Bicycle Mechanics - Brakes wont return to open position
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08-02-08, 10:10 AM
I have a seemingly simple problem but cant figure out how to fix it. After i engage my rear brakes they dont fully return to "open". I tried squirting chain oil down the brake lines but that didnt really work. And i tried to bend those metal pieces that seem to be acting as springs on the brakes, that didnt work either (i really didnt bend them too much, didnt want to mess things up even more). does anyone know an easy solution or do i need to replace some parts?
08-02-08, 03:58 PM
You don't say what kind of brakes you have. I would loosen the brake cable from the brakes and see if it slides easy in the housing. With the cable loose the brakes should spring open. If they don't the pivots are too tight. Look at them to see how they are secured to their pivots and try to adjust the pivot bolts to allow the brake arms to move freely.
08-02-08, 04:00 PM
Take the rear brake system apart and lube everything and maybe replace the cable. Maintenance is a wonderful thing.:)
08-02-08, 04:08 PM
You might want to tell us what kind of brakes you have first.
08-02-08, 04:50 PM
Early brake-levers didn't have a return-spring and this required a stronger spring in the brake-caliper to pull through the cable and pull back the lever. Newer levers have a return-spring and only needed a light spring in the caliper. Both designs of course, assumes that your brake-cable is well lubricated.
In the OP's case, he might have the worse combination possible, light-action calipers with no-return springs in the lever and rusted cables.. :(
Here's a test, unbolt the brake-cable from the caliper and remove completely. Squeeze the brake-caliper by hand so that both pads touch the rim, then let go. Does the brake-caliper open back by themselves? If they do, nothing is wrong with the brake and the problem is there's excess friction in the cable or the brake-lever.
Nessim's advice is the best:
1. take apart the brake-caliper and grease the pivots and lightly oil the spot where the arms rub on the return-spring. Some brakes have a lock-nut/adjustable-nut combination on the pivot-bolt. Make sure you adjust it tight enough so there's no play, but not too tight that it binds and the brake can't re-open by the sping. Then tighten down the lock-nut.
2. fully lube the cable. Pull out the inner cable completely from the housing and spray some teflon-lube down the housing. Re-insert the inner cable. If you prefer not to remove the inner-cable due to frayed ends, drip lube down one end and pull the cable back and forth until the lube shows up at the other end. Only then can you be sure the lube made it all the way through the housing.
3. lube the pivots at the brake-lever. Most levers use plastic bushings in the pivot of the lever and the body. If the bushings are worn, you may metal-on-metal contact and a lot more friction. Replace the bushings if necessary.
Sometimes it is in the cable, sometimes in the brake caliper. I had sticking brakes on my old (1975) Peugeot. Turned out to be the pivot bolts on the caliper themselves. A quick disassembly of the brake, some gentle cleaning of the parts (WD40 and scotchbrite pads), and some grease on reassembly, and the brakes are now fine.
08-02-08, 07:03 PM
Ha. Well after making this thread i just ended up taking the cables out and found that the cables kinda stuck to the housing. So i jsut cleaned them out and it slides much better. Havent actually gotten around to putting it all back together but i assume that it is fixed now.
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