Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Bicycle Mechanics
Reload this Page >

Shimano RSX - Right shifter hard to shift

Notices
Bicycle Mechanics Broken bottom bracket? Tacoed wheel? If you're having problems with your bicycle, or just need help fixing a flat, drop in here for the latest on bicycle mechanics & bicycle maintenance.

Shimano RSX - Right shifter hard to shift

Old 01-07-18, 04:05 PM
  #1  
mohamilton
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Apr 2017
Posts: 51
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 20 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 6 Times in 6 Posts
Shimano RSX - Right shifter hard to shift

Hoping to get some help with my RSX shifter... Ive tried the suggest WD40 flush and relube and that brought them back to life but im still having an issue with the right hand shifter.

The big lever requires a lot of force to get it to click (I think this is down shifting?). The small lever works great and is very easy. The lever seems to be hung up on something at a very specific point right after push it, and then it eventually over comes it. Any idea what this might be? The LH shifter is very smooth and easy so thats what i'm comparing it to.


If I cant get it to work properly i'll probably end up buying a refurbished shifter even though they seem to go for a premium now days.

Thanks all!
mohamilton is offline  
Old 01-07-18, 05:09 PM
  #2  
xenologer
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 2,589
Mentioned: 5 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 239 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 5 Times in 5 Posts
new cables and housings

that have lube instead of rust
xenologer is offline  
Old 01-07-18, 05:16 PM
  #3  
mohamilton
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Apr 2017
Posts: 51
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 20 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 6 Times in 6 Posts
Thanks for the reply, the shifters are off the bike - cables wouldnt be the issue.
mohamilton is offline  
Old 01-07-18, 05:18 PM
  #4  
Kontact
Senior Member
 
Kontact's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 3,595
Mentioned: 32 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2148 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 7 Times in 7 Posts
Look for fragments of broken cable in the mechanism - a very common Shimano problem.
Kontact is offline  
Old 01-07-18, 06:10 PM
  #5  
mohamilton
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Apr 2017
Posts: 51
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 20 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 6 Times in 6 Posts
Originally Posted by Kontact View Post
Look for fragments of broken cable in the mechanism - a very common Shimano problem.
Good to know - I was hoping to not have to pull them apart but that might be the only way
mohamilton is offline  
Old 01-07-18, 06:16 PM
  #6  
Kontact
Senior Member
 
Kontact's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 3,595
Mentioned: 32 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2148 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 7 Times in 7 Posts
Originally Posted by mohamilton View Post
Good to know - I was hoping to not have to pull them apart but that might be the only way
Don't try to take them apart. Just look in the access holes where the cables go through while shifting. If there are little wires in there you will likely see them. The problem then is getting them out.
Kontact is offline  
Old 01-07-18, 07:06 PM
  #7  
mohamilton
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Apr 2017
Posts: 51
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 20 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 6 Times in 6 Posts
Originally Posted by Kontact View Post
Don't try to take them apart. Just look in the access holes where the cables go through while shifting. If there are little wires in there you will likely see them. The problem then is getting them out.
Gotcha - I don't see anything at the moment but i'll keep that in mind
mohamilton is offline  
Old 01-07-18, 07:16 PM
  #8  
mohamilton
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Apr 2017
Posts: 51
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 20 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 6 Times in 6 Posts
Originally Posted by Kontact View Post
Don't try to take them apart. Just look in the access holes where the cables go through while shifting. If there are little wires in there you will likely see them. The problem then is getting them out.
You got me to really look up close at the shifter - I think found the problem. One of the plastic housings is slightly cracked when you move the lever the plastic piece bends a little, I assume this throwing off the tolerances and causing to be more difficult than it should.
mohamilton is offline  
Likes For mohamilton:
Old 01-07-18, 07:38 PM
  #9  
Andrew R Stewart 
Senior Member
 
Andrew R Stewart's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Rochester, NY
Posts: 14,802

Bikes: Stewart S&S coupled sport tourer, Stewart Sunday light, Stewart Commuting, Stewart Touring, Co Motion Tandem, Stewart 3-Spd, Stewart Track, Fuji Finest, Raleigh Pro, Trek Cycle Cross, Mongoose tomac ATB, GT Bravado ATB, JCP Folder

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2877 Post(s)
Liked 1,110 Times in 788 Posts
I might suggest a better lube then WD40. I'll usually do a three step flush and lube for STIs. First is the solvent, second is a thin lube like TriFlow and I'll follow up with Phil Tenacious Oil. Each gets an air blast between a few soakings. I use to stop at the thin/mid weight lubes but I have seen some jobs return to poor lever/ratchet function in the past so decided to go one step thicker and really work the lube in via the compressed air blasting. Andy
Andrew R Stewart is offline  
Old 01-07-18, 08:31 PM
  #10  
bargainguy
Senior Member
 
bargainguy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: Trekland
Posts: 1,959
Mentioned: 16 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 394 Post(s)
Liked 81 Times in 57 Posts
I like CRC PowerLube in the red can (has PTFE), works for both solvent flush and lubricant. Spray into the innards, let it drain, work the shifter in both directions, repeat. This might take awhile, don't get discouraged, as the lubricant Shimano originally used gums up over time and doesn't get freed immediately.

