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50-39-30 to 53-39-30 followed by shifting problems

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50-39-30 to 53-39-30 followed by shifting problems

Old 04-15-15, 11:35 AM
  #1  
EricL
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50-39-30 to 53-39-30 followed by shifting problems

I have a Trek 2.1, 2009, with Tiagra brifters and a Tiagra front derailleur. My original 50 tooth chainring was very worn and slightly bent, so I decided to replace it with a 53. I had to raise the derailleur slightly to get the outer plate to clear the new chainring. Got everything back together and now the shifting is not working right. This particular brifter has 4 indexes, one for the small ring, 2 for the middle ring (to use on the larger then smaller cogs on the 9 speed cassette) and then one for the big ring. I can shift up to the big ring, but then 4 out of 5 times have to push the indexer pretty hard to get it to shift back down. When it does, it flies down to the small ring. Shifting back up to the middle (both indexes) then big is almost there but still kind of sloppy. I'm worried about snapping the cable when shifting off of the big ring and I would like it to go straight to middle like it's supposed to.

Couple of my (very amateur) thoughts on what the issue might be -
one, the cable basically started unraveling when I disconnected it. I did my best to get it back together again before reconnecting it .. it feels tight to me, but wondering if I've lost some tension now. Plus since I raised the derailleur, part of the smashed cable that was clamped is now below the bolt.
two, when I moved the clamp up to fit over the new ring, I may have spun it in one direction or another. Not having done this much I don't know what effect misaligned plates might have. I tried to align it with the chain on the middle cog and middle ring and it looks straight to me, but ....

Has anyone else had a similar problem with this setup or have any suggestions? Very much appreciate any tips.
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Old 04-15-15, 11:44 AM
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after raising the FT you have to re align it rotationally too .. take it to a shop when you get off the job. they can see things I cannot.

probably start over with a New cable, too .

looked at the web for any How to sites yet?

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Old 04-15-15, 12:05 PM
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Yeah, I think raising it might be part of the problem, turning might be part of the problem, cable might be part of the problem. Sounds like it's time to re-cable and start from scratch. I had one tricky one I spent hours cursing at and could never get to be perfect. Finally took it in to the LBS to get them to do it. Still wasn't perfect when I got it back but it was worth the $14 to know that someone who does that for a living did the best they could and more importantly I was out riding rather than in the basement cursing at it.
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Old 04-15-15, 12:19 PM
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Thanks for the replies!
fietsbob, I haven't watched any videos on it but I have a couple of books that guide you through derailleur replacement, been using those.
himespau, I think you're right about the cable. I'm going to pick up a couple of new ones and try this whole thing again tonight or tomorrow.
Taking it to the shop will be the last resort. Not that I have anything against the idea, just want to try to get this done myself and maybe learn in the process.
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Old 04-15-15, 12:25 PM
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If you raised it with the cable still attached it definitely turned during the process.
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Old 04-15-15, 12:30 PM
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Originally Posted by EricL View Post
Taking it to the shop will be the last resort. Not that I have anything against the idea, just want to try to get this done myself and maybe learn in the process.
I get that feeling and was at the same point when building my first bike (everything including lacing the wheels to the whole shebang), but at some point giving up and paying the $14 was worth it for my peace of mind. Not saying you should start out doing that, but don't rule it out either if you feel yourself tearing your hair out.
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Old 04-15-15, 12:41 PM
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There are a number of possible issues when going to a larger ring then stock like the OP did. If too much larger the middle ring will fall into the "shadow" of the two other rings, it won't engage the chain when shifting from the granny before the chain contacts the large ring. Another problem is that with today's ft der cage s being heavily contoured to help lift/guide the chain a higher ft der position will disturb the intended chain/cage relationship WRT these contours when shifting. third is that you're asking for the der to do more work. just like climbing up a step ladder with larger distances between the rungs will require more effort to climb up, so too will the der and chain need more energy to climb up to the larger ring. The der cage might have been curved along it's lower edge to follow the large ring's curve. A larger ring has a larger curve so the cage might need to be a bit higher off the ring at it's front end so the tail of the cage doesn't contact the ring. Modern rings have had their teeth rotationally positioned WRT to each ring to allow the chain to lift off and engage the next ring's teeth at the provider shift gates best. Going to a ring with this "timing' of the teeth becoming different can upset this, hence many rings are designed to work as a set only.

Last issue is that the rider might not know good shifting technique and soft pedal during the front shift. There is another thread right now who's subject is "Front mech not shifting under load". Duh! Andy.
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Old 04-15-15, 01:10 PM
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Andy, I have no trouble with the middle ring engaging the chain from the granny. But the middle ring does seem to be in the "shadow" when coming down from the big, at least now. I hope replacing the cable will tighten things up. My cage is curved, but clearing the teeth by a few mm at the top of the outer plate works without the lower end hitting the ring. I know for a fact that I'm not experiencing the last issue, because it's been on a stand the whole time plus I know better than that . Do you think that depsite the list of issues you pointed out that it could still work if adjusted correctly? I'll go back to a 50 if necessary, just thought it'd be nice to go a little faster before I start spinning.
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Old 04-15-15, 01:22 PM
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You may have the FD cable at too high a tension. With all things acting correctly, there should also be a trim position in the big ring -- if that stop is not there as a half-click when downshifting and considering the snappyness after experiencing resistance with the return lever, it may miss the trim position and snap down as you are experiencing. Start over, back at the low gear stop, loosen the cable a bit, and then start dialing it back in.

Another possibility is that you twisted the derailleur around the seatpost or clamp while adjusting and now the hi and low stops are out of whack -- the high stop may be too far in, considering your cable tension.

