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  1. #1
    Lint Picker toshi's Avatar
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    Bottom Bracket Prep?

    Hi all,

    I'm curious what goes into preparing a bottom bracket on a new bike assembly. My bottom bracket (on a bike with less than 300 miles) is torqued to spec (confirmed twice over), as are the pedal bolts and everything else in the vicinity. There's still clicking going on no matter how I ride (over bumps, out of the seat, coasting, etc.)

    Today I popped into another store while picking up some tools and had a new mech look at it yet again. He says the bottom bracket appears to not have been prepped before installation, which may be causing the click. He was able to easily and quickly replicate the click by standing on the bike and pedaling backwards at short increments. He confirmed that everything was tight.

    What does bb prepping entail, exactly?

    Thanks in advance!

  2. #2
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    Typically my shop doesnt do anything to the BB shell unless there is some problem. If a problem is noticed during a build (paint on the shell face, bad threads, etc) we first clean the BB and the BB shell with some carb cleaner, removing all the grease and other contaminants. After that, we chase the BB shell threads and face the BB shell as well to remove paint, burrs, etc. For installation, and this will vary by locale (i'm in NorthCarolina), we clean off all the grease and apply some blue Loctite to the threads on the BB. Torque to spec and its done. I've never had a customer return with a clicking BB after I've done this step to a new build or a repair. Maybe it will work for you, too. Good Luck!

  3. #3
    Senior Member MudPie's Avatar
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    Toshi - what shop in the City do you visit? I was born and raised in the City, but now living in So Cal.

    Prep could also be as simple as placing grease on the threads of the bottom bracket before installing. There are many benefits to grease on the threads, including it helps future disassembly of the bottom bracket. And lubricated threads ensure proper seating when installed - this way, more of the installation torque goes into turning the bottom bracket and less into fighting friction.

    "Prep" probably means a little different to everyone.

  4. #4
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    Anit-seize is the way to go. It is specially formulated to prevent corrosion between metals. Loctite 242 works well, also

  5. #5
    Lint Picker toshi's Avatar
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    Chuck, thanks for your feedback - chase and face is what the mech at the other shop mentioned, I'd just forgotten the terms he'd used!

    Mudpie: The shop I purchased the bike from was in the Mission. I want to patronize this shop, but my recent experience has been disappointing. More and more, I'm realizing that my bike was simply assembled with little attention to detail - the bottom bracket is just the latest in a string of issues on this same, new bike.

    To make things worse, they placed a new handlebar on the bike citing the bar as the source of the clack (smaller width bar, without letting me know). Their claim was that the stock bar was defective. I liked the fit on my other bar and kind of want it back.

    Then, immediately after retrieving the bike post repair (they had it for 2 days) the clicking was as loud as before. The wrench at the other shop targeted the bottom bracket as the source of the click in about 2 minutes. I guess they didn't test ride the bike and simply assumed it was good to go, after misdiagnosing the problem.

    Finally, each time I bring the bike back for service I discover new scratches and damage to the frame paint. I love this bike and I want to patronize this store, but I'm a little disenfranchised at the moment.

    Alright, sorry to vent. Just want to get this thing put to bed!
    Last edited by toshi; 12-30-05 at 03:54 PM.

  6. #6
    . Namenda's Avatar
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    So-they didn't fix the problem, they changed your bars to something that decreases your comfort (without asking you first?), and they have damaged the finish on the frame (more than once). I would be more than disenfranchised...

  7. #7
    My bike's better than me! neil0502's Avatar
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    Toshi-

    You're having some rotten luck

    Don't' forget that these clicks are often something other than what you first think they are. You've gotten some good advice on this thread so far. Couple things I''d add:

    - You can use a rotary wire brush and a drill, stick the brush in from the right side of the bottom bracket and move it around so that it "unscrews" the schmutz from both sides of the shell, then take WD-40 and a rag and do a good clean up inside ("facing," by the way, ensures that both halves of the bb shell are flat and properly aligned with the bearings. This shouldn't be a factor here, IMO)

    - Clean the threads of the BB. Give it a good coating with either anti-seize, grease, or a combo of grease and teflon tape (lots of opinions on this. I like anti-seize, too), and re-torque

    - Try the bike

    - If the clicking is still there, I'd do the same thing -- one thing at a time -- to the chainring bolts, then the cranks, then the pedals, and then the cleats on your shoes (ok, the wrench probably wasn't wearing your shoes when he duplicated the click, but ....)

