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Road Cycling It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle. -- Ernest Hemingway

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Old 06-12-13, 12:07 PM   #1
zanq
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Repairing Shimano RSX?

I'm hoping to get some input from those who have experience with RSX components while I search for answers...

I'm tuning a friend's mid-1990s Trek 1220 road bike. It had been hanging in her garage for greater than a decade and she wanted to get it road worthy again. It's in beautiful shape aside from a rusted chain and needing new brake pads and tires. Everything so far has been straight forward but the brifters are giving me some issues. Effectively, there is no shifting. I thought it may be a cable issue but I disassembled, cleaned and lubed the housings and cables. Still no joy. Even with the derailleur cable removed, I hear no clicks or releases of any index shifting in any direction (up or down). It is the same for both shifters.

I'm wondering 2 things:

1. There is something busted internally on the shifters and that is why it ended up on the wall for 10 years. This seems unlikely considering the behavior on both sides is similar.
2. I've noticed any lube on this bike is badly oxidized (almost like glue). Maybe they need a hardcore degreasing in hot water?

I'm also wondering if there are any know issues or behaviors Shimano RSX are known for, which mostly the point of my post?

Thanks for any help!
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Old 06-12-13, 12:13 PM   #2
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http://www.bikeforums.net/archive/in.../t-835326.html
http://www.bikeforums.net/archive/in.../t-821046.html
A couple threads talking about flushing old brifters.
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Old 06-12-13, 12:15 PM   #3
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I would forget the hot water. That is not a recipe for success. A good soaking with WD-40 is a much better approach. WD-40 is a cleaner and lubricant. It should remove any gunk. Good luck.
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Old 06-12-13, 12:29 PM   #4
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WD 40 will work to ungunk old brifters. If spraying the hell out of them, and working the mechanism, doesn't fix it, you're screwed.

It may well be it's all they need. I've brought brifters that had set idle, back to life with WD 40.

A few people allege they've taken apart and fixed brifters, a part that Shimano says isn't serviceable. But most people would have better luck hand assemblying a swiss watch.
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Old 06-12-13, 02:06 PM   #5
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Ahh, "flush" was the word I was not using in searches to get the right answers. They off the bike and got a good soaking of PB Blaster. I'll check on them in a while to see if anything begins to free up.

Thanks for the suggestions!
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Old 06-12-13, 07:55 PM   #6
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I got some RSX working using Brakleen when WD-40 didn't work.
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Old 06-12-13, 08:00 PM   #7
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WD40 worked for my 7-speed RSX brifters that had sat outdoors for 3 years before I got 'em.

I was perfectly willing to take it up a notch if needed.

Keep your hoods dry, remove them completely. I just folded mine back really far, but my right one got a little spray on it, so swole up a bit and is now a little "off".
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Old 06-12-13, 09:02 PM   #8
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I used the same methods, (wd-40) with older 105 brifters and they definitely improved in function. Just blasted away and cleaned it up, much better shifting under loads.
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Old 06-13-13, 06:00 AM   #9
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Do a search here, there was a thread about a guy that had figured the RSX brifters out and was reconditioning them. I had them on my '97 R500T and they worked really well, my LBS has a mechanic that can reassemble them, mine were done by him when they needed work. Warning: they are pricey on eBay for some reason and Shimano does not sell repair parts for them. The WD-40 is probably the best self help answer, just don't assume that it lubricates anything, it is a water dispersant and a penetrant with a very light oil that evaporates quickly. Its the best at what it is intended for by the mfgr, not as a lubricant.

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Old 06-13-13, 07:40 PM   #10
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There is a recent thread here:
http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...%29-STI-Levers
which has some good pics if spraying them doesn't work and you need to partially disassemble them.
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Old 06-14-13, 06:06 AM   #11
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That thread you linked is one of the "guides" here that helped me with the RSX components, he does these posts often, some are in the C&V Forum, nice guy, too. The spring you see when the circular plate on front is removed is where reassembly goes badly. Getting the tab that sticks up in its correct slot on the cover is difficult to do, but not impossible. If he would show his method for the last steps of reassembly in detail it would be a big help. Still a great reference thread. The two he serviced are some of the worst kept brake/shifter units I have seen, he finds some really knackered bikes that he restores to absolutely beautiful, working, condition.

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Old 06-14-13, 12:19 PM   #12
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I have had personal experience with RSX brifters on the 96 Trek 470 I owned last year. I sprayed the hell out of mine with WD-40. Then the can ran out and I used a half can of silicone spray I had kicking around. The shifters were working okay before, but "hesitated" every now and then. After the flushing, they shifted very well with satisfyingly crisp clicks. Really, a beautiful action for a 7 speed drive train. No problems after that.
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Old 06-14-13, 09:17 PM   #13
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If the "no risk" WD-40 method doesn't work, may I suggest getting a new pair of this 2x7 Shimano STI shifters for $91 shipped (Amazon)? Then sell the old RSX pairs on Ebay to get some money back.

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