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  1. #1
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    Alfine 11 Problem

    I have been using Alfine 11ís for a few years on three of my bikes with zero issues until last weekend. I had a skip in second gear going up an incline while pedaling seated. If I was pedaling standing I would likely have a higher voice. Anyways, I do get skips occasionally when my shifting is not perfect but I never had a skip in second gear. After the initial skip, all gears were FUBAR. I tried (trailside) to re-adjust the shift cable. It would work for a few hundred yards and then FUBAR. I limped home. When I got home, I cleaned all the external parts and assured the cable was functioning properly. Went for a short ride. Never made it out of the neighborhood. Once again, all gears FUBAR.

    My first thought was maybe the failures I have been hearing about are true. If so, I did not want to get stranded out in the middle of nowhere so I ordered a complete 1X9 Shimano setup just in case. The Alfine was still in warranty but I did not want to return it for replacement until I knew what caused it to fail. The unit has over 2000 miles on it and all MTB. Running 32/22. The unit is on a Ti Jones Spaceframe.

    I tore into the unit and did not notice anything out of the ordinary. The pawls, gears and roller clutches all looked just fine. No signs of wear, just normal shiny wear surfaces were there is metal to metal contact. As I was cleaning all of the parts, I come across a few pieces of metal clinging to the sides of one of the planetary carrier units (see photo). You can tell by looking under magnification the pieces appeared to have been through some of the gearing. I inspected all of the gears under magnification and did not see any sign of damage. I did not see any broken parts either. The metal pieces were differently in the hub from the factory because I found another piece clinging to the side of the inside of the hub body.

    I re-assembled the hub and so far everything is fine. I guess only time will tell.

    Shimano needs to institute a FOD program to prevent this from recurring.

    I wonder how many folks are having the same problem as I did. Not a design problem but a manufacturing assembly discipline issue.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Alfine 11 Problem-alfine-11-fod.jpg  


  2. #2
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    Sorry to hear you've had an issue with your Alfine and had to check out what the issue was but thank goodness.
    This is very insightful and great feedback.
    Is the metal bits aluminum or steel ?
    Could it be swarf from internal machining of the hub shell or bits from from a bearing race, any thoughts ?

  3. #3
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    Wow, you're the first user I've seen that pulled his A11 apart to see what happened, great work!

  4. #4
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    A clue. And a wild shot in the dark. Maint on the A8 includes a dunk in ATF to get rid of this kind of stuff. I suppose that's more effective than draining the oil through a plug on the shell?

    Did you give the internals a bath before reassembling?

    Please keep riding and let us know if you get these 2nd gear symptoms happens again.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by -jes View Post
    Sorry to hear you've had an issue with your Alfine and had to check out what the issue was but thank goodness.
    This is very insightful and great feedback.
    Is the metal bits aluminum or steel ?
    Could it be swarf from internal machining of the hub shell or bits from from a bearing race, any thoughts ?
    The loose pieces are steel. They are not chips from machining. They appear to have started out round.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Corporal Punishment View Post
    A clue. And a wild shot in the dark. Maint on the A8 includes a dunk in ATF to get rid of this kind of stuff. I suppose that's more effective than draining the oil through a plug on the shell?

    Did you give the internals a bath before reassembling?

    Please keep riding and let us know if you get these 2nd gear symptoms happens again.
    I did not give them a bath before reassembly. I did refill it with oil.

  7. #7
    dru
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    For any here contemplating the oil bath/solvent dip: make sure you spin as many of the gears/bearings/clutches as you can while the internals are submerged. I spent a long time doing so on my 8 and it was incredible how much more crap came out compared to just dipping.

    Drew
    occasional cyclist

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by dru View Post
    For any here contemplating the oil bath/solvent dip: make sure you spin as many of the gears/bearings/clutches as you can while the internals are submerged. I spent a long time doing so on my 8 and it was incredible how much more crap came out compared to just dipping.

    Drew
    Thanks for the tip. I'm actually getting set to do my A8 today.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tripower View Post
    The loose pieces are steel. They are not chips from machining. They appear to have started out round.
    Ok, sounds as though it may be some sort of sleeve/spacer/washer that disintergrated or an unwanted item introduced during assembly.

    Please update us on how you get on with further riding time, nice one again

  10. #10
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    Update

    Went out on the trails this morning. Less than a mile into the ride and the hub started to act up. Not actually skipping but just didn't feel or sound right. Then shifting became a little iffy. Took it easy the rest of the way home and rode the Jugsley instead.

    Hindsight being 20/20, I suspect the problem is with the drive clutch. This is the only subassembly I did not take apart completely. I will take it fully apart next weekend. The weather is too nice not to be riding and I plan to convert it to a 1X9 on Monday. If my shipment of parts arrive as scheduled.

    Does anyone know who sells Shimano internal Alfine parts?
    Last edited by Tripower; 06-23-2012 at 02:39 PM.

  11. #11
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    Arrrrhhh ...... I was hoping it wasn't something intrinsic to the mechanical function of the hub.

    I am not aware of any source of internal parts for the Alfine, would it pay to chat to your hub supplier about the fault first, they may be able to get some information from Shimano.

    If you dismantle the hub again, any chance of some sequence photos.

    Good luck getting it sorted.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tripower View Post
    The loose pieces are steel. They are not chips from machining. They appear to have started out round.
    Here's an interesting tidbit. Yesterday I gave my A8 its first ATF bath. As I was cleaning the bearing axle cone (from the non-drive side), a piece of the end of the thread came off in my finger. It looked just like the swarf in your photo. It seems as though the cone started life actually cone shaped and when they tapped the thread through the center of it, the very end of it was so thin that the very last edge of threading was extremely thin. It literally broke off in my hand while I was cleaning it.

    I assume the 2 bearings are configured the same between the A8 and A11 - one large on the internals at the drive side, one small at the shell on the non-drive side. If they faced off the end of the cone nut, there wouldn't be this very thin piece of "swarf" left over to fall off at any time. It looked exactly like your photo.

    I haven't had any shifting/slipping issues nor did I see any other debris while I was cleaning the internals yesterday.

    EDIT: I just looked at your photo again. What I described could only account for one of your 3 pieces of debris, so back to the drawing board I guess.

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