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  1. #1
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    v-brake issues.......

    I have an old schwinn mesa with tektro v-brakes. The rear brake is spongy and has to be pulled almost till it hits the handlebar before it brakes. Once it does engage it brakes well but it shouldnt need that much pull to brake right? Here are some questions I have. Also feel free to leave any other comments/suggestions for me. Thanks in advance.

    1. Does the brake cable strech with time and if so how do you know if you need to replace the cable?
    2. Once I pull the brake lever and release it it doesnt tighten back up all the way (spring back to its normal spot). What would cause this, do I need a new lever or parts?
    Last edited by Mondo734; 02-19-12 at 04:50 PM.

  2. #2
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    1- without (hopefully) starting a big debate, let's say that there's an initial period of stretch or settling, after which the cable length remains constant through it's service life, then it begins to stretch anew at the end as it frays before breaking completely. During that stable period, you'll still need to make adjustments as the shoes wear.

    2- the retuu
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  3. #3
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    1- without (hopefully) starting a big debate, let's say that there's an initial period of stretch or settling, after which the cable length remains constant through it's service life, then it begins to stretch anew at the end as it frays before breaking completely. During that stable period, you'll still need to make adjustments as the shoes wear.

    2- the return springs for everything are in the brakes, one for each arm. They spring the arms apart which pulls the cable, which in turn returns the lever. If your lever is sticking, the most common cause is friction in the cable, but it could also be in the arm pivots. To check, disconnect the noodle from the clip as you would to remove the wheel (I hope the shop showed you how, or find a tutorial on setting up V brakes) and see if the arm movement is free. If so, check for cable friction by working the lever against hand tension at the brake end.

    If it's in the cable, check that you didn't put a clamp over it anyplace (common mistake when mounting stuff), otherwise it might need a drop of light oil or replacement if old.
    Last edited by FBinNY; 02-19-12 at 04:58 PM.
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  4. #4
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    In the brake cable housing there are/where some plastic sheaths I had to remove one as it was severely frayed and sticking out. Would that have anything to do with my problem?

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mondo734 View Post
    In the brake cable housing there are/where some plastic sheaths I had to remove one as it was severely frayed and sticking out. Would that have anything to do with my problem?
    Quite possibly. My first question in mechanics is "what changed". If the brakes were basically OK before and not after you removed the liner, that's the likely issue. OTOH, it could be that there was a reason what the liner was sticking out which was a problem itself. Either way, I'd be looking ar and likely replacing the cable.
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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mondo734 View Post
    In the brake cable housing there are/where some plastic sheaths I had to remove one as it was severely frayed and sticking out. Would that have anything to do with my problem?
    It certainly could. Brakes (and most type of shifters) are operated by a wire inner cable that runs inside a reinforced outer wrap called the "housing". If the inner cable is frayed or damaged or the outer housing is contaminated or dirty inside, the brakes (or shifting) will not operate properly.

    Your rear brake problem ould be the result of pad wear. As the pads get thinner, the distance the lever has to travel to apply the brake increases. Most brakes have an adjuster to compensate for this wear or you can take some slack out of the inner wire at the clamping bolt to do the same thing. If you aren't comfortable making this adjustment, a trip to a bike shop is highly recommended as brakes are one thing that MUST work.

  7. #7
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    Thanks for the info. This bike has had an issue with the rear brake lever for as long as I can remember so my removing the plastic housing likely wasn't the problem. As for the brake pads they are pretty much new I replaced them midway through last summer and don't do much riding in the winter. I did attempt to adjust the adjuster -worked great on the front brake- but the rear one it still didn't make a difference.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Bill Kapaun's Avatar
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    Is the rear wheel true?
    IF it has a bunch of side to side wobble, the brake pads have to be adjusted too far back (to avoid rub) which uses up the brake lever travel.

    I think you need to replace the cable & housing. It was probably bad when you got the bike.

    Also, disconnect the brake cable from the rear brakes.
    Do the caliper arms move both directions freely? IF so, that indicates a cable/housing issue.

  9. #9
    Retro Grouch onespeedbiker's Avatar
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    It's more likely that the cable is simply too long and you are unable to adjust out enough slack. For the uninitiated many use a tool called a third hand to do this, but it really isn't necessary. First. on the back brake lever, turn you rear brake barrel adjuster back into the lever but leave it out a turn in case you need to loosen it. Now, with the noodle engaged in the rear brake (like in the picture but ignore the "tighten screw to pull arm away" instructions as that is another procedure; I'm just using the photo for reference), you are going to need to take one hand and pinch the arms together with your fingers so the pads come close to the sidewall of the rim, then loosen loosen the cable anchor (the black allen bolt that is holding down the end of the cable). Once you have loosened the allen anchor bolt enough to allow the cable to move, pull some of the loose cable past the anchor bolt, while still leaving a small amount of slack and the re-tighten the anchor bolt. Now try the rear brake. You may find it is too tight and you may have to do the process over again to add some more slack into the cable. When you do this all you will need to do is while still holding the brake arms together, allow the arms to spread apart a small amout after loosening the anchor bolt and the spring tension will pull out some more slack cable. Once you get it close, uses the adjuster on the brake to loosen or tighten.

