Shifter/Derailleur Issues

Live local, get around without breaking the bank
Post Reply
theanimal
Posts: 1724
Joined: Fri Jan 25, 2013 10:05 pm
Location: AK
Contact:

Shifter/Derailleur Issues

Post by theanimal »

I'm having issues with both shifters/derailleurs on my bike. The shifter for the front derailleur gave up all pressure to the point where I was not able to shift at all. And the other shifter/rear deraileur has some slack in terms of shifting i.e. from the lowest gear it takes something like 5 clicks before it goes to the next and it does not go to the final cog, stopping only about halfway. I'm a noob in terms of bike repair so I've been going through each thing and attempting to see what the issue is. I first took of my poagies to find that the housing cable for both shifters was frayed near the beginning. However, both shifter cables have no tears and are in tact. I can't find slack in either of the cables. The deraileurs appear to be in line and the H + L limits are good.

Is this an indexing issue? And will the problem persist until I remove and replace the shifter housing? Everything I seem to find indicates that something like this is repaired by removing slack in the cable or tightening the barrel adjuster on the deraileur (which mine lacks), but I haven't had any success with this. So at the moment I am very lost.

Any advice/suggestions would be very much appreciated. Thanks.

Image

Image]

User avatar
Alphaville
Posts: 3204
Joined: Thu Oct 03, 2019 10:50 am
Location: Quarantined

Re: Shifter/Derailleur Issues

Post by Alphaville »

so basically your shifters came undone and chewed your cables?

those are basically unrepairable and they're gonna make you buy new ones. this is why i'm going back to old school friction shifters where wysiwyg. in fact i just tossed a couple of old index shifters into my hellbox yesterday. they're crap.

theanimal
Posts: 1724
Joined: Fri Jan 25, 2013 10:05 pm
Location: AK
Contact:

Re: Shifter/Derailleur Issues

Post by theanimal »

I'm not sure what happened. But what you see frayed is the housing for the cable, not the cable itself. The cable is intact. Thanks, I figured I'd have to get new ones. Was just wondering if I was missing something else.

User avatar
Alphaville
Posts: 3204
Joined: Thu Oct 03, 2019 10:50 am
Location: Quarantined

Re: Shifter/Derailleur Issues

Post by Alphaville »

just posted this elsewhere, here for you also:

https://www.cyclingabout.com/use-barend ... e-touring/

User avatar
Ego
Posts: 5149
Joined: Wed Nov 23, 2011 12:42 am

Re: Shifter/Derailleur Issues

Post by Ego »

Cable housing is a pain in the ass to cut.... but it may be possible to salvage it. If you were to remove the frayed section would the housing still be long enough to reach both ends? If so, take it off, trim it, reinstall it and see if it solves the problem. You may be able to trim it with the cable still inside the housing. If not you will have to loosen the cable anchor bolt on the derailleur and pull the cable back through the housing. Remove the housing completely and trim it. Re-run the cable through the housing and reinstall. It is tricky to re-use cables as the ends fray and can be difficult to feed back through the housing.

A while ago I bought a box full of bike tools which I have since sold. I still have the box of 100 cables that came in the box. You are welcome to a few for free if needed. The box says brake cables but I have a coil of shifters as well. Unfortunately I only have a few short sections of housing remaining. PM if desired.

Image

Also, if you reinstall cables and housing, cap ends will help to keep the cable from fraying. They are metal pieces that fit over the end of the cable housing.

Image

jacob
Site Admin
Posts: 13202
Joined: Fri Jun 28, 2013 8:38 pm
Location: USA, Zone 5b, Koppen Dfa, Elev. 620ft, Walkscore 73
Contact:

Re: Shifter/Derailleur Issues

Post by jacob »

Hard to see from the fraying but this looks like brake housing to me?! Gear housing has a "solid" metal core cylinder in order to push while the cable is pulling or vice versa. Without the metal, it would be hard to shift, since the pushing comes from the soft "rubber"/material. W/o the cable ferrule, it would also be hard to make a solid push for the housing. It would also explain why the housing is getting destroyed.

Kinda of a doh error, but maybe?

Gilberto de Piento
Posts: 1630
Joined: Tue Nov 12, 2013 10:23 pm

Re: Shifter/Derailleur Issues

Post by Gilberto de Piento »

I'm not sure I totally understand the details of the issue but I'd recommend replacing the housing and inner cable based on the condition on the housing. These are wear items, especially in winter conditions. They stretch, corrode, get sticky.

Also, with the cable disconnected so that it isn't restricting the movement, move the derailleurs with your hand to make sure they move freely. They may not be swinging freely due to corrosion.

There are special cutters for housing that are worth getting or a cutoff wheel is supposed to work well. After you cut it use a pin, small nail, sharpened spoke to open up the plastic liner tube to get the inner cable into the housing.

Cable lube for bikes exists but I've never tried it. Its use is debated.

Edits:

I think I get the issue now. The housing is so shredded that it is now effectively shorter than it was when it was installed. Therefore when you click the shifter up (toward easier gears) the inner cable moves but only takes up the slack from the missing housing. Since the housing isn't there to push back the shifter doesn't begin to move until all the slack is taken up.

