Penrite SF Grease for Alfine 8?

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Roadster
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Penrite SF Grease for Alfine 8?

Postby Roadster » 7 Aug 2016, 3:23pm

My Alfine 8 is about due for its first service and I'm thinking of switching over to Penrite Semi Fluid Grease:-
http://www.moss-europe.co.uk/penrite-se ... 9029x.html
This is described on several suppliers' websites as being also suitable for LandRover front swivel hubs.
Has anyone tried this in an Alfine hub and with what results? Any reason why not?

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mjr
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Re: Penrite SF Grease for Alfine 8?

Postby mjr » 7 Aug 2016, 3:42pm

I switched to Land Rover front swivel grease in my nexus 3 hub and it certainly seemed to coat the innards more consistently than the recommended grease, but I've only had it to pieces twice in the months since switching (failing left bearing) and don't intend to inspect it so often, as long as it keeps working smoothly.
MJR, mostly pedalling 3-speed roadsters. KL+West Norfolk BUG incl social easy rides http://www.klwnbug.co.uk
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Brucey
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Re: Penrite SF Grease for Alfine 8?

Postby Brucey » 7 Aug 2016, 5:39pm

The Penrite SF grease appears to be a bit like the Castrol Spheerol EPL00 grease. This can be thought of as being similar to EP (hypoid) gear oil with thickeners and one or two other additives. It is similar to what SA use in their hubs too, but they don't put enough of it inside the hubs and it (for whatever reason, maybe they use EP0 rather than EPL00 ? ) isn't very mobile in the hub. All these greases are amber/brown in colour (a bit like Castrol LM).

I'm sure that you can use these greases in Land Rover swivels, in place of EP90 gear oil. Great if your swivels leak a bit if they have oil in them; they will leak far less. However if you do this, the grease will likely need to be renewed at intervals, just like the gear oil would be; they are similar quality lubricants. Renewal will be made difficult because EP00 grease won't easily drain out of the swivel hub.

By contrast Land Rover now specify a different semi-fluid grease, (that is also ~NLGI 00 rated) but that is also loaded up with solid lubricants, making it black and horrible looking, but very long-lasting. This is meant to be a 'one time only' grease, and there are plenty of 200k + land rovers out there as testament to the fact that this stuff seems to work OK.

So if you are going to use an off-the shelf SF grease in a hub gear, I'd suggest that you use the proper Land Rover specified stuff. You can buy it in sachets from specialist land rover parts suppliers.

cheers
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Roadster
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Re: Penrite SF Grease for Alfine 8?

Postby Roadster » 7 Aug 2016, 8:22pm

It's the "black and horrible" aspect of the Land Rover stuff that puts me off it, and its virtue of being long-lasting isn't a great advantage since I'd actually prefer to renew the grease every couple of years than simply rely on its claimed longevity. Besides, it does seem a tad overkill for a bicycle hub used only in dry conditions as mine is.
Provided the Penrite acts as a viable substitute for Shimano's "refreshment" schedule and is perfectly adequate for the job, surely it doesn't need to be any better than that, just for the sake of being...

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Re: Penrite SF Grease for Alfine 8?

Postby Brucey » 7 Aug 2016, 8:49pm

the problem is that we don't know what the specification of the shimano grease is, exactly. However you can take an educated guess that it ought to be a better quality grease than is necessary in an SA hub because the pinion pins in shimano hubs are, by and large, smaller and/or more heavily loaded than in SA 3s hubs.

Put it this way; I've seen a few worn SA 3s hubs, where the pinion bushings are visibly worn. These hubs were almost all of them run bone dry . By contrast I've seen shimano hubs where the pinion bushings were worn to nothing and the hub wasn't that old. Shimano hubs with a lot of miles on them that I have inspected have all been somewhat worn, so the standard lubricant is probably not adequate. In other SA hubs (eg 8s ones) they also have more highly loaded pinion bushings etc and they wear too, using a grease that is similar to the one you propose to use.

I take the view that, in any hub gear, especially shimano ones, you need the best lubricant you can use, and that it ought to be good and mobile within the hub, so that wear debris is carried away from wherever it is generated.

Gear oil scores on the second point and greases with solid lubricant additives score on the first point. Arguably a grease that is a thickened gear oil, however, is no better lubricant but can encourage the wear debris to hang around and accelerate wear at the most vulnerable positions in the hub.

Third-body wear is the pernicious mechanism by which hub gears can wear most severely. Lubricants with solid lubricant additives will suppress several of the mechanisms by which third body wear occurs, which is why the highest spec lubes (for low speed, high load conditions) all use them.

[NB you may find that the speeds for the other applications of your preferred lubricant are all much higher than in a bicycle hub, more of the time, and the peak loadings in a bicycle hub are as high or higher and always occur at the lowest speeds. This is a really tough duty cycle for lubricants.]

If you can use a semi-fluid grease (pref with solid lubricants) which has the right kind of thixotropy, it will allow debris to be carried away reasonably well whilst still giving the highest levels of protection. Go a little too thick, or a little too light on the low speed lubrication properties, and you can easily do a lot worse than that.

cheers
Last edited by Brucey on 7 Aug 2016, 8:53pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Penrite SF Grease for Alfine 8?

