Noisy Sturmey Archer 3sp

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Mick F
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Noisy Sturmey Archer 3sp

Postby Mick F » 21 Mar 2017, 1:40pm

I have a 3sp SA CS-RF3.
http://www.sturmey-archer.com/en/produc ... rf3-silver

I fitted it in late January. It's done about 400miles so far.
Since fitting it, I thought it sounded very different to the 3sp SA of yesteryear. The bearings seem to rumble and drum, and there's no normal clickety-click in 3rd or 1st as the pawls click along with the planetary stuff. It just sounds "wrong" to me. Could be normal for all I know.

Also, with the bike stationary and the cranks rotating backwards at a good speed, the whole hub sounds horrible - or it does to me.
Plus, when freewheeling over a roughish road, the hub rattles like a good-un. Again, sounds horrible to me.

It works a treat, and I'm very pleased with it as a unit ............ it just sounds rotten when backpedalling or freewheeling. Under load it's fine ................ but silent without the clickety-click.

The cones aren't loose, and the cassette driver isn't loose either. The wheel spins very well too, so they're not tight.

I don't know, but I think it's getting worse ........ or it may be that I'm noticing it more.

Are these hubs normally noisy?
Is there not enough lube in there?
Could that be the issue?
The instructions are rather vague to say the least.
http://www.sturmey-archer.com/files/cat ... EEHUBS.pdf
Mick F. Cornwall

rjb
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Re: Noisy Sturmey Archer 3sp

Postby rjb » 21 Mar 2017, 4:01pm

This may be of interest.
viewtopic.php?f=5&t=43005&hilit=Sturmey+Tandem
Not the same as yours but similar. :oops:
At the last count:- Focus Variado, Peugeot 531 pro, Dawes Discovery Tandem, Dawes Kingpin, Raleigh 20, Falcon K2 MTB dropped bar tourer, Longstaff trike conversion on a Falcon corsa. :D

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Mick F
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Re: Noisy Sturmey Archer 3sp

Postby Mick F » 21 Mar 2017, 4:27pm

Thanks.
Doesn't sound too good then. :oops:

Just been checking ........... the rumbling awful noise when backpedalling is only evident in 3rd gear.
1st and 2nd are fine.

The bearings seem noisy freewheeling in any gear. They sound as if they are dry and worn, rather than lubed and new.
I think it sounds like it needs pumping full of grease to silence it!
Mick F. Cornwall

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Re: Noisy Sturmey Archer 3sp

Postby UpWrong » 21 Mar 2017, 6:12pm

Why don't you get Brucey to take it apart so we can learn more about its internals? :wink: I have an unused one in a box so am an interested party.

FWIW, others have reported a noisy freewheel on SRAM dual-drive hubs which still remain sound. The SA offering is meant to withstand higher torques that the dual-drive, so was probably the better choice for you.

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Re: Noisy Sturmey Archer 3sp

Postby Brucey » 21 Mar 2017, 6:16pm

Mick F wrote:
The cones aren't loose, and the cassette driver isn't loose either. The wheel spins very well too, so they're not tight.

I don't know, but I think it's getting worse ........ or it may be that I'm noticing it more.

Are these hubs normally noisy?
Is there not enough lube in there?
Could that be the issue?
The instructions are rather vague to say the least.
http://www.sturmey-archer.com/files/cat ... EEHUBS.pdf


The factory lube is 100% inadequate IME. So I'd recommend putting something else in there. If water gets into the hub the first thing that will go bad is usually the ring bearing; rumbling when freewheeling is a good sign that it is already a bit rough.

Also the traditional setup recommendation for a 3s hub is to adjust the bearings so that there is a tiny bit of movement at the rim. If there is no movement, it may be that the bearings are set too tight. To start with you won't feel that the wheel is stiff to turn or anything if they are set too tight; what will happen is that the bearings will get noisier and noisier as they start to break up...

