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Front derailleur problem
#1
Hi all,

My front derailleur stopped working. Following advice on some of the other threads here, I was able to get it to the point where the shifter will move the chain from 1 to 2 to 3, however, the shifter does not click and change position. It just stays in position 1. (it will click and change positions if I remove the tension on the cable, though) Once the chain has been moved to a higher gear, I am not able to shift back down, as the shifter is still in position 1 and the downshift lever does nothing.

Any suggestions?

Thanks
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#2
How old is your cable on it. You may need a new cable and housing for it too. Can you post a pic of your set up. That would help us help you a little better.
My dad always told me a Sledge a matic can fix any thing.
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#3
(03-15-2010, 05:49 PM)Surly LHT Wrote:  How old is your cable on it.You may need a new cable and housing for it too.Can you post a pic of your set up.That would help us help you a little better.

Thanks for your quick reply =

The cables and housings are almost brand new. I had the handlebars changed from road bike handlebars to mountain bike handlebars and the bike shop replaced the brake and shifter cables at that time. Since then, I have only ridden the bike for maybe 20 miles, all other use has been on the exercise bike stand, which hasn't involved using the front derailleur.

I recently transported the bike on the roof of my SUV (being very careful to face the derailleurs up and making sure they would not contact any part of my roof rack). My best guess is that something was knocked out of whack during the trip, but I can't confirm this, because it's been months since I last used the front derailleur.

Here is a picture of the bike, the shifter, and the derailleur from 4 different angles.
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#4
I don't know if it's the photo's but the front derailleur looks very low. (Difficult to tell?)
Have a look at Park Tools web page for setting the front derailleur height:-
http://www.parktool.com/repair/readhowto.asp?id=75
[font=Trebuchet MS]Ride hard or ride home alone![/font]
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#5
(03-15-2010, 07:58 PM)cyclerUK Wrote:  I don't know if it's the photo's but the front derailleur looks very low. (Difficult to tell?)
Have a look at Park Tools web page for setting the front derailleur height:-
http://www.parktool.com/repair/readhowto.asp?id=75

Thanks for the reply.

I just read the parktool thread, and it does not appear that the height of the deraillerur is the issue. If I hold a penny against the bottom edge of the derailleur, I am able to slide the penny the entire length of the derailler without it contacting the teeth on the large sprocket. There are also no marks on the frame to indicate that the position of the derailleur clamp has shifted from its previous position.

I'm thinking that this is probably an issue with tension, since trying to shift up does move the chain up to the next sprocket, but I've never done this before, so I don't know what the tension should be. Evidently, the thing (barrel screw??) on the cable near the shifter is also used to adjust the tension, also, but I don't know how that is supposed to work or how it should be set initially.

I think I have the low gear stop and the high gear stop set properly, as the chain is able to travel from the smallest sprocket up to the middle sprocket, up to the largest sprocket using the shifter (it just doesn't move the gear position on the shifter) The screws seem kind of loose to me, but if i tighten either of them 1/2 turn, the chain will not travel the full range.
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#6
Also check out Alex video on setting up your front derailleur. That should help out a lot. Your front derailleur looks a little out of line but I could be wrong its hard to tell. Check out all of Alex videos on bicycle care these videos will sure help you out more than you know. And you have a nice looking bike too.
My dad always told me a Sledge a matic can fix any thing.
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#7
(03-15-2010, 09:07 PM)Surly LHT Wrote:  Also check out Alex video on setting up your front derailleur. That should help out a lot. Your front derailleur looks a little out of line but I could be wrong its hard to tell. Check out all of Alex videos on bicycle care these videos will sure help you out more than you know. And you have a nice looking bike too.

Thanks,

I bought that bike about 10 years ago and discovered that I find road bikes to be really uncomfortable. I was going to trade it in on a hybrid but I couldn't find anything that I liked as much, so I ended up replacing the road bike handlebars with mountain bike ones, and now it's my favorite bike.

I just wish I could get the shifter to work -- I guess either something's broken, or there's something that I am just not getting. Alex's video and several others I watched have are pretty straightforward -- The instructions appear to be easy enough to follow and the derailleur is positioned/angled just the way the video says, but I'm not able to get it working. I guess I will have to take it to a bike shop -- Thanks everyone for trying to help!
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#8
Hello rastaman,
After reading above and looking at your shifter, it sounds like maybe someone at the Bike shop may have not got something right when they put the newer cables on it. Try going back to that shop and asking them to fix the error if they find they made it. Rule of thumb is to always test drive a bike before leaving an LBS, just to make sure it is how you wanted it or have questions. Most LBS will make sure the customer is always happy.
Good maintenance to your Bike, can make it like the wheels are, true and smooth!
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#9
Hi rastaman,

I sounds to me as though it is not your derailleur but your shifter that may be at fault. As far as I understand it you can shift the chain to the largest front sprocket but then shifting back down has no effect..?

Yet, if you remove cable tension the shift downwards appears to work? Something, I believe, is causing the ratchet mechanism on your shifter not to release down under tension. You appear to have a top shifting front derailleur which means the cable would be under most pressure in the highest (largest) front chain ring. Plus it looks like the shift position indicator doesn’t change position when you shift (from your pictures it stays on indicator position one – lowest front gear – this could be nothing more than a broken pin that drives the indicator?).

The low and high adjustment screws will only appear to be tight when the derailleur is the in the respective positions (smallest to largest front chain rings): otherwise they've got nothing to resist them turning.

I’d look at examining the shifter for possible muck/debris inside or some kind of failure when shifting downwards under cable tension. I know there’s a tutorial on re-commissioning shifters...
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#10
I just wanted to give you all an update on my derailleur problem. Turns out the tip of the derailleur was broken off, so the derailleur spring was not being held in place.

New front derailleur, and all is well again. Thanks again to all who offered help.
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#11
Very glad everything worked out for you.
Good maintenance to your Bike, can make it like the wheels are, true and smooth!
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