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Cable and Indexing Help

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Cable and Indexing Help

Old 12-15-20, 06:15 PM
  #1  
Metallifan33
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Cable and Indexing Help

Hey All,
I decided to wash and lube the bike/chain today and when I went to put the rear wheel back on, I noticed that the indexing was way off (e.g., I put it in the smallest cog before removing the wheel, and when I put the wheel back on, I couldn't shift to within 3 gears of the smallest cog).
So I checked the indexing and sure enough, it had gotten way off track (it was indexed prior to me removing the wheel)... I've also noticed this happened last time I removed the wheel.
So I took a closer look at the cabling and noticed this:





The cable had been pulled back and there was a gap between the cable housing and the housing that sits just on top of the barrel adjuster screw.
Basically it looks like the curve of the cable (from when it exits the frame and enters the RD) is too severe.
I gently pulled on the cable housing and re-inserted it into the housing that sits just on top of the barrel adjuster screw.
I then proceeded to index the gears (and it took an uncomfortable number of turns until I could even get all the gears to engage).
The cable now looks like this with the housing slightly split and frayed.

In addition, there is an additional piece of plastic housing where the cable enters the frame and it is split:




Basically what I think I did was pull too hard on the RD spring when I took the wheel off and it probably compressed/bent the cable housing enough to tear the additional housing around the BA and the one by the frame. (I don't know if this a common thing with guys who don't know what they're doing)
Have I screwed things up? Do I need to take it in to the LBS and have them work on/replace the cables?
From watching YouTube videos, I understand that cables can stretch over time, but how often do they need to be replaced?
Do I need to unscrew the cable completely from the RD and reset it somehow?
The limit screws seem fine (I didn't touch them). Anyway, any advice is appreciated; I'd like to avoid being stranded somewhere due to a broken/snapped shifter cable.
Sorry for all the questions.
Thanks in advance!

Last edited by Metallifan33; 12-15-20 at 06:20 PM.
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Old 12-15-20, 06:34 PM
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I believe you split/broke the ferrule cap. This can likely be replaced with keeping the cable and cable housing. Tough to say for sure but thats what it looks like to me. So put RD in smallest cog, loosen cable at RD, slide off old ferrule cap, put new one on, verify housing end is smooth (or sand it smooth), replace cable in RD.
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Old 12-15-20, 06:36 PM
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At worst its probably just a cable replacement. Unless you did something you don't realize. If you don't have the mechanical knowledge to fix it yourself take it to a shop and let them look at it. It might be ok as is or it may need a new cable. Hard to tell from pictures.
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Old 12-15-20, 09:39 PM
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You've done an absolutely stellar job cleaning your bike. Hard to imagine you could get it that clean and not notice that housing, but hey...it happens. You might be able to pull the cable back some and trim the end of the housing and then put on a new ferrule.
ETA: Pretty much positive that grommet where the housing goes into the frame is supposed to be split.
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Old 12-16-20, 10:30 AM
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Not sure how indexing got messed up just by taking the wheel off and putting it on. Everything is installed back correctly I assume?
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Old 12-16-20, 11:59 AM
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Replace the housing.

IME, when housing starts to look frayed like that at the ends, it's time to replace it.
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Old 12-16-20, 12:42 PM
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Wow that is a clean cassette. Nice job.

Have you tried just shoving the housing back into the ferrule to see if it works? Don't get me wrong... it looks like the ferrule and housing should be replaced, but my guess is that it probably shifts fine if you stick it back in.
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Old 12-16-20, 12:49 PM
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Originally Posted by jadocs View Post
Not sure how indexing got messed up just by taking the wheel off and putting it on. Everything is installed back correctly I assume?
Yeah... The last two times, I had to reindex after replacing the wheel. Haven't touched the limit screws, but it's pretty clear the indexing gets messed up as I can't even access all the gears when I first put the wheel on. It seems like the cable gets stretched/compressed when I remove/replace the wheel. I think I'm stretching the RD too much when I'm pulling the wheel off.
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Old 12-16-20, 12:54 PM
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Originally Posted by msu2001la View Post
Wow that is a clean cassette. Nice job.

