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  1. #1
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    Rear Derailleur issues

    I currently have a Shimano XT Shadow rear derailleur that I just can't get adjusted properly to shift all the way up and down properly and I'm ready to replace it (if that would fix my problem).

    Looking from behind it doesn't seem like the cage is perfectly vertical anymore. I have replaced the hanger. Am I looking at the right variable here or could the derailleur not be fully to blame? Should I replace the chain first? Could it be a problem with the cassette? What's most likely?

    I'm at the point where I am willing to buy a new derailleur just to determine if that is the issue. Thanks for any help or advice you guys can offer.

    edit: the bike in question KHS Bicycles :: Alite 2000

  2. #2
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    I think the first thing to do is check the hanger to confirm it is square, even new ones often need aligned. The derailleur should line up straight and parallel under the cassette if all is well.

    The cable would be the next thing to check.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by J.B. Weld View Post
    I think the first thing to do is check the hanger to confirm it is square, even new ones often need aligned. The derailleur should line up straight and parallel under the cassette if all is well.

    The cable would be the next thing to check.
    Thanks for the reply.

    I neglected to mention that I pulled the cable out of the housings and even greased it in the areas that run through the housing then re-adjusted the derailleur; first setting the h-limit and l-limit screws before trying to get it to shift right following the park tools adjustment guide (Park Tool Co. ParkTool Blog Rear Derailler Adjustments (derailleur)).

    I'll throw it on the stand tonight and take a peek and maybe even take a good picture of it.

  4. #4
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    Park makes a 'derailleur alignment tool' the DAG-2, yes even new hangers can need straightening. It's a $65 ish tool, well worth having in your toolbox. You have to start with a straight hanger or it's never going to shift right.
    Sorry if it's a stupid Q; you're sure your shifter is compatible with that derailleur? many newer shimano derailleurs are not compatible with older shifters, -did it ever work right?

  5. #5
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    It did seem to work right before. I saw that tool and contemplated buying it a couple years ago. What I did instead was buy 3 new hangers for less than that.

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    Yes, 3 new hangers are cheaper than the tool, the problem is that new hangers are not necessarily straight, your dropout where the hanger mounts might be a little off too.
    I have straightened hangers on brand new bikes, I just put a new hanger on my cx bike and it was a little off.
    On 8speed or less bikes it's easier to eyeball it, but with the shorter movement of 9+ speeds there's less room for error, and more need to have the hanger dead straight.

  7. #7
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    Yeah, I might have to just buy the tool. I like buying tools anyway and don't typically need much of an excuse. It would be a good way to ensure that I can eliminate the variable even if it doesn't solve the problem.

    My logic originally was that the new hanger should be straight, which clearly is not guaranteed.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by jtap View Post
    Yeah, I might have to just buy the tool. I like buying tools anyway and don't typically need much of an excuse. It would be a good way to ensure that I can eliminate the variable even if it doesn't solve the problem.
    That's pretty much it. The hanger could be fine and the problem may lie elsewhere but you kind of have to start from square one. Another option would be to run it by a bike shop and have them check it for 10 bucks or so.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by J.B. Weld View Post
    That's pretty much it. The hanger could be fine and the problem may lie elsewhere but you kind of have to start from square one. Another option would be to run it by a bike shop and have them check it for 10 bucks or so.
    Rather spend that 10 bucks towards a tool. I just ordered it.

    Edit: I still think this derailleur is bent and might be the reason I can't get it to shift all the way up through the gears and down again with no hesitation.

    If the hanger isn't bent then the next step is to replace it with a better one and I can keep it around for a backup.
    Last edited by jtap; 05-31-2013 at 05:01 PM.

  10. #10
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    Don't buy the tool thread a 10mm axle into the derailer hanger. Then measure the distance from the axle to to dropout. If it is off you can use the axle to align the derailer hanger.
    "Dish is illogical." Spoke of Vulcan.

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    Quote Originally Posted by zerodish View Post
    Don't buy the tool thread a 10mm axle into the derailer hanger. Then measure the distance from the axle to to dropout. If it is off you can use the axle to align the derailer hanger.
    Thanks but I didn't have that and had already ordered the tool.

    Got the tool. Aligned the derailleur. It's marginally better if at all.

