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Bicycle Mechanics Broken bottom bracket? Tacoed wheel? If you're having problems with your bicycle, or just need help fixing a flat, drop in here for the latest on bicycle mechanics & bicycle maintenance.

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Old 05-29-07, 03:05 PM   #1
Mash Master
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repacking the bottom bracket

I developed a load pinging sound when putting pressure on my bike going up hill. I called my local LBS who is booked out for the next 2 weeks so they said I should be able to dissassemble the bottom bracket, clean it, and repack it with grease and the noise should go away.

I have an FSA crankset, how hard is it to tackle this job?
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Old 05-29-07, 03:48 PM   #2
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It is not that difficult at all. Since the Big Blue Book is one of my standbys for repair advice, I have linked to the online version for bottom bracket service. Please click on the type of BB you have on the link and take it from there. http://www.parktool.com/repair/byreg...ageField2.y=10
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Old 05-29-07, 03:51 PM   #3
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If you've got an FSA crankset, it's highly unlikely that you have a bottom bracket that is serviceable. FSA is a relatively new brand, I think, and mainly comes on nicer bikes. And most nice-ish bikes for the past 15 years, at least, have come with sealed-cartridge bottom brackets.

Can you say more about your bike and crankset and bottom bracket? FSA has made square-taper cranks, ISIS-spline-interface cranks, and now integrated crank/bb systems with external bearings.
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Old 05-29-07, 04:16 PM   #4
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If the bearings are sealed, no need to repack. Cup and cone type (old style) BB benefit from the ol clean and repack situation.
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Old 05-29-07, 04:27 PM   #5
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The bike info is at: http://www.ironhorsebikes.com/victory.html

Crank: FSA Gossamer
BB: FSA MEGAEXO
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Old 05-29-07, 05:26 PM   #6
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"Pinging" sounds like you should at least try a simple tightening of crank arms, chainwheel bolts (if you have them) and pedals.
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Old 05-29-07, 06:34 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cny-bikeman
"Pinging" sounds like you should at least try a simple tightening of crank arms, chainwheel bolts (if you have them) and pedals.
I tried that already. I think it is either the bottom bracket or the freewheel hub assembly, now.
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Old 05-29-07, 06:42 PM   #8
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It could be spokes as well. Could you describe the "ping" a little bit? Under what circumstances do you hear it? Is it there when you coast?
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Old 05-29-07, 07:28 PM   #9
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The ping sounds a lot like a "creak" and it happens when I am putting a lot of pressure on the bike going up hills. It doesn't happen when coasting or spinning the crank backwards. If I spin the crack backwards one rotation it quiets down for a very short while. The creak is load and sounds like it is vibrating through the frame.
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Old 05-29-07, 07:56 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by woodinville guy
I developed a load pinging sound when putting pressure on my bike going up hill. I called my local LBS who is booked out for the next 2 weeks so they said I should be able to dissassemble the bottom bracket, clean it, and repack it with grease and the noise should go away.

I have an FSA crankset, how hard is it to tackle this job?



They probably meant for you to pull the BB out, clean it, re-grease it, put it back in and torque it to spec (if necessary)
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Old 05-29-07, 08:17 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cup
They probably meant for you to pull the BB out, clean it, re-grease it, put it back in and torque it to spec (if necessary)
To re-grease it, do I need to open up the sealed bearing rings?
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Old 05-29-07, 08:39 PM   #12
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On a sealed unit, pull the cranks and manually turn the spindle. It should be smooth with no rough, grinding feel. If it's smooth, then it's likely OK. "Cleaning" in this case means to remove it, clean up both the threads on the BB and the threads in the BB Shell, lightly apply a bit of grease to the threads, and re-install.

Generally, you don't service these sealed units.

Another note; on the older non-sealed (cup and balls) type, you should always spring for new ball bearings.

They are cheap, and will prevent headaches. I've always disliked the term "repack", as it implies that you use the bearings again.
I use "rebuild" myself....
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Old 05-30-07, 09:18 PM   #13
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Well, I cleaned the bottom bracket and it was as clean as a whistle. So I moved to the back wheel to look at the hub. I removed the wheel and the cassette somehow has torqued itself onto the hub. The teeth from the cassette look like they have cut into the hub. I can't remove the casette so I don't know what to do. How is this possible? The cassette is an ultegra 12-27 that I bought in March. Does this sound like a warranty issue?
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Old 05-30-07, 11:05 PM   #14
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I should clarrify the problem I am having, the cassette has somehow chewed into the freehub splines. That must be where the creaking is coming from but I can't get the cassette off to replace the freewheel cap with the splines.
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Old 05-31-07, 12:34 AM   #15
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You need a new freehub? I don't think the spinned/free-wheeling part can be separated from the hub...
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Old 05-31-07, 04:13 AM   #16
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by "clean and re-grease it," they aren't referring to the sealed bearings, but more likely to the bottom bracket threads. But it sounds as if your problem isn't the BB anyways.

How did the cassette chew into the freehub splines? usually this can only happen if
a) the cassette is loose
b) the freehub is made of aluminum
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Old 05-31-07, 05:25 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by woodinville guy
I should clarrify the problem I am having, the cassette has somehow chewed into the freehub splines. That must be where the creaking is coming from but I can't get the cassette off to replace the freewheel cap with the splines.
You need a chain whip to hold the freehub from spinning as you turn the stuck cog(s) the proper direction to free them. Cutting into the freehub splines happens with lightweight alloy (aluminum) hubs. It's not a warranty issue. I have an American Classic freehub that does the same thing.

