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  1. #1
    Medicinal Cyclist Daytrip's Avatar
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    Teflon Tape vs. Grease on Threads

    Just wondering if one is better than the other.
    Let your freak flag fly.

  2. #2
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    The only place where teflon tape may have some value is on BB cup threads. If the fit is poor, it can act as a gap filler and might help prevent creaks. It would be used in addition to grease, not in place of it. Grease prevents corrosion and provides lubrication. I've never had a need for teflon tape on over a dozen frames I've owned in the last 25 years, including one Ti frame.

    Teflon tape proper use is on threaded pipe joints as an alternate to a gooey and messy thread sealing compound that enhances sealing and prevents leaks.

  3. #3
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    Teflon tape is a plumbing product , pipe thread is tapered, whole different interface,
    than a machine screw thread.

  4. #4
    Medicinal Cyclist Daytrip's Avatar
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    I've used a lot of it doing plumbing/heating work, but never tried it on a bike. The reason I asked is that people suggest using it for valve extenders, so I got to wondering if it had a broader application.
    Let your freak flag fly.

  5. #5
    Senior Member ColonelJLloyd's Avatar
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    I normally use grease on the tapers, but the last couple of bikes I've restored I've put some Teflon tape on the spindle. I haven't noticed a difference. The right amount of torque on the crank bolts is the important part.

    *Edit* - I just re-read the OP and saw you were asking about threads. If it's threaded I grease it. That's how I roll. Grease never hurt nothin'.

  6. #6
    Senior Member DannoXYZ's Avatar
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    I use it on large threads that needs gap-filling and corrosion-prevention. Things like BB cups and pedals. On pretty much all other bolts & nuts, I'll use a thread-locking compound of some sort depending upon the retention needed.

  7. #7
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    I go with grease.

  8. #8
    Senior Member SactoDoug's Avatar
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    You should not use either one. Grease is a lubricant. It does not belong on any threaded surface that does not normally move. Teflon tape is used to seal threads to prevent air or a fluid from leaking through.

    If you want to prevent a nut or bolt from rusting or seizing, use anti-seize.

    If you want to prevent a nut or bolt from coming loose, use loctite: blue if you plan to take it back off in the near future; red if you don't ever plan on taking it off again.

  9. #9
    Senior Member ColonelJLloyd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SactoDoug View Post
    You should not use either one. Grease is a lubricant. It does not belong on any threaded surface that does not normally move.
    Is this a troll post?

    I disagree. I'll bet 9 of 10 bike mechanics will also.

    You don't put grease on your quill stems? Seatposts? Seatpost binder bolts? Freewheel hub threads? Pedal threads? BB cups? HS cups and races? Crazy talk, man. Crazy talk.

  10. #10
    Senior Member SactoDoug's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ColonelJLloyd View Post
    Is this a troll post?

    I disagree. I'll bet 9 of 10 bike mechanics will also.

    You don't put grease on your quill stems? Seatposts? Seatpost binder bolts? Freewheel hub threads? Pedal threads? BB cups? HS cups and races? Crazy talk, man. Crazy talk.

    quill stems? Anti-Seize
    Seatposts? Anti-Seize
    Seatpost binder bolts? Anti-Seize
    Freewheel hub threads? Loctite Blue
    Pedal threads? Loctite Blue
    BB cups? Grease. It is a bearing cup.
    HS cups and races? Grease. They are bearing surfaces.

    Crazy talk, man. Crazy talk. Grease is generally not supposed to be used as anti-corrosion/anti-seize protection. There are specialized products for that. Using grease on everything is the equivolent of using WD-40 on every part of your bicycle. While it might work, it is not ideal.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by SactoDoug View Post
    Freewheel hub threads? Loctite Blue
    ]
    Really? I would have thought anti-sieze would be better, as there's no force trying to loosen a freewheel (and in fact a massive force trying to screw it on tighter), the only issue is preventing it from corroding on. Ditto the pedal threads.

    [Edit]
    And as for BB cups, I think the poster is talking about on the threads, not the bearing surfaces. Only a complete whackjob would put loctite on the bearing surfaces...

