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Old 07-30-09, 03:59 PM   #1
anm89
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My bb is loud ( and my lbs has "fixed it twice)

I have a high end late 80's road bike I'm fixing up. It has older style bb where its not sealed and you can service the bearings.

I'm trying to sell the bike and I took it to my lbs to have the bearings regreased, a job I would have done myself if I had the tools. They charged me 15 dollars and I got my bike back the next day. The spindle wasn't moving 100% freely and you could hear it making noise when it rotated. I took the bike back and the guy fixed it for me again for free. The spindle now turns fine but it still sounds like there is sand or grime in there still grinding around when you spin it. Is dirt likely the cause of this clicking sound? Am I in the right taking it back a third time and expecting another free bb servicing?
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Old 07-30-09, 11:33 PM   #2
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A complete overhaul of a bottom-bracket with loose bearing in it would likely cost you a lot more than $15.00. Sounds to me like they gave you a "tune-up" which would just infer tinkering with the adjustable-cup, but not opening it up and cleaning and greasing and giving it a full adjustment before re-assembling. Something tells me they didn't understand what you wanted. In my case recently, a LBS took $190 from me up front to "fully overhaul" my hubs and bottom-bracket and headset - which is around the right price. I was waiting for my tools to arrive and wanted it done.

They hadn't even opened these up - guessing I had neither the skill nor tools to ever catch onto their little scam. OOOOOPS!
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Old 07-31-09, 02:00 AM   #3
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I envy people who have a good local bike shop they can trust. Sadly, these places are trying to cope with large overheads nowadays, and there's a temptation to cut corners. Automobiles have got so complex that you can't work on them yourselves, but bikes haven't - at least the kind of bikes I come across. There is a definite move within the industry to change this, with non-serviceable hubs, bottom brackets and so on. This should be resisted. The bicycle is a perfect device, on a human scale. Its workings are totally accessible to anyone of normal intelligence and dexterity, although some people do seem to have an instinctive sympathy with machines while others never develop it. There's no substitute for doing your own work, and plenty of information on the internet and elsewhere to help you. Sheldon's web site alone is a cornucopia of riches. To permit ourselves to be at the mercy of possibly devious people, inspired by profit, is the very antithesis of being an enthusiastic cyclist. The first time you take to the road on a machine you've completely rebuilt yourself, noticing how beautifully everything works, is a moment to treasure.

To address the original question; no, I wouldn't go back there again. Do the research, then buy the tools you need to do the job. Get good ones, because you're making a lifetime investment. Get a big tub of top-quality lithium grease, kerosene, a small paint brush and some of those kitchen paper towel rolls. Check if the bottom bracket is open to the seat tube. Some older ones are, and foreign objects and grit can get in that way. You can buy a concertina sleeve to fit in the BB to take care of this. It's often only necessary to remove the adjustable cup to service the bottom bracket, as the fixed one is sometimes very tight. You should check the fixed cup is tight, though. Be aware that it's probably a left hand thread. Above all, although this is a machine, it works to very close tolerances, and any dirt or contamination can ruin a bearing. Observe absolutely scrupulous cleanliness while you're working,

Last edited by Proofide; 07-31-09 at 02:15 AM.
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Old 07-31-09, 02:32 AM   #4
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No, the clicking sound is generally caused by improper adjustment of the BB (generally too loose causing lateral play in the spindle). I would get the tools, get some decent 1/4" Grade 25 bearings, some FinishLine Teflon Grease, and do it yourself.

All in all, with tools, you might be out 40 bucks, maybe a touch more (depending on markup).

Post a picture of the non-drive side of the BB (the adjustable cup) and we can tell you what tools you will need.

Here would be a basic run down:
Pin Spanner (for a lot of Shimano adjustable cups, you may need a more expensive tool for the rectangle style adjustable cups) . . . 7 dollars or so
Lockring/Spanner wrench . . . 12 dollars
Crank Puller (Park CWP-7) . . . 12 dollars
Grade 25 bearings (25, my shop sells them in this qty, you will only need 22) . . . 5 dollars
Finish Line Teflon Grease (depends on size) . . . 6 dollars
Fixed Cup Wrench (I use my headset wrench, or HCW-4) . . . 14 dollars (may be able to avoid pin spanner wrench with this tool, so save 7 dollars)

It's a fun and gratifying overhaul. If there is serious wear in the BB cups or spindle, not so much fun, and most likely in for a replacement (maybe look at cartridge then just to sell it).
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Old 07-31-09, 03:12 AM   #5
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It's a fun and gratifying overhaul. If there is serious wear in the BB cups or spindle, not so much fun, and most likely in for a replacement (maybe look at cartridge then just to sell it).
Quite so. But if one performs the overhaul yearly, or more often if one rides through floods and fields of muds, the bottom-bracket should last for decades. My Campy Record BB is so treated, and still spins as nice as in 1983 when I first installed her.

If push comes to shove, and one hunts down and buys a good BB, replacing them is quite simple. With the proper tools and knowledge.

But I'm guessing this will not be the case.
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Old 07-31-09, 03:55 AM   #6
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I totally agree with the previous comments with one exception. The OP is trying to sell the bike, so to invest in tools for a bike he is selling seems foolish. I do think it's admirable that the OP is getting the BB overhauled in order to sell it.

