Another in the famous series: Bompington's fettling disasters #395 - gear cable barrel adjusters

The PX is, after a few 10s of thousands of Scottish miles, worn out and a mess: needs half of the running gear replaced, if not more.

So last night I strip it down to the frame.

Now the gear cable adjusters had seized up a long time ago: so I left them to soak in a bit of GT for a good while, then removed them with pliers. Surprised at how easily they started to turn and come out...

... so yes, I sheared off both of the stuck adjusters. :s

Well, I couldn't think of anything else to do than drill out the remains: shouldn't be a problem, should it, after all they've already got a hole through the middle.

Well, it seemed to be going well until... yes, I managed to snap the drill bit half way through the first one.

So my options would seem to be:
  • Drill out the remains of the adjusters and the hardened steel drill bit that's wedged into one...
  • Replace the lugs that the adjusters screw into. Hmmm, riveted onto the frame.... and I can't find replacement ones anywhere (might help if I actually knew what they're called)
  • Bypass them completely?

Forgot to take a pic but I'm talking this kind of thing (not exactly the same as this pic)

Any useful advice willingly taken!


  • New bike, obvs
    Open One+ BMC TE29 Seven 622SL On One Scandal Cervelo RS
  • pblakeney
    pblakeney Posts: 25,786
    Scrap existing lugs and source band on adjusters.
    As an example -
    The above may be fact, or fiction, I may be serious, I may be jesting.
    I am not sure. You have no chance.
    Veronese68 wrote:
    PB is the most sensible person on here.
  • timothyw
    timothyw Posts: 2,482
    I suspect those band on options wouldn't work because they will need a round tube to clamp to, which is quite rare nowadays - what PX bike is it? London Road?

    The easy solution is to just run a full length gear outer, cable tied along the length as required to keep it tidy.

    I guess none of the drill bit is still sticking out proud that you might be able to wiggle out with pliers?

    I'd suggest drilling again, drill from the back so that the action of the drill bit turning will tend to unscrew what remains of the barrel adjuster, go slow, be careful.

    You could also try soaking it in some kind of penetrating oil, GT85 probably isn't the best for this sort of job.

    Or yeah, I imagine you could track down the riveted cable stops somewhere or other - have you asked PX?
  • Longshot
    Longshot Posts: 940
    edited February 2020
    Ahhh, I'm glad it's not just me these things happen to. Best of luck.

    The next time someone says "just build the bike yourself, it's not that hard" in a a thread I'm going to refer them to this and remind that, for some of us, it just might be...
    You can fool some of the people all of the time. Concentrate on those people.
  • Hmm, thought I'd added a second reply.

    You can get "Easy Out" drill bits to assist with this sort of problem although they work best if you can drill a pilot hole first and sound like that may be a problem on one side at least.

    Open One+ BMC TE29 Seven 622SL On One Scandal Cervelo RS
  • veronese68
    veronese68 Posts: 27,325
    timothyw said:

    I'd suggest drilling again, drill from the back so that the action of the drill bit turning will tend to unscrew what remains of the barrel adjuster, go slow, be careful.

    Whilst that would be the best way I'm not sure it would be possible to get a drill lined up well enough with the cable stop attached to the frame, if he were to drill out the cable stop he might be able to get a better angle. But that might not be a good idea either.
    I'd lean towards your full length outer suggestion and just cable tie the outer to the frame at appropriate points.
    Although new bike would be nice.
  • edward.s
    edward.s Posts: 221
    Next time, left hand drill bits are your friend.

    For this one, perhaps some gentle heat from a heat gun, drill from the back, dremel with a carbide burr and grind it all out, pliers on the stub of the drill if sticking out. Lots of options.
  • Had a thought about this. Get a fine punch and insert. Use a big hammer and knock the bit out. Then use a stud extractor to remove the adjuster.
  • me-109
    me-109 Posts: 1,915
    A bit like TCC above, punch the remains of the bit out, then use a larger bit to get out what you can but don't worry too much. Forget the adjusters and just butt the cable up against them. Use a larger drill bit to open out a recess if you feel but cable tension should generally hold them in place. Use inline adjusters for the front and, if the mech doesn't have its own adjuster, one for the rear.

    You shouldn't need to drill all the old stubs out as long as you have clear cable runs through them.
  • bompington
    bompington Posts: 7,674
    So thanks to all for the advice.

    I managed to bang out the broken drill bit in pretty much the way that has been suggested. Unbelievable how brittle it is - I managed to find several small, sharp bits on the garage floor. With my bare feet, which you could say was preferable to finding them with the tyres of any of the 4 bikes which regularly cross that bit of floor. Well, 3 at the mo.

    New drill bits (plural, just in case) on the way from Amazon - confident I can get the remains of the adjusters out, although the main trouble is that I can't get a drill in a straight line to them, even with the forks off. Just less carelessness with the drill.

    I might try ME's suggestion, might work better than a fully sheathed cable run - I don't know how I would finish the latter given that the run ends at the BB cable guide not a frame lug.

    In other news from the same job, I have at least discovered, pretty much for the first time, that it is possible to get a long-used, dirty, corroded GXP BB out: you just need the proper tool - the open spanner I had was singularly useless but a proper socket did the job easily.
  • edward.s
    edward.s Posts: 221
    long series drills are available which may help you get a straight line to drill through. might be a bit bendy at that diameter but just go carefully. if you can get the right tap you might be able to drill out the core diameter and then carefully tap the thread.
  • arlowood
    arlowood Posts: 2,561
    This might be an option to access the cable stops if you can't get a straight line at it with a normal drill

    A bit pricey but could be a useful but of kit for any future awkward drilling jobs
  • me-109
    me-109 Posts: 1,915
    edited February 2020
    I was just going to suggest the same thing as @arlowood above. The grip of the flexi is slimmer than a drill body so you should get a straighter run.
  • If you've got the broken bit out don't try to drill again, use an Easy Out screw extractor in the cable adjuster. You can turn it with pliers/vice grips from the side to get straight in.

  • That's why I suggested and these are the correct tools drilling out is not the best way.
  • bompington
    bompington Posts: 7,674

    That's why I suggested and these are the correct tools drilling out is not the best way.

    Too late - job done!
  • pinno
    pinno Posts: 51,355
    I was going to suggest I bring some tools on my way up but that won't be until July :)
    seanoconn - gruagach craic!