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  1. #1
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    restoring vintage bikes

    I bought a 70s (or maybe 60s) bike for my mom for $20. It's a Galaxy II, 26". The frame is in good shape. The components aren't as rusted as they could be.

    this is my first time restoring a bike, and I could use the experience. There are 2 things I'm confused about.

    I got the front brakes working pretty good. But the back brakes are weak and stiff. I tried lubing the cable and clearing the rust off the metal, but that doesn't seem to have done much good. Maybe the spring needs to be replaced. any advice?

    Also, both gear adjustment pegs are stiff as hell. So again, I'll lube up the cable and go from there.

    I don't know whether I should try to fix these things or buy new parts. Any advice is appreciated.

    -----

    also, the chain is all rusted up, but it's not stretched out at all. Do rusty chains necessarily need replacement?

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    Soak the chain and see. We need pic's of the brakes. Oil every thing, any
    excess can be cleaned off later. You need to think about new cables and
    pads, and clean and pack all the bearings, wheel, crank, head set. Don't
    forget, the pedals have bearing as well, if not you need to think about
    new pedals.

    Cables, pads and pedals are about $30.

  3. #3
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    There is a chemical that helps remove rust from metal parts without any scraping. You just apply and let it do its job, and within minutes the metal is as good as new. I dont remember the name now, I used to work at near a pier and some was lent to me a few years back for rusted parts on the car.

    Pics is a plus...

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by oneofpr View Post
    There is a chemical that helps remove rust from metal parts without any scraping. You just apply and let it do its job, and within minutes the metal is as good as new. I dont remember the name now, I used to work at near a pier and some was lent to me a few years back for rusted parts on the car.

    Pics is a plus...
    There are several, the most common is Belly Button Jam, or it's common name,
    Navel Jelly!

  5. #5
    Constant tinkerer FastJake's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mrund3rd09 View Post
    I got the front brakes working pretty good. But the back brakes are weak and stiff. I tried lubing the cable and clearing the rust off the metal, but that doesn't seem to have done much good. Maybe the spring needs to be replaced. any advice?

    Also, both gear adjustment pegs are stiff as hell. So again, I'll lube up the cable and go from there.

    I don't know whether I should try to fix these things or buy new parts. Any advice is appreciated.
    You probably need new cables. Try lubing the cables with WD40 first to see if you can free them up. I'd replace a chain if it's rusty. It's no fun when they snap.

    A little cleaning and elbow grease usually goes a long way in getting an old bike running again, if all the parts are there.
    Why "derailer" is the correct way to spell the gear-change mechanism: sheldonbrown.com/derailer.html

  6. #6
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    see I don't know if I should replace the cables or the cable tubes, or neither... or both! When I lube up the cables and run it through the tubes, it seems movement is smooth enough. The components are also in decent shape. But when I put everything together, they're still stiff and non-spontaneous.

    Right now, I think I will need new derailleurs, a new spring for the back brake, and some new cables/cable tubes. I think the old ones are salvageable, but I just don't know which part of the components are causing the problems, and whether I should just apply lube, or I should actually clean the surfaces to make them smooth. Right now, everything seems to be old and rough (not rusted, but rough, like sandpaper), and I feel like I should dump these thing into a solvent or something to clear off the extra stuff...

    I will also need to clean the rust off the cassette, so I'm looking for tips on that as well. Vinegar and aluminum foil works for rust, but I don't know if it's a good idea for the cassette (proly not).

    -------------
    don't know if these pictures help but here they are. http://s1199.photobucket.com/albums/aa472/mrund3rd09/
    Last edited by mrund3rd09; 05-08-11 at 11:23 PM.

  7. #7
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    On the cogs, just wire brush what you can get to, the part the chain runs on.
    Cables and housings are cheap! Oil the crap out of the derailleurs take them off
    and dunk them. Watch out for the little bushings in the rear guide cogs.

    The cables, any corrosion will make them brittle. Not worth the risk. Take the brake
    arms off and clean and lube the pivots. The higher end ones have a brass bushing, the
    cheaper ones are just aluminum. They should move with no effort but the spring.
    If there is gunk in the cable housings, it is hard to get it all out and it will cause binding.
    Even the brake levers need to be cleaned and lubed.

    We need pics of the brake set up!

  8. #8
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    The rust on the cassette (although it's actually a freewheel) is entirely cosmetic. Wirebrush and some lube should turn it all uniformly black-ish.
    The derailers I'd just lube liberally, then work them through their range of motion directly by hand until they move freely.
    I don't mess with old cables/housings any more, at least not on planned work. Maybe on stuff that crops up after the shops has closed and have to be fixed by tomorrow...
    Generic replacements are inexpensive enough that I'll go directly for replace as opposed to clean & lube. Heck, by the looks of things you probably have friction shifters, so you don't even need compressionless shifter housing. Add a few bucks to get housings with liners, that'll give a smoother action.

