Yet Another Cycling Forum

General Category => The Knowledge => Topic started by: Auntie Helen on October 31, 2011, 01:45:02 pm

Title: Servicing my Alfine 11 hub gear
Post by: Auntie Helen on October 31, 2011, 01:45:02 pm
So, I've finally done it! The Alfine 11 hub gear service.

According to Shimano this should be done after the first 1000km and then every 5000km thereafter.

Alfie my recumbent trike has done a shade over 2,000 miles already and this is my first hub gear service. This is because the original hub started misbehaving and Madison replaced it under warranty. The new hub had done 700 miles so it was time for its spa treatment.

So what do you need to do this operation?

(a) A bike with an Alfine 11 hub gear
(b) The replacement mineral oil (Shimano part SG-S700).
(http://www.hancox.org.uk/Snakeoil.jpg)
As will become clear, in the photographs below I have used the wrong oil! The correct oil is dark green and treacly, as pictured above, not pink. Read on...
(c) The Oil Maintenance Kit (Shimano part TL-S703)

First thing to note is that the oil was extremely hard to come by (it was out of stock almost everywhere but I managed to get some from a small mail-order bike shop). It's also expensive at £16 for 50ml. (And it was the wrong stuff anyway, as I now know!)

I initially thought I'd get a local bike shop to do the job but once I'd downloaded the servicing instructions from Shimano it seemed fairly easy. I'd need the oil maintenance kit which was about £45 but once I had that I could always do my own servicing so it should work out much cheaper in the long run.


Preparation
The instructions say to do this outside in the fresh air. A slightly less windy day would have been preferable as my instructions had a tendency to want to fly away.

I also needed a size 10 spanner and a small allen key. I also wore latex gloves as suggested but didn't bother with the eye goggles - that seemed a bit overkill.

I got the trike ready on the grass with the front wheels chocked.

(http://i738.photobucket.com/albums/xx30/Auntie_Helen/Alfie%20the%20Trike/DSCF7072.jpg)

The back wheel was on some cardboard in case any small bits got dropped.

So here are the two bits needed - the very pink oil and the Oil Maintenance Kit.

(http://i738.photobucket.com/albums/xx30/Auntie_Helen/Alfie%20the%20Trike/DSCF7073.jpg)

Note that the £45 Maintenance Kit consists of a syringe, a bit of pipe with a metal end, and a big jar for your waste oil. This is not good value for money - I reckon that lot should cost less than a fiver. Ho hum.

Here am I, latex gloves in hand, ready to start.
(http://i738.photobucket.com/albums/xx30/Auntie_Helen/Alfie%20the%20Trike/DSCF7074.jpg)

The Service

So, firstly I have to undo the oil port bolt with a small allen key.

(http://i738.photobucket.com/albums/xx30/Auntie_Helen/Alfie%20the%20Trike/DSCF7075.jpg)

This is surprisingly difficult on my trike as with the spoke lacing there is barely any room. A shorter allen key would have been much more helpful but I managed it eventually.

(http://i738.photobucket.com/albums/xx30/Auntie_Helen/Alfie%20the%20Trike/DSCF7077.jpg)

This is what came out - a small bolt and an O-ring (which actually needed to be back on the hub the whole time; I was always paranoid about losing it though!)

(http://i738.photobucket.com/albums/xx30/Auntie_Helen/Alfie%20the%20Trike/DSCF7076.jpg)

Now to screw on the pipe that will go from the syringe to the hub.

(http://i738.photobucket.com/albums/xx30/Auntie_Helen/Alfie%20the%20Trike/DSCF7078.jpg)

Once again, it was difficult to do this as the pipe is long and the spokes don't leave much room for wielding a spanner. I think this would be fine on a normal-sized wheel but a 20" one is a bit of a challenge.

The instructions say to hold the syringe within the spokes as you rotate the wheel 180 degrees but this wasn't possible with my 20" wheel and it was easier to just thread the syringe round the chainstay and mudguard metalwork.

(http://i738.photobucket.com/albums/xx30/Auntie_Helen/Alfie%20the%20Trike/DSCF7079.jpg)

The instructions say to leave it all for five minutes like this for the oil to drain down.

Then I had to very slowly use the syringe to suck out the old oil.

The oil begins to appear:
(http://i738.photobucket.com/albums/xx30/Auntie_Helen/Alfie%20the%20Trike/DSCF7080.jpg)

It came out as thick, black grot.
(http://i738.photobucket.com/albums/xx30/Auntie_Helen/Alfie%20the%20Trike/DSCF7081.jpg)

It was actually quite hard to do this well without getting loads of air bubbles. I don't think the air bubbles matter much in themselves but the syringe was only 30ml and I was expecting 25ml of oil so didn't want too much air. The slower I pulled the syringe the better as I had to wait for the oil to flow down to the bottom of the hub to be sucked out.

The whole procedure probably took about 10 minutes.

Here I am with about 20mls of old oil which is about all I was able to extract.
(http://i738.photobucket.com/albums/xx30/Auntie_Helen/Alfie%20the%20Trike/DSCF7082.jpg)

Now the instructions said at this point to turn the wheel again so the oil port was uppermost and then remove the bleed nipple and pipe along with syringe. Due to the difficulties of getting tools onto the hub, and the fact that the pipe seemed pretty much clear, I decided to just remove the syringe.

Here it is - yuck!

