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Front Deraileur Issues

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Old 06-22-10, 05:38 PM
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spearlymatt
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Front Deraileur Issues

Today I noticed that my shifting wasn't very clean (front). And with a classic case of "Don't fix it if it ain't broke" I made it far, far, worse.

Long story short, my deraileur is out of whack, and the cable that goes into it is completely frayed.

The real problem, I guess, is how to deal with that frayed cable, preferably without a bike shop, as my bike just came from a week long stay there.

Insight into this problem would be greatly appreciated.

Also, I have other bikes that I can take cables from if it is necessary that I replace it.
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Old 06-22-10, 05:51 PM
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although i dont recommend using old cables, if you can find a rear derailleur cable that is in good shape, you can re-use it easily for a front. there are tons of tutorials on how to set up your front derailleur, so take it from there
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Old 06-22-10, 05:56 PM
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I think it is holding for now, but the problem is in 1 it has way too much slack. Then in 2 it is pretty tight. Then 3 is too tight to even shift to?
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Old 06-22-10, 05:56 PM
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If you know how to adjust the derailleur, just go to the shop and get a cable and some end caps. Install the cable and adjust yourself. If unsure how to do this look at Sheldon Browns site.
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Old 06-22-10, 06:15 PM
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I have no problem with doing things myself, in fact, I would prefer to so I can learn, and so I don't have to part with it for weeks.

I would rather avoid the bike shop altogether, too, though, for I live far away. The main problem right now is I have no clue how to even get the cable out from the shifter, or how to put one back in. Any tips?

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Old 06-23-10, 07:22 AM
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Alright, well, 9AM the next morning and I've actually made progress.

I decided to just replace the cable with an old one, and it went far better than expected. Now the only problem is how tight to make it, and adjusting the derailleur.

I think the tightness is OK, I made it about the same as the other one.

As for adjustments, well, first of all, I do not know what's up with my shifter. The number one will not display. Two and three do, but not one. Also, with 2 and 3, there is a satisfactory click, for one, there is not. It was like this before I put the other cable in, too.

And if there's no real issue there other than seeing the number, then the derailleur needs adjusted.

I can get it to shift, so I know that the derailleur is what needs adjusted (well, that's my logic, anyway). I can usually get it to shift all the way up from 1st. Sometimes back down to second, and then usually not first. To get it to go back in to first I have to usually manually move the chain by adjusting the derailleur. Is this something that just needs toyed with, or is there a specific problem?

Also, from what I read, derailleur placement is just as important as about anything, should I try to change that and see if it works? I'm cautious to go messing with things that worked before, though, for I don't just want to add another problem.

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Old 06-23-10, 07:44 AM
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If the derailler worked before and you haven't touched the position, don't touch it now. Go to www.parktool.com and follow their front derailler set up procedure step by step (excluding the mounting stuff). I'm assuming you messed with the limit screws so they'll need to be reset first without the cable attached. Then attach the cable and adjust tension.
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Old 06-23-10, 08:01 AM
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So after some more research and some more work, here is a better description.

On the smallest front ring, the chain is almost rubbing the inside of the derailleur. When I shift up to second I have to trim it (I believe is the terminology) and then it starts rubbing on the outside of the derailleur. And then third it just barely shifts, and then really rubs on the outside of the derailleur. I can then shift back into second, but not first.

This all seems rather contradictory to me.

And thank you, I will look into that now.
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Old 06-23-10, 08:16 AM
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Almost every front derailler issue encountered in this forum has something to do with improperly set stop screws and/or cable tension. The only way to rule either of them out is to go through the full set up procedure first. You'll just waste time if you try to correct the issue by messing with one or the other, or both in a random manner.
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Old 06-23-10, 08:19 AM
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I reset the height, I set the angle. I loosened the cable, and no matter what I do, in 1st in still rubs against the outside of the cage. I think the problem may be my shifter, or at least part of it. Like I said before, the number one is impossible to get up to the little window.
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Old 06-23-10, 08:20 AM
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Originally Posted by joejack951 View Post
Almost every front derailler issue encountered in this forum has something to do with improperly set stop screws and/or cable tension. The only way to rule either of them out is to go through the full set up procedure first. You'll just waste time if you try to correct the issue by messing with one or the other, or both in a random manner.
+1

http://www.parktool.com/repair/readhowto.asp?id=75
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Old 06-23-10, 08:25 AM
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That is where I have been for the past hour. I have reset everything. No matter what I do, one, I cannot get it to shift both up and down to all gears, at all, and two, it always rubs on both the inside and outside. Will increasing or decreasing the tension of the wire affect the gap?
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Old 06-23-10, 08:39 AM
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Originally Posted by spearlymatt View Post
That is where I have been for the past hour. I have reset everything. No matter what I do, one, I cannot get it to shift both up and down to all gears, at all, and two, it always rubs on both the inside and outside. Will increasing or decreasing the tension of the wire affect the gap?
Have you reset the low stop screw without the cable connected? That is your starting point.

