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Thread: Shimano Zent

  1. #1
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    Shimano Zent

    Inspired by another thread here, I decided to turn my Zee brakes into Zents.

    Tool free reach adjust, and free stroke adjust, just like the Saints.

    No biggie to do if you got a lathe handy. Like an hour of work or so.



    Magura

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    Why do you want tool free reach adjustment...

    I set mine up and havn't change them in years.

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    Generally spoken, I guess you're right.

    I like adjustability, and I actually use it.
    These brakes are going on a multi use bike, so it's neat to be able to set the brakes up for different needs.

    Magura

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    You can't post pics of the finished product an not tell us what you did. That's not fair.

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    Quote Originally Posted by the-one1 View Post
    You can't post pics of the finished product an not tell us what you did. That's not fair.
    Well, long story short, I removed the blanking screw from the stroke adjust, machined a M4 stainless bolt to fit, and mounted it using Loctite 243. The rest inside the lever, is including the stroke adjust mechanics.

    For the reach adjust, I just machined and anodized a knob (yes I am color blind, the Mrs. just told me it's purple. It was supposed to be navy blue), and glued it on with a piece of 2.5mm hex shaped steel pressed into the knob.

    No big deal to do really.

    If you need any help, let me know.


    Magura

    EDIT: I made a set of parts for a friend of mine, I'll see if I can make a couple of pics.

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    A pic of the parts involved in this little upgrade.

    As you can see, none of them are hard to make.
    The bolts are made of standard countersunk M4 bolts, where the head is machined down to 5mm.

    In the back you can see the tool I made for removing the blanking bolt.
    Center to center is 3mm, pins are 1mm hardened steel, the shaft is made of whatever you got laying around.

    Magura

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    Thanks for the info. How long are the M4 bolts for the bite adjustment? Probably going to do the same for my SLX brakes.

    For people with out a lathe (most of us), another easy way is to put the threaded portion into any power drill and pass the head over a single cut file while running the drill. Just be careful not to damage the threads and just so we are clear, I TAKE NO RESPONSIBILITY FOR ANY PAIN OR DISMEMBERMENT CAUSED BY TRYING THIS.

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    The M4 bolts are 16mm long.

    Keep in mind, that countersunk bolts are measured including the head.

    Magura

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    Real interested in this, but have a couple of questions 'bout the workaround on the free-stroke adjustment.

    1. As you've made a tool that can turn the bolts already in there - why the need to replace them with different ones - is it something to do with length?

    2. Why the loctite on the bolts - don't you need to be able to turn them to adjust free-stroke?

    3. Does it work! By which I mean - have you noticed any discernable change in free-stroke by turning the new bolts? I ask, cos even on XTs people have reported that adjusting the free-stroke screw doesn't seem to do anything!

    Just wondering if its worth going down this route with my SLX. Thanks.

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    1) The original bolt is too short

    2) The 243 does not lock the bolt hard, so adjustment is still possible, the bolt just stays in position

    3) Yes. You can simply see the lever moving when turning the screw.



    Magura

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    Thanks! Makes sense.

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    I kind of sort of want that free-stroke bolt . I think this was inspired by the thread I started.

    Awesome job on putting it together. If I was more handy with a lathe I'd do it myself.

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    Quote Originally Posted by chris.george View Post
    I kind of sort of want that free-stroke bolt . I think this was inspired by the thread I started.

    Awesome job on putting it together. If I was more handy with a lathe I'd do it myself.
    It could very well be your thread. could you point to it in that case?
    It was generally about if the free stroke, and if function was working or not as I recall.
    Can't seem to find it though.

    Machining a couple of bolts, like the ones I made there, does not require a degree in street cleaning, so if you have access to a lathe, just go make some.


    Magura

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    Sure! I think this was the one:
    Shimano SLX M675 - Stroke or Play adjustment

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    Yes, that's the thread I thought of.

    Thanks.


    Magura

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    So how's it working out for you do far?

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    As it says on the tin.


    Magura

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    Recently did did the "free stroke mod" on my SLX levers. Works perfectly, just like my XT levers. But much less fancy than the OPs approach!

    Tried undoing screw with lockring pliers, was not able to get enough torque down before tips flexed. Then ground down a Craftsman flat head screwdriver with a dremel.

    On one lever, it took a huge amount of force. Turns out there was an excessive amount of red locktite. On the other, it was much much looser. Much less locktite. I guess it depends on luck?