(http://i738.photobucket.com/albums/xx30/Auntie_Helen/Alfie%20the%20Trike/DSCF7083.jpg)

And here it is poured into that vastly-expensive pot that came as part of the kit. It was like thick, black treacle and was quite hard to squirt out of the syringe.

(http://i738.photobucket.com/albums/xx30/Auntie_Helen/Alfie%20the%20Trike/DSCF7084.jpg)

The next set of instructions are to use half of the oil in the kit to flush through the system, i.e. it would be put in the hub, sloshed around a bit and then drained out again.

The instructions said to add the pipe first before the syringe. Mine was already in place, of course.

I then looked at the oil bottle and discovered a crack in the plastic at the top. James helped me to fix the tube that came with it to the syringe and he held up the bottle as I used the syringe to drain 25ml but it was clear the top was leaking as oil was running down the side of the bottle. And this is expensive stuff!

In the end we took the whole top off the bottle and put the pipe in it, using the syringe to suck it up from there. I wasn't sure how much oil had been lost so only picked up 20ml.

It's a lovely pink colour! (Or at least it is if you're putting the wrong oil in there, hydraulic mineral oil, instead of hub gear oil! It should have been dark green...)

(http://i738.photobucket.com/albums/xx30/Auntie_Helen/Alfie%20the%20Trike/DSCF7089.jpg)

I put the syringe onto the pipe coming out of the hub and started slowly squeezing it in. I had to pull the syringe plunger back a couple of times to let some of the air pressure out but the whole job was pretty easy and all 20ml was in the hub after 30 seconds or so.

(http://i738.photobucket.com/albums/xx30/Auntie_Helen/Alfie%20the%20Trike/DSCF7092.jpg)

I then had the fun of undoing the bit of pipe and putting the oil port bolt back in without losing the O-ring. This was quite tricky again but I managed it.

The instructions say to pedal for a minute, changing up and down the gears, so with James's assistance (can't lift the back of the trike and pedal and change gear on my own!) we did so.

Then it was back to the beginning of the procedure - oil port facing up, adding the pipe, adding the syringe, rotating the wheel 180 degrees, leaving it for five minutes to settle, then using the syringe to slowly drain the oil.

(http://i738.photobucket.com/albums/xx30/Auntie_Helen/Alfie%20the%20Trike/DSCF7085.jpg)

This time the oil came out much more readily as it was clearly thinner - but look at the colour change!

(http://i738.photobucket.com/albums/xx30/Auntie_Helen/Alfie%20the%20Trike/DSCF7086.jpg)

From pink to black in five and a half minutes!

Really black, but it came out with fewer air bubbles which was a relief!

(http://i738.photobucket.com/albums/xx30/Auntie_Helen/Alfie%20the%20Trike/DSCF7087.jpg)

A good 25mls extracted so it's clearly helped some more of the original oil to come out.

(http://i738.photobucket.com/albums/xx30/Auntie_Helen/Alfie%20the%20Trike/DSCF7088.jpg)

Once all the oil appeared to have been drained I once again spun the wheel 180 degrees ready for the second 25mls of oil which would be what stayed in the hub for the next 5000 miles.

It was tricky to drain the oil out of the bottle seeing as I had to use the tube. It picked up lots of air when it got near to the bottom (and I could see I only had about 19mls) and then, horror of horrors, I had pulled the plunger a bit too far out and a trickle of oil was leaking out that way. Argh! I pushed it back in and hoped I hadn't lost too much.

In the end I managed to get about 22ml from the bottle; there was still a tiny bit left in there but it seemed almost impossible to remove. I hope that Alfie doesn't mind being down a few mls.

I pushed it in very easily as before.

(http://i738.photobucket.com/albums/xx30/Auntie_Helen/Alfie%20the%20Trike/DSCF7091.jpg)

I then did up the oil port bolt, having managed not to lose the O-ring at all which was a bonus!

I wiped a few drops of spilled oil (that came out of the pipe when I removed it) from the hub and we were ready to go.

So this is what everything looked like afterwards:

(http://i738.photobucket.com/albums/xx30/Auntie_Helen/Alfie%20the%20Trike/DSCF7093.jpg)

It wasn't a particularly mucky job and was basically very easy. it would be easier on a larger-wheeled bike of course.

(http://i738.photobucket.com/albums/xx30/Auntie_Helen/Alfie%20the%20Trike/DSCF7094.jpg)

I shall take Alfie out this afternoon to check all works OK. I did the oil port bolt up reasonably tightly but it was very hard to wield the allen key in such a small space so I shall check it again in a day or two to check it hasn't worked loose at all.

I now have 5000km or two years until the next oil change, whichever is sooner.

I sent a link to my blog post of this to ICE trikes and also to Huw at Madison (the Shimano distributor) who swapped my original hub for me. As events transpired, the fact that Huw read it was a Mighty Good Thing!
Title: Re: Servicing my Alfine 11 hub gear
Post by: orienteer on October 31, 2011, 02:01:49 pm
What a palaver, well done!

Hope changing the oil in the Rolhoff on my Moulton tandem next year will be more straightforward.
Title: Re: Servicing my Alfine 11 hub gear
Post by: Auntie Helen on October 31, 2011, 02:04:01 pm
I imagine it's a similar procedure except I believe the Rohloff snake-oil is even more expensive.

