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  1. #1
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    Servicing Shiimano STI (Ultegra) Shifters

    Hey folks.
    Recently won a pair on ebay and started having shifting issues as soon as they were installed. This is the right shifter the one that controls RD and hence, the gears. I thought the issue might have been one related to RD but have since repladed the Ultegra with an STI 105 from other bike and sure enough, problem went away so I know it's the Ultegra now.

    That being said, the problem was that the smaller lever (non brake) would often just stick. I would put pressure on it, and it wouldn't budge but often, a let up in pressure and depressing it again would then make it shift into gear. Eventually it became worse and would shift the brake lever as well or shift in the opposite direction then what it should be doing. Not fun when you are trying to climb a steep hill (this is Cyclocross build) and the bike decides to shift UP instead of down! Anyhow, I have the parts breakdown PDF (they are available on Shimano website) but would like to know where to start here.

    Any pointers would be much appreciated.
    cheers
    Tony O

  2. #2
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    Shimano STI brifters are basically unservicable except to flush them out with solvent and relube with Tri-Flow and hope for the best.

    You say you "won" them on e-bay. I think the seller won that one.

  3. #3
    Senior Member barba's Avatar
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    Buying used shifters is risky business. Try the flush and lube, but I would be prepared to have to buy a new set.

  4. #4
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    [QUOTE=HillRider;5486633]Shimano STI brifters are basically unservicable except to flush them out with solvent and relube with Tri-Flow and hope for the best.

    Correct, they are not unless you are a professional watchmaker/repair. I've tried the experience with a 6501 right shifter that had the same problem. I'm usually good at dismantling/rebuilt all sorts of stuff. Got the digital camera ready to take step by step pictures of the dismantling. Didn't go too far then springs, cams and other parts started flying off. I've heard that having the shifter soaked overnight in mineral spirit might solve the problem. Good luck.

  5. #5
    Your mom
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    Yep, hose down with some solvent, followed by Triflow. Hope it works!

  6. #6
    cab horn
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tony O View Post
    Hey folks.
    Recently won a pair on ebay and started having shifting issues as soon as they were installed. This is the right shifter the one that controls RD and hence, the gears. I thought the issue might have been one related to RD but have since repladed the Ultegra with an STI 105 from other bike and sure enough, problem went away so I know it's the Ultegra now.
    Guess why he was selling them.
    Mes compaingnons cui j'amoie et cui j'aim,... Me di, chanson.

  7. #7
    Jet Jockey Banzai's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bikeaday View Post
    Correct, they are not unless you are a professional watchmaker/repair. I've tried the experience with a 6501 right shifter that had the same problem. I'm usually good at dismantling/rebuilt all sorts of stuff. Got the digital camera ready to take step by step pictures of the dismantling. Didn't go too far then springs, cams and other parts started flying off. I've heard that having the shifter soaked overnight in mineral spirit might solve the problem. Good luck.
    It's my understanding that even if you are that capable of a repair person...there is no spare part availability for these components. (Unless, of course, you buy more and scavenge them...)
    Good night...and good luck

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    Quote Originally Posted by Banzai View Post
    It's my understanding that even if you are that capable of a repair person...there is no spare part availability for these components. (Unless, of course, you buy more and scavenge them...
    )
    In this case, it is a dismantling for a clean and lub job. No spare parts needed

  9. #9
    Bike ≠ Car ≠ Ped. BarracksSi's Avatar
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    Funny thread, because I was told the same thing yesterday by the guys at my LBS when I asked about Shimano vs. Campy.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Deanster04's Avatar
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    I recently rebuilt and upgraded a Campy Daytona Ergo 9 speed to a 10 speed for about $39 in parts and an hour labor. Went to campy after having to buy a new STI shifter in only 2 years.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Banzai View Post
    It's my understanding that even if you are that capable of a repair person...there is no spare part availability for these components. (Unless, of course, you buy more and scavenge them...)
    It took me 6 months to get the 2 $5 tools that are recommended by Shimano. I had a bunch of old ones in various states of dis-repair and wanted to get a few apart...and try to fix em. I was successful in getting it apart and finding the problematic bits, but getting the required parts from Shimano is next to impossible. I know what the part numbers are. They have em listed in one of my distributors catalogues but I have been waiting for years to get anything from them. Make it appear from the tech manuals that it can be serviced..just don't make any small parts available. I have even managed to get one back together with the same parts albeit with the same problems as it had. Any year Campy ergo I can get all the springs and cams for..including upgrade to 10sp from 9. This is why after working on these systems since the first generation, I far prefer and recommend Campy to my customers.
    The key to happiness is not in having more, but in developing the capacity to enjoy less.

  12. #12
    Mr. Dopolina Bob Dopolina's Avatar
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    There was a thread a few weeks ago that had a link to someone who repaired STI levers. He was salvaging parts from other expired levers and successfully (on 2 accounts) repairing them.

    Sorry, I don't have the link but spend a little time on search.