So some lubrication and some adjustment experimentation would seem in order...?

cheers
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Mick F
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Re: Noisy Sturmey Archer 3sp

Postby Mick F » 21 Mar 2017, 10:02pm

Ok.
I'll bite. :D

What lube, and how do I pull the thing apart?
What about drilling a hole in the shell like in the old SA3p hubs and using oil?

The hub isn't in the least bit tight play-wise. Perhaps the tiniest bit of play.

It seems that I need bigger cone spanners to fit the lock nuts than the Campag ones I have at 13/14 (I think) and maybe they need 17mm.
Mick F. Cornwall

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Re: Noisy Sturmey Archer 3sp

Postby Brucey » 21 Mar 2017, 10:32pm

it comes apart just like an old-style sturmey archer 3s hub.

http://www.sturmey-archer.com/files/catalog/files/300/PART%20LIST%20-%20CS-RF3%20CS-RK3.pdf

You can buy a special SA cone spanner, but it is too short to be useful with a modern hub (which needs high torque to lock the cones, unlike the older versions) IIRC a 16mm cone spanner will be OK for the cones and a 17mm for the locknuts; measure up to be sure.

The major difference is of course the driver assembly. You can inspect all the bearings without removing the ball ring (#11) from the hubshell.

When reassembling, it is important to set the internal clearances in the hub. This is usually (NB there may be a variation to the method for this hub) done by tightening the RH cone finger tight (with the LH one backed out), then slackening the RH cone 1/2 turn before locking it with the locknut. The set the LH cone. Older SA hubs had a locking washer with tabs on to captivate the RH cone; I advise that (if possible) you fit this part to any new hub that lacks it, since occasionally the locknut doesn't do its job, which can destroy the hub. One of the symptoms is the 'noisy freewheeling in top gear' effect as described in the following para.

When freewheeling in top gear, if the ring gear (#7) turns with the hubshell for some reason (eg sticky grease, bad adjustment, loose RH cone), then the high gear clutch (#25) will override the dogs on the planet cage, which will make a fairly horrible sound. You can tell that this is happening, because the toggle chain will usually be thrashing around spasmodically too.

For lube, I suggest a semi-fluid grease with a much thinner consistency than the SA stuff, ideally with corrosion inhibitors and solid lubricants in it too. There is no need to drill the hubshell, since you can set the gear into top, unscrew the toggle chain, then inject the lube down the axle, using a grease gun. You can use gear oil instead, but this will need replenishment more often, plus the excess will leak out faster and make more of a mess.

hth

cheers
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Re: Noisy Sturmey Archer 3sp

Postby rjb » 22 Mar 2017, 8:16am

Sturmey Archer cone spanner!Image
At the last count:- Focus Variado, Peugeot 531 pro, Dawes Discovery Tandem, Dawes Kingpin, Raleigh 20, Falcon K2 MTB dropped bar tourer, Longstaff trike conversion on a Falcon corsa. :D

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Mick F
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Re: Noisy Sturmey Archer 3sp

Postby Mick F » 22 Mar 2017, 9:48am

Thanks muchly Brucey. :D

If people cast their minds back to my "Thinking of More Gears" thread, they'll know I had to reduce the OLN of the SA3sp to 130mm. I did that by removing one of the two locknuts #18 on the LH side.

Therefore, I MUST have had a spanner of sorts to undo it. My existing 14mm Campag cone spanner fitted the outer nut with the flat on #17. The locknuts #17 were - and now just the single one - is 17mm and quite thin, thinner than a standard spanner so won't go behind the #17. I must have used something ............ and TBH, I can't remember what it was. :oops:

If I concocted something, I must still be able to do it.

Stripping down.
Question:
I know I have to remove the LH cone assembly. # 15 to #19 inclusive.
If I also take off the cassette and #14 dust cap, and then undo the ball ring #11 (anticlockwise?), can I take the whole thing out, #13 driver assembly and all?

Any road up, you say I can remove #13 and inspect the bearings, so I don't need to strip down.

