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  1. #1
    Senior Member rando's Avatar
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    old brakes -- how to fix them

    I bought this old steel 3 speed bike at a thrift store for 10 bucks. I bought it so I could mess around with it and see how it works. I'm stumped on the brakes. only one of the back brake pads even touches the wheel. the rest of them don't move when the brake levers are pulled. how do I fix them? any tips welcome.
    "Think of bicycles as rideable art that can just about save the world". ~Grant Petersen

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  2. #2
    Ferrous wheel
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    Replace the cables and housings. Replace pads if needed. Dissassemble and clean calipers if needed. Adjust. Ride.
    One thing about living in Santa Carla I never could stomach -- all the damn vampires.

  3. #3
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    Yeppers...Chances are high that the old cables are seized up, kinked, bent, whatever. Remove the cable from the brake arm and see if your calipers (or whatever you have on the thing) move freely. If so, that leaves cable and lever.

    Re-conditioning a lot of old bikes, I'm always shocked at how bad the brakes are on so many. You'd think no one ever used them!

  4. #4
    put our Heads Together cerewa's Avatar
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    from your description of the problem I can't tell what you have to fix.

    First thing to check is whether simply tightening the brake cables will make all your problems go away. there's a bolt that holds the brake cable on to the brake- loosen it, pull some cable through (so that you have a slightly longer loose end of cable) and tighten the bolt again. In order to do that, you'll have to find a way to get the brake to stay tight against the rim while you do it. There are "third hand" tools for just that purpose, or you can use a friend, or just a well-placed heavy rubber band.

    If that doesn't work then the probable fix is replacing the cables and cable housing.
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  5. #5
    Senior Member
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    Even if the cables aren't seized up completly you still aught to oil them. Use a lightweight oil (I use sewing machine oil). Detach the end of the cable from the brake caliper and drip it into the housing on the front after pulling it away from the brake lever. Then work it in by rubing the housing (which will be loose because you detached the wire from the caliper) back and forth along the wire.

    You also need to do that to the cable for the 3 speed hub. Also oil inside the trigger and the indicator chain that goes into the hub. Then open the stopper on the hub and drip some oil into it (maybe 20-30 drops considering that it hasn't been oiled in forever).

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