Author Topic: Lubrication of external transfer box ? ( Not cable box!)  (Read 689 times)

willywombat

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Lubrication of external transfer box ? ( Not cable box!)
« on: February 18, 2020, 07:01:24 PM »
I've been checking over an old speedhub I haven't used for a number of years ,and removed the external transfer box/ arm from the   gearbox  to replace the pawl springs. I noticed it was looking rather dirty inside so have dismantled and am about to clean it all up . I couldn't find any information re lubrication of the 2 gears inside but am intending to just grease the lot and wanted to check whether this would be the right approach. I'm feeling confident it is ..especially as Rohloff recommend a light greasing between the transfer box teeth and central pinion that turns to select gears.
Any thoughts/ advice etc much appreciated.
Update . I've  done it now ...think they come pre greased anyhow so  can't see it doing any harm unless anyone has an alternative view .
« Last Edit: February 18, 2020, 10:12:26 PM by willywombat »

mickeg

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Re: Lubrication of external transfer box ? ( Not cable box!)
« Reply #1 on: February 19, 2020, 02:22:32 AM »
I suspect some grease is all you need.  There should also be some grease in the EX box where the round spool thing that the cables wrap around goes so that moving part is lubed.  I think Dan fills his EX box with grease, I only put enough grease in there to make sure the moving parts still move.  Every few years I remove and grease the T20 screws that hold the cover on the EX box to help protect against dissimilar metal corrosion.

Danneaux

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Re: Lubrication of external transfer box ? ( Not cable box!)
« Reply #2 on: February 19, 2020, 03:49:26 AM »
Quote
I think Dan fills his EX box with grease,
Yep, with Phil Wood Waterproof Grease:

http://thorncyclesforum.co.uk/index.php?topic=12877.msg96403#msg96403

Do use care if you employ a different grease. I have found Phil Waterproof Grease makes a sort of oily pool under load, remaining greasy at the margins for good sealing. For this reason it is the one grease I've found works well with my bespoke freewheel injector, sealing and quietening freewheels but doesn't thicken enough in cold weather to prevent freewheeling, even down to -25°C/-12°F in my experience. I've used it in my bicycle bearings the last 40 years. I've found it seals my EX shift-box well in continued rain and does a great job in preventing the entry of corrosive alkali dust when I am touring in the desert. I've found no sign of dissimilar metals corrosion inside, thanks to the anti-corrosive properties of the grease.

I've not found it to be any real detriment when changing Rohloff cables in my external shift-box. It is easily removed with a dunk in the mineral spirits I have in my ExploSafe dash tank. A disposable rag would clean things nicely if a cable change was needed on the road.

Despite sharing a last name, I have no connection to the company other than as a satisfied long-term customer. I do wish the price had not soared in recent years but it smells good, lasts a long time and works well, so I'll keep using it.

Best,

Dan.

Danneaux

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Re: Lubrication of external transfer box ? ( Not cable box!)
« Reply #3 on: February 19, 2020, 04:51:42 AM »
Rohloff Australia recently made a post of their Facebook page which directly contradicts my own successful practice of filling my external shift-box with Phil Wood Waterproof Grease. See:
https://www.facebook.com/rohloffaustralia/posts/cable-box-cable-lubricationwe-are-often-asked-about-the-best-grease-how-much-gre/357713321388852/

In this post they say...
Quote
CABLE BOX & CABLE LUBRICATION
We are often asked about the best grease, how much grease, or recommended lubricant & sprays and cable oils for the Rohloff External Gear Mechanism 'Cable Box' and cables. This can and will be argued for-against and there will be many opinions... including Rohloff itself recommending greasing of the cable box and shifter. In simple terms, we do not use any lubricants on these parts and believe the riding environment dictates the need.

In Australia I use 'no grease', none! Why, because grease attracts dust, debris, dirt and sand which is far more detrimental to the smooth operation and life of these parts. This is also a policy and recommendation I followed for oil & gas and mining applications whereby grease was proven to cause more problems and in many cases accelerate wear due to the grease combination with dust, debris, sand etc. Back to cycling and the Rohloff cable box and shifter, the dry and dusty Australian environment makes it ideal for using no grease and no oils on these parts (see photos below after a 4 years of use in both Darwin and SE Queensland mountain biking environments). See also Rohloff's recommendation for greasing the cable pulley and hexagonal spindle (image below).

