Author Topic: Power-servicing your Rohloff  (Read 362 times)

Andre Jute

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Power-servicing your Rohloff
« on: April 12, 2019, 02:58:38 AM »
If you're new to Rohloff internal hub gears, follow the instructions in the manual closely.

If you're a more experienced owner who has previously successfully serviced your Rohloff, you can at your own risk gear up to Power-Servicing your Rohloff. It takes a little longer, and you have to measure the quantity of All-Seasons Oil accurately, but it results in a better and less wasteful service, because you're now creating less opportunity for excess oil to be flung out through the breather hole or to mist out.

The sort of Rohloff owner for whom this post is intended probably already has two large plastic containers of bulk Rolloff Cleaning Oil and All-Seasons Oil, and a collection of syringes and gearbox closure studs from previous services with the expensive single-use kits, whose main attraction is convenience.

Take out the stud. Do not drain anything immediately. Put in 25ml of Cleaning Oil. Draw out a little air to avoid air bubbles.  Disengage the tube. Put the stud back in. Ride the bike for two or three kilometres in gears 3 and 5, which will bring all the gears into play, and clean them with the thinner oil.


Drain the dirty old oil and the used cleaning oil from the gearbox by attaching a second syringe kept only for this purpose of dealing with dirty oil. Before attaching the syringe, draw it out to only 35ml rather than all the way. Now turn the wheel so that the oil stud hole with the attached syringe points downwards. Stand the syringe up against the tyre and go away for an hour. When you return there will be dirty oil in part of the syringe, though less than you expect. Don't worry about that -- the rest of the All-Seasons Oil misted away over the last 3000m/5000km or one year, but your expensive gearbox was never in danger because enough oil always clung to the gears to lubricate them; the factory apparently sends out new gearboxes with 12ml of oil, but you shouldn't shave it that fine. What you're seeing is the oil clinging to the gears that the cleaning oil has washed off. At this point slowly pull the syringe handle out all the way to suck in the last drops of dirty oil in the gearbox, and to avoid expensive and acrimonious drips on your wife's favourite Persian carpet when you unscrew the tube. (You're not servicing your bike in the shed, are you?) Pulling the syringe handle to create a vacuum in the syringe to suck out any remaining dirty oil or bits of knocked-off metal remaining in the box -- especially if it is new or only a little used -- is the essence of Power-Service. Notice in the photo above the dirty oil in the tube rather than the syringe: this is the oil that would have been retained in the gearbox by air pressure without you creating a vacuum for the last of the dirty oil to fill. Remove the dirty-oil syringe and, later, dispose thoughtfully of the dirty oil.

Now fill the clean-oil syringe with 14ml or so, better a fraction more than less, of clean All-Seasons Oil (or in very extreme winter conditions -- read the manual! -- with more of the Cleaning Oil which is formulated for such conditions) and feed it to the gearbox with the stud-hole at the top. When the last drops are in the gearbox, suck out a few millilitres of air to equalise the pressures. You can reuse the old stud as long as there is some Loctite left on it; gently wipe the stud dry before reinserting it. The official closing torque for the stud is 0.5Nm; I suggest that instead of trying to guess how low this is and perhaps winding the stud down into the gears, you wind the stud into the gearbox until at least one full thread remains above the surrounding gearbox shell, and stop there.

The Rohloff hub gearbox is a near-sentient creature. I notice that mine, when serviced on time and thoughtfully as above, always rewards me by letting me put back the EXT shift cover (which I service at the same time as the main oil service) without having to fiddle with the rotary gearshift control on the handlebars, an awkward business if you need one hand on the rear hub of the bike.

Now you and your Rohloff are good to go for another year or 3000m/5000km, whichever comes first.

