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  1. #1
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    Has Anyone Else Broken a Shimano Clutch RD?

    Snapped the clutch in my XTR RD tonight. Have not been able to figure out why I was dropping chains, but I am pretty sure it has been cracked for a while. I don't want to go into detail until I talk to Shimano tomorrow, but want to know if anyone else has had issues.

  2. #2
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  3. #3
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    Judging by the pic the B tension screw on the Zee was too low and it was hitting the rear cogs. On mine the actual clutch mechanism broke internally. Mine had to do with the adjustment key and the way it fits inside. The clutch actually clamps down on it and if you clamp it down too tight it will break the clutch. I think most people have not worn their's enough to see the issue yet.

  4. #4
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    Not the same catastrophic failure, but mine has felt progressively less effective over the course of its life (just under a year). More noise and even the occasional dropped chain which I never used to have. I periodically open and tighten the clutch, but the effect mainly seems to be to make shifting take more thumb effort, without really quieting things down.

    What was shimano's response? My LBS had no useful input.

  5. #5
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    Just got one of these.... so far so good, but little ride time... keen to know what your mates at Shimano say - the clutch mech is tiny but figure one can ride without it if it does give in...?

  6. #6
    Ninja Master Powers
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    I've been riding the XTR Shadow + since Feb. zero problems, I've adjusted it once (the clutch).

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikemikemike View Post
    Not the same catastrophic failure, but mine has felt progressively less effective over the course of its life (just under a year). More noise and even the occasional dropped chain which I never used to have. I periodically open and tighten the clutch, but the effect mainly seems to be to make shifting take more thumb effort, without really quieting things down.

    What was shimano's response? My LBS had no useful input.
    Try removing the adjustment tool from inside, retightening and then LEAVE THE TOOL OUT. If you have tightened it too much with the tool installed you may have cracked it like I did with mine. Either way you are now tightening against the tool instead of the pivot. If it still feels loose after the adjustment you probably need to send it back to Shimano. If you are local to Irvine in Socal you can drop it off at the service center to cut a day or two off the shipping.

    Shimano just took it in and is rebuilding it.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by ricovonsuaveIII View Post
    Just got one of these.... so far so good, but little ride time... keen to know what your mates at Shimano say - the clutch mech is tiny but figure one can ride without it if it does give in...?
    Yes, you can still ride it with a broken clutch. Just acts like a normal RD.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Salespunk View Post
    Try removing the adjustment tool from inside, retightening and then LEAVE THE TOOL OUT. If you have tightened it too much with the tool installed you may have cracked it like I did with mine. Either way you are now tightening against the tool instead of the pivot. If it still feels loose after the adjustment you probably need to send it back to Shimano. If you are local to Irvine in Socal you can drop it off at the service center to cut a day or two off the shipping.

    Shimano just took it in and is rebuilding it.
    Very interesting. I understood (from a pinkbike article) that the tool is itself part of the structure of the derailleur, so this would never have occurred.

    Just to make sure I understand - remove the tiny wrench, tighten the clutch, leave the wrench out, ride and see if it feels loose. If yes, it may be a snapped clutch from overtighening, so send back to shimano. I'll give this a try and see if that's what's going on...

    Since you've thought about this - is there a guideline for how much tightening is the correct amount? Again, from the pink bike article, I expected that the answer is "just a tiny bit", so I've been pretty careful about not cranking down on it (working in 1/2 turn increments each time).

    Thanks for the input!

  10. #10
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    Not sure what the correct amount is, but I can tell you it is night and day since I installed my temporary XT with a clutch. Bike is dead quiet now.

    Trying to wrap my head around how the tool is an integral part of the structure if the clutch is tightening against it. An experiment for you. Attempt to install the tool with the clutch closed. Mine would not go in with this config. I have to open the clutch install the tool and then lock the clutch again. Once the clutch is locked I also cannot remove the tool. I think what they are saying is that the tool keeps people from over tightening the clutch. I can't see how it plays a structural role unless it keeps the RD from sliding off the pivot (which it does not).

  11. #11
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    Just got my RD back from Shimano. They sent a brand new one back instead of fixing my old one. I am surprised because it should have been fairly simple to fix, but definitely not going to complain.

  12. #12
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    Great that Shimano took care of you!

    From Pinkbike, FWIW: "The wrench is also a structural tension strut that reinforces the clutch mech, so its best to pop it out with the lever in 'off' position."
    Tech Tuesday - Inside Shimano's Shadow Plus Mech and How To Adjust It - Pinkbike
    The picture for Step 3 suggests that it might brace two elements above the clutch against each other, but who knows.

  13. #13
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    Called Shimnao with my symptoms. A not very helpful tech gave me the following instructions (my sketchy notes). I'll try this in a couple weeks when I get time. LBS didn't have nexus grease, recommended some kind of marine grease instead.


    rebuild the clutch area
    -take part out and degrease

    -remove cover
    -little clip with clutch inside
    -remove tool
    -can take off band clip
    -use Nexus grease, put it back on p-axle
    -tip - putting it on, put the der. upside down, and slide the clutch on.

