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:
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)
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.