2019 Andre Jute
« Last Edit: April 12, 2019, 09:55:20 AM by Andre Jute »

Dave Whittle Thorn Workshop

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Re: Power-servicing your Rohloff
« Reply #1 on: April 12, 2019, 09:16:25 AM »
This is almost exactly how we do it in the workshop. Have no problems with recommending the above, we do prefer to use a new drain screw every time though.

energyman

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Re: Power-servicing your Rohloff
« Reply #2 on: April 12, 2019, 09:27:05 AM »
I note that there was no mention of having a cup of THORN tea whilst waiting for the oil to drain.
Serious omission !
;)

Andre Jute

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Re: Power-servicing your Rohloff
« Reply #3 on: April 12, 2019, 10:05:15 AM »
This is almost exactly how we do it in the workshop. Have no problems with recommending the above, we do prefer to use a new drain screw every time though.

Thanks, Dave; I'm flattered.

I note that there was no mention of having a cup of THORN tea whilst waiting for the oil to drain.
Serious omission !
;)

Progress is slow on persuading the local supermarkets to stock THORN tea, Energyman. We have to make do with locally fermented elderflower juice.

mickeg

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Re: Power-servicing your Rohloff
« Reply #4 on: April 12, 2019, 04:59:31 PM »
I note that there was no mention of having a cup of THORN tea whilst waiting for the oil to drain.
Serious omission !
;)

I do it in the evening and substitute some red wine for the tea.

I reuse the fill plug screw, but I put a bit of blue Loctite (actually a competing brand) on the screw first.

***

My trip on a plane with my Rohloff resulted in a lot of oil leakage on the left side down in the EX box area.  (I have posted photos before.)  I suspect that air pressure changes during flight and possibly my S&S case being set down flat are the reasons.  But the next oil change did not leak at all, so that leakage clearly was a one off occurrence that I blame on the flight, not a bad seal on the hub.

In a few months I expect to get on a plane again with my Rohloff.  This time, I will do the cleaning oil rinse and drain, then put in the filler plug.  And pack up the bike for transport.  Upon getting off the plane and reassembling the bike I will add the lube oil.  Hopefully that solves the mess of leakage that I had last time.  I bought a spare plastic hose that threads onto the hub, spare fill plug screw in case the plug goes walk about, a small bottle to carry the fresh oil, and a smaller syringe to carry in my spares. 

Off topic but I use blue Loctite on my rack bolts.  After observing several other bike tourists that have lost rack bolts or other critical bolts (I lost a shoe cleat bolt a couple years ago too), I bought a spare tiny bottle of blue threadlocker to carry on tours in my bag of tools and spares so when I assemble the bike, I can reapply it to my rack bolts.

John Saxby

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Re: Power-servicing your Rohloff
« Reply #5 on: April 12, 2019, 11:21:29 PM »
Quote
Upon getting off the plane and reassembling the bike I will add the lube oil.

Thanks for that helpful tip, George.

And +1 for blue Loctite/Permatex on small nuts & bolts subject to vibration.

(Hv seen several old Britbikes in the last 2 weeks in the th Gold Coast, a kinetic reminder of the virtues of keeping things tight.) (And also a reminder of pervasive oil leaks.)

Dave Whittle Thorn Workshop

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Re: Power-servicing your Rohloff
« Reply #6 on: April 15, 2019, 09:53:21 AM »
Quote
I put a bit of blue Loctite (actually a competing brand) on the screw first.

Blue medium strength loctite is fine on most bolts but not drain screws.

You need something oil proof that seals, your not actually looking to lock the thread.

Rohloff use Weicon AN301-72, you can use Loctite 511.

mickeg

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Re: Power-servicing your Rohloff
« Reply #7 on: April 15, 2019, 05:14:31 PM »
Quote
I put a bit of blue Loctite (actually a competing brand) on the screw first.

Blue medium strength loctite is fine on most bolts but not drain screws.

You need something oil proof that seals, your not actually looking to lock the thread.

Rohloff use Weicon AN301-72, you can use Loctite 511.

I mostly use it to inhibit dissimilar metal corrosion, not so much as a seal.  I will just keep doing what I do.  Thanks for the suggestion.