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Trek 820 Rear Brake Cable Ferrule 'Jumps' out of Brake lever When I Release it.

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Trek 820 Rear Brake Cable Ferrule 'Jumps' out of Brake lever When I Release it.

Old 11-17-14, 02:19 AM
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TrekRider1
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Trek 820 Rear Brake Cable Ferrule 'Jumps' out of Brake lever When I Release it.

My brake cable keeps coming out of the brake lever, which causes the brake cable ferrule to exit the brake lever housing as well causing it to get caught on the edge of the hole leading into the lever. My bike was bought NEW two months ago and I did have a fall in the rain about a month ago. Not long after that incident this issue arose.

I just lubed the rear brake cable today, but I didn't bother to wash it first, however, and it did seem to help a bit. The brake springs are ok because I unhooked the v-brake at the back and tested them. They both have the same tension. I have inspected the cable and there are no kinks or any fraying on the line. I suspect that there is now a bunch of gunk inside the cable housing causing A LOT of friction which in turn stops the cable from returning freely when the brake lever is let go, this in turn causes the cable housing to be dragged out of the brake lever housing thus exposing the ferrule.
One last thing, when I lubed the cable and ran the two cable housings over the lubed cable, there was no resistance to the movement of the cable, AND, the rear brakes don't appear to be any more worn than the front ones which work perfectly.

I'm a total newbie at bike mechanics so if there is a way to fix this problem without changing the cables and housing that would be great
I'm going to use rubbing alcohol to clean the cable thoroughly and then reapply more bike lubricant.

A video of the exact problem is shown below. This is not my bike but this guy has the exact same problem on his bike that I now have.

Thanks a lot for any advice. I'll put up some of my own videos.


Last edited by TrekRider1; 11-17-14 at 04:22 AM.
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Old 11-17-14, 03:08 AM
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Flushing out a length of cable housing well is tricky. I don't think I'd bother trying. I'd think you'd need to pull the cable, and use a syringe or something to get any useful flow through it.
Brake housing has to stand a fair bit of compression forces, so the longer housing run you use the mushier the brake becomes. It is possible though to run the cable enclosed pretty much all the way. The big name back in the day was Gore Ride-On or something like that. You still use all the cable stops etc, but you use special ferrules which connects to a thinner sleeve that bridges the open bit between the cable stops.
It is often debated whether modern cables benefit from being lubed or not. Cables are usually stainless, and there is a really slick liner inside the housing. Not like before, when there was a galvanized wire running inside a bare steel spiral coil. Some still do lube, other claim it's just an open invitation to grit etc.
Only place I find factory lube is at the brake noodles.

Last edited by dabac; 11-17-14 at 05:01 AM.
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Old 11-17-14, 06:25 AM
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You still have excessive friction in your cable run somewhere. Replacing the housing and inner wire with a good-quality lined housing and die-drawn wire will put it right. You may be surprised how much improvement good cables make.
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Old 11-17-14, 06:51 AM
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The only thing I might add to the advice you've been given is to turn your barrel adjuster (at the entrance to your lever housing) a quarter or half turn so that the slots don't line up. The slot is for removing the cable, which you don't want to happen in use, ever. This won't solve your sticky cable issue, but it's good to know in general.
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Old 11-17-14, 07:04 AM
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When posting an issue it's always helpful to include time frame and context. Is this a recent occurrence, and did it come on suddenly or develop over times? If sudden, was there any maintenance or incident that directly preceded the problem?

Also, it's helpful to just use some observation and logic when approaching a problem on your bike. Just because you see a problem at the lever does not mean that is where it originates. You have to look at the whole system - in this case lever, cable, housing and caliper - and think about what could cause the symptom you are observing. Isolating the different parts is often helpful. Press the caliper arms (the actual braking mechanism) to the rim by hand and see if it releases strongly. If so the problem is indeed within the cable, as the caliper springs pulling on the cable through the housing is what returns the lever to it's resting position while keeping the cable tight. If your system has exposed cable you might try pulling on the cable directly to see if the brake works OK - that would tell you which section of housing is the problem. The problem could be lubrications, but a kink, poorly finished housing end, or broken cables strands can also cause a problem.

