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

I keep failing at installing my caliper brakes, Please help me to not do so.

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.

I keep failing at installing my caliper brakes, Please help me to not do so.

Old 08-30-09, 05:43 PM
  #1  
that_was_easy
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Central Valley
Posts: 54
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I keep failing at installing my caliper brakes, Please help me to not do so.

I'm building (more so DEALING) with an early 1980's japanese road bike intended for single speed commuting. The 600EX brakeset (levers and single pivot calipers) brakes replaced brand new, but still Shimano, BR 450 calipers. I did not replace the Shimano 600 levers because I figured that since I replace one type of caliper brakes with another of the same brand, I'd be avoid some compatibility issues. New cables/housing is also being used. This housing is the standard SLR brake housing.

After making sure the rim/pad spacing/angle was all set, my cables were routed appropriately, I successfully attempted to secure the cable with the anchor nut on the rear brake, and adjust the quick release to the closed position. After doing so, each pad is approx. 2-4mm from the rim and everything seems fine, until I squeeze the lever. Squeezing the lever causes the brake to engage (weakly) and instead of returning to the disengaged position, the lever becomes slack. The caliper most often locks in the engaged position with both pads touching the rim (or very close to doing so) and the cable seems to lock up near caliper, but I'm not sure how. I then return the lever to the disengaged position, but in order to return the caliper to same, I have to move the arms by jiggling them with my hand, which then cinches the cable back to, what I assume to be the set, disengaged position. Am I missing anything?? Please help me get passed this.

I'm not even sure what could be wrong at this point, unless my cable housing is too short, which is one of the ideas I had. Further speculation leads me to believe that my levers and caliper must not compatible, which I may have to take up with the LBS folks I bought the brakes from; after all they said I should be fine.

Basically, I think it's a tension issue, because my levers are not returning to their disengaged position and my calipers cinch closed due to tension, but it's weak and then they don't disengage. Sorry if this is wordy. Cheers.

All this is making me very tense. It's also very hot today.
that_was_easy is offline  
Old 08-30-09, 05:54 PM
  #2  
ls01
he said member
 
ls01's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: is everything
Posts: 8,185

Bikes: yes please

Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 63 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 3 Times in 1 Post
sounds like the pivot bolt on the caliper is too tight, or it needs lube. loosen it a little and see if it gets better. make sure the lock nut stays tight though.
ls01 is offline  
Old 08-30-09, 06:07 PM
  #3  
that_was_easy
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Central Valley
Posts: 54
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I was hoping I wouldn't have to, if anything, dissemble the caliper. Well, at least I have a copy of Barnett's, but even with such a great resource, I've never gotten that technical with a caliper before. Just to clarify, you it's not the recessed mounting nut, that fastens the caliper in the brake bridge is it?

The relevant picture in Barnett's has a locknut that looks to be used with a cone wrench and the locknut on the BR450's is splined, but I'm pretty sure I don't have a tool for that. Is that going to hinder the procedure as described by Park?

What about lube? Is it the metal on metal that I should be worried about, or something elsewhere also?

Last edited by that_was_easy; 08-30-09 at 06:19 PM.
that_was_easy is offline  
Old 08-30-09, 06:12 PM
  #4  
operator
cab horn
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Toronto
Posts: 28,349

Bikes: 1987 Bianchi Campione

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 31 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 6 Times in 6 Posts
Disengage the cable from the anchor. Squeezing the calipers closed with your hands tells you if it's a weak spring. A bad cable housing end cut (e.g burr) will also create extra friction. You can isolate ths by pulling the cable through each seperate section of housing. This problem should take no more than 30 seconds to diagnose.
operator is offline  
Old 08-30-09, 06:36 PM
  #5  
that_was_easy
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Central Valley
Posts: 54
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
The only capacity in which my housing could be the weak link is if by virtue of the fact that they are too short, and since I have only this piece of housing and nothing to compare it to, that diagnostic may have to wait. My repair skill is minimally developed, but I can still tell that there are no burrs on the cut housing ends and to my feeling the caliper springs are, ummm, springy...? Oh, responsive. They are quite responsive, even when the cable is removed.