I would suggest possibly speaking with the mechanic again, being as nice as you can. Just make sure that you are both on the same page about the service that you wanted. If you still are not satisfied, you could pay another LBS to open it up and see if the other bike shop actually did any regreasing.
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Old 07-31-09, 04:09 AM   #7
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Sorry, that bit didn't sink in when I read the post. I would say, though, that if it sounds like grit rather than bearing play, it may well be just that. If someone hasn't been careful, grit may have become lodged where the spindle passes through the hole in the cups. Especially if it's just been cleaned externally with kerosene, to make it appear to have been serviced, rather than actually opened up. I only mention this in a hypothetical way, of course.
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Old 07-31-09, 06:47 AM   #8
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For $15, I highly doubt it was fully serviced. I paid more than that just to get a pesky bottom bracket removed (no service at all).

Given the overhead involved in a bike shop, I can't see them doing a complete bottom bracket removal and service for less than about $60 to $75.
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Old 07-31-09, 10:11 AM   #9
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I totally agree with the previous comments with one exception. The OP is trying to sell the bike, so to invest in tools for a bike he is selling seems foolish. I do think it's admirable that the OP is getting the BB overhauled in order to sell it.
It will most likely be cheaper than the overhaul, and the OP will have a few things for and after the sale:

1) The tools (which can fetch near retail on CL/ebay, given a solid brand like Park) if the OP wanted to recoup the cost. Or a nice start to a collection of tools which could potentially save the OP thousands over the life of a bike (albeit a slightly older one), maybe even restore an awesome garage sale find. Like Panthers007, and I have the same Cup & Cone, still buttery smooth after 23+ years of wear. Total cost of overhaul, 5-7 bucks depending on the source of Grade 25 bearings.

2) The confidence to be able to maintain a bike, without the crutch of a potentially shifty LBS. I'm not even sure the 4 shops within my 5 mile radius would know how to overhaul a Cup & Cone BB, let alone the difference between Grade 25 and Grade XXX bearings (I'm not even kidding on this, I've asked them for 25's). They would probably throw a cartridge BB in there and sell the perfect condition Cup & Cone on Ebay for 40+, or worse throw the Cup & Cone out.

3) Better knowledge to impress potential buyers with, as in "I checked the cups and spindle on the bottom bracket and repacked with fresh grease and Grade 25 bearings".

This is, after all, the Bicycle Mechanics forum. If the OP took the time to post on here, he is obviously looking for other solutions than just the LBS route.
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Old 07-31-09, 04:42 PM   #10
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To permit ourselves to be at the mercy of possibly devious people, inspired by profit, is the very antithesis of being an enthusiastic cyclist. The first time you take to the road on a machine you've completely rebuilt yourself, noticing how beautifully everything works, is a moment to treasure.
Poetry.
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Old 07-31-09, 04:51 PM   #11
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Idiot LBS took my vintage Mathauser brake-pads off my Modolo Speedy Gold-Promo brakes, told me they were no good, and threw them out. I asked the twit if he had some good work-gloves. He asked me why? I said: "Because YOU are going dumpster-diving until you find them!"

He tried to sell me on some black Dia Compe pads. HA!!
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Old 07-31-09, 05:08 PM   #12
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Dear anm89,

You sound to me like a guy that's reluctant to discuss specifics because he thinks he doesn't know enough to ask good questions or understand the answers. (If that is really true, then you have no right to judge the result either.) Look the mechanic in the eye. Ask him if he replaced the balls, and what condition the races are in. Don't (or shouldn't have) tell him you plan to sell it.

To be fair, the first result - hard turning - could have been from a good re-packing job. The grease might not have settled. The second from loosening the pre-load to make you happy.

You're far better off understanding exactly what was done (and why) than complaining without knowing. And if you don't trust yourself, don't second-guess the mechanic.
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Old 08-03-09, 01:08 AM   #13
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It will most likely be cheaper than the overhaul, and the OP will have a few things for and after the sale:

1) The tools (which can fetch near retail on CL/ebay, given a solid brand like Park) if the OP wanted to recoup the cost. Or a nice start to a collection of tools which could potentially save the OP thousands over the life of a bike (albeit a slightly older one), maybe even restore an awesome garage sale find. Like Panthers007, and I have the same Cup & Cone, still buttery smooth after 23+ years of wear. Total cost of overhaul, 5-7 bucks depending on the source of Grade 25 bearings.

2) The confidence to be able to maintain a bike, without the crutch of a potentially shifty LBS. I'm not even sure the 4 shops within my 5 mile radius would know how to overhaul a Cup & Cone BB, let alone the difference between Grade 25 and Grade XXX bearings (I'm not even kidding on this, I've asked them for 25's). They would probably throw a cartridge BB in there and sell the perfect condition Cup & Cone on Ebay for 40+, or worse throw the Cup & Cone out.

3) Better knowledge to impress potential buyers with, as in "I checked the cups and spindle on the bottom bracket and repacked with fresh grease and Grade 25 bearings".

This is, after all, the Bicycle Mechanics forum. If the OP took the time to post on here, he is obviously looking for other solutions than just the LBS route.
I really couldn't agree more, but that was not how he worded his question. 2 of the 3 bike shops in my area had no idea what I meant when I asked for grade 25 bearings. One of those LBS told me that my Campagnolo cup and cone bottom bracket was old junk that belonged in the trash! Same thing with my "outdated" Reynolds 531 frame... needless to say I don't go there anymore.

OP: Any updates?
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