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  1. #1
    truthiness detector
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    Test your Bicycle Mechanic skills!!! Diagnose this.....

    Ya, ya...its another creaking problem...but wait! I have read and re-read Park Tools creak and Sheldon Browns Creak problem pages to no avail and done everything in them I could (I dont have some tools to get into the steering and cassette) . For about the past month or so I have been dealing with a creaking/ metal popping rubbing sound that I 'feel' in the drivetrain. The best description I can give is if you have ever seen the movie The Shining it sounds like the r sound when the kid starts saying "redrum, redrum" But its just the 're, re, re' part. I used to think it was only when I put a load on the crank on the downstroke, but have since changed my opinion. I think it is more intermittant with the longer I ride the worse it gets and more consistent. Right now as soon as I put weight on the crank, the noise starts. Also, when coasting she’s as quiet as a mouse.

    Bike setup:
    GT ZR1.0 Aluminum
    Dura Ace 7700 components except for the new bottom bracket (it’s a 105 but it is the octalink and is actually based off the old dura ace bottom bracket except for the fact that it’s a sealed cartridge type and isn’t adjustable.
    Rolf Vector Pro’s
    Vittoria 700x23 tires
    Aluminum Bontrager Race Seat post




    Things I have tried include(in no particular order):
    1) changing bottom bracket from a dura ace 7700 to a 105 cartridge type bb.
    2) pulling the bottom bracket regreasing it.
    3) cleaning chain with degreaser and then relubing it. (Note - I use an air compressor to get the water out of the chain and get it nice and clean).
    - special note: the only time the creak went away was after I cleaned the chain with degreaser and relubed it….for about 20 miles….then it was back again. I have recleaned it and relubed it maybe 4 -5 times in the past 2 weeks trying to duplicate what I had done previously. Nothing…..still creaked.
    4) cleaning and re-greasing and re-tightening almost every bolt on the bike (front and rear derailleurs, chain rings, crank bolt, stem bolt).
    5) cleaning front and rear skewers and relubing and tightening the hell out of them (I have Rolf vector Pro wheels and the skewers are known for creaking if they are loose.)
    6) adjusting rear and front derailleurs and relubing every bolt on both.
    7) greasing seatpost and re-tightening the bolt
    8) greasing seat rails
    9) removed the screw from the cable retainer from the bottom bracket part of the frame (I thought maybe the bottom bracket was pushed up against it? But it wasn’t )
    10) tightened cassette
    11) checked to make sure no chain rub on front derailleur.


    hmmm, maybe I should put what I haven’t done….

    1) Have not taken apart the steering column. (Park tools described the process and it looked like I needed to spend a small fortune to take mine apart and regrease it)
    2) Have not taken off the cassette (Is there another way to take off the cassette without a chainwhip? I’ve got the splined socket tool for removing it but I don’t have a chain whip and it’s a pain to drive the nearest bike shop 1 hour away on a good day with no traffic…)
    3) tried another wheel. I have Rolf vector pros and you cant get into them to rebuild from what I’ve read about them. But I don’t hear it when coasting so I don’t think its that.)

    So my questions….
    1) What am I forgetting?
    2) Is there anything else do I can check that I don’t have to go buy tools for?
    3) Can I take my cassette off with just the socket and maybe an old chain?
    4) should I try a new chain? This chain looks new and no rust on it and isnt stretched. One thing I have noticed when examining my old chain the pins that go through the links are all the same except for two of them instead of the dimpled flat silver part, I can see a black dot that I guess is the end of one of the pins? But why are they different? Is this a master link? The chain is dura-ace from the same group as my components listed above.

    Im a newb at all of this and Im sorry for the length but I wanted to give the whole picture to get good advice. Thx in advance.

    I love this bike but this is getting old……..HELP!

  2. #2
    Isaias NoRacer's Avatar
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    You're forgetting pedals. I had a creaking that I was positive that it came from the BB, but it was the bearings in my right pedal.
    2009 mileage = 14,738 miles; 2010 mileage = 15,234 miles; 2011 mileage = 17,344 miles; 2012 mileage = 11,414 miles; 2013 = 12,169

  3. #3
    Life is short Ride hard
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    2) Have not taken off the cassette (Is there another way to take off the cassette without a chainwhip? I’ve got the splined socket tool for removing it but I don’t have a chain whip and it’s a pain to drive the nearest bike shop 1 hour away on a good day with no traffic…)
    Suprise your LBS, and ride maybe it is a bottom bracket. If it was a steering issue you would hear, and feel it when your turned. Also when you bounce test the bike do you hear anything ?
    The Ferrari ('05 Bianchi Forza) had a flat (Stupid Glass) the Japanese wagon ('77 Nishiki with Arkel Utility Basket) was in the body shop (On my bench being repainted...repent ye rust)
    so I took the SUV ( Cannondale V2000 Active 100SL)