I made another crack at anchoring the cable and this time I seem to have done much better. The lever has more return momentum, but still seems to sluggish as if there is a lot of friction in the lever. Would lube on the bushing help with that? Should I lube the cable/housing? In any case, thanks for the tips. I'm really trying to avoid caliper surgery. It seems to be working adequately. Cheers.
that_was_easy is offline  
Old 08-30-09, 06:39 PM
  #6  
PatrickJIV
Senior Member
 
PatrickJIV's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Mobile, AL
Posts: 75

Bikes: Schwinn Sidewinder

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
What ls01 said, plus: It could be spring loaded and if so, loosen the tension bolt, then using a pair of pliers, engage or disengage the spring tension. You will be able to visually see the pads move and adjust. This problem drove me nutso until I took it to a LBS and paid him 8 bucks (while I watched like a hawk after a rabbit) to fix it. Maybe 10 seconds and was done. Have a 1996 Schwinn and its spring loaded, so perhaps this may help.
PatrickJIV is offline  
Old 08-30-09, 06:43 PM
  #7  
operator
cab horn
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Toronto
Posts: 28,349

Bikes: 1987 Bianchi Campione

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 31 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 6 Times in 6 Posts
Originally Posted by that_was_easy View Post
The only capacity in which my housing could be the weak link is if by virtue of the fact that they are too short, and since I have only this piece of housing and nothing to compare it to, that diagnostic may have to wait. My repair skill is minimally developed, but I can still tell that there are no burrs on the cut housing ends and to my feeling the caliper springs are, ummm, springy...? Oh, responsive. They are quite responsive, even when the cable is removed.

I made another crack at anchoring the cable and this time I seem to have done much better. The lever has more return momentum, but still seems to sluggish as if there is a lot of friction in the lever. Would lube on the bushing help with that? Should I lube the cable/housing? In any case, thanks for the tips. I'm really trying to avoid caliper surgery. It seems to be working adequately. Cheers.
It doesn't seem like you've understood why I was trying to convey in my previous post. About testing the housing anyways. Post a picture of the runs and we can tell if they're too short/long. Unless your cables suck lube wouldn't help anything. Lubing the levers themselves may help.
operator is offline  
Old 08-30-09, 07:44 PM
  #8  
norwood
GO BIG RED
 
norwood's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Hastings,NE
Posts: 678

Bikes: 1996 Bianchi Veloce 1993 Bridgestone MB-3 1992 Trek 700 1992 Trek 820

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by ls01 View Post
sounds like the pivot bolt on the caliper is too tight, or it needs lube. loosen it a little and see if it gets better. make sure the lock nut stays tight though.
What ls01 said. Sounds like your pivot bolt is simply too tight. You don't need to disassemble it, just loosen it a bit.
norwood is offline  
Old 08-30-09, 08:51 PM
  #9  
that_was_easy
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Central Valley
Posts: 54
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
*deep inhalation*

Operator: Does what your suggestion involve running the cable through the housing to determine whether or not the cable movement is obstructed by any burrs (or something else?) which may be present? I don't have multiple sections, just a singular, continuous length of housing running through the guides along the top tube. I'm assuming this is to be done with the cable and housing completely disconnected from the brake system and did this test to briefly check for smoothness before installing any cabling/housing, right out of the wrapping. Thank you for having patience.

There is definitely a spring on the rear brake caliper. According the Park Tool repair FAQ this spring operates one arm (sidepull side) and the centering screw operates the the opposite arm's action, pivoting off the initial pivot. When I squeeze the (unmounted)caliper with my fingers, if anything, it feels stiff. If this is a symptom of the pivot bolt being too tight, then perhaps that might be what I need to adjust. I'm just not sure it is and I'd rather be too careful, rather than too careless, in preforming a procedure under flexible time constraints and with little practical experience. My sincere thanks for all the direction.

Finally, photos showing cable length. the housing barely passed the handlebar rotation test and the quality of the braking right now is adequate, but the return action on the lever is still poor and I'm not comfortable riding w/o solid brakes. I'll probably adjust it more tonight. I wish I had beer and not only wine, right now. Sorry for the length and this is my first build, so an criticism will be helpful.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg
b1A.jpg (43.8 KB, 24 views)
File Type: jpg
b1B.jpg (87.3 KB, 23 views)
File Type: jpg
b1C.jpg (93.5 KB, 20 views)
File Type: jpg
b1D.jpg (36.7 KB, 18 views)
File Type: jpg
b1E.jpg (32.9 KB, 12 views)
File Type: jpg
b1F.jpg (33.5 KB, 17 views)
that_was_easy is offline  
Old 08-30-09, 08:52 PM
  #10  
that_was_easy
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Central Valley
Posts: 54
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
And yes, my handlebars are mounted, I think, much to steeply.
that_was_easy is offline  
Old 08-31-09, 01:20 AM
  #11  
BFW
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 67
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I would have used a couple more inches of cable housing. I aim for the cable to have a little more vertical exit from the top of the lever and to run parallel with the top of the top tube, with just a bit of rise before it drops down to the rear caliper. Running the housing too short can cause the cable to bind inside.

Something like this (image copped from the C&V forum)



From the pictures, a quick way to check if this is the case, lower your stem a couple of inches. That should effectively give you a longer housing, if it moves freely, then you've found the culprit.

