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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello, 1st post,
Older (2001) LX drivetrain with less than 500 total miles. Both thumb shifters intermittently don't grab on the push, like a 1-way bearing is slipping. Cables and housing have been replaced, derails and chain OK. I have a race this coming weekend and nothing worse than non-shifting shifters on a hilly course. Any fix possible or are new shifters the only fix? I don't have the $$$ for a major drive train upgrade and Ebay probably won't get to my door in time.Thanks
 

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The problem could be due to play in the mechanism.

Try removing the underside cover of each shifter pod and tightening the central hex nut. Add one or two drops of oil for lubrication and test the shifters before reassembly - the clicks should sound and feel more crisp and sure.

Note that you only need to remove the screw that is attached to the thumb lever for each shifter pod to access the hex nut.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for the reply, I will take it apart tonight. If I didn't quite explain it well, what happens is that when I push on the thumb shifter sometimes there is zero resistence and no shift occurs. If I push a couple of times, it usually catches and a shift happens. Shifts with the finger shifter always work. I probably need new ones I'm usually riding my road bike and don't really want to upgrade everything.
 

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Dirt Deviant
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I've seen this a hundred times. What happens (this is my theory) is that after about a period of 5-10 years the grease inside of the shifter turns into a cake batter like substance.....and there is a very fine spring inside the shifter that controls the indexing. The dried up grease holds this spring in the open position. After a little while it will slowly return to the closed position and you will be able to shift again. At least you will be able to shift once, then the spring returns to the open position and the process starts over again.

It actually really easy to fix.
There are a few ways I have done it.
First way was to remove the shifter cover on the bottom side using a small phillips screwdriver.
Then I used an old toothbrush and dish soap and scrubbed the whole inner workings.
Work the shifter until it starts to grab.
Rinse with warm water and repeat until it starts indexing properly.
Then relube the inner parts with a white plastic compatible grease. Lithium grease works good.

OK, thats the hard way.

Now the easier way.
Get a spray can of Tri_Flow
Open the bottom of the shifter as described above.
Spray a blast of about 15 seconds all over the inside. Work the shift levers in both directions.
Spray another blast.
And repeat all above until it indexes.

Really all you need to do is breakdown the old grease and relube it and it will work 100%
I've never not been able to repair shifters using these methods. Even the super old 7spd sis shifters that wouldn't even get a single click when you hit the button.

I suppose you could use simple green, or just about any kind of soap or other degreaser that won't harm the plastic and it will work too.

I've also had good results with WD-40, since it is actually a better degreaser than it is a lubricant.

Also, Finish Line Citrus Degreaser works great. Stay away from the speed degreasers like Clean Streak and the like since they will attack the plastic.

If you can't find a proper grease to use, just lube up the internal gears with triflow or something. You may have to lube them often though if you don't replace that old grease with new grease.

You can do all of this with the shifter on the bike, but it is much easier if you remove them. Also, it is way easier if the cables are removed from the shifter as well.

Its a good time to do a cable swap and full tune.
 

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Agree with savagemann...

we've done more of these "repairs" at the shop this year than ever before. What with higher gas prices, people are dragging out their 8 and 10 year old covered with an inch of dust and crud bikes and wanting them working again. I can't count the number of rapid fire and sis shifters I've had to work over like this so far this year! What we do is pretty much what savage said, we soak em in degreaser for about 15 minutes, scrub with a tooth brush, blow em out with compressed air, then lube em with tri flow. The only shifters I wasn't able to get working with that method were a set of old sis 7s that had been left out in the weather for a couple of years. They were corroded solid, but then so was most of the bike! That one ended up in the junk pile, would have cost more to get the bike working than a new bike, the frame was pretty well gone too.

Anyway, give it a shot. I'll bet you'll be back to almost perfect shifting in about an hour once you get started.

