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Thread: 8s Alfine questions

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    Applesauce's Avatar
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    Default 8s Alfine questions

    I built up an 8s Alfine (SG-S501) yesterday for my commuter. Nice enough, and I could get it for a fraction of the price of the 11s hubs. I've heard the 8s are prone to all manner of problems, but I figure I'm capable of taking care of my own stuff well enough!

    I have two questions, if anyone can help:

    1) Regarding the oil, does this serve any purpose other than cleaning and lubrication? i.e., is the hub highly viscosity-dependent on the oil, does it have a viscous coupling inside, etc.? I dipped mine before building it, just to be out front of potential problems, but was wondering what purpose it served, and if something cheaper, thinner, slipperier, etc., could be substituted.

    2) Regarding the shifter, will any Shimano 8s shifter work? I have a Nexus twist shifter on there now, because that's what I could get. I can't find the 8s Alfine shifters through any of my always-awesome Canadian distributors. Any chance an Acera, etc., will work, just with backwards numbers? I can live with backwards numbers.

    Thanks for any light anyone can shed for me!

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    Applesauce's Avatar
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    Default Re: 8s Alfine questions

    Found a bunch of folks recommending ATF. Anyone tried this? I'm not a huge fan of ATF because of the hydraulic fluid components of most of them. I'm thinking something like Redline MTL or Royal Purple gear oil. Anyone have any thoughts?

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    Eric Estlund's Avatar
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    Default Re: 8s Alfine questions

    Use the Shimano stuff and keep your warranty. Works, not particularly expensive.

    They are easy enough to work on, but do need a couple specific tools to make life easier. I've known folks to run them daily for 8+ years with zero maintenance (only to have to then throw some of the guts out). Follow the lube clean/ dip procedure every year or two and you'll have a very long lasting unit.

    Get an Alfine or Nexus shifter- it's not the same pull ratio. Most hacks I've seen have lead to premature wear. The upside is that the Alfine and Nexus shifters are pretty bomber and also pretty inexpensive.

    The Shimano 8speed stuff is great, and well proven on the market. Treat it right(ish) and it will treat you right back.

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    lukasz is offline VSalonistas
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    Default Re: 8s Alfine questions

    I used ATF on my older Alfine one or two years ago. It may have been better than the original grease (I think they come with oil inside now?) but I feel like I need something lighter, especially now that it is winter.

    The thing is 100% worry-free, but I'm getting a bit tired of how sluggish it feels (though this could be the 36 spoke A719 build or any number of other factors).

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    Applesauce's Avatar
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    Default Re: 8s Alfine questions

    I ended up going with Redline MTL, a) because I had plenty of it from the Getrag transmissions in my life and b) I figured it would be pretty stable at a range of temperatures. I figure Redline might not know anything about what oil Shimano parts need, but they definitely know a thing or two about lubricants.

    I ran the internal assembly through the parts washer (Bio-Circle) and gave it a final rinse with Würth brake cleaner. I soaked the internals for a while in the Redline, and then drained it completely, shooting a bit of oil into the well in the hub with a syringe before putting it back together. I put grease only on the angular-contact bearing races, and not on the journals or clutch races. The rest is just the gear oil. So far, so good. But it's only -15°! I'll hold off judgement until it's -40°.

    I'm not worried about my warranty. Need be, our Shimano rep will take care of things (and I'm working on him for an 11s for a new MTB build...). I'm not really worried about the cost of the Shimano oil, either, as I have plenty of it on hand. Mostly I just wanted to do some experimenting!

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    Tristan's Avatar
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    Default Re: 8s Alfine questions

    Quote Originally Posted by Applesauce View Post

    2) Regarding the shifter, will any Shimano 8s shifter work? I have a Nexus twist shifter on there now, because that's what I could get. I can't find the 8s Alfine shifters through any of my always-awesome Canadian distributors. Any chance an Acera, etc., will work, just with backwards numbers? I can live with backwards numbers.
    Eric already answered this but just to confirm the cable pull needed for the Alfine is greater and non-linear. A normal Shimano (or other brand) shifter won't do the job.

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    Applesauce's Avatar
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    Default Re: 8s Alfine questions

    Quote Originally Posted by Tristan View Post
    Eric already answered this but just to confirm the cable pull needed for the Alfine is greater and non-linear. A normal Shimano (or other brand) shifter won't do the job.
    Yep, got it. Thanks for the extra clarification!

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    lukasz is offline VSalonistas
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    Default Re: 8s Alfine questions

    I've got some Redline MTL myself from the car I barely drove for the past few years before I sold it two years ago (RIP, hopefully the teenager I sold you to hasn't crashed your snap-oversteer prone chassis yet). Maybe I should re-lube with it and see how things go.

    -15 degrees? Fahrenheit? Jesus man.

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    vredstein is offline VSalonistas
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    Default Re: 8s Alfine questions

    Some people have written about opening up new Nexus and Alfines to find they were inadequately greased from the factory. This may be why some people find their hubs work better after a dip. It's possible centrifugal force throws off grease from central works with use, while oil continuously flows throughout. Expect some oil to leak with use. Make it a habit to periodically check the yellow shift alignment marks on the cassette joint. Avoid using Jagwire inline cable adjusters.
    YOTO-You only tan once.

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