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Ceramic wet lube for 3 speed hub?
#1
I have an old Raleigh from 1969 with a "AW three speed hub". It is the type of gear hub with oil cap. I ordered a bottle of "Finish Line Ceramic Wet Lube"; after reading about the additives and how silent it can make the chain run I had to try it. I wondered if teflon and ceramic (boron nitride) in a synthetic oil would be be worth testing in the hub too. There might be an advantage to the basic mineral oil usually adviced for older hubs with the oiling cap. If it isn't too sticky or to thin I am very tempted to clean out the hub and add this (to me at least) new type oil.

Any idea if it could mess up anything in there?
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#2
You can get a replacement hub for less than $100-; after that is a simple matter of rebuild the wheel. I am sure that they would like your money for a new replacement hub.

"Clean out the hub" - so you are going to take it completely apart, clean it with a solvent, then re-lubricate it? Make sure that you remove EVERY molecule of the old lube, as the old and new may react in a very undesirable manner.

Chains and gears have different lubrication requirements, what works well for chains can damage gears.
Nigel
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#3
I presume sythetic oil should work fine, at least after a general cleaning. I mean, they go from regular mineral oil to the new type synthetic all the time in cars? What the hub might benefit from it is debatable though, but I read others have done it with out immediate adverse effect at least. So yet another thing to worry about?

Cleaning out every molecule is out of the question, but I could disassemble, clean and reasseble the AW 3 speed. The easy way would be to dip the entire internal assebly in white sprit, hexane or something like that. It is the simpler type hub gear, not like the 7 or 8 geared ones.

I've had no problem with teflon/PTFE in the past, but ceramic boron nitride is new to me. I have no idea what it is really. The maker says it coats the metal surface, but being hard, smooth ceramic particles, I initially thought it might grind down internal parts in stead of coating and lessening friction; at least if something went wrong. If the oil is too sticky, or too dry it might affect the tiny pawls. I would hate to ruin a perfectly good 1969 hub though.
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#4
I'm still reading up on the different types of oils, regular, synthetic, bio, and the different additives used. There is quite a lot available. I don't know that much about lubricating really, and have usually used very basic stuff, simple mineral oils, sometimes with added antirust agets, and teflon. My posts are more like thinking out loud on the subject. If you have any experience with the different varieties, or any further thoughts on the subject, any replies would be very much appreciated :- )
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#5
Tribology is a very interesting subject.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tribology
Especially when chemistry gets involved in the lubricants. Many chemicals play well together, some do not. In automobiles, I know two people who have had lubrication failures in their engines - both mixed synthetic and mineral (regular, aka dino) oils. The general rule is once you have a solution that works in a particular assembly, do not change the lubricant type/brand. A bicycle hub operates at much lower temperatures than an automobile engine, so there is less thermal energy to start a chemical reaction - but why risk it?

What benefits to you expect to gain from changing lubricants? Are those benefits worth the risk of unintended consequences?
Nigel
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#6
From the telfon and ceramic boron nitride I might get a noticeably smoother and more silent running gear and chain. Anything that would lessen noise and wear I would welcome. I suppose it is not a big improvement when everything works fairly well, but with a notch of smoothness added it would not be in vain even if it is more of an experiment than anything else. I actually got this idea from others using Finish Line ceramic wet lube on racer bikes, they are all using synthetic oils and teflon to start with.
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#7
It'a a 1969 hub? Are you nuts, lol!? The "if it ain't broke/hasn't broke, don't risk it/fix it" adage applies here.
The rear cog & chain swap I could see.
I changed chains & nothing else on a 7 speed cruiser and was struck by how much more smooth the bike felt & sounded. The old Shimano chain was not stretched more than 1/16" over a 12" length.
I used a KMC chain.
(08-29-2013, 03:10 PM)nfmisso Wrote:  In automobiles, I know two people who have had lubrication failures in their engines - both mixed synthetic and mineral (regular, aka dino) oils.
I had no idea, I thought 1 quart of synthetic to 4 quarts regular was a good thing, I've never done it though.
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#8
Well, I'm not sure what I'll find in there when I open it. It's probably in good condition though. Externally the bike doesn't show much wear at all. The worst hub I ever opened and cleaned was a 1987 Pentasport (Sachs) 5 gear hub, the type with two gear shifting spindles on each side of the axle. It was originally greased, but over the years unknown types of oil were applied to the hub through the axel opening. Even though it worked it was full of sediments along the side of the hub drum, lots of sand like particles, and lots of excess oil. Something got stuck in there though and it wasn't opened until then (the wheel wouldn't spin at all). It cleaned up nicely even if it was quite a job to get the hardened stuff out. I didn't dare take appart the internal gear assebly, just dipped it in white spirit, let it seep for a few days and let it dry. Bearings and all were then greased and it has worked fine since. Actually, better than ever, due to a replaced gear shifter, but that is another factor. I was lucky to be allowed to do this in a bike repair shop and had help. I have this hub at the back of my mind, and know a good cleaning can some times make a big difference. Other times I have hardly noticed a difference when old hubs (50 and 60 years old) were opened and cleaned, they just needed to be oiled. Replacing old pawls can make a difference though, they are sometimes broken even if the gear works fairly well.
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#9
Good luck with it. Hope it works out.
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#10
I still can't find any good tests or research for boron nitride relating to bikes. Except for random reviews regarding racing bikes there is not much at all. Other than Finish Line greas and wet lubrication, there are one or two other brands with similar products. The new Alfine hubs run on oil, and it would be nice to know what type of oil it is. This is at least an up to date hub oil, with much the same parts and materials as the old 3 speed hubs. Other than price and its' blue color I can't find any safety data sheets, or description of ingredients.
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#11
Was doing a little looking and came across this:
Wondering why a Celtic Instrument site is selling bike lubes?
http://www.celtic-instruments.com/B001XRXZFG/Finish-Line-Ceramic-WET-Bicycle-Chain-Lube-4-Ounce-Drip-Squeeze-Bottle.htm

Edit: found a MSDS on boron nitride: https://www.materionstore.com/download/MSDSpdf/E-MSDS_BN.pdf
It's a PDF.
Craig Domingue - East Texas Hick
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#12
I have tested different oils lately, but not gotten as far as the gear hub yet; however, there is something to Finish Line ceramic wet lube. It's oddly noticeable when I have cleaned and oiled the chain. Newly oiled chains are always silent and smooth, but there is a difference. So far I have tried it on two bikes, an old rusty chain on a laidies single speed (cleaned of course, but hardly totally clean), my 1969 Raleigh (which is in pretty good condition), and I have yet to test it on my racer bike.

The chains were cleaned with regular methods, and then oiled. Finish Line Ceramic Wet Lube is thin and penetrates very well on older used chains, any remains of old lube deep within the parts doesn't seem to affect it much. It seems to blend with any stuck old oil in the rings and it gets pushed out during use. It is even a noch or two smoother than Weldtite Extreme Wet lube, a synthetic oil which is rather good.

I've noticed synthetic lube has an advantage over regular mineral oil. I have a bike-lock with metal parts which really doesn't go smoot together at all. The key hole and lock-parts have suprisingly much friction even when oiled with regular oils, but when I use synthetic like Weldtite Extreme Wet or Finish Line Wet it is much smoother. I am becoming a beliver in synthetic lubricants.
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