With regards to the Rohloff Cables, these are stainless steel wire inners with nylon lined cable housings which DO NOT require any lubrication - no oil, no grease, no sprays. The Rohloff cables are designed to operate without lubricant and using lubricants will cause additional friction and eventually will attract dust, debris, sand etc which will cause additional shifter/cable friction. Nylon performs as a 'very low' friction surface against the stainless steel cable. Rohloff states in the Owners Manual... "The shifter cables are to be mounted dry (free from oil or grease). The nylon-stainless steel combination runs service free".

There will be those who disagree and in the end it is a personal choice with greasing the Cable Box... it is not a big issue either way. My findings are the result of 12 years of various trials - from lightly greasing, to fully packing the cable box with grease in tropical environments, to now using zero greases or oils. My recommendation in Australia is keep your cable box and shifter grease free!

I understand and respect their view but I think the key phrase is...
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There will be those who disagree and in the end it is a personal choice with greasing the Cable Box...

I prefer my method for water and dust sealing and resistance to dissimilar metals corrosion. The photos at the link above are interesting to compare with mine linked earlier in this thread. Vive la différence.

Best,

Dan.

PH

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Re: Lubrication of external transfer box ? ( Not cable box!)
« Reply #4 on: February 19, 2020, 11:26:34 AM »
Quote
I think Dan fills his EX box with grease,
Yep, with Phil Wood Waterproof Grease:

http://thorncyclesforum.co.uk/index.php?topic=12877.msg96403#msg96403

Dan.
I'm not sure we're always talking about the same thing, which might be me...  ;)
I pack out the cable box, but the transfer box rarely gets touched, when it does I clean it out and grease the cogs but don't pack it out. I don't know what Rohloff's recommendation is, there's a lot of metal on those parts for the job, I can't imagine wearing them out, it there was any issue with them I think you'd feel it, but like most moving parts a bit of grease keeps it sweat.
« Last Edit: February 19, 2020, 11:34:37 AM by PH »

Andre Jute

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Re: Lubrication of external transfer box ? ( Not cable box!)
« Reply #5 on: February 19, 2020, 08:05:29 PM »
You'll find in the manual that Rohloff tells you to service the EXT box (black box on hub, removed with thumbwheel) every 500km. This is ten times as often as you change the oil. As I've said elsewhere on this forum, even for a German that is an excessive amount of CYA.

Perhaps Herr Rohloff never met Phil Wood.

I too fill the entire cavity of the EXT box with Phil's to the extent that a tiny amount squeezes out when I remate the surfaces, as Dan does, but I wipe it out and refill it every time I change the gearbox oil (once a year or every 5000km/3000m), which is a convenient interval for me. I've never seen the slightest sign that the Phil needed to be changed more often, or even that it wouldn't go another year, or two or three. The cavity is large enough so that the grease at the working surface (the big brass nut on the gearbox axle and the matching socket in the removable EXT box) thins out to act as a moving parts machine grease and at the margins acts as waterproofing. I've never found any water in there.

I agree with Paul and also the Australian advice Dan found: Those parts are so substantial compared to the forces going in, grease or not is probably irrelevant. I grease because I live in clean, almost dust-free countryside, where water is a far bigger threat.

As always, I advise those with Rohloffs under guarantee to do as the manual tells them, and after the guarantee runs out to vary this particular service from the manual's injunction only if you're comfortable with the thought that it may cause Rohloff to send you a bill if your hub ever breaks.

mickeg

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Re: Lubrication of external transfer box ? ( Not cable box!)
« Reply #6 on: February 19, 2020, 09:07:51 PM »
I think I look in the EX box about every two or three years.  The less than full amount of grease I put in is always adequate, but I avoid deserts other than one week in Canyonlands National Park.  Sometimes use Pedros, sometimes Phil, whichever is convenient. 

The gears between the hub and the EX box that started this conversation, I think I had that openned up once, possibly twice, and likely put some grease in there too.  I think most of you have seen my photos of the oil covered EX box, I think the oil may have flowed down to the EX box through the gearing mechanism, in which case it gets replenished with lube frequently.

Have not ridden my Nomad since this past fall.  I put studded tires on it for winter, but the few times that I went out, the weather was nice enough that I could ride a bike without studded tires.  Thus, the Rohloff stayed in a warm and dry place since last fall.