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Replacing rear derailleur pulleys

Old 09-14-06, 01:35 PM
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Bikepacker67
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Replacing rear derailleur pulleys

My XT RD has about 10k miles on it, and I'm noticing quite a bit of wear on the pulleys (but other than that it shifts like a champ).

Is this doable? Cheap?
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Old 09-14-06, 01:46 PM
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Yep. I like the BBB ones with sealed bearings. Make sure you get ones with the correct number of teeth, and make sure the correct one (with the additional float) goes at the top of the derailleur.
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Old 09-14-06, 01:52 PM
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The correct top jockey pulley usually has a brass insert that should be greased before installation.
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Old 09-14-06, 03:37 PM
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Originally Posted by DieselDan
The correct top jockey pulley usually has a brass insert that should be greased before installation.
I think the newer Shimano upper pulleys actually use a ceramic bushing in the top pulley. In that case you probably don't want to grease it. These wheels will be stamped "Sealed Ceramic Bush G-Pulley". They're not really "sealed"; you can pop off the metal covers and get into what few innards there are on them.
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Old 09-14-06, 07:37 PM
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I guess I need to catch up some.
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Old 09-14-06, 10:21 PM
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Would this job be worth the $ & effort for 97 STX derailer or should i find something newer/better quality. It still seems to shift well most of the time, but it's kind of noisy. Might this replacement help that?
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Old 09-15-06, 04:50 AM
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I replaced the pulleys in a 2 yr old 105 mech. The BBS ones have a variety of spacers inc one for Shimano upper "float" pully. They seem to work well.
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Old 09-15-06, 08:42 AM
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Originally Posted by alwayssummer
Would this job be worth the $ & effort for 97 STX derailer or should i find something newer/better quality. It still seems to shift well most of the time, but it's kind of noisy. Might this replacement help that?
If it's shifting well and the wheels are not worn, I wouldn't bother replacing it, unless you just like to have new stuff (nothing wrong with that but personally I'm too cheap).

If it's noisy, maybe you just need a cleaning & lube job. It's pretty easy to take apart the derailer cage and get to the wheels. Depending on how old, which model, you might be able to get inside both pulley wheels and re-lube (clean thoroughly & re-pack with waterproof grease). If you can't get inside, just clean it as good as you can. You should definitely be able to get to the innards of the top pulley which is a likely source of noise. As noted it may be a brass bushing, which can be lubed. I'm not sure when they switched to ceramic.
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Old 09-15-06, 09:28 AM
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The indicator to whether jockey wheels are worn out is whether the teeth are pointed rather than square on the tips. People tend to compensate for deterioration in shifting through wear. Replacement likely will improve shifting performance and in my consideration, would be worthwhile even on a '97 derailleur.
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Old 09-15-06, 10:23 AM
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Thanks. I'll tear it down this weekend. Maybe talk to the LBS about getting new pulleys--I'm pretty cheap so I'd rather do the free job before I buy parts.
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Old 09-15-06, 11:18 AM
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Originally Posted by alwayssummer
Would this job be worth the $ & effort for 97 STX derailer or should i find something newer/better quality. It still seems to shift well most of the time, but it's kind of noisy. Might this replacement help that?
To add a contrary opinion:
Depending on the cost of parts and your mechanical inclination, you may want to replace the derailer. Last year I replaced a '94 STX derailer on my Rockhopper with a new Deore derailer for $20. Even though it's kind of bottom rung, it's provided smoother shifting than my old STX ever did.
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Old 09-15-06, 11:32 AM
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Originally Posted by mycoatl
Last year I replaced a '94 STX derailer on my Rockhopper with a new Deore derailer for $20.
How would you find a 7 speed Deore these days? Was it used?
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Old 09-15-06, 11:39 AM
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Originally Posted by 'nother
If it's shifting well and the wheels are not worn, I wouldn't bother replacing it, unless you just like to have new stuff (nothing wrong with that but personally I'm too cheap).

If it's noisy, maybe you just need a cleaning & lube job. It's pretty easy to take apart the derailer cage and get to the wheels. Depending on how old, which model, you might be able to get inside both pulley wheels and re-lube (clean thoroughly & re-pack with waterproof grease). If you can't get inside, just clean it as good as you can. You should definitely be able to get to the innards of the top pulley which is a likely source of noise. As noted it may be a brass bushing, which can be lubed. I'm not sure when they switched to ceramic.
+1, this is really good advice.

