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  1. #1
    Kid A TurbineBlade's Avatar
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    Oil or grease old school brake cables

    Hi, I have some housing I'd like to use (brake) that is the old, unlined stuff. I know that oil or grease must be used on it, but what is the best way to do this and should I use grease or oil? So I insert the inner wire, then pull it partially back out and pour oil in?

    I have a tub of auto wheel bearing grease, but I'm thinking that may be too heavy (it's like the park grease). I also have a thing of chainsaw bar oil, and probably some 5W-30.

    Thanks!
    Cyclist, angler and aquarist

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    Boeshield, triflow, something that leaves a residual lubricant after the carrier fluid evaporates. Dri-slide was an excellent cable lubricant but I haven't seen it around in a long time.

    Grease is too heavy. Oil will seek the low spot and also attract dirt.

  3. #3
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    TB, Search for graphite lubricant.

    Brad

  4. #4
    Dough Mestique
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    I greased my brake and shifter cables for a decade until someone told me grease slowed down my shifting. I switched to oil for five years. No difference except my cables rusted in the rain. So now I am back to grease for the past ten years, and as it did before, it works fine.

    Get a blob of grease on your fingertip and run it down the length of the cable, then install the cables.

    BL


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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by TurbineBlade View Post
    Hi, I have some housing I'd like to use (brake) that is the old, unlined stuff.
    Why?

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    Quote Originally Posted by bobdell View Post
    Boeshield, triflow, something that leaves a residual lubricant after the carrier fluid evaporates. Dri-slide was an excellent cable lubricant but I haven't seen it around in a long time.

    Grease is too heavy. Oil will seek the low spot and also attract dirt.
    FWIW Dri-slide (AKA Bike-Aid) molydisulfide grease is still available and would be excellent for the OP's situation...
    http://www.lubritek.com/bike-aid_lube

    Available on Amazon and elsewhere.

    -Tom in SoCal

  7. #7
    Old fart JohnDThompson's Avatar
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    If you're installing new cables, just grease the cable before sliding it into the housing. If you need to lubricate cables in situ use a cable lubricator:



    Slip it over the cable and snug it down over the housing, attach a spray can of your preferred lube and fire away.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Homebrew01's Avatar
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    Grease always seemed to work well for me. Smear a little down the length of the cable before inserting.
    Bikes: Old steel race bikes, old Cannondale race bikes, less old Cannondale race bike, crappy old mtn bike

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    Grease is probably the best choice for unlined housing. Smear it down the wire then thread into the housing.

    You can also use a very heavy oil. If your bottle has the right nozzle, put it to the end of the empty housing and squeeze in what feels like a decent amount, then threading the wire from the same end will push it in and spread it.

    Older unlined housing is usually used with older brakes and non-indexed derailleurs. These had stronger springs than modern light action stuff so cable friction is correspondingly higher, and light lubes won't cut it.
    FB
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  10. #10
    Senior Member JonathanGennick's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
    Grease is probably the best choice for unlined housing. Smear it down the wire then thread into the housing.
    I am not the expert Frank is, but I will note here that Shimano had pre-greased the cables that shipped with my bar-end shifters. Presumably then, Shimano favors grease.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by JonathanGennick View Post
    I am not the expert Frank is, but I will note here that Shimano had pre-greased the cables that shipped with my bar-end shifters. Presumably then, Shimano favors grease.
    Campy does too and pre-greases the shift cable housing that comes with Ergo brifters. However, both use a light relatively low viscosity grease.

  12. #12
    Saving gas on my commute Scooby214's Avatar
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    I am also of the "grease the cable" camp. I find that smearing a very small amount down the cable works well enough for me.

    This also works for the accelerator cable on an old VW Beetle. I've learned the hard way that it's not fun to have your Bug's accelerator cable freeze up.

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