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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Allow me to begin with the disclaimer that I am by no means an expert. I am simply a perennial cheapskate who will cut any expense possible to accomplish a goal. That being said, I am pleased to present to you, the curious forum searcher, a picture filled explanation of how to shorten your own cables. If you, the reader, know of any way to improve the process as described, feel free to share your wisdom. I have used this method time and again with full confidence in my work.



These are the essential tools you will need to accomplish the task: I like to use a heavier side cutter, as it helps get through the metal sheath of the cable better. Solder, flux, a torch, and drill bits with a drill press are musts. I also use a vice grip pliers to re-crimp the end of the fittings. A grinder is also helpful for cleaning up the metal surfaces.





This is the original cable. Not terribly pretty.







Now comes the point of no return. Cut through the sheath and cable near the fitting with the side cutter. Remove the excess sheathing so that it is the appropriate length, then grind the sheathing on the cable side to make a nice flush surface. A friend of mine cringed when I said I used side cutters for this and suggested that I use a hacksaw. After a frustrating 5 minutes of mangled metal and no positive results, I just went back to my side cutters, but you can do what you would like. If you were concerned about the fact that the cable was missing in this picture, it is because I had pulled it out - there was no significance behind it.





Remove the sheath from the fitting side with a needle nose pliers, or some such grasping tool. You can see how the sheathing started to stretch as I pulled out. Towards the end you will need to grasp the sheath and pry it out using the surface of the fitting as a fulcrum. Hopefully you can see me doing that. This picture was taken just as the end popped out.





Once the fitting is clean it should look like this inside.





Slide the fitting back over your cable and on to the sheathing. It will sit rather loosely. You can either live with that (I am not sure whether or not it actually matters) or you can do like me; make a small nick in the sheathing and clamp the crimped end tighter with some vice grip pliers. If you want to do this after you have re-soldered the end, that is fine and perhaps even preferable as you will not have to worry about somehow tugging the fitting off. You can almost see the nick in the crimped end. At any rate, it is clearly holding strong enough to fight off gravity.





At this point you need to consider what to use for a bullet. If you have not yet found out, the bullets on the CX cables are usually cast lead and will melt right after getting hit by the torch. A sad day it was when I first discovered that fact... Thankfully you have some options. If you happen to have some spare steel bullets laying around, by all means use those. However, you can pretty well use any smooth cylinder of metal of the appropriate diameter. I submit to you some raw materials I have used before. The smooth part on the 10 mil bolt looks to be the perfect diameter for a throttle bullet. the copper bushings are perfect for clutch cables. In fact, I have one on my CX right now. Be creative if you have nothing already prepared.





Thankfully, I had a bullet sitting on my work bench from a while back. I think I made it from a nail or something. I used a drill bit slightly larger the the hole I had previously created in order to produce a countersunk taper in which the soon to be flared end of the cable will rest. Slide the bullet over the cable and then use your needle nose pliers to bend the wire strands on the end of cable to produce a nice compact flare. It needs to be wide, not long: think dandelion flower. The idea is that the flared end of cable will not be able to pull back through the hole in the bullet, but will sit nicely in the tapered countersunk portion. Be very careful when you pull the bullet to the end of the flared cable. The idea is for it to be snug on the bullet, but if you pull too hard and it comes off you will find it incredibly bothersome to try cramming it back in the bullet. This is what you hope to see. If you look carefully, you might see the angle of the tapered part. The flaring should be fairly obvious.





Smother the bullet and cable in flux. This will help to encourage the solder to stick more readily.





Coat the end of your solder in a thin layer of flux for good measure, then hit the bullet with your torch. Introduce the flux to the flared part of the cable and watch it sink in. Be prepared to spend a couple minutes trying to get the right amount of flux where you want it. You will also want to shake off the excess from time to time. As a liquid, the tendency of the molten flux will be to flow down. If the bullet side is up, the flux is going to run down the cable, stiffening your cable and possibly producing problems if the cable needs to bend right next to the bullet. Conversely, if you have the bullet side down you might never get flux to the bottom of the bullet and it will not be as secure. You can certainly add flux to the bottom with the bullet side down, but I personally prefer trying to avoid hitting the cable with direct heat if at all possible. This part really is quite the ballet, so it may take some getting used to. However, when you feel fully confident that the solder has fully saturated the cable and filled the space and the excess solder has been shaken off producing a smooth looking bullet, feel free to let it cool then grind off any unsightly parts of the bullet. This is how mine turned out. It is one of the better ones as it took little time to fill nicely, the solder stayed next to the bullet and did not cover the cable, and there were only a few strands of wire out the end that I needed to touch up with the grinder.

http://i488.photobucket.com/albums/rr243/zach_godel/Cable shortening/SAM_0462.jpg



