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  1. #1
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    Teflon tape on threads

    Hey guys, just wondering, does anyone here use teflon tape on their BB threads? Pedal threads? Every few months my bike develops a tick in the BB, I tighten it down and all is well. I would like to get rid of this. Would teflon tape be a good solution? At the least, it can't mess anything up...can it?

  2. #2
    My bike's better than me! neil0502's Avatar
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    You've got a Habby, right?

    Allow me to quote Mark Hickey, the President of Habanero Cycles, from r.b.t.:

    http://groups.google.com/group/rec.b...87350e00c345ac

    Quote Originally Posted by markHickey
    Teflon tape is basically a VERY thin sheet of lubricant. It takes up
    very, very little room, and I recommend it highly for the installation
    of bottom brackets.

    1) Thoroughly clean everything (BB shell, cups, etc.)
    2) Wrap teflon tape around the BB cups (making sure that it's in the
    direction that won't "unwind" when you screw in the cups).
    3) Slather the inside of the frame's BB shell with grease
    4) Slather the inside of the BB cups (in the case of a cartridge BB)
    with grease, and put some on the outside of the cartridge where
    they'll be inserted into the cups (this interface is one of the
    biggest potential "noise generators" on a bike)
    5) Slather some grease on top of the teflon tape
    6) Install, torquing to spec (pretty darn tight if you don't have a
    torque wrench).

    This will keep your BB quiet and happy for a long, long time.
    Me? I just use nickel-based anti-seize on my ti frame. That and proper torque and it's dead quiet.

    Good luck!

  3. #3
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    Well, looks like I'll be stopping at the hardware store by work tomorrow, and then spending some quality time with my bike in the evening

  4. #4
    無くなった HereNT's Avatar
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    I tried teflon tape first for an italian BB that I must have slightly cross threaded - the new sealed unit would work it's way out after 20 miles or so. I ended up going with blue loctite and that's held for about 1000 miles so far (retired for winter.)

    When I unthreaded the BB instead of just re-tightening, I saw that the teflon tape had pretty much disintegrated, getting pushed back by the threads... There were a few clumps, but not an even coverage like you'd expect.

    Not sure if that helps or not...

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    Here's another question: how about using the tape on the crank interface? Or no-no?

  6. #6
    8speed DinoSORAs Ed Holland's Avatar
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    Ivan,

    I don't think tape on the crank-spindle interface is a good idea. Since the Teflon is a solid material, there is a chance that is could bunch up, or get trapped as the crank is installed. Even if this doesn't happen you have put something between two surfaces that are designed as a precise press-fit.
    Personally, I am in the habit of smearing a little grease on the square taper before installing cranks - but arguments have raged about whether or not this is correct. I believe the manufacturers recommendation is to install square taper cranks without greasing. In my case, the bikes see the road all year, in all conditions and I prefer all metal interfaces to have some protection against corrosion and seizure. I've never seen any ill effects from this approach with cranks - never come loose, never have a problem removing them. Octalink cranks come with instructions to grease before assembly.

    Cheers,

    Ed
    Get a bicycle. You will certainly not regret it, if you live.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ivan_yulaev
    Here's another question: how about using the tape on the crank interface? Or no-no?
    Absolutely not. Don't use it on any crank arm interface whether square taper, Octalink or ISIS.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ed Holland
    Ivan,

    I don't think tape on the crank-spindle interface is a good idea. Since the Teflon is a solid material, there is a chance that is could bunch up, or get trapped as the crank is installed. Even if this doesn't happen you have put something between two surfaces that are designed as a precise press-fit.
    Personally, I am in the habit of smearing a little grease on the square taper before installing cranks - but arguments have raged about whether or not this is correct. I believe the manufacturers recommendation is to install square taper cranks without greasing. In my case, the bikes see the road all year, in all conditions and I prefer all metal interfaces to have some protection against corrosion and seizure. I've never seen any ill effects from this approach with cranks - never come loose, never have a problem removing them. Octalink cranks come with instructions to grease before assembly.

    Cheers,

    Ed
    I always use grease or oil on the crank taper. I've never had a crank come loose and I'
    ve always been able to get a crank off thats been greased, even after many (10+) years.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by HereNT
    I tried teflon tape first for an italian BB that I must have slightly cross threaded - the new sealed unit would work it's way out after 20 miles or so. I ended up going with blue loctite and that's held for about 1000 miles so far (retired for winter.)

    When I unthreaded the BB instead of just re-tightening, I saw that the teflon tape had pretty much disintegrated, getting pushed back by the threads... There were a few clumps, but not an even coverage like you'd expect.

    Not sure if that helps or not...
    Possibly you wrapped it in the wrong direction?

  10. #10
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    Just as an fyi, for the new Record Carbon BB's:

    * Cups are lightly coated with thread lock and should be installed in a dry, clean bottom bracket shell. Do NOT grease or lubricate the threads.

    * Campagnolo recommends tightening the cups to 70 Newton Meters (N.m) or 51.66 foot pounds.

  11. #11
    Senior Member DannoXYZ's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ad6mj
    Possibly you wrapped it in the wrong direction?
    Yeah, I like to use 2-4 wraps of teflon tape as well (with just very, very light layer of grease on BB). The number of wraps depends up on how loosely the cup fits in the shell, the looser the fit, the more layers I wrap. Important to wrap it in the tightening direction on the threads so that as you spin it into teh BB, it doesn't unravel. The teflon will fill the gap between the threads and prevent creaking noises. Real benefit comes years later when you remove it, no corrosion and no seized threads.
    Last edited by DannoXYZ; 12-23-05 at 03:32 PM.

