Sturmey Archer SRF3 hub crunching & slipping.

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a1b2c3

Sturmey Archer SRF3 hub crunching & slipping.

Postby a1b2c3 » 26 Jun 2020, 10:33am

I bought an SRF3 hub new from Amazon for an old Raleigh Esquire. I think the frame worthy of investment. I've fitted aluminium rims and brakes as well. From the very first pedal stroke first gear crunched with a loud metallic cracking sound and slipped. When I say loud, I mean loud enough for people and their dogs on the adjoining pavement to recoil in alarm. After a few weeks, second gear also started slipping though didn't crunch - this was less embarrassing but more dangerous because of greater speed with sudden interrupted pedal stroke. This happened not just when changing gear or after freewheeling but even under consistent load.

I had aligned the indicator as advised by the included instructions and then adjusted by quarter turns in and out in an effort to fine tune the problem away. The problem persisted. On further inspection the right cone seemed loose so I loosened the left cone, tightened the right cone, backed it off a quarter turn and fitted an anti-rotation washer - the type fitted to the English made AW hubs - then tightened the left cone. The problem persisted. I backed off the right cone a half turn... three quarter turn... the problem persisted. I removed the mechanism from the shell and wiped off several large dollops of grease that resided directly atop the pawls. The problem persisted. I tried using the included Sachs style pulley wheel for the indicator. A different right axle nut. I searched this forum and others for help. Nothing fixed the problem.

After some weeks of wasting my time I contacted Sturmey Archer who, after two weeks and a further request for help, advised me to return the hub to the retailer which I have done. I don't know anyone else with this hub. I don't know if the hub is badly designed or badly manufactured or if I was unlucky but, regardless of the reason, Sturmey Archer customer service is unacceptable and I won't get my time back so, never again Strumey Archer. Never again!
Last edited by a1b2c3 on 1 Jul 2020, 5:57pm, edited 1 time in total.

amediasatex
Posts: 765
Joined: 2 Nov 2015, 12:51pm
Location: Sunny Devon! just East of the Moor

Re: Sturmey Archer SRF3 hub crunching & slipping.

Postby amediasatex » 26 Jun 2020, 12:08pm

I know hindsight is a wonderful thing but you should always contact the retailer first as its them you have the contract/relationship with, and often they will replace faulty items and deal with getting recompense from the supplier or manufacturer themselves later.

A good retailer will sort all your problems for you promptly without you ever having to contact the manufacturer.

With items that have faults from new or vey soon after it’s also generally better to contact them as soon as issues appear rather than attempting to fix or waiting for it to get worse.

Hopefully you have a replacement on the way to you and it was a one off dodgy hub.

Brucey
Posts: 39408
Joined: 4 Jan 2012, 6:25pm

Re: Sturmey Archer SRF3 hub crunching & slipping.

Postby Brucey » 26 Jun 2020, 12:24pm

crunching = more damage. Always.

So if you ride the bike with the hub making crunching sounds 'for a few weeks', that would definitely have broken it, regardless of the original state of the hub. What exactly were you thinking? That it is 'normal'? That it might 'make it better' somehow? ANY HUB will break if you ride it around whilst it is making noises of that sort.

If you are willing to do that, you might as well have started hitting it with a hammer; it would have done it about as much good.

Riding it around whilst it is making crunching sounds and then later, (when the problem is obviously worse) expecting 1/4 turns on adjustment to make any difference is just madness. So is installing parts which are intended to forestall damage when it is already too late.

Once you have returned your box of shrapnel to SA it won't be possible to determine what problem(s) existed from the start.

SA in Taiwan don't have an unimpeachable reputation of quality and reliability. But I can tell you one thing; and that is that bad adjustment will break the hub more quickly than anyone might imagine. All it takes is for the gear cable assembly to be bad (eg the housing sitting on the edge of one ferrule) and for the adjustment to be bad in first gear and that will do it. Gear cables -especially if installed by novice mechanics- tend to go out of adjustment very quickly, e.g. instantly.

The usual course of events is that the adjustment goes out and when you think you are in first gear you are actually half-way between first and second. The high gear pawls may be half-engaged. The result is that the hub drives in first gear but makes lots of (very obvious) horrible noises. Those noises are the sound of the hub breaking. After a period of use like this the high gear pawls will be damaged and you will lose second gear, by which time the hub is full of bits of broken metal.

It is possible that the hub was faulty from the start. But I'd say it was much more likely that the adjustment was bad from the start and that this is what broke the hub. A common issue is that the cable goes out of adjustment by dint of a shift being forced into first gear under load. All it takes is for the cable housing to move or settle by ~2mm and this will cause first gear to become noisy as described above. What you do then is that you immediately double-check the adjustment and/or take the bike to a competent mechanic. What you don't do is carry on riding the bike when it is making horrible noises until the hub breaks properly.

Even now your broken hub could probably be repaired with a few pound's worth of spare parts.

