Author Topic: Oil Change Questions for Rohloff  (Read 2048 times)

pdamm

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Oil Change Questions for Rohloff
« on: February 17, 2011, 03:41:48 AM »
Having had my Raven Tour for a few years now I had some questions about the oil change process.  I sent them to Rohloff and here are my questions and Rohloff’s reply.  Thought I’d share with the forum - Peter

My Questions:

I have been using my Rohloff equipped bike (Thorn Raven Tour) for four years now and like it very much.  I have a couple of questions.
 
The recommended procedure for changing the oil on a Speedhub is to first add the rinsing oil, run the hub to mix the rinsing oil with the regular oil, drain the oil then add the replacement oil.  Would not more of the old oil be removed if the procedure was to first drain the old oil, add the rinsing oil, run the hub to mix, drain the hub again then add the replacement oil.  Is there any reason for the procedure Rohloff recommends?
 
I do about 10,000 km per year on my bike.  As per the recommendation from Rohloff I have been changing the oil twice a year over the past 4 years that I have owned the bike.  I have heard a rumor that oil changes can be left to every 10,000 km or once a year whichever comes first.  Can I do an annual oil change instead of the biannual changes I have been doing?



Reply:

We state that the cleaning oil should be added firstly to the mixture for several reasons:

The SPEEDHUB is a product which is used all around the world and in many different temperature zones. The colder teh temperature, the thicker the oil. At normal room temperature, the original SPEEDHUB oil is thick enough that this will hardly and if so, very slowly depart from the hub. If water has penetrated the gear-unit (through washing with a jet-wash or due to several stream crossings etc), then the viscosity of the oil changes and the extraction of this oil can become very slow and tiresome if not thinned initially. In extremely low temperatures this can become near-on impossible.

Completing the procedure in this manner will cost a customer (if done at their local bike shop) an incredible amount of labor due to the time required. Then their is the extra cost/problem of storage and disposal.

The cleaning oil bottle is twice as large as the amount of contents within, the reason for this is so that the old oil can be filled back into this container for safe and easy disposal. If the container is still full, then the mechanic must find another suitable, safe container for storing the initially extracted oil before they use the cleaning oil. This would most probably not be done safely, especially when the oil-change is completed in remote regions around the world.

More oil would however most probably not be removed even if completing the task in this manner. The attribute of the oil itself means that this remains stuck to the surface areas of all inner components of the gear-unit. Only the free oil can be removed and the amount of this depends upon a number of factors such as the amount of sweat oil lost or moisture that has penetrated the system or the time the wheel is left before extracting the oil mixture, the temperature when the procedure is carried out.
The procedure we wrote is the best method for the majority of SPEEDHUBs. As a manufacturer we are legally obliged to prescribe 1 universal method so that all customers may be clear how to maintain their hub without voiding their warranty.

Warranty states that an oil change should be carried out once annually or every 5000km, whichever comes first. If this is upheld, then we guarantee that the SPEEDHUB will continue to work as it should. If you wish to leave the oil change intervals over longer periods, then you may have luck and this not have any negative influences upon operation, however any problems that arise should be compensated by an immediate oil change. With luck, there will be no lasting damage to components within your hub. If the SPEEDHUB needs to then be shipped to us for repair, then you may be faced with an invoice should the problems be directly related to either non-OE oil or missing oil changes.

The main reason for the prescribed oil changes is to ensure that any lost oil is replaced (failure to do so may result in components starting to rust which will obviously hinder correct operation) and also to ensure that any penetrated moisture is rinsed out (water can mix with the oil increasing resistance for moving elements and lead to shifting malfunctions).

I hope this information has helped somewhat.
Have a nice day.

 

MacLeod

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Re: Oil Change Questions for Rohloff
« Reply #1 on: January 26, 2018, 09:56:36 PM »
Well, I have just the opposite question. If I do not ride 5000 km per year, should I change the oil at the end of the year ? For example if I ride little - 1000 km per year, can I change the oil of the hub on the fifth year ?
Thanks.

mickeg

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Re: Oil Change Questions for Rohloff
« Reply #2 on: January 26, 2018, 11:11:32 PM »
You proposed:
1  drain old lube oil,
2  add new cleaning oil,
3  run it in to mix any remaining lube oil with cleaning oil and washing the innards of the hub with cleaning oil,
4  draining the cleaning oil,
5  and adding new lube oil.
Whereas Rohloff essentially instruct to start at step 2.  I see no advantage to step 1 because if you start at step 2 you still would drain all fluids (old lube oil mixed with new cleaning oil) in step 4.  But, if you wanted to start with step 1 first, I see no harm in it.  I only see extra work and waiting time for it to drain.  Keep in mind that the lube oil is more viscous than a lube oil/cleaning oil mix, thus much of the lube oil might not drain out anyway if not mixed with the cleaning oil.  I would be surprised if you could drain a significant amount of oil in step 1 anyway.

Regarding waiting for several years if you do not ride it very much, I believe that one concern they have is that water could enter the hub from condensation or if ridden in the rain, then left there for a LONG time.  Annual oil replacement would likely prevent any water from staying in the hub for a long time for from accumulating to a larger volume. 

I do not work for Rohloff or SJS, I am only giving my opinions here as a Rohloff owner that has owned my hub for almost five trouble free years.

martinf

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Re: Oil Change Questions for Rohloff
« Reply #3 on: January 27, 2018, 09:23:03 AM »
Regarding waiting for several years if you do not ride it very much, I believe that one concern they have is that water could enter the hub from condensation or if ridden in the rain, then left there for a LONG time.  Annual oil replacement would likely prevent any water from staying in the hub for a long time for from accumulating to a larger volume. 