  4. #4
    cab horn
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    1) Have not taken apart the steering column. (Park tools described the process and it looked like I needed to spend a small fortune to take mine apart and regrease it)
    This is a piece of cake if you have a threaded headset. You don't need all those special tools that park mentions in their repair briefing (in fact you don't need any of them). Of course it's easier to not **** things up with the proper tools. In practice it works.

    If you have threadless... uh, someone else can help you with that.
    Mes compaingnons cui j'amoie et cui j'aim,... Me di, chanson.

  5. #5
    Curmudgeon Wil Davis's Avatar
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    Have you tried a new chain? The black dots you see on the chain might be links that have already been replaced (don't re-break the chain at those points). So, how old is the chain?

    - Wil
    "" - Marcel Marceau

  6. #6
    truthiness detector
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    noracer:I forgot to put that. I did relube the bearings in my pedals.


    ryan:Im pretty sure its not the bottom bracket. I am hearing the same noise with the old dura ace bottom bracket that I am with the new bottom bracket so I am pretty sure its not that.

    operator:Headset is 1 1/8 threadless.

    Wil: The new chain is one of the things I havent tried. Im considering going to get one after work.....in spite of the traffic . I think the chain is as old as the bike and bike is 2001. Also would a link that was replaced have the same exact number as the other links?
    Last edited by tuck; 09-22-06 at 09:42 AM.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    Something that nobody's mentioned yet is the rear rim. Examine it carefully for cracks radiating from the spoke holes or a slightly raised spoke hole.

  8. #8
    Tinkerer since 1980 TheBrick's Avatar
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    You should be able to get a chain wip from any tol shop it is not a bike spicefic tool. I go mine from a tool stand at an agricultual show for about £4.00 approx $7.53 USD.

  9. #9
    Dr.Deltron
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    I tried emmulating the "Shining" sound. Is the chain rubbing on the front deraileur cage?

  10. #10
    Senior Member barba's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dr.Deltron
    I tried emmulating the "Shining" sound. Is the chain rubbing on the front deraileur cage?
    That was my thought. Does it happen in certain gear combinations more frequentlly than others?

  11. #11
    truthiness detector
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    The chain is like the one posted above. What I am seeing on my chain is the 2nd one from the right is blackish on my chain otherwise its just like the above picture. There are two of these on the chain if I counted correctly. Park tool calls them replacement rivets. Do these come on a new chain? My guess would be, no, but I really dont know.

    Could something be wrong with this chain and it not be evident examining the way the chain loops around the cassette and chain rings? The rollers are all there and not bent. The pins look flush. No bending in the links or rivets from just examining it. I really cant see any visible defects on the chain at all. Length looks ok from using the method of looking at the rear derailleur pulleys and their shape. Could too tight a chain or too loose a chain make that type of noise? I know it would skip but mine never does skip. It shifts incredibly smooth.

  12. #12
    truthiness detector
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    I have examine the front derailleur over and over because thats what it sounded like to me as well. It makes the noise in all gear combinations and it is not touching the FD at all and when I half-click if the derailleur is getting hit by the chain the "ping ping" of the chain rubbing goes away, so it is definitely not that.

    I have also examined the rear hub for cracks, but I cant find any. Maybe I need to examine it with a magnifying glass and a stronger light.

    the thing that gets me is that the noise went away after cleaning and lubing once before. I cant get rid of the noise despite recleaning and relubing. Was this just coincidence that it went away before?

  13. #13
    Making a kilometer blurry waterrockets's Avatar
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    You said you regreased the pedal bearings, but did you grease the pedal axle threads?

    I'd get that cassette pulled and clean and grease the outside of the freehub body and clean the inside of the cassette and individual cogs.

    Check that your rear dropouts (external faces, and the slot), QR, QR-nut, and axle nuts are clean.

  14. #14
    truthiness detector
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    i couldnt get the pedals off of the crank to regrease the threads on the pedal. I even put the crank in a vice, but they wouldnt budge. Could it still be the pedals even if they are on that tight? I tried some some spray lubricant on the inside of the pedal and in the bearings. Also, the reason I dont think its the pedals is because it was doing this before I got my new pedals.

