Wrench size for Sturmey-Archer axle nuts

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Eric Amlie

Finally riding a big boys bike
I was about to take my 1964 3 speed Schwinn Traveler out for a ride, and since I'm still running the old original white wall tires, I wanted to make sure I had what I needed to fix a flat.
A 15 mm wrench fits the right side axle nut, but wasn't big enough for the left side nut. I tried both a 5/8" and a 16 mm and they both seem quite a bit too big.
I finally used a crescent wrench to remove the nut, put it in my vise, and gave each flat a few strokes with a file until the 15 mm wrench would fit in all positions.
The nut didn't look boogered up, so I'm wondering what the story is. Do I just have an oddball nut, or is some strange proprietary size?
 

Roger Henning

Finally riding a big boys bike
They are actually Whitworth threads and nuts so you need Whitworth wrenches. That is why most people use adjustable of Cresent wrenches. Whitworth is an old English standard threading. Eric you should know this. Roger
 

Eric Amlie

Finally riding a big boys bike
Thanks Roger!
I knew that Whitworth existed, but have never had any experience with it.
I thought it was an archaic system that wasn't used anymore.
I'm surprised that Schwinn didn't require S-A to provide them with nuts with SAE sizes.
I would have thought that Schwinn would have been a big enough customer of the hubs that they could throw their weight around a bit to get what they wanted.
In any case, it fits a 15 mm wrench now!
 

Oilit

I live for the CABE
Thanks Roger!
I knew that Whitworth existed, but have never had any experience with it.
I thought it was an archaic system that wasn't used anymore.
I'm surprised that Schwinn didn't require S-A to provide them with nuts with SAE sizes.
I would have thought that Schwinn would have been a big enough customer of the hubs that they could throw their weight around a bit to get what they wanted.
In any case, it fits a 15 mm wrench now!
According to the Machinery's Handbook (22nd edition) the width across the flats for a 3/8 inch Whitworth bolt head is 0.592 to 0.600 inches. 15mm/25.4 = 0.590, but most wrenches are a little larger for clearance, and a 15mm usually fits both sides. You must have a nut or a wrench or both that were right at the extreme of the tolerance.
 

Eric Amlie

Finally riding a big boys bike
Craftsman combination wrench.
The box end wouldn't go on at all. The open end was trying, but not getting enough "bite" for me to trust.
 

Roger Henning

Finally riding a big boys bike
My understanding is SA and their hubs started in the 1920s/30 and they used the British standard Whitworth machines and hardware. They continued to use it so long that they couldn't afford to buy all new machinery/tooling to make the hubs. It was so old the the quality of the hubs started to go down. When SA was bought out the new owners moved the manufacturing to the far east and then changed to newer metric sized parts and manufacturer equipment. Roger
 

piercer_99

Cruisin' on my Bluebird
My understanding is SA and their hubs started in the 1920s/30 and they used the British standard Whitworth machines and hardware. They continued to use it so long that they couldn't afford to buy all new machinery/tooling to make the hubs. It was so old the the quality of the hubs started to go down. When SA was bought out the new owners moved the manufacturing to the far east and then changed to newer metric sized parts and manufacturer equipment. Roger
They are older than that. Although I cannot say for certain how old, but at least 1905.

This catalog is from 1908, and has mention of the 3 speed being used in 1905 in a race over the Alps, organized by the Touring Club of France.
The high mileage reported on some of the hubs in 3 years is insane.
The 'tricoaster' by Sturmey Archer was patented in 1905.

1227711


1227712


1227713


1227714


1227715
 

Oilit

I live for the CABE
I've heard the "AW" hubs are "Type A, Wide (range)" The late '50's/early '60's TCW must be "Tri-Coaster, Wide (range)".
 

SKPC

I live for the CABE
Great literature @piercer_99, thanks for that. I NEED an old rideable Tri-coaster. "silky smooth" "ball bearing pinion gears". "Will hold you down a mountainside and help you climb it"...good stuff. Sturmey 3's & 4's need a separate thread. SACHS DRIEGANG!
 

SirMike1983

Cruisin' on my Bluebird
For the axle nuts (the ones that secure the wheel into the drops), I use a good quality adjustable wrench. I have an old set of USA-made, forged wrenches (Craftsmans and Uticas) that do this well. But any good quality crescent is fine. For the cones, there is a special, very thin wrench made by Sturmey Archer specifically for the cones. Most of the time I prefer a fixed-size wrench for things, but I've done just fine with the good adjustables for the axle nuts. Skip the cheaper, Chinese-made ones at big box and at the auto parts store and go straight to old-stock, USA-made stuff if you can with the adjustable wrenches.
 

all riders

Finally riding a big boys bike
The axle is 13/32 x 26 tpi. Harris cyclery has the nuts(probably lots of other places too). several current manufactures use an axle that are 10.5mm x 26. 13/32 is 10.3 mm , so a nut from one of these would work and might be what you've encountered. There is also BSC British Standard Cycle, and anything 1/4-- 1 inch has 26 tpi. There is no 13/32 size in BSC
 
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sykerocker

Look Ma, No Hands!
They are actually Whitworth threads and nuts so you need Whitworth wrenches. That is why most people use adjustable of Cresent wrenches. Whitworth is an old English standard threading. Eric you should know this. Roger

Whitworth wrenches are easy to get and not that expensive. Just look up any outfit that deals parts for vintage Triumph, Norton, BSA, etc. motorcycles.
 
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