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BB/Crank wrenching advice needed(13 posts)

BB/Crank wrenching advice neededCaseysdad
Sep 10, 2003 1:03 PM
I'll try to not make this any more vague or impossible to answer than absolutely necessary, but I need some direction from some experienced do-it-yourselfers before I attempt a new wrenching project.

A few weeks ago I noticed a very subtle, intermittent "tick" sound occurring at about the same point in my pedal stroke, and since then it's gotten progressively louder and more consistent. It only happens when I'm putting some force into the stroke (i.e., not when the bike's on the workstand, but definitely when climbing hills and usually on flats.) It happens independently of what gear I'm in and is definitely not related to wheels, headset, frame damage, etc. In fact, I think I have it pretty much narrowed down to either the bottom bracket itself or the BB/crank interface. I plan to start by simply pulling my cranks off and making sure everything there is clean, tight, secure, etc. If that doesn't take care of it, I'll dive in deeper until I track down the source.

My issue is that I don't yet have much experience in servicing this part of my bike and want to make sure that I don't inadvertently make things worse during the learning process. (I need to learn how to do this for myself, but even more, I don't want to be without my bike for the 5 - 10 days that each of my 6 local LBSs said it would take to get to it.) So... Any advice or general rules of thumb for crank/BB servicing? Will I be okay if I just go pick up a copy of Zinn's and follow it to the letter? My bike is an older Colnago ('81 Super in near-new condition), equipped with various levels of Campy components. I believe the BB and cranks are Daytona-level.

Sorry to be so vague, but any general wisdom would be appreciated - and just may help avoid turning this into an unnecessarily expensive project. Thanks!
re: BB/Crank wrenching advice neededsievers11
Sep 10, 2003 1:16 PM
I hate the interface with the campy BB and your wrench, they are a pain and hard to get the right torque compaired with the shimano system. But that is just me I assume other would say the opposite.

First, take off the crank and clean the square spindle and crank, put back grease on spindle or crank, only on crank bolt.

see if fixed.

Second, get some medium strengh threadlock...also called releasing thread lock. Take out BB and clean BB and BB shell. Lube up threads with threadlock and assemble to manufactures torque spec.

see if fixed.

Third, get really pissed off and get a new bike...or... you might have a bad, bb, bad crank, or bad BB shell(frame).
re: BB/Crank wrenching advice neededTJeanloz
Sep 10, 2003 1:23 PM
"I hate the interface with the campy BB and your wrench, they are a pain and hard to get the right torque compaired with the shimano system. But that is just me I assume other would say the opposite."

Both use an 8mm allen bolt, no? Am I missing something?
yes, not the crank bolt, the bottom bracketsievers11
Sep 10, 2003 5:51 PM
Park makes a tool that will fit a torque wrench (nm)TJeanloz
Sep 11, 2003 5:13 AM
grease and a torque wrenchPmbH
Sep 10, 2003 1:20 PM
I hate hunting for clicks, but they can be found.

Grease all the thread interfaces on anything that moves in the crankarm region - bottom bracket threads, chainring bolts, pedal threads, etc. Don't forget obscure threads such as cleat bolts. Literally anything moving down in that area could be the culprit. Don't grease square-taper BB spindles (although this may be a matter of opinion). When you reassemble, tighten everything with a torque wrench.

One other possibility - could be the seatpost clamp interface with the saddle rails. Try a thin layer of grease on the saddle rails.
seat deal additionsievers11
Sep 10, 2003 5:54 PM
I have also had a squeak due to my saddle rails...

They were ti rails, and thus really hard...the main culprit was dirt that had worked its way into the rail and clamp. Make sure even after you put a little grease on the rails, that if you even adjust the saddle again, you should make sure the rails are clean.

agree "Don't grease square-taper BB spindles"
Don't discount the pedals or the bars.MR_GRUMPY
Sep 10, 2003 1:32 PM
Since it is a steel bike, it makes this a lot easier. Make sure that the tick isn't comming from the bars. Check the pedals. Sometimes, loose bearings can cause a tick.
With the chain off the cranks, see if there is any "play" in the BB.
Other ticks can be caused by seats, cracked frames, rear hubs, seatposts, and about 12 other things.
re: BB/Crank wrenching advice neededStmbtDave
Sep 10, 2003 2:29 PM
I just went through the exact same exercise. The tick was driving me nuts for 3 weeks. I pulled the cranks, BB, chainring bolts, cleaned and reinstalled - still there. I cleaned the seatpost and seat rails - still there. I pulled both pedals, cleaned and forced lube down the axles - tick was gone! Keep up the search and you eventually will find the source.

