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  1. #1
    That guy from the Chi Chitown_Mike's Avatar
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    Shimano 105 Flightdeck 9 speed brifters - Intermittent shifting

    Ok I want to wow all your mechanics that may or may not respond by trying to have the most thorough first post anyone can ask for, so here we go....... (I am an auto mechanic so I understand the "my car is making a noise, what's wrong with it?" nonsense)

    I recently picked up a used Allez, 1999, with the 105 Flightdeck shifters on it (ST-5510). When I first looked at the bike it shifted fine on both front and rear through all the gears. After getting it home and riding it on the trainer the rear one almost immediately stopped shifting. It will sometimes go through all the gears, but mainly it down shifts without problems but will only upshift a few gears and then the shifter feels as if it isn't "gripping" the cable. There is no tension on the shifter it just rotates easily.

    A few things seem to get the shifter through it's non-shifting funk:
    • Pulling on the cable where it runs along the downtube
    • Shifting down one and then immediately back up (small lever then big)
    • Some times pulling the brake slightly will engage it
    • Rapid jiggling of the handle
    • Cussing.....lots of cussing


    And then sometimes it shifts fine several times up and down without so much as a skip or losing tension on the shifter.


    After searching I wasn't able to find anyone with the same issue (IAFAIK), but have read that this is a common occurrence with Shimano shifters, or at least that is what I gather. I am guessing they need a good cleaning and have found these threads with info on doing so (the MTB forum one being what sounds like more thorough):

    http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...no+105+9+speed
    http://forums.mtbr.com/drivetrain-sh...rs-851064.html


    Things that will be done in the near future once a work bonus comes in and I can get outside to clean:
    • Replacing all the cabling/housings since it looks beat up
    • Replacing the plastic guide thingy on the underside that the shifter cables run over the BB on
    • Clean like crazy....everything



    I want to know if a good soaking and new cables and housings will be what sounds like will fix my "limp" shifter? Also I read the break down from Shimano and the internals are all serviceable, is that true? I read over some different shifter tear downs on here and they all look similar but aren't a 105, so would Kimmo's tear down thread (or several other) be what will work? And what is an appropriate length for the RD cable housing since that seems to be a problematic spot for the RD and shifter.

    And as for the MTB forum post, will completely soaking the shifters be safe for the internals? I understand the hoods should not be soaked so those will be taken off. Thanks for any help ahead of time!
    Looking forward to my winter commuting adventure.....

  2. #2
    Andrew R Stewart Andrew R Stewart's Avatar
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    There's a good chance, from your description, that the shift pod lube has gotten gummy over the years. So besides taking care of the cables I'd try soaking the shift pod and relubing it.

    Depending on the solvent you use the hoods might be OK to soak, might not. But you can remove the levers/pod unit from the body pretty easily. On the underside/behind the brake lever you should be able to see the lever's pivot shaft. It is held in place with a tiny Allen screw. If this screw can be removed (don't use a ball ended wrench) the pivot shaft can be driven out with a drift punch. Note the arrangement of the nylon bushings (the two are different) and the small spring, you'll be needing to reassemble all just right for the lever to pivot well. The brake cable will need to be removed and then the lever should come free of the body. I leave the gear inner cable in place to aid working the shift motion while soaking. Now drop the lever into the solvent. Every few hours try shifting in both directions. I lightly clamp the stamped sheet steel (chrome like) bracket in a vice to hold it stationary then one hand tugs the gear cable and the other moves the levers. Return to the solvent. After a while and cycling the levers things will hopefully start to free up and shift over the full range consistently. If this state is gotten to then I'll drip into the shift pod (past the slots and gaps) a bunch of TriFlow, cycle the lever a few times and blow out the solvent/oil mix with your air ***. Add more TriFlow. shift the levers, blow out. After a few of these cycles I'll go to a heavier oil and repeat the shifting and blowing out. You should be able to both hear and feel the change of the ratchets and rotations as the thick oil gets into the pieces. If not then soak the pod in the thicker oil for a while. When all feels right reassemble. The pivot shaft spring install is the hardest thing to do. it takes a deft touch to position the spring properly while pushing the lever into place and then sliding the shaft in place. I will slide a 4mm Allen wrench through the shaft's housing after getting the spring, bushings and lever in place. then take a breather and slide the shaft in while it pushes out the 4mm Allen. Last thing is to reinstall that tiny capture Allen screw with a spot of lube on it. The rest is pretty straight forward cable work.

    I don't use WD-40. I do spray TriFlow into the pod every year or so. Andy.

  3. #3
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    You probably need new cables and housings for both shifters and brakes. Check out the old housing lengths before removing them. If there are no problems cut the new housings to the same lengths. The short housing at the rear derailleur is the most critical and should be about 12 to 13 inches.

    If you simply hose out the shifters with WD 40 that should be adequate to restore shifting performance. I don't add oil to shifters because if you ride in dusty conditions the oil will turn the dust into greasy crud. The WD 40 won't remove all of the original factory grease but it will soften it.

