Sturmey Archer SRF3 hub not engaging freewheel

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  • I've got a 3 speed Sturmey Archer SRF3 hub, which I recently overhauled after sounding pretty grotty. I replaced a pawl spring on the gear ring assembly, and cleaned and relubricated the whole thing.

    It's running very smoothly now, but occasionally the freewheel won't engage immediately after coasting. The pedals spin for a couple of rotations before the freewheel reengages. I can't see any suggestions about this issue in the service manual. I've experienced it most commonly, but not exclusively, shifting down between 3rd and 2nd gear. It's fine once it's engaged and pedalling - doesn't slip.

    Has anyone got any suggestions of where should I be looking in the hub to fix this?

  • What did you lubricate it with? It sounds like maybe the grease is too thick and it causes the pawls to stick. Adding some gear oil through the hollow axle might thin the mix enough to resolve without disassembly.

    Use a semi fluid grease in future.

  • I used the Sturmey Archer official hub grease on some parts and a wet chain oil on others. But I guess the pawls sticking is the issue...

  • Oh that's odd. The sturmey grease is supposed to be fairly liquid. I wonder if something in the chain lube could affect the grease making it gum up?

  • Hello, I thought I'd ask here rather than start a new thread.
    The "x-rd3" 3 speed hub (with drum brake) on my parsley is running funny, only 2 hear available and one of them isn't smooth, almost feels like a cog's broken inside, and intermittently (although this is still rare) it just doesn't engage.
    I got the bike second hand and at the time the hub wasn't working properly, main bearings were so loose the axle's main bolts were in screwing while pedaling and I think the gears had a hard life. I partly disassembled the hub (not the hardcore planetary section) re greased the bearings etc. and the bike's been working ok for a year of light and occasional use. One day going up crystal palace and pushing the gears quite hard I felt something going wrong and it's been a bit funny since.
    My solution is to buy a new SA inner gearing bit, and just swap it. At about £30 posted it's cheaper I imagine that any specialist bike shop intervention, and I don't have the time to learn the dark art of fixing SA complicated gearing parts. Does that feel the sensible thing to do (in my situation) or am I missing a trick? The Pashley is the currently preferred dad bike...

  • Hi,
    I hope you worked this out, would be interested to know if the transplant took.
    From what you said it sounds like something is broken.
    I tend to walk my 3 speed up Anerley Hill, or dodge on the train through the tunnel!

  • Funny you're replying to this now, I went ahead and bought the inner part around the time I wrote the above post but only installed it on Sunday.
    Transplant went fine and was easy. If I got time I'll try see if I can find out what went wrong on the old mechanism and try fixing it, or at least understand how they work...

  • Impressed.

    I am staying away from hub gears cos I'm scared.

  • A month, that's quick by my standard!
    Glad it worked out.

  • In this case it's almost as easy as replacing a freewheel and adjusting bearings. No repair of the actual thing, I wish I was that brave/skilled...

  • A month, that's quick by my standard!
    Glad it worked out.

  • I was about to put a nearly new SRF-3 hub on eBay, assuming there would be no interest on here. It was new when laced into a wheel for a new bike but never connected up. Anyone want it cheap for the parts? Can take some pics later.

  • Here it is. Note it’s an R-SRF3, so the shifter is a lever. No idea if it’s different inside.

    1 Attachment

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  • I’m interested how much

  • @Jonny69, I think the R means rotary gear change like the Alfines so no external cable that you associate with SA hubs, which makes removing and refitting easier.

  • I was thinking same price as a set of guts so £30 + postage and it’s yours. Let me know asap because I put it on eBay and I’ll pull the listing.

  • can I just ask couple of Questions

    1. What is OLN
    2. Spoke hole count
    3. Any issues
    4. Post cost
  • Agh, it sold on eBay before I checked back here. Sorry dude.

  • No worries it’s me who bought it I’m about to start a long shift so had to gamble sure it’ll be fine

  • Ah cool, well here's the info you wanted and I'll hold off posting until tomorrow in case you change your mind.

    What is OLN

    126mm across the locknuts, and the two knurled spacers take it up to ~132mm. The locknuts and washers look like you can run it any size between 120mm OLN and 135mm.

    Spoke hole count


    Any issues

    No. It's essentially brand new and all still new and tight feeling. It had been laced into a wheel and had a chain hung on it on an unfinished new-build cargo bike, but the gear selector was never connected up so it's basically never been used other than wheeling the bike round.

  • Sorry man just saw this now and the hub arrived today looks great

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Sturmey Archer SRF3 hub not engaging freewheel

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