    Using a M4 stainless screw, 16mm long. Had to grind down head to a smaller diameter so it would clear lever body. At first I used locktite to hold it from turning, but it got into my lever pivots and was a pain to clean out. Now using teflon tape, don't want locktite sticking up pivots.

    Be careful to not break piece that the screw pushes against when threading in new screw. It is easy to bind/break. It is best (safer) to pull brake lever while screwing it in, as it retracts this piece.

    Overall, great success!
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Shimano Zent-setup.jpg  

    Shimano Zent-lever.jpg  

    Attached Images Attached Images  

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    Nicely done WhiteDoom.

    Great to see somebody doing this simple mod.


    Magura

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    Is there any reason you wouldn't just use a set screw for the free stroke adjust? You probably end up with a 2mm key size instead of 2.5 for the FHCS, but otherwise I don't see a downside.

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    It would be perfectly fine to use a set screw. I used what I used because I wanted stainless and thats what my local hardware store had.

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    Hi there, just like to say looks like a good professional job. I also have a set of the shimano zee brakes coming in the post but don't have access to a lathe. So was wondering:

    1. Would a normal M4 stainless bolt with its hex head chopped off and in place a more hand friendly head design welded back on work.
    2. Does the shoulder under the thread head need to be present or can it be left off?

    Cheers

    adleysh

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    Quote Originally Posted by adleysh View Post
    Hi there, just like to say looks like a good professional job. I also have a set of the shimano zee brakes coming in the post but don't have access to a lathe. So was wondering:

    1. Would a normal M4 stainless bolt with its hex head chopped off and in place a more hand friendly head design welded back on work.
    2. Does the shoulder under the thread head need to be present or can it be left off?

    Cheers

    adleysh
    1) No, at least not in an easy way. What you can do is to take a bit of a hex wrench, and weld on something hand friendly. Then you can just glue it in like I did.

    2) Yes, the shoulder can be omitted. It's just there to limit the travel of the screw.

    Have fun

    Magura

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    Cheers Magura, will upload some pics when I sort out the fine details, might be a while tho as not got access to the machines until holidays are over.

    Adleysh

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    Quote Originally Posted by carterusok View Post
    Awesome job on putting it together. If I was more handy with a lathe I'd do it myself.
    Well, the difficulty level is like 2/10, so just go ahead if you have access to a lathe.


    Magura

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr.Magura View Post
    Well, the difficulty level is like 2/10, so just go ahead if you have access to a lathe.


    Magura
    I should just run a bunch of these when I get some time after I get settled in the new shop.

    Turn it out of some hex bar stock....

    -S

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    Quote Originally Posted by shibiwan View Post
    I should just run a bunch of these when I get some time after I get settled in the new shop.

    Turn it out of some hex bar stock....

    -S
    Sorry to say this, but I'm fairly sure that is above your skill level.

    Now if somebody else had a lathe with rotating tools, they wouldn't need to make it of hex stock, but could relatively easily get a nice hand friendly design


    Magura

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr.Magura View Post
    Sorry to say this, but I'm fairly sure that is above your skill level.

    Now if somebody else had a lathe with rotating tools, they wouldn't need to make it of hex stock, but could relatively easily get a nice hand friendly design


    Magura
    LOL... the next lathe I'll have to get one with live tooling and possibly Y axis too.

    Could go the simple way and just knurl the grips.

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    Quote Originally Posted by shibiwan View Post
    LOL... the next lathe I'll have to get one with live tooling and possibly Y axis too.

    Could go the simple way and just knurl the grips.
    Oh, I thought I was being funny, as your lathe looked like it had live tooling

    In that case I too think I'd just make a UFO shaped knob, of hex stock.
    Either that, or throw some round stock in the CNC milling machine.


    Magura

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr.Magura View Post
    Oh, I thought I was being funny, as your lathe looked like it had live tooling

    In that case I too think I'd just make a UFO shaped knob, of hex stock.
    Either that, or throw some round stock in the CNC milling machine.


    Magura
    Haha.. we could call them "UFO" lol.

    -S

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    Quote Originally Posted by shibiwan View Post
    Haha.. we could call them "UFO" lol.

    -S
    Speaking of UFO, check your mail.


    Magura

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr.Magura View Post
    Speaking of UFO, check your mail.


    Magura
    I could make them shaped like ninja throwing stars... lol

    -S

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    Quote Originally Posted by shibiwan View Post
    I could make them shaped like ninja throwing stars... lol

    -S
    Which brings us to laser cutting,


    Magura

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    I did this mod on my SLX brakes. Works great!! Mr. Magura helped me out. Thanks!