Have you tried just shoving the housing back into the ferrule to see if it works? Don't get me wrong... it looks like the ferrule and housing should be replaced, but my guess is that it probably shifts fine if you stick it back in.
Thanks. I've been under the whether this week and I've realized cleaning the bike is a therapeutic thing for me
I'll look up ferrule caps and pick one up.

**Edit** Do these things wear out often? Amazon seems to sell them in packs of 100

Last edited by Metallifan33; 12-16-20 at 12:57 PM.
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Old 12-16-20, 01:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Metallifan33 View Post
Thanks. I've been under the whether this week and I've realized cleaning the bike is a therapeutic thing for me
I'll look up ferrule caps and pick one up.

**Edit** Do these things wear out often? Amazon seems to sell them in packs of 100
If you go through 100 ferrule caps during your remaining lifetime I'd be seriously impressed.
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Old 12-16-20, 07:57 PM
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There's an ally ferrule that Shimano does, or did, that's for that position in the barrel adjuster, since the plastic ones are prone to kinking. Works a lot better.
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Old 12-16-20, 08:51 PM
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Originally Posted by Metallifan33 View Post
Hey All,
I decided to wash and lube the bike/chain today and when I went to put the rear wheel back on, I noticed that the indexing was way off (e.g., I put it in the smallest cog before removing the wheel, and when I put the wheel back on, I couldn't shift to within 3 gears of the smallest cog).
You didn't have to remove the rear wheel to clean and lube the drivetrain unless you had other reasons. It just raises the risk of damaging the bike (with one wrong move) in an otherwise simple drivetrain maintenance.
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Old 12-17-20, 02:14 AM
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Originally Posted by cubewheels View Post
You didn't have to remove the rear wheel to clean and lube the drivetrain unless you had other reasons. It just raises the risk of damaging the bike (with one wrong move) in an otherwise simple drivetrain maintenance.
Huh. I didn't realize this. I remove the rear wheel often as I have an indoor trainer and only one bike. It's easier to clean the cassette and wheel with the wheel removed.
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Old 12-17-20, 03:34 AM
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Originally Posted by Metallifan33 View Post
only one bike.
See the trouble being underbiked can cause?
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Old 12-17-20, 04:27 AM
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Originally Posted by Metallifan33 View Post
Huh. I didn't realize this. I remove the rear wheel often as I have an indoor trainer and only one bike. It's easier to clean the cassette and wheel with the wheel removed.
Many BF members use another (cheap / used) bike for indoor training. It saves you time for many reasons and may save you money in the long run as well.

You should only be removing the wheels for fixing punctures / flats, fixing or inspecting wheel damage (if they do occur), replacing tires, disc rotors, etc. Things that don't usually happen more than once in two months.

No need to remove the wheel for washing. Any bike that is >$1000 can handle clean water without any issues so don't be afraid to get other parts of the bike wet.
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Old 12-17-20, 07:50 AM
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Originally Posted by Metallifan33 View Post
Huh. I didn't realize this. I remove the rear wheel often as I have an indoor trainer and only one bike. It's easier to clean the cassette and wheel with the wheel removed.
Neither did anyone else. Take the wheel off whenever and as often as you want.
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Old 12-17-20, 09:47 AM
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Originally Posted by cubewheels View Post
Many BF members use another (cheap / used) bike for indoor training. It saves you time for many reasons and may save you money in the long run as well.

You should only be removing the wheels for fixing punctures / flats, fixing or inspecting wheel damage (if they do occur), replacing tires, disc rotors, etc. Things that don't usually happen more than once in two months.

No need to remove the wheel for washing. Any bike that is >$1000 can handle clean water without any issues so don't be afraid to get other parts of the bike wet.
You come up with weird stuff. Removing a wheel is not a destructive act and removing wheels for washing is quite common (to reach in to the tight spaces), even more so with disc bikes (so that calipers can be covered to avoid pad contamination).
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Old 12-17-20, 10:18 AM
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You mention that several times you removed the wheel and had to re-index it after replacing. If everything is correct on your bike, removing and re-installing the wheel will never result in the need to re-index.

This probably should have been an indicator that something was going amok. I'd suggest your cable housing end never was completely in the end cap. Maybe the end cap wasn't even the right size for that cable.

For what ever reason it happened, you just need to replace the end cap from what I'm seeing in the picture. If the exposed cable ends are bent or loose, then trim a millimeter or two back on the housing.