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    Regarding flushing brifters, can someone please elaborate and give a little more detail regarding what is involved here? What kind of solvent do you recommend flushing one with? Do you need to remove the brifter from the handlebars and cables to do a good job? One guy above suggested soaking the brifter overnight in mineral spirits.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Skewer View Post
    Regarding flushing brifters, can someone please elaborate and give a little more detail regarding what is involved here? What kind of solvent do you recommend flushing one with? Do you need to remove the brifter from the handlebars and cables to do a good job? One guy above suggested soaking the brifter overnight in mineral spirits.
    This was suggested by my LBS to free up stuck Ultegra 8 speed STI front levers.

    Flush generously with White Lightening Degreaser while working the mechanism.

    Allow just enough time for the degreaser to dry/evaporate, then IMMEDIATELY lube generously with Tri-Flow spray lubricant. This is important as the degreased parts begin to rust very soon after they dry because they no longer have a protective oil coat.

    This worked as promised. I flipped the bike to a happy triathlon bound buyer, so I can't comment as to how long the fix remained effective.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by mrmw View Post
    Flush generously with White Lightening Degreaser while working the mechanism.

    Allow just enough time for the degreaser to dry/evaporate, then IMMEDIATELY lube generously with Tri-Flow spray lubricant. This is important as the degreased parts begin to rust very soon after they dry because they no longer have a protective oil coat.

    This worked as promised.
    Thanks! I will try something along those lines then. I will be doing it on an older, 8 speed, 105 equipped bike that I keep ready to ride in another State that I frequently visit. Currently the right shifter in question shifts well nearly all the time, but on some occasions nothing happens when I press the release shifter and want to shift down the cassette to a higher gear. I recently replaced the shifter cable so the cable shouldn't be the problem. I won't be doing it until I am over there for the Christmas holidays though. I will let you know how it turns out. Thanks again.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Skewer View Post
    Regarding flushing brifters, can someone please elaborate and give a little more detail regarding what is involved here? What kind of solvent do you recommend flushing one with? Do you need to remove the brifter from the handlebars and cables to do a good job? One guy above suggested soaking the brifter overnight in mineral spirits.
    When my Dura-Ace shifters got sticky I shot them full of WD40 using the plastic straw. Five years later they still work perfectly.

  17. #17
    use your best eye kenhill3's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Dopolina View Post
    There was a thread a few weeks ago that had a link to someone who repaired STI levers. He was salvaging parts from other expired levers and successfully (on 2 accounts) repairing them.

    Sorry, I don't have the link but spend a little time on search.
    Here's a guy on Ebay who refurbs STI's and sells them, also takes old ones in trade:

    http://cgi.ebay.com/Shimano-STI-Shif...QQcmdZViewItem



    I sent him a box full of old shifters just because I had nothing else to do with them. I haven't bought anything from him as yet.
    "I tell you, We are here on earth to fart around, and don't let anybody tell you any different." - Kurt Vonnegut jr.

  18. #18
    Senior Member jjciiijs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kenhill3 View Post
    Here's a guy on Ebay who refurbs STI's and sells them, also takes old ones in trade:
    http://cgi.ebay.com/Shimano-STI-Shif...QQcmdZViewItem
    Great, just sent him a note for a deal on a 600 shifter since he did not have any listed
    Jeff
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  19. #19
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    <<When my Dura-Ace shifters got sticky I shot them full of WD40 using the plastic straw. Five years later they still work perfectly.>>
    Ok, thanks! Since I have WD40 and Tri-flow on hand, I think I may use WD40 for the flush part like you did, but then follow it up with Tri-flow since the Tri-flow should theoretically provide a longer lasting lube protectant---even though you are going on five years without another problem.
    Last edited by Skewer; 11-28-07 at 02:25 PM.

  20. #20
    Portland, OR i_r_beej's Avatar
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    This is exactly why I detest Shimano's STI control levers. What price technological progress? Unservicable waste. And a replacement lever is so damned expensive!

    When I converted my MTB to a drop bar (the awesome Midge) STI levers were not even a consideration. I bought a set of DURA-ACE bar end shifters and Cane Creek brake levers for less than US$100. Costs less and WEIGHS LESS than a set of STI too! And you can even take them apart without springs and stuff shooting everywhere. Take THAT Shimano.

    So when the STI levers on my cyclocross bike fail-- guess what? Bar end shifters.

    I raced a 'cross race last weekend on my MTB and the bar-end shifters worked just fine!

    Anyway-- sorry for the rant and not providing you with any pertinent information. In the early summer I damaged a left STI lever (105) and tried getting help-- found none! STI is just the worst.
    Despite the fact that I constantly recommend Kool-Stop brake pads-- no, I don't work for Kool-Stop. (Although their factory is just a few blocks from my house!)

    I ride drop bars off-road. (The excellent On-One "Midge.")

  21. #21
    Bike ≠ Car ≠ Ped. BarracksSi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by i_r_beej View Post
    ... I bought a set of DURA-ACE bar end shifters ... Take THAT Shimano.
    psst... Shimano made those Dura-Ace bar end shifters...


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