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taking rear derailleur apart to clean or not?

ben-----ben----- Posts: 573
edited March 2017 in Workshop
Is it a good idea to take a rear derailleur apart, to enable full access to where the main spring is, in order to clean it? Or just clean it the best you can while not taking it apart? I'm not even sure if that part comes apart? On mine, the bolts/screws don't seem to be useable/unscrewable. They're not hex bolts, they're not screw headed.

I've got the derailleur off, and I've got the cage part apart as I'm replacing the jockey wheels. Thought it'd be a good chance to give it a clean. It's not *that* dirty but there is a bit of crud in there.

Posts

  • webboowebboo Posts: 3,844
    Stick it in the dishwasher.
  • MatthewfalleMatthewfalle Posts: 17,380
    Ultrasonic cleaner will get it spotless. £20 or so off Amazon and you'll end up using it for everything from derailleurs to cassettes to chains to your mates motorbike carbs etc etc etc.
    Postby team47b » Sun Jun 28, 2015 11:53 am

    De Sisti wrote:
    This is one of the silliest threads I've come across. :lol:

    Recognition at last Matthew, well done!, a justified honour :D
    smithy21 wrote:

    He's right you know.
  • fenixfenix Posts: 5,437
    I never have. I'd be wary of not being able to get the censored back on again. I'd also not bung it in the dishwasher cos my wife would kill me.

    I asked about ultrasonic cleaners last year and I wasn't convinced it was worth the expenditure.
  • ben-----ben----- Posts: 573
    Ok thanks. So taking it apart not a good idea/possible? Must be possible to replace the spring.
  • oxomanoxoman Posts: 9,728
    Clean mine by hand using cloth and old toothbrush. Sometimes remove jockey wheels if really bad.
    Too many bikes according to Mrs O.
  • Alex99Alex99 Posts: 1,407
    ben----- wrote:
    Is it a good idea to take a rear derailleur apart, to enable full access to where the main spring is, in order to clean it? Or just clean it the best you can while not taking it apart? I'm not even sure if that part comes apart? On mine, the bolts/screws don't seem to be useable/unscrewable. They're not hex bolts, they're not screw headed.

    I've got the derailleur off, and I've got the cage part apart as I'm replacing the jockey wheels. Thought it'd be a good chance to give it a clean. It's not *that* dirty but there is a bit of crud in there.

    I did a few weeks ago after various parts went stiff after being left in a bad state after a wet ride. I felt confident enough to have a go after a quick view of the relevant shimano technical document. If you keep the bits and bobs in the right order, it's all fine. Taking it apart is the only way to get grease in there properly.
  • keef66keef66 Posts: 13,123
    Never felt the need to dismantle one. Gets an occasional drop of 3-in-1 oil on the pivots, which then runs everywhere so I give it a good wiping down to get rid of the excess, and that leaves it lubed and spotless. Jockey wheels come out occasionally for a clean and grease.

    If a mech starts to misbehave I just bin it and buy another. Tiagra / 10 speed 105 stuff is cheap enough.
  • sungodsungod Posts: 13,782
    ben----- wrote:
    Ok thanks. So taking it apart not a good idea/possible? Must be possible to replace the spring.

    usually the pivots are pinned or even riveted, depends on the rd, pins can be driven out, rivets need drilling which leaves the problem of what to do for rebuilding

    aside from that, there's the challenge of getting spares, some can be difficult to find or uneconomic

    a good scrub with a small brush is all i'd do, lube the bits that need it, take off the cage and do the jockey wheels when they get bunged up

    if it dies and you replace it, keep the old one for spares
    my bike - faster than god's and twice as shiny
  • Alex99Alex99 Posts: 1,407
    Alex99 wrote:
    ben----- wrote:
    Is it a good idea to take a rear derailleur apart, to enable full access to where the main spring is, in order to clean it? Or just clean it the best you can while not taking it apart? I'm not even sure if that part comes apart? On mine, the bolts/screws don't seem to be useable/unscrewable. They're not hex bolts, they're not screw headed.

