Way to go with rebuilding your IGH. Gotta be one of the more
technically challenging jobs in bicycle maintenance. Personally I never
want to see the inside of mine.
I have a Nexus 8-speed on my daily commuter and it's been through a
couple of messy winters now and has never let me down.
---------- Original Message ----------------------------------
From: "rich_as_a_queen" <ernie_olson@...
Date: Thu, 02 Aug 2012 14:49:21 -0000
>Just like to share a success story.
>A few years ago I picked up an old Shimano 3-Speed hub (type F), with
the cable & shifter, which was laced to a wheel from some kid's bike,
probably from the 70's. It showed very little wear at all. I removed the
hub and had it laced to full sized rim and have been using it in a
>I'd read on the web that these hubs are not very tough, but I make sure
to keep the hub oiled, and the shifter-cable properly adjusted because I
remember from my youth that the usual way to damage these hubs is to
mash the pedals while between gears. Mine's proven to be very tough.
I've been climbing some quite steep hills with never a slipped pawl or
missed gear. The hub has been able to take everything I throw at it....
>At the base of a climb, just as I stood on the pedals there was the
sound of breaking metal and I felt resistance and grinding through the
pedals. Oh no. I inspected the rear wheel and noticed there was now
significant side-to-side play in the rear wheel. Not a good sign.
>Back home, when I removed the wheel from the frame the rear sprocket
fell out of the hub along with the freewheel and half of the rear axle -
I had broken the axle in two!
>Luckily, I had previously bought another 333 hub from Ebay. It was sold
for a penny (plus a kings-ransom worth of shipping) as a non-working
specimen. But it had never been used and had all the internal parts
intact. Unluckily, I had been warned never to open these hubs up
because it was rumoured that ordinary mortals can never get them working
>I downloaded a copy of the exploded diagram of the hub and saw
immediately what I was up against. All the internal planetary gears and
the shifting mechanism are held in place by an end-cap that is
permanently press-fit onto the drive side of the hub. This makes it hard
to remove/install the axle. In particular, the axle has a one inch long
slot cut through it (where mine broke!) where two small metal rods pass
through and engage the internal shifter mechanism. These small rods must
be inserted in the axle, while it is removed, and then the axle must be
carefully inserted in the hub, through the planetary gears, in such a
way that the rod does not fall out in the hub. But there's a narrow spot
in the center of the hub that prevents the rods from passing through.
One rod must be on one side of this constriction, and the other rod must
be on the other side. But once you slide one side in as far as it will
go, with 1 rod in place, you cannot easily reach the axle-slot from the
other side of the hub to insert the 2nd rod. I used the thinnest of thin
needle-nosed pliers to reach between the ball-bearings and insert the
rod into the slot, and then used a piece of wire to manoeuvre the rod
perpendicular to the axle, and then replaced the spring, and ball race,
and free wheel, and other ball race, while all the while holding the
axle in the hub perfectly steady least those damn rods fall out inside
before I can get the whole thing back together. Once together only the
spring tension keeps the rods in place (I guess). One last hard bit.
The freewheel wouldn't go back in because the pawls stick out. You have
to insert the freewheel, then use a piece of wire, inserted between the
freewheel and hub body, to depress the pawls and get the freewheel
properly seated into the hub.
>And it now works like new! Even better, I replaced the old freewheel
with the Ebay one that does not have any wear on the pawls. So my hub
should last another 40 years.
>A note on the durability issue of these 333 hubs. I think these hubs
are very tough - much tougher than the Sheldon Brown site makes out.
I've put three years of commuting in all weather on it and there was
very little wear on either the planetary gears or the freewheel pawls. I
believe the axle failure I experiance was not the fault of 'bad
metallurgy', but bacause I once seized one of axle nuts (salt from
Canadian winter driving) and used a huge wrench on it while the other
end of the axle was in a vice. All that torque must have cracked the
>Sorry to have rambled on so long. Maybe this will inspire some else to
revive one of these old hubs.
>Yahoo! Groups Links