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ultegra front derailleur won't shift down under cable tension

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ultegra front derailleur won't shift down under cable tension

Old 03-10-15, 05:43 PM
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ultegra front derailleur won't shift down under cable tension

I just finished a tour, and got dirt everywhere in my bike from rain, dirt trails, and laying my bike sideways on the beach to chase after girls (unsuccessfully). So I tried blasting the internals of the shifter with organic cleaner, and when that wasn't enough, I blasted it with a water jet. now's it's grit free, but the shifter will now only downshift if I don't apply too much tension to the cable. If I hook it up to a derailleur, it won't downshift because the tension from the FD spring is too high. I''ve never messed with brifters before. why is this happening?
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Old 03-10-15, 05:56 PM
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I'm a bit confused about what you;re describing.

So we have our terminology straight, a downshift is when going from large to small chainring, and so a normal FD will do so if you disconnect the cable --- that's unless it's a "high normal which upshifts on the spring and downshifts by cable.

I'm also having problems figuring out if you have a problem with the shifter or FD itself. So start by down shifting to the slack cable position by working the lever while you add some tension o the cable by pulling it away from the down tube like a bow string.

Now shift the FD back and forth by pulling the wire away from the frame, instead of the lever. If the FD shifts OK this way, proceed to test the lever similarly by jamming a pencil in the FD so it stays in high, and working the lever against hand tension. You should feel the cable release clean and let you pull it out without any force at all.

If the lever doesn't release clean, the issue might be dust and dirt within the lever, or, more commonly, cable friction in the HB to frame cable section.

BTW- if you have a high normal FD the diagnostic process is the same, but reversed.

So, take your time, and isolate the FD, cable, and levers so you know where the problem is, then attend to it accordingly. If all three check out OK, but don't work together, then it's a setup/adjustment problem.
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Old 03-10-15, 06:02 PM
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Originally Posted by FBinNY
I'm a bit confused about what you;re describing.

So we have our terminology straight, a downshift is when going from large to small chainring, and so a normal FD will do so if you disconnect the cable --- that's unless it's a "high normal which upshifts on the spring and downshifts by cable.

I'm also having problems figuring out if you have a problem with the shifter or FD itself. So start by down shifting to the slack cable position by working the lever while you add some tension o the cable by pulling it away from the down tube like a bow string.

Now shift the FD back and forth by pulling the wire away from the frame, instead of the lever. If the FD shifts OK this way, proceed to test the lever similarly by jamming a pencil in the FD so it stays in high, and working the lever against hand tension. You should feel the cable release clean and let you pull it out without any force at all.

If the lever doesn't release clean, the issue might be dust and dirt within the lever, or, more commonly, cable friction in the HB to frame cable section.

BTW- if you have a high normal FD the diagnostic process is the same, but reversed.

So, take your time, and isolate the FD, cable, and levers so you know where the problem is, then attend to it accordingly. If all three check out OK, but don't work together, then it's a setup/adjustment problem.
nothing wrong with cable friction, nothing wrong with front derailleur. the problem is in the shifter. if I pull the cable too tight, the small lever won't release (hence won't downshift into the smaller chainring). if I leave the cable with slack, the lever will release, but it's finicky. I've already blasted the shifter through and through. all the dirt and grease are gone, I'm pretty sure
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Old 03-10-15, 06:12 PM
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i should mention that the shifter is a triple, and I'm pairing that with a double. still, I'm leaving slack in the cable, so it shouldn't matter
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Old 03-10-15, 06:13 PM
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Originally Posted by spectastic
nothing wrong with cable friction, nothing wrong with front derailleur. the problem is in the shifter. if I pull the cable too tight, the small lever won't release (hence won't downshift into the smaller chainring). if I leave the cable with slack, the lever will release, but it's finicky. I've already blasted the shifter through and through. all the dirt and grease are gone, I'm pretty sure
OK, so now we know where to look for issues. Based on what you've said, I suspect you've made the all too common error of using the outer (high) limit to adjust trim. You're cable is short so the FD wants to move out too mach, and is jamming up against the stop. I say this because you descibe higher or lower tension in the cable, which should have the SAME tension in both gars, namely that from the FD spring only.

Start by shifting by direct pull on the wire and backing off the outer limit until the chain overshifts and dumps to the outside. Now, shifting back and forth bring the limit until you reliably cannot dump the chain, and leave it there. Now adjust trim in high gear by adjusting the cable length alone. 90% of the time, a correctly adjusted FD will be able to move out a hair from the correctly trimmed HG position, to where it bumps the limit.

By analogy, thinking about driving the right lane on a bridge. There's a barrier to keep you from moving over and going into the drink. But you drive the lane and do not drive rubbing along on the barrier.

