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Alton maintenance?

Bazlerker

Well Known and Active Forum Website User
VOC Member
I've just started up the Rap for the first time this year and it occurred to me that perhaps the Alton might require some drive side lubrication...It has less than 5,000 miles on it...What periodic maintenance is required?
 

bmetcalf

Well Known and Active Forum Website User
VOC Member
They're made to be a bit difficult to take apart, at least my '99 vintage one is. I suspect that they are lubed for "life" and require no maintenance.
 

1660bob

Well Known and Active Forum Website User
VOC Member
I believe some have opened up the drive gearboxes and replaced the pushed-out-of-the-way-and-therefore-useless-grease with oil to avoid/postphone failiure on some of the earlier units,(of which mine is one) I would welcome any info on how to do this from anyone who can tell us, as I see no point in running up my new old stock Alton to seemingly inevitable early failiure. Has anyone done this lube upgrade? Please spill the beans, Bob.
 

Monkeypants

Well Known and Active Forum Website User
VOC Member
Bob, you must be referring to the Altons that were built for perhaps a two or three year period around 2006- 2008. These have a small internal transmission with a couple of steel gears and one plastic gear. The transmission is grease filled. As you say, the grease is not very effective in keeping the gears lubed, especially the small plastic gear. It tends to lose its teeth every now and then.
These sped up Altons produced a lot of power at low RPM, so it is unfortunate that the drive did not work out. If your Alton predates the sped up model or was made afterward, then you don't need to lube it. The earlier and later models are direct drive, no transmission to worry about.
These direct drive Altons do not put out as much power at low RPM as the sped up ones do, but I have about 15,000 trouble free miles on one so far.oil
I also have one of the sped up models and converted it to oil last week. I could post details if anyone needs them, although I have not run the unit yet, so my oil bath is unproven
 

Chrish

Well Known and Active Forum Website User
VOC Member
Bob, you must be referring to the Altons that were built for perhaps a two or three year period around 2006- 2008. These have a small internal transmission with a couple of steel gears and one plastic gear. The transmission is grease filled. As you say, the grease is not very effective in keeping the gears lubed, especially the small plastic gear. It tends to lose its teeth every now and then.
These sped up Altons produced a lot of power at low RPM, so it is unfortunate that the drive did not work out. If your Alton predates the sped up model or was made afterward, then you don't need to lube it. The earlier and later models are direct drive, no transmission to worry about.
These direct drive Altons do not put out as much power at low RPM as the sped up ones do, but I have about 15,000 trouble free miles on one so far.oil
I also have one of the sped up models and converted it to oil last week. I could post details if anyone needs them, although I have not run the unit yet, so my oil bath is unproven

Hi Glen,

I have just stripped the nylon gear on the Alton on the "B", it's one of the sped up models that I purchased in 2007. Paul has posted out a good second hand nylon gear, no new units available. I was thinking of the lubrication as the nylon gear throws the grease away from itself. Penrite make a liquid grease that I've seen mentioned for Comet gearboxes and the thought occurred that it could be o.k. for this application. Has anyone tried?

Chrsh
 

Monkeypants

Well Known and Active Forum Website User
VOC Member
Chrish, I recall reading in mph that Marcus Bowden switched out the grease for gearoil with good results, many thousands of miles without failure.
Also, another club member has had several steel gears made up in 8620 alloy. I purchased one of these from him ($100, which was a bit below/his/cost) and installed it while the alternator was apart for the oil conversion, which was just a case of sealing things up. He sold the gear to me below cost as he wanted it tested to see if he should make more. Apparently he has/quite a number of the sped up Altons, all with/sheared of gears.

I did not vent the housing as any vent I could come up with looked as tho it would leak. There is some opportunity for a very small amount of air to escape in one area.
Glen
 

Monkeypants

Well Known and Active Forum Website User
VOC Member
Hi Bob
The two units look the same on the outside. The sped up unit is much harder to spin over when on the bench. It also makes a 'whirrrrr" sound when the bike is kicked over. The direct drive model doesn,t make any noise that my ears can pickup.
Other than that you could pull the end cap off at figure it out from the ratios. The sped up model turns about 1.8 times faster than the direct drive model.
 

1660bob

Well Known and Active Forum Website User
VOC Member
Hi Glen. I am pretty sure mine will be the "sped up " version as i bought it in Feb 2007. It is stiff and notchy to turn by hand due to the magnets, no doubt this stiffness is increased by the gearing. I spoke to the guy from Alton at a show about it, he was non-commital about its prospects for reliability and simply advised to "try it"....... In order to give it the best chance of reasonable service life, I will go for oil. Bit miffed about the non-availability of new gears, that confirms its a lemon to me..........If you can shed any light on the dismantling procedure that would be great, Thanks, Bob.
 

Chrish

Well Known and Active Forum Website User
VOC Member
Hi Glen. I am pretty sure mine will be the "sped up " version as i bought it in Feb 2007. It is stiff and notchy to turn by hand due to the magnets, no doubt this stiffness is increased by the gearing. I spoke to the guy from Alton at a show about it, he was non-commital about its prospects for reliability and simply advised to "try it"....... In order to give it the best chance of reasonable service life, I will go for oil. Bit miffed about the non-availability of new gears, that confirms its a lemon to me..........If you can shed any light on the dismantling procedure that would be great, Thanks, Bob.


Hi Bob,

I've taken the stripped gear into a gear maker today and he is making two, in nylon, for $120.00 Aus. and will take about a week, so not too bad, if the gear was made in steel or bronze then, he said, they would cost more, but can be done. I thought about the material and concluded that the nylon gear will act as a shock absorber and is the sacrificial component between the two steel gears, should there be a problem. So went for that.

Chrish
 
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