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Routing The Derailleur Cable Through The Chainstay On An Old Trek

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Routing The Derailleur Cable Through The Chainstay On An Old Trek

Old 08-17-12, 10:39 PM
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Routing The Derailleur Cable Through The Chainstay On An Old Trek

I was working on my 1986 Trek 400 Elance-

The bike is in wonderful shape- it's such a beautiful bike- I assume it's a straight gage 531 main triangle with I assume 4130 fork and stays.

For a long time, I've had the urge to "bling" up the bike, over the past few months I've gotten a few parts here and there, and when Junior was home from college, he was complaining about a squeak coming from the back end of the bike- so I decided I was going to replace the rear derailleur- I've had an old Deore XT sitting around, planning for it to go onto this bike because I thought it would look cool. Since I was doing the Rear Derailleur, I decided I was going to replace the shifters with a set of Tri-Color 600 shifters I'd bought for exactly this purpose.

After I pulled the cable, I thought how on earth does this cable go through the chainstay? I tried for like half an hour to poke the cable through. I had the bike on a Park stand, had it straight up and down, a couple of degrees back and forth- and I could NOT get that cable out the exit hole of the chainstay.

I headed to Skip Echert's Vintage Trek site and found a link to a blog with a comment- and that was it for me:


Skip's Site:

https://www.vintage-trek.com/refurbish.htm#threading

The linked site (the tongfamily website):

https://www.tongfamily.com/archives/2...ailleur-cable/

There was a comment from "Paul" mentioning a heavy needle and thread. I found the thickest needle I could and tied off a yard of thread and dropped it in. Doggone it if it didn't go right on through. I then tied the thread to the cable (about 2-3" up) and twisted the thread around the cable all the way to the end- carefully pulled it through (with the bike vertical on the stand), and it came right out.

I thought it odd that I didn't see a thread like this here (although someone will dig something up quite easily now), so I figured an easily searchable thread would be a good idea!
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Old 08-18-12, 09:30 AM
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I had to wonder if you were using a brand-new cable with welded tip, or if you were putting a used cable thru. It makes a big difference.

I recall putting a cleanly-cut used cable thru one of those, but did have to experiment a bit with a slight amount of curvature in the cable and then to poke it around perhaps a few hundred times (with the bike resting on it's wheels).
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Old 08-18-12, 09:37 AM
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I used a magnet to guide the cable on my Klein.

Another trick is to thread the cable backwards then attach the new cable to the backwards one and pull it through. Easier said than done though..
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Old 08-18-12, 10:23 AM
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Thanks for the "needle and thread" tip! Good stuff to know.

Cheers,
Chris
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Old 08-18-12, 12:23 PM
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Originally Posted by dddd View Post
I had to wonder if you were using a brand-new cable with welded tip, or if you were putting a used cable thru. It makes a big difference.

I recall putting a cleanly-cut used cable thru one of those, but did have to experiment a bit with a slight amount of curvature in the cable and then to poke it around perhaps a few hundred times (with the bike resting on it's wheels).
It's a "new" cable- but coiled in the package for 20 years.

There was a slight bend to it, so yes it was straight, but there was definitely an arc.

I don't know that the tip is welded- but it's actually cut so there's a point.
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Old 08-18-12, 01:11 PM
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Originally Posted by The Golden Boy View Post
After I pulled the cable, I thought how on earth does this cable go through the chainstay? I tried for like half an hour to poke the cable through. I had the bike on a Park stand, had it straight up and down, a couple of degrees back and forth- and I could NOT get that cable out the exit hole of the chainstay.
Those frames with internal shift cable routing left the factory with a small plastic funnel installed in the right chainstay to help guide the cable through the hole in the dropout. It works best with a new (un-kinked) cable with a soldered end.

Full disclosure: one of my duties at Trek was to make the tools that installed those little plastic funnels. It was marketing's idea to route the cable that way, not mine.
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Old 08-18-12, 06:02 PM
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Originally Posted by JohnDThompson View Post
It was marketing's idea to route the cable that way, not mine.
Methinks thou doest prostesteth too much.






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Old 08-18-12, 08:20 PM
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Methinks maybe these funnels sometimes go missing(?).
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Old 08-18-12, 09:11 PM
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I've threaded the needle with that cable on my two 400's six or eight times. Sometimes it takes a few tries, but it always goes through without too much drama. I'd make sure the end is soldered and has a bit of a point to it and then fiddle with the bends. I'm sure you can get it to go. Patience grasshopper.