    Shimano Zent-brakemod.jpg

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    If someone made a CAD file, there's a 3D printer who would make these in large batches.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr.Magura View Post
    A pic of the parts involved in this little upgrade.

    As you can see, none of them are hard to make.
    The bolts are made of standard countersunk M4 bolts, where the head is machined down to 5mm.

    In the back you can see the tool I made for removing the blanking bolt.
    Center to center is 3mm, pins are 1mm hardened steel, the shaft is made of whatever you got laying around.

    Magura
    Can you re-post this picture? I am not seeing what you are referring to here. I just found this thread and am totally going to do this mod.

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    I'm probably just being silly, but I cannot see any pics posted on this thread?
    Would it be possible to repost a couple/knock me into the right position to see them?
    Awesome thread btw

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    Huh. It seems the forum ate all of mine. No idea what happened, but I don't have the pics anymore...

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    I did this mod on my SLX brakes this weekend, it works great!

    As I was putting the bolts into the levers, there was a noise, like I broke something plastic behind the lever. I continued tightening it very slowly and it started making a difference after putting it in further, and the brakes still seem to work well.

    Does anyone know what the noise could have been
    caused by? Maybe the part that the bolt depresses was just stuck with a bit of dirt and had never moved before?

    Anyway I really like the tighter feeling after the mod

    Shimano Zent-20131006_150140_richtone-hdr-.jpg
    Last edited by dINGLE485; 10-07-2013 at 02:31 AM.

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    Noobish
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    Neither Mr. Magura nor Shibi visit this forum any more, but if you look carefully at my signature, it will lead you to a place that they frequent now.

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    No, it has to be metric. M4. Not 4-40. I used a M4 bolt, 16mm long, 3mm hex head.


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    Quote Originally Posted by whitedoom34 View Post
    No, it has to be metric. M4. Not 4-40. I used a M4 bolt, 16mm long, 3mm hex head.
    Thanks.

    Found it on Amazon.they're for rc use.

    Atomik M4 x 16mm SH Screws 6pcs:Amazon:Toys & Games
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    How awesome is it that people figured this out? Even though the difference in MSRP for the XT vs SLX is only about $10 there was a big "sales" price difference when I got my set from chainreactioncycles.com. The XT was on sale for $95 and the SLX was only $71 each so the $48 difference for a set was pretty significant.

    As soon as they get here I plan on modding my gear. Nice.

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    Quote Originally Posted by peterhenric View Post
    As soon as they get here I plan on modding my gear. Nice.
    Be very careful when tightening the M4 bolt on your SLX lever. It butts up against a small plastic shoulder that can only be adjusted by a couple of mm. If you keep tightening the bolt, the plastic bit will break. This happened to me and now my reach adjust is no longer adjustable! Fortunately, the brake still work fine.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rhialto View Post
    Be very careful when tightening the M4 bolt on your SLX lever. It butts up against a small plastic shoulder that can only be adjusted by a couple of mm. If you keep tightening the bolt, the plastic bit will break. This happened to me and now my reach adjust is no longer adjustable! Fortunately, the brake still work fine.
    So when you were installing the bolt, you started threading it in and then you felt resistance and it broke a few turns after that? If you were giving me installation tips, what would you say?
    Does it only start adjusting as soon as I hit the plastic part? Thanks in advance for the help.

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    Quote Originally Posted by peterhenric View Post
    So when you were installing the bolt, you started threading it in and then you felt resistance and it broke a few turns after that?
    Yep, that's what happened. When you feel resistance is when it starts to adjust. There is very little adjustment possible so if you go too far, say, you want the reach even tighter, you run the risk of breaking the plastic bit.
    Quote Originally Posted by peterhenric View Post
    Does it only start adjusting as soon as I hit the plastic part?
    That's right. The bolt that comes stock on the SLX lever is already pushed up against the plastic bit by a fixed amount. You can push it a bit further but it seems pretty fragile.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rhialto View Post
    Yep, that's what happened. When you feel resistance is when it starts to adjust. There is very little adjustment possible so if you go too far, say, you want the reach even tighter, you run the risk of breaking the plastic bit.
    So what kind of distance are we talking about? 2 rotations? More? Less?

    I'm probably playing with fire by messing with this since the general consensus is that it doesn't really change the feel of the brake very much.

