Monday, May 11, 2020

problem-solving: replacing a snapped adjusting barrel

Today I took in another tune-up, a decent bike that is ridden daily. Everything was going smoothly, until I examined the shifting and found it sluggish and then non-functional. While replacing the cables, I discovered the cause: The adjusting barrel of the rear derailleur had snapped, with half of it inside the threaded hole in the derailleur body.

What to do?
I knew I'd have to remove the broken barrel; replacing the derailleur was beyond the owner's budget.
So I looked at my tools, and found something pointy and small enough to get inside the barrel.
I found a tiny screwdriver that fit the bill. First, I applied a drop of oil to the top of the break, and tapped the derailleur body so the oil would work down into the threads.
Then I applied the screwdriver and turned.

It was pretty easy once a corner of the screwdriver caught inside.
Then, I went to my parts bin and found a replacement barrel that would fit.
I mostly find these in buckets of free nuts and bolts at smaller bike shops.  Sometimes I also find them laying on the ground behind the CCC near the dumpsters. Free is free, regardless of where it's found.
Inserting the replacement barrel into the spring-loaded holder, I simply threaded the adjusting barrel back into the derailleur, adjusted the shifting, and was done.

I am happy to take in simple tune-ups and small repairs during the shutdown. I can make my own schedule, rest when I need to and help friends and family whose budgets are equally tight right now.
I'm sure I'm not making folks at the shops happy, but honestly I don't know too many folks who can afford to pay shop rates right now -- their hourly labor rate is a third to half again higher than what I charge and I have almost no overhead and a hobby mechanic. So I don't feel too guilty about it. And when I can effect a repair some shops wouldn't bother with (because they'd make more money selling you a new derailleur, for example), I'm happy.

Looking forward to a longer bike ride later this week. Of course, a ride report will follow.
Happy riding!

1 comment:

Nancy said...

Nicely done Beth. If I lived closer to you (or you to me) I would be bringing my bike to your capable hands whenever it needed anything — and when you had time to give it your tender loving care ;’-).