My advice is that you shouldn't buy any IGH; similar treatment will break it. You will also break derailleur transmissions.

cheers
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~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Brucey~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

a1b2c3

Re: Sturmey Archer SRF3 hub crunching & slipping.

Postby a1b2c3 » 26 Jun 2020, 1:06pm

Edited.
Last edited by a1b2c3 on 1 Jul 2020, 5:56pm, edited 1 time in total.

Brucey
Posts: 39408
Joined: 4 Jan 2012, 6:25pm

Re: Sturmey Archer SRF3 hub crunching & slipping.

Postby Brucey » 26 Jun 2020, 1:44pm

FWIW you don't report if you used a new 3s shifter or the old one. This is important because the cable pulls are not exactly the same. If you use an old shifter with a new hub this can (at best) make the adjustment incredibly sensitive, at worst it can make it nearly impossible to set the hub up properly.

You can say what you like but if you expect any bicycle transmission to carry on working at all, (leave alone not be merrily smashing itself to bits) whilst it is making noises such as you described, you are living in a world of fantasy. It should have been perfectly obvious that there was something very wrong.

BTW if you had been riding an old (pre NIG) hub with either the correct shifter or a new one, the usual outcome of bad adjustment is that the gear slips in second, under high load only to start with. When this happens it is expected that you will do something about it, rather than carry on riding the hub until it breaks, or you have an accident. This design was manufactured for 63 years and is almost certainly the most numerous hub gear on the planet. To describe this as 'too dangerous to rely on' is about the daftest thing I have ever heard in my entire life.

The SRF3 hub makes noise in first gear when it is badly adjusted (even slightly out if an older pattern shifter is used) and if you carry on riding the hub it will break. You shouldn't need to be told that, the panoply of noises should make that perfectly evident. Nonetheless I consider it to be an inferior design than the pre NIG hub because some folk are daft enough to ignore the noises and carry on trying to ride the bike until the hub breaks.

BTW if you use a torpedo hub with the wrong shifter and/or out of adjustment, that will break too.

Berating me for pointing out the b.obvious is not a reasonable thing to do. I have said that SA don't have an unimpeachable QA record. However as things stand I would say that there is about a 1/1000 chance that you had 'a bad hub' and about a 999/1000 chance that there was nothing wrong with the hub before you broke it.

cheers
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~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Brucey~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

a1b2c3

Re: Sturmey Archer SRF3 hub crunching & slipping.

Postby a1b2c3 » 26 Jun 2020, 2:41pm

Edited.
Last edited by a1b2c3 on 1 Jul 2020, 5:56pm, edited 1 time in total.

Brucey
Posts: 39408
Joined: 4 Jan 2012, 6:25pm

Re: Sturmey Archer SRF3 hub crunching & slipping.

Postby Brucey » 26 Jun 2020, 2:54pm

a1b2c3 wrote: <SNIP>

No you have not read what I've written. Just in case you missed it the implied question;

Did you use the original shifter?

BTW I have ridden at least six figure mileages on those hubs that are 'too dangerous to rely on'.... :roll: :roll:

And BTW I am genuinely interested to know what was going through you mind when you decided to carry on riding the bike for weeks even though it was 'crunching and slipping'.

cheers
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~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Brucey~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

a1b2c3

Re: Sturmey Archer SRF3 hub crunching & slipping.

Postby a1b2c3 » 26 Jun 2020, 4:43pm

Edited.
Last edited by a1b2c3 on 1 Jul 2020, 5:55pm, edited 1 time in total.

Brucey
Posts: 39408
Joined: 4 Jan 2012, 6:25pm

Re: Sturmey Archer SRF3 hub crunching & slipping.

Postby Brucey » 26 Jun 2020, 5:42pm

FWIW I agree the old pattern trigger shifter is nicer to use. They still list this pattern of shifter (as compatible with current hubs, HSJ762) but it is unclear to me if it has the same cable pull as the other current shifters.

The current (nice-looking) SA aluminium DT, bar end, and thumbshifters all have the same problems which are relatively benign when used with current 3s hubs but eventually cause problems with older 3s hubs and very quickly cause catastrophic problems with 5s hubs.

Q. is there a date code on the new hub? If the hub was NOS then it might have had slightly dried grease inside it; this could possibly have caused pawl slippage. It doesn't take many slips before the pawl tips are likely to be damaged. If the hub slips or makes noise there will have been a fault with either it or the adjustment; if you didn't see a fault in the internal then it may have been an adjustment problem or the fault inside the hub may have been a subtle one.

I guess the most suitable hub for any given user will vary with locality. If SA hubs are rare in Denmark then maybe another type of 3s hub will work better for you.

In the UK they are very easy to get spare parts for, and there are plentiful supplies of used parts and hubs etc too. All 3s hubs are fairly simple inside but if you can't get spare parts this makes them more difficult to live with and repair. Sachs/SRAM hubs are no longer made and shimano spares don't include small parts such as pawls and springs. So if you run Sachs/SRAM hubs you are reliant on used parts and a dwindling supply of new ones, and with shimano again used parts and a poor supply of new ones.

