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  1. #1
    ٩๏̯͡๏)۶ Luke52's Avatar
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    How to: Remove crank arms, and clean your crankset.

    I enjoyed doing my last write-up, so I decided to do another one. Part #2 of Luke52's Backyard Bike Mechanic Tutorials.

    So, if you're like me and aren't afraid to get a bit dirty while riding (Or you just have a habit of not seeing, then misjudging the depth of a puddle....) then there's a fair chance that your bike will get pretty filthy.

    Your crankset is something which just naturally gets dirty. Whether it be by mountain biking in less-than-ideal conditions, or just daily riding, it'll get to a stage where you'll need to give it a good clean. For example, all that gunk which accumulates on your chain will also get deposited on your chainrings. If you're like me and generally only use the one ring, then you'll most certainly see the build-up. So, your best bet is to pull your crankset apart, and give your rings a good clean. This tutorial may also come in handy for those wishing to remove their cranks, or fit a new crankset.

    Tools and materials:



    Allen Keys.
    Appropriate crank extractor tool.
    Spanner to fit the crank tool.
    Cleaning brush of some form.
    Cleaner/solvent of some form. (I chose to use brake cleaner, as it evaporates and doesn't leave as much residue as degreaser. Plus it's a bit easier to work with. I would advise against using this on your frame, as it may damage some paints.)
    A few rags.
    Grease (Not pictured)
    Coffee (Optional).



    Company. (Optional - Human and pet have both their pros and cons.)

    Some cranks have dust covers over the crank bolts (Or in some cases, nuts). If this is the case, remove the dust cap. Next up, get the correctly sized allen key or socket, and remove the crank bolt/nut. There's a chance that it may be pretty tight. The next step is optional. Position yourself to get maximum leverage on your allen key, and reef down on it. When it finally lets go, fall forward and smash knees on concrete. Swear. Drink some coffee. Move on to next step. Pro of having a pet as company - They won't laugh at you.

    Take note of any spacers or washers, and place them aside.



    Next up, wind the shaft of your crank tool out, and thread the extractor into the threads of the crank. Be VERY careful not to cross-thread it.



    Grab your spanner, and tighten the crank tool into the crank. It is important that you do this, as the tool needs to be well engaged into the threads to work properly, and prevent stripping the threads.



    Now wind the shaft of your crank tool in as far as it will go with your fingers. When it stops turning, get the appropriate tool, and continue winding the shaft in. Different extractors use different tools. The one pictured takes a 5/8" spanner (Well, actually a 15 or 16mm, but I don't have either of those. 5/8" was close enough) to wind it in, but my other crank tool takes a 6mm allen key.



    It may take a bit of grunt, but keep turning and your crank will pop off eventually. You can rest the chain on the BB spindle, leave it hanging, or if you have a quick-link, remove it for cleaning, or use it as a necklace or something. Drink coffee.

    Con of having a pet as company - They won't talk to you while you're having a quick coffee break.



    The process is pretty much the same for the non-drive side, except for one step. You need not smash your knees on the concrete again, as hopefully you've learned from your first time.

    At this stage, I'd advise taking a good look at your chainrings, to see how they are positioned. It's a good idea to take a photo, so you can be sure they're on the right way when you put them back together. It helped me double-check!



    Next up, grab your 5mm allen key, and undo the bolts holding your small chainring to the spider.



    Place these bolts aside.

    Now undo the bolts holding the middle and big ring to the spider. These are a two-part bolt, with one part threading into the other. There is a special tool which you can get to hold the back of the bolt still while you loosen/tighten the front, but I've never had an issue. If needed, I just press my finger on the bolt to hold it still, or use a screwdriver in the slots. Drink coffee.

    Last edited by Luke52; 04-30-10 at 04:17 AM.

