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Mountain bike shifter question

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Mountain bike shifter question

Old 12-01-14, 01:25 PM
  #1  
sevenmag
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Mountain bike shifter question

I have an old Gary Fisher Marlin with an 8 speed shifter. It no longer downshifts consistently. The thumb lever doesn't grab often so I have to try it several times before it will shift.

The bike is totally for utility purposes and doesn't see a ton of riding so I don't want to buy a top of the line shifter for it. I've looked at new shifters but what I can't seem to figure out is the name of the entry level shifter, or any decent yet inexpensive replacement trigger shifter.

Thanks.
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Old 12-01-14, 01:32 PM
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The lower level Shimano MTB lines are (from lower to higher): Altus, Acera, Alivio.

Before replacing the shifter, try dousing the moving parts in WD-40 as you work the levers. Often the old grease gums up and doesn't allow the little pawls to catch on each other. There should be a cover held on by a screw or two that you can remove to get to the moving parts.
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Old 12-01-14, 01:32 PM
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Try hitting with a serious blast of WD-40 or similar internally first. Often it's just the grease inside that gets gummed up.
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Old 12-01-14, 01:33 PM
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Hose down the innards with WD 40 or similar to loosen the old grease.
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Old 12-01-14, 01:34 PM
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Looks like unanimous (and excellent) advice. That rarely happens around here- must be the after-effects of too much turkey...
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Old 12-01-14, 01:41 PM
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Many thanks for the replies. I'll drag the bike home and give that shifter a good cleaning.
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Old 12-01-14, 01:51 PM
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Cable and housing can also Probably be replaced .. Get die drawn slicked cables and Low compression Housing.
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Old 12-01-14, 02:55 PM
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Excellent advice here, but if you really want it shifting like new, go a step further... Once the housing is off, you will find two little spring loaded hooks. Each of these should have a tiny c-clip on top holding them on their pin. Remove the c-clip and carefully take the hooks off, being very careful not to bend/break/lose the springs or clips in the process. Use WD-40 to thoroughly clean the pins and the inside of the hooks and any other caked on grease on the gears, etc. Once everything is nice and clean, lube it liberally with your favorite. I use Tri-flow and/or Boeshield T9. Be sure to lube the pins and the inside of the hooks. Reassemble, reinstall, and adjust the shifting.

I've gotten to where I can break one of these down, clean it and reassemble in 15-30 minutes and believe me, it makes a world of difference. I also second the suggestions of replacing the cables while you're at it.
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Old 12-01-14, 04:49 PM
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My gosh, you removed the prawls and cleaned them? You are a brave and talented man. Those are awfully tiny parts. My suggestion, which worked for me, was opening up the housing and spraying that prawl and spring with wd-40 or similar and then scrubbing it with a toothbrush to remove all the old goop. Then visibly work it back and forth across the shifting range. Once you know it is working reassemble it. If all else fails, new 8 speed set-ups are inexpensive.

Last edited by Jicafold; 12-01-14 at 04:52 PM.
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Old 12-01-14, 04:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Jicafold View Post
My gosh, you removed the prawls and cleaned them? You are a brave and talented man. Those are awfully tiny parts. My suggestion, which worked for me, was opening up the housing and spraying that prawl and spring with wd-40 and then scrubbing it with a toothbrush to remove all the old goop. Then visibly work it back and forth across the shifting range. Once you know it is working reassemble it.
Well, it doesn't hurt that I worked as a watch repairman for about 5 years, and compared to those, the shifters weren't that tiny! And it really makes those things work like new. The toothbrush method will work well in all but the extreme cases like the last set I did. It turned out that the grease on the pivot pins inside the hooks had become nearly like glue and there was no way to get them working without dis-assembly; thankfully this isn't the case on 90% of them.

I will say that the gumming up issue seems endemic to Shimano's indexed trigger shifters. Over time, they just need a good cleaning out to keep them working properly.
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Old 12-01-14, 06:31 PM
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The only new 8 speed shifter you can purchase is lower end and inexpensive.
http://www.amazon.com/s?rh=n%3A34049...n%3A3552332011
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Old 12-03-14, 12:55 AM
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Don't listen to these guys, just spray some wd-40, I don't even know what they're talking about...
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Old 12-03-14, 04:50 PM
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At the shop we soak the pods (plastic covers removed. One version has a sandwiched "sealing" ring of plastic which will grow in size with solvent exposure). We work the pawl on their pivot posts both rotationally as well as laterally. Air hose out the solvent when all works. Spray in Triflow, cycle through the clicks, air hose out the Triflow, add more Triflow, work in again, add Phil Ten. oil, work in, air blow out, add more Phil again work in, let drain off, then as a last step brush on/in some grease. The grease keeps the oil inside and feed more in over time.

I've done this method, more or less, for years after stopping the actual removal of the pawls (lost a clip or two before and decided that the above worked as well). I've seen some pods come back with stickiness again after a recent simple addition of spray lube. So I've decided to take the high road if we're being paid for the job. Takes about 25 minutes all together, we require a new cable to be installed, and charge $20-30 plus cable. I do simply spray already working pods (road and mountain) often on a judgment basis. Andy.
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