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After years of usage, the spring of my FD does not return it to the smallest cog any more. Obviously, the FD has collected grit/dirt in its joints and the cage is jamming.

I do not see a way to clean it: joints are on rivets, not screws which could have been removed for disassembling. Any recommendations?

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    It shouldn’t need lubrication. I give mine an occasional squirt of WD40 penetrating oil, especially in winter when the roads are salted. But it shouldn’t be necessary. Are you sure it’s not just excessive cable friction from old/worn/dirty cables and cable housings?
    – Michael
    Feb 10 at 15:45
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    The springs in a front derailleur are extremely strong. It’s probably best that you can’t disassemble the thing.
    – MaplePanda
    Feb 10 at 20:43
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The little riveted points you mention are pivots, there are a bunch of them. What you can do is spray a little lubricant in each pivoting part of the derailleur, then physically move it side to side by hand a number of times and it should loosen up. Pull it towards you and then push it back, 10, 20, 30 times.

It might take a bit of force to start with and additional lubricant into the moving surfaces will flush out the dirt. Front derailleurs are quite simple mechanisms so a) you shouldn't damage it and b) if this doesn't get it moving then it is probably past it.

I've seen this numerous times with old/dirty and in particular, underused derailleurs. if someone has a triple chainset but doesn't use the smallest ring, for example, then the FD can easily seize up in time.

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It can be dirty, but it can be inside the cable and not on the derailleur itself. See solution here: Shimano Deore front derailleur occasionally sticking

It can also be the L-screw, or the derailleur position, or even both. Check the L-SCREW ADJUSTMENT section of the ParkTool webpage. https://www.parktool.com/blog/repair-help/front-derailleur-adjustment

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    It is NOT cable. It is NOT limiting screw. It's friction in the cage. Feb 10 at 15:52
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    @KonstantinShemyak then WD-40, move the cage by hand up and down and it should clean.
    – EarlGrey
    Feb 10 at 15:56
  • Shimano advises lubricating the pivots of derailleur's, especially when faced with difficulty shifting. I recommend the WD40 flush and clean while exercising the derailleur through it's range of motion. After excess and dirt wiped away, use a better lubricating spray or light oil to lube the pivots.
    – Jeff
    Feb 11 at 4:53
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    A mechanical FD is one of the rare parts of a bicycle that can withstand a decent blast from a high pressure washer followed by lubrication. And WD-40 is NOT a lubricant.
    – Carel
    Feb 11 at 8:33

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