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you shifters

I replaced the cables and shifters on my 8 speed STI shifters like you.
Regarding the brakes.
If you mean the metal cable ends for the cable "housings", some cables have those built in. I bought Ultegra STI shifters and they came with cables, and the cables were proper length with ends (plastic) installed already so I didn't use any of the metal ends you are talking about. If not I think if ends fit, use them. They provide a nice stop for the cable housings and thats what takes the pressure when you adjust cables.
On all cable housing ends, I would use a housing end (metal or plastic) if possible.
I'm not sure what you mean by the 4mm reducer. My rear housing stop was similar to the other ones on the bike.
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