Sturmey archer aw slipping in high gear

Discussion in 'Cycling Equipment' started by omnibolg, Sep 7, 2009.

  1. omnibolg

    omnibolg New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2009
    Messages:
    3
    Likes Received:
    0
    Hello,

    I've done some searching across the internet for answers to my problem, but I've had variable joy. I'm running around on a nice Triumph 3-speed 80s steel frame bike, and it's absolutely perfect for me as a 6-mile-a-day commuter and general utility/leisure cyclist - smooth, sturdy, comfortable and fun. Lately however the AW hub has been slipping, but in an unusual place - top gear. When I first started riding the AW I went through the inevitable learning curve of cable tension adjustment, and had it just about perfect, all the gears engaged fine and there was no problem. But this problem doesn't seem to be about cable adjustment.

    I'm fairly certain of this, as I tested it with the cable disconnected, ie with the gears deliberately 'stuck' in 3rd... still it would disengage every now and again, with no rhyme or reason as to why - whether I was putting lots of pressure on the pedals or just cruising with very light pressure, it still slips about for between a quarter and a half a turn before coming back in. Sometimes it will do this on every 3 rotations, sometimes i can ride 30 seconds without it happening. It's frustrating as without being reliable I won't use the gear, just in case.

    I checked out the AW manual online (here) and the fault diagnosis chart says it's either worn clutch or pinion pins, a weak or distorted clutch spring or something to do with the cone adjustment. Now I've only ever watched a hub being taken apart once - and even then only as far as getting to a bunch of bearings, which were obviously worn down (they looked like little silver nerds). That particular hub and its wheel sits in the house, ready for... well, i'm not sure what, actually. The point is it looked blimmin' hard and blimmin' baffling, not to mention daunting.

    Anyway, i'm no mechanic, but i'm wondering if there are a few simple things i can try before giving it to someone who is, or perhaps even trying something more daring. Where do i start? 1st and 2nd gears are fine so it's rideable, but i do love that extra 33% for going down the hills of north london, as well as cruising the flats!

    I hope someone can help. apologies for the lack of brevity to this, my first post.

    Cheers!!
     
    Tags:


  2. curby

    curby New Member

    Joined:
    May 9, 2006
    Messages:
    218
    Likes Received:
    0
    A hundred years ago (really only 20) I overhauled a Sturmey Archer 3sp hub for the 1st time. Using a manual very similar to the one in your link it was not too difficult at all. Only thing I would be worried about is parts availability. If you get it disassembled and are stymied I would think a good mechanic could get it back together for you, perhaps for less $$ than if you gave them the whole job...

    good luck
     
  3. omnibolg

    omnibolg New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2009
    Messages:
    3
    Likes Received:
    0
    interesting... I'm gonna wheel past my not-so-local LBS tonight, see what they say... I am extremely limited cash-wise, but seeing as I am more limited in terms of patience and mechanical nous I should find out what's a realistic cost for the job as I am more than fearful of fudging things seriously and condemning myself to a week - or longer? - of bus travel... i guess i was praying for an easy solution to luck out with. something along the lines of "stick some oil in" or "try blinking hard as you shift"...
     
  4. garage sale GT

    garage sale GT New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2006
    Messages:
    1,680
    Likes Received:
    3
    I have never worked on an AW but some say a 3 speed can gum up after a while if the wrong oil is used. Since it would cost you very little, I would put a few squirts of some sort of solvent into the hub and spin it in each gear, then leave the bike leaning to the right with a rag wrapped around the end of the hub to catch the mess. There might be some buildup in there.

    I don't know how it is where you are but a new, basic quality wheel with a three speed hub costs around $100 in the US through the mail.
     
  5. Akadat

    Akadat New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2006
    Messages:
    266
    Likes Received:
    4
    The four-legged star thingy inside the hub will have rounded-off corners. Grind the leading edges of the legs equally to a sharp edge and give them a little rake while your'e at it (ie make the leading edges more prominent as well as sharp).

    In my experience this is a common problem with SA slipping out of 3rd gear. Grinding the star as best possible by eye is the solution.
     
  6. garage sale GT

    garage sale GT New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2006
    Messages:
    1,680
    Likes Received:
    3
    Wouldn't you say that if you have the thing apart, it's better to just buy a new star and the pawls (?) it goes up against?

    Sturmey AW's were accused of having a problem with top gear slippage even when new, true or not, and they changed the design in the 1980s when they came out with their heavy duty bmx 3 speed (they changed all the AW's, not just the bmx at that point). The new Taiwan Sturmeys have the change incorporated in them. The surfaces are angled so that the force of pedaling causes them to be forced into alignment.

    Don't know about England, but I know harriscyclery.net (Sheldon Brown's store) has the parts you'd need. I am sure you could find Sturmey experts there easier than here in the US.
     
  7. 51.50

    51.50 New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2009
    Messages:
    10
    Likes Received:
    0
    I agree with "garage sale GT" the wrong oil could cause the problem especially in cold weather. If you haven't lubricated the hub possibly some corrosion? I disassembled/ reassembled my 3 speed hub recently. I would recommend you disassemble from the side opposite the sprocket.
     
  8. garage sale GT

    garage sale GT New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2006
    Messages:
    1,680
    Likes Received:
    3
    Some say a certain grade of "3-in-1" oil is or was made of vegetable oil and will gum up the hub.
     
  9. omnibolg

    omnibolg New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2009
    Messages:
    3
    Likes Received:
    0
    thanks, guys! Obviously then the first step to eliminate possibilities is to clean, as garageGT says, and then lubricate. when i went to the not-so LBS the guy there basically trotted out the standard SA "can't help you mate, sorry" line, told me to lubricate (he was insistent on 3-in-1, I have halfords branded bike oil, which he dismissed with a snort) and then adjusted my cable as he thought it too tight (it wasn't, and 2 minutes down the road I was readjusting after it wouldn't hold a gear). Apparently there's one place in London that repairs 3-speeds, but it's all the way across town and 'won't be cheap'.

    So, cleaning and lubricating: A solvent... like wd-40? And then some 'proper oil'. Then if that fails (which, if the historical precedent as suggested by akadat holds true, is more than likely) I'll think about opening it up, a daunting task. I know a guy who seems to have taken his share of AW hubs apart in his life, maybe i could seek his guidance through the process... looking at the manual, the 'star thingy' (i think this is the clutch?????) is a fair few parts in.

    Further down the road then, what tools would i need? I have basic bike spanners, and a shoddy ikea adjustable that only seems to go up to about an inch. I'm assuming this won't be enough. Like I said, I'm no mechanic!
     
  10. garage sale GT

    garage sale GT New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2006
    Messages:
    1,680
    Likes Received:
    3
    You will need at least one cone wrench to readjust the bearing cones. Other than that I think you are good to go.
     
Loading...
Loading...