Bicycle Mechanics - FSA Ceramic bottom bracket seals creating LOTS of FRICTION
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I have an FSA Megaexo ceramic bottom-bracket. My crank arm loosened unexpectedly, and when I retightened it tonight I was noticing alot of drag on the cranks. It's not that old. I removed the BB and noticed how hard it was to turn the bearings individually. I figured the bearings needed lube (a small syringe was included with the box) so I initially pried off the outer (black) plastic seals. Suddenly the bearings were spinning SUPER easy without the seals. I went ahead and removed the inner (orange) seal, applied a bit of lube, replaced the orange seals.
PROBLEM: When I put the outer/black seals back on the massive friction returns. Is there a solution? Is it "OK" to leave the outer/black seals OFF so long as I maintain the BB a little more often?
PROBLEM #2: now that I have the outboard bearings re-installed, with the metal sleeve that extends from bearing to bearing inside the shell, I have MORE high friction. Is that sleeve necessary?? Shop must have installed that piece initially.
....and FINALLY, I have determined there is something funky with the red ceramic FSA bottom bracket - something is not right. Even if I were to remove the outer black seals and re-install it, when I go to tighten the crank arms, the cranks get really hard to turn. I put back on my old, non-ceramic FSA bottom bracket and it rolls great. Something makes me think the shop I bought the ceramic bb from tried to jimmy-rig it to get it to work. Another clue is that, in addition to the FSA sleeve that joins the two outboard bearings in the bb shell, the shop had installed another, heavier, steel tube that fit inside the FSA sleeve. I don't know how long these have had issues and I just didn't notice. I am going out to ride now that I have the original bb back on and the cranks are spinning EASY now.
On the off chance that anyone will read this or that it may pop up in search results for someone else troubleshooting a bottom bracket, I just thought I post a follow-up.
I found closure this morning by contacting FSA tech support (AWESOME telephone support!) who, based on a description of the problem and the parts at play, were able to determine that the wrong bottom bracket was installed. Basically, I was sold the version of ceramic bearings used for K-Force and regular SLK cranks (BB8010), when the correct BB for my SLK-Light cranks is BB8681). The inner metal sleeve was the give away. This BB is improperly sized for my cranks, causing the bearings to be excessively loaded when the crank arm is tightened.
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