Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Grid Reference, SK
Bikes: I never learned to ride a bike. It is my deepest shame.
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Take a look on the non-drive side where the crank gets closest to the frame... is it considerably further away than the drive side? If it is then it is possible that the bottom bracket spindle was removed and reversed resulting in poor spacing of the arms. You could take the spindle out againa nd flip it and see if it improves.
It is also possible that the bike was dropped or hit by a car or something just badly enough to bend the cranks arm in by a few cm. If this is the case then you shoudl just replace it.
Old ralieghs have different bb threading than modern bikes. Check www.sheldonbrown.com
for details... I think the raleighs have 24tpi threads and modern bikes have 26tpi... close but not compatible. According to Sheldon Brown, the only (or one of very few) company making 24tpi bottom brackets is Phil Wood, and they almost certainly cost more than another 1957 raleigh.
You can probably find a new spindle with square tapers, though, to use with your existing bttom braket cups and a modern square-taper cotterless cranks. Again, sheldon brown has the whole story.