As for lubrication, I have never seen an adverse effect of putting a light oil into the cable - grit can enter a dry housing as well, and most housing these days is not pointed up into the weather nor located at the bottom bracket anyway. A spray lubricant with a hose can be used to flush out housing. If you don't have stainless cables and they have any rust at all replace both cable and housing.

Last edited by cny-bikeman; 11-17-14 at 07:14 AM.
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Old 11-17-14, 07:55 AM
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If it didn't do it before the accident and did after, you have damaged the cable or housing. Make sure it hasn't been tugged into a tight loop along the run. If you find nothing take it back to the LBS where you bought it there should be a warranty if it is a defective cable and if it is grit you will waste more time fiddling with it than a new cable costs.
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Old 11-17-14, 09:05 AM
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It could be friction in the cable housing. But also check if your brake is misadjusted so that the cable tension is too low. When you release the brake lever, if the pads contact the rim well before the lever reaches the fully released position, then as the lever moves the rest of the way to the fully released position, there is no cable tension to hold the cable housing end in the lever body. Either the head of the cable will pop out of the lever (this happens inside the lever body so you can't see it), or the cable housing end pops out of the lever body.

You can do a quick check by turning the knurled adjuster on the lever body out (counterclockwise) which effectively increases the cable tension. If that solves the problem, then turn the adjuster back in (turn clockwise until it stops, then back it off/turn counterclockwise about 2 turns; note there is a second knurled ring that unlocks/locks the adjuster, it is the black ring in the video above), loosen the cable clamp on the brake, hold the brake closed (pads touching the rim), pull the cable snugly tight, and retighten the clamp. This sometimes seems to require three hands, so there is a "third hand" tool that holds the brake closed and leaves your other hands free to pull the cable and tighten the clamp bolt. But you can manage with two hands - or a helper - or simply bring the bike to the shop that sold it for a post-sale checkup.
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Old 11-17-14, 12:47 PM
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Well, I just got home and found that the lube that I applied to the cables has definitely alleviated a lot of the problem. I'm going to spend the next few days re-cleaning and lubing the cables with rubbing alcohol and bike oil. Now, one last problem here though. My back brakes are still very weak. I bought this bike new two month ago and I have used almost exclusively the rear brakes. When I took off my rear brakes though they seemed to have rubber left on them and the grooves were still there. I used sand paper on them and cleaned the wheel rims and that worked a little bit, but I still can't help feeling that I need new brakes. If I pull more cable through the pinch bolt to get more brake pressure on the rims, the calipers will be so close to each other that the boot is almost totally squished together. I'll keep on working on this issue until it's fixed, even if I have to replace the cables, housing and pads.

Thanks so far.
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Old 11-17-14, 01:10 PM
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When you say the 'cable clamp' do you mean the pinch bolt through which the brake cable goes through and is adjusted using an allen key? I'm no mechanic so sorry about the questions.
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Old 11-17-14, 01:11 PM
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Originally Posted by jyl View Post
It could be friction in the cable housing. But also check if your brake is misadjusted so that the cable tension is too low. When you release the brake lever, if the pads contact the rim well before the lever reaches the fully released position, then as the lever moves the rest of the way to the fully released position, there is no cable tension to hold the cable housing end in the lever body. Either the head of the cable will pop out of the lever (this happens inside the lever body so you can't see it), or the cable housing end pops out of the lever body.

