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  1. #1
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    Is it a bad idea to take my brakes apart to clean them?

    Something tells me I'm going to regret this, but I really want to take the calipers apart so I can get in there, and it seems like a simple enough mechanism: couple of pieces of metal and a spring coil. Stop me if this is a bad idea...
    (Brakes are Campy skeletons by the way)
    It's better to regret something you have done than something you haven't.

  2. #2
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    I am not going to say it is a great idea, because I don't know you at all.

    How ever I just took apart my 105's and cleaned them up and replaced the main bolt, it was easy enough. There are most likely bearing in that thing so be careful. The ones in my 105 where loose.

  3. #3
    hello roadfix's Avatar
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    I would only take it apart if there's something wrong with it. For routine cleaning, I wouldn't waste my time.
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  4. #4
    cab horn
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    Quote Originally Posted by nycbianchi View Post
    Something tells me I'm going to regret this, but I really want to take the calipers apart so I can get in there, and it seems like a simple enough mechanism: couple of pieces of metal and a spring coil. Stop me if this is a bad idea...
    (Brakes are Campy skeletons by the way)
    +1 Waste of time

    Unless you are getting a specific problem, binding/play that you KNOW can be fixed by taking them apart.
    Mes compaingnons cui j'amoie et cui j'aim,... Me di, chanson.

  5. #5
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    It's not that hard, and they are designed to come apart easily for cleaning and maintenance. Just remember to keep the parts in sequence so that you put it back together the same way it came apart. Modern brakes tend to have lighter springs than older calipers which makes your life somewhat easier.

    In fairness to what other people said they are pretty recent brakes so it's unlikely that there is enough dirt/grime to cause functional issues but if you want to make them really clean taking them apart is the best approach. One good reason to do especially with older equipment is that you will find any cracked/damaged parts that may not be obvious with everything together.

    Also don't forget to add some grease after cleaning to the parts the rotate against each other, and don't use anything exotic on the pads, just soap and water should be plenty.

  6. #6
    cab horn
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    Quote Originally Posted by strop View Post
    It's not that hard, and they are designed to come apart easily for cleaning and maintenance. Just remember to keep the parts in sequence so that you put it back together the same way it came apart. Modern brakes tend to have lighter springs than older calipers which makes your life somewhat easier.
    There is NO reason to regularly disassemble your skeletons in this fashion. You're wasting time you'll never get back.
    Mes compaingnons cui j'amoie et cui j'aim,... Me di, chanson.

  7. #7
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    disassembly of brakes

    Is it a bad idea. YES. Unless you just like inflicting punishment on yourself. Clean on a bike is not like for dishes that one eats off of. Get the main dirt off and lube. Lube penetrates. Takes one min. Disassembly and reassembly - maybe hours.

  8. #8
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    Its a pretty simple mechanism. I can't imagine it taking more than 15 minutes if you are mechanically inclined. OTOH if you have to ask the question, maybe you shouldn't mess with it.

  9. #9
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    Soap and water and a drop of oil on all the pivot points and my brakes have worked fine for about 3 years of riding 4-6 time a week. And I bought a used set, so who knows how many miles were on them.
    Il faut de l'audace, encore de l'audace, toujours de l'audace

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    If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

  11. #11
    aka Tom Reingold noglider's Avatar
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    If you're interested in learning, then it's not a waste of time.

    If you're interested mostly in cleaning, then use a rag and "floss" in the small parts. And use a toothbrush to get in the really tiny areas.
    You don't read my signature anyway, do you?

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  12. #12
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    Okay, okay. I cleaned them off just using a rag, qtips, and some elbow grease and I have to say they are looking pretty grime-free. I didn't think I'd be able to get into all the skeleton-y parts but they look pretty good.
    Thanks for talking me down, BF.
    It's better to regret something you have done than something you haven't.

  13. #13
    me have long head tube TallRider's Avatar
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    For when your caliper brakes NEED cleaning, you can disassemble. It's kind of a fun mechanical experience anyway, depending on the complexity of the brake.
    Many caliper brakes just have bushings and washers at the pivots.
    Dual-pivot brakes have more things to keep track of.
    Nicer brakes may have bearing units at one or both pivots, and these can be very tricky to keep track of and keep the tiny bearings in their sleeve or cage.

    I overhauled some early 90's Shimano 600 (predecessor to Ultegra) dual-pivot brakes once, and I think I counted something like 60+ separate pieces. 40+ if you don't count each bearing as a separate part.


  14. #14
    Velodrone pckopa's Avatar
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    I can't believe the members of a bicycle mechanics forum are actually telling someone not to take something apart and then try to put it back together again. People, this is how we learn how things work. If it weren't for the thousands of things that I've (albeit sometimes rashly) disassembled, only to reassemble later, I wouldn't have learned what I have about mechanics, home repair, computer repair et cetera. Seriously folks, where's your sense of adventurous curiosity?