    I've got the derailleur off, and I've got the cage part apart as I'm replacing the jockey wheels. Thought it'd be a good chance to give it a clean. It's not *that* dirty but there is a bit of crud in there.

    I did a few weeks ago after various parts went stiff after being left in a bad state after a wet ride. I felt confident enough to have a go after a quick view of the relevant shimano technical document. If you keep the bits and bobs in the right order, it's all fine. Taking it apart is the only way to get grease in there properly.

    Just to clarify, I didn't take everything apart. Just the B axle and tension pivot. The parallelogram bit doesn't come apart as others have said. It's true they're not very expensive, but I like to get stuff working nicely if I can.
  • bbrapbbrap Posts: 610
    For jobs like this I use a big tub with a screw lid. Pop in chain, derailleur, cassette, etc and add some degreaser (I use white spirit or parrafin). Give it a shake about and allow to soak for a bit, then another shake and fish out. Lay on newspaper and allow to drain. Then lube as necessary. The tubs that have energy powder/supplements and a wide neck work very well.
    Rose Xeon CDX 3100, Ultegra Di2 disc (nice weather)
    Ribble Gran Fondo, Campagnolo Centaur (winter bike)
    Van Raam 'O' Pair
    Land Rover (really nasty weather :lol: )
  • MatthewfalleMatthewfalle Posts: 17,380
    Do you not rinse off the degreaser etc before drying out?
    Postby team47b » Sun Jun 28, 2015 11:53 am

    De Sisti wrote:
    This is one of the silliest threads I've come across. :lol:

    Recognition at last Matthew, well done!, a justified honour :D
    smithy21 wrote:

    He's right you know.
  • bbrapbbrap Posts: 610
    Do you not rinse off the degreaser etc before drying out?

    Depends on the component. If its a cassette I'll drain it, wipe off with a rag and leave to fully dry. A chain I'd flush off the paraffin, hang up and leave to dry, then re-lube. A derailleur, I'd fish out, give a good shake, wiggle all the pivots, dunk the whole thing in oil(mechanical not DI2), allow to drain, wipe off with a rag, then wiggle the pivots again to make sure it is all moving freely. Then use.
    However, if I was using a purpose made degreaser (e.g. Muc Off) I would flush with water prior to drying/lubing. I find a gallon of paraffin lasts ages and does the job for me. If the chain is a bit manky and I'm not planning on removing it from the bike I just spray with Muc Off (other degreasers are available), wipe down, rinse with water, dry with a rag then re-lube.
    Never had any problems with any residual paraffin or white spirit stopping subsequent lube doing its job.
    Rose Xeon CDX 3100, Ultegra Di2 disc (nice weather)
    Ribble Gran Fondo, Campagnolo Centaur (winter bike)
    Van Raam 'O' Pair
    Land Rover (really nasty weather :lol: )
  • imposter2.0imposter2.0 Posts: 11,386
    ben----- wrote:
    Ok thanks. So taking it apart not a good idea/possible? Must be possible to replace the spring.

    I've never rebuilt a rear mech in 25 years. Apart from the wheels, there are no real user-serviceable parts on a rear mech. I can't think of any reason to replace the spring anyway - generally simpler just to replace the entire unit.

    Either way, it should be perfectly possible to clean it without taking the thing apart.
  • This might help you decide whether and how far to dismantle:-

    https://youtu.be/L5KWFhzIPoc
  • wongataawongataa Posts: 945
    ben----- wrote:
    Is it a good idea to take a rear derailleur apart, to enable full access to where the main spring is, in order to clean it? Or just clean it the best you can while not taking it apart? I'm not even sure if that part comes apart? On mine, the bolts/screws don't seem to be useable/unscrewable. They're not hex bolts, they're not screw headed.