  15. #15
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    This sort of thing drives me crazy! This is what I would do.
    1)Try a different chain, and see if it goes away.Buy a cheap one-any speed will work for testing-.This will R/O or rule in the chain the chain.
    2)Switch pedals-same story as above.
    3)Switch wheels.
    4)Remove front derailleur-ride-r/o
    5)Remove Rear derailleur-ride r/o(you will need a chain tool.It would be easier to switch to a different read derailleur.
    6)Change crankset-ride, r/o.

    6)Seatpost-seat? Switch, or side out of seat in a tall gear.R/O
    7)Do you have a removable derailleur hanger-eyeball it.
    8)Start looking for fine cracks in frame.
    9)Take a good look at your shoes.I have some shoes that barely touch the crankarm and make a funny squeak/creak that I can't feel.
    10) dustcovers on crankarms tight and greased?
    11)Get someone to hold the bike up while you put full wt on the pedals and rock back and forth with your feet in various positions relative to crankarms(1 oclock,2 oclock etc)-listen hard.
    My bets-no doubt wrong-crank in some fashion; pedals;chain;toe clips or equivalent;seatpost saddle;shoes,frame has slight crack?.
    Luck,Charlie

  16. #16
    Making a kilometer blurry waterrockets's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tuck
    i couldnt get the pedals off of the crank to regrease the threads on the pedal. I even put the crank in a vice, but they wouldnt budge. Could it still be the pedals even if they are on that tight? I tried some some spray lubricant on the inside of the pedal and in the bearings. Also, the reason I dont think its the pedals is because it was doing this before I got my new pedals.
    Yeah, the pedal axles are steel or Ti, and the cranks are aluminum. The two metals oxidize together, and creak like crazy. You should always heavily grease pedal threads, and they should be a first-check to diagnose creaks (though the BB is the most common culprit).

    If you can't get them off, it sounds like they're oxidized pretty heavily. Do you have a pedal wrench? Remember that the left one is reverse-thread. The way I always remember is that if the axles roll backwards on the bike, they loosen. If they roll forwards, they tighten. Anyway, I'd recommend you get them off asap, since oxidation only gets worse.

    If the creak will reproduce when you're just pushing on the cranks (holding a signpost or similar), you can try unclipping and just standing on the end of the crank without touching the pedal. If it creaks there, then it's not the pedal axle.

  17. #17
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    Sharp rap with 2x4" or hammer to remove pedals

    If your pedals are tough to remove, 1st spray the backside with some sort of liquid wrench type penetrating oil.After you do this give the axle a coulple of sharp raps with a metal hammer and punch(you want metal to metal contact to get some sharp vibrations/waves to move through the axel and threads where the axle has frozen itself to the crank.
    Wait 20 minutes.Now get another set of hands if possible.Put a wrench on the pedal(as long a wrench as possible).Have one person hold the wrench and crankarm so when you turn the wrench, it won't want to turn the crank.This preson might want to wear gloves.You should get a heavy steel hammer, or a 2x4 and hit the wrench as far out as possible-give it a sharp rap(make sure the direction is correct).Make sure the wrench holder has the wrench pretensioned so it doesn't move and ding up the pedal flat when it is hit.
    Be careful not to hit your assistants hands or hit the frame(don't ask why I'm adding this too obvious caution.).If you are working alone-be double careful(your hands).The pedal should move immediately, so make sure the hammer drop isn't going to ding anything when it suddenly loses resistance.
    Luck,Charlie
    PS I usually find it easier to use a heavier hammer or 2x4 moving more slowly than a light hammer moving faster.

  18. #18
    Curmudgeon Wil Davis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tuck


    The chain is like the one posted above. What I am seeing on my chain is the 2nd one from the right is blackish on my chain otherwise its just like the above picture. There are two of these on the chain if I counted correctly. Park tool calls them replacement rivets. Do these come on a new chain? My guess would be, no, but I really dont know.

