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 1899 Columbia Shaft drive help
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Ed Minas

USA
28 Posts

Posted - 07/09/2017 :  18:50:37  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I need some help. I recently purchased a 1899 Columbia Shaft drive, which was restored by Ross Hill, for my wife. On my wife's maidan voyage without warning there was a pop and she lost all connection to the rear wheel. The safety is direct drive with no coaster but after the "pop" their was no connection between the rear wheel and the pedals. I thought oh boy the daft is broken but upon examination that does not seem to be the issue. The hub however is now wobbly between the stays. It had been tight, but now it seems that the gears are not meshing. I plan to disassemble the assembly but wanted to check with a fellow wheelmen to see if someone with Columbia shaft drive experience could walk me through the procedure. Or perhaps someone has a diagram of the assembly .
Thanks in advance.
Ed

Dick Rath

USA
215 Posts

Posted - 07/13/2017 :  18:33:39  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Ed,
I'm in the process of restoring a 1900 or possibly a 1901 men's Columbia chainless and in the process of fully disassembling the bike I found that what had seemed to be a direct drive rear hub was, in fact, a coaster hub but with no built in brake mechanism. The drive mechanism is activated by centrifugal force; as the hub rotates ball bearings slip out of 3 tunnels in the internal drive hub and into what I guess would be described as a ring in the outer hub with pockets that receive the ball bearings thereby joining the inner and outer hubs to drive the wheel. When the pedal action stops, as in coasting, the ball bearings slips back into their tunnels. The problem I found with the design is that too much grease, or too thick grease, or lack of regular service and cleaning inhibits the travel of the ball bearings. If the balls cannot slip out freely there is no contact between the pedals and the wheel.

I found that my chainless had probably not been serviced since God was a little boy and the grease in the hub was was thick and had hardened in 2 of the three tunnels. With only one ball able to slip out contact between the inner and outer hub was iffy at best and because of normal wear in all the components, with a just a single ball making contact, it was able to jump from its pocket resulting is the pedals no longer driving the bike. When this occurred on mine, as with your wife's there was a popping sound followed by bike behaving like an 1850 velocipede.

So, my best guess is this is what happened on your wife's maiden voyage. If your
wife's bike does not have the same hub as mine; well, I guess you'll have to consider other possibilities. Frankly, I think the hub is a lousy design and far too sensitive to a lapse in service and prone to excessive wear because it actually requires such light oil to work properly.

I learned recently that an early New Departure Model-A hub can be fitted to the rear bevel gear replacing it's drive sprocket. That would give your wife a coaster brake and certainly make her riding infinitely safer.

Good luck.

Dick
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Dick Rath

USA
215 Posts

Posted - 07/16/2017 :  08:43:12  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Ed,
I'm curious about what you discovered when you disassembled your rear hub; did you find true what I had suggested might have happened when your wife's chainless lost the connect between the pedals and the rear wheel? Is your rear hub as I described? It seems to me that if it was truly a direct drive what you described probably could not have occurred. I'm trying to piece together a picture of all the changes Columbia made through the evolution of their shaft drive bikes, evidently there were quite a few.......some maybe not exactly a step forward but interesting stuff none-the-less. The hub I have, which I described, while not a terribly good design was certainly beautifully engineered, machined, and definitely not inexpensive to produce. When operating correctly one of it's benefits was that the rider could simply stop pedaling anytime and when using the front wheel handbrake did not have to put his feet up on the front fork foot pegs. It is my view that the design actually works quite well but great care must be taken to service the hub regularly and to use only a highly refined oil ( like Singer Sewing Machine Oil ) on the tunnel, balls, and pocket ring.