Basically, it's just:

Drain old sludge
Squirt in new oil
Drain new oil which is now sludgy
Squirt in new oil

It's just gravity gets involved!
Title: Re: Servicing my Alfine 11 hub gear
Post by: pdm on October 31, 2011, 02:38:07 pm
Thanks for that...
I am coming up to my first oil change on my hub, though I am very tempted to use the Rohloff stuff (spülöl and orniry öl are both 39€ per litre) instead!
Title: Re: Servicing my Alfine 11 hub gear
Post by: Auntie Helen on October 31, 2011, 02:45:31 pm
STOP PRESS!

I emailed my blog link to the chap at Madison who helped me when my hub needed to be changed and got this response:

Quote
Hope all is well.

Well done on the servicing, it seems you’ve got the procedure correct.

Unfortunately, the only thing I noticed from reading through your blog is that you may have used the incorrect oil.

From what I can see from the photos (and colour of the oil) its hydraulic brake fluid you’ve used.

The Alfine oil is a dark green sort of colour, and is very thick. (which would explain the difference in thickness/colour of the oils).

The shop that sold you the oil, did they say it was for Alfines specifically?

I phoned back the supplier and he seemed terribly vague but, on further reflection, decided he had sent me hydraulic brake oil. So I am now in the market for some of the correct oil. The chap at Madison is going to ring me with some advice...
Title: Re: Servicing my Alfine 11 hub gear
Post by: hbunnet on October 31, 2011, 02:45:43 pm
Thanks for posting this.

Very similar to the Rohloff oilchange except they use a separate flushing oil.

Oops! sent before I saw the Stop Press.  I doubt if you have done anything bad, the thin hydraulic oil will have done a good job of flushing out the old oil.

Title: Re: Servicing my Alfine 11 hub gear
Post by: Biggsy on October 31, 2011, 03:32:19 pm
Wow!  I award 20,000 Knowledge points to Auntie Helen.  This thread easily earns a place in Links to some useful topics (http://yacf.co.uk/forum/index.php?topic=49833).
Title: Re: Servicing my Alfine 11 hub gear
Post by: Auntie Helen on October 31, 2011, 03:47:59 pm
Thanks Biggsy, but generally it is preferable if one uses the correct oil for this procedure!

So, an update.


The very nice Huw at Madison (who swapped my previous hub) phoned me to say that the hydraulic oil won't have been terribly good for the internals and that it needs to be stripped and cleaned. He has offered to arrange a courier to collect my wheel from me to do this for me. I am currently draining the oil again to reduce any further issues and the wheel will be collected tomorrow. He said he'll clean it all, do the full oil change for me and send it back, then I won't have to do it for another 5000km.

I have to say that Madison have been absolutely excellent with me. They swapped out the first hub free of charge with no cost to me, and it looks as though they are now rectifying a mistake which is a mixture of mine and Cranbrook Cycles and nothing to do with them. If they send me a bill then that's fine as there's no reason they should do it for free but it sounds as if they are going to.
Title: Re: Servicing my Alfine 11 hub gear
Post by: interzen on October 31, 2011, 03:53:53 pm
Wow!  I award 20,000 Knowledge points to Auntie Helen.  This thread easily earns a place in Links to some useful topics (http://yacf.co.uk/forum/index.php?topic=49833).
Definitely - mine is probably due for its oil change fairly soon, and I know for certain that I'll have to change the lube on OrangeGina's 8-speed.
Title: Re: Servicing my Alfine 11 hub gear
Post by: Auntie Helen on October 31, 2011, 04:47:27 pm
So here is the wheel ready to go:

(http://i738.photobucket.com/albums/xx30/Auntie_Helen/Alfie%20the%20Trike/DSCF7096.jpg)

I wonder if the Rohloff Öl is the same stuff if it's so much cheaper – I had thought it was much more expensive, shows what I know about these things!

I would say this is a good example of how to do a really good job of something that turns into a "return to manufacturer" special...!
Title: Re: Servicing my Alfine 11 hub gear
Post by: Wowbagger on October 31, 2011, 04:58:28 pm
What a shame! Does that mean that you will be hors concours on Thursday?
Title: Re: Servicing my Alfine 11 hub gear
Post by: Auntie Helen on October 31, 2011, 05:00:22 pm
I still have the Trice Q which I can use so no probs. I suspect Madison will have the wheel back to me by then anyway, they were super-quick last time.
Title: Re: Servicing my Alfine 11 hub gear
Post by: alexb on October 31, 2011, 05:34:35 pm
I was chatting to someone with an Alfine 11 and she said that hers just locked up and stopped working and had to be sent back, so I wonder if there's a problem with the early models of this hub?
Title: Re: Servicing my Alfine 11 hub gear
Post by: pdm on October 31, 2011, 05:43:19 pm
I wonder if the Rohloff Öl is the same stuff if it's so much cheaper – I had thought it was much more expensive, shows what I know about these things!