    I also thought it might be time for a new chain so I bought the chain checker also. It says .25...so it should still be good.

    The cassette wobbles a bit but I'm not sure a new one would fix that. Is that an axel problem or the freehub? I am thinking it might be worth buying a new rear cassette since that would actually need to be replaced at some point and maybe it could be part of the issue and by buying one it's another variable I could eliminate without buying something I might not need in the future. However, if the chain isn't worn enough for a new one then I shouldn't need a new cassette, right?

    I can get it going up decently...but then coming down it won't go from the 4th smallest to the 3rd smallest (it might rarely and it now doesn't sound smooth) then it double jumps to the 2nd smallest and doesn't sound smooth. I find that strange since it shifts up fine until around 5 where it starts to hesitate a bit. If I loosen it any more it will hesitate going up more and not shift, then double.

    I'm willing to buy a new derailleur. Any suggestions on where to purchase one and which one I should get, or does someone have any other ideas I can try?
    Last edited by jtap; 06-06-2013 at 11:20 PM.

  12. #12
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    The cassette wobble is due to imperfections of the hub and is pretty normal. It won't affect your shifting and a new cassette will do the same thing.

    I'll stand by my first post and again suggest you replace your shift cable and housing. I know you said you checked and greased them but many times it's hard to tell by looking if a cable is a bit sticky. I think that is the most likely culprit and luckily the least expensive.

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    Quote Originally Posted by J.B. Weld View Post
    The cassette wobble is due to imperfections of the hub and is pretty normal. It won't affect your shifting and a new cassette will do the same thing.

    I'll stand by my first post and again suggest you replace your shift cable and housing. I know you said you checked and greased them but many times it's hard to tell by looking if a cable is a bit sticky. I think that is the most likely culprit and luckily the least expensive.
    I'll see if my lbs has one today.

    Any suggestions on where to buy stuff online? I need new tires and tubes.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by jtap View Post

    I also thought it might be time for a new chain so I bought the chain checker also. It says .25...so it should still be good.
    No need for using a "chain checker tool". Use a measuring tape or ruler. measure 12". A new chain will be a perfect 12" pin to pin.
    Once you start to get close to 1/16" wear plan to swap chain. Once you see 1/8" it is likely starting to cause damage to your cassette and chainrings.

    The tool is misleading as it shows "wear" on a brand new chain.
    Riding.....

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    Quote Originally Posted by Shark View Post
    No need for using a "chain checker tool". Use a measuring tape or ruler. measure 12". A new chain will be a perfect 12" pin to pin.
    Once you start to get close to 1/16" wear plan to swap chain. Once you see 1/8" it is likely starting to cause damage to your cassette and chainrings.

    The tool is misleading as it shows "wear" on a brand new chain.
    Yeah, I read the threads. It seems to be quite a spot of contention for many.

    Supported the LBS. Got a new cable and some other stuff. I'll spray it with some silicon lube and swap it out and see if it makes a difference.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by jtap View Post
    I'll spray it with some silicon lube and swap it out and see if it makes a difference.
    Generally it's better to leave them dry because lube attracts grit and can muck things up. A good cable and teflon housing is very slick, just make sure the housing cuts are neat and clean- no side cutters.

    As far as the chain checker I think they are fine, once you get used to the way they read (compare measurements with a ruler to confirm) I've found them to be quick and accurate.

  17. #17
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    Hey guys i'm too having a problem with my rear derailleur. It shifts perfectly except when upsifting from third to fourth gear (higher to lower cog). It hesitates to change gear and makes that distinct noise as if it needs to loose the tension. I tried all the possible screw combinations (H,L) and i've loosened the tension but this messes up the rest of the gears. The bike is brand new and the derailleur is deore xt. Any ideas?

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by iraklas View Post
    Hey guys i'm too having a problem with my rear derailleur. It shifts perfectly except when upsifting from third to fourth gear (higher to lower cog). It hesitates to change gear and makes that distinct noise as if it needs to loose the tension. I tried all the possible screw combinations (H,L) and i've loosened the tension but this messes up the rest of the gears. The bike is brand new and the derailleur is deore xt. Any ideas?
    Follow all the advice above.

    I changed out the cable and now mine shifts at what I would consider to be an acceptable tolerance.

    Thanks for the help folks, especially J.B. Weld.

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