41. How to Recondition RapidFire Plus Shifters

Shows how to troubleshoot, clean and lubricate RapidFire-style index shift levers.

IMPORTANT: Nuts and bolts on your bike should always be tightened to the manufacturer's specifications.
How to Recondition RapidFire Plus Shifters
DVD Vol. 2 DVD Volume 2
This video is available on DVD

In today's tutorial, we'll learn how to troubleshoot and repair a RapidFire Plus style index shifter. For this job you'll need a phillips(+) screwdriver, a 4 or 5mm allen key, some light oil, spray grease, and some penetrating fluid like liquid wrench or WD-40.

Sometimes nothing happens if you try to shift up to an easier gear, or down to a harder gear. If your cables are functioning smoothly, this likely means that there is either a build up of gunk on the inside of your shifter, or that some of the internal parts are worn or broken.

Try This First

If it's just gummed up, sometimes you can get it working again by squirting some light oil inside, and then running through the gears several times to make sure the oil fully penetrates the internal parts.

Look Inside

If not, you'll have to remove the outer casing and take a look inside. Keep in mind that there are many different styles of these shifters but the concept is generally the same. You don't want to remove all of the screws on the shifter as there are many small springs and moving parts that are difficult to put back together. Try and see which screw looks like it removes only the dust cover.

With the cover removed, you should see a ratcheting mechanism that includes a gear and a spring loaded pawl. If you run through the gears while looking inside, you'll see that every time you shift up to an easier gear the pawl pushes against the gear until it clicks it into the next position. This builds tension on the spring and pulls the cable a set amount, which moves your derailleur up one sprocket.

When you use the index lever to shift the derailleur down into a harder gear, the spring releases and causes the gear to slip back one position. This releases the cable a set amount, which pulls your derailleur down one sprocket.

Further Repair

If either of these functions is not happening, inspect the gears and pawls to make sure nothing is broken or looks worn. If they are, you'll usually just have to replace the shifter. If everything looks fine but the shifter still doesn't work, you can give it a bit of an overhaul to clean and re-lubricate the inner mechanism.

Disassemble Shifter

You'll have to remove the shift cable first. It'll usually slide out the of the shifter when it's in the highest gear (7,8,9). Then remove the shifter body from your handlebar using the top allen bolt. Unscrew and remove the barrel adjuster and then remove any remaining screws until you can pull apart the dust covers and slide the inner mechanism out. Make sure you pay attention to how everything came apart so you can get it back together again.

Reassemble Shifter

Soak the unit with some penetrating fluid and then wipe it down and let it air dry. Once dry, spray some grease in between all of the moving parts and then re-assemble the shifter parts the same way they came apart. Mount it back on the handlebar and click through all of the gears so the spray grease penetrates. Then replace the shift cable and adjust your derailleur as needed.

If you've tried all of these steps and the shifter still doesn't work, unfortunately it'll likely need replacing.

Tags

Related Links

Discuss this topic in the Shifter Forums

06/28 Switching from Racing Shifters to Thumb Shifters!

Hi Guys!
I want to swap the racing handlebar brakes/gear shifters for normal v brake levers and thumb shifters - however the only affordable shifters I can find are for 21 speed (3x7) and my bike is only 14 speed (2x7). Can I set it up so that both the 2 and 3 on the left (front hub) shifter just cause it to be in 2 (because there is no 3rd gear on front)???
Hope I phrased it in an understandable way! its hard to write it out without pointing at stuff Smile... Read more >>

05/26 Derailleur locked up

EDIT: RESOLVED

Hi,

I wonder if anyone can help with an issue I'm having with my rear derailleur.

I'm not really sure how to describe this but you can see here http://tinypic.com/r/2cwogbb/8 (direct images not working...). Basically when changing gears, the mech (which has recently been professionally fitted) locked up in the stretched out position and now I can't get it back. It has happened a few times before and released itself, but no joy this time.

Sorry if this is discussed el... Read more >>

05/13 Replacing old rear derailleur

I bought a very old Mongoose mtn bike from Goodwill for commuting to/from the metro station, and would like to replace its very old Suntour 3000 alpha rear derailleur.  Is there a model of derailleur I'm likely to find that will allow me to keep the index shifting?  Or should I give up and buy any old other derailleur for continuous shifting?
Thanks!... Read more >>

05/07 What if your new rear Dérailleur

has no cable adjustment barrel?... Read more >>

04/24 Rear Derailleur Suicide Into Spokes.

