The Rohloff IGH in my Surly Big Dummy has been leaking oil for a while. This doesn’t really matter a whole lot as the Rohloff continued to work just fine, but I knew it was something I should sort out. So I collected the parts I needed and specialized Rohloff tools last year and finally got around to making it happen last week.
Here is what you need:
- Hub oil seals x 2 = #8244
- Tools for mounting hub seals = #8503
- Paper gaskets = #8710
- Loctite = #8347
- Oil change kit = #8410
- Sprocket removal tool = #8510
- Rohloff instruction manual
- Torx 20 driver
- 3mm, 5mm & 8mm allen keys
- large adjustable wrench
- chain whip
- paper towel
- rubbing alcohol
- beer x 6
Before getting started wash your hub/rim/tire and let dry. You don’t want to have chunks of dirt fall into the open hub and it will be nicer to work with a clean wheel.
Like all Rohloff projects I’ve embarked on it was much easier than I had feared, but complicated enough that I ran into a couple glitches. Here are some instructions on how to replace the hub oil seals.
You will also need to read up on:
- removing/installing the disc brake [assuming you have one]
- removing/installing the shifting mechanism
- removing/installing the drive sprocket
- how to do an oil change
It’s worth reading all the way through so you can be sure you have all the parts and tools you need.
I started on the axle side where the shift box attaches. Pulling off the disc brake rotor and the shifting mechanism was easy. The hub oil seal was in pretty tight so it took me a few tries to get it out. It helps that you can destroy it in the process since it’s headed for the bin anyways.
With the Rohloff tool installing the new hub seal is dead easy. Just make sure you clean out the old seal mating surface before installing and don’t get crazy with the Loctite around the new seal. You don’t want to contaminate the hub.
Once the hub seal is installed just reassemble the axle side of the hub. It’s a bit fiddly so read the instructions first and then tackle it.
It was about this point that I realized I was missing 2 small paper gaskets I needed to reinstall my shift mechanism. I was a bit bummed because I didn’t think I’d be able to source them locally and figured I might be waiting 2 weeks for mail order parts to arrive. Happily I went down to the Fairfield Bicycle Shop and they had exactly what I needed in stock. Awesome! :)
It’s really nice to have a LBS who services Rohloffs in town. If I ever have questions I can talk to them and they carry the parts I need for any projects.
The video above shows how to remove the sprocket from a Rohloff hub. These sprockets are threaded onto the hub and continuously tightened by your pedalling action. So they are a bitch to get off.
I tried to loosen the sprocket at home, but failed. So I carried the hub down to the kind folks at Cycles West my neighbourhood LBS. They used their bench vice to hold the hub and spin off the sprocket with a chain whip. Thanks guys – you rock! :)
The video above shows how to replace the hub oil seal on the drive side of the hub.
I cleaned the brake rotor with rubbing alcohol to remove any traces of hub oil that may have gotten on to it. I sanded down the pads and then set them ablaze for a while in a pool of rubbing alcohol to clean them up as well. I probably need new pads, but I’m a bit lazy so I’ll use these for now until I get some freshies.
With the hub back together I pumped some cleaning solution into it as the first part of an oil change.
The video above explains how to do an oil change.
I needed to work the cleaning solution all through the hub so I figured I might as well go get some groceries.
The ride let me check that the hub was working correctly in case I had goofed something during reassembly. As it turns out the IGH was purring like a kitten! :)
I ran into my buddy Steve so we talked cargo bikes and he checked out the passenger deck.
Once home I let the dirty oil drain out and then I injected 25ml of the clean stuff and buttoned up the Rohloff.
Since my Big Dummy doesn’t see big mileage these days and lives inside I won’t be messing with this Rohloff for a few years.
Now that I have been through it all once I could replace a set of Rohloff hub seals in 1hr – assuming I had the parts and a bench vice at home. Sadly I’ll probably forget everything I just did by the time I need to do it again! ;)