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Old 01-20-23, 09:55 PM
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It is shifting now through the gears, but something is clearly not right. I’m getting a tha-thup, tha-thup sound in 5th gear and it seems to continue freewheeling in 6 and 7. What a disappointment. Does anyone know why this might be happening?
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Old 01-20-23, 10:48 PM
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Well, I test rode it just now. This is what it’s doing.

1st and 2nd gear work as they should
3rd gear doesn’t work at all, just spinning with no gear engaged
4th gear works, but makes freewheeling sound while pedaling
5th gear works, but makes the “tha-thump” “tha-thump” noise
6th and 7th gear work, but make freewheeling sounds while pedaling

Seems really bad. So sad 😩

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Old 01-21-23, 05:01 AM
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You said you rebuilt the hub. If you removed the planetary carrier it is vitally important to Time the planetary gears on assembly. Failure to do so can result in broken sun gears. That would cause all kinds of issues.

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Old 01-21-23, 06:05 AM
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Originally Posted by Dan Burkhart View Post
You said you rebuilt the hub. If you removed the planetary carrier it is vitally important to Time the planetary gears on assembly. Failure to do so can result in broken sun gears. That would cause all kinds of issues.
Great video Dan, thanks for sharing. I wish I had seen this video when I was tinkering with the hub before, difficult to find anything on youtube about it.

I understand how important the planetary gears are. When I reassembled it, it seemed as though I had it lined up right, but it isn’t necessarily an easy thing to do without the guide and at the time I had no idea where to find it. It’s quite possible that is the issue, but given the fact that the hub has a poor history as well, no anti-rotation washers used for who knows how long, what riding conditions it was used under… it’s just too hard to tell definitively at the moment.

I suppose I have nothing to lose by opening the hub back up to see what might be going on. Anyone know where to find the guide they mention in the manual for aligning the planetary gears? Of course, with the video Dan has shared I have more confidence aligning them if i were to do so again anyway.

In my experience, Sram has pretty good customer service. I reached out to them and I’m waiting to see what they might have to say.

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Old 01-21-23, 06:12 AM
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SRAM North American support for gear hubs was pretty much non existent even during production let alone now that these hubs have been orphaned.
I wish you luck but I would not expect much help from SRAM
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Old 01-21-23, 06:26 AM
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Originally Posted by Dan Burkhart View Post
SRAM North American support for gear hubs was pretty much non existent even during production let alone now that these hubs have been orphaned.
I wish you luck but I would not expect much help from SRAM
Thatís not great news. I guess Iíll do my very best to see what might be happening. Thanks for your help Dan.
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Old 01-21-23, 06:31 AM
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Originally Posted by boneshaker78 View Post
Thatís not great news. I guess Iíll do my very best to see what might be happening. Thanks for your help Dan.
With regard to timing the planetaries, I made this video ten years ago showing my technique without the guide tool.
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Old 01-21-23, 06:34 AM
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Originally Posted by Dan Burkhart View Post
With regard to timing the planetaries, I made this video ten years ago showing my technique without the guide tool.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p9A8XWPzwVg
Yes, I found it very helpful. Unfortunately I didnít see it when I was overhauling the hub some 5 months ago, I wish I had seen it then. I hope it might come in handy now if I were to open the hub back up again. Thanks for making the video, I have much more confidence aligning the gears if I end up in that position again.
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Old 01-21-23, 07:57 AM
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Here is an image of the planetary gear alignment when I took a look inside. They appear aligned well to me, maybe I’m missing it somehow, but they look okay to me.
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Old 01-21-23, 08:16 AM
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Originally Posted by boneshaker78 View Post
Here is an image of the planetary gear alignment when I took a look inside. They appear aligned well to me, maybe Iím missing it somehow, but they look okay to me.
If the planetary carrier spins freely on the sun gears without binding, the timing is correct.
The one guy at Sram that might lend you an ear is Ed Nasjleti . That is if he still works there, I don't know. It was many years ago when I dealt with him.
He was always frustrated with Sram's reluctance to support these hubs.
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Old 01-21-23, 08:21 AM
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Originally Posted by Dan Burkhart View Post
If the planetary carrier spins freely on the sun gears without binding, the timing is correct.
The one guy at Sram that might lend you an ear is Ed Nasjleti . That is if he still works there, I don't know. It was many years ago when I dealt with him.
He was always frustrated with Sram's reluctance to support these hubs.
Good to know about Ed. I turned the gears and there was no binding.
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Old 01-22-23, 06:23 AM
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One thing I’ve noticed since inspecting the pawls is how one pawl springs back while the other one doesn’t very much. In these images you can maybe see some damage to the area where one of the pawls sits. When I initially took this apart that was one of the obvious problems with the hub, the one pawl didn’t spring back at all. I cleaned it up and added fresh oil, I thought it was back to working right, but now I don’t think it is. What kind of issues would one pawl sticking and not springing back cause?



