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On my disc brakes I realized the barrel cable adjuster has its thread broken and most of it is stuck inside the calliper.

Disc brake with tuning barrel

The picture is not my brake but they are quite similar: the black barrel thread is broken and a part of it is stuck in the silver-y thing on the calliper.

I asked the support of the manufacturer and they say the spare part is not sold separately (and I don't know anyway how to remove the broken bit from the calliper).

Right now I just live without it, but it is quite neat to fine tune the brake cable length.

What are my options? Are there some "standalone" barrels that don't require to be screwed in the calliper? that could maybe be directly inlined in the housing?

Should I show it to my LBS and hope him to have some more or less compatible part in his magical drawers?

Should I buy a new calliper (<-- yes, that's overkill,.. but well...)

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You should be able to remove the broken-off piece (after removing the cable) using an "Easy-out" screw remover (available from a hardware or auto parts place). Likely the adjuster is a fairly standard size and a local bike shop will be able to find a suitable replacement in their scrap parts box. (Be sure to save the removed broken-off piece to know the size.) –  Daniel R Hicks Sep 26 '13 at 15:14

3 Answers 3

up vote 3 down vote accepted

It would require replacing your brake cable housing (and you may want to replace the cable at the same time) but there are brake cables with inline barrel adjusters. In these, the barrel adjuster is usually situated somewhere between the brake lever, and the braze-on at the front of the bike. They look something like this and are sold by themselves, or often included with the cable housing. As your local bike shop and they should be able to get you something that will work.

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The adjuster on the picture looks like a quite standard adjuster as it is also used on shifters, derailleurs and the like. If you have such a part flying around that is no longer needed you could see if you can take the adjuster from there.

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Or if necessary buy one from a different manufacturer, e.g. chainreactioncycles.com/shimano-rear-mech-barrel-adjuster/… But it's possible his brake has a non standard part. –  armb Sep 27 '13 at 8:39

Often times you can remove the broken piece with a drill bit. Remove the cable from the adjuster. Soak the threaded hole on both sides with penetrating oil,(Liquid Wrench, Sea Foam, PB Blaster) avoid WD-40 or regular oils as they don't do a good job of freeing up frozen fittings. Start with a drill bit slightly smaller than the threaded hole. Drill at a slow speed. As you drill through the broken piece the drill bit will often grab the broken piece and screw it out through the opening on the other side. If this fails then you will need to get an EZ-Out Screw extractor as @Daniel R Hicks has suggested. If you are not familiar with using a screw extractor be very careful not to break the extractor by over twisting it. This a common problem with the small extractors that you will be using. They are made of very hard steel and cannot be easily drilled out if you break it off in the hole. I am not sure if they are all the same but my Jagwire derailleur inline adjusters have very limited adjustment. They are more of a fine tuner than gross adjustment.

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Alternatively, drill from the other side and if it grabs it will screw the adjuster back out the side it would normally come. –  armb Sep 27 '13 at 8:35

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