Gratuitous shot of the one I most recently rebuilt. This is an amazingly nice bike to ride:



- Mark

Last edited by markjenn; 08-18-12 at 09:16 PM.
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Old 08-19-12, 06:57 AM
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Originally Posted by markjenn View Post
I've threaded the needle with that cable on my two 400's six or eight times. Sometimes it takes a few tries, but it always goes through without too much drama. I'd make sure the end is soldered and has a bit of a point to it and then fiddle with the bends. I'm sure you can get it to go. Patience grasshopper.

Gratuitous shot of the one I most recently rebuilt. This is an amazingly nice bike to ride:



- Mark
Hey Mark- I had a 400T like that. Just a touch too big for me.
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Old 08-19-12, 01:06 PM
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As long as I've used a new cable, they've always gone through in one shot for me, first time, no drama. When I've tried to reuse an old one, it's turned into a suckfest.
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Old 09-15-12, 08:45 PM
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Originally Posted by Captain Blight View Post
As long as I've used a new cable, they've always gone through in one shot for me, first time, no drama. When I've tried to reuse an old one, it's turned into a suckfest.
+10 thirty seconds
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Old 09-16-12, 08:12 AM
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Originally Posted by markjenn View Post
I've threaded the needle with that cable on my two 400's six or eight times. Sometimes it takes a few tries, but it always goes through without too much drama. I'd make sure the end is soldered and has a bit of a point to it and then fiddle with the bends. I'm sure you can get it to go. Patience grasshopper.

Gratuitous shot of the one I most recently rebuilt. This is an amazingly nice bike to ride:



- Mark
Holy crossed chains and tortured derailleurs bat man! It hurts seeing that.
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Old 07-19-13, 10:59 AM
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I couldn't get it until i got the bike at the correct angle. Then it went through with just a few tries.
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Old 07-19-13, 01:35 PM
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Originally Posted by shoota View Post
I couldn't get it until i got the bike at the correct angle. Then it went through with just a few tries.
I had to do this on a Klein. I have a Parks commercial stand, so I had the frame almost horizontal, maybe a 15 degree angle. Gravity did the rest. I took a pic of the bike on the stand. Its around here somewhere.
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Old 07-19-13, 02:54 PM
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Originally Posted by markjenn View Post
I've threaded the needle with that cable on my two 400's six or eight times. Sometimes it takes a few tries, but it always goes through without too much drama. I'd make sure the end is soldered and has a bit of a point to it and then fiddle with the bends. I'm sure you can get it to go. Patience grasshopper.

Gratuitous shot of the one I most recently rebuilt. This is an amazingly nice bike to ride:



- Mark

Pretty bike! Nice work. But I think that chain is too short.
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Old 07-19-13, 05:39 PM
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Originally Posted by oddjob2 View Post
+10 thirty seconds
What he said...
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Old 07-19-13, 07:29 PM
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The Crossed Chain of Shame! :-)
Interesting thread....have an 87 Elance sitting waiting for some love...good tip to know!
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Old 07-19-13, 07:37 PM
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This job was agony for my '85 600, and I managed to just get the cable through by sheer stupid luck after multiple attempts.

The internal routing is easily lubricated if you happen to have an old WTB GreaseGuard gun available.
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Old 07-19-13, 09:03 PM
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I can't remember the application, it wasn't this, but we poked a light string in the hole and sucked it through with a vacuum cleaner.
Then you tied it on the cable and pulled it through.
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Old 07-19-13, 09:43 PM
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When I changed the cable, I left the old one in and taped the new cable to it . I then pushed the new cable in and the old cable out.
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Old 07-19-13, 09:54 PM
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Originally Posted by The Golden Boy View Post
Methinks thou doest prostesteth too much.
Originally Posted by cdale4ever View Post
What he said...
Me thinks the non-midwesterners are somewhat mechanically challenged, relative to those from the industrial heartland!


Just had to pull a another cable through the TT of a Motobecane Grand Touring. Same EZ peazy success.
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Old 04-25-15, 04:59 PM
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For whatever it's worth- I've put off picking up step down ferrules for this- I ordered some 5mm to 4mm step down ferrules- and it looks like a 5mm to 4.5mm would be much better.

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Old 04-25-15, 05:43 PM
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i have a Bianchi Reparto EL-OS with internal top tube and chain stay cabling. my first bike with either. i i was kinda curious how i would get the cable through. i guess i have one with the internal guides because they just went in one end and out the other no problem. next i had a Rossin with internal top tube cable. for that one i did the thread/vacuum method. plug up all the "other" holes, put thread in one end and suck it out the other with the vacuum. worked great.
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Old 12-13-16, 05:28 PM
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Lol, I know this thread is old as dirt, but I found it doing a google search "Threading a rear shifter cable Trek Elance". I'm fighting this battle right now building up that '86 Elance I bought a few weeks ago. Thanks for the tip.
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