Last edited by BFW; 08-31-09 at 01:27 AM.
BFW is offline  
Old 08-31-09, 09:09 AM
  #12  
that_was_easy
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Central Valley
Posts: 54
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Thanks for the tip on the housing length. I'd only thought of adjusting the bars, thinking that would give me a few inches, but the lowering the stem would be easier. I need to have a file so that I can face/adjust an extra length of cable given to me for the front brake.

I'm having a hard time believing somebody cut the housing set I ordered too short, instead of too long. I think this ebay seller is gonna need to come clean.
that_was_easy is offline  
Old 08-31-09, 10:31 AM
  #13  
badmother
Senior Member
 
badmother's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 3,720
Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 317 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Aree you sure they sent you brake housing and not gear housing? That could give the same symptoms if I read your description correctly.
badmother is offline  
Old 08-31-09, 01:34 PM
  #14  
that_was_easy
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Central Valley
Posts: 54
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I can say that I'm 3/4 certain, but it's only because: a) i'm not EXACTELY sure what to look for b) i'd have thought it would have been labeled "shimano STI" instead of "shimano SLR". I would imagine that any online seller would make sure to send the correct item, but hmmm, I guess I should determine that before going into adjusting anything.

The housing wires should be spiraled and have plastic as the inner-most lining, right?
that_was_easy is offline  
Old 08-31-09, 02:11 PM
  #15  
Drwecki
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Madison, WI
Posts: 373

Bikes: Tease Fixed Gear, Schwinn World Traveler 72, 60's Hawthorne

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Dude, do you have an LBS (local bike shop). Cable housing is cheap cheap cheap cheap cheap when the LBS carries it in bulk! Like I get if for 2 bucks a foot. Make sure you ask them to dress the ends for you (i.e. file the ends). Now answer some of our questions...

Did you try loosening the bolt?

If you did and that still doesn't work. Squirt oil on everything that moves! Does that work

Is the cable freyed? if so you'll need a new cable or you can ghetto unwind it, but I only do that on my bikes that I don't care about... basically when I have a freyed cable and I'm in a pinch I unwind it all the way.. This is Stupid and should only be done when knowing it is stupid... i.e. never..except by me

but the main question is does the cable move easily through the housing? I bet it has nothing to do with the brake (it is nice shiny and new). The way to check. Disconnect the caliper from the cable... and pull on the cable with your bare hands, pull it all the way...then grab the brake lever. does the cable move freely or is it like stripping an electrical wire.

Now try pulling it back with your hand does it slide nicely back...if not... get new cables from the LBS..not ebay.. .

Oh and your cable is too short IMHO

And read this

http://www.sheldonbrown.com/cables.html (your bike looks like the short one)...
Drwecki is offline  
Old 08-31-09, 06:00 PM
  #16  
that_was_easy
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Central Valley
Posts: 54
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Ok, remedies to pursue:


1. Buy new cables/housing from trustworthy LBS (luckily I've begun developing rapport with several)

2. Install lines so that cabling is an appropriate length for the job.

3. Loosen the locknut and caliper bolt to free up some of the resistance on the caliper spring. How snug does this need to be to work effectively? I generally try to get things pretty snug, but I'll be backing off slightly from, say, getting it BB tight.

4. Connect wire to the anchor via the procedure explained 9 billion times in BM.

5. Dispense with many thanks for putting up with my bean plating.

Seriously, I get new tires in on Wed. and a paycheck on Friday, so this may take some time, but, alas, this weekend will be the first I am mobile on my favorite ride. Thanks :
that_was_easy is offline  
Old 08-31-09, 07:06 PM
  #17  
DannoXYZ 
Senior Member
 
DannoXYZ's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Saratoga, CA
Posts: 11,739
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 102 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by that_was_easy View Post
I can say that I'm 3/4 certain, but it's only because: a) i'm not EXACTELY sure what to look for b) i'd have thought it would have been labeled "shimano STI" instead of "shimano SLR". I would imagine that any online seller would make sure to send the correct item, but hmmm, I guess I should determine that before going into adjusting anything.

The housing wires should be spiraled and have plastic as the inner-most lining, right?
NO!!! STI housing is for shifters and SLR housing is for brakes. They are NOT interchangeable.

Simple way to test housing-friction is unbolt the cable from the caliper. Pull on the inner-wire of that cable with one hand, then squeeze the lever with the other. Go back and forth like in a flossing motion of running the inner wire through the housing. It should be smooth with no effort.

How did you cut the cable-housing? With what tool? If you used wire-clipers or the Park cable-cutter, the last spiral at the end of the housing will be crimped and it may be rubbing on the inner-wire. You can file off the end or bend back the crimped end of the housing. If you used the Shimano cable cutters, no such worries.