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Old 01-22-23, 07:51 AM
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Well..🙄… after messing around with the pawls for a bit and the retaining ring it would seem that the pawls are hardly moving at all now and when installed in the hub shell nothing is engaging. It would make sense that 3rd might not be engaging if the pawl is unable to spring back into position properly. The question is why? What could cause this pawl to hang up like this? Did I misshapen the retaining ring? Is there damage to the body of the hub where the pawl sits? Is a pawl damaged?

I don’t think the pawls are damaged, they appear fine. The groove they sit in is a bit inconsistent on one side and it’s clear that one side isn’t springing back like the other, however, after messing with it some, neither side is springing back well. It leads me to believe the retaining ring might not be as round or robust as it once was from me removing it too much.

One thing is for certain… this is definitely one of the causes of the issues I’m encountering.
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Old 01-22-23, 12:03 PM
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Originally Posted by boneshaker78 View Post
Well..🙄… after messing around with the pawls for a bit and the retaining ring it would seem that the pawls are hardly moving at all now and when installed in the hub shell nothing is engaging. It would make sense that 3rd might not be engaging if the pawl is unable to spring back into position properly. The question is why? What could cause this pawl to hang up like this? Did I misshapen the retaining ring? Is there damage to the body of the hub where the pawl sits? Is a pawl damaged?

I don’t think the pawls are damaged, they appear fine. The groove they sit in is a bit inconsistent on one side and it’s clear that one side isn’t springing back like the other, however, after messing with it some, neither side is springing back well. It leads me to believe the retaining ring might not be as round or robust as it once was from me removing it too much.

One thing is for certain… this is definitely one of the causes of the issues I’m encountering.
I think the diagnosis is accurate.
The high speed pawls (which is another name for the pawls on the ring gear) only engage the ratchets in gears 4 thru 7. For gears 1 thru 3, the ring gear is shifted endways and the pawls are taken out of engagement with the ratchets.
This differs from the Sturmey Archer design that has tails on the ring gear pawls that are retracted from behind by the clutch.
When the pawls are disengaged from the ratchets, they run on a delrin ring inside the hub shell. Some models did not have the ring but I think most do.
The pawl spring needs to be fairly strong. I would check the sockets where the pawls seat for debris or burrs and also for any irregularities on the seat portion of the pawls and polish them up a bit.

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Old 01-23-23, 10:36 AM
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Here’s a video I made of the issues while the hub is in 3rd and 5th. Not engaging in 3rd and noise in 5th. I ran through all 7 gears.


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Old 01-23-23, 10:51 AM
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The pawls and the sockets they sit in are pitted and worn irregularly. I tried to sand them back with some lighter paper and polish them with compound, they are better but still rough enough to catch when you drag your nail across. They were springing back a little better, but still not the greatest.


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Old 01-23-23, 11:53 AM
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Originally Posted by boneshaker78 View Post
Hereís a video I made of the issues while the hub is in 3rd and 5th. Not engaging in 3rd and noise in 5th. I ran through all 7 gears.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1rnAY7AtTUY&t=2s
It has not been brought up yet, but I am assuming since you referenced the manual that the clickbox is properly adjusted to the alignment marks in 4th gear?
3rd and 5th gear both drive off the same sun gear, that being the smallest one. It is possible, or even likely that the engagement key is not properly coupling the small sun gear to the axle.
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Old 01-23-23, 11:57 AM
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Originally Posted by Dan Burkhart View Post
It has not been brought up yet, but I am assuming since you referenced the manual that the clickbox is properly adjusted to the alignment marks in 4th gear?
3rd and 5th gear both drive off the same sun gear, that being the smallest one. It is possible, or even likely that the engagement key is not properly coupling the small sun gear to the axle.
I did line up the line with it in 4th gear. Thatís a good thought Dan and something I will double check. Thanks for all of your help. Very few resources for information regarding this hub. Iím emailing Aaron at Rat City Bikes in Seattle, WA as well. Still havenít heard from Sram, quite possibly wonít, it was worth a shot I guess.
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Old 01-23-23, 12:05 PM
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Originally Posted by boneshaker78 View Post
I did line up the line with it in 4th gear. Thatís a good thought Dan and something I will double check. Thanks for all of your help. Very few resources for information regarding this hub. Iím emailing Aaron at Rat City Bikes in Seattle, WA as well. Still havenít heard from Sram, quite possibly wonít, it was worth a shot I guess.
Aaron was going to be my next suggestion. He is very helpful.
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Old 01-23-23, 12:10 PM
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I’m not exactly eager to completely disassemble the hub again. I had help the first time and a bench vise, but I don’t have that this time. It was quite the chore and some of it required quite a bit of force. I live in a small apartment and don’t have a bench vise or work bench at the moment, although I may run out and get one soon. Pretty obvious it should come apart again.
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Old 01-23-23, 12:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Dan Burkhart View Post
It has not been brought up yet, but I am assuming since you referenced the manual that the clickbox is properly adjusted to the alignment marks in 4th gear?
3rd and 5th gear both drive off the same sun gear, that being the smallest one. It is possible, or even likely that the engagement key is not properly coupling the small sun gear to the axle.
I know what the small sun gear is, but what part is the engagement key? What does it look like?

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