Shimano Alfine 11 - Longer term reliability

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niggle
Posts: 3423
Joined: 11 Mar 2009, 10:29pm
Location: Cornwall, near England

Re: Shimano Alfine 11 - Longer term reliability

Postby niggle » 9 May 2013, 2:30am

bobc wrote:Loads of useful information, comment & opinion there. Thanks everyone.
I bought some "rock oil" "lightweight gear oil" - I think it's for motorbike gearboxes, I'll put some in at the weekend.
Fingers crossed! ;^)
Bob

I preferred Silkolene Gear Oil Light http://www.demon-tweeks.co.uk/motorcycl ... -oil-light over the Rock Oil equivalent in my MZ motorcycle gear boxes, though Rock Oil Strawberry Scented Two Stroke Oil http://www.whitedogbikes.com/item--Rock ... rry-2.html was fun to use in the engine :D

Brucey
Posts: 39515
Joined: 4 Jan 2012, 6:25pm

Re: Shimano Alfine 11 - Longer term reliability

Postby Brucey » 9 May 2013, 6:10am

OBH wrote: ...I think once the correct viscosity has been ascertained there will be no need to use the Shimano oil. It's not like this is a high stress performance part, I'm only plodding through the local wood at 15km/h.


Gearboxes transmit torque at a certain speed. Multiply the two and you get the power transmitted.

Torque rating is the most important thing with gearboxes; they generally operate happily over a range of (higher) speeds so power transmission can go up simply with speed (at fixed torque) and the gearbox doesn't care. However double the torque at half the speed and suddenly you are in big trouble, even though the power is the same.

Low speed use is doubly bad because the bearings only reach their full load-bearing capacity above a certain speed, operating in EHD or hydrodynamic mode according to their type. The threshold speed for this will vary with lubricant type, which is why low viscosity lubricants are not a good idea in hub gears; to a good approximation the thicker the better unless it causes operational difficulties like poor shifting.

Below the threshold speed, the bearings and gear teeth contacts will be operating in a mode whereby some metal-to-metal contact and wear will be expected. Cleanliness, high viscosity, EP additives and solid lubricants are the only defences against wear in the long term.

Very few hub gears have shown a tendency for the gear teeth and bearings to wear exceptionally fast, so maybe the main benefit of better lubricants is simply a much longer service life.

Pretty much any clean oil is going to be better than a porridge of wear or running-in debris.

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

jb
Posts: 943
Joined: 6 Jan 2007, 12:17pm
Location: Clitheroe

Re: Shimano Alfine 11 - Longer term reliability

Postby jb » 10 May 2013, 10:05pm

I have now done 3000 miles since I last changed the oil and stripped the hub. So I thought I would take it in bits again and see if there was any sign of wear. For the last 1000 miles the hub has been running fairly well, it still slips occasionally but this has become predictable and always at the same two gears. It seems therefore to have bedded in somewhat. Whilst I am by no means a fast rider the terrain it has been used over has been hilly with steep climbs and a couple of fully loaded camping tours.

Since the early problems were ironed out I've never felt like it might let me down & the fact that it is totally silent is great. I still maintain that the selections are far too close together which is why alignment is so important & frigid.

On cleaning up the wheel and inspecting, it was evident that there had been no oil leaking out as this would have been noticeable under the splash guards. On removing the cluster from the hub most of the oil dripped out onto a plate and was still red (I use ATF DEXRON II), a sizeable quantity hangs on to the gears though even after leaving to drain for a while. On inspection I found the oil to be reasonably clean but there were some tiny specks of metal visible, nothing like the first time I stripped it though (then with Shimano s magic snake oil in it).
As the photos try to show there was absolutely no wear or damage visible on any of the gears, pawls or bearings so the occasional slips I was having weren't having any noticeable affects yet. The only slight bit of wear I could see was on the thrust ring which must be getting some side force onto it even though it not obvious from where.

The nice clean condition of the bearings and everything else shows, in my opinion, the superiority of oil lubrication over grease which on other hubs seems to fail early - especially on the big bearing which is particularly vulnerable to contamination from the outside.
On re-assembly it all went back together fine and worked as before. I was careful not disturb the cable setting but noticed it was in a different place on reconnecting it, I decided to leave it were it was as it might bed in back to where it was, - I've been caught out before with that.
One thing that I've mentioned before and will say again, flushing and draining it as per instructions does nothing to remove bits of contamination, they are spread around the shell through centrifugal force and the filling and flushing hole is far to small to create enough flow to remove them. If you want to do a proper oil change it needs to come out and then it can be flushed without further dismantling.