Rohloff Öl is only "cheap" if you buy it in 1l lots from Germany. In the UK, 50ml for an oil change (25ml each of rinse and replacement oil) costs about £12 just for the oil - £240 per Litre!  ::-) The 1l versions in the uk are about £50 each so a lot cheaper for the bulk purchase.
Title: Re: Servicing my Alfine 11 hub gear
Post by: interzen on October 31, 2011, 06:17:44 pm
I was chatting to someone with an Alfine 11 and she said that hers just locked up and stopped working and had to be sent back, so I wonder if there's a problem with the early models of this hub?
Interesting.
I can't say that I've had any problems with mine, even when giving it a hammering off-road, although it's still early days yet. I know that my LBS have sold quite a few bikes with Alfine-11s, including a fair number of Koga Signatures, and I'm not aware that they've had any returns.
Title: Re: Servicing my Alfine 11 hub gear
Post by: Auntie Helen on October 31, 2011, 06:36:28 pm
Mine was the second return that ICE had heard about (the initial return, I mean – this return is entirely the fault of the bike shop that sold me the wrong oil and of me for not double-checking I had been sent the right oil). I gather than the Alfine-8 and the Nexus hubs are generally very reliable.
Title: Re: Servicing my Alfine 11 hub gear
Post by: Wowbagger on October 31, 2011, 06:49:21 pm
We've got a Ridgeback with a Nexus 8. It's about 6 years old but hasn't done all that many miles - possibly between 2000 and 3000 - but the only problem I've had with it has been to do with cable adjustment. That can be annoying.
Title: Re: Servicing my Alfine 11 hub gear
Post by: interzen on October 31, 2011, 07:00:15 pm
Early Nexus 7s and 8s were pretty unreliable, but the 'red band' version which is rated for off-road use is an extremely robust piece of kit, in my experience at least - the Alfine designs are based on the red-band Nexus.

The jury is out on the Alfine-11, although I can't fault it so far. The red-band Nexus on the orange Genesis has a fair few thousand miles on it now and has had precisely zero maintainence apart from a couple of new cables and the occasion tweak to adjust the tensioning. It probably needs some new grease, but it still runs perfectly well.
Title: Re: Servicing my Alfine 11 hub gear
Post by: Tewdric on October 31, 2011, 08:27:29 pm
The very nice Huw at Madison (who swapped my previous hub) phoned me to say that the hydraulic oil won't have been terribly good for the internals

I think from the thread he thinks you've put hydraulic brake fluid in the (like you'd use in car and motorbike brakes and Hope Mono Minis, for example) whereas you look like you put in Shimano mineral oil for their disc brakes.  So you probably haven't done any harm - maybe some good, in fact, as a good quality flushing oil for a first oil change will have helped to dislodge more of the running-in swarf.  So don't worry!
Title: Re: Servicing my Alfine 11 hub gear
Post by: Mr Arch on November 03, 2011, 12:24:50 am
Anyone know what the properties of the hub oil are?
Just pondering if an EP90 Hypoid gear oil would do.  I used to have that by the gallon for Land Rover axles so not too expensive.
Title: Re: Servicing my Alfine 11 hub gear
Post by: orienteer on November 03, 2011, 10:41:28 am
Judging by the new oil that went into my Rohloff, don't think it's as thick as that.
Title: Re: Servicing my Alfine 11 hub gear
Post by: hubner on November 03, 2011, 03:00:37 pm
£45 maintenance kit = complete rip off,

£16 for 50ml of oil: works out at £320 per litre!


Is it possible to open the drain hole, rotate the hub with it at the bottom and let the old oil drain out by itself overnight?

And maybe use a funnel to put new oil into the hub.

Surely any car gear oil at a few £ per litre is good enough for this.
Title: Re: Servicing my Alfine 11 hub gear
Post by: tiermat on November 03, 2011, 03:09:15 pm
From y trawl around the tubes a popular alternative seems to be auto-transmission fluid, which I guess is a bit more viscous than normal engine oil, but not as much as axle or chainsaw oil.
Title: Re: Servicing my Alfine 11 hub gear
Post by: orienteer on November 03, 2011, 03:37:34 pm
Problem is, to maintain the warranty, the correct oil should be used.

Did find the Rohloff oil cheaper on ebay, an enterprising character seems to have bought the large bulk containers to distribute in small quantities.
Title: Re: Servicing my Alfine 11 hub gear
Post by: hubner on November 03, 2011, 03:54:42 pm
Problem is, to maintain the warranty, the correct oil should be used.


Maybe drain the hub and flush with solvent before sending it back and say you've cleaned it.
Title: Re: Servicing my Alfine 11 hub gear
Post by: Mr Arch on November 03, 2011, 05:50:33 pm
Warrenty is important I guess but some of us could be using preloved hubs and don't have the warrenty issue.
ATF sounds a promising alternative then.
Title: Re: Servicing my Alfine 11 hub gear
Post by: Auntie Helen on November 04, 2011, 03:30:00 pm
£45 maintenance kit = complete rip off,

£16 for 50ml of oil: works out at £320 per litre!


Is it possible to open the drain hole, rotate the hub with it at the bottom and let the old oil drain out by itself overnight?

And maybe use a funnel to put new oil into the hub.

Surely any car gear oil at a few £ per litre is good enough for this.
I am absolutely no expert (as you can see by the above palaver) but I would imagine you could change the oil without buying the kit. I reckon, if you didn't mind making a bit of a mess, you could use gravity to drain out the old oil, although this'd take quite a long time. You could presumably use any other syringe which would hold 25ml to squirt the oil back in the hub, as long as the syringe end was narrow enough to fit through the hole.

However, I certainly wouldn't use any alternative oil unless I was 100% convinced it was exactly the right stuff and that I wouldn't need any kind of warranty replacement. I've learned that the hard way!

You can buy a litre bottle of the stuff for £80ish. Huw at Madison suggested I did this as he thought doing the oil change a bit more frequently than they say (perhaps every 3,000 miles) would make the hub run much better and last much longer; if you've bought a litre bottle of the stuff you don't mind doing that.

As it happens, the replacement bottle of oil arrived today from the cycle shop that sent me the wrong stuff. This is what it looks like:

(http://www.hancox.org.uk/Snakeoil.jpg)
Title: Re: Servicing my Alfine 11 hub gear
Post by: pdm on November 05, 2011, 12:35:31 pm
Having hit 1000km this week, I serviced my Alfine 11 hub this morning.

