Strumey Archer hub freewheels both ways

Discussion in 'Cycling Equipment' started by Andy Key, Sep 30, 2003.

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  1. Andy Key

    Andy Key Guest

    A friend has a bike with a Sturmey Archer AW 3-speed gear. It's stopped working at all - i.e. it
    simply freewheels in both directions, regardless of the gear selected and even after I checked the
    adjustment carefully. It's the fully sealed grease-filled model without an oil port, so I couldn't
    very easily flush oil through. Completely dismantling the hub is not something I want to try - at
    least, not on someone else's bike when I might have to give it back afterwards! Is there anything
    else I could do to try and fix this before she has to take it to the local bike shop where they'll
    look blankly at her and say "Sturmey-what, grandma?"

    The bike's only a few years old and very little used, and while it's lived outside a bit, it's not
    been maltreated - no rust on the chain, for instance. Should the mechanism really be doing this
    after so little use? Much as I detest S-A products, I'd expect better than this from them.

    Any thoughts welcomed.
    --
     
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  2. Andy Key wrote:

    > A friend has a bike with a Sturmey Archer AW 3-speed gear. It's stopped working at all - i.e. it
    > simply freewheels in both directions, regardless of the gear selected and even after I checked the
    > adjustment carefully. It's the fully sealed grease-filled model without an oil port, so I couldn't
    > very easily flush oil through. Completely dismantling the hub is not something I want to try - at
    > least, not on someone else's bike when I might have to give it back afterwards! Is there anything
    > else I could do to try and fix this before she has to take it to the local bike shop where they'll
    > look blankly at her and say "Sturmey-what, grandma?"
    >
    > The bike's only a few years old and very little used, and while it's lived outside a bit, it's not
    > been maltreated - no rust on the chain, for instance. Should the mechanism really be doing this
    > after so little use? Much as I detest S-A products, I'd expect better than this from them.

    The later British production of these was, indeed much inferior to earlier units. (The new Taiwanese
    production from SunRace/Sturmey-Archer seems quite a lot nicer.)

    Most likely the problem is gummed up pawls, and short of disassembling it (which is much easier than
    many folks suppose) the only hope of fixing it is, indeed, to introduce light oil that may be able
    to thin out the hardene'd grease.

    For the hubs that lack oil fillers, the best way to lube is to unscrew the indicator spindle/chain,
    lay the bike on its left side, and drip oil into the end of the axle.

    Sheldon "Epicyclic" Brown +---------------------------------------------+
    | I am not young enough to know everything. | -- Oscar Wilde |
    +---------------------------------------------+ Harris Cyclery, West Newton, Massachusetts Phone
    617-244-9772 FAX 617-244-1041 http://harriscyclery.com Hard-to-find parts shipped Worldwide
    http://captainbike.com http://sheldonbrown.com
     
  3. Ted Bennett

    Ted Bennett Guest

    Andy Key
    wrote:

    > A friend has a bike with a Sturmey Archer AW 3-speed gear. It's stopped working at all - i.e. it
    > simply freewheels in both directions, regardless of the gear selected and even after I checked the
    > adjustment carefully. It's the fully sealed grease-filled model without an oil port, so I couldn't
    > very easily flush oil through. Completely dismantling the hub is not something I want to try - at
    > least, not on someone else's bike when I might have to give it back afterwards! Is there anything
    > else I could do to try and fix this before she has to take it to the local bike shop where they'll
    > look blankly at her and say "Sturmey-what, grandma?"
    >
    > The bike's only a few years old and very little used, and while it's lived outside a bit, it's not
    > been maltreated - no rust on the chain, for instance. Should the mechanism really be doing this
    > after so little use? Much as I detest S-A products, I'd expect better than this from them.
    >
    > Any thoughts welcomed.

    Your hub needs an adjustment, and possibly relubrication.

    To do the former, follow Sheldon Brown's excellent pages.

    To do the latter, take it to a shop. If you get that thousand-yard stare, try another shop. Repeat
    as necessary. If it is too far to take it, remove the wheel and send it to Sheldon Brown or Andy
    Muzi. Both know a lot about your SA gearhub.

    --
    Ted Bennett Portland OR
     
  4. A Muzi

    A Muzi Guest

    Andy Key wrote:

    > A friend has a bike with a Sturmey Archer AW 3-speed gear. It's stopped working at all - i.e. it
    > simply freewheels in both directions, regardless of the gear selected and even after I checked the
    > adjustment carefully. It's the fully sealed grease-filled model without an oil port, so I couldn't
    > very easily flush oil through. Completely dismantling the hub is not something I want to try - at
    > least, not on someone else's bike when I might have to give it back afterwards! Is there anything
    > else I could do to try and fix this before she has to take it to the local bike shop where they'll
    > look blankly at her and say "Sturmey-what, grandma?"
    >
    > The bike's only a few years old and very little used, and while it's lived outside a bit, it's not
    > been maltreated - no rust on the chain, for instance. Should the mechanism really be doing this
    > after so little use? Much as I detest S-A products, I'd expect better than this from them.
    >
    > Any thoughts welcomed.
    Likely the indicator chain is damaged and unable to move into either second or third, it being now
    in the neutral space between.

    Try removing the indicator. If you get a nice solid third gear with no cable it's probably OK. Get a
    new indicator and if needed a control cable.

    ps- it is not "grease filled'. Add oil (a few drops) through the axle when you have the
    indicator out.

