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A tip for those rusty cables!!

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A tip for those rusty cables!!

Old 08-28-09, 11:27 PM
  #1  
soonerbills
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A tip for those rusty cables!!

How many times have you worked on a vintage bike and were frustrated by the fact that you spent a lot of time making it look great with new paint,tires and lots of hours of cleaning and polishing just to have to put back on rusty cables because you could not find ones with the right ends?
Or maybe you hate to replace a cable that besides a little discoloration there is noting wrong with?

Here's tip that will give your old bike a little more class and save you a little change and maybe a headache from finding that right cable tip.

Here's a brake cable that's a little rusty but otherwise fine
note: don't reuse a cable that's brittle or suspect!



Clean the cable using a piece of Scotchbrite and some solvent
Dry with a paper towel


Pictured here is a tube ampule containing automotive quality glass sealant primer used for urethane adhesives.
These ampules can be obtained at any auto glass shop cheaply and most will be happy to give it to you free if you are nice!
You can buy this at most auto parts stores in bulk bottle but the stuff has a limited shelf life. it will probably dry up before you use 10% of it.



Squeeze the ampule with your fingers to break the glass. Keep squeezing until the primer drips from the felt wick.



Apply the primer to the cable by rubbing. Bend and twist the cable so the primer will go into the strands. Be generous!


The primer takes about 2 minutes to flash and about 10 minutes to dry. Wait for the primer to completely dry before doing multiple coats.


This application will last a long time and withstand all kinds of weather. The primer drys to a fairly flexible finish so it can withstand bending. Also this type of primer is self etching so it will create a permanent bond with metal over time and is a rust inhibitor. Finally it,as a primer makes for a base if you decide you want to apply color touch up to your cables for a personal touch
Oh,! and also it's great for covering paint chips on frames. you can carry a ampule in your kitty bag for hitting sudden chips on the road til you can fix it right!

Hope ya'll find this helpfull!
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Old 08-29-09, 12:11 AM
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Or, you could just rub in a little grease.
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Old 08-29-09, 12:23 AM
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I second the warning on old brittle cables. Exposed derailleur wires are more susceptible to the age embrittlement and corrosion because they are vunerable to the elements, unlike brake cables that are mostly encased their entire lives. My front derailleur cable recently splintered really badly near the bottom bracket cable guides. I had to change both derailleur cables recently because of this fraying symptom. I guess it was time to anyway. I think I only changed them once sind I owned my bike in the 80's!

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Old 08-29-09, 12:37 AM
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I used to re-use shifter cables on my flips, but they are so cheap to replace I just put new ones on anymore. Looks better, functions better, and I feel better when the bike goes out the door.
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Old 08-29-09, 01:02 AM
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Or, you could just rub in a little grease.

And end up with rusty cable covered with grease

I used to re-use shifter cables on my flips, but they are so cheap to replace I just put new ones on anymore. Looks better, functions better, and I feel better when the bike goes out the door.

The tip is mainly for those cables that are some what specialized in their application though obviously can be used in general cable applications.

But the point is cosmetic improvement with preservation as a nice side benefit.
I posted the tip in the hope of passing on a idea that works for me. If you disprove or find it unnecessary I'm sorry if I wasted your time!
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Old 08-29-09, 06:34 AM
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S.B. you are talking my language. I usually clean the cables with very fine sandpaper and then apply a coat of motor oil and grease, and then drip oil into the cable housing end. I then run it back and forth inside the cable housing, clean off the cable if it picks up rust and reapply oil and grease to it. A bad cable is very rusty (as well as the inside of the housing), frayed at the end that secures into the anchor bolt, or at the "ball" end inside the brake lever or shifter. If somebody is working on a very profitable flip, though, they could afford to use new cables and tires and tubes and brake pads, especially since they are good selling points. Our approaches are good for general maintenace on "keepers". "Waste not, want not"
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Old 08-29-09, 06:55 AM
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Originally Posted by soonerbills
Or, you could just rub in a little grease.

And end up with rusty cable covered with grease

I used to re-use shifter cables on my flips, but they are so cheap to replace I just put new ones on anymore. Looks better, functions better, and I feel better when the bike goes out the door.

The tip is mainly for those cables that are some what specialized in their application though obviously can be used in general cable applications.

But the point is cosmetic improvement with preservation as a nice side benefit.
I posted the tip in the hope of passing on a idea that works for me. If you disprove or find it unnecessary I'm sorry if I wasted your time!




You should change that to: "I'm glad I wasted the time of idiots who have nothing better to do than troll a freely given tip".

Though I might never actually use this, I appreciate you taking the time to offer it.
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Old 08-29-09, 08:07 AM
  #8  
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Originally Posted by bluegoatwoods
You should change that to: "I'm glad I wasted the time of idiots who have nothing better to do than troll a freely given tip".

Though I might never actually use this, I appreciate you taking the time to offer it.
That's why I don't bother to post tips anymore.
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Old 08-29-09, 08:14 AM
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Thanks for the tip! I always read, and hopefully file, all tips for future reference.

You just never know when one will be very handy, indeed.

Keep 'em coming.......
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Old 08-29-09, 08:50 AM
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Originally Posted by bluegoatwoods
You should change that to: "I'm glad I wasted the time of idiots who have nothing better to do than troll a freely given tip".

Though I might never actually use this, I appreciate you taking the time to offer it.
Nice.

Here's another tip - for shifter cables, leave the head end in the shifter, and pull the loose end toward you, tight. Spray with WD-40, and run up and down it with one of those metal pot scrubbers. That knocks all the crud off and shoe-shines it up some.

But it's still not worth the effort because they are usually brittle and will be prone to breaking. But for "specialty" cables as in the OP's example, sometimes you need to do what you gotta do to get the job done.

EDIT: Here's a thought - I'm going to grab some old rusty cables and give them the Oxalic Acid treatment. They are steel, after all. I'll report back.
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Old 08-29-09, 09:34 AM
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Alumimum foil works...

If you have to or even just want to reuse a cosmetically challenged inner cable, simply rub it with crumpled up aluminum foil. The foil will remove most of the oxidation and color the cable its natural silver color. That said...

I agree with others. If you can replace the cable with a new one, do so. It is the best way to go.
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Old 08-29-09, 09:53 AM
  #12  
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Does steel wire ever get brittle under the conditions we see on bike cables? I would not have thought so. I think there are only three conditions to consider when looking at used cables:

-are they kinked? If so, they will create too much friction in the housing. Discard.
-are any strands broken? If so, they will hang up in the housings. Discard far away.
-is the outer surface especially rough? (typically from corrosion). If so, they create too much friction. Either discard, or maybe see if they can be made smooth again.

Seems to me like there are no other variables that need to be considered given the properties of steel wire.

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Old 08-29-09, 11:31 AM
  #13  
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Originally Posted by bluegoatwoods
You should change that to: "I'm glad I wasted the time of idiots who have nothing better to do than troll a freely given tip".

Though I might never actually use this, I appreciate you taking the time to offer it.
Tact will get you everywhere, eh?

but I, too appreciate the time it took to offer the thread.

I'm in exactly that boat with some centerpull Weinmann's on a mixte upgrade, so I may give it a try. My only other option is to use an MTB setup like afilado did on his mixte, so I'm quite interested in this one.
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