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Old 01-04-08, 10:26 PM   #1
tbrtbx
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phil wood bb axle deformed? help!

Hi everyone,

I've got a problem with my phil wood bottom bracket. I've had it since I got it free with a 2nd hand frame a few months ago. Basically, when I turn the axle, I feel quite a lot of friction.

Now, I've heard phil wood bearings last a long, long time, so I really don't think it's the bearings, which means it must be the axle. I read somewhere a while back that improper installation can mess up the axle somehow, deforming it, but I can't find any info searching.

If I send it to Phil, can he fix it for me?

Can I replace the axle with a separate, cheaper Shimano axle?

thankS!
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Old 01-05-08, 12:05 AM   #2
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I'd first look for the simplest explanations such as overtightened cup or dirt getting inside the bracket. Take the bracket out of the shell and clean it. I do not know about Phil Wood's bearings specifically, but usually you can lift the seal, clean the bearing, put new grease and press the seal back in. If the issue is an overtightened cup, you might not need to deal with the bearings at all, but once you have got the bracket out, you might clean the bearings just as well.
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Old 01-05-08, 02:40 AM   #3
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If I send it to Phil, can he fix it for me?
YES!
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Old 01-05-08, 06:04 AM   #4
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I'd send "Phil" an email, or give him a call.

Actually the guy you want to talk to is Brent, really helpful guy.

I seriously doubt you've got a bent axle, Phils are bomb-proof.

When you turn the axle, are the cranks still attached? Is the bottom bracket still installed in the bike? Need a bit more information of the conditions so we can determine possible issues.
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Old 01-05-08, 12:28 PM   #5
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Thanks everyone .. well, dobber, I do have the bb in my hands so no cranks are attached.

It's been like this since I got it .. when I turn the axle with my fingers, I can feel lots of resistance. It shouldn't be like this. It should spin freely. There feels like there is some tightness somewhere.
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Old 01-05-08, 01:18 PM   #6
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It should spin freely. There feels like there is some tightness somewhere.
Acyually, NO!
A Phil BB has dust shields on the cartridge bearings, so there is some "resistance" when turning the axle by hand. If it's smooth when turning, then you're good to go. If there is a "gritty" feel when the axle is turned by hand, THEN there's a problem.

And Phil will fix it, if you send the BB back to them.

My Clive Stuart has a Phil BB from 1973. Still spins like the day it was new!
As do the '73 Phil hubs on that same bike!
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Old 01-05-08, 02:02 PM   #7
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Yep, that's the word : Gritty. It's not normal, i've compared it with other shimano bb's and the phil just feels terrible. Like there's loads of sand in it, or something.

I'll send it back to them. Thanks!
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Old 01-05-08, 09:36 PM   #8
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Yep, that's the word : Gritty. It's not normal, i've compared it with other shimano bb's and the phil just feels terrible. Like there's loads of sand in it, or something.

I'll send it back to them. Thanks!
sounds like you need new bearings.... and its ok for bearings to go, thats why they make them as cartridges now... so that they are easier to replace.
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Old 01-05-08, 10:10 PM   #9
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I found this on http://velocio.com/Bikes/BBInstallation/, i think this is my problem :

Peter Jon White made this comment about Phil bottom brackets on the bike touring e-mail list: "Phil Wood bottom brackets "fail" for the same reason that most bottom brackets "fail", and that's improper installation. Some bottom brackets, like many Shimano versions, are immune to this, because the bearings are isolated from the frame's bottom bracket shell threading. But Phil Wood bottom bracket bearings are directly coupled to the frame threading, so any misalignment of the threading can cause the cartridge bearings in the Phil Wood BB to bind.

"For a Phil Wood BB to last, the frame's BB threads must be chased with a tool that indexes one side of the shell with the other so that the threads on each side share a common axis. Campagnolo and a few other companies make tooling that, when used properly, ensures that the threading is correct, and then, and only then, will you get the full life of the Phil Wood bearings.

"Most production bicycle frames are not properly machined, and that's undoubtedly why Shimano designs their bottom bracket sets as they do; to allow installation and proper function in these poorly constructed frames. That's a good feature for an inexpensive bottom bracket to have. The only real downside is that when the bearings in the Shimano BB fail, they can't be replaced. But at $20 a pop, who cares?

"However, if you have your frame's BB shell properly machined, you can install a Phil Wood BB and not worry about it for a few decades of hard use, something you're not likely to get from any Shimano unit.

"How can you tell if your Phil Wood BB is in a properly machined frame? Loosen the rings. If the axle turns more freely with the rings loose than when tightened, the bearings are being misaligned slightly by the misaligned rings, which are being misaligned by the misaligned threading in the BB shell. Have the BB shell machined, and the axle should turn the same after it's been tightened in as before."






So, my bb shell threads aren't aligned properly? How interesting. How can I repair it - remove bearings and re-press them?
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Old 01-05-08, 10:39 PM   #10
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If you want to check your frame's BB threads per Peter White's concerns, you could install the BB cups in the frame and then check the parallelism of the cup faces. Easier said than done but probably not impossible with nothing but a decent quality digital caliper. You could also place a metal ruler or something similar against each installed cup to magnify any parallelism errors.

Another way to check would be to install one cup only then insert the BB shell. It should be exactly centered in the hole on the other side. Try it on both sides to see if there is any noticable difference.

Or you could send the BB back to Phil and explain your concern. They could probably tell you if the grit in the bearings came from an 'improper installation' or if it came from external sources.

Finally, if you want to trade that Phil BB for a Shimano, I've got several smooth Shimano units I could trade. They're all English threading and in various lengths, UN51, UN52 and UN72, etc. Let me know...
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Old 01-06-08, 07:40 PM   #11
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Most of the time, Phil BBs are fantastic. But on at least one occasion the spindle didn't get heat treated properly. I put a 15 degree twist in one back in the late '70s. Only problem I've ever had with a Phil part, and I've never heard of another twisted or bent BB.

Of course it was replaced, no questions asked.
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