    Might be self explanatory when trying it. Would hate to have those little parts fall out - it'd be all over!

  14. #14
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    That is why I can't figure out why they sent me a new one. My gut is that it went back to engineering. When you pull the clutch check to see if it is cracked. The temporary XT is night and day from my old XTR. So quiet now.

  15. #15
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    They aren't perfect, yet, that's for sure. I had two clutches fail on XTs. No hassle replacements from S, and the third is going strong so far -- though it only has about 20 hours on it, which with our current weather, will remain the case for awhile.

    I predict a slight tweak in the clutch construction in the near future, if it hasn't been implemented already.
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  16. #16
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    I opened mine up Friday night. Looked fine until I looked closely at the bracket that holds hte clutch in place, and saw a tiny crack. When I jiggled it a chunk fell off into my hand. I'll post pics, but for now it's good to know that I'm not imaginig things. Hopefully Shimano will be kind to me as well.

  17. #17
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    And now I know neither am I!

  18. #18
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    Here's what my broken clutch bracket part (no idea what the proper name for it is) looked like.

    Not having any idea what to look for, didn't notice the crack when just eyeballing it while tightening the clutch, yet again (first picture).

    It wasn't until I poked at it that the crack became obvious. For all I know, it was cracked earlier and I just never saw it. Probably was, since I was feeling that it wasn't doing me right for quite some time. Hopefully this will be helpful to someone. The mechanics at my LBS had no idea how to diagnose the symptoms. i don't blame them.

    Once I figured it out, with the help of this thread (thanks Salespunk!), Shimano sent me a replacement der via my LBS, which I will swap on when I get a few minutes. Nice to have this resolved, and to know I wasn't crazy.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Has Anyone Else Broken a Shimano Clutch RD?-img_0120.jpg  

    Has Anyone Else Broken a Shimano Clutch RD?-img_0122.jpg  

    Has Anyone Else Broken a Shimano Clutch RD?-img_0123.jpg  

    Has Anyone Else Broken a Shimano Clutch RD?-img_0124.jpg  

    Has Anyone Else Broken a Shimano Clutch RD?-img_0127.jpg  

    Has Anyone Else Broken a Shimano Clutch RD?-img_0376.jpg  


  19. #19
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    Glad it worked out. I find it interesting that they are sending out new RD's instead of just fixing the clutch. Not sure why.

  20. #20
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    I just received a new clutch mechanism from Shimano.
    Seems the metal is still the same as in the broken one.
    XT, SLX and Saint shadow plus seems to be made from same batch.
    I adjusted the clutch a bit looser, that way maybe it will not break as quick as the first one did, still functioning great, no chain slab or ghost shifting even on rough trails.

  21. #21
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    I just changed over to the clutch derailleurs. All I know is my thumb is a lot more tired shifting now. Is that normal? I am using an XTR unit. I had no idea the cover came off. I am going to read that article now on PB.
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  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by spunkmtb View Post
    I just changed over to the clutch derailleurs. All I know is my thumb is a lot more tired shifting now. Is that normal? I am using an XTR unit. I had no idea the cover came off. I am going to read that article now on PB.
    As long as the Shadow+ is OK the rear derailleur is hard to push forward.
    http://techdocs.shimano.com/media/te...9830789046.pdf
    Maybe read this thread to get more info about the Shadow+ problems/adjustments):
    Clutch Broken on XT Shadow Plus
    I have both an XTR 986 Shadow+ without problems and a SLX 675. The SLX lost the Shadow+ function after about 3 month on trails and I have lately received the spare parts from Shimano. The clutch retainer that is in the XT SLX and SAINT is not the same as in the XTR.
    I adjusted my XTR to have less clutch pressure as it did from factory and bought the Shimano grease and lubricated it, hoping that way to prolong the life of it. After that the derailleur was still preventing ghost shifting and chain slab, but it moved much smoother than before; donít know if it is due to the grease or that the pressure is lesser now.
    The Shadow+ derailleurs need a bit more pressure to change gear to larger cogs, but the same shifting to smaller.
    I like the shifting feel in the XTR more than the SLX though they both do the same job.

  23. #23
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    I've broken 3 xt shadows since switching over in July. They last me about 25 hours. I just buy a new one and send the broken one back to jenson for a full refund. I'm always in the 60 day return window when they break. Derailleur #4 should fail in the next ride or two.

  24. #24
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    Since I changed the broken clutch on my SLX (same as on XT and Saint) and lubricated it with the grease Shimano has stated and adjusted it I have had no problems with it. So in order to prolong the life of my XTR I lubricated and adjusted it as well and I have had no problems with either of them.
    here is a link to help if needed:
    Clutch Broken on XT Shadow Plus

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