  12. #12
    Klaatu barada nikto cascade168's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DannoXYZ
    Yeah, I like to use 2-4 wraps of teflon tape as well (with just very, very light layer of grease on BB). The number of wraps depends up on how loosely the cup fits in the shell, the loser the fit, the more layers I wrap. Important to wrap it in the tightening direction on the threads so that as you spin it into teh BB, it doesn't unravel. The teflon will fill the gap between the threads and prevent creaking noises. Real benefit comes years later when you remove it, no corrosion and no seized threads.
    Yeh, Mark Hickey told me exactly the same thing as he did neil0502. I have found it to work great, but how much tape to put on varies from bike to bike. As Danno points out, it does make a difference which way you wind it on - gotta do it so it would seem to tighten up. Ok, back to how much to use. What I have found is that I start with one layer. If, when you go to screw the BB in, you are getting a noticeable resistance, then you have got the right amount. If there is hardly any resistance, take it out and go to two layers and retry. If you have the correct amount you will know when you get it screwed in all the way that it's not going to loosen on it's own. If you put on too much tape it will be really difficult to screw in and then you need to remove it and use less tape. Every tap (or die) cut is going to be a little different and by using this very thin layer (or layers) of teflon tape you can easily create a very nice, tight fit. It's the best way to install a BB and I would never go without it again.
    "Work is the curse of the drinking class."
    - Oscar Wilde

  13. #13
    My bike's better than me! neil0502's Avatar
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    The only thing I don't know ... and I imagine that Mark Hickey's thought this through ... is whether--given the friction of tightening down a BB--there's any real chance of abrading through the teflon tape, or whether the teflon tape degrades materially over time.

    The only reason I wonder about that is the whole "potential for dissimilar metals to gaul" thing. Perhaps the grease provides adequate insurance against that.....

  14. #14
    Senior Member DannoXYZ's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by neil0502
    The only thing I don't know ... and I imagine that Mark Hickey's thought this through ... is whether--given the friction of tightening down a BB--there's any real chance of abrading through the teflon tape, or whether the teflon tape degrades materially over time.

    The only reason I wonder about that is the whole "potential for dissimilar metals to gaul" thing. Perhaps the grease provides adequate insurance against that.....
    Oh, it will certainly cut through the tape when you tighten the cup; threads touch on one side only. It's just that the tape fills the gap on the back side of the thread that doesn't touch. This air space is usually where moisture accumulates and causes rust and seizing over time. On a tightened fastener, you can actually flow water through it as there's a perfectly open spiral channel all the way through. The wicking Loctite works on this open channel using capillary action.

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    For crucial parts, will the tape affect the accuracy of the torque setting measured on a torque wrench?

  16. #16
    Frosted Flake
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    When it's time to do mine, and that time WILL come, I'm sure.. use either blue Loctite, or Loctite pipe sealant, probably 567 will do. Permatex #2 would probably work fine, too. The idea here is to make the threads resistant to turning, and to seal out water and dirt. Either of these three products will do that, and be removable with reasonable force as well. I haven't used teflon tape in probably 15 years, it's not up to modern standards in the sealing industry.
    It's either old age or I need more suspension...

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  17. #17
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    I like to start cups without the tape almost halfway then add the tape.
    fogriderlooking for sun

  18. #18
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    I've got tape on the cups and the pedal threads now...we'll see how it works out tomorrow...

  19. #19
    Senior Member DannoXYZ's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by San Rensho
    For crucial parts, will the tape affect the accuracy of the torque setting measured on a torque wrench?
    No, because the standard for torque-figures is with machine-oil on the threads. You want the wrench to measure the actual tension or stretch of the fastener, based upon the ramp-angle (pitch) of the threads. Any friction in the threads will end up reading higher torque, yet tension/stretch of the bolt will be lower. So you'd always want to oil the threads. The teflon serves a similar function of letting the threads slide over each other easily so that the resistance read by the wrench is based upon stretching the bolt.

  20. #20
    Frosted Flake
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    It will, however, affect the way the fastener holds. The teflon will prevent leaks in liquid piping systems, by virtue of taking up the space between the threaded elements. It's what it was designed to do. If you want a product that will prevent threaded fasteners from loosening, you really need something else. The Loctite blue is designed to prevent threads from unintentional loosening due to vibration, rotation, etc. It also takes up any space between thread elements, thereby also serving a secondary purpose of sealing out dirt and water, albeit not to as great a degree as the purpose designed sealing agents, such as 567 or permatex #2.
    It's either old age or I need more suspension...

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  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by chilly
    It will, however, affect the way the fastener holds. The teflon will prevent leaks in liquid piping systems, by virtue of taking up the space between the threaded elements. It's what it was designed to do. If you want a product that will prevent threaded fasteners from loosening, you really need something else. The Loctite blue is designed to prevent threads from unintentional loosening due to vibration, rotation, etc. It also takes up any space between thread elements, thereby also serving a secondary purpose of sealing out dirt and water, albeit not to as great a degree as the purpose designed sealing agents, such as 567 or permatex #2.
    The teflon tape method of installing bottom bracket cups isn't done to prevent loosening. Proper installation torque does that. It seals the threads against water and dirt incursion, prevents metal-to-metal bonding and, most important, keeps the bottom bracket quiet.

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