Steel frame - not likely the BB cupsKerry Irons
Sep 10, 2003 4:19 PM
Depending on how long your crank has been installed, it may just be some surface rust on the axle tapers. Even with aluminum BB cups, it's rare to get noises between the cups and a steel frame. But it could be a number of other things. Ticks and clicks are very hard to eliminate sometimes. What seems like it is tied to the pedals may be coming from the seat post, etc. Sometimes things like temperature and humidity can affect noises as well. To eliminate chain ring bolts as the problem, take them all out and grease the threads, the faces where they contact the CRs, and the CRs where they contact the crank spider arms. Clicks tied to your pedaling can come from the BB (grease all threads in contact with the frame and BB, and torque it to the recommended settings, which can be quite high - if you have an '81 BB, there really aren't torque specs available), the pedals (grease the threads, get some wax etc. on the cleats, grease the bolts into your shoes, squirt some lube into the guts of the pedal machinery if possible), the chain (clean and lube), your seat post and saddle (grease the post, seat post bolts, saddle rails), your bars and stem (grease the stem, stem bolt at both ends, h'bar bolt, and h'bar where it goes through the stem), and your wheels (check for spoke tension, particularly on the rear non drive side, put a drop of lube where each pair of spokes cross, grease/tighten QRs, tighten cassette lock ring). Needless to say, you want to try these things in what seems like the most likely place the noise is coming from, but there are plenty of stories about "I was sure the noise was in the handlebars but it went away when I tightened up the spokes in the rear wheel," so keep trying different things until you have success.
re: BB/Crank wrenching advice neededflybyvine
Sep 10, 2003 9:19 PM
Like Kerry says, don't discount almost anything else on the bike. 90% of the time I hear "its definatelly the BB" I can usually find the source elsewhere. Most of the time Ive come across your symptoms it has been the Headset (threaded or unthreaded). Tell tale is out of the saddle or putting in effort - it puts sideways pressure on the HS with even the smoothest riders.

With older cup & cone BB's (assume that 81 is one of these) if it is slack enough to make a noise it is slack enough to feel with your hands.
Mine was the BBbimini
Sep 11, 2003 5:57 AM
I had the same problem. I tightened the cranks but that only made it worse. Took me awhile to figure out but eventually I tightened the BB. Problem solved.

If it is a Daytona level BB it is a sealed cartridge style. There are no spanners to adjust the bearing (the bearing cannot be adjusted). If your BB has spanner holes then it's adjustable.
re: BB/Crank wrenching advice neededGeardaddy
Sep 11, 2003 7:35 AM
Yes, just try tightening the crankarm bolts first. If there is a problem with your BB itself, it will probably have some "play", in which case it is probably worn and needs replacing.

I just recently replaced a worn BB on my steel Colnago. It was a bit of a nightmare as the drive side BB cup was totally fused to my frame. I had to take drastic actions to get the damn thing off, but was eventually successful. So, here's my advice....

Be very careful in removing the BB cups, i.e. make sure that the BB tool is seated well and be very careful not to apply enough force when removing such that you start stripping the soft aluminum in the BB cup. Also note that your Colnago BB is "italian thread" which means you loosen the BB cup the same way on either side (i.e. righty-tighty, lefty-loosey). If it is not loosening and you're at the verge of stripping the BB cup, then I highly recommend to stop and take the bike to an LBS from there. If everything comes off OK, remember to grease the threads before reinstalling.

Hmmm. You're sure the ticking noise is not due to wheels or chain? A loosening chain link or loose spoke tension on the rear wheel have usually been the source of ticking noises in my past. Problems with crankset, BB, handlebar, stem, and seat usually manifest themselves more as a creaking noise in my experience.