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Shimano RSX - Right shifter hard to shift

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Shimano RSX - Right shifter hard to shift

Old 01-07-18, 04:05 PM
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mohamilton
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Shimano RSX - Right shifter hard to shift

Hoping to get some help with my RSX shifter... Ive tried the suggest WD40 flush and relube and that brought them back to life but im still having an issue with the right hand shifter.

The big lever requires a lot of force to get it to click (I think this is down shifting?). The small lever works great and is very easy. The lever seems to be hung up on something at a very specific point right after push it, and then it eventually over comes it. Any idea what this might be? The LH shifter is very smooth and easy so thats what i'm comparing it to.


If I cant get it to work properly i'll probably end up buying a refurbished shifter even though they seem to go for a premium now days.

Thanks all!
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Old 01-07-18, 05:09 PM
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new cables and housings

that have lube instead of rust
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Old 01-07-18, 05:16 PM
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Thanks for the reply, the shifters are off the bike - cables wouldnt be the issue.
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Old 01-07-18, 05:18 PM
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Look for fragments of broken cable in the mechanism - a very common Shimano problem.
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Old 01-07-18, 06:10 PM
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mohamilton
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Originally Posted by Kontact View Post
Look for fragments of broken cable in the mechanism - a very common Shimano problem.
Good to know - I was hoping to not have to pull them apart but that might be the only way
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Old 01-07-18, 06:16 PM
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Originally Posted by mohamilton View Post
Good to know - I was hoping to not have to pull them apart but that might be the only way
Don't try to take them apart. Just look in the access holes where the cables go through while shifting. If there are little wires in there you will likely see them. The problem then is getting them out.
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Old 01-07-18, 07:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Kontact View Post
Don't try to take them apart. Just look in the access holes where the cables go through while shifting. If there are little wires in there you will likely see them. The problem then is getting them out.
Gotcha - I don't see anything at the moment but i'll keep that in mind
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Old 01-07-18, 07:16 PM
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Originally Posted by Kontact View Post
Don't try to take them apart. Just look in the access holes where the cables go through while shifting. If there are little wires in there you will likely see them. The problem then is getting them out.
You got me to really look up close at the shifter - I think found the problem. One of the plastic housings is slightly cracked when you move the lever the plastic piece bends a little, I assume this throwing off the tolerances and causing to be more difficult than it should.
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Old 01-07-18, 07:38 PM
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Andrew R Stewart 
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I might suggest a better lube then WD40. I'll usually do a three step flush and lube for STIs. First is the solvent, second is a thin lube like TriFlow and I'll follow up with Phil Tenacious Oil. Each gets an air blast between a few soakings. I use to stop at the thin/mid weight lubes but I have seen some jobs return to poor lever/ratchet function in the past so decided to go one step thicker and really work the lube in via the compressed air blasting. Andy
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Old 01-07-18, 08:31 PM
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I like CRC PowerLube in the red can (has PTFE), works for both solvent flush and lubricant. Spray into the innards, let it drain, work the shifter in both directions, repeat. This might take awhile, don't get discouraged, as the lubricant Shimano originally used gums up over time and doesn't get freed immediately.

I find this easiest to do while mounted on the bars with cables under tension to both derailleurs. I like to leave the bar tape off, but if you have tape, cover it with a rag or a plastic bag because the lubricant will drip. What typically happens is at first, they don't shift at all, then you'll get one upshift and one downshift, then a few upshifts and downshifts, then the entire range. Be patient and keep working at it, it'll come back.
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Old 01-09-18, 08:40 AM
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If there are not fragments in the shifter, I would also suggest that you try an ultrasonic cleaner if you have access to one. Then use WD40 to flush, then Triflow, then something like Tenacious. Also, the canned air or compressor info is good also.

I utilized a similar system and was able to get full functionality after some time and carcinogen containing chemical exposure! Sometimes, they might have just kicked the bucket though. Good luck and let us know.
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Old 01-10-18, 06:25 AM
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Originally Posted by Senrab62 View Post
If there are not fragments in the shifter, I would also suggest that you try an ultrasonic cleaner if you have access to one. Then use WD40 to flush, then Triflow, then something like Tenacious. Also, the canned air or compressor info is good also.

I utilized a similar system and was able to get full functionality after some time and carcinogen containing chemical exposure! Sometimes, they might have just kicked the bucket though. Good luck and let us know.
Thank you for all the suggestions! I'll let you guys know how it goes.
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Old 01-17-18, 07:29 AM
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I still haven't had any luck with the shifter. I'm curious because I havn't used STI shifters before - Is the right lever not as smooth or a lot harder to push than the left shifter?
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Old 01-17-18, 08:04 AM
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Ive got it to shift through the whole range of gears its just very stiff on the right lever, left shifter is nice and smooth
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Old 01-17-18, 09:00 AM
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Originally Posted by mohamilton View Post
Ive got it to shift through the whole range of gears its just very stiff on the right lever, left shifter is nice and smooth
The "stiffness" could be due to the cables ... properly maintained cables and cable housings can make a big difference in shifting.
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Old 01-17-18, 08:51 PM
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RSX is an early-mid 90s groupset. If the cables are original, swap them out. The parts are not expensive & their replacement will afford you not only a probable fix, but eliminate them as a possibility in case the problem persists. Good luck.
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Old 01-18-18, 05:47 AM
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Originally Posted by LKA View Post
RSX is an early-mid 90s groupset. If the cables are original, swap them out. The parts are not expensive & their replacement will afford you not only a probable fix, but eliminate them as a possibility in case the problem persists. Good luck.
The shifters are off the bike without cables. I'll try putting new cables on soon and see how that does.
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Old 01-19-18, 08:52 AM
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Originally Posted by mohamilton View Post
Ive got it to shift through the whole range of gears its just very stiff on the right lever, left shifter is nice and smooth
Both levers on each STI should be smooth. Forcing a stiff shifter may damage the internals.

Brad

PS. The outside lever moves the chain to a larger sprocket or chain ring, the inner lever moves the chain to a smaller sprocket or chain ring.

Last edited by bradtx; 01-19-18 at 08:56 AM.
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Old 01-19-18, 12:39 PM
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I volunteer at a local bike Co-op as a mechanic. I see sticky STI shifters regularly, usually 10+ year-old models.

First do the WD40 flush with the shift cables disconnected from the derailleurs. Work the shifters through their entire range. Then follow with lithium grease lube. This is a spray-can lubricant in which lightweight lithium grease is mixed with a volatile petroleum-based liquid. The liquid vaporises, leaving the lithium grease behind - in all of the right places.

Your shifter cables and housings should be completely replaced. This should actually be done yearly as a matter of course...

Finally, check the action of your derailleurs; they may be sticky due to corrosion or possibly they are bent due to an impact.
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Old 01-21-18, 12:27 PM
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So the shifter is working better!!

I about gave up on it and let it sit for a week, I picked it up again and now it seems to working a little better, I was sure it was because of the broken plastic piece but it must have just needed time to sit really let the wd40 eat through the old grease. I hit it with some heavy degreaser today as a few of you mentioned and seems to be better yet!

The spray can triflow works great for soaking up the shifter too.

I'll keep working at it but they are going to come back to life! Thank you all for the suggestions!
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Old 01-21-18, 04:51 PM
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Thank you for the follow up. Andy
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