  2. #2
    ٩๏̯͡๏)۶ Luke52's Avatar
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    At this stage, you can feel somewhat rejected and unloved as your company decides to leave and go do more exciting things, like lie in his kennel and lick himself. This is where a human companion may come in handy. He or she would feel rude to leave in such a manner, and if you're working on their bike, they literally can't leave.
    Place your rings on a rag, and give them a brush with your cleaning brush. If your rings are as filthy as mine, this helps to scrape
    off any loose mud.



    After this, grab another rag and your cleaner of choice, and give your rings a really good clean and wipe.





    Drink coffee. Coffee is now cold. Finish it anyway.

    Now reassemble your crankset. Surprisingly enough, it's pretty much the opposite of taking it apart. Put the large and middle rings on, making sure they're facing the right way, and bolt them on. The chainring bolts do need to be fairly tight to stop them falling off, but be careful not to reef down on them with gorilla-like force, as they may strip. Bolt your small ring back on.

    Next up, fit the cranks. Be sure to fit them correctly, that is directly opposite. If you removed both cranks, fit either side first, and let it hang down at the 6 o'clock position. I'm hoping this should be fairly obvious, but I have heard stories of people getting it wrong...As one crank is fitted at the 6 o'clock position, the other side needs to be fitted at 12 o'clock.

    Also make sure that the BB spindle and the crank arm are clean, and free of any grit, and lightly grease it.

    Push your cranks on to the BB spindle. Get your crank bolts, wipe off any old grease, and apply some fresh stuff.



    Thread the bolts in, and tighten. This will push your crank arm snuggly on to the spindle. You could refer to manufacturer's specifications on torque settings for the bolts, but I generally just tend to do them up pretty firmly.

    Spin your cranks without the chain fitted, and make sure they spin smoothly. Fit ze chain. Spin again, making sure everything is in order.

    Stand back and admire your handy-work.



    If you're like me, and gave your frame a REALLY good clean around the BB area to get rid of all the mud, and basically left over half of your favourite trail on your garage/workshop floor, I recommend sweeping the area. This will keep your parents/girlfriend/boyfriend/housemate/partner/significant superiors happy.

    Once again, I'm new to this whole tutorial-writing stuff, so please, comments and constructive criticism are most welcome!
    Happy tinkerin'.

    Luke.

  3. #3
    thompsonpost
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    I would suggest cleaning as much of the area on the bike as possible before you start. It will allow all of your tools to fit and work better through the whole process. I've been wrenching all of my bikes over the past 40+ years and I always clean as much as possible before any tools touch the bike. This will aid the correct and tight contact between all surfaces and tools.

    Good overall job on your explanations and details. Good job.

  4. #4
    RT
    RT is offline
    The Weird Beard RT's Avatar
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    +1 on the coffee. I have finally acquired the proper tools to do this, and your writeup inspires me to get it done. Thanks for the good timing, the coffee love and the instructions.

  5. #5
    rebmeM roineS JanMM's Avatar
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    Admit it - you're just goint to go out and get it nasty dirty again, aren't you?
    RANS V3 (steel), RANS V-Rex, RANS Screamer

  6. #6
    thompsonpost
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    One can only hope so.

  7. #7
    ٩๏̯͡๏)۶ Luke52's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by thompsonpost View Post
    I would suggest cleaning as much of the area on the bike as possible before you start. It will allow all of your tools to fit and work better through the whole process. I've been wrenching all of my bikes over the past 40+ years and I always clean as much as possible before any tools touch the bike. This will aid the correct and tight contact between all surfaces and tools.

    Good overall job on your explanations and details. Good job.
    Thanks for the advice.

    You're correct, I shall keep that in mind for next time. Although the extra filth does add to the effect

    Quote Originally Posted by JanMM View Post
    Admit it - you're just goint to go out and get it nasty dirty again, aren't you?
    Of course, that's what an MTB is for!

  8. #8
    thompsonpost
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    A good example is www.biketutor.com He always works on clean bikes, as do I. But I love to dirty them up, believe that.

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