[Image: bike.jpg]
http://tinyurl.com/qdrsr3z

[Image: ke2.jpg]
http://tinyurl.com/mnroxc2

My bicycle had been shifting erratically on its own.  I downshifted and immediately after downshifting a loud CLUNK jammed my tire.  This is what the damage looks like---is this ... Read more >>

04/24 what Rear Derailleur hanger do i need

i bought a raleigh mtrax ht 1.0 but the hanger from the Rear Derailleur is missing ive been in a few bike shops and they are unsure what hanger i need. i've been online and there are hundreds of different shapes and don't want to start wasting money on hangers and they don't fit so if anyone knows the type of hanger i need would be  very helpful

here is a stock pic of the bike

[Image: MTX116BK.jpg]



*UPDATE*
I have found what one... Read more >>

04/21 Removed front derailleur.

i have  Hunter Shadow from years ago, probably the 80's, not a high end bike from Hunters in California.
it has 1.25" tubing. i sent it to a bike shop a year ago because I couldn't remedy it and they did a home made type of repair. the bike would never shift into low. same after they repaired it. no difference. the derailleur is the wrong one as it had no cable stop to attached the sheath or jagwire that fed up from the bottom cable stop.. now to the chase. i removed the front derailleur and the small and large chain rings and now have a 36 tooth middle chain ring left on the same crank... Read more >>

03/31 Rear Derailleur.. I have no idea what I'm doing

Hey guys, I'm a total novice when it comes to working on bicycles and I read through a lot of posts and I watched some youtube videos but I am really confused on how to get my derailleur back on.  I was trying to get my back tire off to change the tube and some how the derailleur inadvertently "fell off".  Also, a small metal piece fell off with(I did not see any screws land anywhere), which I have no idea where it goes or what it is for.

I don't know hardly any of the biking terminology so it has made it even more difficult for me to understand what I need to do to get it back... Read more >>

03/20 Block spacer

My new 10 speed Shimano 105 block came with a skinny aluminum spacer, which was intended to fit behind the block.  Does this always need to be fitted or is it for special circumstances?  I also have new 10 speed specific wheels and the chain does clear the spokes without the spacer.  The new chain is not smooth under pressure, could taking out the spacer be a solution?   Thanks.... Read more >>

03/14 Hierarchy btw Shimano and Sram models

Dear friends, I wanna buy a bike that will provide me both road and trail usage. and it should be also economical. There are lots of level of quality between shimano accessories such as Tiagra, Xtr.. and also same thing for Sram. Could you advice me the correct hierarchy between models acc to price. And advice a bike for both road and trail usage.Thanks in advance.. http://bikebest.net/versus/... Read more >>

02/16 Frayed derailleur cable end

The metal cap at the end of my derailleur cable somehow came loose so now the cable end has unravelled into multiple strands. They are a cut hazard and look ugly. Appreciate any suggestions on how to fix.... Read more >>

02/15 Since overhaul (I'm Impressed)

It's presently 0 Degrees F, with a -16 wind chill in Chicagoland...

It's been ~3 months since the overhaul of the 2 bikes, and I've been alternating them from the repair stand (Bunji Straps hanging from ceiling joist in basement)..
When I started I figured a squirt of oil was all that was needed.  I had no idea what nice bikes I had! 
I learned about strange part sizes from Here & Internet.
I learned about parts & "Alternate Parts" procurement from LBS, Here, & Internet.
I learned about loose bearings from the first dis-assembly.. and found b... Read more >>

02/12 Deore LX Derailleurs?

I have two Deore LX derailleurs... one is a RD550 and the other is a RD565.
Which one is a better derailleur or is there a better one?? Any differences between the two other than the model number?? Both have the SGS long cage.
Trying to figure out the Shimano numbers and quality grades.
Thanks... Read more >>

02/08 SRAM X9 - Rear Derailleur Pulley - Wobbles

Hello,

I have a Boarman Hybrid Pro (2010 Model - White http://road.cc/content/review/4160-boardman-urban-pro-ltd) and the I have had a lot of repairs on it recently.

After the latest repair I noticed the chain was wobbling from left to right more than what I expected. I bought it back to the bike shop but they gave me lip service on the cause and the repair for the problem.

With further inspecition I noticed that that both rear derailleur pulleys are wobbling and are l... Read more >>

01/26 Need to replace a RD-TZ30 drlr

Hi, I need to replace and old broken RD-TZ30 drlr 7 speed.

Does anyone know if the Shimano Acera M360 7-8 Speed would be an ok replacement?

It is for an old (but much loved) Schwinn Jaguar beach cruiser.

Thanks!... Read more >>

New Thread
How to Recondition RapidFire Plus Shifters
Repair Guide / Help Forums

Free Email Updates: