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Campagnolo shifters occasionally won't shift

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Campagnolo shifters occasionally won't shift

Old 07-03-20, 08:54 PM
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lizardcobra
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Campagnolo shifters occasionally won't shift

I have Bianchi Volpe, which I think was made in 1997. The shifters are Campagnolo; I'm not sure if they're original. 8 speed cassette, 3 chainrings, and a Shimano derailleur.

Sometimes the shifters just won't work. When this happens, it feels like they just don't catch on the gears. When I press the levers, they move with no resistance. Then suddenly, they'll just start working again.

I don't know what causes them to start working, or to stop. At one point, I thought that they kicked back to 'working' again when I shifted while going uphill, with the pedals pushed to put stress on the chain, but not enough to actually turn the chainring. However, this no longer seems to work. Now it seems like they work as long as I have the rubber hood covers off, but will eventually stop working when I put the hood covers back on. The hood covers don't seem to be catching on anything, so I doubt they are the issue, but I thought I'd mention it.

What should I look at to try to fix this, so that they will shift consistently?
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Old 07-03-20, 09:13 PM
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If the shifters are original (ie 1997), they could probably do with an overhaul. Possibly worn out and/or gunked up. Not sure it’s economically viable to get these overhauled (as opposed to simply buying a pair of used or NOS), but Branford Bikes are my Campagnolo service provider of choice
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Old 07-03-20, 09:23 PM
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Most likely the cable is sticking inside the housing. Remove the cable, then clean it or replace it.
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Old 07-03-20, 10:06 PM
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'Rubber hoods' implies that you have Ergopower shifters or integrated brake/shift levers. These 8-speed shifters only function correctly with Campagnolo rear derailleurs made from 1992-2000. So if you really have (any) Shimano rear derailleur and any 7 or 8, 9 or 10 speed cassette (by any maker), they will not work together. The chain will constantly jump and rattle around randomly; some riders think this is normal.

There is a good chance the right lever needs an overhaul, which is an hour-long job for someone experienced. Or a frustrating scary challenge for the first timer. Parts cost: about $100 for the parts: the hoods, G-spring carrier and G-springs. The left lever never needs overhauling.
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Old 07-03-20, 11:27 PM
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Originally Posted by hrdknox1 View Post
Most likely the cable is sticking inside the housing. Remove the cable, then clean it or replace it.
my first thought was cable too - however, the principal symptom of a stuck cable is the RD won’t shift to smaller sprockets when you click the thumb lever. However, he’s not getting a “click” to begin with, suggesting that the problem is in the shifter, not the cable
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Old 07-03-20, 11:41 PM
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Like was mentioned it looks like you have Campy Ergo Power shifters. I would get them overhauled. The nice thing about the Campy's is that they can be overhauled. The Shimano's you drop them in the trash and get a new set when they go out. It is a lot cheaper to have the Campys overhauled. I have Campy Ergo's on my road bikes and I have had one set overhauled after many years of service.
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Old 07-05-20, 07:47 PM
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What does overhauling them entail? Is this something that I could conceivably learn how to do? Does it sound like it might require replacement internal parts, or just cleaning the current ones and putting them back together?
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Old 07-05-20, 08:49 PM
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To overhaul you need a new g-spring carrier and G-springs. Right of course; the left-hand springs and carrier are completely incompatible with the right lever.

Instructions are on Youtube. Unless you have access to a 1 in 1,000 shop and mechanic, you are on your own.
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Old 07-05-20, 09:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Dave Mayer View Post
To overhaul you need a new g-spring carrier and G-springs. Right of course; the left-hand springs and carrier are completely incompatible with the right lever.

Instructions are on Youtube. Unless you have access to a 1 in 1,000 shop and mechanic, you are on your own.
not sure you’d need a “1 in a 1,000” shop - it’s not trivial, but it’s doable with patience and some basic tools. There are small springs, larger springs that have to be tensioned, and many small washers. Parts can fly off. I rehabbed mine ~16 years ago using instructions I downloaded, IIRC, from a now-defunct site called “Campy Only” - basic tools, needle nose pliers, screwdrivers and Allen keys, and I think i stuck some old bars in a bench vise and attached the shifter to them, so they were held steady while I fixed them. There was also a homemade hook tool used to tension a big spring. I overhauled my 9sp Chorus rear shifter and upgraded it to 10sp at the same time. Earlier this year, faced with another overhaul and not wanting to face doing them, I sent them off to Branford Bikes (Seattle was going through a COVID shutdown, so I was happy to throw some business their way). The tech called me up and we talked about what needed to be done - he told me that he was surprised they worked at all, since there were some pieces missing (seems like I didn’t do a great job back then, but hey - they worked &#128077. We decided that, rather then replacing parts a la carte, it was more cost-effective to simply use a “Pro Pack” - essentially a complete shifter body (with all the guts) minus the brake lever, hood and bar clamp, which all came from my original shifter - basically, a new, factory-fresh shifter wrapped in original outer parts. The difference in performance over the old shifters was breath-taking. Good for another 50,000 miles!

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Old 07-05-20, 09:39 PM
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I overhauled my 10sp Chorus a few years ago with new G-springs. It was quite the job but I got it done and it has been working flawlessly ever since, and felt like new. You have to be very methodical about it, and you will reassemble it more than once before you get it completely right. If you have any Swiss watchmakers in your family have them come and help.
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Old 07-06-20, 09:29 AM
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Given the age of these shifters, you may have some rust on various pivots. The big pivot around the shifter central shift is working (you can move the shift lever), but there's another shifter in the thumb lever that can get rusty. You can try grabbing the thumb lever and torqueing it around the rivet, or give it some light oil and moving it around.

Getting the lever rebuilt should solve all your problems.
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Old 07-06-20, 11:34 AM
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Originally Posted by lizardcobra View Post
What does overhauling them entail? Is this something that I could conceivably learn how to do? Does it sound like it might require replacement internal parts, or just cleaning the current ones and putting them back together?
Here's a good resource for rebuilding. They will also rebuild for you, and reasonably. Website says they don't overhaul pre 1999, but maybe give them a call to clarify. https://branfordbike.com/new-page
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Old 07-06-20, 12:34 PM
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There are a number of youtube videos on it. I followed one of them while I did it. The one thing to watch out for is when you loosen and take off the main bolt is that you hold everything down so it doesn't go flying.
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Old 07-28-20, 07:34 PM
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I can almost certainly confirm now that this is only an issue when the hood covers are on. I put them on, and after shifting two or three times, it just stops working. The levers have no resistance whatsoever, like they're not even catching the gears.
As soon as I take the hood covers off, it shifts fine, with no problems, for weeks.

It's baffling to me, because it really doesn't look like the covers are pinching or restricting anything.
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