Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: DC / Maryland suburbs
Bikes: Homebuilt tourer/commuter, modified-beyond-recognition 1990 Trek 1100, reasonably stock 2002-ish Gary Fisher Hoo Koo E Koo
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The problem with a loose crankarm, especially square taper, is that it is likely to become permanently damaged and always loose. The BB spindle is steel, and the crank is aluminum, so if the crank is loose the harder spindle will gradually wear out and round the crank out, to the poitn where it can't be attached securely
The other thing is that your crank bolt may be stripped. Even if you crank is so worn that it wobbles around a lot, it should NOT be so loose that it falls off when the crank bolt is fully tightened. Can you check if the crank bolt is stripped?
Fortunately, you've hosed the LEFT crank, which is cheaper and can be replaced with practically any mismatched crank of the appropriate length. If the crank is the only damaged part, you can probably get a used one for $5 or maybe even free.