I am prepared to put up with the occasional problem with SA 3s hubs because the spare parts supply is good, and they are easy to repair; even quite serious problems don't result in pervasive damage inside the hub, provided the thing is not ridden too far once a fault becomes apparent. SA 3s are (unlike Shimano) available with nice aluminium hubshells which are easier to build into good wheels than steel hubshells.

It is a shame that you are 'anti' the pre-NIG design; this is much simpler internally and much easier to repair. You can install a pre-NIG internal into an SRF3 hubshell. You can currently buy a complete new (NOS) pre-NIG AW hub for £20 and a longer axle for less than £15. This can be transplanted into an SRF3 hubshell.

cheers
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~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Brucey~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

nigelnightmare
Posts: 675
Joined: 19 Sep 2016, 10:33pm

Re: Sturmey Archer SRF3 hub crunching & slipping.

Postby nigelnightmare » 26 Jun 2020, 7:07pm

a1b2c3 wrote: <SNIP>

I'm sorry but I have to agree with @Brucey on this,
Especially as you stated that it made this noise from the very first turn of the pedals! (Something was not right)

If you could not figure out why it was doing this, you should have taken it to a competent bicycle mechanic for testing & if faulty returned it to the retailer for replacement or a refund.

Riding it whilst making a LOUD noise for a FEW WEEKS was completely INSANE!
Then trying different fixes AFTER second gear started slipping as well!
A Pointless waste of time, money & effort.

It's like "Closing the stable door AFTER the horse has bolted".

Brucey
Posts: 39408
Joined: 4 Jan 2012, 6:25pm

Re: Sturmey Archer SRF3 hub crunching & slipping.

Postby Brucey » 27 Jun 2020, 3:29pm

a1b2c3 wrote:…. Any gearbox that slips out of gear when under an expected load is of bad design.....


FWIW I don't think there is any means of transmitting drive from a crankset to a rear wheel which is completely proof against problems should it be neglected or badly maintained.

All you can hope for is that

a) potential problems are obvious (which they cannot always be, I would say) and/or
b) that you get some kind of fair warning that problems exist or are imminent
c) that the transmission doesn't suffer irrevocable damage in the meantime.

IMHO both pre-NIG and NIG SA 3s models do give fair warning that there are problems and serious damage is imminent. However it seems more likely that a NIG 3s hub will be ridden to the point of total failure, because there is more likely to be some (noisy, worrying-sounding) drive rather than none, right up until the mechanism is really seriously damaged.

In the UK about one in thirty IGHs are SRAM/Sachs type. I don't have a big downer on them by any means but I would say in proportion to the number in use, they are about as likely to go wrong (or more in some models) as any other IGH. Some models have got built-in design and construction flaws that mean problems are either quite likely or absolutely inevitable.

cheers
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~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Brucey~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

a1b2c3

Re: Sturmey Archer SRF3 hub crunching & slipping.

Postby a1b2c3 » 27 Jun 2020, 9:32pm

Edited.
Last edited by a1b2c3 on 1 Jul 2020, 5:54pm, edited 1 time in total.

Brucey
Posts: 39408
Joined: 4 Jan 2012, 6:25pm

Re: Sturmey Archer SRF3 hub crunching & slipping.

Postby Brucey » 28 Jun 2020, 2:05am

a1b2c3 wrote: ...I have a new 1990s English made "pre-NIG" AW hub that I bought from SJS on the condition that it was the new "NIG" mechanism. It wasn't ….... As it is, I know more than I want to about these hubs.


But not enough...? I am baffled as to why anyone would think a pre-NIG hub would have a NIG mechanism inside it. That includes SJS if indeed they said that (which I doubt; my recollection is that it says very clearly in their listing that this is a pre-NIG hub).

By your definition of 'safe' you probably shouldn't ride any bike or drive a car; any manual car gearbox can slip out of gear or malfunction if it wears, is badly maintained or you don't use it correctly and the same goes for any bicycle transmission. To infer that production of a given hub -arguably the most successful there has ever been- shows 'contempt for customers' is just bizarre and nonsensical.
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~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Brucey~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

a1b2c3

Re: Sturmey Archer SRF3 hub crunching & slipping.

Postby a1b2c3 » 28 Jun 2020, 8:10am

Edited.
Last edited by a1b2c3 on 1 Jul 2020, 5:54pm, edited 1 time in total.

Jdsk
Posts: 821
Joined: 5 Mar 2019, 5:42pm

Re: Sturmey Archer SRF3 hub crunching & slipping.

Postby Jdsk » 28 Jun 2020, 8:53am

a1b2c3 wrote:My question and their confirmation that the hub is "NIG" no longer appears on the product webpage but my review and SJS response does. SJS Cycles part number : 44836.

https://www.sjscycles.co.uk/hubs-internal-hub-gear-brake/sturmey-archer-aw3-3spd-genuine-british-made-freewheel-hub-silver-28-hole-nos/

Screenshot 2020-06-28 at 08.52.35.png

Jonathan

PS: How can I make that screenshot readable inline? Thanks.