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Vintage cable housing rehab/re-use?

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Vintage cable housing rehab/re-use?

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Old 01-11-19, 09:28 AM
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Vintage cable housing rehab/re-use?

Did a search but I couldn't find exactly what I was looking for...

I want to re-use the ribbed/grid brake cable housing on my Raleigh Professional with new cables on the inside. As far as good ideas, besides just getting entirely new cables/housing:
- How can I clean the inside of the housing? Shoot some WD-40 or solvent in there to clean it?
- How should I re-lube the housing? Some grease on the ends? I assume the new cable would be Teflon infused, or something like that so it wouldn't be too critical.

I understand this isn't the absolute best idea, but I'm trying to maintain the aesthetic of the bike. It has been tough trying to source white ribbed/gridded housing.

Thanks!
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Old 01-11-19, 09:39 AM
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I like to continue using both the original cables and housing. WD-40 is good and then follow up with a mix of grease like Phil's and Tri-Flow on the cable. Often, with regular use, the cables start to work a little more smoothly. Sometimes, not so much. It is a slippery slope. I just replaced a rear shifter cable and housing to improve performance on one of my bikes. Now, I think the brakes could use new cables, probably housing, and probably blocks to replace the 32 year old hard as a rock blocks, then what? Everything works good enough but...
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Old 01-11-19, 09:53 AM
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I think one can still buy ribbed housing, but I'm not sure on that.

I would not use lubricant in the housing it can get gummy and create a stiff pull and slow release and drag. You should be fine with just changing the cable. For cleaning the inner housing I'd put the cable through with a couple of douses of paint thinner.
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Old 01-11-19, 10:00 AM
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There's no reason not to reuse the housing if it's still in reasonably good condition. Make sure to trim and regrind any mangled ends if necessary.

Yeah, you could squirt some WD40 or solvent in there and let it drip out if you want to clean it. I'd suggest letting them dry well or blowing them out with a compressor. For lubrication, typically the cables only would be greased, rather heavily. This is probably obvious but bears repeating: grease MUST be used with old style unlined housing. Yeah, you can squirt some triflow into the housings if you want, in addition to greasing the cables. I used to do that occasionally.

FWIW ribbed housing is still available from Italy. Someone posted a source a while back.
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Old 01-11-19, 10:06 AM
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WD-40 then let drip though housing length. Important to blow it out with compressed air! You would be amazed what get ejected. Not the kind of mess you want still in the housing.

Some housing are passed saving. Your call.
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Old 01-11-19, 10:13 AM
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You can also Amazon/Google/eBay what ever housing floats your boat. Jagwire makes just about every color under the sun. I think they are expensive for my taste, but always worth it in the end. Sterling silver braid is my go to.

For an old Peugeot, I found some no-name brown housing in bulk rolls for $5. It's the same stuff you find in the bike shops. Better than black/white being the only option.

Here is an example: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B076T76MFN/

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Old 01-11-19, 10:15 AM
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I save lengths of old housing as long as the plastic coating is still in one piece and there are no signs of rust. Usually it's greasy enough from previous use, and when mounting I sometimes put in a drop of light oil before I thread the cable through. More often than not I don't bother, though.

I reuse it when I want a correct vintage look, especially in white. New white housing is much too white to look nice on an older bike, IMO.

Here's an example where I took the trouble of selecting a few lengths of sufficiently yellowed housing to blend in with the rest:

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Old 01-11-19, 10:44 AM
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Thank you all for the responses so far! I'm a bit reassured that the old housings are being used if they're still in good enough shape. Definitely trying to stay with the white...I did see in another thread where someone used the gray Vespa brake housings -- almost identical except for the color.

Ok, I'll clean and trim it and then blow some compressed air and hopefully that'll do the trick.
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Old 01-11-19, 11:20 AM
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You can be somewhat thankful that Raleigh, apparently, didn't use the grey housings that came with Campagnolo Record brake sets,
and sourced their own white housing, probably for aesthetic reasons.
Talk about expensive, and very difficult to procure , if you can find them, the original Campagnolo housings are nearly unobtanium.
I never threw those away.
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Old 01-11-19, 11:27 AM
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Unless the bike has been stored upside-down, and/or the cables actually corroded heavily inside of the housing, I never bother to clean the inside of an UNLINED housing.
I am careful to first wipe off the exposed cables before pulling then through and out of the housings, since I don't want to pull dirt or rust through the inside of the housing.
The white powder corrosion that often appears on galvanized wires even inside of the housings is actually an effective steel-on-steel lubricant that is best left inside of an unlined housing before adding grease or oil.
Any cleaning solvent would inevitably get trapped between coils (and between the vinyl covering and the coils), where (depending on the solvent type) it might soften or swell the covering (and will tend to dilute the new grease).
I prefer to inject a bit of light grease into the end of the housing that the cable will be fed into, and also apply grease to the inner wire during assembly.

