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Could wrong ferrules be cause of cable breaking repeatedly?

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Could wrong ferrules be cause of cable breaking repeatedly?

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Old 07-09-18, 04:54 PM
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Tesgin
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Could wrong ferrules be cause of cable breaking repeatedly?

I bought a 2016 Trek Domane 5.2 C and have put almost 13,000 mi on it in the past two years. Ultegra shifters and derailleurs.

My problem has been the repeated breaking of cables on my right/rear shifter. In two years I've gone thru 7 cables. Shimano, thru their warranty program, has been great. They've replaced the shifter twice. My LBS installed the third derailleur in Feb and yesterday the cable snapped again. Ridiculous.

At this point I brought it to a different dealer to see if they can diagnose the problem. He determined that the cable housing between the shifter and the frame was installed incorrectly: specifically, the ferrules were switched, such that the one going into the shifter is the one that should be going into the frame, and vice versa. He said they are shaped entirely differently: the one that should be going into the shifter is shorter and has an angled cut on it. The one going into the frame has a longer tongue -- about 3-4x longer. His take was that the longer one going into the shifter was probably what was damaging the cable (cuz it's too long and is being bent around the inner workings of the shifter in a way for which it wasn't designed). He's confident that switching them back the way they should be will fix the problem. I have confirmed in the dealer manual for this shifter that the way he's describing the ferrules is accurate.

So, my question for y'all is whether that seems like a credible explanation or not. Could using the wrong ferrule going into the shifter make THAT much of a difference? Is he shooting straight with me? I "think" he is, but IDK if it should make that much difference.

Thanks in advance,
Tesgin
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Old 07-09-18, 06:02 PM
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If the cable is exiting the ferrule at the wrong angle, it could easily cause lots of excess cable wear. I'm just surprised no one caught it sooner.
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Old 07-09-18, 06:36 PM
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Originally Posted by Tesgin View Post
I have confirmed in the dealer manual for this shifter that the way he's describing the ferrules is accurate.

So, my question for y'all is whether that seems like a credible explanation or not. Could using the wrong ferrule going into the shifter make THAT much of a difference? Is he shooting straight with me? I "think" he is, but IDK if it should make that much difference.
Tesgin
If the book matches the tech guy, why the second guessing?
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Old 07-09-18, 06:42 PM
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TiHabanero
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Cable breaking at the leaded end is common where I live. Been doing it since the 9 speed generation was introduced. Amazing Shimano warrantied brifters multiple times when they told us it was a maintenance issue. Cables need replacing every year was their response. Hmmm. I want to work at your shop! They must have real pull with the Blue Monster.
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Old 07-09-18, 07:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Troul View Post
If the book matches the tech guy, why the second guessing?
Good point. It's not so much second-guessing him, in the sense that what he describes is absolutely consistent with Shimanos documentation. That's not difficult for me. It's more that this whole experience has been all but traumatic for me ever since I've owned this bike: I'm feeling hopeful that he's found the solution (it does make sense to me), but am hesitant only in that something so simple could be so significant. I guess I'm just anxious to see if this fixes what has been a nightmare of a problem (got stranded several times in heavy hills with a LOT of climbing, miles from home; not to mention countless trips to the LBS, etc., cost of repairs, etc., etc.) and would love to hear from people who know more than I, "absolutely, that would totally explain it."

Or, if I were hearing the opposite, I'd probably go in a different direction altogether (sell the bike? get electronic shifters?).

I'm planning on having him go ahead and make the changes. Feedback here is helpful.

TB
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Old 07-09-18, 07:19 PM
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You are not alone in the unsettling feeling.
had wheel issues & after many visits to the lbs with what seemed to be never ending, i took matters in my own hands by acquiring the tools to do it myself. Two tries on my own & I've been problem free with that wheel ever since.
Shops here are just installers assemblers. Those that claim to go beyond the ordinary haven't proved it to me.
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Old 07-10-18, 05:01 AM
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Where is the cable breaking?
Is the lead coming off?
Snapping inside brifter?
Wire shredding somewhere?

Is it in the same location each time?

What are circumstances when the wire fails?

I think this is kind of key in the diagnosis.



Also, to TiHabernaro - I am curious where you live?
It there salt water near by?
Do you ride near ocean?
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Old 07-10-18, 05:26 AM
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1. Wow. Break cable, replace whole shifter. Good deal. Haha.

2. I have been using both ends the same ferrules and never had a problem. Not sure if flat bar and drop bar shifters have a difference in this issue.
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Old 07-10-18, 07:50 AM
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Sounds like the bike has really caused you to loose faith in it. I think that is as good a reason as any for getting a new one. You should sell it or give it to someone that might benefit from it and get another bike with Di2 or eTap.
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Old 07-10-18, 08:18 AM
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Tesgin: which generation Ultegra shifters are you using? 6700? 6800? Just curious. Also, my LBS does not use Shimano coated cables due to a reputation of the coating failing after only a year or less. I was told to get Jagwire stainless polished inner wires to eliminate that issue. They say they’ve had excellent results.
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Old 07-10-18, 11:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Tesgin View Post
Could using the wrong ferrule going into the shifter make THAT much of a difference? Is he shooting straight with me?
I don't think the ferrules are causing the cable breakage. You talk about elapsed time since cable changes, but that's meaningless - it's mileage that counts; more specifically number of shifts.