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    Quote Originally Posted by peterhenric View Post
    So what kind of distance are we talking about? 2 rotations? More? Less?

    I'm probably playing with fire by messing with this since the general consensus is that it doesn't really change the feel of the brake very much.
    I'm afraid I don't remember exactly how many turns. If you remove the lever from the bars, you can take a look at the area in question. If I was to do this again, I would watch as I turned the bolt to make sure I didn't go too far.

    As you say and as I found out, this adjustment doesn't change the feel very much, which is probably why I went too far, thinking that more turns would make a bigger difference. Still, it is noticeable. I was quite happy with the free stroke at its minimum until the plastic bits fell out of the lever.

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    I did this to my brand new Zee brakes before finding this thread. First I pulled the adjustment screw out of the XTs on the other bike and put them on the Zees. No noticeable change but I did see the contact point, the shoulder thats talked about. I then found a screw that worked though it's 2" long so I tried that just to see if adjustment is possible. The lever moved slightly but I broke the shoulder as well. From the point resistance is felt, there are 2 turns available (on mine) before breaking stuff. I didn't know mine was broken until I backed the screw off and it fell out. No noticeable change anyway from no screw all the way to the breaking point so it's no real loss.

    I suggest to anyone doing this to not go much if any farther than the XT length screw which is about 1-2mm longer at most than the one that comes in the Zee.

    Going off topic, I can't say the Zees have more power than my Deores. Modulation is better for sure. After spending lots of time on the caliper setup getting it perfectly aligned and bleeding the system several times, the excessive lever travel is gone and they have a firm feeling like the other Shimano brakes I have. These needed to be bled right out of the box unlike every other Shimano brake I've purchased. The lever returns much quicker after letting off the brake after the bleed as well. The whole thing feels lighter and less squishy.

    I know my experience is just two brakes out of thousands but it seems like these brakes offer the same firmness and lever travel as any other newer Shimano brake but you have to really work with the setup. Since mine has been setup right the lever pull is consistent and the adjustment mod is not needed. I'm glad mine broke because it forced me to dig deeper and get it right.
    '08 Hardrock HRXC
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  51. #51
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    Here's my ZeeLX!

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    Quote Originally Posted by BuickGN View Post
    I did this to my brand new Zee brakes before finding this thread. First I pulled the adjustment screw out of the XTs on the other bike and put them on the Zees. No noticeable change but I did see the contact point, the shoulder thats talked about. I then found a screw that worked though it's 2" long so I tried that just to see if adjustment is possible. The lever moved slightly but I broke the shoulder as well. From the point resistance is felt, there are 2 turns available (on mine) before breaking stuff. I didn't know mine was broken until I backed the screw off and it fell out. No noticeable change anyway from no screw all the way to the breaking point so it's no real loss.

    I suggest to anyone doing this to not go much if any farther than the XT length screw which is about 1-2mm longer at most than the one that comes in the Zee.

    Going off topic, I can't say the Zees have more power than my Deores. Modulation is better for sure. After spending lots of time on the caliper setup getting it perfectly aligned and bleeding the system several times, the excessive lever travel is gone and they have a firm feeling like the other Shimano brakes I have. These needed to be bled right out of the box unlike every other Shimano brake I've purchased. The lever returns much quicker after letting off the brake after the bleed as well. The whole thing feels lighter and less squishy.

    I know my experience is just two brakes out of thousands but it seems like these brakes offer the same firmness and lever travel as any other newer Shimano brake but you have to really work with the setup. Since mine has been setup right the lever pull is consistent and the adjustment mod is not needed. I'm glad mine broke because it forced me to dig deeper and get it right.
    Now that this is back at the top I would like to retract some of my previous statements. The ZEEs have a TON more power than the Deores. I had bad sintered pads at the time and did not know it.

    The adjustment does work now that it presses a slightly different portion. I'm able to run the levers closer to the bar now, without getting into the "weird" place in the Servo Wave range.
    '08 Hardrock HRXC
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    Ugh, don't remind me... I am pretty sure I busted my left brake lever during the move :/ I was concerned about my wheelset wedged in the middle of things, which seem to be fine. Brake... not sure. When the weather clears up and I have a permanent place to live, I need to pull it out and see if the fluid just leaked out, if I can fix it, or... I need to replace it. Boo.

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    Are people doing this mod to decrease freestroke?

