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Cleaning & Lubing Shifters

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Cleaning & Lubing Shifters


Old 12-05-17, 02:20 PM
Garfield Cat
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Cleaning & Lubing Shifters

I watched the You Tube on cleaning & lubing shifters.

When does the shifters need cleaning? Is it usually over a few years like 10 years?


Does this mean the manufacturer installed a type of grease/lube that cannot our should not be replaced without a big deal job?

Then once its cleaned and lubed by me or a mechanic, does that mean that shifter will eventually come to the end of its useful life?
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Old 12-05-17, 04:21 PM
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Gee Garfield, things do dry out, wear out and sometimes even break after significant use.

Shifters need servicing, how frequently is only opinion till problems start. Shimano has suggested STI shifters be lubed at a far fewer miles then most would ever consider OK. (I don't remember but 1000 miles comes to mind). Campy has followed the design path of making servicing of shifters easy. Ideally one does the servicing before it's needed, maybe 5 years for Shimano and 5000 miles for Ergo. These are only my suggestions and not based on any one shifter's actual condition.

The manufacturer isn't making a component that is expected to last beyond a variable amount of years/miles. They do make stuff designed to sell in the current market place, at a price which the customer is agreeable with, with features the customer wants. The possible added value of a component that never needs servicing (and I say "never" because that's what we hear frequently. "I never had the der skip before...") is lost in the need for the least cost and best spec claim. Additionally a car owner would be called a fool to not change their car's oil every year, why is a bike different?

Yes, the shifter in time, after many cycles of use and servicing, wear enough to no longer work acceptably. You should hope that you keep the bike/shifter long enough for this to be the case. Andy.
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Old 12-05-17, 06:57 PM
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Watched the video and it does not match the steps in the article. The video shows them greasing the shifter with Buzzy Slick Honey. This seems like over kill to me. The T9 makes sense. I just use a spray silicone once a year or so.
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Old 12-05-17, 10:23 PM
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Video is a bit weird in the sense that White Lightning Clean Streak is 60-80% mix of 2:1 naptha and heptane with miscellaneous
alkanes as most of the rest, where T9 is 60% mineral spirits and 10% mineral oil with rest being most likely heptane/octane
mix for volatility and viscosity reducers and carrier along with some vaseline level alkanes. Not a lot of difference.
T9 is sold as a rust preventer/lube but I would want something else as a followup to the Clean Streak, a 100% oil rather than mineral spirits.

FWIW I dissected an Ultegra 8spd shifter from ~'98 or so in 2014 and its internal lube was clean grease in good condition after
16 yrs. If you are lucky a dysfunctional brifter can be fixed with clean and lube.
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Old 12-08-17, 10:48 AM
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It's counter intuitive but I think the more they are used the less likely to need cleaning. Sitting idle for extended periods allows the grease to harden.
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Old 12-09-17, 07:19 AM
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Originally Posted by Retro Grouch View Post
It's counter intuitive but I think the more they are used the less likely to need cleaning. Sitting idle for extended periods allows the grease to harden.
Exactly, my son-in-law bought a set of NOS ST-6500 from ebay (from Tiawan IIRC) and thought they were defective even though they still had the factory tape on the lever when he got them. A light dribble of OMS and they functioned beautifully as they do to this day.
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Old 12-09-17, 10:39 AM
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I use some ATF thinned with OMS, spray that in there, wait 20 min or so, blow it out with compressed air. I would not take anything apart. Never had a shifter problem.
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