I've seen the results of water entry into gear hubs, one an old Sturmey-Archer 3-speed I got for free, the other a badly sealed SRAM 3-speed used for all-weather commuting.

I have no doubt the seals on the Rohloff are OK for most normal conditions, but condensation remains a possibility. So I prefer to keep to the recommended schedule of changing the oil yearly and spend a small amount of time and money, perhaps unnecessarily, rather than risk the hassle of trying to get an expensive rusty hub gear internal repaired.

Water entry was a known issue for early Shimano 8-speed hubs. I currently have 2 of these, plus a similar 7-speed, in service on family bikes. These hubs get an overhaul about once a year for the same reasons I do the oil change on the Rohloff.

Tiberius

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Re: Oil Change Questions for Rohloff
« Reply #4 on: January 27, 2018, 01:01:57 PM »
For example if I ride little - 1000 km per year, can I change the oil of the hub on the fifth year ?
Thanks.

Answer....No. As/Rohloff's reply to 'pdamm' above...

'Warranty states that an oil change should be carried out once annually or every 5000km, whichever comes first.'

So, either 5000KM or annually WILL come up before five years.

Donerol

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Re: Oil Change Questions for Rohloff
« Reply #5 on: January 27, 2018, 06:32:48 PM »
You can save quite a bit of money buy buying the stuff in bulk. You need more of the cleaning oil than the lube oil - 15ml is enough lube but you need the full 25ml to clean the hub out.

julio

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Re: Oil Change Questions for Rohloff
« Reply #6 on: December 24, 2018, 11:41:04 AM »
Hi,
Some Rohloff owners did oil change every 9000 kms and most of them are germans :)
What are yours advises ? 5000 kms or more ?
Thanks

Andre Jute

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Re: Oil Change Questions for Rohloff
« Reply #7 on: December 24, 2018, 01:16:24 PM »
I wouldn't let it go to 9000, Julio. The Rohloff is an expensive component to take risks with. Only very little rust will ruin gears that need to work together so closely. My attitude is thus, So what if all year I rode less than a 1000km? Changing the oil is a whole lot cheaper than having to buy a new Rohloff and spokes, and labour to have them fitted to the rim.

***
In general, we should be clear why the 5000km or 1 year limits exist (they're in the letter the OP received from Rohloff but should be isolated so no one can miss the point):

1. Condensation, which is sure to happen over time, can cause RUST and RUIN your gearbox. One year maximum between oil changes takes care of this.

2. A high-mile tourer or off-tarmac (which is what the Rohloff was designed for) rider may cross several streams in a year or otherwise ride in conditions that allow water entry, and the sooner that water is removed from the gearbox, the better. 5000km limit between changes takes care of this.

3. Oil may "mist out" until only 12-14ml clings to the gears. Oil dries out over time, or water entry may rust gears so thinly coated with oil that it easily washes off. One or the other limit takes care of this one.

***
Like George (mickeg) I don't work for Rohloff or SJS or speak for them, but that doesn't mean my mind isn't engaged any time my wallet or my sense of engineering punctilio is threatened.
« Last Edit: December 24, 2018, 01:20:04 PM by Andre Jute »

julio

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Re: Oil Change Questions for Rohloff
« Reply #8 on: December 24, 2018, 02:14:54 PM »
Thanks to your reply, it's convincing  :)

rafiki

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Re: Oil Change Questions for Rohloff
« Reply #9 on: December 24, 2018, 06:49:07 PM »
In a recent thread I asked advice after having crossed a ford deeper than I expected where the Rohloff was completely submerged for about 30 seconds. Dave Whittle advised an oil change as soon as I could do it because of the risk of water ingress.

rafiki

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Re: Oil Change Questions for Rohloff
« Reply #10 on: March 16, 2019, 09:56:44 AM »
I'm reading "Living with a Rohloff hub" where Andy Blance writes: Rohloff have confirmed that adding only 8ml of oil after draining the flushing oil will cause no problems...the only downside being that the hub will run slightly more noisily, than it would with 25ml of oil, to dampen the sound. He also mentions that there is always 7ml of oil adhering to the surfaces of the gears. Now, if, at the end of the cleaning cycle, there is 7ml of thin cleaning oil in the hub as he states and I add my usual 15ml of Speedhub oil surely the final viscosity of the 7/15 oil in my hub will be significantly different from that produced by Andy'a 7/8 oil and very different from Rohloff's recommended 7/25 mix? Won't there be a long term difference to the wear on one's hub gears?

mickeg

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Re: Oil Change Questions for Rohloff
« Reply #11 on: March 16, 2019, 01:23:20 PM »
I have seen the reference to 8ml before, along with 15ml and 25ml.  I am not going to worry about it, I just blindly use the 15ml recommendation on blind faith that it will work fine. 

And, I consider a tolerance of plus or minus 10 percent to be acceptable, although I have not seen that documented anywhere.  Thus, when moving the sticky syringe in and out to measure, if it is between about 14 and 16, that  is good enough to me.

Neither of the fluids is very viscous at normal operating temperatures, it is not like comparing the viscosity of a light engine oil compared to a gear lube in a transfer case.

I think at times we can over-think some of the details.  Having a lubricating fluid in the hub without any liquids that will corrode or otherwise damage any internals is the principle issue here, along with changing it often enough that particulate matter is flushed out.