Clean up the cassette and hub, reassemble, and see if your creaking goes away--but, I doubt that is the origin of the noise.

Last edited by NoRacer; 05-31-07 at 12:44 PM.
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Old 05-31-07, 12:34 PM   #18
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So I went to Performance this morning and they wouldn’t even talk to me about it until the 21st…. I then went over to my LBS and the old guy first thought that I may have to replace the whole wheel, cassette et al…. But I convinced him to try to get the cassette off and he was able to do that. The cassette body needs to be replaced but the cassette is fine. He put the new cassette body onto the cassette, so I need to pull the old one off and then replace the new one.

Is that hard? Anything else I should do since, I'll be pulling the axle out of the wheel?
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Old 08-18-08, 05:00 AM   #19
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Hi everyone, and hi Mash Master in particular.

I know this discussion about your 'pinging' sound was over a year ago, but I found it whilst searching on the internet to find a solution to the very same problem I started having this weekend! So, I wondered if you ever got to the bottom of your problem? Did you eventually find the source of the 'pinging'?

I have a very modest alu-framed road bike (Decathlon Sport 7.1) that has seen me through around 6000 km (so almost 4000 miles) and I'd put some fancy high-tension spoked wheels on it at about the half-way point.

Anyway, last Saturday, after a week without my bike while travelling, I did a short ride and everything was normal. Then on Sunday (yesterday) I went for a longer ride and within a few kilometres started hearing this sort of creaking/clicking (yeah, 'pinging'!) sound whenever I put load on the pedals (either when accelerating hard on the flats or when going uphill, especially when out of the saddle). I kept stopping and checking things .... spoke tensions, pedal play, crank play, BB play, wheel skewers, etc. The pinging itself was 'in tune' with my pedal stroking. At one point I accelerated past another cyclist, with my bike 'pinging' away, and he accelerated to come along side me to discuss the problem! He accompanied me for the next 20 km and we kept stopping and checking everything, tightening this, wiggling that. We were both beaten. (And, embarrassingly, we were both wearing the same cycling clothes!)

I somehow convinced myself that it was something to do with the front high-tension spoked front wheel. So yesterday evening I swapped the tyre over to the original front wheel for my commute to the office this morning, and I've had the same thing (thus ruling out the front wheel as the pinging source!). My next line of investigation is to swap the back wheel (swapping the cassette in the process). When doing so I'll check the seating of the cassette on the current wheel. If that's not it, then I guess the next thing to which to give my attention would be the BB. I have a sealed BB (not surprisingly) so I won't be able to service it, of course, but I can try the remove-clean-grease-putback routine.

Any ideas from your experience and knowledge?

Best wishes,
Neil Jenkins

Last edited by neiljenkins; 08-18-08 at 05:04 AM.
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Old 08-18-08, 07:02 AM   #20
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Hello neiljenkins,

Maybe I'm way off, but I would say that the pinging problem is related to the bottom bracket flex. The phenomenon is as follows:

- When you put a lot of force on the right (driving) crank, you flex the frame to the point where the bottom bracket (and the crankset axle) is slightly off
- The chainrings will no longer be parallel to the frame.
- The outmost chainring (the biggest) will come closer to the front derailleur
- If the chain is on the outmost chainring, then it touches the FD

Again, it is just a supposition. To test, you can try the following:
- Check for frame flex (search in the forums how to...)
- Let the chain on the middle or smallest chainring, pedal strong and see if the noise comes again
- Temporarily mis-adjust your FD (dangerous!!!) by turning the small adjustment thingie that is placed on the cables just before the shifters. Just remember to put the things back as they were when you finish. The idea is to get the derailleur just a bit further from the chainrings to see if it solves anything.

If these tests don't do anything then I have no idea. If this is the problem, then that means that either the frame is fatigued (highly unlikely) or the FD cable has become a bit longer because of the tension (the highest gear is also the one that stresses the cables). In this case, just use the shifter adjustment thingie to drive the FD a bit further from the chainrings while checking if it still shifts ok

Cheers,
Dan
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Old 08-19-08, 02:30 AM   #21
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Hi Dan,

Thanks for the suggestion.

Actually, I spent the whole of yesterday evening (til 2am!) removing everything that I thought might be implicated (cassette, chain, pedals, cranks, chainrings, BB unit), degreased and cleaned them all, then regreased, reassembled, etc. I also took the opportunity to check the frame close up for signs of cracks/weak points. Everything seemed OK, except ....

.... the locking/retaining nuts in the chainrings (the ones that hold the chainrings together and hold them on to the 'spider') had worked loose. VERY loose. One nut was so loose it was within half a turn of falling out. This hadn't been apparent when everything was on the bike during my rides Sunday and yesterday. I guess the tension of the chain etc. gave the illusion of them being rigid during my many confused roadside checks. That's almost certainly the problem. I'm about to do my commute to work now so will see how it is and report back.

Searching the various forums and blogs yesterday (including this fine one) gave me many things to consider as a source of the pinging, based on the experience of others - chain about to snap, frame cracks, loose seat, loose headset, BB problems, pedal bearings worn, etc etc. - but no one mentioned the chainring retainers.

I've not had these cranks/chainrings long (Stronglight 50/34 compact). Just goes to show how easy it is to overlook certain things during regular bike checks/maintenance, and how easy it is to take the quality of new components for granted. From now on I'll have a new item on my checklist: "Remove chain from chainrings and check tighness of chainring retainer nuts"!

I'll let you know later today if I've really solved the problem.

Best regards,
Neil
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