For those wanting to save money on the exhorbitant Shimano maintenance kit, the Rohloff screw in drain tube fits perfectly - I used one left over from previous Rohloff oil changes. A Rohloff maintenance kit with oil is half the cost of the Shimano kit without oil!

I could not drain more than 10 mls from the hub initially despite waiting, turning the gears, shifting and waiting again - was it sold underfilled, I wonder? It certainly has not leaked any oil in the 2 months I have had it. It was horrible, black, thickish stuff than came out. The flush oil was also a distinctly darker shade coming out and all that went in came out.

Initial impressions from before/after suggest the hub is running slightly more freely with the proper 25mls of fresh oil - before there was a just detectable extra drag in the gears above and below 5th gear compared with 5th with hand cranking the pedals which hopefully seems to have improved a tad. We shall have to see if journey times and the shifting performance improves on the commutes next week.
Title: Re: Servicing my Alfine 11 hub gear
Post by: Wowbagger on November 05, 2011, 07:20:07 pm
If anyone who knows about the technicalities of Rohloff and Shimano oil can categorically say that they are either interchangeable or the same thing, I've got 2 litres Rohloff oil here, one litre flushing oil, one litre gear oil. The syringes were available on ebay the last time I looked.
Title: Re: Servicing my Alfine 11 hub gear
Post by: hubner on November 06, 2011, 08:48:41 pm
They might not be the same thing but they will do the same job.

If car gear oil is good enough for revs in the thousands and can withstand hundreds of horsepower...

The "proper" stuff is almost certainly re-bottled car gear oil anyway.
Title: Re: Servicing my Alfine 11 hub gear
Post by: CamPhil on November 07, 2011, 01:53:01 am
If you are thinking of using an alternative oil, it may be worth getting a sample of both analysed first.
There are many subtleties in oil specification which may make an apparently similar oil incompatible with an intended application.
There are even used oil analysis services available which will detail any wear products in the used oil so you tell what is wearing out without stripping the mechanism.
I do know of a commuting cyclist on Usenet who knows all about oil analysis, so it may be worth making enquiries in that direction.
Even if he can't do the analysis for you, I'm sure he could provide valuable information on what aspects of the specification are important to match and what can be safely disregarded.
It wouldn't surprise me if Shimano and/or Rohloff put a chemical marker in their oil so that they can check any warranty returns have been using the recommended stuff.
It also wouldn't surprise me if that was the only difference between their oil and a generic hypoid oil of the same viscosity.
Title: Re: Servicing my Alfine 11 hub gear
Post by: Auntie Helen on November 10, 2011, 05:18:56 pm
My wheel arrived back this morning (Huw at Madison, who was servicing it, was off work for a couple of days at the beginning of the week).

In refitting it to the trike we have discovered a tip to help you line it all up right as there's the arm that holds the cable that can be a pain to get in the right place.

We found that it's best to take the blue and the green spacers off either side of the axle before putting the wheel in. Then the wheel can be rotated until the arm thingie is in the right place, then the spacers can be put in (they stop the axle rotating). This was way easier than my previous attempts of getting everything lined up.

I went out for a ride this evening and the hub is wonderfully quiet and smooth - the service has made a huge difference. Huw said "I have taken the unit apart and cleaned out the hub, then refilled the unit with fresh oil for you." Based on this, I shall definitely be servicing it again sooner rather than later (with the correct green oil!) as it has clearly improved its running.

He didn't take any photos of my hub in pieces but did send me this cutaway pic.

(http://i738.photobucket.com/albums/xx30/Auntie_Helen/Alfie%20the%20Trike/alfine11internals.jpg)

Having used the Trice Q for the last week and a half, the Sprint initially felt a bit odd (much heavier at the back - the gears-in-a-can are heavier than the sprocket and derailleur setup on the Q) but it's a much more comfortable ride and I was soon back into the groove.

Oh, and there was no invoice in with the hub so I believe this has been done as a freebie - which is amazing as it's not Madison's fault at all. I shall have to send him some mince pies at Christmas...
Title: Re: Servicing my Alfine 11 hub gear
Post by: Kim on November 10, 2011, 05:27:34 pm
(http://i738.photobucket.com/albums/xx30/Auntie_Helen/Alfie%20the%20Trike/alfine11internals.jpg)

That's almost as good as the Rohloff pr0n (http://www.rohloff.de/en/technology/speedhub/striptease/index.html).
Title: Re: Servicing my Alfine 11 hub gear
Post by: Auntie Helen on November 10, 2011, 05:30:30 pm
Found this pic of the innards as well

(http://www.rideyourbike.com/images/internalgear/shimanoalfineSG-S700.jpg)
Title: Re: Servicing my Alfine 11 hub gear
Post by: Auntie Helen on April 19, 2012, 02:25:26 pm
I have done my second service! And this time I used the correct oil.

Today was to be Alfine 11 Hub Gear service day, in preparation for my Berlin to London cycle ride for Help For Heroes next week.

I wasn’t sure if it was due a service yet (it had done 2,653 since the last service) as I have variously been told 5,000 miles between services or 5,000km. If 5,000km then it was just about the right time and I didn’t think it’d hurt to do it early anyway.