You can do a quick check by turning the knurled adjuster on the lever body out (counterclockwise) which effectively increases the cable tension. If that solves the problem, then turn the adjuster back in (turn clockwise until it stops, then back it off/turn counterclockwise about 2 turns; note there is a second knurled ring that unlocks/locks the adjuster, it is the black ring in the video above), loosen the cable clamp on the brake, hold the brake closed (pads touching the rim), pull the cable snugly tight, and retighten the clamp. This sometimes seems to require three hands, so there is a "third hand" tool that holds the brake closed and leaves your other hands free to pull the cable and tighten the clamp bolt. But you can manage with two hands - or a helper - or simply bring the bike to the shop that sold it for a post-sale checkup.
When you say the 'cable clamp' do you mean the pinch bolt through which the brake cable goes through and is adjusted using an allen key? I'm no mechanic so sorry about the questions.
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Old 11-17-14, 01:16 PM
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It's pretty plain to see that the cable and housing was severely compromised near the lever. Replace the cable and housing and the problem will go away.
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Old 11-17-14, 01:24 PM
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Agree... new die drawn cables and fresh housing..
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Old 11-17-14, 01:44 PM
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In that video, either there's a friction issue along the cable/housing somewhere, or the housing is too short relative to the length of cable as if the cable might've slipped some at the brake's cable clamp. I might try disconnecting the cable at the brake and testing friction with the cable in place on the bike. There could be a friction problem that's exacerbated by a kink or curve in the cable routing that isn't apparent when the cable is run through the housing off the bike.

Also, keep in mind that a video of someone else's problem might not be exactly the same as yours. The housing/ferrule might pop out of the lever similarly, but the underlying problem could be different. Someone might spot a problem in the video that doesn't apply to your situation, or conversely, your problem might be something that's visually obvious to an experienced mechanic but looks correct in the video.

Last edited by SkyDog75; 11-17-14 at 01:48 PM.
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Old 11-17-14, 02:21 PM
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Originally Posted by TrekRider1 View Post
When you say the 'cable clamp' do you mean the pinch bolt through which the brake cable goes through and is adjusted using an allen key? I'm no mechanic so sorry about the questions.
Yes, pinch bolt.

Why are you using only the rear brakes? The rear brakes are much less effective than the front brakes, even if everything is working perfectly, and in an emergency they will not stop you quickly - you'll just lock up the rear wheel and slide into the car or whatever. Learn to use the front brakes.

Rear brake pads are almost certainly fine, with only two months' use.

By "boot" I assume you mean the rubber accordion boot that goes over the brake cable, between the arms of the V-brake. It doesn't really matter if it is squished, but it does sound odd.

I think you should post clear pictures of the brake, cable housing, and brake lever. Or take the bike to your shop. This sounds like something that we (or your mechanic) have to see to diagnose.

Last edited by jyl; 11-17-14 at 02:27 PM.
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Old 11-17-14, 02:59 PM
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Just shorten the frickn' cable
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Old 11-17-14, 04:13 PM
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I noticed you said you were relying almost totally on your rear brake... You should be relying far more on your front brake than your rear brake. The rear provides handling control and a small measure of extra stopping power (especially downhill), but isn't your primary brake. Think of what happens when you brake. Your weight is shifted to the wheel that you're applying the most braking force to, just like with a car. If all (or almost all) of your braking power is at the rear, your weight shifts rearward and off the front wheel, which reduces your handling ability severely (dangerously so if you have any speed). If I had to choose only one functional brake, it would be the front in almost all riding circumstances.
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Old 11-17-14, 04:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Cross Creek View Post
I noticed you said you were relying almost totally on your rear brake... You should be relying far more on your front brake than your rear brake. The rear provides handling control and a small measure of extra stopping power (especially downhill), but isn't your primary brake. Think of what happens when you brake. Your weight is shifted to the wheel that you're applying the most braking force to, just like with a car. If all (or almost all) of your braking power is at the rear, your weight shifts rearward and off the front wheel, which reduces your handling ability severely (dangerously so if you have any speed). If I had to choose only one functional brake, it would be the front in almost all riding circumstances.
While I agree with the suggestion to use one's ft brake, the stated logic isn't correct. When one applies a brake the weight shift is forwards, (remember objects in motion try to remain so). This is why the rear wheel will be far more likely to skid, as the weight it is pressed onto the road is lessened when braking WITH EITHER BRAKE. So maximum braking when using only the rear is limited to the lessened traction the rear tire ends up with. Not many people have the handling skill to safely steer a bike with the rear wheel skidding. Now when one uses the front brake alone or in tandem with the rear the weight transfer to the ft tire increases it's traction allowing far more braking force before skidding. (The extreme of this is an endo, where the rear tire lifts off the road's surface.)