    I've got the derailleur off, and I've got the cage part apart as I'm replacing the jockey wheels. Thought it'd be a good chance to give it a clean. It's not *that* dirty but there is a bit of crud in there.
    I once took the spring where the it screws onto the frame out of one. I couldn't get it back together and had to buy a new unit.
  • rolf_frolf_f Posts: 16,015
    wongataa wrote:
    ben----- wrote:
    Is it a good idea to take a rear derailleur apart, to enable full access to where the main spring is, in order to clean it? Or just clean it the best you can while not taking it apart? I'm not even sure if that part comes apart? On mine, the bolts/screws don't seem to be useable/unscrewable. They're not hex bolts, they're not screw headed.

    I've got the derailleur off, and I've got the cage part apart as I'm replacing the jockey wheels. Thought it'd be a good chance to give it a clean. It's not *that* dirty but there is a bit of crud in there.
    I once took the spring where the it screws onto the frame out of one. I couldn't get it back together and had to buy a new unit.

    Should be easy enough. Leeds cycle superhighway had a brief period where they salted it in potentially icy conditions (now they just don't bother) and the sheer quantity of salt sat used manked up the rear mech. The only thing that got it going again was taking out the main spring and cleaning (even the ultrasonic cleaner didn't help when it was complete). Putting it back together is simply a case of aligning body and cage how they were before the components were separated and twisting the tension back in on the spring and pushing the two parts together so that they were held in position by the stop. Harder to describe than do.
    Faster than a tent.......
  • Alex99Alex99 Posts: 1,407
    gazza1286 wrote:
    This might help you decide whether and how far to dismantle:-

    https://youtu.be/L5KWFhzIPoc

    ...exactly what I did. Worked fine.
  • Alex99Alex99 Posts: 1,407
    Imposter wrote:
    ben----- wrote:
    Ok thanks. So taking it apart not a good idea/possible? Must be possible to replace the spring.

    I've never rebuilt a rear mech in 25 years. Apart from the wheels, there are no real user-serviceable parts on a rear mech. I can't think of any reason to replace the spring anyway - generally simpler just to replace the entire unit.

    Either way, it should be perfectly possible to clean it without taking the thing apart.

    Not really. You can't get to the pivots (the main ones at the frame mount and tension pivot) to clean or grease unless you take it apart. And, yes it is simpler to get a new one.
  • wongataawongataa Posts: 945
    Rolf F wrote:
    wongataa wrote:
    ben----- wrote:
    Is it a good idea to take a rear derailleur apart, to enable full access to where the main spring is, in order to clean it? Or just clean it the best you can while not taking it apart? I'm not even sure if that part comes apart? On mine, the bolts/screws don't seem to be useable/unscrewable. They're not hex bolts, they're not screw headed.

    I've got the derailleur off, and I've got the cage part apart as I'm replacing the jockey wheels. Thought it'd be a good chance to give it a clean. It's not *that* dirty but there is a bit of crud in there.
    I once took the spring where the it screws onto the frame out of one. I couldn't get it back together and had to buy a new unit.

    Should be easy enough.
    In theory yes but I couldn't tension the spring enough whilst holding everything to get everything back in the correct position. If I had a vice (but I don't) maybe I could have. A third arm and hand would have helped as well.
  • Aother vote for occasional disassembly of the RD at the main spring/pivot. Quite a fiddly job. My winter bike seems to accumulate dirt in there, which eventually needs cleaned out. Never had to do it on any other bikes though.
  • jermasjermas Posts: 484
  • itboffinitboffin Posts: 19,964
    Maybe once or twice i remove the rear mech scrub then soak in white spirit remove the jockey wheels and dismantle clean and refit, but the spring is too hard to get to, perhaps a sonic cleaner is the way forward
    Rule #5 // Harden The censored Up.
    Rule #9 // If you are out riding in bad weather, it means you are a badass. Period.
    Rule #12 // The correct number of bikes to own is n+1.
    Rule #42 // A bike race shall never be preceded with a swim and/or followed by a run.
  • After yesterday's post, decided to do a RD main pivot clean out in case it sorted my dicky Ergo. Not as fiddly as I recalled. Simultaneously re-loading the spring and securing the anchor plate to the derailleur body is awkward, but the whole job only took perhaps 30 mins. Still have a phantom click in my lever though...
  • svettysvetty Posts: 1,904
    The lower pivot - where the cage mounts - is easy to do. The upper one - at the mounting bolt - is harder to re-assemble. Still worth doing if they are sticking though.
    FFS! Harden up and grow a pair :D
  • rolf_frolf_f Posts: 16,015
    itboffin wrote:
    Maybe once or twice i remove the rear mech scrub then soak in white spirit remove the jockey wheels and dismantle clean and refit, but the spring is too hard to get to, perhaps a sonic cleaner is the way forward

