Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: St. Paul, MN
Bikes: Cannondale CAAD9, Ritchey Breakaway Cross, Nashbar X-frame bike.
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1) Your bottom bracket (if that's what we're referring to) really shouldn't be wobbling about. The only allowable movement is the one it's supposed to make. I've never been good at bottom brackets though, so while I do all of my other repairs, that one piece always goes to my LBS. Just me. Other more talented mechanics here manage that just fine, and hopefully will have better advice for you.
2) When you said you were having brake issues, I didn't expect to read that you couldn't attach them. Your LBS (Local Bike Shop, by the way) should be able to sell you the appropriate parts. I don't recommend pulling construction materials from the shelf at Home Depot to make things like that work. You can arrive at some very unfortunate results. Depending on how well stocked they are, it may take a while to get parts. Also, depending on how old those brakes are, it may not be beyond the pale to just look into new brakes. Brakes aren't always that expensive, nor do they always have to be, depending on your ride conditions. You might be able to hook up with a new set of brakes for not too much more than buying all that hardware. If you're REALLY lucky, your LBS has a bin of spare parts from other people's upgrades and projects that you can raid.
3) This is a very lengthy topic. I would recommend going to www.parktool.com
, and looking in their repair how-to sections. While I COULD write all that stuff, they have good pictures, and very likely say it better than I would. I'll just tell you this. Do the steps IN ORDER. That's very important. Particularly when you're talking your derailleur cables, those steps aren't written that way for grins...it's not technique only. (Maybe a few things are, but that's neither here nor there.) If you don't do them IN ORDER, you may find that some things aren't working the way they should.
Good night...and good luck