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  1. #1
    STFD mcgreivey's Avatar
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    Rear derailleur adjustment: pulling my hair out

    Recently, I've been working on my old Windsor Carrera Sport, c.1980, getting it back in shape after years of neglecting it. I'm having trouble getting the RD to shift right, though. It used to shift "like butter" back when it and I were young. Now, it doesn't.

    The bike is mostly stock SunTour/Sugino/DiaCompe. The only thing in the drivetrain that's not original is the freewheel (and the RD--see below). It came with a SunTour 5-speed freewheel that wore out. I replaced it with an NOS 6-speed SunTour ultra-spaced freewheel. It never shifted right (from the time the 5-speed started wearing out, until now). I've worked things out mostly, except for one thing: it likes to double-shift, when shifting downward, between the middle great on the freewheel (2-->3 I usually end up on 4; 3--> 4 I usually end up on 5). In trying to sort it out, I've replaced the cables (of course--always an easy first thing to do), chain (SRAM 8-speed), rear derailleur (original well-used sloppy SunTour VGT Luxe, for tight NOS SunTour VGT Luxe). I've adjusted the b-screw on the derailleur, the pivot spring tension (easy to do on a VGT Luxe). Each of these things has made it a tiny bit better, without solving the problem.

    What remains?

    Chain length: I made the new chain the same length as the old chain. Actually, I didn't "make" anything. I didn't have to take any links off the new chain--it was already the same length as the old one. Some time in the mid-'80s I did take 2 links out of the old chain (why, I don't recall), but it still shifted fine at this length for years after.

    Difference between the old FW and the new one: The original was a "typically-spaced" '70s 5-speed. It was either 14-32 or 14-34. The new one is a 14-34 6-speed. I don't have good enough calipers to measure it, but the I believe it's got narrower "ultra" spacing (I didn't have to re-dish the wheel when I put it on). This ought to get along fine with the 8-speed chain, though, I think. I don't have the old 5-speed anymore (drat!), but I do believe the 5-speed's middle cogs may have been bigger than this 6-speed has. If I adjust the b-screw so that the jockey pulley is closer on the middle cogs, it's too close to shift to the 34-tooth cog (josckey wheel bangs into the side of it, in fact).

    Bent hanger? To the naked eye, it looks fine. Perhaps I should take it to the LBS so they can measure it, but then they might want to do everything, and I've been fixing this bike myself for 30 years! [pride]

    I've been working on bikes since I was 12, and on this bike since I first bought it, new, in 1980, so I know my way around a bike. Have I lost my touch ?

    I wish I hadn't tossed the old freewheel. As I recall, the teeth were very worn on it.

    So, what do you think? Should I try a different freewheel? Something else?

    Picture here, as it looked before I replaced the chain and the RD. You can kinda see the big jump from teh low cog to #2:
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/mcgreivey/3324327195/

    I'll try to post better, newer pictures later.
    Last edited by mcgreivey; 11-20-09 at 05:32 PM.

  2. #2
    Low car diet JiveTurkey's Avatar
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    Define "shift right." What exactly is bad about the shifting?
    Quote Originally Posted by slopvehicle View Post
    Not wearing a helmet makes me more aware of my surroundings. I find myself anticipating the hardness of concrete 50 or 100 feet in front of me, it's almost a zen-like connection between my face and the pavement.

  3. #3
    STFD mcgreivey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JiveTurkey View Post
    Define "shift right." What exactly is bad about the shifting?
    See 2nd paragraph.

    Actually, I just reread it, and I didn't express it clearly enough.

    The bike used to shift great, until it didn't, so I replaced the freewheel, and it still didn't shift great, but at least I had a new freewheel.

    What's bad now is that in the middle gears, it usually skips a cog when shifting. I can't seem to adjust it so that this gets better.

    I replaced the 5-speed because it was just worn out, bad.
    Last edited by mcgreivey; 11-20-09 at 05:30 PM.

  4. #4
    Low car diet JiveTurkey's Avatar
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    Sorry, I did read that, but forgot by the time I got to the end and didn't look past the first paragraph upon re-reading.

