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If you're just replacing the inner cable because it's damaged at the derailleur, yeah, just shove it through...though I'll usually blow some SailKote through the housing first.

Are you replacing the housing too? If shifting is bad due to cable friction, the housing needs to be replaced too. There are all sorts of tricks/methods of stringing internally routed cables depending on the situation. If replacing an existing cable/hose, you can use that to help guide the new one through. In the case of a shift cable, sometimes you can pull the old inner cable, thread a new cable, pull the housing out of the the frame, and use the new cable to help guide the new housing through the frame.

There are many variations on the theme. What frame is it? Got pics?
 

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If replacing the housing (probably recommended) it just depends on the frame. Some frames have internal tubes the cables and hoses run through but most don’t. Then it’s a fishing game. You can pull the old housing out while keeping the cable inside, run a new housing over the old cable, pull the old cable out of the new housing, and then finally install a new cable in your new housing.
That seems like a good way to introduce dirt into your new setup and if it were me I’d just fish new housing and cable through from scratch.
 

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Drop the fork, that way you can thread the housing through the frame-holes near the headtube with ease. If your bike doesn't bypass the BB like my Pivot, then take the cranks out too. Feed the housing in from the aft (derailleur) end, usually real easy like this...
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
There is a crimp in the cable near the derailleur that I believe is causing my problems. The housing is less than a year old and hasn't gotten dirty or wet or anything. Of course, I guess that crimp has probably goobered up the housing a bit there at the end.
 

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Thread in a new inner cable and feel if the shifting is impacted at all. You may get lucky and not need to replace the housing.
And if you need to replace the housing, pull it out leaving the cable in the frame as farfromovina mentioned above to guide the new housing through the frame. Best "Trick" there is.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Went off mostly without a hitch. And seems to have improved the shifting dramatically.

It's an NX11 and it hung up in the shroud of the pulley/idler, which wasn't turning as freely as I would like. But I finally wiggled it through and got that wheel lubed up. I guess it doesn't really need to spin or anything.

I managed not to crimp the cable, and I am not an expert mechanic, but I could see how it could happen pretty easily. There's a lot of turns there at the end.

But on the stand, at least, shifting much improved.
 
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