    --
    Andrew Muzi www.yellowjersey.org Open every day since 1 April, 1971
     
  5. Ted Bennett <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:<[email protected]>...
    > Andy Key
    <cut>
    >
    > Your hub needs an adjustment, and possibly relubrication.
    >
    > To do the former, follow Sheldon Brown's excellent pages.
    >
    > To do the latter, take it to a shop. If you get that thousand-yard stare, try another shop. Repeat
    > as necessary. If it is too far to take it, remove the wheel and send it to Sheldon Brown or Andy
    > Muzi. Both know a lot about your SA gearhub.

    Oh come on! Its not magic after all. Anyone can remove the guts from an AW3 for oiling without much
    trouble (I use a hammer and blunt ended file - a few taps is all that it needs, bracing the wheel
    between my chest and the workbench).

    The process is much easier, and requires less skill and finesse than, say, changing a headset or
    bottom bracket.

    So...take the mechanism out, clean it, oil with heavy grade oil and replace, I suspect that no
    further treatment will be necessary, as it sounds like something is just a little gummed up inside.

    I would be very surprised to find any bike shop around here that couldn't sort this for you next day
    (one fairly local Mountain Bike Boutique being the exception that proves the rule).

    Andrew Webster

    [email protected]
     
  6. Andy Key

    Andy Key Guest

    Thanks all. I do know how to adjust it, having owned my own Sturmeys on an old Pashley trike and my
    daughter's trailerbike (the notorious 5-speed model), so it's not the adjustment and the indicator
    chain is undamaged. My own diagnosis matched Sheldon Brown's (pause to pat myself on the back and
    look smug). I did try dribbling oil between the seals, but I didn't try right down the middle of the
    axle, so maybe I'll give that a go before it goes to the shop. Still not convinced about
    disassembling it, though. Maybe it's those scary exploded diagrams in the books...

    --
     
  7. Andy Key

    Andy Key Guest

    In message <[email protected]>, Jim Adney <[email protected]> writes
    >Remove the indicator chain and the right axle nut, then you can pump oil down the axle. I
    >agree that is is likely to help. I also concur with Andy that I doubt if S-A ever made grease
    >filled hubs.

    I got that from one of my bike maintenance books, and it's backed up by the Sturmey Archer
    maintenance guide which specifies grease rather than oil. As I understand it, earlier models of the
    AW used oil, while the later ones use grease and are identifiable by (surprise) the lack of an oil
    port on the outside of the hub. It was news to me - I spent ages turning the wheel looking for the
    oil port on this one...

    >
    >While overhauling one of these successfully is not difficult, you're much better off finding
    >someone who's done this before, rather than just guessing at what all the tricks might be.
    >

    Yeah. Update on that: my friend took it to the better of the two local bike shops, where the
    mechanic said: "[sharp intake of breath] Oooh, I've never taken one of them apart before. Dunno
    about that. There's a bloke who delivers the local newspaper, he knows about stuff like this, bring
    it back next week and we'll ask him to have a look."

    So maybe I will have a go myself! What's the worst that can happen?...

    --
     
  8. Jim Adney

    Jim Adney Guest

    On Tue, 7 Oct 2003 22:24:30 +0100 Andy Key
    <[email protected]> wrote:

    >In message <[email protected]>, Jim Adney <[email protected]> writes
    >>Remove the indicator chain and the right axle nut, then you can pump oil down the axle. I
    >>agree that is is likely to help. I also concur with Andy that I doubt if S-A ever made grease
    >>filled hubs.
    >
    >I got that from one of my bike maintenance books, and it's backed up by the Sturmey Archer
    >maintenance guide which specifies grease rather than oil. As I understand it, earlier models of the
    >AW used oil, while the later ones use grease and are identifiable by (surprise) the lack of an oil
    >port on the outside of the hub. It was news to me - I spent ages turning the wheel looking for the
    >oil port on this one...

    The S-A literature has always had the suggestion to smear some grease on the ball bearing races
    (there are 3.) The rest of the hub is oil lubricated. I would expect the pawls to stick if grease
    were used and then allowed to age.

    While early hubs had metal oilers and middle era hubs came with plastic ones, the late hubs had
    nothing, but were meant to be oiled by dripping oil down the hole in the axle. I suspect that the
    lack of an oiler led lots of people to believe that they were suddenly maintenance-free by virtue of
    being grease filled.

    It's possible, however, that S-A actually DID start using a very light grease at some point.

    Personally, I suspect that you hub just went dry and the pawl springs rusted or froze so that the
    pawls are just sitting there, depressed and disengaged. You will probably need new pawl springs,
    called R-springs, which you can probably bend up yourself from some .010 spring wire from the
    hardware store.

    >>While overhauling one of these successfully is not difficult, you're much better off finding
    >>someone who's done this before, rather than just guessing at what all the tricks might be.

    >Yeah. Update on that: my friend took it to the better of the two local bike shops, where the
    >mechanic said: "[sharp intake of breath] Oooh, I've never taken one of them apart before. Dunno
    >about that. There's a bloke who delivers the local newspaper, he knows about stuff like this, bring
    >it back next week and we'll ask him to have a look."

    Right. Common problem in today's market.

    >So maybe I will have a go myself! What's the worst that can happen?...

    Worst case you're only out a wheel.

    If you want to try this yourself, start by completely removing the LEFT cone and then use a hammer
    and punch to unscrew the large ring (inboard from the sprocket) from the hub shell. After that,
    clamp the left end of the flatted axle vertically in a vise and proceed to remove the parts from the
    top of the "stack" one at a time.

    Disassembly is easy, assembly depends on remembering how it came apart. Proper operation afterwards
    depends on knowing what to look for when you have it apart.

    Once you get it open it will be obvious if this hub was ever packed full of grease. I'm interested
    in what you find.

    -
    -----------------------------------------------
    Jim Adney [email protected] Madison, WI 53711 USA
    -----------------------------------------------
     
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