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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 06-16-09, 02:35 PM   #1
Oldpeddaller
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HELP PLEASE !!! Bottom bracket cup is stuck, tried all the usual methods I could ....

Can anyone help?

I'm in a real mess with the steel fixed BB cup on an alloy Raleigh Pioneer hybrid bike frame. Just got the bike for free and the BB had a lot of play. I removed all but the fixed cup, which wouldn't shift and put new bearings, spindle & adjustable cups (3 sets in all) on, but still no luck - therefore the fixed cup must be nadgered?

he adjustable cup was a swine to remove as well - that took a wrench and hammer - the cups obviously weren't greased on assembly and seem never to have been lubed or adjusted - the drive side bearing was in bits inside the BB shell so I reckon the spindle was running on the drive side cup.

Tried every spanner I could find, using penetrating oill - no movement. Hit the correct Park spanner with a hammer (sacrilege!) - no joy. I tried Sheldon's nut, bolt & washer method - the whole lot just turned slowly with the cup still jammed. Tried a dremel with a metal cutting wheel to make slots - boy those cups are made of tough metal, wore out seven discs to make a shallow groove.

I don't want to apply a blow torch because I want to keep the paint on the frame.

In desperation I then went absolutely mad and took a 6" angle grinder to the thing, making six cuts across the cup (careful not to cut into the frame). My idea was to knock a section of cup out and ten peel out the rest - no dice. I've ended up using these slots to get a purchase with a cold chisel and slug it with a big hammer in a clockwise direction when I look at the cup with the frame upside down.

It's turning a little now and slowly, but I want to be sure I'm going in the right direction before going any further. Firstly can you confirm the direction of rotation for removal - I'm beginning to doubt myself now. Also, having practically destroyed the cup, any better ideas of removing the mess that's left at this stage without damaging the frame?

By the way - I don't recommend an angle grinder for bicycle work - a spark flew into a bunch of steel wool on my shelf and the whole bundle caught fire! Serious flames, luckily I was able to grab hold of the rest of the steel wool bale and throw the whole lot outside to hose it off.

Any help or advice would be gratefully received, before I resort to gun powder!!!
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Old 06-16-09, 02:44 PM   #2
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English threads loosen clockwise. Hopefully the thing was actually stuck and not being forced in the wrong direction :|
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Old 06-16-09, 04:08 PM   #3
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Correct, just the fixed cups on English thread BBs are left threaded, meaning they unscrew in a clockwise direction when looking at the cup from the outside. So you are going the right way.

When I get to this point (normally my "Sheldon" tool works if I use a long enough breaker bar), I just trudge down to the best LBS I know. They have even better tricks - usually just a way to apply more leverage with a Sheldon-like tool.
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Old 06-16-09, 06:29 PM   #4
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My favourite method ... especially for fixed cups with outside flats to grab with a tool ... is to grip the cup in a solidly mounted bench vise and turn the frame to unscrew the cup.

Good luck!
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Old 06-17-09, 04:39 AM   #5
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You could try a heat gun on the BB shell while putting pressure on the cup with the CORRECT size wrench.
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Old 06-17-09, 04:55 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by LarDasse74 View Post
My favourite method ... especially for fixed cups with outside flats to grab with a tool ... is to grip the cup in a solidly mounted bench vise and turn the frame to unscrew the cup.
This is the best way by far. I've used it many times over many years.
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Old 06-17-09, 05:58 AM   #7
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Ive had trouble with a few alloy framed Raleighs when I worked at a bike shop. But they had a proper BB removal tool. Which had a big T handle on it. Still had to use a lot of force on it.

One Alloy Raleigh that a man got second hand had worn through its fixed BB cup. I tried to remove it but there was no way.

You probably need the threads retapped to clean them up
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Old 06-17-09, 06:38 AM   #8
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You will need a socket on the inside as well to really tighten down the Sheldon Tool, that and a really long breaker bar. If not, bench vises can do amazing things. Perhaps given the grooves you have cut in it you can put a steel plate through the grooves, grab it with a bench vise, then twist the frame? If none of these work you might just have to visit the shop.
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Old 06-17-09, 08:35 AM   #9
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If the cup is expendable, you can weld a steel bar to it to use as a lever.
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Old 06-17-09, 12:00 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by LarDasse74 View Post
My favourite method ... is to grip the cup in a solidly mounted bench vise and turn the frame to unscrew the cup....
Learned this trick years ago when I worked at an LBS. My son and I just did this on an old Trek, never failed me yet
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Old 06-17-09, 02:12 PM   #11
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Thanks everyone!

I neglected to mention that I'd already tried the "bench vice and turn the frame" method, which has always worked for me before. This cup was so tight it sprung the frame out of the vice!

GOOD NEWS IS - I've finally shifted it. With your reassurance re: clockwise thread (I really did begin to doubt my own knowledge, even though I must have removed and refitted hundreds of BB's over the years), I persevered with my big hammer & chisel when I got home tonight and yhe cup started to creep, then turn. When it was out a thread or two I put a pair of Stilsons on it (sorry, I can't remember the US name for this tool - I know it's something different) and got it out. I cleaned and greased the threads well with copper grease and fitted the new BB - it turns as smooth as butter now with no hint of play, so atleast my diagnosis was right.

I reassembled the bike - and discovered there is a broken spoke on the drive side of the rear wheel! Going to have to remove the freewheel to take it out, measure it and find an LBS that stocks spokes, not just wheelsets. The spares I have in stock all seem to be too short. Never mind, I do like working on bikes!

Thanks again for all your help.
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Old 06-17-09, 02:20 PM   #12
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"pair of Stilsons" = big-assed pipe wrench. Stilson company forged a lot of them and the name is prominent on the bigger sizes. I picked up the term from old folks and still refer to a big pipe wrench as a Stilson though I - and they - never set foot on Blighty. ("pair" probably refers to the two jaws that usually seem to live independent lives)


I'd like to see a pic of the remnants of that BB.
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Old 06-17-09, 02:21 PM   #13
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Pipe wrench = Stillson wrench, it's like we speak different languages sometimes
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Old 06-23-09, 12:13 PM   #14
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"pair of Stilsons" = big-assed pipe wrench. Stilson company forged a lot of them and the name is prominent on the bigger sizes. I picked up the term from old folks and still refer to a big pipe wrench as a Stilson though I - and they - never set foot on Blighty. ("pair" probably refers to the two jaws that usually seem to live independent lives)


I'd like to see a pic of the remnants of that BB.
No problem, here it is - together with the Big A**ed Pipe Wrench (Stilsons)! The angle grinder might have been an extreme approach but it did make deep enough cuts to hold the tip of a cold chisel.....
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Old 06-23-09, 01:06 PM   #15
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Why did you need to remove it anyway?
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Old 06-23-09, 04:40 PM   #16
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Why did you need to remove it anyway?
He told us that. Read again.
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Old 06-23-09, 09:51 PM   #17
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Oh right. Nadgered. Not a word I'm accustomed to.
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Old 06-23-09, 10:44 PM   #18
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Love this stuff, even just reading about it.
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