Also, disconnect the cable, then click the downshift button on your left shifter several times to ensure that all of the cable is let out of the shifter. Your #1 should appear when you do this. Once you have satisfactorily set the low stop screw, then reattach the cable and begin adjusting tension to get the derailler properly positioned over the middle chainring and for proper shifting to the big ring. Then adjust your high stop screw as necessary to get clearance in the big/small combo without allowing the chain to be over-shifted.
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Old 06-23-10, 08:41 AM
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Yes, and even then, I cannot get any gap between the cage and chain.

EDIT: Alright, I read the other part. That seems like sound instruction. Let me go try it. Thank you.

EDIT2: Nope, no matter what I do, that number one will not appear.

Last edited by spearlymatt; 06-23-10 at 08:53 AM.
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Old 06-23-10, 08:53 AM
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When you say it rubs the outside of the cage in "first", what gear combination are you referring to? Small chainring, big cassette cog? If not, that's the combination you should have bike set to when adjusting the low stop screw. Set the derailler so that it just clears the chain in that combination (though that setting might need to be tweaked to get faster downshifts).
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Old 06-23-10, 08:54 AM
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Originally Posted by spearlymatt View Post
EDIT2: Nope, no matter what I do, that number one will not appear.
Soak the internals of the shifter in WD-40 and try again. Also try pulling on the cable while clicking the downshift lever.
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Old 06-23-10, 10:53 AM
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Alright, making progress (I think). I can switch between 1st and 2nd well (well, I know I can at least) but I can't get it to third. The shifter is still in that condition, soaked it in WD-40, pulled on the cable, nothing.

I re-adjusted the angle and moved it up a little bit so nothing is rubbing right now. Any tips for getting it to go into third? My guess is more tension? I would try it but I don't want to screw up how good things are right now.

EDIT: I took it for a short test ride, and I'm almost certain the problem is the shifter. Everything on the derailleur seems fine, I can't imagine the problem is there. But the fact that just the numbering isn't aligned, plus something I just observed tells me it is the shifter, but I am not bike mechanic (as you know).

It seems there is three clicks when shifting. The first one is where first should be, second with second, etc. Except at 2 I'm on the smallest cog (first) and at 3 I'm at the second. And if I shift down to first nothing happens. Any insight into this? Does this still seem like a derailleur problem? Or a shifter problem?

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Old 06-23-10, 12:17 PM
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Spearly,

I'm trying to follow this with your responses. As you work on the shifter, REMOVE the cable from the FD. No cable attached at the far end.... NOW work the shifter to work through all three gear positions, without attaching the cable. (You can hold the cable and feel the movement.) At this point, check your stop screw settings. Low needs to be set to allow the chain to get to the smallest chainring, but not too far, and high does the same for the larger chainring. You will have to move the FD to the high position by hand. READ the instructions as posted above in the links.... Now, with the RD set with the chain on the INSIDE (largest) cog and the front shifter set on the lowest (1) chainring you can attach the cable, and it should be "not too loose, and not too tight" (read detailed instructions). Now you get to read some more and adjust tension as needed, and even the stop screws if necessary.

I get the feeling that you've skipped a few steps and have failed to go back to square one a few times. How do I think this? Because I've done it myself.... "one more try, I'm close..." Start over, you'll be glad you did. The inability of the shifter to move makes me think that the cable is too tight and the stop screws are mis-adjusted.
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Old 06-23-10, 02:52 PM
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Originally Posted by spearlymatt View Post
It seems there is three clicks when shifting. The first one is where first should be, second with second, etc. Except at 2 I'm on the smallest cog (first) and at 3 I'm at the second. And if I shift down to first nothing happens. Any insight into this? Does this still seem like a derailleur problem? Or a shifter problem?
This type of problem is usually with the shifter or the cable, not the derailleur. You can test this by detaching the cable from the derailleur. The derailleur spring should move the derailleur to the smallest chainring position. With the cable loose you should be able to swing the derailleur cage smoothly from the small ring position to the big ring position. With the cable loose the shifter should pull cable smoothly with no effort. You should be able to pull the loose cable out of the shifter each time you shift back to the "1" position. It is important the the internal parts of the shifter work smoothly and that there is no excess friction anywhere along the path of the cable. With the shifter in the "1" position attach the cable with no slack. You may need to add some tension to the cable with the adjuster. The instructions at Parktool must be followed completely and in proper sequence.
WD40 in the shifters is will often restore shifting performance. You may need new shift cables and cable housings. The problem could be the housing.
Good advice from the others, above.
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Old 06-24-10, 09:32 AM
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Shifting works, up and down now!

