My 9-speed 105 shifters (circa 2002?) have gradually developed a bit of play in them. The outer lever and paddle shifting functions themselves work fine, and the shift levers rotate and click smoothly on along the shifting axis. However, when squeezing the lever to actuate the brakes, there is 2-3mm of play in the motion before the brake cable pull starts.
I tried once to see what the cause of the problem was. I removed the top cap and unscrewed a nut threaded onto a rod which held the brake lever on (the lever rotates on this rod during shifting). I didn't want to go further for fear of breaking the thing, but putting the nut back on tightly did not seem to help at all. I am wondering if it is the sort of thing that can be repaired or if it will just slowly get worse over time until it dies.
Anybody else have this problem? What to do about it?
EDIT: The attachment illustrates where the play can be felt. Pulling the brake lever, there is 2-3mm of "dead" movement before the lever engages (a soft click can be heard/felt).