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Mysterious creaking/grinding noise be the death of me(12 posts)

Mysterious creaking/grinding noise be the death of meDaveG
Jul 23, 2002 8:08 AM
Every cyclist with more than a few years under there belt has had one of these mysterious creaking, grinding, clicking noises that drive you insane and take huge amounts of effort to resolve. Well, I've got a new one and am looking for some suggestions and advice

Description of noise
This is a creaking, grinding, vibrating sound that seems to emanate from the BB area. It seems in synch with my pedaling motion but does not occur at any specific point in the pedal stroke. The noise is longer than a distinctive "click" (I don't think it is the BB cups). Seems to resonate within BB and surrounding tubes. Does not occur when not pedaling. Occurs only after bikes has been ridden a few miles, particularly at higher cadences, and is not consistent (comes and goes)

My setup:
Steel frame. Campy Centaur 10s double. Italian BB. Campy chain w/permalink and about 900 miles. Look 247 pedals

Stuff I've tried:
Tightened cassette
Checked BB tightness (it has not budged since installed). Right cup is teflon-taped. BB is smooth and quiet with the chain off.
Checked chainring bolts (were tight)
Checked waterbottle cage bolts (tight)
Chain has 1/32" or less stretch. Permalink seems OK
No sign of cracks in frame
Crank bolts are tightened to spec
Applied Armor All to the pedal cleats
I have swapped pedals but have not ridden bike since (and tonight is yet another predicted violent Thunderstorm night in Jersey)

Any additional ideas or thoughts would be appreciated.
Start with the lube in the bottom bracket.Quack
Jul 23, 2002 8:51 AM
After reading all the information that you provided, I would look first at the condition of the bottom bracket. Make sure that the lube has not been washed out due to the Jersey monsoons. If the lube has been contaminated with water, chances are it will not hold up well once a load is applied. Spinning the crankset alone will probably not generate enough pressure on the spindle/bearings/races to cause the noise. If the BB is sealed and not serviceable, swap in a new one and see what happens. If the noise is still present, at least you have a spare BB for future use. I burn through a bottom bracket about every 3-4000 miles due to rain and lack of anal BB maintenance. My frame holds a lot of water in the BB area and kills the BB.

If the BB isn't the issue, I would look to the chain. A binding link will likely make more noise running through the cassette than the chainring but who knows? At least it's cheap.

Good luck!
Start with the lube in the bottom bracket.curlybike
Jul 23, 2002 10:34 AM
Have you considered drilling a small hole in the BB shell to let the water out? It works!
Just did it last weekend.Quack
Jul 23, 2002 11:34 AM
On the Trek Carbon bikes, there is a bolt that holds the derailleur cable guide to the BB. I drilled through the head of it and cut down the threaded end so that it was flush with the bottom of the frame. I haven't been caught in rain yet this week to let you know how it works. Hopefully, it saves me tons of maintenance on the new DA BB I just installed.

Thanks for the tip. I should have done it years ago.
I had the same turned out to be my knees ;-) nmOffTheBack
Jul 23, 2002 9:07 AM
Well Dave, it could be coming from elsewhere on your bike. I'vePaul
Jul 23, 2002 9:48 AM
gone the same route (as many others have). We always think it's the BB, and miss the simple things. My experience (for the same symptoms) was a loose SPD pedal (on the shaft), creaking by the fork/hubs which was fixed by greasing the forks on both sides of the hub, seat rails causing creaking ( greased and tighten), standing/pulling on handlebar(greased/tighten), seat post creaked. wheels creaked on K's, greased the spokes. Guess your wheels are okay, nothing loose in the hub area.

It's obvious this happens under load, so BB is okay. could have a cracked BB though.

Good luck, and keep us posted if you find something
hope you're rightDaveG
Jul 23, 2002 5:20 PM
The last thing I want to do it tear out the BB. Since it only occurs while pedaling I suspect something in the drivetrain, although it still possible it could be elsewhere. Once the weather clears I'll try out my pedal theory. I'll try to eliminate the other items mentioned (handlebar, stem, post, etc.). Thanks for your response
Try a couple of different things before pulling the BBjhr
Jul 24, 2002 4:44 AM
Here is what I do to trouble shoot a noise before pulling the bottom bracket.

first does the noise start or stop when you stand?

if it stops it may be your seat (the rails will sometimes creak at there insertion points), or the junction of seat to post, or the seat post insertion into the frame. If you have another bike with the same size seatpost you can swap them to see if that eliminates the noise.

if the noise tends to start up when you stand try swapping the front wheel and then the back wheel.

check the cable stops where your sti or ergo cable housings attach to the frame, dirt and grit can get in there a creak or click as you pull the bars and impart pressure on the cable housings

check chainring bolts, and headset tightness

grease you stem bars and stearer tube contacts

check pedals for bearing play and tightness on the cranks

check crank tightness on bb spindle

If the noise is not fixed by one of the above then I yank the bottom bracket.

hope this helps
good luck, I can't stand unexplained noises.

Good list n/mcurlybike
Jul 25, 2002 2:55 PM
re: Mysterious creaking/grinding noise be the death of meKen
Jul 25, 2002 7:25 AM
I found my creaking sound. The Park Tool web site has a good maintenance section that has a good piece on finding nagging sounds. With the information I gleened from Park, I took off my driveside crank and greased the BB spindle. Put the crank back on and greased the crank bolt too. Result, peace and quiet.
9 speed Shimano? Metal against metal wil cause creaking. nmPaul
Jul 25, 2002 9:59 AM
Had same problem...turned out to be stem/steerer tube...cabinfever
Jul 26, 2002 8:25 AM
Although I couldn't tell initially, my noise came from the stem, headset, steerer tube area. It happened sometime after I installed a 46cm wide bar and 120mm stem. The added leverage is making things squeak something fierce. I thought it was the drivetrain initially, because it only happened when I pedaled, particularly standing and climbing. But, it is the torque put on the bars/stem that is causing it. It took a few climbs for me to figure it out.