    Before reassembly, go visit Sheldon Brown's site on cable routing

    Oh, and back brakes are just about always a tad weaker and less responsive than front brakes. There's a lot more cabling between the lever and the brake, which kinda takes the edge off. Seeing that your bike has a step-through frame you probably have an even less-than-ideal cable routing even to start with, with a horrible bough in the cable where it transitions from top tube to brake.
    Last edited by dabac; 05-09-11 at 02:17 AM.

  9. #9
    Senior Member oldbobcat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BHOFM View Post
    Navel Jelly!
    Naval jelly.

  10. #10
    Old fart JohnDThompson's Avatar
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    Is this a "women's" frame with a dropped top tube and a rear brake cable that enters the caliper from below? If so, the housings are prone to collect water in that dependent loop and eventually rust.

    The first thing I'd try to fix the rear brake is to replace both the cable and housing with new parts, preferably plastic-lined housing and a decent die-drawn cable.

  11. #11
    Cottered Crank Amesja's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BHOFM View Post

    . Take the brake arms off and clean and lube the pivots. The higher end ones have a brass bushing, the
    cheaper ones are just aluminum. They should move with no effort but the spring.
    If there is gunk in the cable housings, it is hard to get it all out and it will cause binding.
    Even the brake levers need to be cleaned and lubed.
    +1 Totally clean the pivots and maybe get in there with a dowel to ream out the pivot holes and get any dried on oil OFF or it'll cause them to bind up. Old oil is glue-like goop that has dried and will cause binding and reduced braking power and feel.
    '74 Raleigh Carlton Competition w/ Ultegra | '97 Trek 720 Singletrack CX-er w/ 105 | '64 Raleigh LTD-3 modernized w/ all alloy components |'69 Raleigh Twenty | '54 Raleigh Sports

  12. #12
    SE Wis dedhed's Avatar
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    WalMart sells a cable kit for around $5 that has everything you need for these type of older bikes.
    '68 Raleigh Sprite, '02 Raleigh C500, '84 Raleigh Gran Prix, '91 Trek 400

  13. #13
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    what quality are those cables? I just spent $17 on 2 stainless steel shifter cables, a brake cable, and housings and cable caps.

  14. #14
    Senior Member rootboy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by oldbobcat View Post
    Naval jelly.
    ...depends on where you sourced it from.

  15. #15
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    Why don't you try the C&V subforum here at bikeforums?

    I think the chain is fine.

    Check the major bearings for wobble (when not spinning-like if the wheel was loose on the axle). Those would be the hubs, the bottom bracket, and the headset. It is best to take them down and regrease because old grease can dry up. If they don't wobble and you really don't want to buy a large crescent wrench, hook spanner, and cone wrenches, then at a bare minimum oil them.

    Having the wheels tensioned and trued would be a bit pricey but would go a long way toward making the wheelset last if you plan to ride the thing at all.

    I rarely replace cables myself; they usually work fine.

    If solvent won't free your brakes and you do wind up taking them apart, they go back together with a nut and a locknut on the pivot. the nut should not be cranked down onto the brake arms but should be held steady with a small, flat wrench while the outer locknut is tightened against it. Incorrect adjustment may be the problem.

  16. #16
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    Finished the bike just now. Everything seems fine except for the rear brake, which is still pretty weak despite the new cable and housing. I'm guessing it's the spring needs replacement.

    The bike needed a new chain too. the old chain was too rusty and clunky. Switching to a new chain made the ride a lot smoother.

    It's far from perfect. Ride doesn't feel as good as other bikes for sure. I think the bike may need a new cog set. the ride is smooth for the most part, but it feels as if the chain and the gear don't exactly match up. Maybe it's the rust.

    thanks for the help guys

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by mrund3rd09 View Post
    Finished the bike just now. Everything seems fine except for the rear brake, which is still pretty weak despite the new cable and housing. I'm guessing it's the spring needs replacement.
    The spring is unlikely to be the cause.
    Think about it, the spring is there to disengage the brake when you release the lever. If your problem is weak braking, switching the spring won't help. If your problem had been brake dragging, then replacing the spring might help.