As for clearances, all I did was undo the LH side nuts and remove one, then tighten up again. I never touched the RH side at all, but it seems it could need setting up.

Reading what you've written, I reckon that there's nothing catching internally. The toggle chain is still and stable - (I held it whist turning the cranks back vigorously in 3rd and smallest cog) - and hasn't any sign of moving at all.

I reckon that the bearings sound dry - very dry.

Main question:
Can I inject some gear oil in through the RH axle with the toggle chain removed?
Could it be normal 20/50 engine oil?
Do I have to pull it all apart to clean it all first?
Mick F. Cornwall

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Re: Noisy Sturmey Archer 3sp

Postby Geoff.D » 22 Mar 2017, 9:51am

Brucey wrote:For lube, I suggest a semi-fluid grease with a much thinner consistency than the SA stuff, ideally with corrosion inhibitors and solid lubricants in it too. There is no need to drill the hubshell, since you can set the gear into top, unscrew the toggle chain, then inject the lube down the axle, using a grease gun. You can use gear oil instead, but this will need replenishment more often, plus the excess will leak out faster and make more of a mess.

hth

cheers


I, too, have a CS-RF3, but don't have any problems as described by Mick F.
But this reply from Brucey raises a thought. Is there a recommended oil/grease replacement period that is a preventative measure for such problems? And when I say "recommended" I include recommendations through practice, not just "by the book".

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Re: Noisy Sturmey Archer 3sp

Postby Brucey » 22 Mar 2017, 11:15am

Mick F wrote:
....If I also take off the cassette and #14 dust cap, and then undo the ball ring #11 (anticlockwise?), can I take the whole thing out, #13 driver assembly and all?...


yes, that will liberate the whole internal.

...Any road up, you say I can remove #13 and inspect the bearings, so I don't need to strip down.....

....I reckon that the bearings sound dry - very dry.

Main question:
Can I inject some gear oil in through the RH axle with the toggle chain removed?
Could it be normal 20/50 engine oil?
Do I have to pull it all apart to clean it all first?


Dry-ish bearings are not normally very noisy unless they are already marked up on the raceways. Adding grease will usually make then quieter though. If adding oil it can be almost any type if the alternative is nothing. Different oils may mix differently with the grease that is already in there, but either motor oil or gear oil will normally mix OK. The gear oil is substantially better as a lubricant for this application, but anything will do as a flushing oil. If you put a few more miles on it with oil inside prior to a stripdown, you won't hurt it, it will be easier to clean up, and you will be better able to see which parts of any damaged raceways are actually contacting the balls. If surplus oil oozing out looks brown and horrible, you know there has been some corrosion inside.

[edit; NB- important- if you remove the toggle chain, you must select high gear and turn the cranks forwards to drive the wheel round a few times (so that the gear has gone in) before you unscrew it. If you fail to do this, there is a danger that the toggle key may get out of position, which will necessitate at least a partial hub stripdown to correct.]

Just for fun I have put another 10K miles or so onto an SA hub with a bad ring bearing. I polished the driver and fitted new ball bearings, but the ball ring itself was badly pitted in a couple of places. It has always been a bit rumbly when freewheeling (and you can feel it through the pedals), but it has carried on working OK; I don't hear or feel the rumbling in the high or low gears, even though the ring bearing is also turning at this time.

Modern SA hubs use an acetal carrier for the ring bearings. If the races are badly marked, I would worry that the acetal carrier may fail at some point. This being the case, I'd suggest it would be prudent to consider fitting loose balls to the ring bearing instead, as per older 3s hubs. An issue with this is that the older hubs had an additional cover part to retain the balls. I don't think you can fit this part to a modern hub and use the newer style dustcaps. Without the additional cover part, the balls can perhaps escape from the bearing (outwards, or worse, inwards) whenever the LH cone is backed out. It is easy enough to have them stay put (using grease) when the hub is assembled, it is just later on that needs a little more care.