Postby mjr » 7 Aug 2016, 8:52pm

The Land Rover grease is more grey and syringeable than black and horrible and the sachets are 350ml or so and will last a pretty long time. I'm not sure why you wouldn't use it.
MJR, mostly pedalling 3-speed roadsters. KL+West Norfolk BUG incl social easy rides http://www.klwnbug.co.uk
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Brucey
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Re: Penrite SF Grease for Alfine 8?

Postby Brucey » 7 Aug 2016, 8:58pm

mjr wrote:The Land Rover grease is more grey and syringeable than black and horrible and the sachets are 350ml or so and will last a pretty long time. I'm not sure why you wouldn't use it.


I think the greyness probably comes from a graphite addition. It is certainly black and horrible by comparison with many other lubricants though; get any on your clothing and you'll live to regret it!

I agree there is no real reason why you wouldn't use it though.

cheers
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Re: Penrite SF Grease for Alfine 8?

Postby Roadster » 8 Aug 2016, 12:15am

Well, one reason might be that a bicycle hub looks much more like a gearbox than it does a swivel hub.
Another might be that we know as little about the swivel hub grease as we do about the Shimano stuff, whereas Penrite and Spheerol are at least verifiably conventional in their specification. Moreover, they're specified for other heavy-duty industrial applications, not just gearboxes.

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Re: Penrite SF Grease for Alfine 8?

Postby Brucey » 8 Aug 2016, 8:37am

the Penrite and Spheerol greases would be classified as 'not good enough' for a whole variety of low speed, high load applications. Read my earlier comments about speed and load.

We know very well that the LR grease is a better lubricant than that.

cheers
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Re: Penrite SF Grease for Alfine 8?

Postby mattsccm » 8 Aug 2016, 9:43am

Are you in a rush to know?
I can wander along the track to the/a Penrite unit some time today and ask.
I am trying some of their food grade grease as a chain lube. It melts to liquid very easily then goes solid again, a bit like Linklife does.

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Re: Penrite SF Grease for Alfine 8?

Postby Roadster » 8 Aug 2016, 8:03pm

Thanks but there's no point asking Penrite - they're bound to say it'll be fine! No rush either, but I do need to make the decision quite soon in the interests of preventive maintenance.

Presumably, a change to LR swivel (or other) grease would require total purging of the existing Shimano grease and therefore some dismantling of the internal assembly. That looks doable but not something I particularly want to spend my time on.

If Shimano's official WB oil weren't so ludicrously expensive, I'd just replenish with that but it goes against my principles and the cost really does stick in my craw. Nevertheless, I may just suck it up anyway if only for the sake of speed and convenience.

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Re: Penrite SF Grease for Alfine 8?

Postby Brucey » 8 Aug 2016, 10:20pm

if you want quick and easy, just sling about 50cc of EP90 gear oil into the hub. This appears to mix with the shimano grease reasonably well, and ought to keep the hub from wearing too quickly, for a while, anyway.

Excess oil will tend to leak out, (usually on the drive side) and may make a bit of a mess, so don't do this if you are in the habit of leaving your bike where an oil leak would be a disaster.

When you finally decide to clean the hub innards properly, you ought to find it easier to wash the lube out if you add oil as I have described and have run the hub for a thousand miles or so.

If you just want to clean the hub internally, in a shorter length of time, you could use ATF instead of gear oil. ATF isn't such a good lubricant but it does have a higher detergent rating than most EP gear oils.

When washing the hub innards, you can get the old lube out using a solvent. Just be sure that all the solvent is gone before you add new lube; solvents can significantly degrade the properties of lubricants.

cheers
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mjr
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Re: Penrite SF Grease for Alfine 8?

Postby mjr » 8 Aug 2016, 11:27pm

I did try mixing some of the wiped out factory lube and the Land Rover grease and it didn't do anything funny in a few days so I didn't worry whether I removed every last molecule of factory lube.

Of course, that may be why my left hand ring bearing failed!
MJR, mostly pedalling 3-speed roadsters. KL+West Norfolk BUG incl social easy rides http://www.klwnbug.co.uk
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Re: Penrite SF Grease for Alfine 8?

Postby Roadster » 9 Aug 2016, 12:27am

I'd already dismissed ATF as a permanent substitute for Shimano WB but like the idea of using it as a temporary flushing oil to soften and dilute the old grease.

Nobody bothers to dismantle chains into their many separate components for cleaning, so it seems equally unnecessary to dismantle the complex internal mechanism of the hub. I just agitate chains in a container of low-odour white spirit, allow them to drain and then dry them off thoroughly with a blast from a hot air gun, a method which works well and should also work for the hub internals.

This approach seems to offer several major advantages over Shimano's official procedure: first, it would wash out not only all the old grease but also importantly its contaminants; second, it allows the use of a superior replacement grease for reduced wear and prolonged service intervals; third, it makes a lot more economic sense; and last but not least, it would liberate me from the tyranny of the Shimano regime!

Thanks for that, Brucey - the more I think about it, the better I like the idea...

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Re: Penrite SF Grease for Alfine 8?

Postby rualexander » 25 Aug 2016, 6:44pm

Opened up my Alfine 8 hub today after two years since I lubed it by soaking in ATF (automatic transmission fluid) and applying lithium grease around the bearings and races.
Seems to have held up pretty well over the two years, my use of it is fairly light though, probably 1000 miles or so in that time, but including salted roads in winter.
I'll give it another overnight soak in ATF and put it back together again.

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