As Salamandrine mentioned, it's most important to cut off a minimum of length of any housing damaged where it exits a non-aero brake lever, this alone can make a huge difference and is worth the effort of pulling and reinstalling the cable wire.

Lined housings are a different animal, the choice of lubricant seems more critical since the metal-on-plastic interface can offer extremely low friction if a silicon/Teflon lubricant made for this purpose is used. SRAM and Shimano both offer cable-specific grease that offers incredible performance with very little actually being used (since they are pricey).
Housings that are under handlebar wrap can benefit hugely by pulling out the wire, wiping down the cable with a dab of cable grease, and feeding the wire back in at the lever using a twisting (usually counter-clockwise) action to help the sharp cable end get around the sharp bend under the tape.
Lastly, when I do clean out old (usually lined) housings, the only way I've found to scrub the inside of the housing is to insert a long scrap cable that I have put a bunch of tiny bends into, sliding the bent-up cable through with some fast-drying aerosol lube and a shot of air from the presta chuck leaves the lined housing in an optimal state for re-use!



I contacted Finish Line about availability of the SRAM Jonnisnot cable/shifter lubricant that they used to make, and they mentioned that their current suspension fork slider lubricant liquid or spray is near-ideal for the metal-on-plastic sliding surfaces inside of LINED cables. I've used it just once, and found it super quick and easy to sneak some of this lube (mine is the spray version with applicator tube) into the curved V-brake "noodle" where all of the friction was coming from, and it freed the brake up well enough.


One good reason for replacing cable housings would be if the plastic covering has hardened and the housing can clatter against the top tube, the bar/stem or against the other brake housing. Ribbed housings seem more immune to causing noise issues, but typical brake housing can make a lot of annoying noise when the covering is aged and hardened.

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Old 01-11-19, 12:17 PM
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Unless you're dead-set on preserving originality, modern, die-drawn cables and lined housings are far superior to 1970s OEM parts, even the "unobtainium" Campagnolo cables and housings.
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Old 01-11-19, 12:27 PM
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Old 01-11-19, 02:50 PM
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how close is this?

Guaine freni by maurizio cavalleri, on Flickr
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Old 01-11-19, 04:48 PM
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dddd,
Thanks for the detailed response, I appreciate it. I'm unlined, so as long as it's relatively clean I'm probably in good shape. From the pics, looks like dry lube is good idea also.

Originally Posted by Big Block View Post
how close is this?

Guaine freni by maurizio cavalleri, on Flickr
Close enough!! Do you have a source for these that you'd be willing to share?

Originally Posted by Chr0m0ly View Post
That is a cool tool.
Originally Posted by JohnDThompson View Post
Unless you're dead-set on preserving originality, modern, die-drawn cables and lined housings are far superior to 1970s OEM parts, even the "unobtainium" Campagnolo cables and housings.
Yes, I'm going for originality, or as close to the original look as I can. Plus, I personally like the look.

Originally Posted by rootboy View Post
You can be somewhat thankful that Raleigh, apparently, didn't use the grey housings that came with Campagnolo Record brake sets,
and sourced their own white housing, probably for aesthetic reasons.
Talk about expensive, and very difficult to procure , if you can find them, the original Campagnolo housings are nearly unobtanium.
I never threw those away.
I've heard about your Campy stash
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Old 01-11-19, 05:19 PM
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if you follow the link from the Flickr page to
https://bellavistavintage.beepworld.it/ricambi.htm

then you want the heading "Guaine freni mille righe 9 colori" which Google translates as 9-color striped sheaths, and you want the white (Bianca)
I have previously emailed and used both English and the Google Translate and the responses were in English and readily understandable.

Alternately, there is the (Japanese) Nissen cable outers https://www.tracksupermarket.com/bra...er-casing.html
and they are available on ebay as well.

Why Japanese... because many of the Japanese collectors are perfectionists!
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Old 01-11-19, 05:32 PM
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Originally Posted by base2 View Post
You can also Amazon/Google/eBay what ever housing floats your boat. Jagwire makes just about every color under the sun. I think they are expensive for my taste, but always worth it in the end. Sterling silver braid is my go to.

For an old Peugeot, I found some no-name brown housing in bulk rolls for $5. It's the same stuff you find in the bike shops. Better than black/white being the only option.

