Cleaning STI Shifters

bobkennelly

Member
Is there a way to clean STI shifters? The ones on my cross bike seem to be alittle gummy feeling. Other than spraying them with tri-flo oil, is there a proper way to clean them? Can thet be dipped in a cleaning solution of some kind?

Bobke
 

BiknBen

Well-Known Member
Is there a way to clean STI shifters? The ones on my cross bike seem to be a little gummy feeling. Other than spraying them with tri-flo oil, is there a proper way to clean them? Can they be dipped in a cleaning solution of some kind?

Bobke

They are not able to be disassembled. I read (probably a Zen article at velonews.com) that it is not a great idea to try to clean the innards. You end up pushing some debris into areas that you can't access. Potentially doing more harm than good.

When I do an bike overhaul, I will pull the lever in and towards the shift to expose as much area as possible. Then I will wipe areas with a rag just to get the obvious gunk out of there. I do not apply lube. My fear is that it will run down the lever and cause my fingers to slip.

I just replaced a very old rear STI 9sp lever that was on my cross bike. The old one was occasionally not engaging when pulling cable. The replacement lever was used but feels much better.

I'll give you my old one if you want to perform an autopsy and see what goes on in there.
 

Norm

Mayor McCheese
Team MTBNJ Halter's
I'll give you my old one if you want to perform an autopsy and see what goes on in there.

You could put it in particle accelerator and smash it into another one to get to its component parts.
 

bobkennelly

Member
They are not able to be disassembled. I read (probably a Zen article at velonews.com) that it is not a great idea to try to clean the innards. You end up pushing some debris into areas that you can't access. Potentially doing more harm than good.

When I do an bike overhaul, I will pull the lever in and towards the shift to expose as much area as possible. Then I will wipe areas with a rag just to get the obvious gunk out of there. I do not apply lube. My fear is that it will run down the lever and cause my fingers to slip.

I just replaced a very old rear STI 9sp lever that was on my cross bike. The old one was occasionally not engaging when pulling cable. The replacement lever was used but feels much better.

I'll give you my old one if you want to perform an autopsy and see what goes on in there.

These are 10 speed ultegras I got from a ebay store, had the 9 speeds on there, but they were getting worn as well, so I sold them and got the upgrade for half the cost of new ones, the ebay store said they were in almost new condition but have been in a warehouse sitting around for a while, I have not gotten them to shift 100% well yet, If I get them to shift well going to the smaller cogs, then it takes its sweet time going up to the larger cogs and vice versa, its definetly a softer feel then the dura ace, I keep thinking that they should work as well as a dura ace shifter like I have on the road bike, but I cant seem to get the fine adjustment right on them, the cables on them are a couple of years old now, I was going to replace them with the dura ace cable kit to see if it shifts any smoother or easier with them.
 
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onetracker

Well-Known Member
Shifter Fixes

Cross is hard on shifters, no doubt. I think that the suggestion to wipe the dirt out of the lever is a good first step. Do not use solvents. Once the lube/grease is gone, it is gone. This is a design flaw in my opinion, there should be a lube port. I have also used a q-tip (dry) to get a bit further inside the lever to do some cleaning. Make sure you spin the cotton tight on the q-tip so you do not push some stray cotton into the lever. Cables are also key, gunk in the housing really messes up the works, especially with 10spd due the fact that the tolerances are tight. I always replace cables as a first step using teflon cables then also using that sticky/slick teflon cable lube by finish line. Good luck.
 

BMXxXJ

New Member
one thing i've found that does work pretty well. spray a high quality citrus degreaser inside the shifter, let it dry over night and spray as much debris out as possible with an airgun. i relube sifter inside using phil wood tenacious oil. it work quite well as long as you do not use too much as the will leak out a bit onto the lever blades. the down side to doing this is it's not a one time fix. once the factory lubricant is gone and you replace it, you will need to do this regularly. once a month or so depends on how often you ride.

they are rebuildable, but very hard to do so. generally not worth the time to do it. good luck!
 

bobkennelly

Member
Cross is hard on shifters, no doubt. I think that the suggestion to wipe the dirt out of the lever is a good first step. Do not use solvents. Once the lube/grease is gone, it is gone. This is a design flaw in my opinion, there should be a lube port. I have also used a q-tip (dry) to get a bit further inside the lever to do some cleaning. Make sure you spin the cotton tight on the q-tip so you do not push some stray cotton into the lever. Cables are also key, gunk in the housing really messes up the works, especially with 10spd due the fact that the tolerances are tight. I always replace cables as a first step using teflon cables then also using that sticky/slick teflon cable lube by finish line. Good luck.

one thing i've found that does work pretty well. spray a high quality citrus degreaser inside the shifter, let it dry over night and spray as much debris out as possible with an airgun. i relube sifter inside using phil wood tenacious oil. it work quite well as long as you do not use too much as the will leak out a bit onto the lever blades. the down side to doing this is it's not a one time fix. once the factory lubricant is gone and you replace it, you will need to do this regularly. once a month or so depends on how often you ride.

they are rebuildable, but very hard to do so. generally not worth the time to do it. good luck!

Thank you both for that information, I will try the cable shifter kit upgrade to dura ace, and lube up the shifters as well, if all that does not work, I will go see J at HALTERS, for some 2nd, 3rd opinions...maybe a derailuer hanger check too..
 

