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I have replaced a chain (SRAM PC 830) and 7 speed freewheel (Shimano MF-HG37) on the back of my daily commuter bike about 300 miles/ 3 weeks ago with the same models. The old parts lasted me 4000 miles, and until recently, the new ones have been fine. Now I'm having issues of my chain not staying in "6" gear and jumping to 7 (the smallest). I can shift to and from it ok, just that it will jump in a few revs. All the other gears work fine. If I move the shifter a little bit it will go back, but within a few revs jumps right back down.

I have played with the high and low set screws since I'm also swapping wheels frequently too. I had a axle break, switched to a backup wheel, went back to the repaired wheel, and then back to the backup now. Through all that everything worked fine until the last swap. The backup wheel is a identical replacement with the freewheel and tire transplanted.

I tried to adjust the barrel nut along with the "b" screw. Both had no effects, but I didn't move them very far. I haven't found the time to try to clean the derailleur yet, but when I swapped the chain I gave the bike a good cleaning, wax, and lube bath. I'm worried that I missed something in the derailleur or it just got dirty since. Jockey wheels are clean and secure, but have 5k miles on them. Front derailleur selections also had no effect.

The derailleur model is a Shimano Tourney found a 2008(ish) Schwinn High Timber with the gripshifters. Laid down 3k miles ago where the derailleur was scratched and banged up the limit screws but no effect on performance.

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Did you replace the chain and the cassette at the same time? –  hillsons Aug 20 at 19:17
    
@hillsons Yes, give or take a few minutes going from bike shop bag to bike. –  BPugh Aug 20 at 19:48
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First of all - check your cable. –  Adrian Aug 21 at 13:13
    
So, it looks like I missed something when doing the lube job. I applied some chain lube to the various spots the of the derailleur and I have been able to use it for a few days without issue. It also rained those days so I'm waiting for a few dry days to confirm. –  BPugh Aug 25 at 20:12

3 Answers 3

Something to keep in mind, it's not unusual for a SRAM chain to not play well with a Shimano cassette. A lot of times you'll get lucky and the two will work well together, I used to run SRAM chains with my Shimano cassettes all the time without much trouble. But there are just some combinations that just cause problems, even intermittently from run to run.

Or, you said you gave it a lube bath, I wonder if you managed to displace the grease inside of the derailleur.

When my rear derailleur just won't cooperate, I use my two favorite articles to troubleshoot and properly lubricate and adjust it. Study these thoroughly and meticulously and you'll likely happen upon your solution:

http://sheldonbrown.com/derailer-adjustment.html

http://www.parktool.com/blog/repair-help/rear-derailleur-overhaul

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" not unusual for a SRAM chain to not play well with a Shimano cassette." ... I happened to buy a chain today for my shimano cassette, they only had SRAM 9sp in stock, I asked to check that it wouldn't be a problem, they said they are only specific from 10sp and up... whether or not that is true is a different matter, I'll see when I get on the bike tomorrow!! –  GriffinEvo Aug 20 at 19:35
    
SRAM chains for < 10 speed work fine with Shimano. 10 speed is a mess, and according to Zinn, 11 speed is somehow less of a mess. –  Batman Aug 20 at 20:02

The high and low limit screws don't affect the shifting between the cogs - they just tell the derailleur not to throw the chain into the spokes or out into the frame. Theoretically, this is a set once and forget it adjustment. The B screw will keep the derailleur from rubbing on the cogs and should be set on the largest rear cog. If you put in the same freewheel as before though, it also shouldn't change. The indexing adjustment might need a bit of fiddling ( the barrel adjuster ).

In order of things to check:

  1. Did you bend the derailleur (cage/hanger)?
  2. Did you size the chain wrong?
  3. Is the tension/friction in the shift cable too low or too high?

If all those have the answer of "No", you have to fiddle with adjustments (the indexing in particular). Unfortunately, Tourney grade parts are infamous for not really staying in adjustment or being properly adjustable since they're so damn cheaply made.

As always, Sheldon and Park Tool have good resources.

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3b. friction in the cable? –  Chris H Aug 21 at 8:51
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Forgot about that. added. –  Batman Aug 21 at 10:42

I had this issue last week.

Have a look at your rear derailleur and check it can go through the whole range of movement. Its possible that the spring has gone or the hanger for the jockey wheels has seized and won't move correctly.

If this is the case try some degreaser on it, dry and add lube. If you still have the problem it may be easiest to replace the derailleur itself and the cable used for shifting.

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