You may want to go back to the beginning and just start over, tuning the FD from scratch...
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Old 04-15-15, 01:36 PM
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53 teeth may exceed the derailler capacity both max rings and range

tiagra 4603 is listed as max ring of 50 and max range of 20. A 53 ring exceeds both of these.

OP should check exact model and specs.

Some times you can run out of spec fine and other times you get goofiness
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Old 04-15-15, 02:54 PM
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Originally Posted by squirtdad View Post
53 teeth may exceed the derailler capacity both max rings and range

tiagra 4603 is listed as max ring of 50 and max range of 20. A 53 ring exceeds both of these.

OP should check exact model and specs.

Some times you can run out of spec fine and other times you get goofiness
+1 Things will likely work much better with an FD designed for a 53T big ring. Not just the curvature of the cage (so you can mount it lower to the ring) is different, but the angle at which it moves inwards and down to the middle ring as well. The FD is less tolerant of "beyond spec" use than the RD, generally.
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Old 04-15-15, 03:00 PM
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I run a 9-speed XT front with a Dura Ace 7703 50-39-30 with no problems, so it can be done.

I suspect a more experienced hand is what is needed here...
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Old 04-15-15, 07:00 PM
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I think the last 3 posters here have summed up the problem. I was not able to find the exact model number, all it says is Tiagra Triple. But looking at the specs of similar derailleurs, the limits are 50 teeth and a range of 20 like squirtdad pointed out.
I replaced the cable and that did make the indexing smoother and tighter, but ran into the same basic problems. I feel like I came close a couple of times, but as dsbrantjr predicted, the curvature and angle of the cage seemed to not want to let everything line up. Finally I noticed that the old ring says 50-39-30 on it, while the new one says 53-39. Live and learn I guess.
rmfnla, yes a more experienced hand is probably needed. I'm guessing if I go to my LBS I'll be told to either go back to a 50 or get a new derailleur and possibly other parts. And I'll most likely have to pay for that advice plus the parts. I'm just going to go back to the exact same one I am trying to replace. At the very least, my hands are more experienced now than they were yesterday
Not out of the woods yet because I still have to put the derailleur back in the right position when I do get the correct chainring on there....
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Old 04-15-15, 07:10 PM
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Try this first:

Dial out the high limit screw about 1/8 turn.

Some people set up the high limit screw by shifting into the highest gear combination and tightening the limit screw until it stops. That sometimes causes the derailleur to bind up in that position. When that happens it initially keeps the derailleur from shifting and then, when it finally does shift, it throws the cage and chain across the middle and sometimes little chainring.

That might not be your problem but it's a quick and easy thing to check out.
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Old 04-15-15, 08:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Retro Grouch View Post
Try this first:

Dial out the high limit screw about 1/8 turn.
Thanks, unfortunately that made no difference. Pretty frustrating because I feel like it's close but it keeps jumping from the biggest to smallest ring, and still feels too tight, like I will break the cable eventually. Of course if I loosen the cable with the barrel adjuster then it doesn't shift all the way up and still feels tight. I have replaced cables before but never had this problem. Brand new housing and everything else is clean. I think I am going to take it by a shop after all.
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Old 04-16-15, 08:46 AM
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Here's another somewhat silly one: Look for a little "finger" where the shift cable attaches to the derailleur. It's important that the shift cable goes over that finger.
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Old 04-16-15, 10:07 AM
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Originally Posted by EricL View Post
I think the last 3 posters here have summed up the problem. I was not able to find the exact model number, all it says is Tiagra Triple. But looking at the specs of similar derailleurs, the limits are 50 teeth and a range of 20 like squirtdad pointed out.
I replaced the cable and that did make the indexing smoother and tighter, but ran into the same basic problems. I feel like I came close a couple of times, but as dsbrantjr predicted, the curvature and angle of the cage seemed to not want to let everything line up. Finally I noticed that the old ring says 50-39-30 on it, while the new one says 53-39. Live and learn I guess.
rmfnla, yes a more experienced hand is probably needed. I'm guessing if I go to my LBS I'll be told to either go back to a 50 or get a new derailleur and possibly other parts. And I'll most likely have to pay for that advice plus the parts. I'm just going to go back to the exact same one I am trying to replace. At the very least, my hands are more experienced now than they were yesterday
Not out of the woods yet because I still have to put the derailleur back in the right position when I do get the correct chainring on there....
How about "bring it to the LBS, sheepishly admit that you can't get it right, and see if they can get it working"?
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Old 04-16-15, 10:31 AM
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Originally Posted by mconlonx View Post
How about "bring it to the LBS, sheepishly admit that you can't get it right, and see if they can get it working"?
Yeah well I already called them, told my story and asked when I could bring it in for a look. I don't think I need to be sheepish about it. Thanks for the advice all the same.
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Old 04-16-15, 11:38 AM
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Originally Posted by EricL View Post
Yeah well I already called them, told my story and asked when I could bring it in for a look. I don't think I need to be sheepish about it. Thanks for the advice all the same.
Hey, man, good on you for going to the pros. If they can get it right, ask them to explain what was wrong, and if they do, tip them.
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Old 04-18-15, 11:15 AM
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So I took the bike to my LBS. One of the derailleur bolts was loose, I didn't have the cable tight enough and the high limit screw needed a turn. The guy said I was "damn close" and he doesn't see a problem with running this configuration. He said I may want to use a longer chain but to ride it for a while first. Took it around the shop a few times and everything is working fine so far. Going to take it on a 20 mile test ride tomorrow. Great experience at the shop, he didn't even charge me so I left a good tip.
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