Repairing cam triggers


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San Francisco, CA
Topic Author's Original Post - Mar 21, 2011 - 10:30pm PT
I know this has been discussed in detail before, but I'm new enough to need some hand holding. Prompted by having to abandon an older number 2 c4 in Joshua Tree last week (on Fote Hog...go and get it!) due to a broken trigger wire as well as a broken trigger wire on an older number 3 c4, I want to give my older cams some tender loving care.

Can anyone give directions a competent newbie can follow (including tools needed and some step by step pics if possible) or is anyone in the Bay Area willing to help out if I provide beer and grateful thanks?

Here are the likely suspects:

In addition, the following (old metolius 0 and 1 and and other .75 c4) all have highly warped (stretched?) wires which I'm afraid will break at the swages.

The c4s look pretty straight forward (new wire, new swage?), but the metolious look soldered in. Also, the cam heads on the metolius are completely smooth - should they just be junked or are they still fine for use?

Finally, any recommendations for sling replacements?

To assuage your fears and preempt the usual "you're gonna die", these are all from the spares rack...but it would be nice to be able to include them with confidence when I need more of a given size.

Thank in advance!

Trad climber
Mar 21, 2011 - 10:41pm PT
This is what you need:

That particular kit works for only sizes 1 - 4, but other size repair kits are available as well. Each kit comes with two replacement wires, and detailed instructions. I just replaced one of the wires on a .3 C4 last week - it is very simple, and takes only a few minutes. Any climbing shop will carry this repair kit.
The Larry

Moab, UT
Mar 21, 2011 - 10:45pm PT
Dude, Those TCU's are over 20 years old.

San Francisco, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 21, 2011 - 10:59pm PT
Thank you ClimbingOn...I knew they existed but couldn't find them actually available. Anyone have a link for the trigger replacement kit for old camalots under 1?

Larry: they've held up well so far. If the consensus is that I should junk them, then I will, but I really hate to throw out perfectly good gear just because it's old (otherwise they'd have to throw me out, too!).

Mountain climber
Mar 21, 2011 - 11:15pm PT
yeah, you're gonna die...
The Larry

Moab, UT
Mar 21, 2011 - 11:17pm PT
That 3 Camelot still looks good but those other ones look pretty beat.

The Camelots are easy to fix with a swagger kit but the TCU's are a little trickier to recable.

philadelphia, pa
Mar 21, 2011 - 11:25pm PT
Other option is to get the parts yourself rather than buying a kit. Small swage fittings can be had cheaply at decent fishing/tackle shops that carry saltw#ter gear (you're looking for something along the lines of this:; and a couple feet of 1/16" diameter aircraft cable from McMaster Carr (;. Might cost more than a kit or two, but you'll have enough for a lifetime of cam repairs for you and all of your friends.
Mighty Hiker

Vancouver, B.C.
Mar 21, 2011 - 11:27pm PT
You may be able to send them to the manufacturers, get them checked, lubricated, fixed up, and even reslung. Worth checking. Looks like most of them need it.

You can just send the blue camalot to donini, though.

Mar 21, 2011 - 11:32pm PT
adatesman hits it.

Don't send stuff like this off to someone else.

Don't be a lazy, do it yourself and learn something practical.

Don't just become a specialized person in this world and know how to do only one thing but have a "book knowledge" of everything but can't do sh'it.

Gym climber
A dingy corner in your refrigerator
Mar 21, 2011 - 11:33pm PT
del cross I'll take em if they aren't thrashed. Send you cash for shipping.....PM me.

Mountain climber
Reno, NV
Mar 21, 2011 - 11:35pm PT
If you're replacing cables, think about replacing the webbing too. I think the kits come with instructions and a crimping tool. My vote is fix the 3, consider the little guys after you do an easy one. Junk the .75. C4's are sweet.

Sport climber
Silverado, CA
Mar 21, 2011 - 11:47pm PT
Go to

A few years back I bought one of their generic repair kits. It comes with a few different sizes of wire, rigid wire, and various sized swages. Also a swaging tool and instructions specific to various kinds of climbing cams.

I've since repaired many cams (my own and others) and still have plenty of supplies from the kit to do many more.

It's the best deal I could find and I have no regrets whatsoever about purchasing it.

Good luck!

Social climber
Wolf City, Wyoming
Mar 21, 2011 - 11:53pm PT
Those things have decades of life left in them.

Mar 21, 2011 - 11:54pm PT
Nothing wrong with those smooth lobed TCUs, the old ones came that way. The "teeth" are somewhat cosmetic and don't really contribute much to the holding power. Good suggestions on fixing the triggers yourself, it's not rocket science, and if you do screw it up, the cam still isn't gonna fail in a fall and kill you.

If they need new slings though (which they might), both BD and Metolius are good about reslinging them fairly reasonably and I think they will repair the trigger wires too (might cost extra). Metolius especially was very cheap ($3) and did a great job of polishing up (literally) some old TCUs and making them work like new.
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Mar 22, 2011 - 12:03am PT
I have the swaging tools, cable and lots of swages; can lend you this stuff.
I can show you how to do one, then you borrow the stuff and do the rest.


San Francisco, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 22, 2011 - 12:19am PT
Awesome Clint!

How doable are the slings (I'm sure they should be replaced) to do myself or should I send them off and have them done by the respective manufacturers?

Also, any thoughts on repairing the broken .5 trigger (plastic pull)?
Jay Wood

Trad climber
Fairfax, CA
Mar 22, 2011 - 12:57am PT
I redid the trigger- pull on a u stem camalot with a section of plastic pipe,

but it didn't work well- those things are pretty much junk compared to all the rest that's available.

Scrap the u-stems. My .02

Liquid electrical tape is pretty good for touching up frayed, but not broken, trigger wires.

Big Wall climber
Mar 22, 2011 - 12:59am PT
Slings can be redone with a water knot, or have them done professionally (Fish, Yates, BD, etc).
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Mar 22, 2011 - 01:07am PT
I agree with Moof - replace slings with tied ones, if needed. You can set the knot by clipping biners to both ends of the sling and bouncing on it.

You can straighten the cables on the TCUs with your fingers.

Straighten the steel cam wires with your fingers or a couple of small crescent wrenches or channel pliers. This is pretty quick and easy.

Broken plastic trigger bar on old U-stem Camalot Jr.? Not sure; I don't have one of these to look at. Maybe fabricate one from plastic pipe as Jay did, if you have the tools and inclination.

Mar 22, 2011 - 01:08am PT
Good job Clint!

You are the bomb ......
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