    V_centering.jpg
    Last edited by onespeedbiker; 02-19-12 at 06:53 PM.

  10. #10
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    Onespeed I did do what you said and this was the result. I ended up getting the brake lever to a more reasonable pull but the braking is really weak for some reason much more than when I would pull the lever to the handlebar before it engaged. It seems to me that I do still have cable slack but at a different point. Between the tt cable holder and the noodle seems to have slack even when I am holding the brake lever down and the brakes are engaged. Any suggestions for how to get slack out of that part of the cable?

  11. #11
    Senior Member Bill Kapaun's Avatar
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  12. #12
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    Are you sure you have the correct brake levers for use with V brakes? If you don't have V-brake compatable levers or use an adapter like a Travel Agent, the brakes could behave like you're describing.

  13. #13
    Retro Grouch onespeedbiker's Avatar
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    Do you have anything to compare the strength of the rear brake? A rear brake will always seem very weak compared to the front brake, which does all the work. However there is on more issue. Look at the picture I posted and notice how far the tops of the arm look. Sometimes when a wider or narrower rim is used, or someone changes the pads and makes a mistake, the arms are splayed way open or are very close together. How do your look compared to the photo?

  14. #14
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    The brake lever should be the the right ones for v-brakes as I have the front v-brake working correctly and it is attached to the same type of lever; not to mention they are both OEM. As for the distance of the brake arms they are normal or were until in tried to pull more slack from the noodle area thereby making them slightly closer together.

  15. #15
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    replace the brake cable, its housings, and the metal noodle / j-tube

    can't see the issue from this far away, but its probably in one of those areas

  16. #16
    Senior Member Bill Kapaun's Avatar
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    " This bike has had an issue with the rear brake lever for as long as I can remember so my removing the plastic housing likely wasn't the problem"

    Pictures of what housing you removed may prove to be helpful!

  17. #17
    I let the dogs out AlphaDogg's Avatar
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    Why not just get new cables and housing? It's really cheap. Around $3/ft for housing and $3 for a cable.
    http://i736.photobucket.com/albums/x...6at14619PM.jpg
    Quote Originally Posted by rangerdavid View Post
    intellect? we don't need so stinking intellect. this is the 41.
    Quote Originally Posted by eric01 View Post
    And this is why I don't ride aluminum frames... they will explode if I look at it wrong.

  18. #18
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    From what everyone keeps saying it would seem that replacing the brake cable, housing, and noodle is the way to go. I will make sure and do this as my next project for this bike. Thanks for the recommendation guys.

  19. #19
    Senior Member Bill Kapaun's Avatar
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    What could be wrong with the noodle that wouldn't be obvious by just looking at the link?

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mondo734 View Post
    The brake lever should be the the right ones for v-brakes as I have the front v-brake working correctly and it is attached to the same type of lever; not to mention they are both OEM. As for the distance of the brake arms they are normal or were until in tried to pull more slack from the noodle area thereby making them slightly closer together.
    Make sure you don't have levers which can be set up for both V's and cantis. I had tektro levers where you could change the brake cable attachment point in the brake lever itself for use with either type. You can see this if you disengage the cable and push the lever all the way down: the point where the cable fixes will have two attachment points (on my levers these were logically marked "V" and "C"). If this is the case, make sure both levers use the "V" point.

  21. #21
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    @rootzilla

    Interesting I will have to pull the lever apart again and check this.......

  22. #22
    I let the dogs out AlphaDogg's Avatar
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    I see you're in Denver. We can meet up at a bike shop and I can help you get what you need if you'd like. I like Salvagetti downtown. Or you can just go yourself and explain that you want to replace your brake cables, housing and noodles. Though I can install it for you if you'd like.
    http://i736.photobucket.com/albums/x...6at14619PM.jpg
    Quote Originally Posted by rangerdavid View Post
    intellect? we don't need so stinking intellect. this is the 41.
    Quote Originally Posted by eric01 View Post
    And this is why I don't ride aluminum frames... they will explode if I look at it wrong.

  23. #23
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    @AlphaDog

    Thanks for the offer. As of right now I am not planing on changing the cabling or housing. I am going to ride the bike as is until around april when I am going to buy a new bike and then this bike will be a project/learning bike. For now I was just curious to see if it was something simple that I was missing.

  24. #24
    I let the dogs out AlphaDogg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mondo734 View Post
    For now I was just curious to see if it was something simple that I was missing.
    It is simple. It'll cost a maximum of $20 to fix. Private message me if you change your mind.
    http://i736.photobucket.com/albums/x...6at14619PM.jpg
    Quote Originally Posted by rangerdavid View Post
    intellect? we don't need so stinking intellect. this is the 41.
    Quote Originally Posted by eric01 View Post
    And this is why I don't ride aluminum frames... they will explode if I look at it wrong.

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