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  1. #1
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    my crank needs lubrication

    Do I use grease or lube?

    I'm not fond of the idea of taking the crank apart (and hoping to be able to put it back in together)... Is there any liquid grease (from any auto parts stores) I can just squirt into it to make this work?

    Any ideas?
    -- Ron
    1. 2008 Giant FCR3 [hybrid; main bike]
    2. Schwinn World Sport 4130 [mixte road bike; red]
    3. year ?? Specialized RockHopper Comp (18-spd mtn bike; all Shimano Deore parts)

  2. #2
    Great State of Varmint Panthers007's Avatar
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    We need to know what sort of crank you have. Though I can tell you that you can't just 'squirt' some grease inside. Photos will help greatly.
    Quote Originally Posted by Cateye View Post
    Only panthers007 is stupid enough to believe that this is a good idea.

  3. #3
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    ...and so begins the first great "grease versus lube" debate of 2010

    EDIT: i just thought about this for a minuite. regardless of the total lack of information in the OP's post, the answer is obviously grease. Portions of this post wherein I am a huge dick and give tons of sarcastic misinformation deleted.
    Last edited by kludgefudge; 01-13-10 at 12:00 AM. Reason: being a dick.

  4. #4
    Senior Member BCRider's Avatar
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    I suppose given the apparent lack of knowledge about what is inside your "cranks" that the obvious question is what is it doing that makes you think it needs greasing?

    Sorry but your question is disconnected in so many ways that it's somewhat obvious that you don't know what the arrangement is of the bearings and the fact that there are many different styles of bottom brackets and crank systems and they all have slightly different needs.

    You can fill yourself in by visiting the Park Tools repair website at http://www.parktool.com/repair/ and hover your mouse over the cranks and then click to learn more about the different bottom bracket styles and how to service them. And regardless of which you have they ALL require at least some disassembly to service them. And if it is one of the sealed cartridge style bottom bracket then you don't service them. You replace them.

    PS: when you said "grease or lube" I gather you meant to say "grease or oil" since "lube" is any form of oil, grease, wax, powder or other lubricant that makes things slippery. It's not a "product" on it's own.
    Model airplanes are cool too!.....

  5. #5
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    What indicates your bb needs to be lubricated? Are you aware that most newer bb are sealed and can't be lubricated?

  6. #6
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    hey guys. You can tell I don't know much about repairing/maintaining bikes.

    My bike is the #2 bike listed in my signature. The Schwinn World Sport (4130 I think?)

    Pedaling this bike used to be fairly quiet but after 1800+ miles on it, I believe there is a slight noise coming from the crank area, so I figure it probably needs lubrication of some sort.
    -- Ron
    1. 2008 Giant FCR3 [hybrid; main bike]
    2. Schwinn World Sport 4130 [mixte road bike; red]
    3. year ?? Specialized RockHopper Comp (18-spd mtn bike; all Shimano Deore parts)

  7. #7
    Senior Member Steev's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ablang View Post
    hey guys. You can tell I don't know much about repairing/maintaining bikes.

    My bike is the #2 bike listed in my signature. The Schwinn World Sport (4130 I think?)

    Pedaling this bike used to be fairly quiet but after 1800+ miles on it, I believe there is a slight noise coming from the crank area, so I figure it probably needs lubrication of some sort.
    Start by lubing the chain. Should have been done a few times by now.

  8. #8
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    Sounds like you might mean the bottom bracket - in which case try this http://bicycletutor.com/bottom-bracket/

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steev View Post
    Start by lubing the chain. Should have been done a few times by now.
    I've done that. I'm pretty sure thats not it.
    -- Ron
    1. 2008 Giant FCR3 [hybrid; main bike]
    2. Schwinn World Sport 4130 [mixte road bike; red]
    3. year ?? Specialized RockHopper Comp (18-spd mtn bike; all Shimano Deore parts)

  10. #10
    Senior Member bigvegan's Avatar
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    You probably need a new bottom bracket. They're about $15-$25 + Installation.

    If you've got the right tools (crank removal tool / bottom bracket tool), this is completely straightforward and takes about half an hour.

  11. #11
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    If its not a really nice bike, and if you have a hollow seat post, just squirt oil down the seat post until the oil runs out the bottom bracket, ride for a few days and repeat until the oil runs clear. Then, a little oil a couple of times a year and never worry about taking it apart.
    Il faut de l'audace, encore de l'audace, toujours de l'audace

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  12. #12
    Senior Member BCRider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by San Rensho View Post
    If its not a really nice bike, and if you have a hollow seat post, just squirt oil down the seat post until the oil runs out the bottom bracket, ride for a few days and repeat until the oil runs clear. Then, a little oil a couple of times a year and never worry about taking it apart.
    OK, I'm going to sound like Operator here and say that this is positively the worst suggestion I've read on this forum EVAR! There's simply no guarantee that the oil would actually reach the bearings without it running out the likely drain hole in the BB shell. And if it turns out to be a sealed cartridge BB then the oil wouldn't even see the bearings. And even if there is no drain hole or he pours it in quickly enough it would take the better part of a quart of oil to fill the BB shell AND the lower portion of the downtube AND the chain stays before it actuall reaches the bearings. I have yet to see a frame where at least the downtube is not joined into the BB shell with openings to allow the air pressure to equalize during welding. And pretty much all lugged bikes have openings into the chain stay as well. At the very least this will create quite the oil puddle and at worse it won't achieve anything.