    I am trying to understand this because to me it seems like SLX have very little freestroke and if anything you'd want to increase it. Since you increase freestroke but turning the bolt out (counterclockwise) on XT levers it would follow logically that you could just use the removal tool you made for the SLX brake to back it out and adjust the freestroke slightly. I don't see the need to replace is unless you want to decrease it, which doesn't make sense to me since it is already so small. Am I out to lunch?

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    Sorry to necro this thread but I just got myself a pair of SLX's to replace my mechanicals, anybody has any idea what M4 screw length would be the best without breaking the plastic tab?

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    I would just buy the stock XT screw. It's cheap and the right length. Just an extra mm of length can break the brake.
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    Quote Originally Posted by BuickGN View Post
    I would just buy the stock XT screw. It's cheap and the right length. Just an extra mm of length can break the brake.
    Where could I find said screw? Or can somebody with an XT measure the screw for me?

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    You're looking for part Y8VC98070. Available here, albeit the price is ridiculous: Shimano XT BL M785 B Disc Brake Lever Stroke Adjust Screw M4X12 Sim 0 3mm | eBay

  59. #59
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    Quote Originally Posted by BuickGN View Post
    I would just buy the stock XT screw. It's cheap and the right length. Just an extra mm of length can break the brake.
    Shimano Zent-uploadfromtaptalk1458022085027.jpg

    That would probably be a good idea, I have a m4x20mm and it feels like something might brake if I keep going.
    I think the XT one is 12mm long so will probably shorten mine.

    And I did this to shorten the free stroke.

  60. #60
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pe8er View Post
    You're looking for part Y8VC98070. Available here, albeit the price is ridiculous: Shimano XT BL M785 B Disc Brake Lever Stroke Adjust Screw M4X12 Sim 0 3mm | eBay
    I ordered a hundred m4x12 set screws at like a dollar for this and they work wonderful. And since they're black, they blend in and look even better than the stock XT screws. :3

  61. #61
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    I'm not sure if I'm being stupid here as the original pictures have gone but do you simply remove the existing bolt and replace it with any M4 x 12mm?

    It's all the talk of lathes etc. that's making think I've missed something.

  62. #62
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    Quote Originally Posted by WoodyBM View Post
    I'm not sure if I'm being stupid here as the original pictures have gone but do you simply remove the existing bolt and replace it with any M4 x 12mm?

    It's all the talk of lathes etc. that's making think I've missed something.
    Yup, just remove the old blanking screws and replace with any M4 screw.

  63. #63
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    Quote Originally Posted by WoodyBM View Post
    It's all the talk of lathes etc. that's making think I've missed something.
    I think the thing with the lathe is to remove some material of the screw head (speculating as I'm unable to see any of the photos). Else you won't be able to screw it all the way down without touching the sides of the brake. I measured the head of a SLX (BR-M675-B) screw and it has a diameter of roughly 5.3mm, which is pretty slim. Most screws out there have a wider head.

    As I don't have a lathe I used a drill press and a file. Pretty tedious work but it didn't take too long.

    From reading previous posts you wouldn't want to go any deeper than ~12 mm. Also the XT uses a washer which makes me think that maybe it's even less?

  64. #64
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    Did some experimenting. I tried to get a 11.7 mm screw all the way down and it sounded like something cracked. Quickly backed off. No plastic pieces were falling out. As I was unscrewing the adjustment screw the lever was moving as it should so hopefully I didn't damage anything. Reckon one shouldn't go any deeper than 10-11 mm and if you feel any resistance to just stop.

    I filed the screw down to 10.5 mm just to be safe but I think 11 mm would have worked also

    Shimano Zent-screw.jpgShimano Zent-shifter1.jpgShimano Zent-shifter2.jpg

  65. #65
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dimon Hell View Post
    Here's my ZeeLX!
    anybody know how to get the toolless reach adjustment screw so i can fit them on my zees?

  66. #66
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    Where did you get the plastic shim? You need that, right?

  67. #67
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    Quote Originally Posted by xfighter View Post
    anybody know how to get the toolless reach adjustment screw so i can fit them on my zees?
    That's probably the blade of a XT/Saint/XTR brake, you can get it online.

    But seriously, why do you want it?
    I have them on my XT levers and more than once I thought in taking it out.
    Once you set the reach, you will not need to change it. It's not like your finger will get shorter or longer during the ride .
    Toolless reach adjustment is only a way for manufacturers charge you more, make your brake weight more and increase the chances of something catch on your cockpit and make you crash.

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