It really does sound like your caliper pivot bolt is too tight. There's a locknut at the end and you need to use a 13mm cone-wrench on the adjustment-nut just below the locknut to hold it steady as you tighten the locknut. Or else you'll end up spinning the adjustment when you tighten the locknut and end up clamping the caliper arms together too tightly. There are also tiny washers between the caliper-arms with ball-bearings in them. These washers ONLY go one one way, do not flip the washers or else you'll end up with too much friction between the arms and have the lazy caliper-return symptoms you're facing.

I'm not sure about the 600EX, but starting with the 105 single-pivot calipers, the springs ride in a plastic block that clip onto the back of the caliper arms. These plastic blocks serve to reduce friction between the arm and spring. The hole in the block is also offset so you can flip the block around for low or high spring-preload. Use the high spring-preload orientation.
DannoXYZ is offline  
Old 08-31-09, 10:28 PM
  #18  
Drwecki
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Madison, WI
Posts: 373

Bikes: Tease Fixed Gear, Schwinn World Traveler 72, 60's Hawthorne

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by that_was_easy View Post
Ok, remedies to pursue:


1. Buy new cables/housing from trustworthy LBS (luckily I've begun developing rapport with several)

2. Install lines so that cabling is an appropriate length for the job.

3. Loosen the locknut and caliper bolt to free up some of the resistance on the caliper spring. How snug does this need to be to work effectively? I generally try to get things pretty snug, but I'll be backing off slightly from, say, getting it BB tight.

4. Connect wire to the anchor via the procedure explained 9 billion times in BM.

5. Dispense with many thanks for putting up with my bean plating.

Seriously, I get new tires in on Wed. and a paycheck on Friday, so this may take some time, but, alas, this weekend will be the first I am mobile on my favorite ride. Thanks :
I guess I'm not the only one getting sort of frustrated. You could at least placate us by doing the line check I described and the last poster described. That way we'll know if the cable tension is le problem... Which it likely is... I think you said your brakes calipers were brand new.. I doubt they are the problem (which is why I want the line test). Do the line test...does the line move freely? It's cool, I just think you could diagnose this without spending any more money! I personally thought the line looked like it was cranked extremely at the brake lever...It looks like a 90 degree bend... My lines all swoop... But if you didn't know, the front brakes do 70% of the braking and the rear really don't matter (well they help I wouldn't want to be 30% less smart--er--er) But if I was a junk man (i.e. a commuter..which I am) it doesn't really matter (for a few weeks at least anyways). So get the front working.. Then ride your butt to the LBS and get the right length cable (3 bucks) and tubing (maybe 8 bucks).. Enjoy hombre... Get to work! FYI I'm a problem solver not a perfecftionist...so I'm from the git er done school.. the racing circuit dudes probably disagree with my lax-ittudes.. But if your goal is to ride your bike around town, going one brake won't kill ya!
Drwecki is offline  
Old 08-31-09, 10:32 PM
  #19  
Drwecki
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Madison, WI
Posts: 373

Bikes: Tease Fixed Gear, Schwinn World Traveler 72, 60's Hawthorne

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
dude where's your front brake. I just looked at your pictures.. YOU CRAZY!!!! Is that a track frame? Ah crap man, bikes without front brakes scare me to death.. Fixed gear? I love the fixed gear but you need a front brake! IMHO...
Drwecki is offline  
Old 09-01-09, 09:17 AM
  #20  
that_was_easy
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Central Valley
Posts: 54
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Ha, front brake is to be added later. No worries. Expecting 700 X 23c tires (on Wed.) during which time I'll have to readjust the brake anyway, so I'm waiting until then and installing the rear. This is the first time I've every installed brakes from scratch and not just adjusted an existing set up, but the road bike was free. I'm more than happy to run in to my first frustrations with the brakes.

I like my brakes and I'm commuting a short 4 miles round trip on this thing (hence the easy SS) and brakes are absolutely necessary.
that_was_easy is offline  
Old 09-01-09, 12:17 PM
  #21  
DannoXYZ 
Senior Member
 
DannoXYZ's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Saratoga, CA
Posts: 11,739
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 102 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
From your first two photos in post#9, it appears your cable-housing is too tight where it entres the rear-brake. When you squeeze the lever, the caliper-arm where the housing stops needs to move down about 1/2". Without that slack, it would cause the brake to squeeze unevenly and retract unevenly. Slide through the housing about 1/2" towards the rear so that the housing doesn't start sloping down to the brake until after the seat-post binder bolt.

Last edited by DannoXYZ; 09-01-09 at 12:20 PM.
DannoXYZ is offline  
Related Topics
Thread
Thread Starter
Forum
Replies
Last Post
LateStart
Classic and Vintage Bicycles: Whats it Worth? Appraisals.
6
11-20-13 02:44 PM
Papi
Classic & Vintage
5
07-11-12 08:42 PM
NewFuji
Mountain Biking
32
10-03-11 12:51 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

Copyright 2018 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.