    Good luck!

  8. #8
    Lint Picker toshi's Avatar
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    Thanks, Neil! I'm almost certain the click originates from the bottom bracket, after it was reproduced easily by a mech at another shop (he stood on the bike, stationary, and pedaled backwards in short increments - at certain sections of the revolution the click was loud and obvious).

    I use toeclips; the pedals and chainring bolts are lubed and tightened twice over.

    I'm going to leave the bottom bracket cleaning and treatment to the lbs. The bike is new, and if they can't solve the issue I'm not sure what I'll do next. So far the level of service has been such that I'm having misgivings about returning there.

  9. #9
    fmw
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    Hoosier Pedaler fmw's Avatar
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    Personally, I face and chase every new (and old) frame I build. I haven't found one yet that was perfectly square. Most are "good enough" but quite a few really aren't. Facing cuts enough metal from the BB shell to make the faces parallel to each other and perpendicular to the BB spindle. The tool is just a cutter that attaches to the shell and is turned by a handle. Chasing is just a matter of cleaning out the BB shell threads from any paint or debris. It is usually done with a BB threading tool.

    If the BB shell faces aren't parallel and square, the BB itself doesn't install properly and can cause some binding after it is tightened up. This can result in a reduced life span for the bottom bracket. This binding could be the cause of your noise but, of course, it may not be. If you question any of it, the advice is simple. Get the BB shell faced and chased. It should cost less than $20 and takes about 10 or 15 minutes.

  10. #10
    Lint Picker toshi's Avatar
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    Thanks fmw - I'm placing a call to the manager of the store tomorrow, and I'll be mentioning that, along with a litany of other things.

    I noticed this morning that a portion of the seat tube clear coat is completely marred and rubbed away. I assume they put the bike up on the workstand clamp without using a towel between the clamp and frame. Just the latest in a string of blemishes each time the bike is at their shop.

    Nice.

    I'm about 3 minutes from asking these guys to take the bike back for a full refund.

  11. #11
    Senior Member bellweatherman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Primo Tiki
    Anit-seize is the way to go. It is specially formulated to prevent corrosion between metals. Loctite 242 works well, also


    Anti-seize and Loctite are 2 entirely separate things. One is anti-seize and the other, is, well SEIZE!

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by bellweatherman
    Anti-seize and Loctite are 2 entirely separate things. One is anti-seize and the other, is, well SEIZE!
    Both protect against corrosion when used properly.
    Don't spray WD-40 in/on it. WD-40 is a TEMPORARY WATER DISPLACER, not a long term oil.

  13. #13
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    Other than chain rub here's my experience and solutions to clicking noises : I have a Litespeed with internal headset and Campy record BB bearing - I had some clicking that I thought was the BB but turned out to be the headset - Litespeed sent new bearing cups & this solved that click - then I got another click & it was the BB - the solution to this click was provided by a bike store owner/mechanic that is truly amazing - you first take the cranks off & take out the bearing - Campy bearings have press-fit cups on each side - slide these cups off & put a small amount of Loctite 660 on each exposed bearing surface & then slide the cups back on - clean the shell thoroughly, put some TiPrep ( in my case the frame is Ti and the bearing is aluminum I believe but inn any case they're different metals) on the shell threads, and then reassemble everything - voila no more clicks - the clicking is caused by the motion between the pedal spindles and the press-fit cups on the Campy bearing - the Loctite 660 cures and fills in the space between the cups & the bearing surface - it provides a tighter fit - and this is necessary sometimes because machining tolerances aren't small enough in some cases.

    Now if you tell me you have a Shimano outboard BB then the above discussion goes out the window & if you don't have an internal headset with deffective bearing cups, then the headset discussion above is also no good in your case.

  14. #14
    Senior Member MudPie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by toshi
    .

    I noticed this morning that a portion of the seat tube clear coat is completely marred and rubbed away. I assume they put the bike up on the workstand clamp without using a towel between the clamp and frame. Just the latest in a string of blemishes each time the bike is at their shop.


    A bike should be clamped on the seat post, NEVER clamp the frame's seat tube! This is a big no-no. The seat tube could be crushed since the walls are fairly thin - very dangerous. If you have a carbon seat post, the post should be removed and replaced with a "sacrificial" seat post before clamping it in a stand.

    Bottom line - the bicycle frame should never see the jaws of a workstand clamp.

    I wish I had a recommendation for a LBS or wrench in the City - I haven't lived there is 20 years.

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