  15. #15
    Senior Member Road Fan's Avatar
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    What's the problem? Some people, in some cases pro mechanics, told him it might not be, and usually won't be, worth his time.

  16. #16
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    This gives you some idea of what you are in for if you ever do it ...

    http://techdocs.shimano.com/media/te...9830621027.pdf

    Some people just like taking stuff apart to see how it works. I have three boys, there's not much I have left that I haven't found in pieces ... and I grew up with various Mecanno sets (4 through 9) so I got plenty of practice as a child. To me half the fun is getting it as clean as it was the day you installed it, making it like new again. A quick wipe over the top just doesn't cut it for me :-D

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by pckopa View Post
    I can't believe the members of a bicycle mechanics forum are actually telling someone not to take something apart and then try to put it back together again. People, this is how we learn how things work. If it weren't for the thousands of things that I've (albeit sometimes rashly) disassembled, only to reassemble later, I wouldn't have learned what I have about mechanics, home repair, computer repair et cetera. Seriously folks, where's your sense of adventurous curiosity?
    +1

    If I had to factor in my time, and I work in one the top ten highest paid jobs in the world in what is probably the highest paying area in the world for that job ... I could have paid for two or three Trek Di2 Madone's with the time I've spent cleaning my old bike, taking the old stuff off and cleaning it and fitting new parts. If you have to think about that too hard you're missing out on half the fun.

  18. #18
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    you might consider taking the caliper off the bike and removing the pads, then place the assembly in a can of kero or mineral sprites to soak. then use a brush, floss as suggested. finish up with a hot water rinse and lube. a small air compressor is great to blow dry the part.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by operator View Post
    There is NO reason to regularly disassemble your skeletons in this fashion. You're wasting time you'll never get back.

    And you did just so with this post!

  20. #20
    cab horn
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    Quote Originally Posted by crazyed27 View Post
    And you did just so with this post!
    What a fantastic contribution to this thread. If you have an axe to grind with me, take it to pm.
    Mes compaingnons cui j'amoie et cui j'aim,... Me di, chanson.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by operator View Post
    What a fantastic contribution to this thread. If you have an axe to grind with me, take it to pm.

    Why PM when it can be entertainment for the public? See ya around!

  22. #22
    me have long head tube TallRider's Avatar
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    For the record, here is the picture of when I disassembled the Shimano 600 dual-pivot calipers for full cleaning/overhaul.

    IMG_9058--600_brake_disassembled.jpg

    Not sure it was worth the time in terms of monetary value of what I got out of that time. But it was a fun project and I learned more, and got a basically-new brakeset out of the deal.
    But I highly recommend carefulness in keeping track of the parts.

    I also have a single-pivot Shimano 105 caliper brake that I'm going to disassemble and clean after a rainy century got lots of grit in the pivot of the (rear) brake, and just putting it in solvent hasn't done the trick to get the pivot moving smoothly again.
    But this will be a much simpler job than completely overhauling the dual-pivot shown above.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by dr1445 View Post
    you might consider taking the caliper off the bike and removing the pads, then place the assembly in a can of kero or mineral sprites to soak. then use a brush, floss as suggested. finish up with a hot water rinse and lube. a small air compressor is great to blow dry the part.
    That's what I do when I overhaul any bike. It gets all of the superficial and pretty much all of the hidden grime off and out of them. A blast with the air hose followed by a drop of Tri-Flow on each pivot point and they are good for another year or so.

    I have a set of older dp Shimano 600 brakes (the same ones as timcupery described) with at least 30,000 miles and a set of 7700-series Dura Ace brakes with over 50,000 miles and they both still work smoothly and release perfectly. They have only been cleaned as mentioned above.

    Take them apart if you want to see how they work and want to have the experience but it isn't a needed maintenance procedure. Just set aside a bit of money in case you can't get them back together.

  24. #24
    hello roadfix's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pckopa View Post
    If it weren't for the thousands of things that I've (albeit sometimes rashly) disassembled, only to reassemble later, I wouldn't have learned what I have about mechanics, home repair, computer repair et cetera. Seriously folks, where's your sense of adventurous curiosity?
    Sure, we've disassembled many things as kids because we were just curious how things worked and that's how most of us became mechanically inclined.
    But on this particular thread, we're advising the OP the most practical thing to do in his situation.
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  25. #25
    Senior Member Bikedued's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyclingman1 View Post
    Clean on a bike is not like for dishes that one eats off of.

    Maybe on your bikes,,,,BD
    The one good thing about black cork wrap is that it's better than nothing.

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