I find this easiest to do while mounted on the bars with cables under tension to both derailleurs. I like to leave the bar tape off, but if you have tape, cover it with a rag or a plastic bag because the lubricant will drip. What typically happens is at first, they don't shift at all, then you'll get one upshift and one downshift, then a few upshifts and downshifts, then the entire range. Be patient and keep working at it, it'll come back.
bargainguy is offline  
Old 01-09-18, 08:40 AM
  #11  
Senrab62 
It's the little things
 
Join Date: Jan 2016
Location: Chicagoland
Posts: 502

Bikes: Too many, yet not enough

Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 165 Post(s)
Liked 142 Times in 67 Posts
If there are not fragments in the shifter, I would also suggest that you try an ultrasonic cleaner if you have access to one. Then use WD40 to flush, then Triflow, then something like Tenacious. Also, the canned air or compressor info is good also.

I utilized a similar system and was able to get full functionality after some time and carcinogen containing chemical exposure! Sometimes, they might have just kicked the bucket though. Good luck and let us know.
Senrab62 is offline  
Old 01-10-18, 06:25 AM
  #12  
mohamilton
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Apr 2017
Posts: 51
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 20 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 6 Times in 6 Posts
Originally Posted by Senrab62 View Post
If there are not fragments in the shifter, I would also suggest that you try an ultrasonic cleaner if you have access to one. Then use WD40 to flush, then Triflow, then something like Tenacious. Also, the canned air or compressor info is good also.

I utilized a similar system and was able to get full functionality after some time and carcinogen containing chemical exposure! Sometimes, they might have just kicked the bucket though. Good luck and let us know.
Thank you for all the suggestions! I'll let you guys know how it goes.
mohamilton is offline  
Old 01-17-18, 07:29 AM
  #13  
mohamilton
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Apr 2017
Posts: 51
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 20 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 6 Times in 6 Posts
I still haven't had any luck with the shifter. I'm curious because I havn't used STI shifters before - Is the right lever not as smooth or a lot harder to push than the left shifter?
mohamilton is offline  
Old 01-17-18, 08:04 AM
  #14  
mohamilton
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Apr 2017
Posts: 51
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 20 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 6 Times in 6 Posts
Ive got it to shift through the whole range of gears its just very stiff on the right lever, left shifter is nice and smooth
mohamilton is offline  
Old 01-17-18, 09:00 AM
  #15  
Jean_TX
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2016
Location: Round Rock
Posts: 120
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 43 Post(s)
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
Originally Posted by mohamilton View Post
Ive got it to shift through the whole range of gears its just very stiff on the right lever, left shifter is nice and smooth
The "stiffness" could be due to the cables ... properly maintained cables and cable housings can make a big difference in shifting.
Jean_TX is offline  
Old 01-17-18, 08:51 PM
  #16  
LKA 
Senior Member
 
LKA's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2017
Location: OC, Planet Earth
Posts: 83

Bikes: '17-Haanjo Trail '09-H-a-o-l-e '88-712

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 33 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
RSX is an early-mid 90s groupset. If the cables are original, swap them out. The parts are not expensive & their replacement will afford you not only a probable fix, but eliminate them as a possibility in case the problem persists. Good luck.
LKA is offline  
Old 01-18-18, 05:47 AM
  #17  
mohamilton
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Apr 2017
Posts: 51
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 20 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 6 Times in 6 Posts
Originally Posted by LKA View Post
RSX is an early-mid 90s groupset. If the cables are original, swap them out. The parts are not expensive & their replacement will afford you not only a probable fix, but eliminate them as a possibility in case the problem persists. Good luck.
The shifters are off the bike without cables. I'll try putting new cables on soon and see how that does.
mohamilton is offline  
Old 01-19-18, 08:52 AM
  #18  
bradtx
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Pearland, Texas
Posts: 7,576

Bikes: Cannondale, Trek, Raleigh, Santana

Mentioned: 13 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 305 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by mohamilton View Post
Ive got it to shift through the whole range of gears its just very stiff on the right lever, left shifter is nice and smooth
Both levers on each STI should be smooth. Forcing a stiff shifter may damage the internals.

Brad

PS. The outside lever moves the chain to a larger sprocket or chain ring, the inner lever moves the chain to a smaller sprocket or chain ring.

Last edited by bradtx; 01-19-18 at 08:56 AM.
bradtx is offline  
Old 01-19-18, 12:39 PM
  #19  
Dave Mayer
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 2,031
Mentioned: 15 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 773 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 125 Times in 84 Posts
I volunteer at a local bike Co-op as a mechanic. I see sticky STI shifters regularly, usually 10+ year-old models.

