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How to Adjust Your Front Derailleur How to Adjust Your Front Derailleur
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Front Derailleur Problem
#1
This is obviously a little embarrassing, I've looked up countless tutorials online to no avail. I am so angry I want to just bash the bike with a hammer. It was working fine, but it had some problems shifting gears correctly. The rear one is fine.

So I started out following the tutorial, everything looked like it was going fine. Then somehow 3 hours later it all got screwed up now I'm almost to the point of tears over this thing.

It was a birthday gift I just got, now I don't know what to do. I set the chain on the low gear (largest back gear smallest front) loosed the tension wire from the bolt, tightened the barrel jack all the way, pulled the cable taught and tightened it. now the cable tension is all screw up!!

it will no longer let me shift to 2nd gear because the cable tension is WAY tight when I try to, but when I let go of the lever theres so much slack on the cable that it swings around a bit.

I can feel when I try ti shift up to 2nd gear the cable is vibrating and makes a pretty quiet strumming noise.... what the heck do I do from here?!?!
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#2
Well in all my efforts of tightening and loosening the cable it's been frayed a lot....

I give up and am going to take it to the bike shop...

But how much do you guy's think it will cost to have that cable replaced and the front derailleur adjusted right?
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#3
Don't worry, even if you've completely messed up your existing cable a new one isn't expensive and it should be easy enough to fix.

To help you out, could you give some more information:

1. If you disconnect the cable altogether, where is the front derailleur, is it over the smallest chainring, or over the largest?

2. Does the cable come up to the derailleur, from underneath the bottom bracket, or down the seat tube?

Also, if you can upload a picture, that would be helpfull.
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#4
(08-07-2010, 01:51 AM)xerxes Wrote:  Don't worry, even if you've completely messed up your existing cable a new one isn't expensive and it should be easy enough to fix.

To help you out, could you give some more information:

1. If you disconnect the cable altogether, where is the front derailleur, is it over the smallest chainring, or over the largest?

2. Does the cable come up to the derailleur, from underneath the bottom bracket, or down the seat tube?

Also, if you can upload a picture, that would be helpful.

It's on the smallest gear.

down the seat tube.

I'll see if I can get some pics in a second.

[attachment=1364]
[attachment=1365]
[attachment=1366]
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#5
YE I know what you mean about following instructions. The shop charge should be about $25 or so for a new cable and adjustment. I see the cable is frayed at the bolt so you may be able to clean the broken strands and still use it.
The two screws you see on top just set the stops for inner and outer position. Disconnect the cable and the dérailleur springs will pull it to the inner position. Set the inner screw so there is a small gap between the chain and the inside of the dérailleur. Now move the chain to the large chain ring and small in back, push the dérailleur to the outer position . Set the outside screw so that there is a small gap between the chain and the outer arm of the dérailleur. About the thickness of a penny so it does not rub, Thats all for these two screw.
Now screw in the barrel adjustment at the shifter all the way in so you get the longest cable. Lightly pull on the cable so there is just a weebit slack in it and tighten the lock nut at the dérailleur.

Now try shifting. If its not shifting turn out the barrel adjustment till it shifts. Fine tune. HTH. There is a possibility that the dérailleur is mounted too high although it does not look too bad in photo.
Never Give Up!!!
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#6
If this is a new bike bought from a shop, they should sort it out for you foc, after all, it's supposed to be useable when you buy it.
If it was bought on-line for home assembly, complain to your supplier, you should still not have this problem, and hopefully they will tell you to get it fixed at a shop and send them the bill.
My LBD charges £20 to set up a bike bought on-line, although they will not touch some makes.
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#7
OK thanks I'll try that...

I bought it online from Amazon.com about 3 months ago. It's a Schwinn not a fancy high end bike. Wink
But it's my first new bike I've ever owned so it seems pretty nice to me.
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#8
OK I got it working a lot better thanks!!

but it's still quite buggy... the deraileur is WAY too far out on the largest cog (front) I tried adjusting the H screw but it just spins... I looked inside the little 'gearbox" if you will and nothing is snapped off or bent. I just can't figure out how to get it inside a bit more... the low gear is pretty good though.

