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Old 06-15-09, 02:38 PM   #1
calamarichris
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Dura Ace 7800 Bottom Bracket Woes

1. Do Felt frames have English or Italian threaded bottom brackets?

2. Is it possible that an unhoned BB shell on the frame could have killed my ceramic bearings? My beloved Felt F55 cracked the right chainstay; Felt replaced my 4-year-old frame without fuss, but my LBS is decidedly not a competent technician; (both derailleurs maladjusted, loose headset, left crankarm not installed properly, brakes not centered...) so I suspect the shell was not properly honed before my DA-ceramic bottom bracket (the outer edges of which were also badly marred by a ham-fisted installation) was installed on the new frame.

I've got a worsening creak in my spider/bb area. It started out creaking only when I stood, but now creaks even when sitting. I've replaced the chainrings and CR bolts, but the creak continues. Still spins like a demon (much, much more freely than the OEM DA BB), but 70 miles of squeek-squeek-squeek made for an unpleasant Saturday ride.

Many thanks in advance!
-Chris in C'bad
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Old 06-15-09, 02:46 PM   #2
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1) I would be very surprised to find one with Italian threading.

2) Find a new LBS.

2b?) Lube your shoes. (Hey, ya never know... )
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Old 06-15-09, 02:55 PM   #3
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1) Thanks!
2) Done & done, years ago. However, because I'd bought the bike from him 4+ years ago, I had to go through him for Felt to replace my frame.
2b) Decidedly not the shoes. I recently rewarded myself with a pair of ridiculous, red Vernice Sidi-Ergos and the squeak persists with both new & old shoes.
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Old 06-15-09, 03:10 PM   #4
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Wow, those are the hottest bike shoes ever! you pervert

You have an external bearing crank, right? Do you have the tools to try tightening the bearing shells?
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Old 06-15-09, 03:59 PM   #5
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Actually they look more like Krusty the Clown than a drag-queen...



Do you mean snug the bearing housings into the frame? If so, yes, I made sure those were tight as soon as I got the bike from my incompetent LBS technician. If you mean snug the bearings into the housing, no. But, those are not adjustable, are they? My incompetent LBS technician would have to commit an act of vandalism to loosen those, (which I wouldn't put past him, since he smarmily noted that I had installed an aftermarket part on my frame which hopefully wouldn't void Felt's warranty.
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Old 06-15-09, 05:31 PM   #6
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Quote:
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1) Thanks!
2) Done & done, years ago. However, because I'd bought the bike from him 4+ years ago, I had to go through him for Felt to replace my frame.
2b) Decidedly not the shoes. I recently rewarded myself with a pair of ridiculous, red Vernice Sidi-Ergos and the squeak persists with both new & old shoes.
If you aren't wearing the thigh high fishnets with those no wonder there are sqeaks.
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Old 06-16-09, 10:37 AM   #7
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Yeah I meant the housings.

Pop the bearings out and see if they roll smoothly and have some grease in them? Other than that I'm out of ideas.
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Old 06-16-09, 10:55 AM   #8
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were the threads of the cups greased or was there teflon tape used?

BB faced?
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Old 06-16-09, 11:14 AM   #9
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The threads of the bottom bracket were greased.
Would you recommend using teflon tape instead?

I removed my cranks & BB last night and one side of the frame's bottom bracket shell appears to still have all the paint on it.
AND the crank-spindle was worn-smooth where it contacts the inner bearing surface on the left side.

I've ordered a replacement bottom bracket from Excelsports-Boulder. The previous BB from them worked perfectly for about 2 years until I let my LBS gorilla ruin it. It was ridiculously slick--with the chain & pedals removed, my crank would spin freely for several minutes with a moderate flick.

Thanks for the input. Any other ideas or guidance?
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Old 06-16-09, 11:30 AM   #10
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if the axle is worn uneven and there is paint on the BB sides, then that means no one bothered to face the BB. when using external BB cups it MUST be faced.
any competent mechanic should know this.
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Old 06-16-09, 12:41 PM   #11
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Well, fudge.
I just took the bike, sans crank & BB, to another mechanic at another shop and he said (without looking at it) that it shouldn't need to be faced coming from the factory.
This one told me to take my headset apart and clean & grease all the bearing surfaces. I tried to tell him that the noise is definitely NOT coming from the headset, but he said it carries through the frame.

At least at the end of this, I will have taken my entire bike apart, replaced most of the components myself, and will never again have to rely on these bike shops. Beats me why everyone seems to think we should support LBS's; the ones that aren't too busy to do a decent job in the first place are too busy to even look at it at all.

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Old 06-16-09, 12:49 PM   #12
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Y'know, if they even put a facing tool on the bike you can tell in a big hurry whether it's square or not. Maybe the guy doesn't know how to use one.


Go back and ask him why the headset would need to be re-packed coming from the factory?
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Old 06-16-09, 02:23 PM   #13
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At this point, I've given up on the LBS's and will just learn everything I need to know to take care of this stuff myself, (like I had to do with my motorcycles.)
Hopefully Cyclart will be able to hone my BB shell, otherwise, I'll be shopping online for the darn tool and doing it myself.

Can anyone recommend an excellent bicycle maintenance book? Preferably something Shimano-specific that doesn't read like, "wheels are able to spin freely because each side of the hub contains small metal balls call 'bearings'."
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Old 06-16-09, 09:27 PM   #14
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Get a torque-wrench for the crank-arm bolts. Your symptoms of the creaks getting worse and worse indicate a crank that was installed dry and with insufficient torque. The bolt backs out gradually and the crankarm gets looser and looser, causing creaking to occur with less and less force on the pedals.