Whether you do that or get new stuff, before you secure the cable in the holdfast of the DR, make certain every end of the cable housing is securely in their end cap if they use one and also securely in the cable stops where ever that cable is held to the frame.

Cable housing not being properly in their end caps and/or cable stops will give you unreliable shifts.
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Old 12-17-20, 10:31 AM
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Originally Posted by cubewheels View Post
You didn't have to remove the rear wheel to clean and lube the drivetrain unless you had other reasons. It just raises the risk of damaging the bike (with one wrong move) in an otherwise simple drivetrain maintenance.
First of all amazing job cleaning your drivetrain. I would pay someone to get mine that clean!

Removing your wheel is not a destructive act and you could do it daily for a lifetime and not affect the bicycle, Riding a bike is more destructive than removing the wheel so not sure where this is coming from.

Looks like you are missing an alloy ferrule which usually terminates at the end of the cable housing. If the cable is a bit short that doesn't help either. Lastly, the rubber grommet is usually split to allow removal without having to thread the cable through.
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Old 12-17-20, 03:47 PM
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Originally Posted by cubewheels View Post
No need to remove the wheel for washing. Any bike that is >$1000 can handle clean water without any issues so don't be afraid to get other parts of the bike wet.
If you want to clean something properly, you take it at least somewhat apart.

I'd be far more concerned about water ingress through the poxy seals in the junky cartridge bearings everyone but Shimano and Campy insists on using in even their flashest wheels, rather than any slightly higher possibility of damage from removing the wheels.

Last edited by Kimmo; 12-17-20 at 04:29 PM.
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Old 12-17-20, 04:36 PM
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Originally Posted by Iride01 View Post
Cable housing not being properly in their end caps and/or cable stops will give you unreliable shifts.
Yep, a good trick is to clamp the cable (not so tight it gets crushed, but tight enough not to slip), and shift the lever without pedalling to load up the cable and seat the housing in all the ferrules properly. Turn the cranks to release the tension without causing damage (releasing the tension via the shifter is a bad idea with escapement mechanisms). Then reclamp the cable, and adjust.

This pretty much eliminates "cable stretch" which isn't actually a thing.
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Old 12-17-20, 08:58 PM
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I take my wheels off every time I clean my bike. I also frequently swap between multiple wheelsets. I've never had to adjust the derailleur after doing this.
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Old 12-17-20, 09:21 PM
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Originally Posted by msu2001la View Post
If you go through 100 ferrule caps during your remaining lifetime I'd be seriously impressed.
Not sure "impressed" is the word I would use...
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Old 12-17-20, 10:07 PM
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Originally Posted by Atlas Shrugged View Post
First of all amazing job cleaning your drivetrain. I would pay someone to get mine that clean!

Removing your wheel is not a destructive act and you could do it daily for a lifetime and not affect the bicycle, Riding a bike is more destructive than removing the wheel so not sure where this is coming from.

Looks like you are missing an alloy ferrule which usually terminates at the end of the cable housing. If the cable is a bit short that doesn't help either. Lastly, the rubber grommet is usually split to allow removal without having to thread the cable through.
I have clumsy hands when working on stuff (am I the only one?). I have on occassions accidentally dropped a tool on the bike (tools often jump off my hand, probably need magnetic gloves for that), scratched the frame with the disc rotors and so on and so forth.....So I try to minimize any mechanic work as much as possible. Ironically I do all the maintenance, upgrades, parts replacements as the local mechanics are even worse than I am!

It's really my fault as a clumsy mechanic. I've rarely seen another guy who isn't. Women would probably make better mechanics if only they were a bit more into guy stuff.
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Old 12-17-20, 10:22 PM
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Originally Posted by cubewheels View Post
Many BF members use another (cheap / used) bike for indoor training. It saves you time for many reasons and may save you money in the long run as well.

You should only be removing the wheels for fixing punctures / flats, fixing or inspecting wheel damage (if they do occur), replacing tires, disc rotors, etc. Things that don't usually happen more than once in two months.

No need to remove the wheel for washing. Any bike that is >$1000 can handle clean water without any issues so don't be afraid to get other parts of the bike wet.
Please...stop making it sound like taking a wheel off is dangerous. YOU are the one that needs training/practice if you can't do it properly. Don't tell others they shouldn't do it.
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