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Cable Shortening made EZ

Posted: Wed Sep 07, 2011 1:22 pm
by HOTT
I, like a few others in the past few months, needed to shorten cables on my project bike. One has to search a few years back to get some ideas on how to do cable modifications (mostly repairs). Here are some ideas I used to do permanent custom length cables.
You'll need;
* 1/4" solid round brass stock (ACE Hdwr)
* 5/32", 7/64" drill bits
* propane torch with rosin core solder
* shear cut cable cutter or Dremel with cut-off wheel
After measuring (important step) the original excess cable (distance between barrel to housing), cut off barrel.
A shearing style cable cutter does the best job keeping strands together. (Use dikes at your own risk.)
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Route housing with the smoothest path possible. Radical twists and turns makes for a poor or hard feel at the lever. Cut excess housing. Measure twice cut once !
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Don't throw that extra housing away ! Remove ferrule with a Big Ol' Cresent wrench by turning counter clockwise.
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Trim back the metal spiral flex and press on ferrule. No need to re-crimp.
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With housing reduced, it's on to the barrel.
Drill an inset with 5/32''bit followed by 7/64'' thru hole in 1/4'' brass stock.
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Time to re-insert cable (the correct direction). Remember that excess measurement ? Make a mark on cable were the new barrel will go. This is a good time to install the plastic bushing if your original cable had one.
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With barrel & cable trimmed to to size, Fray a small amount of cable past the barrel.
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Using your torch :flamer , sweat solder barrel from frayed side. Grind off frayed/ soldered excess and you are ready to re-install.
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A perfect fit that won't slip. This technique works good on throttle cables also. Although I must confess sometimes I use knarps :shock: (barrels with set screws) Ric
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Re: Cable Shortening made EZ

Posted: Wed Sep 07, 2011 1:30 pm
by bladredhead
neato.

i've tried soldering cables on my bicycle to keep the ends from fraying and couldn't get the thing clean enough for the solder to stick. did you do anything special for cleaning?

Re: Cable Shortening made EZ

Posted: Wed Sep 07, 2011 1:43 pm
by HOTT
did you do anything special for cleaning?

Just rosin core solder. Stay away from acid core. It just makes a mess.
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Re: Cable Shortening made EZ

Posted: Wed Sep 07, 2011 1:49 pm
by taunusrainer
I tried the same with poor results. Seems it requires a special flux to make it work. What kind of wire material is used in clutch cables etc.? Is it ss or plated steel? Plated with zinc or cad? No idea... :dunno:

Re: Cable Shortening made EZ

Posted: Wed Sep 07, 2011 2:57 pm
by HOTT
What kind of wire material is used in clutch cables etc.?

I always thought they were Stainless. I know my bicycle ones are. We solder those too.

Re: Cable Shortening made EZ

Posted: Wed Sep 07, 2011 4:36 pm
by Whiskerfish
Very Nice!!

Re: Cable Shortening made EZ

Posted: Wed Sep 07, 2011 4:47 pm
by JBz
Thanks a lot Rick. JB

Re: Cable Shortening made EZ

Posted: Wed Sep 07, 2011 5:08 pm
by WShie
Great job. I think the main point to remember is that you must fray the end and then fill the fray with solder. The solder keeps the fray spread apart so it can't pull it through the hole.

Re: Cable Shortening made EZ

Posted: Thu Sep 08, 2011 12:54 am
by Bigphillip79
I've soldered cables just using the same set up for copper plumbing. What I've done is drilled a hole in a board about a quarter inch deep the diameter that I needed, fluxed the cable, melted the solder into the hole then pushed the cable into the hole and let it cool worked great.

Re: Cable Shortening made EZ

Posted: Thu Sep 08, 2011 7:37 am
by jafo
Brillant! I will use this on my clutch cable, the original one pulled the cable out and split the barrel. I already ordered the new one but I can fix the old one still on the bike and keep the new one as a spare.

Re: Cable Shortening made EZ

Posted: Thu Sep 08, 2011 7:52 am
by fish
I have done this trick many times with acid core 60-40 solder.
acid core sticks to anything
I can never get rosin core to work for beans
I live waaaaay out in the country & instead of driving into town crossy.gif to buy brass bar stock I use the shoulder section of a 1/4" bolt. I just cut off a short section and use it instead of brass

Re: Cable Shortening made EZ

Posted: Thu Sep 08, 2011 10:24 am
by nomoreusmc
if it doesn't stick or doesn't stick right it usually means that your not getting it hot enough. you'll know you have it right when the solder "wicks" or sucks into the cable. Flux paste or liquid will clean your parts right away and help heat transfer. Just because the solder melts doesn't mean it attached!

Re: Cable Shortening made EZ

Posted: Thu Sep 08, 2011 10:40 am
by HOTT
the original one pulled the cable out and split the barrel

jafo, had the same thing happen last year. The GL1000 is a PITA to change out quick so this is what I did. (overkill but fun)
viewtopic.php?f=1&t=28136&hilit=Clutchless+in+Texas
I use the shoulder section of a 1/4" bolt

Now that's just good thinkin' there. Thanks fish. I really am a fan of acid core. I just have seen it corrode the surrounding repair after awhile. This was a new cable so I didn't have any dirt issues. I can see where a piece that has been in use may need a little more persuasion. Different strokes...
Just because the solder melts doesn't mean it attached

Right you are ! If you look at the photo you can see the solder actually pulled though the barrel from the frayed end to make a blob on the cable side.

Re: Cable Shortening made EZ

Posted: Thu Sep 08, 2011 11:13 am
by Roady
This is an excellent tutorial so I've moved it to the How-To for Wings forum.

Also, it's going into ShopTalk.

Well done, Hott!

Re: Cable Shortening made EZ

Posted: Thu Sep 08, 2011 11:50 am
by Bert
Excellent tutorial...I have it saved in my C: drive of my brain.