Geoff.D wrote: .... Is there a recommended oil/grease replacement period that is a preventative measure for such problems? And when I say "recommended" I include recommendations through practice, not just "by the book".


I make my own lube up, but of stuff that you can buy easily, the special grease that goes into land rover front swivels seems pretty good. If you want to, you can add gear oil to it to alter the consistency. Like oil, (and unlike the grease that SA use) if you add too much it will simply come out of the hub and make a mess without causing it to malfunction in the meantime.

Re interval; this is very much usage and conditions dependant. The (messy) 'total loss' approach to lubrication can mean that you don't have to open up the hub for years at a time; the excess lube emerging will carry contaminants away with it.

cheers
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Re: Noisy Sturmey Archer 3sp

Postby Mick F » 22 Mar 2017, 11:55am

I think I've sussed it.
Note the word "think".
Having a cuppa now, and then a spot of lunch, and then this afternoon will see me re-fitting the wheel and having a play with it.

I couldn't work out what I did about spanners, so scratched my (bald) head what to do. I took and old Raleigh multi-spanner that I'd ground out the headset flats to fit Campag some years ago, and ground out the cone spanner flats to 17mm. This fitted the locknut perfectly, and I could unlock the outer with my Campag 14mm cone spanner. I had mounted the axle in the bench vice cassette side down - having already removed the cassette.

I took out the whole of the LH side and peered in.
No issues whatsoever. The bearings were fine and greasy, and the bearing faces were fine and greasy too.
I refitted them loosely.

I then inverted the wheel.
The 14mm outer #13 came off fine and I could see that it was identical to the LH side #17. Therefore, the drawing isn't correct for my hub.

The #29 was a pig. :twisted:

It has 12mm flats on it, and put on my 12mm spanner and pulled. I pushed and I pulled and it would NOT shift.
In the end, I got hold of a short length of 22mm copper tube, shoved that onto the spanner, and tried again.
It shifted, but it was TIGHT.
Taking it off, the cassette holder driver #13 came off easily.
That too was clean and greasy and fine. Peering in at the bearings, they too were fine and greasy.

Therefore, the issue with the rumbling and the noisiness must have been that the RH bearing was TIGHT ........ VERY TIGHT.

All reassembled now, waiting for a test in the frame with the chain on.
We'll see later.
Mick F. Cornwall

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Re: Noisy Sturmey Archer 3sp

Postby Mick F » 22 Mar 2017, 1:14pm

Sorted. :D

It's still makes more noise freewheeling in 3rd, but nowhere near what it did before.
Test ride tomorrow maybe, but I'm confident that it's now sorted.

Next point, is WHY was it like that?
Why was the cassette-side cone HARD up against its bearing?
Mick F. Cornwall

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Re: Noisy Sturmey Archer 3sp

Postby Brucey » 22 Mar 2017, 2:57pm

there are only two adjustments

1) the internal clearance in the hub (right side cone setting, with left side cone loose) and
2) the left side cone setting.

unless the RH cone is wound in so tight that there is zero clearance (in which case the hub is basically jammed already) the setting (tightness) of the RH bearing, the ring bearing and the LH bearing are all set with the LH cone adjustment.

So either

a) your bearings were always set too tight or
b) the RH cone moved inwards

given that the RH cone wouldn't move easily, I'm betting on a)

cheers
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Re: Noisy Sturmey Archer 3sp

Postby Mick F » 22 Mar 2017, 6:02pm

Brucey, please forgive the precis of your post and the adjustments info too. :oops:

Brucey wrote:There are only two adjustments.
RH cone is wound in so tight that there is zero clearance, in which case the hub is basically jammed.
The ring bearing and the LH bearing are all set with the LH cone adjustment.
Your bearings were always set too tight.

Have I got this right?
Bearings - plural?
To my mind, it was the RH one that was the one that was tight, and not the LH.

The hub wasn't jammed but worked perfectly, but it was noisy and horrible backpedalling in 3rd gear, and much much much better now that I've released the RH bearing.
Mick F. Cornwall