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Old 12-26-10, 05:32 PM   #1
Abeybaby
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No resistance with front and rear derailleur

Hi, I'm a newer cyclist that picked up a great deal on a road bike, the only problem was that the seller told me that the springs needed to be replaced in the FD and RD (which I call BS on). The bike itself is in phenomenal condition, just has been sitting in the sellers garage for years. I've taken it to 2 different bike shops and an LBS. The LBS told me to replace the shifters which were $160 + labor. The 2 retail shops told me that the LBS was screwing me over and that I just needed to clear out grease that gathers from inactivity that was giving the shifters issues, with windex. I trust the shops over the LBS but I'm just wondering why the shifters are still giving no resistance what so ever when I try to shift down. The RD can shift to the smallest cog but wont shift down. The FD will shift down to the 39 but not up to the 52. Thanks so much for any help on this issue!
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Old 12-26-10, 05:42 PM   #2
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Shimano or Campy? What type of shifters?

WD-40 sprayed into the guts of the shifters will clear out old grease, if that gets it working you'll not need to replace them. Campy levers can be serviced, which keeps the price of repair down.
Shimano, if something is broken, is said to not be serviceable, but there's a guy who services them online, I lost the link to his page though.
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Old 12-26-10, 06:04 PM   #3
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Derailleur return springs rarely, if ever, lose strength. 5:1 odds your problem is related to cable/housing friction because of old cables with dried lube in the housings.

It's easy enough to test the return springs in both derailleurs. While pedaling, shift by pulling the bare wire away from the downtube like a bow string, and let go. If it shifts and returns well, the derailleur springs are fine. If the RD doesn't it might be friction in the rear loop, so test by pushing it in from the lower body.

If the derailleurs are fine, it's either shifters or cables. For the shifters flush with solvent/oil like WD-40. For the cables, running light oil in might help, but if they're old, you might as well replace both the wires and housings.
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Old 12-26-10, 06:09 PM   #4
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It sounds like the springs on the derailleurs are working. Front derailleur shifts to the inner chainring and the rear derailleur shifts to the smallest cog. Rarely seen springs "worn out" but have seen them break. I spray Finish Line Biotech2 into the shifters (there are several other solutions you can use). I then flush out shifters with soap & water (any liquid dish water detergent will do). If I need the shifters to be dried faster I will flush some alcohol into the shifter. After shifter is dried out I will use a petroleum aerosol to reintroduce lube into the shifter.

When you get the shifters working properly you may want to put a little lite lube on all the pivot points on the brake calipers & derailleurs and cables.
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Old 12-26-10, 06:38 PM   #5
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Abeybaby, The seller may've just been passing on a bad diagnosis that he'd been told. Shimano shifters, when unused primarily, has a grease that hardens after time. This can cause exactly the problem you're having amoungst other symptoms. Follow the instructions using solvent to soften the grease. This may make them feel stiff and 'ratchity', then spray some silicone lube into the shifters.

I've rebuilt mine, but it was more luck than skill and found the grease to be hard and somewhat waxy, preventing the pawls from catching.

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Old 12-26-10, 06:45 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by MilitantPotato View Post
Shimano or Campy? What type of shifters?

WD-40 sprayed into the guts of the shifters will clear out old grease, if that gets it working you'll not need to replace them. Campy levers can be serviced, which keeps the price of repair down.
Shimano, if something is broken, is said to not be serviceable, but there's a guy who services them online, I lost the link to his page though.
Shimano 105. I've flushed them out with WD40... is it more effective than windex? Gonna let it sit for a bit. Thanks for all the help guys!
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Old 12-26-10, 07:16 PM   #7
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Windex is great for cleaning windows, and maybe for getting gunk off the frame. Keep it away from moving parts.
WD40 is good as a solvent and loosening up gunked parts.

It's hard to understand what your problem is. Maybe snap a picture or 3 and better describe the situation.
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Old 12-26-10, 07:36 PM   #8
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Gumed-up shifters. Keep at it with the WD-40. Once they start working, lubricate with a light oil such as TriFlow.

At the LBS, I generally use Finish Line CleanStreak for the flushing, but it's nasty stuff. I gear up with my solvent respirator and nitrile gloves for that.
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Old 12-26-10, 08:00 PM   #9
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As far as flushing out, is there a better method/more specific place I should be targeting than pressing on the levers like I'm braking and spraying inside?

This is where Ive been spraying:



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Old 12-26-10, 08:09 PM   #10
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Spray/flush in the general area of where the cable goes thru the shifter -- the whole front part of the shifter. Continue to shift the paddles/shift levers --it will help get the cleaning material into the working part of the shifter.

Last edited by TLCFORBIKES; 12-26-10 at 08:19 PM.
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Old 12-26-10, 08:56 PM   #11
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You can also try shooting WD 40 into the shifters with the bike inverted. This helps with getting the solvent in to the tighter areas.
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Old 12-26-10, 10:02 PM   #12
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I'll +1 what everybody else has said- spray lots of oil inside the shifter to loosen the gummed-up shifters and you should be good to go. Keep working the shifters to break up the gum. It might require lubing and/or replacing the cables, but new shifters? Probably not.
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Old 12-27-10, 12:56 AM   #13
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If you get no joy, you can remove the levers from the hoods (there's usually a little grub screw holding the brake lever pivot pin in) and submerge them in degreaser.

If that still doesn't work, you could try ultrasound.
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Old 12-27-10, 01:21 AM   #14
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Don't forget the other advice give above to replace the cables and housing. Cleaning out the shifters certainly sounds like the best plan of action, but it sounds like the bike has not had much TLC lately, so the cables and housing are likely to also not be in very good condition, so I would replace those. Degrease the drivetrain (chain and cogs) to remove the old gunk, then apply some fresh oil and hopefully it will shift very nicely.

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Old 12-27-10, 02:19 AM   #15
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Don't forget the other advice give above to replace the cables and housing. Cleaning out the shifters certainly sounds like the best plac of action, but it sounds like the bike has not had much TLC lately, so the cables and housing are likely to also not be in very good condition. Degrease the drivetrain (chain and cogs) to remove the old gunk, then apply some fresh oil and hopefully it will shift very nicely.
yup, it shifts great for sure.
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Old 12-27-10, 02:25 AM   #16
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Shifts even better if you add a bit of preload to the derailleur's wimpy return spring.
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Old 12-27-10, 09:22 AM   #17
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Shifts even better if you add a bit of preload to the derailleur's wimpy return spring.
And you do this how?
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Old 12-28-10, 02:38 AM   #18
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Jam something under the end of the spring inside the parallelogram. Or maybe bend the end of it, if you can get a grip on it with a nice enough tool.

Generally not much room to play with though.
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