Noisy derailers are usually caused by dirt in the pulley bushings (a simple "plain" rotary bearing). You can disassemble the pulley bushings on every decent derailer I've seen, I doubt the STX are an exception. As 'nother says, you want to take apart the pulleys, clean them, and pack the metal bushings chock full of waterproof grease.
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Old 09-15-06, 12:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Bikepacker67
My XT RD has about 10k miles on it, and I'm noticing quite a bit of wear on the pulleys (but other than that it shifts like a champ).
"Wear?" How is this apparent? If you're talking about side play, this is normai in the jockey (upper) pulley.

If it "shifts like a champ" and the pulleys are turning freely, my advice is "If it ain't broke, don't 'fix' it."

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Old 09-15-06, 12:46 PM
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Originally Posted by Sheldon Brown
"Wear?" How is this apparent? If you're talking about side play, this is normai in the jockey (upper) pulley.

If it "shifts like a champ" and the pulleys are turning freely, my advice is "If it ain't broke, don't 'fix' it."

Sheldon "Ancient Wisdom" Brown
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Hey Sheldon, sorry for the off-topic post... but what has happened to your web site? I've not been able to access it for several days, and I feel like I'm going into withdrawal
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Old 09-15-06, 12:58 PM
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Severely worn jockey pulleys are broke if you ask me. If they are supposed to have pointed teeth on them , then why don't they make them that way? Seems like simple preventative maintenance to me. Still, i wouldn't replace pulleys on an entry level or old derailleur. More sensible to just by a new derailleur.
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Old 09-15-06, 12:59 PM
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Originally Posted by Portis
Severely worn jockey pulleys are broke if you ask me. If they are supposed to have pointed teeth on them , then why don't they make them that way? Seems like simple preventative maintenance to me. Still, i wouldn't replace pulleys on an entry level or old derailleur. More sensible to just by a new derailleur.
If they're quiet and shift fine, who cares The pulleys are plastic, so they won't cause the chain to wear faster. If they're noisy or don't shift well, then definitely pack or replace 'em.
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Old 09-15-06, 01:47 PM
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Pulleys don't need to do much. Just turn smoothly, keep the chain from rubbing the plates and not have so much side to side play they effect shifting. As long as they have enough tooth to keep the chain centred on the pulley they shouldn't cause a problem.
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Old 09-15-06, 03:05 PM
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Originally Posted by alwayssummer
How would you find a 7 speed Deore these days? Was it used?
It's the standard 9 sp Deore, and I bought it new on sale. There's enough adjustment with the limit screws that it worked fine on my 7 speed casette.
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Old 09-15-06, 09:06 PM
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You may be able to find a junk derailluer at an LBS and take the pulleys off.
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Old 09-16-06, 07:56 PM
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You know, back in the 1970s, the Huret derailleurs were using teethless pulleys. Since there is no force applied onto the pulleys, the teeth serve no useful purpose.
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Old 09-16-06, 08:11 PM
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Originally Posted by Michel Gagnon
You know, back in the 1970s, the Huret derailleurs were using teethless pulleys. Since there is no force applied onto the pulleys, the teeth serve no useful purpose.
Well, don't they kind of keep the chain lined up in the derailer? Seems like a lack of pulleys could cause the chain to slip out of the derailer, esp. during shifting.
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Old 09-16-06, 09:59 PM
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Originally Posted by peripatetic
Well, don't they kind of keep the chain lined up in the derailer? Seems like a lack of pulleys could cause the chain to slip out of the derailer, esp. during shifting.
I can imagine how you could design a pulley that wouldn't need teeth. We're not talking about no pulley--unless I'm confused--we're just talking about a pulley that can hold the chain in place without having teeth. I wish I could draw a picture of this and post it... I'm sorry. This was a terrible post and a waste of messageboard space.
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Old 09-16-06, 10:48 PM
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I have a Simplex derailer that has a new pulley with no teeth. I've never heard of a toothless Simplex. Someone may have put a Huret pulley on it. I can't say how well it works. It came on a bike that I disassembled and rebuilt as soon as I got it home. The derailer got thrown in a drawer.
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Old 09-17-06, 05:59 AM
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Originally Posted by Bikepacker67
My XT RD has about 10k miles on it, and I'm noticing quite a bit of wear on the pulleys (but other than that it shifts like a champ).

Is this doable? Cheap?
As long as it's shifting well, I wouldn't worry about wear on the pulleys, they are often just plastic anyway, and a pair of pulleys should be easily obtainable for a reasonable cost. It's one of the reasons I didn't throw my old broken derailleur away, I can probably take the pulleys off it when I need a set.... There are a couple of other parts, screws, cable adjuster, etc. that I may pull off it too .
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