Good Dirt
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Awesome advice guys, I've had the covers apart a couple of times and the guts looked pretty clean, but I did wonder about the old grease. I have a can of Tri Flow so I'll flush it out today. I did already replace the cable and housing. Thanks for the help.:thumbsup:
 

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Dirt Deviant
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Awesome. Glad it worked out.
Squash, I did 3 sets of old 7spd SIS shifters at work today........= )
Agreed about the bikes coming out of the woodwork.
Lots of old bikes are being resurected....I think it's pretty cool. Besides the fact that our struggling economy and high gas prices are causing this.
I just think it's cool to see so many people getting serious about commuting on bikes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I'm primarily a weekemd roadie but I got into the short race up at the Chequamegan Fat Tire Festival next weekend. My bike is 1999 K2 Zed X despite the Smart Fork crapping out years ago it still a very solid bike. I'd like to upgrade the fork and wheels but holy crap new forks are just outrageous. I got my all LX equipped, 4.5 lb Smart fork, 27 lb bike for $600 new, and most of the forks seem to be $500 and up. What are they made of? Gold and oil? Oh well, maybe I'll just upgrade the wheels.:eek:
 

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I recently got very similiar problems with my shifters. I believe they are old Shimano Alivios that are on my 05 Iron Horse Warrior, After disassembling them a bit I realized the center bolt that holds the pod together was stripped out on the very bottom. I can't find a replacement at any of the shops around here and can't afford a new set of brake levers and shifters, so if anyone has an old set with one of these bolts and would like to help out a poor college student, it'd be much appreciated.
 

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My other ride is your mom
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I'd like to resurrect this old thread, if for one reason.....the advice here is legit. I've been jobless since April....and my XTR shifter pod for the FD stopped working.....a good clean with solvent, cleaning the spring that retunrs the plate which engages the cog within did the trick....it took two tries, but it's finally working again.

So.....what's the verdict on lube for pods.....keep em' clean and dry....or put some lube in there? I'm tossed as to the best route after servicing these things and don't have the long term experience to have an opinion.....?????

I even went so far as to replace the compression "E-clamps" holding down the cam's and springs......
 

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THANK YOU! My shifter started slipping constantly, and had become unusable on my 2002 Gary Fisher Hookooekoo with Shimano Deore Rapidfire shift levers. After reading this thread, I opened them up and hit it with a few sprays of Clean Green degreaser over 15 min while brushing with a toothbrush... blew it out with compressed air, oiled it and it is shifting perfectly again. Woo!
 

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Glad I found this thread for my '07 Deore rear shifter is slipping just like previously described. I will give my shifter a good cleaning and lube to see if the slipping problem is cured. I will post up my results.
 

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Glad I found this thread for my '07 Deore rear shifter is slipping just like previously described. I will give my shifter a good cleaning and lube to see if the slipping problem is cured. I will post up my results.
After giving the rear shifter a good cleaning and relubing, I also tighten the hex nut some. Shifting is now like new!!!
 

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I've seen this a hundred times. What happens (this is my theory) is that after about a period of 5-10 years the grease inside of the shifter turns into a cake batter like substance.....and there is a very fine spring inside the shifter that controls the indexing. The dried up grease holds this spring in the open position. After a little while it will slowly return to the closed position and you will be able to shift again. At least you will be able to shift once, then the spring returns to the open position and the process starts over again.

It actually really easy to fix.
There are a few ways I have done it.
First way was to remove the shifter cover on the bottom side using a small phillips screwdriver.
Then I used an old toothbrush and dish soap and scrubbed the whole inner workings.
Work the shifter until it starts to grab.
Rinse with warm water and repeat until it starts indexing properly.
Then relube the inner parts with a white plastic compatible grease. Lithium grease works good.

OK, thats the hard way.

Now the easier way.
Get a spray can of Tri_Flow
Open the bottom of the shifter as described above.
Spray a blast of about 15 seconds all over the inside. Work the shift levers in both directions.
Spray another blast.
And repeat all above until it indexes.

Really all you need to do is breakdown the old grease and relube it and it will work 100%
I've never not been able to repair shifters using these methods. Even the super old 7spd sis shifters that wouldn't even get a single click when you hit the button.

I suppose you could use simple green, or just about any kind of soap or other degreaser that won't harm the plastic and it will work too.

I've also had good results with WD-40, since it is actually a better degreaser than it is a lubricant.

Also, Finish Line Citrus Degreaser works great. Stay away from the speed degreasers like Clean Streak and the like since they will attack the plastic.

If you can't find a proper grease to use, just lube up the internal gears with triflow or something. You may have to lube them often though if you don't replace that old grease with new grease.

You can do all of this with the shifter on the bike, but it is much easier if you remove them. Also, it is way easier if the cables are removed from the shifter as well.

Its a good time to do a cable swap and full tune.
I know this is an old post, but i just wanted to say you've saved a me a ton of hassle and got me right to the problem! Degreased, regreased and they are as good as new!

So thank you :)
 
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