    [Further Edit]

    The grease on the threads in seatpost binders acts as a lubricant. It reduces the amount of tightening force on the bolt to get a given amount of tension in it, by reducing the thread friction. Less friction on the threads means less work to be done against that friction, so less force required to turn the bolt by the amount required to get it to the correct tension.
    Last edited by Airburst; 11-17-10 at 04:02 PM.

  12. #12
    Senior Member SactoDoug's Avatar
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    Loctite resists tightening forces just as much as loosening. It will make things a little easier to remove later.

  13. #13
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    Surely the forces involved in pedaling a low gear up a hill would be enough to overcome the loctite? I mean, it's strong, but it can't be THAT strong, as it's possible to overcome it when removing the freewheel.

  14. #14
    Senior Member SactoDoug's Avatar
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    What happens is that loctite dries in the threads. Yes, the initial "glue" action will be broken. But what happens after that is that the freewheel will only be able to tighten so far because the dired loctite will only compress so far. Quickly it will stop tightening because the loctite won't allow the freewheel to compress it anymore.

    Grease is different. What ultimately stops a nut on a bolt from turning? It is friction. Grease reduces that friction. It allows you to put more stress on a threaded piece than you normally could. It actually makes it easier for the freewheel to tighten more and more because it is literally lubricating the threads. You can tighten down a greased up nut onto a bolt and deform the bolt a lot more than you could if you used no lubricant or loctite. Since grease is semi-liquid, it does not resist compression at all. It just squirts out between the threads.

    You can test this with a torque wrench. Get two small nuts and bolts. On one put loctite. On the other put grease. Attach them to a solid plate in a vice or something equivolent. Give the loctite 2 hours to dry. Then apply torque. It will take less torque to break the greased up bolt than the loctited one.

  15. #15
    Senior Member Mr. Embrey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Daytrip View Post
    ...The reason I asked is that people suggest using it for valve extenders....
    I don't think my bike has any of those.

  16. #16
    aka Tom Reingold noglider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SactoDoug View Post
    It will take less torque to break the greased up bolt than the loctited one.
    Yes, it's easier to take it off, but that doesn't mean it will come off of its own accord too easily.

    Tom
    Please email me rather than sending me a private message. My address is noglider@pobox.com

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    noglider's ride blog

  17. #17
    AEO
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    Quote Originally Posted by SactoDoug View Post
    What happens is that loctite dries in the threads. Yes, the initial "glue" action will be broken. But what happens after that is that the freewheel will only be able to tighten so far because the dired loctite will only compress so far. Quickly it will stop tightening because the loctite won't allow the freewheel to compress it anymore.

    Grease is different. What ultimately stops a nut on a bolt from turning? It is friction. Grease reduces that friction. It allows you to put more stress on a threaded piece than you normally could. It actually makes it easier for the freewheel to tighten more and more because it is literally lubricating the threads. You can tighten down a greased up nut onto a bolt and deform the bolt a lot more than you could if you used no lubricant or loctite. Since grease is semi-liquid, it does not resist compression at all. It just squirts out between the threads.

    You can test this with a torque wrench. Get two small nuts and bolts. On one put loctite. On the other put grease. Attach them to a solid plate in a vice or something equivolent. Give the loctite 2 hours to dry. Then apply torque. It will take less torque to break the greased up bolt than the loctited one.
    give it a decade and the grease wins.
    Food for thought: if you aren't dead by 2050, you and your entire family will be within a few years from starvation. Now that is a cruel gift to leave for your offspring. ;)
    http://sanfrancisco.ibtimes.com/arti...ger-photos.htm

  18. #18
    Senior Member due ruote's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SactoDoug View Post
    quill stems? Anti-Seize
    Seatposts? Anti-Seize
    Seatpost binder bolts? Anti-Seize
    Freewheel hub threads? Loctite Blue
    Pedal threads? Loctite Blue

    I'm not interested in getting into a big debate over this, but I've never heard anyone give these recommendations before, and I've heard a lot of credible mechanics suggest grease. That's good enough for me. Also I've had very good luck with grease for several decades.