I found another issued thats now fixed, there was a lot of bits of sand and grime on the spring, I used a q-tip with soapy water and cleaned it up now it the spring flexes much better. It actually got stuck on high gear before I washed it and had to gently tap it back to 1st with a hammer. It's not rusted ether...

Also, where can I buy replacement L/H screws? I mauled them pretty bad when trying to adjust them, I only have a long Philips screw driver so I kept slipping off because of the angle.
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#9
If the H screw just spins, you may have stripped the thread. If it's the screw thread that has stripped you can replace the screw, but if it's the thread in the hole, there won't be much you can do about that other than replace the front derailleur.

The screws will likely be M4x16 Phillips panhead machine screws. Probably easiest to take one along to a hardware store and ask if they have something similar. 16mm might be a bit long, next size down is 12mm, but better too long than too short. Smile

Here you can find more than you ever wanted to know about fasteners: http://www.boltdepot.com/fastener-information/Measuring/
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#10
Hmm. It sounds like either the screw or the hole is stripped. Pull the screw out and look at the threads carefully. Make sure they are in good shape. If its the screw you can get a replacement if not LBS than hardware store if its the hole bad news. New dérailleur is needed. If the screw catches on top you may be able to put a metal shim in the hole and screw that down. Get a proper screwdriver before you mess more things.

Do not use water and soap on metal it promotes rust. Use Liquid wrench or other cleaner automotive cleaners such as Gumout non spray on toothbrush work fine. Be careful with some cleaners as they may damage paint. Then Tri FlowTeflon oil lightly. I use my old tooth brushes for cleaning.

Contact Schwinn costumer service for screws if you cannot get them locally. No Idea where you are? USA?
Never Give Up!!!
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#11
What I meant by it just spinning, it screws up and down but it doesn't really do much as far as the deraileur, movement is concerned.

Yeah its all I had, I made sure to dry it good right after. So to protect it should I just put some lubricant on it then?

Yeah, USA, PA.
Is this the right lubricant I'm looking for? http://www.amazon.com/Flow-Teflon-Bicycle-Lube-2oz/dp/B0002ITTK2/ref=pd_sim_sg_9
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#12
Yes thats it, also available as spray.Bottle is good.

The outer screw does nothing more than act as a stop to the dérailleur movement outward. Set chain on the outer cogs front and back and than turn the screw in till the outer arm of dérailleur is a 1/8 of an inch away from chain .
If the screw is screwed in all the way and does not move the derailleur inwards something must be bend. Do not force things.
Never Give Up!!!
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#13
My chain was rubbing on my front derailleur so I got some books and they just said adjust H and L screw till chain doesn't hit derailleur. When I turned the H screw the derailleur didn't seem to move at all. I didn't mark how the screws were originally set and messed with it and ended up getting things all out of wack. Then I found this http://www.bikeforums.net/archive/index.php/t-59933.html

The 4th reply to that forum thread is by "prestonjb" with instructions that involve removing the cable before you adjust the H and L screw. Have you tried that ? When I did I could now see the H screw moving the front derailleur. And the adjustment got me back on track. I think I might have messed with cable adjustment too and messed that up sjo my bike wasn't shifting right. But I found these instructions http://www.ehow.com/how_6081406_adjust-shimano-sora.html that said undo the cable clamp letting the cable dangle. Turn the adjusting barrel all the way in till it stops then back it out 720 degrees. And viola the shifter started acting right again. Don't loose sight that you can always take it to a LBS and have them set it all up to good working order if you don't want to do it yourself bad enough and that its a learning experience. Sometimes its gotta get worse before it gets better.
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#14
Attention!!!!! Correction. I just posted "The 4th reply to that forum thread is by "prestonjb" with instructions that involve removing the cable before you adjust the H and L screw. Have you tried that ? When I did I could now see the H screw moving the front derailleur" but I just tried to do it to my bike again and actually didn't see the derailleur move when I turned the H screw. At any rate it helped me out.
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#15
I think you can see it move as long as you pull the cable to make sure the screw is up against the stop while your turning the screw.
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