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  1. #1
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    Campy Shifter Lubrication?

    Wondering if you guys ever lubricate your Campy shifters?..or if there is a recommended maintenance practice suggested by Campy? I blew some pressurized air in my shifter mech's which showed some dirt ingression...just below the lever. The shifters shift fine..but wondered if periodic lubrication is advised? White lithium spray grease?...or maybe a teflon based dry lubricant?
    Suggestions?..thanks

  2. #2
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    Campy is using lithium grease so you might as well use lithium. It doesn't have to be the expensive Campy like this:

    Amazon.com: Campagnolo Lithium Grease: Sports & Outdoors

    Spray is fine with the straw to get inside areas that are very hard to reach.

  3. #3
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    Thanks TopQuark. And quite agree about using generic lithium grease versus the Campy branded stuff. Question is...where to shoot the grease?...maybe a bit on all exposed parts...pivot, spring, and serrated wheel.

  4. #4
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    Campy has no specific recommendations, but the maintenance required will differ, depending on the year and model.

    You've got three entirely different mechanisms - the pre-2009 mechanism, the escape/powershift and the ultrashift.

    Campy uses a light grease, but there's little chance of squirting grease where it would need to go. Oil will just run back out and make a mess of the hoods, unless a very small amount is used.

    The pre-2009 mechanism needs periodic replacement of the g-springs. I'd take those apart, clean, replace the springs, regrease and reassemble. It's not a fun job.

    Ultrashift levers have a indexing disc and ball retainer plate that control the indexing. You want lube between those two parts. Look for the rachet teeth on the underside and the parting line between the two parts. Ultrashift levers are very easy to take apart, compared to the older levers.

    INSIDE 2009 Ergopwer

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i5mzR8-rh8M

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by C-40 View Post
    Campy has no specific recommendations, but the maintenance required will differ, depending on the year and model.

    You've got three entirely different mechanisms - the pre-2009 mechanism, the escape/powershift and the ultrashift.

    Campy uses a light grease, but there's little chance of squirting grease where it would need to go. Oil will just run back out and make a mess of the hoods, unless a very small amount is used.

    The pre-2009 mechanism needs periodic replacement of the g-springs. I'd take those apart, clean, replace the springs, regrease and reassemble. It's not a fun job.

    Ultrashift levers have a indexing disc and ball retainer plate that control the indexing. You want lube between those two parts. Look for the rachet teeth on the underside and the parting line between the two parts. Ultrashift levers are very easy to take apart, compared to the older levers.

    INSIDE 2009 Ergopwer

    Campagnolo 2009 Ultra Shift Ergopower Overhaul - YouTube
    Thanks for your concise review C-40. I figured you would know if Campy had a maintenance interval or spec for lubricating their shifters so always good to hear your perspective. I have Ultrashift Centaur 10s shifters...fortunately the improved 2010 iteration with more pronounced index wheel detents.
    They shift beautifully but have the bike apart for some general maintenance and figured I would lubricate the shifters if this is advised.

    My question based upon your comments is:

    - Precluding disassembly at this point, would shooting a bit of lithium spray grease into the ratchet teeth under the shifter (still attached to handlebar) be helpful to shifter function?
    Thanks

  6. #6
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    I don't like aerosol lithium greases because all the ones I've ever used will dry out and can get hard.

    Couple weeks ago I rebuilt my 11sp Chorus shifters.

    Lubed rotating parts, springs, the belleville washers, everything where there is sliding metal-to-metal contact, with Shimano SP-41 "Special Grease" (except the index/detent discs, more on this below).

    SP-41 is a very light, white, silicone-like grease that doesn't dry out.
    Shimano SP-41 can be hard to find, I had to internet order.
    Shimano used it for derailler/brake cable lube, before the more modern "slick" cables became popular.

    Last year I also applied SP-41 grease on the Campy shifter index/detent discs - Big mistake! The grease obstructed the tiny ball & detent from engaging properly, so shifts were "soft" and would even slip off the detent.

    I now use 1-2 drops of heavy oil (SAE 80-90 gear oil) on the index/detent discs. Plus, the gear oil has additives (zinc and/or moly) that minimize metal-metal wear.
    The shifts, up & down, are very crisp & well-defined.

    Maybe there are better aerosol lithiums than what I have used, but long ago I started using General Motors # 12346241 aerosol "Super Lube", whenever I've needed an aersol grease. Can reads "turns into grease after application" , and it's clear and very light.

