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Old 01-27-09, 03:55 PM   #1
tmh657
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Brake cable help

I searched and did not find the answer to this.
I am doing an overhaul on a 20 year old bike. Put it all together with new brake housing and cable. Just matched the lengths with the old cables.
The front brake works fine but the rear will start to bind and creak after you pull the lever a few times.

I don't have any specific lube for inside the brake housing. Does that sound like the solution to the problem?
The calipers are Campagnola Chorus and are like new and work fine. Not a caliper issue IMO.
Thanks.
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Old 01-27-09, 04:05 PM   #2
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Use oil - I use Teflon-based oil - on the cables and inside the housing. Grease will get hard and gum-up the cables. And I suggest you remove the brake(s) from the bicycle and overhaul them. Clean them and lubricate them on all the pivots. Use oil for this as well.
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Old 01-27-09, 04:06 PM   #3
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Check the SheldonBrown website for advice on how long the housing should be. There are pictures of the right way and the wrong way that should explain it.

Also check the cut on the housing. It tends to get squashed when you cut it and needs to be opened up at the end. This could bind the cable.
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Old 01-27-09, 04:16 PM   #4
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^^^+2 Make sure you cut the cables/housing with proper cutters. Putting an old piece of cable into the housing before cutting can lessen the crimping. Or you can open it back up with an awl or similar tool.
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Old 01-27-09, 05:00 PM   #5
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And I suggest you remove the brake(s) from the bicycle and overhaul them. Clean them and lubricate them on all the pivots. Use oil for this as well.
+1. Whether or not you find a solution, overhaul your brakes anyway. I just did this with my 20 year old Chorus calipers as well... wasn't hard, and it did wonders.
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Old 01-27-09, 05:46 PM   #6
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Your problem is most often caused by 1 of 2 problems...

1. When you cut the housing the wound metal part 'crimped' over which in turn impedes cable movement.

2. Your not using lined cable housing.

Where did you buy the cables? The ones from WalMart are not lined. (not implying you bought them there...i'm just saying)
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Old 01-27-09, 08:00 PM   #7
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Got the cables from Performance and the housing from the LBS,(it's red) so maybe it's not the best quality housing.
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Old 01-27-09, 09:23 PM   #8
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Its possiblle, since brakes are old, that housing is getting sucked up into the brake. I changed housing on an old set of shimano brake levers and wound up having similar binding problem. It turned out that the opening for the brake cable was wide enough to allow standard 5MM housing ferrule to squeeze through into the lever after a few squeezes, binding the lever up. By happenstance, I had some shimano brake housle left over form another project that had come with some funky ferrules that I hadn't used. They are 5mm internally so fit snug on the housing but are thicker walled and have a bit of a flange on the lip. Because they are thicker,they stop seat properly so the housing does not get sucked up into the brake.

Last edited by DOS; 01-27-09 at 09:24 PM. Reason: type-o
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Old 01-27-09, 10:09 PM   #9
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Thanks DOS. I had never thought of that. It's entirely possible and since I can't see the housing where it meets the lever I won't know until I remove the bar tape.
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Old 01-27-09, 10:14 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by zacster View Post
Check the SheldonBrown website for advice on how long the housing should be. There are pictures of the right way and the wrong way that should explain it..
Good info since it describes one thing that is wrong with my cables. The wrong and right pictures are me exactly.
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Old 01-28-09, 03:12 AM   #11
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Good info since it describes one thing that is wrong with my cables. The wrong and right pictures are me exactly.
But you've gotta consider the severity of your problem. SB is entirely right when it comes to getting the best out of your brake system, but a slightly exagerrated bight in the housing isn't (or, very, very rarely) going to be the issue responsible for a severe brake malfunction like binding. For that I'd be far more inclined to suspect crimping or something else.
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