I've been trying to adjust my front brakes and when I released the brake lever arm (on the disc brake) and moved the arm to the furthest back position, I noticed that the cable housing at the brake lever just came out of the barrel adjuster.

I don't know what caused this and don't really know if it's a problem, so stopped adjusting the brakes for now.

Should the cable be able to come out of the adjuster like this? How do I fix it?

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  • 3
    The cable is sticking in the housing. Usually this is caused by rust. Aug 12, 2020 at 20:39
  • 1
    So you mean the cable is no longer moving freely inside the housing?
    – KillerKode
    Aug 12, 2020 at 20:43
  • 1
    That's what I mean. Aug 12, 2020 at 20:55
  • 1
    @DanielRHicks, you are right, the I took apart the cable and it turns out one of the wires had frayed on the inside and was catching inside the housing, preventing the cable from moving freely.
    – KillerKode
    Aug 14, 2020 at 10:14

1 Answer 1


Should the cable be able to come out of the adjuster like this?

No, definitely not. It's a dangerous situation as the brake lever now cannot pull the cable inside the housing - the housing will just be pulled back with the cable and teh brake will not be engaged.

Either the cable is much too loose which has allowed the housing to slide along it, or the housing has come out of a stop on the fork (or the frame for a rear brake). Check the run of the cable and make sure it is inserted into any stops or the brake caliper itself properly.

Mechanical disc brakes can be tricky to adjust if you are used to rim brakes. The barrel adjusters are not used to adjust the position of the pads, adjustments must be made on the caliper to do that. Using the barrel adjusters can lead to a dangerous situation.

This Park Tool video shows how to properly set up and align mechanical calipers. The cable set up starts at about 3:39.

  • I have disc brakes and I was actually following that exact park tool tutorial when this issue happened. I unscrewed the front brake caliper arm and let it release to it's resting position, I then tightened the slack in the cable and rescrewed the caliper arm, but noticed the cable had come out of the barrel adjuster and then stopped.
    – KillerKode
    Aug 13, 2020 at 9:52
  • The only way the housing can move out of the lever barrel adjuster is if there is slack in the cable for it to slide along (or the housing is too short). Maybe when you pulled the cable the housing moved with it. Try removing the slack in the cable again, but hold the housing in the lever barrel adjuster and make sure the cable is fully pulled through and taught at the caliper. Aug 13, 2020 at 10:46

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