Interestingly, I recently found the Identical hub I described on a chain drive bike I just restored that was built in either The Netherlands or France ( not 100% sure which but most likely it's French ). Having now restored well over 75 bikes from the single-tube safety era, it's strange that two of these hubs surfaced within a month of each other in my project line-up.
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Ed Minas

USA
28 Posts

Posted - 07/28/2017 :  16:22:48  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Thank you so much Dick. I have been out of town and I applogize for not answering sooner. I suspect we may have different hubs. What seems to be happening is that the beveled gear keeps backing off the hub. At this point I am trying to figure out if I missing a piece of not.

Edited by - Ed Minas on 07/28/2017 16:30:43
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Ed Minas

USA
28 Posts

Posted - 07/28/2017 :  16:29:53  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Thank you so much Dick. I have been out of town and I applogize for not answering sooner. I suspect we may have different hubs. What seems to be happening is there iis that the beveled gear keeps backing off the hub. At this point I am trying to figure out if I missing a piece of not.
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Kurt S.

USA
250 Posts

Posted - 08/24/2017 :  20:12:08  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Hello Ed,

I've been doing some reading on chainless bicycles, and own a ladies 98 Columbia, a cute thing black with white fenders, chain guard,and white wood handlebars. So I have some literature I had saved for reference to the drives. I am no expert by any means, just want to ride with my wife at some events as well.

Anyway, the main reason I can see for a disengagement of the drive is not so much to do with the rear. At the front there is a bevel that is backed up with a bearing, that bearing is adjustable by means of a threaded collar. That threaded collar is than secured in place by a second threaded collar which must be tightened up against the first.

The collars should be accessible through a port in the shaft housing.

If this collar is not tight it would act exactly like you mention.

Here is a link to a Columbia catalog showing a schematic of the drive and specifics on those collars.
https://issuu.com/michael.neubert/docs/columbiacatalog1900

Please take a look at this and let me know if this was any help. If it is the problem, than someone surely has been down this road before in adjusting this and might shed some light on best practice or methods. I have not had to do this, yet.

Kurt J. Schaak
kurtschaak@yahoo.com
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Kurt S.

USA
250 Posts

Posted - 08/24/2017 :  20:37:58  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Ed,

Thought I'd check a photo of the port that you can access for checking the collar adjustment, it should look just like this (indicated by arrow).

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Kurt J. Schaak
kurtschaak@yahoo.com
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Kurt S.

USA
250 Posts

Posted - 08/24/2017 :  20:58:58  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
In reading the catalog directions, and this is just an educated layman interpretation of them.

1) remove rear wheel
2) remove the access port cover at the front of the drive shaft
3) back off the first collar, then adjust the second collar (bearing
race) up against the bearings. Then re-tighten the first collar.
4) check shaft end play, by pushing back and forth on the end of it and hold the end firmly and move the cranks. There shouldn't be any play, but it shouldn't be binding in any way. Just perfect that's all.

5) if step four is good than reinstall the rear wheel and adjust the alignment of the bevel gears there, the teeth should mesh and on the back side where they intersect the should look aligned at the outer edges. Then reinstall the rear covers.

6) add a gear lubricant, and reinstall the port access plug front shaft housing.

7) test spin the assembly, if good, ride.

Just an approach I would take, as I said, I'm new at this, so others will surely have some more insight to methods. It's just what I would do.

Hope this helps.

Kurt J. Schaak
kurtschaak@yahoo.com

Edited by - Kurt S. on 08/24/2017 21:05:42
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Ed Minas

USA
28 Posts

Posted - 08/25/2017 :  04:22:34  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Thanks Kurt. I really appreciate your insight. You may be right, however the weird thing is that what I can see is happening is the rear bevel gear is actually backing off the hub. This is very strange to me because the the bolt and lock nut on the rear is tight when I install it, but the minute she applies back pressure to stop the whole thing pops and everything is dramatically loosened. No parts appear to broken but I continue wonder if a part is missing.
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Craig Allen

1012 Posts

Posted - 08/25/2017 :  09:08:33  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Why don't you try drilling a hole in the gear for a pin? I would not drill a hole all the way through in the shaft, 1/4" should be plenty. A 1/8" or 3/16" pin should be sufficient. Locktite will keep it in place provided the diameters are tight.
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Kurt S.

