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  1. #1
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    Rebuilding Shimano RSX Brifters

    I have a set of non-working Shimano RSX 3 X 7 brifters that are in need of rebuild or repair because the shifters are not working. Can anyone give me any pointers as far as what is generally needed? Do the inner parts generally wear out and need to be replaced, or can these shifters be simply taken apart, cleaned, lubricated and put back together? Also, is this a time consuming process for someone who is a good mechanic? TIA

  2. #2
    30 YR Wrench BikeWise1's Avatar
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    Flush them out with solvent and compressed air, if possible. This may rejuvenate them. They rely on an older design and this is a common issue. Unless you are experienced, I wouldn't recommend disassembly.

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    bike whisperer Kimmo's Avatar
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    You need to get a 8mm 1/4" drive socket and grind the end to make four little teeth to fit the special nut you'll find inside the pivot bracket on the back of the lever.

    http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...-rebuild-guide

    Sorry about the really crappy pics, I promise to take better ones the next time I do it.

  4. #4
    Garlic
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    I have the same setup. My problem was that mine would not downshift on cold mornings, otherwise worked fine. My solution was to drown them in WD-40. I unmounted them from the handlebar and disconnected the brake cable to get a good angle to spray into the "works". I watched in satisfaction as all sorts of dirt washed down the levers and they've been working fine for over a year since I did that. I noticed a frayed RD cable and replaced that. So make sure your cables are good, too. Everything has been working like new.

  5. #5
    bike whisperer Kimmo's Avatar
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    Intermittent function means WD40 will save the day.

  6. #6
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    take the brifters off the handlebars, spray a LOT of wd40 or PBblaster into every opening and nook and cranny. Don't be surprised if it takes half a can, or more, before the old hardened Shimano grease and other detritus is all flushed out. I had a particularly petulant set that I gave a heavy spray, let it set for a day and then gave it another treatment before everything turned loose.

    At this point, many people stop. Your brifters will probably work fine for quite some time. It is my experience, however, that once those type of sprays dry, they attract dirt and gunk, and may get "sticky". So after I've confirmed that everything is shifting good, and I feel confident that I've gotten all the grunge out, I'll spray the heck out of the innards with a white lithium spray, wipe it down good, and re-install.


    I've also heard of people giving their brifters a soak in hot oil. Seems like it would work, though I've not tried it.

  7. #7
    Wookie Jesus inspires me. Puget Pounder's Avatar
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    Other than WD40, I've opened up the cap to reseat the spring, which isn't terribly difficult... You just need some dexterity. Also keep track of order of the nuts and washers that come out. I haven't gone as far in the body of the shifter.

  8. #8
    Garlic
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wolfwerx View Post
    ...At this point, many people stop. Your brifters will probably work fine for quite some time. It is my experience, however, that once those type of sprays dry, they attract dirt and gunk, and may get "sticky". So after I've confirmed that everything is shifting good, and I feel confident that I've gotten all the grunge out, I'll spray the heck out of the innards with a white lithium spray, wipe it down good, and re-install.
    This definitely applies to my case--thank you for the tip.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by ARider2 View Post
    I have a set of non-working Shimano RSX 3 X 7 brifters that are in need of rebuild or repair because the shifters are not working. Can anyone give me any pointers as far as what is generally needed? Do the inner parts generally wear out and need to be replaced, or can these shifters be simply taken apart, cleaned, lubricated and put back together? Also, is this a time consuming process for someone who is a good mechanic? TIA
    Jim McVey, eBay seller eeforme, sells rebuilt/guaranteed repaired RSX brifters. He also has a facebook page (may take some google searching) and I THINK he will repair units sent to him.

    I think he used to be a BF contributor but I'm not sure if he still is active here or not.

    FWIW he strongly advises AGAINST the WD-40 bath.

    My sense is that if the shifting becomes erratic, the problem is usually gummed up lube in the mechanism. WD-40 or other solvents may free it up for a while, but probably not a long-term solution. If the mechanism just stops working, then something is broken and disassembly is required. Parts are not available so cannibalizing is the only option.

    My $0.02.

    -Tom in SoCal

  10. #10
    bike whisperer Kimmo's Avatar
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    Breakages on the older stuff are rare, AFAIK

  11. #11
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    I bought a used bike with gummed up RSX brifters. I read on Sheldon Brown website about 1 guy i think in S Caroline who fixes them. I took a look at his website, it had a lot of text about how to send him something (dont email him to follow up, etc.== made me think of the Soup Nazi on Seinfeld) and he isnt cheap. Instead I brought the bike in to my local mechanic here in Los Angeles (you can google Abba Padra bikes, culver city) and figured he'd have to put on some old friction shifters because i wanted to keep the cost down. But he was able to get the brifters working 100%. i dont know the details but he soaks them in a degreaser and then relubricates them. I read online that it is NOT a good idea to apply WD40, this may work for awhile but it isnt a good lubricant for them.

  12. #12
    bike whisperer Kimmo's Avatar
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    It's no biggie. I bet STIs rejuvenated with WD40 would run fine for another ten years.

    First, the mechanism, despite being stupidly complicated and made out of horrible crap like stamped steel plate, is actually quite cleverly designed at least as far as inherent wear resistance.

    Second, the gummy old stock grease won't have been entirely banished, it'll be diluted and redistributed.

    So I say WD40 is a good idea for stuck STIs. Another good idea is to follow it with some heavy oil a couple of days later.

    Ideally, you disassemble and re-grease, but bugger that.

  13. #13
    Garlic
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    It's been over a year since I did the WD-40 bath on mine and they're working fine after over 5,000 more (mountainous) miles on the bike. After reading this thread and while doing other maintenance on the bike, I sprayed a little more WD in there and rejuvenated them again--they feel clean and crisp. As soon as I can find some white lithium spray as suggested in post #6 above, I'll do that, too.

    I see no need to disassemble unless you happen to have two broken sets and hope different parts are broken on each, or maybe you're like me and really like to take things apart. These shifters kind of scare me, though. I depend on this bike for transportation and much of my fun and don't want to break it doing something unnecessary.

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