    Ablang, if your hearing crusty grinding noises coming from the bottom bracket then it's time to either have the BB serviced correctly or replace it with a new sealed cartridge BB. If it's one of the cup and cone separate bits BB's then it MAY be servicable. But if it's noisy then it's more likely that it's gotten rusty and pitted in which case it requires replacement. Since I gather you don't have the various specialized tools to do the swap you'll find it's cheaper to take it to a shop and have them replace the BB. If you want to learn and build up your tools then visit the Park Tools site and go to the Repair Help page. Then click on the crank area of the bicycle they have there when the label pops up. The page it takes you to will fully describe what tools you need and how to do the job.
    Model airplanes are cool too!.....

  13. #13
    Elitist Troglodyte DMF's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ablang View Post
    Pedaling this bike used to be fairly quiet but after 1800+ miles on it, I believe there is a slight noise coming from the crank area, so I figure it probably needs lubrication of some sort.
    "a slight noise"

    You think you could exert yourself enough to describe the noise?
    Stupidity got us into this mess - why can't it get us out?

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  14. #14
    Senior Member tjspiel's Avatar
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    You guys are a tough crowd.

    Ablang your World Sport is an older bike I'm assuming. It may or may not have a cartridge bottom bracket. If it does, then you replace the whole cartridge. If not, then it's either got loose ball bearings or ball bearings in some sort of retainer. Either way, they should be replaced with new ones. You'll also need to clean and re-grease.

    Doing this requires that you remove the cranks (needs a special tool) and disassemble/remove the bottom bracket itself. There are also special tools used for removing bottom brackets and the tool(s) you need depend on the type of bottom bracket you have. The Park Tool site that somebody else recommended is a great resource as well as Sheldon Brown's site.

    The easiest thing to do of course is to bring it to a bike shop. There are bike co-ops that will allow you to work on your bike and use their tools for a fee if you want to do it on your own without buying the necessary tools. Many of them also hold classes on bike maintenance.

    Personally I think it's better to have had experience repacking the hubs on your wheels before tackling a non-cartridge bottom bracket. It's not like it's terribly difficult if you're mechanically inclined but ball bearings spilling out of your bike can be a bit disconcerting.

    Good Luck.
    Last edited by tjspiel; 01-13-10 at 05:24 PM.

  15. #15
    DRF aka Thrifty Bill wrk101's Avatar
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    The 4130 World Sport was a good bike, it did not have a cartridge bottom bracket, just the basic spindle/cup style which was common back then in all price ranges.

    +1 Time for a basic bearing and grease replacement for the bottom bracket, and a good time to do the front and rear hubs as well. This is a simple job, lots of help on line, or take it to your favorite shop. This is good basic, somewhat routine (every couple of years) maintenance. And something that on older bikes in my experience hasn't been done in decades (if you bought the bike used).

    +1 Bottom bracket and even hubs require some special tools, nothing huge, but something I would not do with just common homeowner type tools.

    +1 Co-ops are great if there is one in your area.

    +10 Forget about that pour oil down the seat tube idea. You need to clean (or even better, replace) the old bearings, new grease, adjust and go.

    Eventually, if not maintained, you can do damage to the cups and cones (areas where the bearings ride), and that will cost you a lot more. Those parts, if maintained can last decades.
    Last edited by wrk101; 01-13-10 at 06:11 PM.

  16. #16
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    It could also be your pedal bearings, and not the BB at all. pretty hard to tell while riding, and often these annoying clicks (or whatever sound it it) disappear when the components are not under load.

  17. #17
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    The silly oil-down-the-seatpost idea wouldn't work anyway because the cups on a world sport and other bikes had a little plastic accordion between them. My '85 World Sport also had seals around the crank spindle. You basically have to disassemble it to get in there.

    To remove the parts and inspect, you would need a crank puller as well as bottom bracket tools.

    A question like this should be solved at parktool.com, sheldonbrown.com, or the local library. They will show the procedure with pictures.
    Last edited by garage sale GT; 01-13-10 at 08:02 PM.

  18. #18
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    I think you have a lot more investigating to do before you can say with certainty that it's the bottom bracket. Skewers, hubs, pedals, cleats, loose cabling even. Hell I had a squeak that I could not figure out where it was, it happened every time at the same position of the pedal stroke under load. Turned out to be the headset bearings being completely trashed. Made no goddamn sense, but when they were replaced, squeak went away.