This is how it looked after a wipe down with a paper towel and touch up on the grinder. Not too shabby looking.

http://i488.photobucket.com/albums/rr243/zach_godel/Cable shortening/SAM_0465.jpg



The finished product is significantly shorter for your clubman/clipon/drag bar enjoyment. In case you were wondering, yes, that is my fishing bow being used as a reference point for length.

http://i488.photobucket.com/albums/rr243/zach_godel/Cable shortening/SAM_0464.jpg



I hope this was useful and instructive. The last piece of advice I have to offer is that you must be absolutely certain that you did the work well. If you do not have total confidence in your cable ends, they probably are going to fail you. Be sure to cover your bases. If your cable snaps because you neglected to properly flare the end, or you failed to achieve adequate solder saturation, or you cut the cable to the wrong length in the sheath you might experience a minor annoyance. However, it may end up being far more costly. So anyway, be meticulous, but have fun!



God bless!
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
I was unable to add the last three photos in the post proper. Though I provided the links to them, I will just add them here.







 

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Yeah, I'm a bit of a tight-arse too, but I also find it's easier to make a cable than buy one.

The only thing I do different is I cut a groove length wise in the back of the plug, and when the cable is pushed through the hole, I separate the cable and put half in each side of the groove before soldering. I think this makes it stronger and less likely to pull through the hole.
 

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I countersink one side of the nipple so that the cable can be flared into it.This,like the grooves the other poster used,prevents it from pulling through once soldered/brazed.



My 10 penn'th
 

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I countersink one side of the nipple so that the cable can be flared into it.This,like the grooves the other poster used,prevents it from pulling through once soldered/brazed.



My 10 penn'th
called dovetailing


a very good write up,well done
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
As an editorial note, I also realized at 4:50 AM that I usually shorten the controls side of the cable but in the photos I used the carbs side. Does it make a world of difference? Maybe not. You can figure it out.



As for the nipple, is that the same thing that I have labeled as the "bullet?" If that is the case, then I already did employ and detail another term that I just learned the actual meaning of; I already countersink the bullet so that the cable can be flared into it. Of course, if the nipple is something else, then you will need to re-explain what you do because I want to understand.
 

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Awesome write-up. Thanks for sharing this. Really looks pretty dang easy. Now lets see if I can drill a hole in a little cylinder without a drill press




Bookmarked.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Getting the hole in the middle really is the trickiest part. I have botched more than a couple bullets trying to get good at it. Remember your cutting oil! I reckon you are already planning your strategy, but if you have a vice, you could likely hold the bullet in that and use your hand drill...or a really strong volunteer with a vice grips
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Drilling tip.



Start with a fine drill bit and use a bit of masking tape on the job.This allows the bit-to-bite without slipping.


An excellent suggestion. I believe I for one will be trying that next time I drill one. Every now and then the bit slips all over the place and it is rather annoying.
 

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You can also use a dremel with something small like an engraving bit to carefully make a small divot in the center of the bullet, so your drill bit won't slip.



I wish I had a vice
 

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One little tip if you are cutting your bullets or nipples from something like a bolt or some round stock. Before cutting it to length put it in a vise and use a centre-punch to mark where you want the hole. While you're at it you could mark several holes, the appropriate distance apart, so you could make some spares. I'll have to try the masking tape trick next time but whenever I've had to drill through round stock I've made up a jig with a piece of square stock (the width being the same as the diameter of the round stock) with a hole drilled through it using the same sized bit. I've often used scrap key stock for this; that's the stuff you make keys for pulleys with but anything the right width that you can drill through will work. Clamp the two parts together in a vise and you don't even need a drill press; the square stock guides and holds the drill bit dead centre and you're good to go. Countersink one side of the holes, cut to length and dress the ends and you're ready for the solder. It's a little bit of work initially but you end up with a jig that you can reuse as often as needed. As I'm not a huge fan of repetetive tasks I am a huge fan of jigs. When I was building engineering models I had a drawer full of them.



I've never done the countersink trick either, that's an excellent idea that I'll be filing for future reference. When I did the clutch cable on my Bonnie I worried about my fix just pulling through but it seemed ok at the time. Considering the effort required to pull in the clutch (not at all like our bikes) I might want to redo that one in the future though...
 

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thanks!

I have a 650 eurosport and can't find the right length anywhere (after waiting a month and 2 tries)

I kept one of my new ones that is too long and am going to take the cable out and put it in the old cable housing.

can you just drill out the old bullet and insert the new cable then solder? or how about a bullet with a threaded hole and use two small screws to hold the cable and then solder?



thanks



randy
 

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here is my fix





main part could be made of alumium or steel....

I put the home made end near the clutch as you don't have to grind down both set screws.

If I had some red lock tight I would have used that too..



cheers

randy
 
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