    Quote Originally Posted by mrund3rd09 View Post
    ..The bike needed a new chain too.... I think the bike may need a new cog set.... it feels as if the chain and the gear don't exactly match up.
    Well, rule-of-thumb when when working on a drivetrain with unknown service history is to always replace chain and cassette/freewheel together. It's not impossible, but the odds of new and old parts co-existing in mutual harmony are so low that they're usually not worth exploring unless there's something special about the cassette/freewheel making it difficult/expensive to replace.

  18. #18
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    Did you replace the pads? I have seen them so
    hard, there was "0" brakes!

  19. #19
    Soapy Goodness
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    I posted this in the C&V forum, but this thread looks like a good place to ask:

    I need a good bicycle repair handbook. I use a lot of the online resources listed in this forum, but I need something I can take out with me and stare at for a while. I'm working mostly on old 3speeds, and have basic maintenance down but not much more.

    Any suggestions?


    I would love to see a pic of this bike.

  20. #20
    Cottered Crank Amesja's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by .Cricket View Post
    I posted this in the C&V forum, but this thread looks like a good place to ask:

    I need a good bicycle repair handbook. I use a lot of the online resources listed in this forum, but I need something I can take out with me and stare at for a while. I'm working mostly on old 3speeds, and have basic maintenance down but not much more.

    Any suggestions?


    I would love to see a pic of this bike.
    Glenns for $4 WITH shipping -you can't get a better price and it's a very good bike mechanic's book.
    '74 Raleigh Carlton Competition w/ Ultegra | '97 Trek 720 Singletrack CX-er w/ 105 | '64 Raleigh LTD-3 modernized w/ all alloy components |'69 Raleigh Twenty | '54 Raleigh Sports

  21. #21
    Soapy Goodness
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    Thank you, Amesja. I'll get a copy of that.

  22. #22
    Cottered Crank Amesja's Avatar
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    Big spender! :-D
    '74 Raleigh Carlton Competition w/ Ultegra | '97 Trek 720 Singletrack CX-er w/ 105 | '64 Raleigh LTD-3 modernized w/ all alloy components |'69 Raleigh Twenty | '54 Raleigh Sports

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by dabac View Post
    The spring is unlikely to be the cause.
    Think about it, the spring is there to disengage the brake when you release the lever. If your problem is weak braking, switching the spring won't help. If your problem had been brake dragging, then replacing the spring might help.



    Well, rule-of-thumb when when working on a drivetrain with unknown service history is to always replace chain and cassette/freewheel together. It's not impossible, but the odds of new and old parts co-existing in mutual harmony are so low that they're usually not worth exploring unless there's something special about the cassette/freewheel making it difficult/expensive to replace.

    the 2 sides close unevenly. I tried to adjust the nuts on both sides. Screwing them on too tight disables the springs from springing back. Screwing them too loose causes the 2 sides to close unevenly. I think I've exhausted all other possibilities. I got new cables, housings, and lubed up the brake components, and tried to adjust the brake position. None of them has really worked.

  24. #24
    Cottered Crank Amesja's Avatar
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    There is a problem with either the bolt, the fiber washer in between the arms, or the pivots in the arms themselves.

    If the bolt is bent you will have issues. If the fiber washer is messed up and binding you'll have similar issues. Also the pivots themselves need to be rust and dried-up/dried-on oil free.

    Take the brakes fully apart and check that the bolt is straight and clean. Polish it with some rubbing compound so that it is slick. Clean the fiber washer and grease it while you have it apart. Clean the brake arms and get all the rust off of the -especially in the pivot area. Use a piece of wood like a dowel to stick into the pivot hole and ream it out and get any rust or dried-on sticky oil out of there. Use some rubbing compound in there too on the dowel so you get the pivot polished up well. You don't want any friction in here at all. Put it all back together the way it came apart (you were paying attention how it came apart right?) Tighten up the bolt just enough so that there is no play but the spring can still move it back smartly. You might want to put a tiny dab of grease on where the spring rubs on the arms so that it doesn't bind up there too.

    Once back together the brake should operate smoothly and with a sharp spring it its step. You can up the spring a little bit at this point by opening it up a little to give more springiness. Don't go nuts and bend it WAY out. Springs can break and you can hurt yourself when it does so wear eye protection when you bend spring out like this in case it does shatter.

    If you did all this right your brakes will work better than they where new.
    '74 Raleigh Carlton Competition w/ Ultegra | '97 Trek 720 Singletrack CX-er w/ 105 | '64 Raleigh LTD-3 modernized w/ all alloy components |'69 Raleigh Twenty | '54 Raleigh Sports

  25. #25
    Member zzMike's Avatar
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    +1 for Glenns...although I had to pay $1.49 plus $3.99 shipping...not quite the deal that Amesja got. There is some really good detail on 3 speed SA hubs.

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