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Lubing older Sturmey Archer 3 speed hub gears
#1
There are a lot of diverse recommendations out there on the right oil to drip through the plastic oil cap of Sturmey 3 speed hubs. Based on my own experience at Pedal Depot tearing down quite a few, the biggest problem encountered (other than no oil..) is oil that is too sticky for the pawls and planets. Phil's Tenacious Oil, though a good oil elsewhere on the bike, is a bad choice here - it is way stickier than the official Sturmey Archer oil that used to be sold in small cans with a spout at bicycle shops. With a (protected from the weather) internal gear hub, you need a renewed thin oil to flush out wear particles, not "stick".

The closest, as someone else suggested, is "3-in-1" electric motor oil SAE 20W, sold in all hardware stores for furnaces. It is thin and doesn't contain combustion additives. It also comes with a handy spout.

Newer Sturmey 3 speeds (1988 on) have no oil cap, instead they are lubed inside with white lithium grease. This is a nod to lazy consumers. who never put those precious few drips of oil in monthly. Unfortunately grease increases frictional losses, the older oil-filled Sturmeys have the highest efficiency (ref.Frank Berto et al. , IHVA 2001 dyno tests, derailleurs & hub gears).

You can still clean off the grease, then lube instead with oil a newer Sturmey 3 speed. Then add oil drops through the hollow axle indicator chain recess at intervals.

Ironically Shimano have stopped using grease on their newest 11 speed hub gear, it now runs in an efficient oil bath. Deja Vu!
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#2
I have to agree on the live and learn concept lol.

Thanks for sharing,
Bill
Good maintenance to your Bike, can make it like the wheels are, true and smooth!
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