My last hub gear service went both brilliantly and disastrously; brilliantly in that it all worked fairly well and I was happy that I had followed the instructions successfully, and disastrously in that an online cycle parts retailer had sent me the wrong oil and it could have been damaging to the hub. Fortunately Huw at Madison (UK Shimano distributor) spotted this and did a service of my hub free of charge. Hurrah!

So today was the big day. This time I had the correct oil - green!

(http://i738.photobucket.com/albums/xx30/Auntie_Helen/Alfie%20the%20Trike/DSCF7148.jpg)

I had also left myself with a week to hopefully correct any other unexpected disasters before setting off to the Fatherland.

Because the weather is a bit horrible at the moment I decided to do this oil change in the shed. Although the Shimano Oil paperwork warns you to do the oil change in a well-ventilated place, I thought the shed was fine. There are so many warnings on the paperwork anyway I’m surprised it doesn’t warn you that the Apocalypse might take place whilst you’re doing the oil change and so you might not complete it successfully.

Another change this time was that I didn’t wear rubber gloves. I read all the dire warnings of hands dropping off if exposed to one drop of oil (slight exaggeration there) and decided that, as I remember you have to keep leaving the thing for five minutes for the oil to settle, I might as well do some work at the same time and just wash my hands a lot.

So, all prepared, all the tools in place: off we go.
(http://i738.photobucket.com/albums/xx30/Auntie_Helen/Alfie%20the%20Trike/DSCF7149.jpg)

For those who have an ICE trike like mine with the rack fitted, the side portion of the rack gets a bit in the way so I decided this time to remove it. This was well worth the small effort as it meant I could rotate the wheel easily, even with the syringe/tube attached.

Before:
(http://i738.photobucket.com/albums/xx30/Auntie_Helen/Alfie%20the%20Trike/DSCF7150.jpg)

After:
(http://i738.photobucket.com/albums/xx30/Auntie_Helen/Alfie%20the%20Trike/DSCF7151.jpg)

This time I couldn’t find the paper written instructions so was using a PDF on my iPad which isn’t optimal but I managed to keep the iPad from being bathed with oil, so that was a win.

(http://i738.photobucket.com/albums/xx30/Auntie_Helen/Alfie%20the%20Trike/DSCF7152.jpg)

I attached the nozzle, discovering that this time I seem to have two O-rings on the bolt (a bonus gift from Madison?) This was good to know as those things have a tendency to fall off and are very hard to find.

(http://i738.photobucket.com/albums/xx30/Auntie_Helen/Alfie%20the%20Trike/DSCF7153.jpg)

I didn’t read the instructions as closely as I should have as they say to remove the locking nut and the O-ring but then say, a bit later, use the O-ring with the tube to stop oil leaking out. I didn’t see that so had a few drops of oil leak out as I was doing the procedure; you’ll see in some photos some kitchen towel to mop it up. There wasn’t that much though.

Now the nozzle and syringe were attached
(http://i738.photobucket.com/albums/xx30/Auntie_Helen/Alfie%20the%20Trike/DSCF7154.jpg)

I the rotated the wheel and left it for five minutes for the oil to settle downwards
(http://i738.photobucket.com/albums/xx30/Auntie_Helen/Alfie%20the%20Trike/DSCF7155.jpg)

Then it was time to start the long procedure of sucking out the old oil with the syringe. You really have to do this for a minute, then leave it for five, then do it for another minute, leave it for another five etc etc to give the oil time to ooze down to the hole. So, I started extracting the oil and stopped when I was getting more air bubbles than oil, giving it a rest for a few minutes and then continuing.

(http://i738.photobucket.com/albums/xx30/Auntie_Helen/Alfie%20the%20Trike/DSCF7156.jpg)

This is a bit of a drawn-out procedure so time for a cup of tea and piece of cake (I washed my hands first, of course).
(http://i738.photobucket.com/albums/xx30/Auntie_Helen/Alfie%20the%20Trike/DSCF7158.jpg)

I realised it would be easier on my knees/back if the trike rear wheel were raised up so I found one of our many orange buckets (used by James sometimes in cycle training) to hold up the rear wheel.

(http://i738.photobucket.com/albums/xx30/Auntie_Helen/Alfie%20the%20Trike/DSCF7159.jpg)

I only got about 15ml of oil out (and a lot of air!) but spent about half an hour (on and off) doing this and decided to leave it there. Of course I would be flushing oil through as part of the procedure so hopefully if there was any bunged up somewhere it would come out.

(http://i738.photobucket.com/albums/xx30/Auntie_Helen/Alfie%20the%20Trike/DSCF7160.jpg)

Then I rotated the wheel so the syringe/nozzle were at the top (this is so much easier to do without the side rack extensions!) and then took off the syringe and emptied it into my jar of muck.

I then opened the new GREEN oil (remember, it’s Green and not Pink!):
(http://i738.photobucket.com/albums/xx30/Auntie_Helen/Alfie%20the%20Trike/DSCF7162.jpg)

I discovered that the neck of the oil bottle is narrower than the syringe so you can’t just dip the syringe in there to suck up the oil. This was a bit annoying as I had to undo the nozzle from the hub, attach that to the syringe and then suck up 25ml of green oil.

Here it is - definitely green!
(http://i738.photobucket.com/albums/xx30/Auntie_Helen/Alfie%20the%20Trike/DSCF7163.jpg)

The nozzle was dripping green oil when I lifted it out, of course, which then dripped onto the hub.