    Hmm, so you can't get the RD to stick to where you want it to when shifting, rather it overshoots to the next cog? I assume this is a friction setup? I don't have much experience with them, but I do know many friction levers do not have a truly infinite number of stops, rather very closely spaced stops or clicks. Could it be that in the particular cog(s) the RD wants to be in between two adjacent clicks int he shifter? Maybe your 5-speed friction lever is too impercise for the closer-spaced ultra-6-speed freewheel?
    Quote Originally Posted by slopvehicle View Post
    Not wearing a helmet makes me more aware of my surroundings. I find myself anticipating the hardness of concrete 50 or 100 feet in front of me, it's almost a zen-like connection between my face and the pavement.

  5. #5
    Senior Member
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    I think that you have a freewheel/chain compatibility problem. I think that the spacing on the spacing on the Winner freewheels were a bit funky - you needed an ultra 6 chain, It seems that the trouble started when you replaced the freewheel. I think that you should start with another brand new 5 speed freewheel and chain. There are many variables though, which you are considering. However, generally with a friction , non SIS shifter and rear derailleur, you should not have any skipping in between gears.

  6. #6
    STFD mcgreivey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jacksbike View Post
    I think that you have a freewheel/chain compatibility problem. I think that the spacing on the spacing on the Winner freewheels were a bit funky - you needed an ultra 6 chain, It seems that the trouble started when you replaced the freewheel. I think that you should start with another brand new 5 speed freewheel and chain. There are many variables though, which you are considering. However, generally with a friction , non SIS shifter and rear derailleur, you should not have any skipping in between gears.
    Yeah, I think you're right. I'd forgotten about ultra-6 chains. I can't remember how they were different, but I bet Sheldon can tell me. I just assumed the 8-speed chain would be fine. You know what they say when you assume,...

    So I should look for a 5-speed freewheel, or (is this possible to find?) and ultra-6 chain....I just did a quick search, and no ultra-6 chains on ebay. Probably not something I should spend much time looking for. A 5-speed will do me fine.

    Thanks!

    JiveTurkey: a good thought, and this bike does have ratchet SunTour Power shifters, but the clicks are close enough, and the FW spacing is wide enough, that this isn't the issue. I've actually used the same shifters on a newer bike with a Shimano 8-speed, actually, and it worked great.

    EDIT

    Actually, this might be a good excuse to go to a 7-speed FW. I think I have 126 mm spacing, so it might just work with no fuss (and with a redish).
    Last edited by mcgreivey; 11-20-09 at 06:27 PM.

  7. #7
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    I would try to find a 5 speed freewheel and a basic or as high quality replacement chain as possible. I believe that the 7/8/9 speed chains are narrower and have more chamfering of each link so that the chain slides onto the freewheel tooth more quickly and easily. I just remember that these Winner ultra 6 freewheels were weird in their spacing and tempermental without the correct chain. I think with the correct freewheel and chain that your problems should be easily solved.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Tunnelrat81's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jacksbike View Post
    I would try to find a 5 speed freewheel and a basic or as high quality replacement chain as possible. I believe that the 7/8/9 speed chains are narrower and have more chamfering of each link so that the chain slides onto the freewheel tooth more quickly and easily. I just remember that these Winner ultra 6 freewheels were weird in their spacing and tempermental without the correct chain. I think with the correct freewheel and chain that your problems should be easily solved.
    Spacing shouldn't be the issue, as Ultra 6 spacing is identical to that of 7 speed SIS stuff. I recently made the change from an Ultra 6 to a 7 speed freewheel for use with the same 7 speed sis shifters and installed a KMC 9 speed Z chain on it, and the result was VERY nice. Although, I'm having to take the new freewheel back for a service, as it seems that the Pawls are sticking already after only 2 months or so...bummer. But as for shifting, the pair-up for me was beautiful. Hope you can get to the bottom of this.

  9. #9
    Low car diet JiveTurkey's Avatar
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    The c-c spacing of ultra-6 (5.0mm) is the same as 7-speed and also some 8-speed (some 5.0, some 4.8). I've always thought 6-, 7-, and 8-speed chains were all the same. But I did buy a Z-chain recently that specifically said 6- and 7-speed. Any idea why?
    Quote Originally Posted by slopvehicle View Post
    Not wearing a helmet makes me more aware of my surroundings. I find myself anticipating the hardness of concrete 50 or 100 feet in front of me, it's almost a zen-like connection between my face and the pavement.