  7. #7
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    Thank you Tom. I am probably a season away from taking apart my Ultrashift 10s levers for maintenance. I will pose the same question to you that I asked C-40. Without taking the shifters apart, do you see a benefit in lubricating the exposed mechanism/rachet wheel underneath the lever?
    Many Thanks


    Quote Originally Posted by tom_h View Post
    I don't like aerosol lithium greases because all the ones I've ever used will dry out and can get hard.

    Couple weeks ago I rebuilt my 11sp Chorus shifters.

    Lubed rotating parts, springs, the belleville washers, everything where there is sliding metal-to-metal contact, with Shimano SP-41 "Special Grease" (except the index/detent discs, more on this below).

    SP-41 is a very light, white, silicone-like grease that doesn't dry out.
    Shimano SP-41 can be hard to find, I had to internet order.
    Shimano used it for derailler/brake cable lube, before the more modern "slick" cables became popular.

    Last year I also applied SP-41 grease on the Campy shifter index/detent discs - Big mistake! The grease obstructed the tiny ball & detent from engaging properly, so shifts were "soft" and would even slip off the detent.

    I now use 1-2 drops of heavy oil (SAE 80-90 gear oil) on the index/detent discs. Plus, the gear oil has additives (zinc and/or moly) that minimize metal-metal wear.
    The shifts, up & down, are very crisp & well-defined.

    Maybe there are better aerosol lithiums than what I have used, but long ago I started using General Motors # 12346241 aerosol "Super Lube", whenever I've needed an aersol grease. Can reads "turns into grease after application" , and it's clear and very light.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by roadworthy View Post
    ... Without taking the shifters apart, do you see a benefit in lubricating the exposed mechanism/rachet wheel underneath the lever?
    Many Thanks
    I believe you're referring to the "gear" portion of the "ratchet & pawl" of the thumb shifter assembly??

    Then yes, I think there's value in periodically lubing the gear/ratchet, since it's relatively exposed, and lube eventually washes or wears away. Since I have Shimano SP41 grease, I use that. Before I bought Shimano grease, I would apply a small dab of Park Tool grease to the gear/ratchet, and shift up & down the entire cassette. But, any light grease should do -- just don't use auto chassis grease, way too thick!

    As far as the 2 detent/index discs, as C40 states you can see a very fine parting line between the two, even though a casual glance suggests it's just one thick disc.

    Put the bike upside down, and look into the bottom side of shifters (now facing up). Insert a very fine tip tool (small blade screwdriver, safety pin needle, or similar) and gently spread apart the detent/index discs a tiny amount -- just enough to reveal it's not one solid disc.

    Then, dribble a drop or two of heavy oil between the 2 discs, allow the 2 discs to snap together, and shift up & down the entire cassette.

    Don't insert the tool or blade very deep into the index/detent discs -- just enough to spread the discs ever-so-slightly.

    Otherwise, there's a risk the tool might dislodge the tiny springs & ball-detents inside the discs, and you're screwed.

  9. #9
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    I appreciate you taking the time Tom to provide your thorough explanation. Makes perfect sense and hopefully will help others as well as myself maintain their Campy shifters. Most will try to avoid tearing down the shifters as long as possible including me
    I just went thru the bike...pulled the UT Campy crank which has been perfect...recabled cleaned and lubed derailleurs...good to go. I love the Campy groupset....its been awesome.
    Thanks again for your help.

    Quote Originally Posted by tom_h View Post
    I believe you're referring to the "gear" portion of the "ratchet & pawl" of the thumb shifter assembly??

    Then yes, I think there's value in periodically lubing the gear/ratchet, since it's relatively exposed, and lube eventually washes or wears away. Since I have Shimano SP41 grease, I use that. Before I bought Shimano grease, I would apply a small dab of Park Tool grease to the gear/ratchet, and shift up & down the entire cassette. But, any light grease should do -- just don't use auto chassis grease, way too thick!

    As far as the 2 detent/index discs, as C40 states you can see a very fine parting line between the two, even though a casual glance suggests it's just one thick disc.

    Put the bike upside down, and look into the bottom side of shifters (now facing up). Insert a very fine tip tool (small blade screwdriver, safety pin needle, or similar) and gently spread apart the detent/index discs a tiny amount -- just enough to reveal it's not one solid disc.

    Then, dribble a drop or two of heavy oil between the 2 discs, allow the 2 discs to snap together, and shift up & down the entire cassette.

    Don't insert the tool or blade very deep into the index/detent discs -- just enough to spread the discs ever-so-slightly.

    Otherwise, there's a risk the tool might dislodge the tiny springs & ball-detents inside the discs, and you're screwed.

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