Its then critical to adjust the bearing cones so that they have only 'just' removed any play, otherwise (if too tight) an annoying creaking sound will result.

So, after a shaky start I'm now quite happy with it, especially after having just ridden one of those dérailleur type things last week with it's clunks grinds & no standing changes.
Image Attachments
P1080005(1).JPG
P1080006(1).JPG
oil draining off
P1080011(1).JPG
1st stage helical planet gear & bearing
P1080007(1).JPG
selector shaft & clutch
P1080003.JPG
Before cleaning
Cheers
J Bro

Brucey
Posts: 39515
Joined: 4 Jan 2012, 6:25pm

Re: Shimano Alfine 11 - Longer term reliability

Postby Brucey » 11 May 2013, 7:15am

Image

ah yes, 'déchets de moyeux avec jus ATF'; very nouvelle cuisine, I'm sure....

Would a magnetic drain plug avoid the need for a full stripdown?

BTW ATF is (IIRC) a high detergent lubricant, i.e. it tends to keep everything in suspension, you tend not to get any sludge forming. If you are producing a lot of particles and there is no means of removing them, you end up with an abrasive soup.

Other lubricants can cast debris into corners where it sits in a sludge deposit and takes no further role in proceedings, which isn't necessarily a bad thing, until you change the lube, and you can't get the sludge out, or it releases once the new lube is added.

FWIW I think the flushing procedure should remove most of the metal debris, but only if all the parts are very well demagnetised; otherwise it tends to stick around.

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

TonyR
Posts: 5390
Joined: 31 Aug 2008, 12:51pm

Re: Shimano Alfine 11 - Longer term reliability

Postby TonyR » 11 May 2013, 7:53am

jb wrote:Its then critical to adjust the bearing cones so that they have only 'just' removed any play, otherwise (if too tight) an annoying creaking sound will result.


I've had problems with creaking from the two I've had but only in certain gears and its quite annoying. Would your adjustment if off give creaking in all gears or just some?

rfryer
Posts: 740
Joined: 7 Feb 2013, 3:58pm

Re: Shimano Alfine 11 - Longer term reliability

Postby rfryer » 11 May 2013, 9:13am

Brucey wrote:FWIW I think the flushing procedure should remove most of the metal debris, but only if all the parts are very well demagnetised; otherwise it tends to stick around.

That's a really interesting point. A few weeks ago I stripped the freewheel on my road bike, and discovered that of the three pawls, one was not fully opening and looked as new, one was apparently working and looked like new, and one was hooked, worn at the tip, and quite strongly magnetized. I assume the pawl had been magnetized through wear. But it is a concern that a pawl that is getting worn can become magnetized and attract the abrasive particles that will help finish it off!

jb
Posts: 943
Joined: 6 Jan 2007, 12:17pm
Location: Clitheroe

Re: Shimano Alfine 11 - Longer term reliability

Postby jb » 11 May 2013, 9:43am

TonyR wrote:
jb wrote:Its then critical to adjust the bearing cones so that they have only 'just' removed any play, otherwise (if too tight) an annoying creaking sound will result.


I've had problems with creaking from the two I've had but only in certain gears and its quite annoying. Would your adjustment if off give creaking in all gears or just some?

I found when I overdid it slightly that it was some gears but not others & I could not find any particular pattern to it. I tried removing the slip springs inside thinking that was the cause but it made no difference and caused ratcheting when free-wheeling. Backing the cones off until I could just feel play then tightening them back up a whisker cured the problem. Tightening the lock nut pushes the cone in considerably so the play must be detected with them locked tight.
Cheers

J Bro

jb
Posts: 943
Joined: 6 Jan 2007, 12:17pm
Location: Clitheroe

Re: Shimano Alfine 11 - Longer term reliability

Postby jb » 11 May 2013, 9:59am

Brucey wrote:BTW ATF is (IIRC) a high detergent lubricant, i.e. it tends to keep everything in suspension, you tend not to get any sludge forming. If you are producing a lot of particles and there is no means of removing them, you end up with an abrasive soup.

cheers

I may try some other oils when this lot runs out but until then I'm happy with its performance & will get my moneys worth out of it, although I may be knocking on 150 by then. :D
Cheers

J Bro

TonyR
Posts: 5390
Joined: 31 Aug 2008, 12:51pm

Re: Shimano Alfine 11 - Longer term reliability

Postby TonyR » 11 May 2013, 12:44pm

jb wrote:
TonyR wrote:
jb wrote:Its then critical to adjust the bearing cones so that they have only 'just' removed any play, otherwise (if too tight) an annoying creaking sound will result.