    Could something be wrong with this chain and it not be evident examining the way the chain loops around the cassette and chain rings? The rollers are all there and not bent. The pins look flush. No bending in the links or rivets from just examining it. I really cant see any visible defects on the chain at all. Length looks ok from using the method of looking at the rear derailleur pulleys and their shape. Could too tight a chain or too loose a chain make that type of noise? I know it would skip but mine never does skip. It shifts incredibly smooth.
    It could be that the chain has been changed/repaired at some point. Do you know exactly how old it is? I wouldn't have thought there to be any replacements on a new chain. FWIW - I ran a well-maintained chain on one of my road-bikes for two or three years, and then after a layoff of nearly twenty years, cleaned and lubed everything and put the bike back on the road. In less than a season, I noticed that the drive train was very noisy, despite being cleaned and lubed. The chain was less than half-worn (by measurement), but I replaced it anyway ($12 chain), and the difference was amazing! The drive train suddenly became very quiet and smooth (even with the original chain-rings and cogs). YMMV -

    - Wil
    "" - Marcel Marceau

  19. #19
    truthiness detector
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    you guys have been great. thanks for all the recommendations. I am currently soaking it in PB blaster. Ill give it a wack on the bolt and try to unscrew it. My pedals come with a place for a hex key on the inside. Is that any easier? I have hex key socket set and may be able to generate more torque with that than one of my 15mm wrenches (even though they are long, not pedal specific long but they are longer than normal 15mm). These pedals are brand new and I let the LBS put them on. They better have put grease on it! They seem to like threadlocker on everything.

    if that doesnt work, it has been suggested by another person to put teflon tape on the bottom bracket where the removable cup and the body of the cartridge come into contact. I greased the hell out of that since that seemed to me to be the most likely of all possible places for the creak to come from, but he seemed to think the teflon there and on the threads of the fixed and removable cup might help. Park tool suggests that too for trouble with a creaking bb is still in good working order.

    If neither of the above work, Ill try a new chain.

    If that doesnt work? Im going to shoot my bike, send it to the glue factory and take up running.....

  20. #20
    staring at the mountains superdex's Avatar
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    does it creak when you're out of the saddle?

    You mentioned greasing the rails, but maybe the saddle's body is rubbing on its own rails? (My Specialized Avatar is doing just that after a couple thousand miles)

  21. #21
    Mr. Maximan1 maximan1's Avatar
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    Your chain isn't tight enough.
    Happened to my bike too. Just untighten the back wheel a lil bit and pull it back then tighten it (while pulled back)

  22. #22
    Senior Member thomson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by maximan1
    Your chain isn't tight enough.
    Happened to my bike too. Just untighten the back wheel a lil bit and pull it back then tighten it (while pulled back)
    maciman1, he has a derailleur to keep the chain taut. I think you may be thinking of a single speed/fixed.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by NoRacer
    You're forgetting pedals. I had a creaking that I was positive that it came from the BB, but it was the bearings in my right pedal.
    LOL I read through all that and said to myself, PEDALS!

    Mine click now and then and I used to think it was the BB or something missing lube.Mine sound like the 'pink' you get from cooling metal, but still, this was the first thing I though of.

    They might not be tight enough, I really had to dog mine to stop it, tighten them up to about 3 veins worth on your forehead and it should be about right

  24. #24
    truthiness detector
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    unbelievable! after all this....it was the chain.....

    So last night I was trying to get the pedals off and was getting no where fast. I stripped hex key on the bolt of the pedal axle and was getting more and more pissed off. The only thing that kind of relaxes me when I get pissed is cleaning my bike and making it look pretty (it was getting greasy with all the work I've done on it the past few weeks). So I spray some simple green on it and scrub my chain like a mad man. I rinse. Then repeat simple green and scrubbing. I rinse and do the same thing again...then rinse it again. This time I did not use the air compressor, I just towel dried everything. The I put some prolink on the chain and wiped it off. I started thinking, hmmmm, I wonder if it was just some grit lodged in the chain? Although I have cleaned it several times trying to see if it was the chain, I thought, what the heck, it worked before. I go out the road, its pitch black and I cant see anything (I live out in the middle of no where). I start pedaling and listening intently....silence.....I stand and start churning it out......still silence. I go up and down the road repeating this and finally I realize its not going to make the freaking noise!!!! I start yelling, woooo hoooo!!!!! up and down the road I go, pitch black, yelling......this is not the first time I have done this and my neighbors are probably starting to worry . I went for a 20 mile ride this mornning and all I could hear was the wind! Who would have thought something so simple could make someone so happy. thx for your suggestions. Its much appreciated.

    I will say this, I've only been riding for about 6 months now and this bike is one I just bought two months ago. I have learned more these last few weeks than I could have learned by just reading about it on the internet. Although frustrating, at least Im not afraid to go at the dura ace components with a wrench now....which may end up being a bad thing, if Im not careful.......he he.


    Hell ya! alabama just threw a 78 yard touchdown pass! Roll Tide! the day just keeps getting better.

  25. #25
    Making a kilometer blurry waterrockets's Avatar
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    'grats on finding the creak. I know that can feel about like passing a watermellon. It's great when it's over.

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