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Question for the ladies...(8 posts)

Question for the ladies...Kristin
Aug 3, 2001 2:14 PM
I want to do my own bike work--wrench my own stuff. How else will I learn? One thing is quite obvious. I'm not very strong. Some of the bolts I've tackled, I can't budge. It stands to reason that if I can't loosen it, I won't be able to tighten it enough either. Have you learned any tricks (other than beefing up byceps) for tightening things down sufficiently, and subsequently getting them un-tight again? -Just (don't want my seat to fall off) Curious
I'm no lady...mr_spin
Aug 3, 2001 2:54 PM
...but neither is my wife! (ba-dum-bump!) Ha ha. I'm not even married, but I couldn't resist.

Can't help you with unsticking bolts, but for tightening correctly, buy or borrow a Torque Wrench. Any good tool store like Sears or Home Depot will have them. All parts on your bike have a specified torque, which is the amount of force you need to tighten them. You should not exceed the amount of force specified, which is why you want a torque wrench. Overtightening bolts can break and weaken things. Hopefully you have all the manuals for your components and frame, because that's where you'll find the torque settings. You can download manuals from some manufacturer's web sites.

Assuming you know nothing about torque wrenches, there are two types. One has a strip of metal that acts as a pointer to a dial with numbers on it. This is the cheaper kind, but accuracy is a problem. You tighten until you bend the needle to the right number on the dial. It's easy to miss and overtighten.

The other kind looks like an ordinary socket wrench, but you twist the handle to set the amount of torque. Then, as you tighten, the wrench will actually give way when you hit the proper torque. No overtightening here. But this kind is more expensive.

You'll also need a set of hex sockets, which may be a little harder to find. Almost everything on your bike needs a hex wrench, which is a 6-sided tool that comes in various sizes. You probably already have some on a mini-tool in your bike bag, or lying around the house. Normally you use these by hand, but with a hex socket, you can use a socket wrench or your torque wrench. A hex socket is just a socket that has a hex tool attached.

Check out this URL: You'll see a picture of the dial-type torque wrench, and some hex sockets, too. When buying a wrench or sockets, make sure the "drive" matches, which is the connecting point between the two.
one tipquinroo
Aug 3, 2001 3:00 PM
one trick with allen-type bolts is to insert the allen key and then slip the circular end of a wrench over the allen key's end. most wrenches have a hole on the end of the handle (this is the circular end i'm talking about). this can give you more torque. since torque is equal to force times the length of the wrench, you need less force with the added length!
I'm no lady either, but..DINOSAUR
Aug 4, 2001 5:56 AM
Looks like you are reading the Zinn book. Remember that finese and technique can override a lack of strength. IMHO I have a bum right hand and I have to stop and think on doing a lot of stuff, not just mechanical work related to my bike. Off topic: but when you start doing things to your bike, take the time to note how things are put together before your disassemble anything, although the Zinn book will come in handy here but not always. I learned to draw little diagrams before I started to pull stuff off my classic car, it safes from racking the brain trying to figure out how everything goes back together. I hate to admit this, but my wife is always reminding me that she has a few more brain cells to compensate for physical strength, and I sheepishly have to admit that she (cough, hack) might be right.
re: This isn't really a "Question for the ladies..."Cliff Oates
Aug 4, 2001 8:32 AM
So I feel good about jumping in. The odds are pretty good that if you find yourself forcing a bolt or a part, it's threaded the other way. Nothing on a bike is fastened all that tight and if you find yourself whacking on the wrench with a rubber mallet, the part is probably threaded to turn the other way. So if you're tempted to get out the rubber mallet and you're not working on your neighbor's 25 year old Schwinn Varsity, take a deep breath, put the mallet away, and try reversing the wrench.

Getting a torque wrench isn't a bad idea, and you can get inexpensive "beam" style wrenches from Sears-Craftsman, along with allen and screw driver sockets. Park's driver set is very expensive and is probably overkill as most of us don't need all the crow foot wrenches that are part of the set. Park's web site has a nice list of recommended torque specifications that you can refer to.
Whacking parts with a malletmr tornado head
Aug 5, 2001 9:17 AM
There are instances where a rubber mallet may come in useful; specifically, where the assembler forgot to grease the threads and now the threads are siezed up (One of the Rivendell publications has a story of how removing a pedal from a crankarm after only 24-48 hours removed the threads from the crank due to lack of grease).

Granted, these instances should be *few & quite far between*. And you are right, with the threading of pedals and bottom brackets (nearly stripped a bottom bracket myself) you need to pay attention do the direction you are "wrenching."
Righty Tighty Lefty LooseyKristin
Aug 5, 2001 1:19 PM
Assumption being that I've never held a wrench or screw driver in my hands before. I had to smile when I read your post. Of course I'm turning them the right way. Well, okay, I'll have to admit to getting a bit of confusion when the bikes upside down. But basically, I know that all things threaded turn one direction to loosen and the other to tighten. So no worries there.

I agree with the torque bit. I once over did it when changing a tire (on my car) and snapped a couple lugs. Jumped up and down on the lug wrench even. So I lightened my wallet and learned a valuable lesson. I don't tighten or loosen anything with out adult supervision--if I've never done that job before. I will price a torque sounds like a good idea.

The leverage idea the QuinnRoo gave is good too for those bolts that just need to be darn tight.
Righty Tighty Lefty Loosey......not always4bykn
Aug 6, 2001 6:06 AM
basic assumptions dont always work. bottom brackets and pedals are threaded differently on either side of the bike. ie: the drive side of the bottom bracket is "left-hand" threaded, one would then use the Righty-Loosey, Lefty-tighty!