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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Recipe:

Buy:
1.) White Lightening - Clean Streak, $16.00
2.) gallon size metal can WD-40, $16.00
3.) Tri-Flow, $8.00
4.) canned air, $2.00
5.) translucent 1 quart container/ lid, $3.00


I had a pair of Shimano Brifters with the right / rear frozen after sitting in the garage all winter. This has happened a few time before.

Step 1: Remove rubber hoods and saturate the internal shifter gears with WL Clean Streak.

Step 2: soak the brifters for 24 hours completely submerged in WD-40 in the translucent 1 quart container with lid (sold where they sell the mineral spirits at Home Depot), and agitate vigorously as many times as possible.

Step 3: Inject a lot of canned air (like you use to clean computers) to purge the now softened old grease out of the gears.

Step 4: Dry them in the sun for a few hours

Step 5: Re-lubricate the gears with a ton of Tri-Flow. Dry and replace hoods.

Done!

They now are shifting like new - amazing. I have gotten rid of 3-4 pairs of brifters over the years that I thought were shot, that I know would have been fine if I had done this method. Oh well, hindsight is always 20/20.

From now on all brifters will get this treatment when they start shifting poorly.

Side note; before I filtered the WD-40 back into the can, I soaked about 8 of my extra chains that I had previously cleaned these with gasoline (bad idea, because of the horrible smell - that seems to last permanently). I was amazed at how much gunk and dirt came off this time around. And, I actually like the smell of WD-40.

I let the quart container sit for a day after, and the gunk/ old grease sank the the bottom. I was able to pour almost all of the WD-40 back into the can.

Whatever WD-40 made from, ( What's Inside WD-40? Superlube's Secret Sauce ) the gallon size works perfectly for this "repair"! I realize that I put my stable of brifter equipped bikes through torture in storing them year-round in an unconditioned, separated garage/ shed (with high heat and cold that Maryland brings).
 

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'brifter' is f'ing stupid
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Recipe:

Buy:
1.) White Lightening - Clean Streak, $16.00
2.) gallon size metal can WD-40, $16.00
3.) Tri-Flow, $8.00
4.) canned air, $2.00
5.) translucent 1 quart container/ lid, $3.00


I had a pair of Shimano shifters with the right / rear frozen after sitting in the garage all winter. This has happened a few time before.

Step 1: Remove rubber hoods and saturate the internal shifter gears with WL Clean Streak.

Step 2: soak the shifters for 24 hours completely submerged in WD-40 in the translucent 1 quart container with lid (sold where they sell the mineral spirits at Home Depot), and agitate vigorously as many times as possible.

Step 3: Inject a lot of canned air (like you use to clean computers) to purge the now softened old grease out of the gears.

Step 4: Dry them in the sun for a few hours

Step 5: Re-lubricate the gears with a ton of Tri-Flow. Dry and replace hoods.

Done!

They now are shifting like new - amazing. I have gotten rid of 3-4 pairs of shifters over the years that I thought were shot, that I know would have been fine if I had done this method. Oh well, hindsight is always 20/20.

From now on all shifters will get this treatment when they start shifting poorly.

Side note; before I filtered the WD-40 back into the can, I soaked about 8 of my extra chains that I had previously cleaned these with gasoline (bad idea, because of the horrible smell - that seems to last permanently). I was amazed at how much gunk and dirt came off this time around. And, I actually like the smell of WD-40.

I let the quart container sit for a day after, and the gunk/ old grease sank the the bottom. I was able to pour almost all of the WD-40 back into the can.

Whatever WD-40 made from, ( What's Inside WD-40? Superlube's Secret Sauce ) the gallon size works perfectly for this "repair"! I realize that I put my stable of shifter equipped bikes through torture in storing them year-round in an unconditioned, separated garage/ shed (with high heat and cold that Maryland brings).
many people here (Kerry and i to name 2) have been talking about how well this works for years. i have probably 99% success w/ it. :thumbsup:
and...



they're SHIFTERS, jesus.
 

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I've revived MANY shifters over the years by just dousing the lever with a penetrating spray lube a couple times, while working the lever a few minutes. If it doesn't come back to life after a couple minutes of this, I just left them sit for a day, then apply the same technique again. This is the normal procedure in our shop. I've never had to let them soak in a bucket.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I have heard the same thing, I have also heard of people spraying WD-40 into the shifters from the aerosol can (which I tried, without success). I have also read here about how horrible Shimano brifters are , and "thats why there are so many used left/ front shifters on eBay".

I have used this on 5-1/2 pairs of Shimano shifters so far, 3 sets are 105 9 speed; 1 is 105 10 speed and 1 is Tiagra 10-speed (and 1/2 is Ultegra 9 speed left). The worst was an ugly 9 speed 10 right/rear that was toatally frozen (shifter clicked but didn't move the cable) - which came back to 100% after the WD-40 bath.

Guys don't hate when the number of "broken" road shift-levers on Craigslist goes down and my stock in WD-40's parent company goes up.

Erik_A, You didn't specify what 105 levers you are salvaging: 8,9,or 10 speed.
I have heard of the WD40 flush being used on Shimano 8 speed units, which
are regarded by some to be the sturdiest of the lot.
I have not seen that treatment being useful on later models.
 