Also, I realized that maybe you don't have access to parts and tools where you are. Ego is right that it will probably work well enough to keep riding if you can cut off the frayed part and put it all back together.

Also, one way you can test this stuff is to test the derailleur alone. Hang the bike up so the rear wheel is off the ground, shift to the most difficult gear. Then find an exposed part of the inner cable and pull the cable with one hand as you pedal with the other hand. Keep your hands, etc. safely out of the moving parts. If the derailleur moves smoothly and the bike changes gears you know that isn't the problem.

Make sure your chain is lubed and doesn't have any links that are binding. I don't think it is the problem here but a bad chain can cause/exacerbate shifting problems.
Last edited by Gilberto de Piento on Mon Mar 29, 2021 8:58 am, edited 3 times in total.

Gilberto de Piento
Posts: 1630
Joined: Tue Nov 12, 2013 10:23 pm

Re: Shifter/Derailleur Issues

Post by Gilberto de Piento »

jacob wrote:
Mon Mar 29, 2021 7:45 am
Hard to see from the fraying but this looks like brake housing to me?!
It is modern shifter housing which has metal wires running lengthwise. Brake cable has a coiled metal shape like a spring but will look like solid metal donut shape from the end. Old bikes (1970s or so and earlier) have the coil metal type cable for both. Pics here: https://www.bikeman.com/bicycle-repair- ... -a-housing

Campitor
Posts: 1156
Joined: Thu Aug 20, 2015 11:49 am

Re: Shifter/Derailleur Issues

Post by Campitor »

@theanimal

I would do what Gilberto instructed. I used to cobble together bikes from frames and bits that were destined for the trash. The advice he's giving you is gold.

theanimal
Posts: 1724
Joined: Fri Jan 25, 2013 10:05 pm
Location: AK
Contact:

Re: Shifter/Derailleur Issues

Post by theanimal »

Thanks for the advice. I was able to trim the housing using some electrical wire cutters on the shifter for the front derailleur. It now clicks (before it didn't) when shifting, but the derailleur does not move. I have not checked if the derailleur can move freely yet on its own. Perhaps it is just rusted. I also haven't had the chance to check the rear derailleur yet, I'll likely do that later this morning. Should the cable housing fit into anything on the shifter end? Right now I have it so it is inside the barrel adjuster but it is loose until I attach the other end of the cable in the derailleur.

There are some bike shops here, so I do have access to parts.

@Ego- I appreciate the offer but it looks like the only cable housing I'll need will be for the shifter connected to the rear derailleur so it probably wouldn't work out with shorter housing. Thanks anyways.

BMF1102
Posts: 83
Joined: Sat Jan 13, 2018 5:26 pm

Re: Shifter/Derailleur Issues

Post by BMF1102 »

Hey Animal, Park Tool makes really good youtube videos about everything bike repair, if you need some pointers getting the shifting dialed in.

Gilberto de Piento
Posts: 1630
Joined: Tue Nov 12, 2013 10:23 pm

Re: Shifter/Derailleur Issues

Post by Gilberto de Piento »

theanimal wrote:
Mon Mar 29, 2021 12:30 pm
Should the cable housing fit into anything on the shifter end? Right now I have it so it is inside the barrel adjuster but it is loose until I attach the other end of the cable in the derailleur.
The ends of all the cable housing should be covered in little plastic or metal caps called ferrules or endcaps: https://www.jensonusa.com/Jagwire-Nylon ... ng-Endcaps. If those weren't present that may be why the cables exploded out so much - I've never seen anything like it (I haven't seen a lot though). The ferrule specifics will depend on what housing you use. It is easiest if you buy the housing, inner cables, ferrules, etc. in a set.

The housing should fit tightly in the ferrule which should fit snug but not super tight in the barrel adjuster - as in, without the inner cable present the ferrule/housing will sit nicely in the barrel adjuster but if you swing the bars around it may pop out. If the ferrule was too tight in the barrel adjuster you wouldn't be able to spin the adjuster.

Could one of your biking friends help with this? More efficient to be taught directly than puzzle it out.

theanimal
Posts: 1724
Joined: Fri Jan 25, 2013 10:05 pm
Location: AK
Contact:

Re: Shifter/Derailleur Issues

Post by theanimal »

Ah thanks, that may be the issue. I don't see any ferrules/endcaps near the shifter. I'll see if I can pick some up and if that doesn't work I'll see if I can find some help locally. My friend who I'd ask just got covid so that's off the table for a bit. But anyways I appreciate the advice and help. Thanks!

theanimal
Posts: 1724
Joined: Fri Jan 25, 2013 10:05 pm
Location: AK
Contact:

Re: Shifter/Derailleur Issues

Post by theanimal »

I was able to get cable housing from the local bike shop and they gave me some end caps for free. Success! Shifters are all good once more. But I now know I have deraileur issues :) . They might just need some grease. I'm learning! Thanks everyone for the help.

Post Reply