Anyway, I was able to screw the nozzle back in OK and this time included the O-ring to prevent any more drips. The oil pushed in very smoothly, much better than last time, and the syringe was empty in a minute or so.
(http://i738.photobucket.com/albums/xx30/Auntie_Helen/Alfie%20the%20Trike/DSCF7164.jpg)

(http://i738.photobucket.com/albums/xx30/Auntie_Helen/Alfie%20the%20Trike/DSCF7165.jpg)

I forgot to pull the syringe back slightly before undoing it and had a small amount of oil bubble out but that was no problem.

I then put the bolt in and, as the instructions say, pedalled for a minute whilst changing up and down the gears to give the oil time to spread around inside the hub and flush any grotty bits out (hopefully).

So then it’s a repeat of the previous procedure - fitting the nozzle, turning the wheel so the hole is pointing downward, leaving it for five minutes to settle, then using the syringe to extract the flushing oil.

(http://i738.photobucket.com/albums/xx30/Auntie_Helen/Alfie%20the%20Trike/DSCF7166.jpg)

As you can see, when the first few mls came out there was a faint greenish tinge to the black...

(http://i738.photobucket.com/albums/xx30/Auntie_Helen/Alfie%20the%20Trike/DSCF7167.jpg)

But by the time more had come out, it was all decidedly yucky black again. This is from two minutes inside my hub! Scary!

(http://i738.photobucket.com/albums/xx30/Auntie_Helen/Alfie%20the%20Trike/DSCF7170.jpg)

And now back to the start of the procedure again, this time putting in the green oil which will be the lubricant for the hub for the next 5,000km.

I actually seemed to get almost 30mls of oil from the remainder in the pot, not the 25 they say, but I thought I’d see if it’d all go in - and it did.

(http://i738.photobucket.com/albums/xx30/Auntie_Helen/Alfie%20the%20Trike/DSCF7171.jpg)

Then I replaced the cap on the hub and gave the top a wipe (had various drips of green oil on it) and all was completed!

(http://i738.photobucket.com/albums/xx30/Auntie_Helen/Alfie%20the%20Trike/DSCF7172.jpg)

I then re-attached the side plate to the rack and went out for a ride. The hub shifts even more smoothly than before, it’s great!

The whole procedure probably took an hour but my actual time that I was doing something was probably only 20 minutes (5 minutes of that was removing and replacing the rack side). It takes longer than you might think because of the waiting around for the oil to ooze down so that it can be removed with the syringe.

Anyway, this second attempt appears to (so far!) have been a success. In a couple of days’ time I will change the chain and give the whole chain tensioner/front derailleur a good clean as (as is evident on many of these photos), it is all appallingly mucky now after winter!
Title: Re: Servicing my Alfine 11 hub gear
Post by: Kim on April 19, 2012, 02:45:47 pm
Fitting and removing those rack sides is annoyingly fiddly.  They both have to come off to use the trike in a turbo trainer (though we bought barakta a rack top bag, so they only have to go on for carrying panniers).  I'm thinking some wing nuts might be a good addition...
Title: Re: Servicing my Alfine 11 hub gear
Post by: hazeyblue on January 06, 2014, 12:05:16 pm
Cheers for this, used this guide on my Dawes Nomad...
Title: Re: Servicing my Alfine 11 hub gear
Post by: Auntie Helen on January 06, 2014, 02:22:36 pm
No probs.

My blog has other items on 'Alfie the Trike' including changing the Alfine sprocket, which you might find handy.

www.auntiehelen.co.uk
Title: Re: Servicing my Alfine 11 hub gear
Post by: hazeyblue on January 06, 2014, 11:33:50 pm
No probs.

My blog has other items on 'Alfie the Trike' including changing the Alfine sprocket, which you might find handy.

www.auntiehelen.co.uk

Indeed, saw that too in preparation of me swapping up to a 20T sprocket - both jobs done! :)
Title: Re: Servicing my Alfine 11 hub gear
Post by: Augsburg on November 02, 2014, 04:38:32 pm
Hi, thanks so much for posting.

Based on your posting, I took the plunge and changed the oil in my Alfine 11-speed for the first time yesterday, after about 800 miles, or 1,300 km. of use. It took me about an hour including oil draining time. My old oil looked dirty, but not cloudy or milky. My hub has seen extreme duty, as I weigh 135 kg, and ride a lot of hills - mountains by UK standards.

A couple of thoughts:

I put the bike in the house over night so the oil would be warmer than if it had been left outside in the garage. (I think this job is probably best done on a hot summer day.) I used the Shimano oil and changing kit, both from Amazon.

I was unable to drain a full 25 ml of old oil out of the hub (in about 15 to 20 minutes and two full syringe extraction pulls I got about 20 ml). Therefore, I decided to only use 20 ml of fresh oil for the cleaning “rinse”. (I did not want the hub to end up over-filled.) The oil came out almost as dirty after the rinse as the old oil did. The rinse is definitely a good idea. Of the 20 ml of cleaning oil rinse, I could only extract about 15 ml – again in about 15 minutes of draining and two syringe extractions. I was pulling the syringe VERY slowly and stopping and starting the pulls, but would still get air bubbles. When the syringe was pulled all the way out, I would rotate the wheel to put the port back on top, disconnect and empty the syringe and then collapse the syringe for a second go-around at sucking oil.

I then put in 25 ml of fresh oil. This went smoothly.

Some say to super glue the tube to the syringe tip, but I did not find this necessary. The connection never slipped or leaked. In fact, I never had so much as a drop of oil escape the system. I did have a rag handy to wipe off the tip of the tube after immersing it on the fresh oil when it was sucked into the syringe.

