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Dirt in shifters help!(8 posts)

Dirt in shifters help!UltegraRacer
Oct 12, 2001 4:29 AM
ok hey, yesterday i had a wip out and my bike rolled into a ditch, so this morninng i was looking it over and i realized that the brakes are closed against the rim because there is a ton of dirt in the shifters. i tryed scraping it out and i got it to were the breaks will close normally now but there is still some dirt in there. Do you think it will effect teh shifter at all? By the way i have Ultegra Shifters.
re: Dirt in shifters help!cyclequip
Oct 12, 2001 4:42 AM
Best to loosen the derailleur and brake cables to get some play in the cables - then wash the shifters out with a hose while you gently shift up and down and work the brakes. You can use a degreaser first. Then let the bike stand and airdry or blow it dry with compressed air - make sure the 'gritty' feeling goes. Then you can lube the pivots with WD40, and use a cotton-bud to wipe grease onto the cable mounts.
re: Dirt in shifters help!Drew
Oct 12, 2001 6:14 AM
I have had this happen before and I cleaned mine with degreaser. Then I used white litening with the extra fine tip to soak the inside of the shifter as I worked throught the gears. When you install a new cable you can use the fine tip to lube the inside of the shifter without removing the cable. I have found that the white litning lasts longer than wd-40 and it repels dirt as well. I got the fine tip from perfomance bike in a white litening kit.
Would it be ok to...UltegraRacer
Oct 12, 2001 6:37 AM
squeze the break and drip some prolink into the opening in the shifter where the dirt is and jsut work it around a lil.
get it out.vanzutas
Oct 12, 2001 6:53 AM
There are many ways to try to get it out but if you want your levers to last I would definately get as much out as you can. The brakes will probably be fine but dirt in the ratcheting mechanism will make the shifting worse now. But most importantly it will quickly wear away at the metal and plastic parts inside. This will greatly reduce the life of the shifters.
Dirty Shifterscyclinseth
Oct 12, 2001 7:12 AM
Is degreaser the best stuff to use on dirt? I took my bike to a shop when the shifting was getting very poor and the guy flushed them out with WD40, blew them dry then flushed them with tri-flow. Worked like magic for me. Pretty simple.
Dirty ShiftersDINOSAUR
Oct 12, 2001 8:29 AM
That sounds like the method I used to clean mine with the exception of blowing them out. It worked and I noticed the difference. Me thinks it's time again after reading this post.
Yes, this is the tricklonefrontranger
Oct 12, 2001 4:09 PM
Before I went Campy, this was a regular necessity after a mucky 'cross race or nasty wet spring road race in the salty grit common to Ohio. Shimano shifters are fairly sensitive to grit in the mechanisms. They have a tendency to completely lock up after a wet/gritty ride, or simply poor maintenance.

It isn't entirely necessary to dry it out if you do this properly. Hang the bike in a stand with the bars lowered slightly. Open the shrouds back as far as you're able and flush a crapload of Tri-Flow, citrus cleaner or other type of solvent into the mechanism, let it run through, and wipe the levers and clean as possible, using an absorbent rag. One should try to avoid sending solvents or any harsh lubricant / grease-eater like Tri-Flow down the housings because it removes the lubricant grease and eats the plastic / teflon or whatever internal sleeves.

I don't use WD-40 on bike stuff because it forms a sticky, plasticine gum as it oxidizes.

If you do this carefully enough, you shouldn't get anything too far down the cables. If you do, you should remove the housings and re-grease or lube them.