  10. #10
    )) <> (( illwafer's Avatar
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    definitely the chain. i had the same issue, and i believe a 9-speed chain fixed it. i was a little bit of a newb back then, so i can't remember exactly. if you look at the sprockets, you can actually see the spacing is just slightly different where you are double shifting.

  11. #11
    Mystery Meat gitarzan's Avatar
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    With the ultra spacing you prob need a narrower chain. I had a similar issue on my 80 Raleigh.
    Quote Originally Posted by Jseis View Post
    Is a ukulele player in a mandolin town and banned from all bars by the chief of police unless he leaves his strings and gravy at the front door.

  12. #12
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    If you have a spare back wheel with a 10mm threaded axle you can check the der. hanger. Remover the rr der and screw in the extre wheel. You should have both parallel. If they are not the hanger is bent. The extra wheel can be used as a lever to straighten the hanger.

  13. #13
    Senior Member canopus's Avatar
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    With the Suntour freewheel I would recommend a Campagnolo 9C chain. It works real nice with the narrow spaced Regina I have and the flat cogs similar to the Suntour. If you purchased the SRAM PC870 8 speed chain I would go ahead and get a 7 speed hyperglide freewheel and call it a day.

  14. #14
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    It sounds to me like the shifter friction needs adjusting. There should be a knob or wire loop for increasing friction. A narrower chain may also help, but I'm betting on a friction adjustment.

    Al

  15. #15
    STFD mcgreivey's Avatar
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    Friction isn't the issue. I've tried 5 different shifters, different cables and housing, with no real difference. The last thing I did was put the original DT shifters back on, thinking they would certainly have the least possible friction (bar-mounted shifters add friction from the added casing, and the potential for added compression flex with spiral housing, which is what I have on hand). The DT shifters made little difference.

    Yeah, I'm pretty confident the problem is chain/FW incompatibilty. I'm going to fish around on the Bay and figure out what I can afford now. I'll go with a non-ultra 5-, 6-, or 7-speed FW with the current 8-speed chain, or a 9-speed chain on the current Ultra FW. If I do the last thing, I have an 8-speed bike that is about due for a new chain anyway, so nothing lost there...

    canopus suggested a Campagnolo 9C chain. How does it differ from other 9-speed chains? Width? sideplate design?

    EDIT:
    It's actually Campagnolo C9, not 9C, apparently, based on my ebay search. Not expensive, either. Cheaper than a new FW (+ redishing, for a 6- or 7-speed).

    Thanks all!!
    Last edited by mcgreivey; 11-20-09 at 09:31 PM.

  16. #16
    Senior Member canopus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mcgreivey View Post
    How does it differ from other 9-speed chains? Width? sideplate design?
    Width and side-plate design both. It has a flat plate unlike the Shimano based chains. It was also about the same width (narrow) as my Regina CX chain that got rusted. The old sedisport chains I have wouldn't fit on my Regina Freewheel in positions 3 and 4 because it was to wide.

  17. #17
    Fred-ish rogerstg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mcgreivey View Post
    Bent hanger? To the naked eye, it looks fine. Perhaps I should take it to the LBS so they can measure it, but then they might want to do everything, and I've been fixing this bike myself for 30 years! [pride]
    There's been lots of good advice, but this I'd check the hanger first since it's easy and could be the source of your problem, your pride notwithstanding.
    The kernel of the problem started when you went from 5 speed to 6 speed, and 6 speed is a bit more sensitive to hanger alignment than 5 speed, you should eliminate that as the source.

    I think my hanger alignment tool was about $40+-. In a year it's already saved me about 4 trips to the LBS and allowed me to solve a number of pesky shifting problems, some of which I've had for years. I highly recommend one for someone that likes to work on bikes.

  18. #18
    STFD mcgreivey's Avatar
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    ^^ Thanks. I'll do the new chain first. I do think it's the primary problem.

    I'll get the tool later. It is a good idea. The bike is 30 years old, after all, and it's been stored and transported with the back wheel off (and the RD not removed) several times in its life. In the meantime, I'll improvise a tool somehow, or have the LBS check it, yeah.

    Thanks again!

  19. #19
    STFD mcgreivey's Avatar
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    I posted the results of switching from a SRAM PC-870 8-speed chain to Campy C9 chain here:
    http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...1#post10097443

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