The shifter is still pretty weird, but hey, it shifts.

Thank you all for all of the help. Without you, I would have taken it to a bike shop, paid a lot, and would have been none the wiser.

The key was adjusting the derailleur without any tension on it, I believe.
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Old 06-24-10, 09:42 AM
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Originally Posted by spearlymatt View Post
The key was adjusting the derailleur without any tension on it, I believe.
You just learned a valuable lesson. We all weren't saying it just because we like to type. I counted about 6 instances of replies above saying to detach the cable from the FD before making adjustments.

As for the shifter not indicating the right gear, it's possible that the indicator got damaged or there is something in the shifter blocking the pointer. I wouldn't worry about it.
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Old 06-24-10, 09:53 AM
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You just learned a valuable lesson. We all weren't saying it just because we like to type. I counted about 6 instances of replies above saying to detach the cable from the FD before making adjustments
It is impossible to truly learn, unless you work things out for yourself, and make your own mistakes I could have done that from the beginning (and I would have, had I understood more) but then I would have never known how finicky the derailleur really is.

The first real computer I built, I built it at my friend's shop. He had built numerous computers before. So I spent hours putting this thing together as carefully as possible, and as soon as I hit the power button, nothing. I called him over to ask him what might be the problem, and he said, "There could be a million problems. You should have just started with the major components first, turned it on, made sure things worked, and if they didn't, you would be left with less variables." I said, "John, why the hell didn't you tell me this to begin with?" And he said, "Because you would have never really known." And so I spent triple the time I had already spent tearing the computer down, building it up incrementally, etc.

So don't think all of your suggestions went to waste, I am very grateful for them
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Old 06-24-10, 10:09 AM
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Originally Posted by spearlymatt View Post
It is impossible to truly learn, unless you work things out for yourself, and make your own mistakes
I would have to agree. It's (almost) funny how blind you can sometimes be to good advice, myself included. Experience slightly opens your eyes but as I've found through the years, it's still way too easy to ignore a little guidance when you think you know the answer already.
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Old 06-24-10, 11:58 AM
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And it doesn't help that I am a teenager

But can you recommend a good shifter (shifter set, preferably)? For I doubt this one will last long, and I don't want to be left without a (working) bike.

All I know about the ones I have on now is that they are both Shimano Revoshifts, and that the gear systems are Shimano (at least that is what it says on the back). 7 and 3 speed.

Also, does replacing a shifter entail much more than I have not already done? Mounting and putting the cable in?

Does it involve a lot of (necessary) calibration? If so, I probably will not want replace the back shifter, because messing with the back derailleur will be over my head. Hell, adjusting the front derailleur was over my head...

EDIT: Also, it probably goes without saying, that I am no professional, and am looking for something fairly cheap... Preferably less than 75USD.

Also, if you could recommend just some good online sellers, so I know where to start looking.

EDIT2: These seem good, to me at least. http://www.amazon.com/Shimano-Alivio.../dp/B001AYMR1A

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Old 06-24-10, 01:30 PM
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Believe it or not, rear derailler set up is marginally easier than front derailler, especially one a 7 speed system where the tolerances aren't nearly as tight.

As you've found, 7 speed shifter sets can be had very cheaply. Not a bad idea to keep a set on hand just in case. Replacing them is very straight forward though if you are replacing the housing at the same time (advisable if the bike has some decent mileage on it) there is that added complication. Nothing we can't help you through though.

That Amazon price looked pretty good to me especially if they'll ship it for free. I've used www.niagaracycle.com for cheaper components (though they carry nicer stuff too) as they seem to have the best selection on that type of stuff. www.universalcycles.com is another favorite of mine. Great website and selection. It's rare that I can't get everything I need all in one order from Universal. A lot of online stores may carry one thing you need but not another and that can be a pain when you add in all the shipping charges.
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