  4. #4
    Senior Member IthaDan's Avatar
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    Spray wd40 in it until you get bored while articulating the shifter. Then keep spraying. Seriously, go nuts, stain the floor, no such thing as too much here.

    Once its freed up, put some triflow or something of the sort in there that isn't as wont to evaporate to actually lube the thing.

    Shimano : Click :: Campy :: Snap :: SRAM : Bang

  5. #5
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    I usually burn through an entire can of WD40 on a pair of shifters.
    "When dealing with stuff like this consider that this is a bicycle, not a spaceship." -- FBinNY

  6. #6
    That guy from the Chi Chitown_Mike's Avatar
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    So since I am adventurous and when the Shimano exploded diagram said further disassembly not recommended (or not possible or something like that) I tore the shifter completely apart. Honestly it wasn't as scary as some might think and I didn't need any extra or special tools. A few screw drivers, a pick set, and patience. Every pawl, spring, catch and E-clip came out. Hand cleaned everything and reinstalled after greasing the parts. Yes I did grease it with a water resisting, teflon grease. After doing some reading I found that for longevity sake grease will out last a liquid penetrating lubricant and is a reason why bike component manufacturers use grease upon initial production.

    I took some pictures along the way and will probably do a write up on it since more people seem to avoid pulling them apart. But thanks all for your info originally, I will say the grease that was in there was orange, hard, and I had to scrub to remove it. There was no lubrication left.
    Looking forward to my winter commuting adventure.....

  7. #7
    bike whisperer Kimmo's Avatar
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    I am impress.

    I was going to suggest the halfway method as linked at the start of my thread; that's relatively easy... pretty much anyone who fancies their wrenching skills shouldn't be disillusioned with that one.

    But the full whack - I tip my hat, sir. Especially the 9s FlightDeck bastards. I have a set of DA ones here I'm putting off...

    Quote Originally Posted by Al1943 View Post
    You probably need new cables and housings for both shifters and brakes.
    There was nothing in the OP that confirmed that to me; the cables and housings may well be fine if they're not too 'beat up'.

    Often, there's plenty of excess length in the housings, which can have their kinked ends trimmed off along with any more excess, allowing the crimped and frayed end of the cable to be snipped off.

    Mike, the correct length for housings is basically as short as possible while allowing a smooth line and full movement of the bars. With the RD loop, it used to be as short as possible while allowing for well-aligned terminations, but it turns out that has a bit more friction than a slightly longer loop with a bit more radius, revealed by Shimano's increasingly inadequate cable pull. What I do these days is look at the shortest and longest lengths that give well-aligned ends, and make it halfway in between. Or you can look at the size of the loops on pro's bikes.

    Quote Originally Posted by Chitown_Mike View Post
    would Kimmo's tear down thread (or several other) be what will work?
    For future reference, everyone - if you mention someone, you can give them a heads-up by putting an @ before their name. Although of course it has to be exact, easier for some.

    Hardly anyone seems to be aware of this new feature, despite a new field for it appearing in the user info to the left of a post.

    Which could be a good thing for the mechanic's forum, potentially giving noobs a better gauge of reputation than postcount.

    Come to think of it, I owe @FBinNY a few @s.

    Hey, I wonder if they left the gate open for multiple mentions in a post? @FBinNY @FBinNY

    Edit: nope

  8. #8
    bike whisperer Kimmo's Avatar
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  9. #9
    bike whisperer Kimmo's Avatar
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chitown_Mike View Post
    So since I am adventurous and when the Shimano exploded diagram said further disassembly not recommended (or not possible or something like that) I tore the shifter completely apart. Honestly it wasn't as scary as some might think and I didn't need any extra or special tools. A few screw drivers, a pick set, and patience. Every pawl, spring, catch and E-clip came out. Hand cleaned everything and reinstalled after greasing the parts. Yes I did grease it with a water resisting, teflon grease. After doing some reading I found that for longevity sake grease will out last a liquid penetrating lubricant and is a reason why bike component manufacturers use grease upon initial production.

    I took some pictures along the way and will probably do a write up on it since more people seem to avoid pulling them apart. But thanks all for your info originally, I will say the grease that was in there was orange, hard, and I had to scrub to remove it. There was no lubrication left.
    Great! I would especially appreciate pictures. I have done complete dissemble's on the 8 speed ultegra but not nine speed as of yet. @Chitown_Mike per @Kimmo

  11. #11
    That guy from the Chi Chitown_Mike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fred Smedley View Post
    Great! I would especially appreciate pictures. I have done complete dissemble's on the 8 speed ultegra but not nine speed as of yet. @Chitown_Mike per @Kimmo

    I haven't forgotten @Fred Smedley, just been busy at work and business. But I am working on a nice write up with as many pictures as possible. I do realize I missed some pictures as I tore it apart so things might seem a little goofy, but I plan on picking up a "broken" pair and rebuilding those as well so I'll update it later. I'll probably have something later this week hopefully!
    Looking forward to my winter commuting adventure.....

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