I found the job very easy to do. Shimano’s prices are exorbitant, but at least I can now make the change next time by only purchasing the oil.

Again, thanks for posting your photos.  They gave me the confidence to give this job a try!
Title: Re: Servicing my Alfine 11 hub gear
Post by: Auntie Helen on November 02, 2014, 04:50:10 pm
Thanks Augsburg.

I am on my third hub (I tend to kill them) and interestingly when I did the first service of this third hub the flushing oil came out perfectly green so I didn't bother draining it all out - just left it there. This is the first time that's happened, it's usually really mucky and black, so I think my new hub is maybe a bit better sealed or less muckily made.

I never get 25ml of oil out, only ever 15-20ml, but I do put 25 back in as I don't think overfilling is too much of an issue and these things do ever-so-slightly ooze from time to time (my Rohloff is way worse - it is really oozing).

I have done these oil changes about 7 times now and that's usually when it's warm but I guess doing it inside (if your bike fits through the door) is a good idea. I initially paid attention to the warnings of the oil being dodgy for your skin and needing a well ventilated area but now when I do it I don't bother with rubber gloves and it seems fine - it's only time-consuming because the oil takes so long to drain.

Like you I have no need to glue the syringe to the pipe - it never wants to come off. What I do find tricky is attaching the syringe adapter to the hub as my spoke lacing makes it rather awkward. But I manage.

Glad it worked well for you anyway - if you're going to keep the hub a long time then the litre can of oil is helpful (although you also need another bit of pipe to suck the oil out of it) but is scarily expensive.
Title: Re: Servicing my Alfine 11 hub gear
Post by: Greenrig on July 18, 2016, 04:03:39 pm
My experiences of changing the gear oil on my Alfine 11-speed....

1.   DIY. My local bike shop won't do it and recommended sending the entire real wheel to a specialist. Too much hassle; I'll do it myself. 

2.   The Kit - yes, I bought the kit too. This must be the World's most expensive plastic tube, syringe and tub. You could probably do with homemade or other sourced parts, apart from the screw attachment that locks into the hub.   I think you COULD manage without that, if you had a tube that fitted tightly into the hub hole (perhaps with a conical end on the tube). I bought the oil too; Shimano share price must go up every time someone buys this (at 50ml a pop).   Price of kit in UKP was £33 !!,  Price of oil was UKP £16. 

3.   Drain old oil - my bike has done about 3000 miles, over six years.  So it's WELL OVERDUE for oil-change. It’s fiddly to remove plug, and attach the tube – the spokes get in the way.  I could only get about 5ml of old oil out, after trying over one hour, on a nice hot day – so I guess there was just no more in there.  This may reflect the six years with no service. (BTW, the gears operate just fine).  What old oil there was, was quite runny, and pale brown – so not much evidence of dirt or water.  Not much evidence of ANYTHING, actually.

4.   Flush with new oil – seems a waste to use this expensive stuff for flushing – but I did what it said on the instructions. About 20ml of nice, new, green oil went in very easily. I spun the pedals, and worked the gear change for a while then left it to settle.  It all came out again easily. The oil was a little cloudy – but not bad – no sign of dirt, black gunge, water or any other nasty.

5.   New oil – again, the 25ml of fresh oil went in very easily – no need to wait, or pump the syringe. I refitted the plug and aligned the gear shift at gear 6 and the yellow marks – so easy to do this.

6.   Other observations – Shimano – please add another length of tube to the kit – there must be a bit of margin in the profit :-)  That way, I don’t have to detach the tube from the hub, to use the tube to suck up fresh oil from the bottle.
Title: Re: Servicing my Alfine 11 hub gear
Post by: Wowbagger on July 18, 2016, 04:51:43 pm
I wonder if you could re-use the flushing oil if you filtered it?
Title: Re: Servicing my Alfine 11 hub gear
Post by: Auntie Helen on July 18, 2016, 06:02:15 pm
I think really buying the litre can of oil is a sensible decision if you expect to do this job a few times (I think I've done it 8 or 9 now).

Of course, the issue then is getting the oil out of the can into the syringe (I now have another length of pipe for that).

The third hub had very little dirt in the oil with its first oil change, they seem to vary a lot.
Title: Re: Servicing my Alfine 11 hub gear
Post by: Greenrig on July 18, 2016, 07:00:13 pm
So annoyed at the price of the Shimano oil change kit that I did some (minimal) research on alternatives.

Oral syringe, 30ml - on Amazon about £1
Plastic tubing - any home-brew shop sells for about 80p a meter
Tub - I recommend a Waitrose leek & potato fresh soup tub (but any flavour will do) - cost £0
Connector - it is said on the Internet that this tube http://www.billys.co.uk/english/group.php?prod=luro-shuboil fits - cost £4.50
Total cost of DIY kit - about  £6-£7 - compared to Shimano (on Amazon) at about £33

The oil, I'm not competent to comment on whether another, cheaper oil would do- and there are warranty issues too, so your call....
Title: Re: Servicing my Alfine 11 hub gear
Post by: Auntie Helen on July 18, 2016, 08:13:19 pm
I personally wouldn't risk alternative oil, as you say (warranty issues - and Madison have been extremely helpful with my warranties).
Title: Re: Servicing my Alfine 11 hub gear
Post by: LittleWheelsandBig on July 18, 2016, 08:15:35 pm
I split the difference with Shimano oil and a copycat kit for HK's Alfine commuter.