Purple Liquid

Shop: Efinger
Shop Keep
one thing i've found that does work pretty well. spray a high quality citrus degreaser inside the shifter, let it dry over night and spray as much debris out as possible with an airgun. i relube sifter inside using phil wood tenacious oil. it work quite well as long as you do not use too much as the will leak out a bit onto the lever blades. the down side to doing this is it's not a one time fix. once the factory lubricant is gone and you replace it, you will need to do this regularly. once a month or so depends on how often you ride.

they are rebuildable, but very hard to do so. generally not worth the time to do it. good luck!

I wouldn't sure any type of an airgun in the shifter. That increases the changes of dirt getting into cranks and hinges, making it impossible to get out.

Q-Tips work very well.
 

BMXxXJ

New Member
I wouldn't sure any type of an airgun in the shifter. That increases the changes of dirt getting into cranks and hinges, making it impossible to get out.

Q-Tips work very well.

i should have mentioned i clean and degrease first, the airgun is simply to blow out the excess. i agree never blow out a heavily soiled shifter, bad idea
 

bobkennelly

Member
i should have mentioned i clean and degrease first, the airgun is simply to blow out the excess. i agree never blow out a heavily soiled shifter, bad idea

Well, I brought the bike over to Bicycle Habitat, (same place Lance goes to when he is in town), The owner looked it it and within two minutes said that the derail. hanger was twisted and bent, he re-twisted it and it is almost good as new, I did take a couple of spills during cross season with it... he said it should be fine once I get a replacement hanger..
 

BMXxXJ

New Member
Well, I brought the bike over to Bicycle Habitat, (same place Lance goes to when he is in town), The owner looked it it and within two minutes said that the derail. hanger was twisted and bent, he re-twisted it and it is almost good as new, I did take a couple of spills during cross season with it... he said it should be fine once I get a replacement hanger..

well there ya go
 

jimvreeland

Endurance Guy: Tolerates most of us.
I guess the thousands of shifters I've sprayed with T9 and then blew out with an airgun over the past 15 years as a shop mechanic are all going to fall apart:rolleyes:

As a matter of fact, I T9 and blow out the Dura-Ace shifters on my 'cross bike after every race:hmmm:

-Jim.
 

pinkshirtphotos

Active Member
I guess the thousands of shifters I've sprayed with T9 and then blew out with an airgun over the past 15 years as a shop mechanic are all going to fall apart:rolleyes:

As a matter of fact, I T9 and blow out the Dura-Ace shifters on my 'cross bike after every race:hmmm:

-Jim.

Please PLEASE put down your tools, step away from a bike. You clearly have no clue what you are doing. Leave it to a professional bicycle mechanic so you don't get yourself hurt or worse KILLED. ;)
 

jimvreeland

Endurance Guy: Tolerates most of us.
Leave it to a professional bicycle mechanic so you don't get yourself hurt or worse KILLED. ;)

Please help me before I kill again!!:rofl:

It never ceases to amaze me what people actually feel is good for their bike. God bless them, every one. Home mechanics are job security for guys like me;)

-Jim.
 

bobkennelly

Member
I guess the thousands of shifters I've sprayed with T9 and then blew out with an airgun over the past 15 years as a shop mechanic are all going to fall apart:rolleyes:

As a matter of fact, I T9 and blow out the Dura-Ace shifters on my 'cross bike after every race:hmmm:

-Jim.

Hey Jim, could you please tell me more about this T-9 stuff, I never heard of it, who makes it and where do I get it, I do make an effort to maintain my bikes, and would like to think I do a decent job of it, I do not have a air gun though, can it still be used with out it??
Do you think the dura -ace shifter cable kit would make it shift any smoother?
Let me bro..
 

bobkennelly

Member
Please PLEASE put down your tools, step away from a bike. You clearly have no clue what you are doing. Leave it to a professional bicycle mechanic so you don't get yourself hurt or worse KILLED. ;)

I am not sure if your kidding around or not,
But I do know Jim, and I would say he is a top notch mechanic and very knowledgble person, and a good friend of mine as well, I would take what he says as being correct information. :D

Bobke
 

jimvreeland

Endurance Guy: Tolerates most of us.
Hey Jim, could you please tell me more about this T-9 stuff...

T-9 is the bomb-diggity:D I'm gonna build a trough, fill it with T-9, and submerge my bike daily!! For serious though, the stuff is like magic and works for pretty much anything you can think of, like, obviously lubing the chain and derailleur pulleys, but also for lubing sticky cable housings and making shifters come back to life. I've used it to lube rim eyelets while building wheels. It'll keep your fork seals moist. Springs in your SPD pedals. Speedplay cleats. A dab on your tubeless valves will keep sealant from seizing them. Derailleur pivots. Brake lever pivots. Full-suspension linkage.

It will however, NOT, stop your Fox fork from creaking, I've TRIED:rofl:!!

And, there are 2 things that really come in handy to get all the nooks and crannies clean. Compressed air is one, and an ultra-sonic cleaner is the other. Compressed air is much easier to get your hands on, even the cans for your computer will work in a bind, just make sure after you use air, use lube. Son.:D

-Jim.
 

ChrisG

Unapologetic Lifer for Rock and Roll
Hey Jim, could you please tell me more about this T-9 stuff, I never heard of it, who makes it and where do I get it?QUOTE]Bobke, "T-9" stand for "Terminator 9." That's Jim's model number.

He just looks at the dirt and it jumps off of his bike. The air gun is just for show.
 
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