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  1. #1
    Paceline Lead Blocker
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    How to fix a malfunctioning brifter?

    I haven't had a chance to really explore what is going on with it just yet, but it's 7-speed Shimano 600 stuff. Is it repairable? Is the repair tough? Does it require any special tools?

    Maybe I should be in Bike Mechanics, but the C&V crew is so helpful I decided to come here.

    Thanks,

    Alex

  2. #2
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    Remove the cable and look for fray. You can flush it out with PB blaster or WD-40 but there is likely nothing you can do when it breaks completely.

  3. #3
    Senior Member randyjawa's Avatar
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    Wd40...

    I am not sure if your shifters are similar to my Shimano 105 eight speed brifters but there is a possibility that they are just gummed up. Thanks to advice from Forum members, I sprayed the heck out of my brifters with WD40 and, sure enough, they started working just fine again. I do have another set that I intend to disassemble and attempt to figure out how to repair them but no time for that these days with all of the bicycle stuff going on here in the summer.

  4. #4
    Stop reading my posts! unworthy1's Avatar
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    the flush with WD40 is the only fix you (or any mechanic) can really do. If you have a broken return spring, you can't buy the part and Shimano does not even recommend repair (they want you to buy a $$$ replacement brifter, go figure!).
    Good news is the flush-out frequently works. You *can* do a little disassembly to help expose the innards for flushing, but yes, special tools (TL-ST01, TL-ST02) are required for both take-apart and reassembly, and it won't really help the cleaning that much.They recommend you re-grease one inner surface, but in reality if the WD40 works you can just go forward without new grease and prepare to use the WD40 again, when needed.

  5. #5
    Senior Member DVC45's Avatar
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    I have a Raleigh R300 with an 8spd RSX that was missing a beat. I sprayed the innards with Brake-Free *** lube and it worked since then. I suppose WD40 would work just the same. Good luck!

  6. #6
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    Toss it and put your shifters back on the downtube where they belong.
    1988 Miele Azsora

  7. #7
    working on progress treebound's Avatar
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    Yep, in the shop it is pretty much spray and pray. Sometimes you can use a thin pointy object (sharpened old spoke) to manipulate an inner catch arm or dog and hope the flushout does the trick. And we're talking a full-on spray until it drips out flushing. If that don't do it then pull out the order book.

    And I was wondering how many posts it would take for some retro grouch to suggest going with downtube or barend shifters. ;-)

    I'm off now to go look up those two special tool numbers.

  8. #8
    Disraeli Gears Charles Wahl's Avatar
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    [retrogrouch] I am fairly certain that Shimano's user manual says to throw away the brifter, derailer, affected brake and cables, and the handlebar too! And buy new stuff that doesn't work with your old stuff on the bike. [\retrogrouch]
    You're welcome,

  9. #9
    working on progress treebound's Avatar
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    Linkage to an old mech's forum thread here:

    http://www.bikeforums.net/archive/in...p/t-95696.html

  10. #10
    DRF aka Thrifty Bill wrk101's Avatar
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    If they don't come around for you, there is a guy in South Carolina that sells units he rebuilds on ebay. He also takes trade-ins.

    I have not bought from him, but he does sell a lot of rebuilt brifters and he has 100% feedback.

    Here's one item number he is selling right now. 140340249230

  11. #11
    Paceline Lead Blocker
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    Wow, controvery on the brifter thread....hahaha!

    I have to give it a good WD-40 bath and see if that will fix it.

  12. #12
    Crank photostudent's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by unworthy1 View Post
    the flush with WD40 is the only fix you (or any mechanic) can really do. If you have a broken return spring, you can't buy the part and Shimano does not even recommend repair (they want you to buy a $$$ replacement brifter, go figure!).
    Good news is the flush-out frequently works. You *can* do a little disassembly to help expose the innards for flushing, but yes, special tools (TL-ST01, TL-ST02) are required for both take-apart and reassembly, and it won't really help the cleaning that much.They recommend you re-grease one inner surface, but in reality if the WD40 works you can just go forward without new grease and prepare to use the WD40 again, when needed.
    Actually my LBS ordered me a new Shimano return spring a couple months ago. You just need someone who knows how to read their parts book. If there is no physical damage dried prawl pivets are normally the problem as noted in several replies here. As a "flipper" I get a lot of practice working on these. Just applying a penetrant, (PB is the best), rarely works. Penetrant and rocking the prawls with a pointed tool will eventually free them. It has never failed for me. On some models you may need to break away a piece of the plastic cover to get to the prawls. A small Allen wrench works well as the pointed tool. The same procedure works on "Rapid Fire" shifters.
    "I'm only going to buy one more old 10 speed bike..."

  13. #13
    Dolce far niente bigbossman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by photostudent View Post
    .... Penetrant and rocking the prawls with a pointed tool will eventually free them. It has never failed for me. On some models you may need to break away a piece of the plastic cover to get to the prawls. A small Allen wrench works well as the pointed tool. The same procedure works on "Rapid Fire" shifters.
    Yup - if I had a buck for every "rapid-fire" trigger shifter I saved by doing as described above, I'd be rich. I've actually acquired several nice old mtb bikes for peanuts because the owner didn't want to go through the expense of replacing "broken" shifters.

