Well I did the unthinkable (of course I didn't know it was the unthinkable until I looked for input on this forum). I took of the cover of my ancient 105 sti (8spd) shifters, I mean the cover with the hex bolt through the center that holds the spring in place. We were just re-doing the bike, cleaning, new cables, saddle, bar tape etc so that my wife could use it this year, and I took off the covers. The old cables had snapped (corrosion) right at the shifter and the metal cap on the outer cable had corroded into the shifter. I had to dril it out, that's why i took it off. It was easier than I thought and in retrospect I could have done that on the bike. Dumb, dumb, dumb. Now what do I do?
Anyway, the front derailleur shifter I managed to get back on (miracle?, probably yeah), but the rear derailleur spring is giving me a heck of a time. Any tricks?
If I can't do this, can I put a 9-speed shifter onthis bike (the 8 speeds are not to be found)? Can I e.g. just take a 9-speed 105?
Any inexpensive but good integrated shifters that you would recommend? This is an old Koga steel frame but my wife loves it and really likes the integrated shifters.
Another alternative, especially if your wife always shifts from the hoods is Sora 8 speed (still available new, and affordable).
Some people even prefer the thumb shifter to the configuration on the rest of the Shimano line.
Also, to move to 9 speed completely, all you need to replace is the shifter, chain and cassette, so if the chain and/or cassette are due for replacement, it might be reasonable to move to 9 speed, if you can find a shifter cheap.
Have never tried this, but that link might hold some help.
Thanks for that link! I think I need a clamp like they describe there (to keep spring in place during assembling). I tried that with a small screwdriver but not very successful. I emailed the author of that webpage to find out more on that clamp and how he made it work.
I also saw that 8-speed Sora shifter and if all else fails, that is probably a good option. I just replaced the cassette and chain (we were refurbishing the whole thing) so it be kind of nice to keep it 8speed for now. On the other hand, if it turns out to get really expensive I might consider upgrading to 9-speed while we're at it. First I'm going to give it another go with trying to make some sort of clamp to get that spring to go back in.
Thanks for the input sofar! More suggestions are very welcome of course. I will keep you posted on progress.
Just reporting back. Bill Cotton advised me to use a good hook to get the whole thing re-assembled. I used an old dental hook and that worked beautifully. The whole thing is back operational. Looks like we're going to enjoy this old Koga steel frame for a few years more! Great stuff! Thanks for all the input and suggestions!