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Front derailleur spring problem

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Front derailleur spring problem

Old 07-08-13, 11:51 PM
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nduetime
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Front derailleur spring problem

First time poster here. I noticed recently I was unable to shift my front gears and quickly discovered there is nothing keeping the derailleur in desired position. I'm assuming there is a problem with the spring but have never had any experience in this either. Can you tell from the two photos below if the problem is the spring? In the second photo, on my index finger is one of the spring ends. But as you can see...it doesn't really make contact (stop) with anything to engage the spring. This was another family members bike that was passed down to me for commuting. Unfortunately, the previous owner is in another town and can not really help me out with what I'm experiencing.





Am I looking at new front derailleur in my immediate future? Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Sincerely,

B.
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Old 07-09-13, 09:56 AM
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onbike 1939
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Difficult to tell from the photos but if you undo the cable the FD should spring back to the smallest ring position (nearest the frame) and have considerable tension. If it does not, then lubricate and clean the FD but if this doesn't work then a new one seems in order.
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Old 07-09-13, 10:06 AM
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I'm thinking that it might be the shifter that's the problem. Like Onbike suggested, undo the pinch bolt that holds the cable and see if the FR moves freely then.
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Old 07-09-13, 01:40 PM
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Let me see if I can better explain it. If I loosen the cable (or change to the smaller two gears,) the FD just freely pivots back and forth (in and out) without any tension. I will try to take a video and upload it when I get home tonight. In the meantime, I found another photo of the backside of the derailleur. In the photo below, on the left side of the black spring, it appears that the extended portion of the spring makes contact with a pivoting arm (?) which allows the spring to create tension. However, in the photos of my initial post, you can see there is nothing there for it to contact. I'm wondering if that extended portion on that side of the spring has broken off, making it too short to reach the contact point it needs to create the required tension.



Again, I'll take a video tonight. Thanks for the replies.
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Old 07-09-13, 01:45 PM
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Worse case scenario, I have to purchase a new front derailleur. I've been searching for a replacement and am having troubles finding many options for a triple 8-speed. Would I be able to go with a triple 9-speed or triple 10-speed? I ask about those because there seems to be more options. I apologize for these basic questions. If this were a car, I'd be more fluent in solving my problem. But with this bike (any bike,) I have no experience.
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Old 07-09-13, 02:01 PM
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You are correct that the spring end has broken, pretty clear that it can provide no tension if not anchored and the fact the derailleur freely moves back and forth confirms the problem. You will indeed need to replace the derailleur. A triple 9 speed should not be a problem, and even a 10 will not offer a lot of problems.
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Old 07-09-13, 10:04 PM
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Originally Posted by cny-bikeman View Post
You are correct that the spring end has broken, pretty clear that it can provide no tension if not anchored and the fact the derailleur freely moves back and forth confirms the problem. You will indeed need to replace the derailleur. A triple 9 speed should not be a problem, and even a 10 will not offer a lot of problems.
I tried that once and decided it was not good enough to foist on a paying customer. The narrower cage rubs the chain at the slightest hint of cross chaining. Shimano 2303 derailleurs are still available. Ask your local shop if they can order one from J&B Importers, part number 26308.

That spring anchoring nubbin breaking off is my number one cause of Shimano road front derailleur failure. It's more robust on the 10-speed units.
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Old 07-09-13, 10:54 PM
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Thanks for the replies. I figure there is no need to take a video and upload it. I'm almost certain it's toast. I'll purchase a new one. I found what appears to be the same derailleur on ebay... better safe than sorry.
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Old 07-09-13, 11:21 PM
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This derailleur isn't quite toast yet. But the decision whether to save it rests on the availability of a suitable replacement. If there is one, just buy it.

However, if there's nothing decently comparable, drill out the head on the rivet on the lower arm (the one with the spring). Push out the pin, and slide the spring off. Scavenge the junk derailleur bin, for one with the same spring (Shimano probably uses the same spring on a number of FDs). Rebuild FD with new (used) spring, using a screw and nut in lieu of the riveted lower pivot pin. Either use Loctite or distort the threads so nut doesn't work loose.
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Old 07-09-13, 11:51 PM
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Well, I was able to take a closer look at the derailleur, this time with more appropriate lighting. If you look at the last photo above, there is a bit of metal from the pivot arm that extends at the bottom and covers the lower left corner of the spring (according to the photo.) It is what the spring contacts to create the tension. Unfortunately, that little extension has busted off mine rendering my derailleur currently useless. I'm sure I could take the approach of trying to scavenge a replacement pivot arm but I don't have a junk derailleur bin, just a couple of tubes with holes. $25/shipped for the same replacement derailleur. I'll keep in mind the way to "fix" it for next time, thank you FBinNY.
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