    I've yet to come across a malfunctioning set of trigger shifters that weren't rendered fully functional by de-gunking the pawls. And photostudent is right-on.... you have to expose them and work them while you spray. The original grease just hardens up over time, and needs to be cleared out.

    Also, if your brifter will shift up to the large cog but not down to the small cog (pull cable but not release it) it is almost certain that the problem is a gunked up pawl.
    Last edited by bigbossman; 08-17-09 at 08:26 PM.
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  14. #14
    Bike Junkie roccobike's Avatar
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    One addition, I always follow up the WD-40 spray with Tri-Flow chain lube to add back some lubricant. I use the small tubes they provide with the WE-40 and Tri-Flow Spray to get the maximum amount of spray inside the brifter, just spraying the outside doesn't work.
    BTW, I've never come across 7 speed Shimano 600 brifters, 8 speed yes, and RSX 7 speed yes, but never Shimano 600. I wonder if you have 8 speed but someone cabled it to operate as a 7 speed.
    Roccobike BF Official Thread Terminator

  15. #15
    N+1 redxj's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by treebound View Post
    Sometimes you can use a thin pointy object (sharpened old spoke)
    a.k.a. Spokey pokey! It is an extremely useful tool and I have a couple of them. Also useful for poking a hole in a cable you just cut, removing crap from pulleys, cass/freewheels, and feeding nipples into rims.

    If I had a dollar for every broken 7 speed trigger shifter I have fixed with the spray and pray + poke I would be rich. For the extreme cases of really gummed up STI or trigger shifters I have ran them through a ultrasonic bath with some water and degreaser. I bought a STI equipped bike relatively cheap because the shifters "didn't work". A few minutes in the ultrasonic and some Tri-flow they work perfectly now.

  16. #16
    Paceline Lead Blocker
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    I am hoping for a small bit of additional advice. If I am testing the brifters out before I can give them the WD-40 bath, is there a way to tell if they are gummed vs. broken?

  17. #17
    Stop reading my posts! unworthy1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by photostudent View Post
    Actually my LBS ordered me a new Shimano return spring a couple months ago. You just need someone who knows how to read their parts book. If there is no physical damage dried prawl pivets are normally the problem as noted in several replies here. As a "flipper" I get a lot of practice working on these. Just applying a penetrant, (PB is the best), rarely works. Penetrant and rocking the prawls with a pointed tool will eventually free them. It has never failed for me. On some models you may need to break away a piece of the plastic cover to get to the prawls. A small Allen wrench works well as the pointed tool. The same procedure works on "Rapid Fire" shifters.
    good news, and thanks for posting this advice, also to the others for echoing it.

  18. #18
    Senior Member miamijim's Avatar
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    I saved a few sets of STI levers.....my advice/pointers:

    1. Start by flushing them out. Spraying WD-40 in there and letting it drip out may not do the trick. Install a fresh cable and pull on it with one hand will you shift up and down through the gears with your other. Periodicly spray in whatever it is your flushing them out with. Periodicly let it completely drain.

    You may have to let them sit over night to allow time for your flush agent to penetrate and work its way in. I tried 5 or 6 different flush agents ranging from WD-40 to Brake cleaner to Mobil Synthetic oil on a pair of DA STI's. The brake cleaner was the best and cleaning and flushing but it evaporates very quickly and leave no lubrication properties behind. You have to be carefull because its not the most paint/plastic friendly cleaner out there. I finaly had success with the Mobil 1 oil. I've had a few people test ride the bike and they've all commented that its the fastest shifting bike they've ever ridden.

    2. Sometimes the factory lubes get gummed up. I soaked a pait of RSX levers in blistering hot tap water, not boiling hot, but blistering hot. This helped to soften up the factory lub. The only problem was that they cooled off very quickly once removed from the water so I broke out the hair dryer. I blasted each lever up close with the dryer set on the highest heat setting.

    I did the same the same thing with a cable. I heated the levers up real hot and pulled on the cable while shifting with my other hand. Once I got them moving up and down through the gear I flushed and lubed them.

    3. Flush them from all directions, from where the cable enters, from the bottm, from the back and from the side opposite cable entry.

    It took 3 patient days of flushing and lubing to get some of them working properly.
    WWW.CYCLESPEUGEOT.COM 2005 Pinarello Dogma; 1991 Paramount PDG 70 Mtb; 1976? AD Vent Noir; 1989 LeMond Maillot Juane F&F; 1993? Basso GAP F&F; 1989 Terry Symmetry; 2003 Trek 4700 Mtb; 1983 Vitus 979

  19. #19
    Dolce far niente bigbossman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by alexw View Post
    I am hoping for a small bit of additional advice. If I am testing the brifters out before I can give them the WD-40 bath, is there a way to tell if they are gummed vs. broken?
    This:

    Quote Originally Posted by bigbossman View Post
    If your brifter will shift up to the large cog but not down to the small cog (pull cable but not release it) it is almost certain that the problem is a gunked up pawl.
    "Love is not the dying moan of a distant violin, it’s the triumphant twang of a bedspring."

    S. J. Perelman

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