    As for teflon tape, I do use it for the plastic non-drive side BB retainer on cartridge bottom brackets. I believe the Park site says that grease can break down the plastic over time.

  19. #19
    AEO
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    Quote Originally Posted by Daytrip View Post
    I've used a lot of it doing plumbing/heating work, but never tried it on a bike. The reason I asked is that people suggest using it for valve extenders, so I got to wondering if it had a broader application.
    I've recommended teflon tape on the presta threads for use with the nut that's not needed to keep it from rattling.
    I guess you can use teflon tape for valve extenders.

    the presta threading on valves are very loose and mate up poorly with the nuts, that's why I recommended teflon tape there, since it doesn't leave a a greasy mess that can end up on the brake tracks.
    Food for thought: if you aren't dead by 2050, you and your entire family will be within a few years from starvation. Now that is a cruel gift to leave for your offspring. ;)
    http://sanfrancisco.ibtimes.com/arti...ger-photos.htm

  20. #20
    Medicinal Cyclist Daytrip's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Embrey View Post
    I don't think my bike has any of those.
    They're for when you have deep-dish rims and short (like 32mm) valve stems. Best bet is to get tubes with longer valve stems, but the alternative is to buy valve extenders which screw onto the valve stem, giving you more "stem" to get through the rim. I've never used them, but have considered it. Apparently, the stem extender threads don't mate all that well with the end of most valve stems, so people use teflon tape to compensate. I do a lot of heating system work (as a hobby), so I've got plenty of teflon tape laying around. I also have plenty of grease.
    Let your freak flag fly.

  21. #21
    Senior Member DieselDan's Avatar
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    Use grease. It is cheaper and easier to use. It also works. I've got 3000 bikes in my fleet that backs that up.
    Bikes use brakes to stop.

    If your bike has breaks, don't ride it.

  22. #22
    Senior Member shouldberiding's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by due ruote View Post
    I'm not interested in getting into a big debate over this, but I've never heard anyone give these recommendations before, and I've heard a lot of credible mechanics suggest grease. That's good enough for me. Also I've had very good luck with grease for several decades.
    What this guy said.

  23. #23
    Senior Member DanteB's Avatar
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    The problem with grease for threads is it is not an anti-seize material, meaning threaded parts can seize from corrosion after assembly making them difficult to take apart. Grease is for lubracating parts, anti-sieze is made for keeping parts from sticking together. Also, greasing threaded fastners before assembly changes torque values of the fastner. Most fastner torque values are dry thread values. Teflon tape is basically a lubricant to make threaded fastners, mainly pipe threads, screw in farther to seal the threads.
    Make mine a double!

  24. #24
    Medicinal Cyclist Daytrip's Avatar
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    Interesting discussion this turned out to be.
    Let your freak flag fly.

  25. #25
    AEO
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    Quote Originally Posted by DanteB View Post
    The problem with grease for threads is it is not an anti-seize material, meaning threaded parts can seize from corrosion after assembly making them difficult to take apart. Grease is for lubracating parts, anti-sieze is made for keeping parts from sticking together. Also, greasing threaded fastners before assembly changes torque values of the fastner. Most fastner torque values are dry thread values. Teflon tape is basically a lubricant to make threaded fastners, mainly pipe threads, screw in farther to seal the threads.
    on paper that's correct.
    In practice, it would seem grease is perfectly fine. particularly the marine grade grease.
    I've had white lithium and synthetic PTFE dry out on me, but marine grade grease hasn't given me a single problem, even through harsh winter road sand and brine.

    what would be interesting is if someone could find statistics on how fast the grease 'dries out' compared to the anti-seize.

    Now, for carbon parts, anti-seize should be used.
    Food for thought: if you aren't dead by 2050, you and your entire family will be within a few years from starvation. Now that is a cruel gift to leave for your offspring. ;)
    http://sanfrancisco.ibtimes.com/arti...ger-photos.htm

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