I've had problems with creaking from the two I've had but only in certain gears and its quite annoying. Would your adjustment if off give creaking in all gears or just some?

I found when I overdid it slightly that it was some gears but not others & I could not find any particular pattern to it. I tried removing the slip springs inside thinking that was the cause but it made no difference and caused ratcheting when free-wheeling. Backing the cones off until I could just feel play then tightening them back up a whisker cured the problem. Tightening the lock nut pushes the cone in considerably so the play must be detected with them locked tight.


With mine there is a very definite pattern and repeated in two hubs. IIRC 1, 4, 5 are silent, 2, 3, 6 are noisy with a sound like a loudly creaking bottom bracket.

jb
Posts: 943
Joined: 6 Jan 2007, 12:17pm
Location: Clitheroe

Re: Shimano Alfine 11 - Longer term reliability

Postby jb » 11 May 2013, 1:00pm

TonyR wrote:With mine there is a very definite pattern and repeated in two hubs. IIRC 1, 4, 5 are silent, 2, 3, 6 are noisy with a sound like a loudly creaking bottom bracket.

It sounds like the same problem. Try backing them off a tad. With the axle clamped in a vice on the flats and two cone spanners (15 & 17, I think), you can do this without fully loosening them, approx 30 degrees at a time.
Without a vice its a bit more hit & miss. But be careful any detectable slop will cause damage in other areas.
Cheers

J Bro

rand
Posts: 318
Joined: 5 Mar 2008, 6:38pm

Re: Shimano Alfine 11 - Longer term reliability

Postby rand » 11 May 2013, 4:39pm

Brucey wrote:Image

ah yes, 'déchets de moyeux avec jus ATF'; very nouvelle cuisine, I'm sure....

Would a magnetic drain plug avoid the need for a full stripdown?

BTW ATF is (IIRC) a high detergent lubricant, i.e. it tends to keep everything in suspension, you tend not to get any sludge forming. If you are producing a lot of particles and there is no means of removing them, you end up with an abrasive soup.

Other lubricants can cast debris into corners where it sits in a sludge deposit and takes no further role in proceedings, which isn't necessarily a bad thing, until you change the lube, and you can't get the sludge out, or it releases once the new lube is added.

FWIW I think the flushing procedure should remove most of the metal debris, but only if all the parts are very well demagnetised; otherwise it tends to stick around.

cheers


The magnetic drain plug sounds like a great idea.
Do you know of anyone selling such drain plugs for the Alfine hub?

Rand.

bobc
Posts: 495
Joined: 5 Apr 2012, 11:59am

Re: Shimano Alfine 11 - Longer term reliability

Postby bobc » 11 May 2013, 8:01pm

Just to point out that the drain plug itself is ferromagnetic, so you could just tape a small neo(dymium or whatever) magnet to it for a couple of days before the oil change.
Image
Bob

rand
Posts: 318
Joined: 5 Mar 2008, 6:38pm

Re: Shimano Alfine 11 - Longer term reliability

Postby rand » 11 May 2013, 10:59pm

bobc wrote:Just to point out that the drain plug itself is ferromagnetic, so you could just tape a small neo(dymium or whatever) magnet to it for a couple of days before the oil change.
Image
Bob


Bob,

Great idea and duly noted.

Thank you.
Rand.

TonyR
Posts: 5390
Joined: 31 Aug 2008, 12:51pm

Re: Shimano Alfine 11 - Longer term reliability

Postby TonyR » 12 May 2013, 8:16am

bobc wrote:Just to point out that the drain plug itself is ferromagnetic, so you could just tape a small neo(dymium or whatever) magnet to it for a couple of days before the oil change.
Image
Bob


If its ferromagnetic you can permanently magnetise it so its collecting the bits up all the time.

rand
Posts: 318
Joined: 5 Mar 2008, 6:38pm

Re: Shimano Alfine 11 - Longer term reliability

Postby rand » 12 May 2013, 11:51am

TonyR wrote:
bobc wrote:Just to point out that the drain plug itself is ferromagnetic, so you could just tape a small neo(dymium or whatever) magnet to it for a couple of days before the oil change.
Image
Bob


If its ferromagnetic you can permanently magnetise it so its collecting the bits up all the time.


How can I permanently magnetise it?

Rand.