Here is an example: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B076T76MFN/
I would agree with you- but that old Raleigh housing is ribbed- it's pretty distinctively cool looking... if you're into that sort of thing. And if you were into that sort of thing, the Jagwire stuff, regardless of how much better or how cool it is, wouldn't cut it.
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Old 01-12-19, 05:31 AM
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Originally Posted by The Golden Boy View Post
I would agree with you- but that old Raleigh housing is ribbed- it's pretty distinctively cool looking... if you're into that sort of thing. And if you were into that sort of thing, the Jagwire stuff, regardless of how much better or how cool it is, wouldn't cut it.
You're probably right. I had a budget model Centurion that had steel coils for housing. It might've cleaned up ok, but nothing would've been right. In the end I powder coated the bike, & having done that, housing type didn't matter any more. So I picked what I thought would look flashy. The sterling silver Jagwire stuff fit the bill in that case. I decided to just "own it" & it worked out well.

I get what the OP is going for. I was just trying to be helpful & suggesting that there is other obtainable options. Perfect being the enemy of good...& all that.

If the pieces of housing the OP has are useable, one potential option is to turn the housing around 180 degrees (swapping the lever end & the frame end) so that the wear & friction happens in all new places. That could be an option assuming no kinks or other problems.
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Old 01-12-19, 08:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Big Block View Post
if you follow the link from the Flickr page to
https://bellavistavintage.beepworld.it/ricambi.htm

then you want the heading "Guaine freni mille righe 9 colori" which Google translates as 9-color striped sheaths, and you want the white (Bianca)
I have previously emailed and used both English and the Google Translate and the responses were in English and readily understandable.

Alternately, there is the (Japanese) Nissen cable outers https://www.tracksupermarket.com/bra...er-casing.html
and they are available on ebay as well.

Why Japanese... because many of the Japanese collectors are perfectionists!
Thanks for this. I was on my phone earlier and didn't bother to go down the rabbit hole.

Originally Posted by base2 View Post
You're probably right. I had a budget model Centurion that had steel coils for housing. It might've cleaned up ok, but nothing would've been right. In the end I powder coated the bike, & having done that, housing type didn't matter any more. So I picked what I thought would look flashy. The sterling silver Jagwire stuff fit the bill in that case. I decided to just "own it" & it worked out well.

I get what the OP is going for. I was just trying to be helpful & suggesting that there is other obtainable options. Perfect being the enemy of good...& all that.

If the pieces of housing the OP has are useable, one potential option is to turn the housing around 180 degrees (swapping the lever end & the frame end) so that the wear & friction happens in all new places. That could be an option assuming no kinks or other problems.
That's a good idea -- also a common in NLA automotive parts like CV axles. We'll swap left-to-right after a re-pack the idea being that it's not a big deal if they're a little more worn going in reverse. Well at least it's not any worse than it was before!
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Old 01-12-19, 08:14 PM
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Originally Posted by The Golden Boy View Post
I would agree with you- but that old Raleigh housing is ribbed- it's pretty distinctively cool looking... if you're into that sort of thing. And if you were into that sort of thing, the Jagwire stuff, regardless of how much better or how cool it is, wouldn't cut it.
Yeah, I'm into it for sure

I'm relatively new here and I have to say that I'm very pleasantly surprised at all of the friendly help here. I really appreciate it and hope I can give back some stuff as I get into this hobby/lifestyle/obsession/reason for living, haha. Thank you all!
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Old 01-12-19, 08:21 PM
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What everyone has said here - I've used original housing, especially for cabling routed under the handlebar wrap. I always replace the cable itself - if I pull it and the section inside the housing looks good, no reason not to keep using it. Most bikes I've found have barely been ridden, so wear is not usually a factor.
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Old 01-12-19, 09:08 PM
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I've had good results with Boeshield T9 to refresh old cable housings until I got around to replacing them. It quickly wicks nicely down the cable. It'll make old oxidized cable tolerable but new cable in old housing feels almost as smooth as new cables/housings, as long as the original housing is in good shape.

Grease may prolong the life of cables and housings. The cable/housing kits I've purchased, or which were included with new shifters, were always pre-greased -- whether Shimano or Jagwire, even those with teflon liners. Usually entry level or mid-range cables and housings, but functional.
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Old 01-12-19, 09:10 PM
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Originally Posted by base2 View Post
You're probably right. I had a budget model Centurion that had steel coils for housing. It might've cleaned up ok, but nothing would've been right. In the end I powder coated the bike, & having done that, housing type didn't matter any more. So I picked what I thought would look flashy. The sterling silver Jagwire stuff fit the bill in that case. I decided to just "own it" & it worked out well.

I get what the OP is going for. I was just trying to be helpful & suggesting that there is other obtainable options. Perfect being the enemy of good...& all that.

If the pieces of housing the OP has are useable, one potential option is to turn the housing around 180 degrees (swapping the lever end & the frame end) so that the wear & friction happens in all new places. That could be an option assuming no kinks or other problems.

I love the braided "titanium" Jagwire housing- I've used it on pretty much every build I've done for the past 5 years or so.

IMG_0220 by Dave The Golden Boy, on Flickr


The Teflon coated cables are just gravy on it.
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