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DIY trigger wire replacement

Original Post
Alex Bury · · Ojai, CA · Joined Jun 2012 · Points: 2,366

So I have a busted wire on my .3 and need to get it back into service. I have very little money and no way to order things. But I do have a bicycle to get me to the hardware store, a few bucks, and access to tools. So what do I need and how is it done?


Brandon Adams · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2010 · Points: 1,484

I recently used a paperclip to repair a broken trigger wire on a .3 C4. I've had surprising longevity with this fix so far.

K Weber · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jun 2011 · Points: 15

Classic break on a BD .3.

Black Diamond should fix those for free.

Alex Bury · · Ojai, CA · Joined Jun 2012 · Points: 2,366
BighornAdams wrote:I recently used a paperclip to repair a broken trigger wire on a .3 C4. I've had surprising longevity with this fix so far.
I had a paper clip within arms reach when I read this and it fits perfectly. Very nice. Did you just use tape to attach it to the swage? If I knew how to remove the swage/reswage, the paper clip could be added permanently.
george wilkey · · travelers rest sc · Joined Jan 2013 · Points: 235

I keep a roll of 18 gauge galvanized steel wire and a pair of needle nose pliers with my climbing gear. it takes about 5 minutes to replace a broken trigger cable and so far I have not had a replacement wire break.

Alex Bury · · Ojai, CA · Joined Jun 2012 · Points: 2,366

Did you attach the wire to the cable with a swage? Picture?

Ed Wright · · Unknown Hometown · Joined May 2006 · Points: 285

A heavy nylon fishing line will work also.

Alex Bury · · Ojai, CA · Joined Jun 2012 · Points: 2,366

Ed that is another good idea. Just use a diameter that sticks in the lobe's hole super tight?

Patrick K. · · Bozeman · Joined Nov 2009 · Points: 295

I've used tennis racket stringing which you can buy a spool at any sporting goods store for pretty cheap. Once you have cut the length that you need, melt off the ends to be slightly larger then the wire holes.

Ryan Kempf · · Boulder, CO · Joined Jul 2011 · Points: 371

^^^^ Genius.

Alex Bury · · Ojai, CA · Joined Jun 2012 · Points: 2,366

Your racket string method seems quite legit, I might end up trying that.

M Mobley · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Mar 2006 · Points: 911

I went big and bought the trigger wire replacement kit from somebody in Canada a few years ago which worked great(cant remember who it was though) but the on the spot fixes mentioned above sound pretty sound for a week or two at least. I know the new braided fishing line is strong as hell for its size, technology rules sometimes.

the kit was cool, the small crimper tool was the best part

george wilkey · · travelers rest sc · Joined Jan 2013 · Points: 235

I got rid of all the cable and replaced it with a single piece of wire that goes from one cam lobe through the trigger to the other cam lobe. its the same way valley giant cams are wired.

bearbreeder · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Mar 2009 · Points: 3,065

BD sells replacement trigger wire up here in canuckistan ... they have a kit for each size cam

youll need a pair of snips and pliers ... and for the larger sizes a vice grip helps

takes about 10-20 min or so and costs around 10$ for TWO wires


repairing #2/3 camalots

if you need to do it yourself you can also use a paperclip, a pair of crimpers (the heavy duty kind) and a metal crimp ...

youll need to snip the wire right below the crimp, put the new crimp on to the wire and the clip ... and then cut the clip last after yr sure of the length

u can also solder the crimp for extra security as well


Deke Doty · · Fort Collins, CO · Joined Mar 2008 · Points: 10

Yes, I have replaced my own bd triggers for decades with trigger kits for first gen single stems and old double stems ( leatherman only) . Not so familiar withmodern cams. I sent bd a first gen # 5 that can't be done without swager.They did a nice. job no dental floss.

splitclimber · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2007 · Points: 18

bumping for more info and directions on how to fix broken cam wires.

Is 18 gauge galvanized steel cable wires the go to size and type?

Any recommendations for type of swage?


wivanoff · · Northeast, USA · Joined Mar 2012 · Points: 595
Politically Correct Ball · · From WA to AZ · Joined Dec 2016 · Points: 5

I've repaired many triggers. That cam uses stainless wire and cable with coper swages. If the other wire looks excellent I would remove the one swage, replace the wire, and re-swage. If the other wire isn't excellent, replace everything using mtbike shifter cable, stainless wire, and swages. 

To swage I've heard you can use a crimping tool designed for fishing. I use copper tubing from a propane thermostat which has to be ovalized then crimp it using two pieces of steel with a hole drilled in between.

Don't use galvanized wire, that's 'tarded especially when used shifter cable is free from your local bike shop. I also warn against using shitty steel like paper clips. You're just asking for failure due to fatigue in the near future. Think metal shop, not coffee shop.

Zacks · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2015 · Points: 65

I recently put a new wire on a cam, i was impatiant and didn't want to wait for copper swages in the mail so i used alloy ones from home depot.  they where bulky and didn't grab great.  Copper ones should be here in a day or 2.  Also bike shifter cable is thinner than the originol cables on the cam, i dont' know if it would hold in the swage as well.  the triggers appear to be 1/16" for the wire and the cable.  Bike brake cable appears to be the exact same size (yes shift cables and brake cables are diff sizes).  I tried to use brake cable but it was too stiff.  it works but was really hard to thread and isn't very flexible.  I plan to re-do the cam with proper swages and cable (home depot has 1/16" cable for like $0.35 a foot or something) and I think others would have better luck this way as well.  I'll post something after i get the right stuff in.

Stefan Griebel · · Boulder, Colorado · Joined Oct 2002 · Points: 310

The correct diameter weed-wacker line (to fit the hole in the cam properly) and a match to melt the end so it won't pull through has worked great for me.

Zacks · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2015 · Points: 65

Well the copper swages came in yesterday and I picked up some "1/16 wire rope" for $0.29 per ft and re-did my cam repair.  For record I do not own a swaging tool and I think buying one would be more expensive than paying someone to fix the cam, so I used wire crimpers that I had, the ones I tried first didn't work very well, had to grab my good ones from work, probably would look prettier if I had the proper tool, i'd buy the tool if my whole rack need re-cabling.

heres what it looked like before the repair, 2 strands left 

then I tried to fix with bike brake cable and alloy swages from lowes (lowes was out of 1/16 cable grrr)

And finally the re-do with copper swages and cable from home depot, much happier with the results from doing it this way, I do wish I could get some of the lower profile copper swages BD uses, probably McMaster has em (I got mine on amazon) but I dunno how to tell which are thinner oh well it'll work just fine

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

Trad Climbing
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