What do you mean by ceramic bearings being "killed"???
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Old 06-17-09, 12:17 PM   #15
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By 'killed' I mean damaged by lateral or uneven force somehow.

And thanks for torque suggestion, but that was the FIRST thing I checked when I got my reassembled bike back with the new frame (and it was indeed way off.) I do own a torque wrench, and I meticulously tightened the crankarm bolts in sequence--about a half-turn per bolt at a time until the wrench popped at 14Nm. (The sticker says '12-15Nm.')
I learned that lesson when I first bought the bike from the original LBS and my left crankarm came off while climbing. (BTW, that was four years and more than ten thousand miles of no creaking.)
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Old 06-17-09, 08:32 PM   #16
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Well, ceramic bearings are more wear-resistant than steel bearings, but not as tough in fracture. If you've got loose BB or mis-aligned shell, the bearings would wear faster resulting in ovalized bearings. However, if they're chipped and cracked, that's a fracture issue from impacts.

Been practicing for the Paris-Roubaix race???


As for the creaking, too frequent uses of the facing/chasing tool will result in creaks. Each time you use it, it shaves the threads a little and increases the tolerances between the BB and shell threads. Wrap a couple layers of teflon tape around the BB cups before you install next time. I've had to use as many as 5-layers to tape on some configurations to stop the creaking.

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Old 06-18-09, 02:22 PM   #17
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Thanks for the teflon tip. The creak persists despite:
~carefully cleaning, lightly greasing and meticulously reassembling the chainrings, chainring bolts and crank arms.
~eventually replacing the chainrings, CR bolts & chain
~carefully cleaning the BB and reinstalling (once with grease, then with 1.5-layers of teflon tape (grease was carefully cleaned away prior to installing teflon tape)
~pedaling while standing, while sitting, and while sitting up with no hands on the bars
~disassembling, detailing and lightly greasing all headset components, including bearings and bar stem (LBS #2 was full of cr@p and I'm still bugged that he wouldn't even look at my bike after I drove there with disassembled BB.)
~trying different pedals
~1.5-layers of teflon tape on pedal threads
~carefully following the proper sequence and torque values for the crank arm bolts
~light-duty threadlock on the (old) CR bolts
~no visible cracks or damage to the new frame

I guess tonight I'll try different wheels and then several layers of teflon tape to see if that makes a difference. It seems unlikely, because the left crank arm is VERY close to the BB shell (1/8 of a mm or less), but I'll still give it a try. I've also got a replacement BB on order. Pretty discouraging, but success equals making one attempt more than the sum of your failures.
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Old 06-18-09, 02:29 PM   #18
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What do you think about putting teflon tape on the splined edge of the crank hub (that the left crankarm is mated to)?
If none of the earlier options work, I might give that a try. Also, is there a chance overtightening the left crank bolt cover might cause the creak? I've only been using the supplied plastic tool to get it finger-tight, but that may be more than the 1.5Nm recommended in the Shimano literature.
That makes four more options to try tonight.
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Old 06-18-09, 05:52 PM   #19
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I think when all is said and done you will find that it isn't the BB that's creaking. Have you had someone ride along side you and listen? The rider position sucks for localizing sounds on one's own bike.
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Old 06-18-09, 06:15 PM   #20
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Yeah, after going through all that, it may be the pedals, cleats or shoes that may be creaking. I've even had seatpost that was creaking at the saddle-rail clamps.
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Old 06-19-09, 12:15 PM   #21
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I know this is getting long, but I've already eliminated the shoes, pedals, headset as possible causes.
I'm going to try different wheels and a different seatpost/saddle.

I had someone listen to the squeak while I rode on my rollers and they agreed it seemed to be coming from the BB/cranks on the right side.
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Old 06-19-09, 12:30 PM   #22
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How have you eliminated the pedals? Different pedals? If the pedal hole (you know, where it screws into the crank arm) is elongated, different pedals might also squeak. Try wrapping the pedal threads with Teflon tape.
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Old 06-19-09, 12:40 PM   #23
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I had this problem. I monopedaled with each leg and found it only occurred on the left. Have you tried this? I have a ti frame and just greased and snugged the bb cups. I'm curious how this turns ou t.
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Old 06-19-09, 01:20 PM   #24
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How have you eliminated the pedals? Different pedals? If the pedal hole (you know, where it screws into the crank arm) is elongated, different pedals might also squeak. Try wrapping the pedal threads with Teflon tape.
Yes & yes. Both different (80's Look) pedals, and teflon tape on current DA pedals. Please see seven posts up.

I'll try the one-legged test tonight before trying different wheels, before trying different seatpost/saddle combination before inspecting the frame more closely under a bright light for cracks. (This is a replacement frame Felt provided after the previous one snapped a seatstay back in April.)
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Old 06-20-09, 01:26 PM   #25
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SUCCESSS!! (Bad news first: I'm an idiot. But the good news is the creak is gone!)

~replacement ceramic-bearing bottom bracket: $149.00
~replacement chainrings: $178.90
~replacement chainring bolts: $26.95
~teflon tape: $4.99
~mechanic's stethoscope: $6.99
~Etymotic noise-reducing ear phones (to make riding tolerable): $79.00
~time spent repeatedly removing, meticulously cleaning, greasing, reinstalling parts: >6 hours
~discovering that the source of the creak was an insufficiently-tightened rear skewer: Priceless.

There are some things money can't buy; sadly intelligence is one of them.
I already had the earphones, mech's stethoscope, teflon-tape, and chainrings, but I'm seriously high-fiving my own forehead right now.

I've paid the tuition, hopefully someone else will glean some wisdom from my foolishness. Many thanks for all the suggestions!
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