So use both brakes every time one stops because without practice and confidence in how to modulate the ft brake one might not be able to control it in an emergency stop. Andy.
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Old 11-17-14, 04:52 PM
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According to Jan Heine, if you don't brake hard enough to lock up the rear wheel (using only the rear brake) your weight doesn't shift forward. Experienced riders (probably most of us on this forum) know instinctively that braking with only or mostly the rear brake will greatly increase our stopping distance or make our bike unstable (depending on how hard we brake), even if we haven't thought through the physics or tested it like Heine. For the OP, and all new riders, here is a great little article that will make you a better, more confident rider: How to Brake on a Bicycle | Off The Beaten Path
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Old 11-17-14, 08:21 PM
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CC- As welcome as I am to read Jan's mag (I subscribe) I find his conclusions to be just wrong sometimes. (His take on tandems, recently, had some real gems)

I suggest that you or anyone who is truly interested in understanding the forces at play to read Bicycling Science 3 by David Gordon Wilson. To our discussion pages 243 through 248 are particularly of note.

"We assume that the rear brake is strong enough to lock the rear wheel if desired, and that the coefficient of friction(u) between the tire and road surface is 0.8. Then the maximum ******ing force is 0.8xFv,t is somewhat less than the value during steady level riding or when the bicycle is stationary, because deceleration results in more reaction being taken by the front wheel." page 246, from the sub section of rear wheel-only braking.

Sometimes what we feel is real and sometimes what we want to feel isn't.

But, again, I have no issue with your advice. I just like to explain things correctly. Andy.
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Old 11-18-14, 09:14 AM
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Originally Posted by Cross Creek View Post
According to Jan Heine, if you don't brake hard enough to lock up the rear wheel (using only the rear brake) your weight doesn't shift forward.
I think that's a mis-quote, or misunderstanding ot the text. Here's the closest match out of your link:
If you can apply the rear brake without locking up the rear wheel, then your weight isn’t shifting forward – a clear sign that you aren’t braking as hard as you should!

Isn't and doesn't are not the same.

Forward weight shift isn't a on/off thing. It'll happen no matter how the bike is braked. It'll happen no matter how softly the bike is braked.
Only that at casual braking, the amount of forward shift is so small that we just write off the forces involved as part of the normal dynamics of riding. They're still there though. Restrain the bike and inertia will continue to push the rider forward
There's no choice in the matter. As long as Rider CoG is higher than the point where the braking force is being applied, the bike will try to rotate forward, or the rider will come off the bike.
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Old 11-18-14, 09:24 AM
  #21  
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if the bike is 2 months old, bring it to the LBS, it's a pretty simple repair, they may even do it for free even though it was your fall which likely caused it
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Old 11-28-14, 02:39 AM
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Hi people, I think I have finally resolved this issue with my rear brakes. I cleaned the brake cable and increased the tension on the brake cable as well. The ferrule still comes out a little bit especially when it is cold out, but for the most part it now stays in place. I'll just keep the cables clean as possible and the tension proper.

Thanks.
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Old 11-28-14, 06:55 AM
  #23  
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It's nice that it's working better, but the ferrule should not come out at all. Unless the pads are initially a long way from the rim it's not possible to increase the cable tension by merely placing the shoes closer to the rim. You're just hiding the problem that way, because the cable is not moving as far. You asked for advice but it's not clear you've followed much of it, such as isolating the caliper to see if that's the problem, or returning it to the shop.

Good luck - you may need it as there's no rule that says there are not other problems on the bike of which you are not aware. ALL new bikes should be returned to the shop within the free adjustment period to have everything checked.

Last edited by cny-bikeman; 11-28-14 at 07:02 AM.
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