USA
250 Posts

Posted - 08/25/2017 :  21:02:04  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Hi again Ed,

Sorry about that, I did not fully realize it was the bevel gear itself disengaging from the hub.

I hope Craig sticks around to supervise some of this conversation.

Anyway,all kidding around aside. You should have a copy of the 1907 Columbia Chainless Adjustment Booklet;

Ref:http://veterancycleclublibrary.org.uk/ncl/pics/Pope%20Columbia%20Chainless%20catalogue%201907%20(V-CC%20Library).pdf

Looking at the inner guts of this hub and how it assembles and disassembles, it could be a couple of things.

1) I would remove the wheel (pg 10)
2) remove the bearings (pg 11)
3) remove the gear (pg 14)
4) check the bevel gear for any nick along the back edges where it would meet the hub, than check the hub itself for where the bevel gear mates with it. The surfaces here must be pristine, if not, the slightest burr, nick, and even the slightest particulates on the surface will cause poor seating.

4b) clean, & if needed, resurface defect found in step 4, with a super fine grit stone and clean. You need these surfaces to mate metal to metal.

5) reinstall the bevel gear, if you use lock tite put it on the bevel gear threads not the hub threads and tighten in the vise as per instructions. Don't get lock tite at the bevel to hub mating surfaces, you want metal to metal there. Nor do you want that stuff getting in the bearings by using to much on the threads.

6) reinstall bearings, oiled, than reinstall the adjustment cap and adjust the bearings & cones to just perfect, not loose but not binding. (Pg 3 and 11)

7) reinstall wheel (pg 10), and adjust rear hub gear,(pg 6 & 7).

8) finish up dust covers and oiling etc....

My guess is it just worked itself loose, the bevel gear, it could be the air temperatures, or it could be a nick on the hub gear, or dirt caught in there during assembly. Once loose, the bearing cone adjustment may have been compromised and made the problem worse. But the whole thing needs to be gone over. A couple of hours you should have it all back together.


Or drill a hole pin it , and do the above procedures as well. Just my opinion, and that's coming from a guy that hasn't done it before. Heck I should be promoted to management at this rate, lol.







Kurt J. Schaak
kurtschaak@yahoo.com
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Kurt S.

USA
250 Posts

Posted - 08/26/2017 :  18:53:43  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Ed,

I hope I'm being to forward on my previous suggestions, it's just what I would do.

With that said, if you do get into this and find the bevel gear threads and the threads of the hub tend to be worn in some way to allow play. There is a reversible method of a long term temporary fix I've used successfully.

On the hub threads, apply a very thin coating of solder. The solder is a soft metal and will create a build up in the valleys and the side faces of the threads, when the gear is replaced it acts like a shim, just not a flat one.

Oh, be sure to brighten up the threads with a wire brush first, they have to be cleaned just like a copper pipe would have to be to get the solder to lay down.

The simple procedure I've used is a wire silver solder (like that at the plumbing isles) and liquid flux (I prefer this over paste but paste works), I've used a small bulb type flame from a propane torch to heat the metal just enough to melt the solder and using a flux brush I apply liberal amounts of it as I go. This just leaves a very thin layer of solder on the hub treads.

It's completely a reversible process that could also be removed without evidence of it ever being there.

We cover the threads of items we plate for just the opposite reason, so they won't get a build up and make to tight of a fit.

I hope this might help, but hope you don't have to use it!


Kurt J. Schaak
kurtschaak@yahoo.com

Edited by - Kurt S. on 08/26/2017 18:59:55
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Ed Minas

USA
28 Posts

Posted - 08/30/2017 :  07:14:17  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Wow I am so thankful for the help. Thanks Craig, Kurt, and Dick. I am traveling but when I get hove I am going to incorporate all of the suggestions and will keep you all posted as to which one solved the problem.

Ed
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