    Tried that - didn't really seem to help for me. I think the crud just stays stuck between the moving surfaces. Good for general cleaning though.
    wongataa wrote:
    Rolf F wrote:
    wongataa wrote:
    ben----- wrote:
    Is it a good idea to take a rear derailleur apart, to enable full access to where the main spring is, in order to clean it? Or just clean it the best you can while not taking it apart? I'm not even sure if that part comes apart? On mine, the bolts/screws don't seem to be useable/unscrewable. They're not hex bolts, they're not screw headed.

    I've got the derailleur off, and I've got the cage part apart as I'm replacing the jockey wheels. Thought it'd be a good chance to give it a clean. It's not *that* dirty but there is a bit of crud in there.
    I once took the spring where the it screws onto the frame out of one. I couldn't get it back together and had to buy a new unit.

    Should be easy enough.
    In theory yes but I couldn't tension the spring enough whilst holding everything to get everything back in the correct position. If I had a vice (but I don't) maybe I could have. A third arm and hand would have helped as well.

    It's not that hard - you don't have to pre tension the spring. Pop it into the main body then take the cage and push it in so that the spring end engages in its hole in the cage - at this point with no tension and not all the way in. Then just carefully rotate the cage until the tabs that limit the cage movement are in the correct place relative to each other. The spring, uncompressed, is long enough to allow this to be done without popping out of its hole. Once in tension, you just push the cage fully home. Harder to describe than do.
    Faster than a tent.......
  • FlâneurFlâneur Posts: 3,081
    Ultrasonic cleaner will get it spotless. £20 or so off Amazon and you'll end up using it for everything from derailleurs to cassettes to chains to your mates motorbike carbs etc etc etc.

    Give us a link, sounds like lazy cleaning to me, which I like
    Stevo 666 wrote: Come on you Scousers! 20/12/2014
    Crudder
    CX
    Toy
  • drwaedrwae Posts: 223
    Flâneur wrote:
    Ultrasonic cleaner will get it spotless. £20 or so off Amazon and you'll end up using it for everything from derailleurs to cassettes to chains to your mates motorbike carbs etc etc etc.

    Give us a link, sounds like lazy cleaning to me, which I like
    If you like lazy cleaning just use the dishwasher, the bonus is it doesn't cost £20
  • svettysvetty Posts: 1,904
    drwae wrote:
    Flâneur wrote:
    Ultrasonic cleaner will get it spotless. £20 or so off Amazon and you'll end up using it for everything from derailleurs to cassettes to chains to your mates motorbike carbs etc etc etc.

    Give us a link, sounds like lazy cleaning to me, which I like
    If you like lazy cleaning just use the dishwasher, the bonus is it doesn't cost £20

    MIght clean the exterior but likely to get water in the pivot bolt/spring housings which will lead to sticking/rusting and wash out the grease....
    FFS! Harden up and grow a pair :D
  • keef66keef66 Posts: 13,123
    Christ, I've seen what our dishwasher does to some of the kitchenware, I'm not sticking bike parts in there. Anyway, it would likely cost more than £20. Divorce is quite expensive I understand.
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