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Brake cable lubrication/installation

Old 12-24-16, 02:16 PM
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kalash74
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Brake cable lubrication/installation

I'm installing brake cables for the first time (cantilever brakes). Can someone school me on lubrication? Also, is it necessary to file the cable housing ends and open the hole using an awl? I have the Park cable cutter/crimper tool.
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Old 12-24-16, 02:35 PM
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The traditional lube was grease when the casings weren't lined. These days with lined casing many wrenches use a light/thin "oil" like Triflow. I do suggest filing the spiral square at the ends and do open up the liner a tad with a sharpened spoke or awl. Andy.
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Old 12-24-16, 03:17 PM
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Stainless Steel Cables and Teflon lined housing . if you have a choice ,

I wipe a little grease on Zn treated steel cables For my own Bikes

a Dremel can cut housing square .. a bench grinder squares off the end quickly. (shop tool)
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Old 12-24-16, 04:16 PM
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Lube the brake arm pivots
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Old 12-24-16, 04:57 PM
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We are going to be all over the map, I bet. FWIW, I don't lube when the housing is lined, and I always use lined housing. I poke with a pokey thing just to make it easier to shove the wire through. I used to file, but these days I'll just cut twice if needed in order to get a reasonably flat cut. One day I'll buy a Dremel.
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Old 12-24-16, 05:01 PM
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Originally Posted by JonathanGennick View Post
One day I'll buy a Dremel.
A file is cheaper and doesn't generate the heat a Dremel does so it won't melt the housing cover. I have a Dremel and the required cut-off wheels but never use it to cut cables or housing.
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Old 12-24-16, 05:15 PM
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The secret to use the Park Tool is to make the cut with a sharp squeeze, as they do in their video.
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Old 12-24-16, 05:19 PM
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Originally Posted by curbowman View Post
The secret to use the Park Tool is to make the cut with a sharp squeeze, as they do in their video.
Yes. I find that a fast cut gives the best results.
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Old 12-24-16, 05:40 PM
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Before I cut the housing ends, I put a small piece of cable in it. Keeps the housing round-and no need to use an awl.
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Old 12-24-16, 05:55 PM
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Originally Posted by juls View Post
Before I cut the housing ends, I put a small piece of cable in it. Keeps the housing round-and no need to use an awl.
Me too. Been doing that since the '60s. I keep some scrap wire on the work bench just for that purpose. Works like a charm. I don't have the fancy Park cable tool. I have two VAR #84 cable cutters that I purchased decades ago...have never cut anything but cable with them. I use a pair of linemen's pliers for cutting the cable housings.
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Old 12-24-16, 06:53 PM
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Yep, it's gonna be all over the place on this thread.

It's been my experience over the years to do the following:

Bare cables and housing use a light to medium weight oil. Wipe on and wipe off. Back in the day I used Phil's Tenacious oil as it stayed put and didn't leak out. Sparingly is the operative word here.

For coated cables and lined housing no lube is needed for many brands and those brands actually advocate not to lube at all. If you must lube, a Teflon-based lube is best. Tri-Flow or one of the pure Teflon lube products.

The key is you don't want to over-lube or all you will do is attract dirt and make a mess.
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Old 12-24-16, 07:49 PM
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An instruction sheet for Shimano cables that I read says to lube (lightly) with silicon grease. This is the same stuff used on rubber seals on swimming recirculation systems. Makes sense as it's slippery as all get-out, has an element of waterproofness and the carrier is not as likely to dry out and cause binding as ordinary grease might.

New Shimano cables supplied as an inner-outer set were supplied with a dab of clear (presumably silicon) grease on one end of each outer. These were Dura-Ace cables.
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Old 12-24-16, 08:18 PM
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My cheap complete replacement Shimano RevoShift kit includes pre-greased cables. But these are thin, cheap cables. They're labeled SIS but I doubt they'd work well with any indexed system other than the RevoShift twisty grip shifters.

All the other better Jagwire and Shimano cables and housings I've purchased included plastic lined cable housing. I didn't oil or grease anything other than the exposed bits of cable. Didn't want to risk abrasive debris inside the housings, or anything that might prematurely break down the plastic liners.
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