I suspect you ride a lot, and/or you chase a fairly narrow cadence range, and/or the terrain or wind where you live requires a lot of shifting.

Cable breakage is common in Shimano shifters, because the spool the cable wraps onto is a small diameter. Shimano has stuck with essentially the same rear derailer actuation ration since 6s, which was a mistake - they should have broken backwards compatibility when they went to 9s and increased the cable pull, solving both this cable fatigue problem, and the increasingly worse signal-to-noise ratio on the rear shifting that started to be a real problem with 10s.

So either figure out how many miles a cable lasts you and swap it out before it's toast, or change to electronic, or mechanical with Campy or SRAM. SRAM uses the most cable pull and thus has the most robust indexing with the finest adjustment.
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Old 07-11-18, 12:15 AM
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...certainly the use of the wrong ferrule for some specific applications can hasten cable wear. What comes immediately to mind is some of the early aero brake levers, that require a specific ferrule at the entry pint of the cable into the lever, that has a rounded end to allow it to move around as the cable pull is applied when you squeeze the lever. Whether that's your issue, or whether (as has been stated already), you're just running into the issue of Shimano brifters eating cables is beyond my best guess. All you can do is see what happens going forward with your new setup.
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Old 07-11-18, 01:14 AM
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Originally Posted by TiHabanero View Post
Cables need replacing every year was their response.
OP broke 3-4 cables a year so far. 6500 or so miles a year is a lot, but not extreme in any sense.
Originally Posted by Iride01 View Post
Sounds like the bike has really caused you to loose faith in it. I think that is as good a reason as any for getting a new one. You should sell it or give it to someone that might benefit from it and get another bike with Di2 or eTap.
With all the warranty work, perhaps Shimano will just send a Di2 upgrade setup rather than face a lemon law.

Some people have been recommending replacing both cables and housings annually. With all these issues, I'm surprised the cable housings weren't worked on earlier.

In the past, I've slowly worn out cables on my old bike with years of abuse (DT shifters). But, since modernizing a couple of years ago, I think I've popped off one cable head while working on the shifter in my basement. Still awaiting my first broken cable.

I generally use fairly cheap 3rd party cables, all stainless. My riding does, however, get split between several bikes, almost every one with a different configuration, from Campy to Microshift to a couple of older side-port Shimano brifters.

I'm surprised a bit about the ferrule issue. My long-nose ferrules would be way too long for going into the shifters without being cut down.
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Old 07-11-18, 06:11 AM
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I've had housing need replacing before a cable ever snapped.

Routing of the cable matters.
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Old 07-11-18, 08:44 AM
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FWIW I have a Domane (2014, Six Series). Great bikes. I love Dura Ace, although in my case two problems cropped up. The first was that my rear shifter cable broke at the brifter too. And I think that my ferrules were probably installed correctly. I replaced the cable a year ago - no problems since then, but I ride about 1/5 as much as you. That said, your post prompted me to note that I have to check the cables. The indexed shifting mechanism requiring an axially stiff (that is, non-stretchy) cable and this limits the flexibility a bit, and the stress and bend on the cable at the brifter is pretty high.

But to answer your question: absolutely the ferrules being switched could cause a problem.

BTW, the other problem was the Dura Ace cassette broke. It was the old one-rivet design. Shimano was great: they replaced it under warranty.
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Old 07-11-18, 10:32 AM
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When everything is working right before, were the shifters hard to operate? I don't have much experience with STI's except for using 105 5800 for over a year now. It shifts very easily with little force. Couple things happened recently that made a notable change in the amount of force needed to shift. One was an out front mount for a gps that I put on the bars and since the cable came out from beneath the bar tape right next to it, a sharper bend in the cable caused noticable extra force needed to push the shift lever. Took the mount off and problem resolved. Also, on this old 90's bike frame I just ran the bare shifter cables directly on and around the BB shell as was common back then. However over the year, it cut down into the bb shell and started getting pinched which also caused lots of force to be needed on the shift lever. Added a plastic BB shell cable guide down there and all is again very easy shifting.

I can imagine that if left uncorrected, that this excess force would cause the shifter cables to wear, fray and break up inside the shifter. As it was, I found my issue in time. Even where the cables were cutting into the BB shell, the cables had no noticeable wear or damage even though the rear DR cable had worn a trench deeper than the diameter of the cable.

So if your shifting is anything but easy in the amount of force needed, there might be something else others working on the bike are missing.

Last edited by Iride01; 07-11-18 at 10:36 AM.
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