  19. #19
    Senior Member tjspiel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by deep_sky View Post
    I think you have a lot more investigating to do before you can say with certainty that it's the bottom bracket. Skewers, hubs, pedals, cleats, loose cabling even. Hell I had a squeak that I could not figure out where it was, it happened every time at the same position of the pedal stroke under load. Turned out to be the headset bearings being completely trashed. Made no goddamn sense, but when they were replaced, squeak went away.
    This is true. It could be something else. Noises are hard to pin down. Do your best to eliminate the other possibilities but if you've had this bike for awhile and ride it with much frequency, the BB probably needs service anyway.

  20. #20
    DRF aka Thrifty Bill wrk101's Avatar
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    I am not saying it is the bottom bracket.

    +1 Good time to do the routine maintenance most bikes never get.

    +1 Pedals can be another source.

  21. #21
    Great State of Varmint Panthers007's Avatar
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    +2 - The little plastic accordion, at this age, is likely to be as intact as Walt Disney's mental faculties. Nonetheless - you DON'T squirt oil down the seat-tube to grease the bearings!

    Now excuse me...I'm laughing in convulsions! No! No! No!.....
    Quote Originally Posted by Cateye View Post
    Only panthers007 is stupid enough to believe that this is a good idea.

  22. #22
    Senior Member Grand Bois's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=BCRider;10265779]OK, I'm going to sound like Operator here and say that this is positively the worst suggestion I've read on this forum EVAR! There's simply no guarantee that the oil would actually reach the bearings without it running out the likely drain hole in the BB shell. And if it turns out to be a sealed cartridge BB then the oil wouldn't even see the bearings. And even if there is no drain hole or he pours it in quickly enough it would take the better part of a quart of oil to fill the BB shell AND the lower portion of the downtube AND the chain stays before it actuall reaches the bearings. I have yet to see a frame where at least the downtube is not joined into the BB shell with openings to allow the air pressure to equalize during welding. And pretty much all lugged bikes have openings into the chain stay as well. At the very least this will create quite the oil puddle and at worse it won't achieve anything.[QUOTE]

    But you're completely wrong. It's the way that bottom brackets were lubricated for decades. There are still lots of bikes on the road with oil fittings on the top of the Bb shell. My '59 Carlton has one. Some bikes required that you pour oil down the seat tube.

    I have no idea what this is supposed to mean:
    "I have yet to see a frame where at least the downtube is not joined into the BB shell with openings to allow the air pressure to equalize during welding."

    It originally had a metal oil cap like on a Sturmey Archer hub. I stuck a zerk in it just to fill the hole. It's just for looks, since it has a modern cartidge BB in it now.

    Last edited by Grand Bois; 01-13-10 at 09:35 PM.

  23. #23
    Great State of Varmint Panthers007's Avatar
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    Yup. That sure do look like a Schwinn ta' me! ^^^
    Quote Originally Posted by Cateye View Post
    Only panthers007 is stupid enough to believe that this is a good idea.

  24. #24
    Senior Member tjspiel's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=Grand Bois;10267133][QUOTE=BCRider;10265779]OK, I'm going to sound like Operator here and say that this is positively the worst suggestion I've read on this forum EVAR! There's simply no guarantee that the oil would actually reach the bearings without it running out the likely drain hole in the BB shell. And if it turns out to be a sealed cartridge BB then the oil wouldn't even see the bearings. And even if there is no drain hole or he pours it in quickly enough it would take the better part of a quart of oil to fill the BB shell AND the lower portion of the downtube AND the chain stays before it actuall reaches the bearings. I have yet to see a frame where at least the downtube is not joined into the BB shell with openings to allow the air pressure to equalize during welding. And pretty much all lugged bikes have openings into the chain stay as well. At the very least this will create quite the oil puddle and at worse it won't achieve anything.

    But you're completely wrong. It's the way that bottom brackets were lubricated for decades. There are still lots of bikes on the road with oil fittings on the top of the Bb shell. My '59 Carlton has one. Some bikes required that you pour oil down the seat tube.

    I have no idea what this is supposed to mean:
    "I have yet to see a frame where at least the downtube is not joined into the BB shell with openings to allow the air pressure to equalize during welding."

    It originally had a metal oil cap like on a Sturmey Archer hub. I stuck a zerk in it just to fill the hole. It's just for looks, since it has a modern cartidge BB in it now.

    My thought is that since there are openings from the BB to the chain stays and often holes in the chain stays, that the poster felt that most of the oil would run out before it could adequately lubricate the bearings (assuming it could reach them at all). I'm not sure I agree with that point exactly but I don't think pouring oil down the seat tube would work with this bike anyway.

  25. #25
    Great State of Varmint Panthers007's Avatar
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    Oiling BB bearings and hub-bearings was a traditional method for older track-bike. The oil would be drained and more put in after each sprint. Today they are an anachronism - ports for such can be maintained. But unless you're only riding to your mailbox - GREASE IS THE WORD...

    And that requires opening the BB. Or installing a new cartridge BB.
    Quote Originally Posted by Cateye View Post
    Only panthers007 is stupid enough to believe that this is a good idea.

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