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The OP seems to be very particular about translucence of the container. What it the importance of the container being translucent (as opposed to an opaque one)?
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
For the canned air, I pull them out of the WD-40 bath; move the shift lever to the side so the gears are exposed - and purge out all of the yellowish/ white sludge that is the old hardened grease. Then put them back in the bath for more agitation.

I don't work in a shop, and am not a mechanic - but a compressed air gun would work better. I am doing this on my back porch.

I like the translucent container (clear would be better) because - I want to see when the sludge separated from the clean WD-40 afterwards. I just pour the clear liquid back into the gallon can with a funnel. This takes a few tries since the pouring agitates the sludge; so I let it sit for another day and repeat. But, opaque would work too.

What it the importance of the container being translucent (as opposed to an opaque one)?
 

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I too have had very good luck reviving frozen shifters by degreasing, flushing and re-lubing. Have done this on both mountain bike and road shifters.

If the issue is old dried up stiff grease and gunk then this cleaning process works very well. For the other percentage of shifters that have worn or broken parts it does not.

The cleaning and lubing is certainly a cheap and easy 1st thing to try on a non-operational shifter.

Glad it worked for the OP.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·

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Why not just soak them in mineral spirits? WD40 is mostly kerosine. It seems like any solvent will dissolve the gunk in the shifter. Maybe zap them with a stream of hot water, and then let them sun dry?

I have a non functional RHS/rear Dura Ave 7700 shifter sitting around. I'm going to try this out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Why not just soak them in mineral spirits? WD40 is mostly kerosine. It seems like any solvent will dissolve the gunk in the shifter. Maybe zap them with a stream of hot water, and then let them sun dry?

I have a non functional RHS/rear Dura Ave 7700 shifter sitting around. I'm going to try this out.
There was a similar spirited discussion here: wd 40 vs mineral spirits - Page 2

This Wired article is great:

What's Inside WD-40? Superlube's Secret Sauce
By Patrick Di Justo 04.20.09

The recipe for this superlube has long been a closely guarded trade secret—until now. Wired sent a can to the lab and got the ingredients.

Mineral Oil
Seriously. WD-40 is mostly a mix of baby oil, Vaseline, and the goop inside homemade lava lamps.

Decane
WD-40 contains an abundance of alkanes—hydrocarbons that match the formula CxH2x+2, usually in a long, zigzagging chain. This one, C10H22, which is also a common ingredient of gasoline, helps WD-40 remain a liquid at cold temperatures. Decane doesn't freeze until around -21 degrees Fahrenheit.

Nonane
Another alkane. One reason these molecules are so handy here: Their hydrogen atoms don't hold a charge, so they can't connect to the hydrogen or oxygen in water, which makes alkanes water-repellent. WD-40, after all, stands for "water displacement, 40th attempt."

Tridecane and Undecane

Freeze-resistant? Check. Water- repellent? Check. Contains an alkane that is the major product of the red-banded stinkbug's scent gland? Check! Many alkanes are naturally produced by living creatures. Undecane, part of the pheromone trail left by cockroaches and ants, is present.

Tetradecane
Another alkane! Zzzzzz.

Dimethyl Naphthalene
Here's the thing: This stuff (C12H12) comes in 10 forms, called isomers. One of them is a harmless hormone given off by potatoes. Another is used in high-performance engineering plastics. Our analysis can't determine which ones are present here, but if you're using it as a solvent, as is likely the case with WD-40, they all work just fine.

Cyclohexane
That cyclo prefix means that unlike standard alkanes, which come in chains, this one's a ring. The shape gives cycloalkanes a higher melting point. And huffing them will knock you out cold. (Or so we're told.)

Carbon Dioxide
The WD-40 company claims that by using this gas as a propellant, it avoids using smaller gaseous alkanes (possibly butane and propane), which can be hazardous to the environment. As if CO2 isn't.
 

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'brifter' is f'ing stupid
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I hate the term too, but hey, even Wikipedia calls them Brifters :) Shifter (bicycle part) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
"These systems combine a trigger shifter into each brake lever, and were sometimes referred to as brake/shift levers (or brifters), for their ability to combine the brake and shift functions into a single unit for use with one hand."
that definitely doesn't make it any less stupid. no self respecting mechanic would ever use the 'b' word.
 

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Recipe:

Buy:
1.) White Lightening - Clean Streak, $16.00
2.) gallon size metal can WD-40, $16.00
3.) Tri-Flow, $8.00
4.) canned air, $2.00
5.) translucent 1 quart container/ lid, $3.00
Hard to see why anything more than just the WD-40 (or other aerosol cleaner) is needed, followed by a lubrication chaser. I'm thinking $8.00 or less because I already have the lube. (haven't priced WD-40 in a long while because a can lasts me for years).
 

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wanna cut your 24 hour cleaning time to 2.4 minutes?.....get an ultrasonic. I use one for cleaning bike parts regularly.
 

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Why not just soak them in mineral spirits? WD40 is mostly kerosine. It seems like any solvent will dissolve the gunk in the shifter. Maybe zap them with a stream of hot water, and then let them sun dry?

I have a non functional RHS/rear Dura Ave 7700 shifter sitting around. I'm going to try this out.
There's no kerosene in WD-40. But it's a way to get some light lubricant saturated into the workings. I do agree that it probably makes more sense to do the flushing out with OMS, then after everything is clean and dry, target lubrication into the mechanicals.

The part I can't make sense of is why the White Lightning first?
 
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