If you've been making the mistake I described earlier, the escape latch in the lever might have suffered excess wear or distortion, but if it's not too bad, it should settle in if you fix things now.
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Old 03-10-15, 06:13 PM
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Maybe replace the lubricant you flushed out of the shifter?
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Old 03-10-15, 06:20 PM
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Originally Posted by FBinNY
OK, so now we know where to look for issues. Based on what you've said, I suspect you've made the all too common error of using the outer (high) limit to adjust trim. You're cable is short so the FD wants to move out too mach, and is jamming up against the stop. I say this because you descibe higher or lower tension in the cable, which should have the SAME tension in both gars, namely that from the FD spring only.

Start by shifting by direct pull on the wire and backing off the outer limit until the chain overshifts and dumps to the outside. Now, shifting back and forth bring the limit until you reliably cannot dump the chain, and leave it there. Now adjust trim in high gear by adjusting the cable length alone. 90% of the time, a correctly adjusted FD will be able to move out a hair from the correctly trimmed HG position, to where it bumps the limit.

By analogy, thinking about driving the right lane on a bridge. There's a barrier to keep you from moving over and going into the drink. But you drive the lane and do not drive rubbing along on the barrier.

If you've been making the mistake I described earlier, the escape latch in the lever might have suffered excess wear or distortion, but if it's not too bad, it should settle in if you fix things now.
I don't currently have the cable attached at all. I'm just pulling on the cable with my pliers. If I just give it a little tension, the shifter works fine. if I pull on it some more, the shifter gets stuck.

I know what you're saying with the limiter screw, but that's not the case here. the cable tension exerted by the FD spring is jamming the shifter, not the limiting screw.
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Old 03-10-15, 06:23 PM
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Originally Posted by spectastic
...I've already blasted the shifter through and through. all the dirt and grease are gone, I'm pretty sure
I suspect that you will need to replace the lubricant you blasted out.

Not sure what "organic cleaner" is but if you didn't get it all (or the water) out that may be causing problems as well.

Hopefully the internals have not rusted :0
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Old 03-10-15, 06:33 PM
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Originally Posted by spectastic
I don't currently have the cable attached at all. I'm just pulling on the cable with my pliers. If I just give it a little tension, the shifter works fine. if I pull on it some more, the shifter gets stuck.

I know what you're saying with the limiter screw, but that's not the case here. the cable tension exerted by the FD spring is jamming the shifter, not the limiting screw.
OK more flush, followed by some light oil. The escapement will either start working, or if badly worn, distorted or burred, won't. These aren't fixable in the classic sense, all you can do is clear out whatever i jamming them and oil. Then light a candle to the god of shifters and hope for the best.
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Old 03-10-15, 06:54 PM
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Originally Posted by FBinNY
OK more flush, followed by some light oil. The escapement will either start working, or if badly worn, distorted or burred, won't. These aren't fixable in the classic sense, all you can do is clear out whatever i jamming them and oil. Then light a candle to the god of shifters and hope for the best.
I'm guessing it just needs to be rinsed some more, considering it was working fine right until I started saturating it with degreaser. I dunked it in my "magic blend" and it's sitting outside right now to dry.
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Old 03-10-15, 07:01 PM
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Originally Posted by spectastic
I'm guessing it just needs to be rinsed some more, considering it was working fine right until I started saturating it with degreaser. I dunked it in my "magic blend" and it's sitting outside right now to dry.
sounds more like it want's some light oil to replace what you washed away. When you finish the soak/rinse shake it out and let it dry, then use some tri-flow or a light oil and try again.
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Old 03-10-15, 09:24 PM
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no dice. thoroughly sprayed silicon lube through shifter. still having problems. damit
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Old 03-10-15, 09:32 PM
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Originally Posted by spectastic
no dice. thoroughly sprayed silicon lube through shifter. still having problems. damit
Are you 100% sure it's not a cable thing, maybe a fray up in or near the lever.

Otherwise it may be dead, or possibly someone knowledgeable might be able to see something if he has it in his hands.

If you had a location in your profile (or least an approximate location) someone might be able to refer you to someone with good skills.
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Old 03-10-15, 09:35 PM
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Originally Posted by FBinNY
Are you 100% sure it's not a cable thing, maybe a fray up in or near the lever.

Otherwise it may be dead, or possibly someone knowledgeable might be able to see something if he has it in his hands.

If you had a location in your profile (or least an approximate location) someone might be able to refer you to someone with good skills.
yeah, it's not the cable. I tried taking out the housing entirely, and even switching out with a new cable. the small lever gets stuck
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Old 03-11-15, 03:03 AM
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If it's a Shimano dual trigger type shifter you can open it up and there are pawns that get stuck with dried up grease. A little movement of the pawls and light cleaning of build up usually gets it free. Follow up with Triflow and it should work. Take care not to bend anything or let anything pop out of place. A good trick is to take pictures of each step incase something goes wrong.
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Old 03-11-15, 06:35 AM
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fixed

video explains everything

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yluBRlqllUE
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