First do the WD40 flush with the shift cables disconnected from the derailleurs. Work the shifters through their entire range. Then follow with lithium grease lube. This is a spray-can lubricant in which lightweight lithium grease is mixed with a volatile petroleum-based liquid. The liquid vaporises, leaving the lithium grease behind - in all of the right places.

Your shifter cables and housings should be completely replaced. This should actually be done yearly as a matter of course...

Finally, check the action of your derailleurs; they may be sticky due to corrosion or possibly they are bent due to an impact.
Dave Mayer is offline  
Old 01-21-18, 12:27 PM
  #20  
mohamilton
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Apr 2017
Posts: 51
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 20 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 6 Times in 6 Posts
So the shifter is working better!!

I about gave up on it and let it sit for a week, I picked it up again and now it seems to working a little better, I was sure it was because of the broken plastic piece but it must have just needed time to sit really let the wd40 eat through the old grease. I hit it with some heavy degreaser today as a few of you mentioned and seems to be better yet!

The spray can triflow works great for soaking up the shifter too.

I'll keep working at it but they are going to come back to life! Thank you all for the suggestions!
mohamilton is offline  
Old 01-21-18, 04:51 PM
  #21  
Andrew R Stewart 
Senior Member
 
Andrew R Stewart's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Rochester, NY
Posts: 14,802

Bikes: Stewart S&S coupled sport tourer, Stewart Sunday light, Stewart Commuting, Stewart Touring, Co Motion Tandem, Stewart 3-Spd, Stewart Track, Fuji Finest, Raleigh Pro, Trek Cycle Cross, Mongoose tomac ATB, GT Bravado ATB, JCP Folder

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2877 Post(s)
Liked 1,110 Times in 788 Posts
Thank you for the follow up. Andy
Andrew R Stewart is offline  
Old 06-06-20, 04:08 PM
  #22  
Bushwacker96
Newbie
 
Join Date: Jun 2020
Posts: 1
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by mohamilton View Post
So the shifter is working better!!

I about gave up on it and let it sit for a week, I picked it up again, and now it seems to work a little better, I was sure it was because of the broken plastic piece, but it must have just needed time to sit let the wd40 eat through the old grease. I hit it with some heavy degreaser today as a few of you mentioned and seems to be better yet!

The spray can triflow works great for soaking up the shifter too.

I'll keep working at it but they are going to come back to life! Thank you all for the suggestions!
HiI just got some RSX shifters in the mail, and I am facing the same problem as you did. I let it sit on WD-40 last night, but the right shifter is still a little rough on the bigger lever. The bottom lever is smooth, but the bigger one doesn't give in. I just finished trying some tri flow, it made a little difference, but it is still not as smooth and the left-hand lever. I was hoping you could help me fix this problem. Thank you!
Bushwacker96 is offline  
Old 06-13-20, 07:18 PM
  #23  
mohamilton
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Apr 2017
Posts: 51
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 20 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 6 Times in 6 Posts
Originally Posted by Bushwacker96 View Post
HiI just got some RSX shifters in the mail, and I am facing the same problem as you did. I let it sit on WD-40 last night, but the right shifter is still a little rough on the bigger lever. The bottom lever is smooth, but the bigger one doesn't give in. I just finished trying some tri flow, it made a little difference, but it is still not as smooth and the left-hand lever. I was hoping you could help me fix this problem. Thank you!
Keep blasting it WD-40. Spray into the lever and shift it up and down - I had to do this almost everyday for a week until I could get it to shift soothly. After it starts shifting better hit it with the Tri-flow spray can. Good Luck!
mohamilton is offline  
Likes For mohamilton:
Old 06-13-20, 09:29 PM
  #24  
andrewclaus
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Golden, CO
Posts: 2,054

Bikes: 2016 Fuji Tread

Mentioned: 12 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 415 Post(s)
Liked 149 Times in 116 Posts
If you're reasonably dextrous those things come apart and you can see the stuck pawls. There's one on the bottom of the mechanism that's hard to hit with oil, and sometimes you have to work it with a dental pick or similar. Look online for instructions--remove the pivot pin, remove the front plate, then remove the screw behind the small lever to pull the whole mech out of its housing. Two of those operations require rewinding a spring 1/4 turn or less, but it's not too hard. I do several of these a year as a volunteer at a non-profit shop, and have almost 100% success rate.
andrewclaus is offline  
Related Topics
Thread
Thread Starter
Forum
Replies
Last Post
whitemax
Road Cycling
12
02-07-13 11:33 AM
mleach82
Bicycle Mechanics
7
01-15-12 12:24 PM
Jimmy Sexton
Bicycle Mechanics
4
05-05-11 05:29 AM
fas2c
Bicycle Mechanics
16
02-10-11 02:56 AM
dnuzzomueller
Bicycle Mechanics
17
04-22-10 01:21 PM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information -

Copyright 2021 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.