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Old 08-21-11, 09:23 AM   #1
aggiegrads
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Stubborn Square Taper Crank - Leave on or attempt to remove?

I have a stock 2010 Surly LHT. I purchased a 24t granny and a crank puller, but when I went to remove the crank arm, it would not budge. The 8mm preload bolts were on super tight. I had to use a cheater bar to get them loose from the spindle, and the threads were greased when I finally got them off.

When I went to pull the arms off, I could not get them removed with the puller. The one I purchased is the Park CCP-22 (linked above) with the lever arm integrated to the extraction bolt. My questions are:

1. Should I go get a crank puller that I can use a longer wrench on, or will I risk stripping the threads on the Aluminum crank?

2. If I do get them off without damaging them, can I re-install them without risking future problems?

3. Will I have to torque them just as tight as they were to give them sufficient pre-load and prevent loosening, or can I put them back on using the specified torque ranges?

The bike is only 2 years old, with about 3000 miles on it. The bike is well-taken care of, but I do live in Portland so by extension, the bike has seen a fair share of rain and grit. I have full fenders and a mudflap that goes all the way to the ground so it's probably not as bad as you think.
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Old 08-21-11, 09:29 AM   #2
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Are the extractor threads clean and did you use a wrench to get it threaded in tight? I've slipped a short pipe over the end of my extractor many times to get stubborn cranks off. You can always use tie rod separator to get the crank off but it's easy to damage your cranks with those so YMMV.
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Old 08-21-11, 09:36 AM   #3
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The first thing to check is that the pusher on your remover is meeting the spindle end solidly, and not on the crank arm or washer surrounding it. Also make sure it isn't small enough to squeeze in a d damage spindle threads.

Then make sure the pusher is fully bottomed into the crank arm so it's holding on every available thread, then turn the tool and force the crank out. Don't be surprised, some cranks need lots of torque to come off. I prefer a remover with a hex head that takes a wrench so I can get more leverage than tools like the park provide.

BTW- if you opt for a cheater bar on the Park tool, be careful as the handles have been known to buckle under the load.
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Old 08-21-11, 10:14 AM   #4
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Make sure the inner bolt on the puller is not bottoming out on the crank arm inner square before actually contacting the spindle. It is not too uncommon for the crank arm to stand proud of the spindle in this area.
I have a small cheapo socket that I have ground down shorter to stick against the spindle and make up the space difference when I run into this.
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Old 08-21-11, 10:17 AM   #5
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The first thing to check is that the pusher on your remover is meeting the spindle end solidly, and not on the crank arm or washer surrounding it. Also make sure it isn't small enough to squeeze in a d damage spindle threads.

Then make sure the pusher is fully bottomed into the crank arm so it's holding on every available thread, then turn the tool and force the crank out. Don't be surprised, some cranks need lots of torque to come off. I prefer a remover with a hex head that takes a wrench so I can get more leverage than tools like the park provide.

BTW- if you opt for a cheater bar on the Park tool, be careful as the handles have been known to buckle under the load.
The threads on the crank arm are clean, and I checked to make sure that there were no washers and the extraction pin fit solidly on the spindle by taking off the sleeve and inspecting how the extraction pin mated with the spindle with a flashlight. No interference.

I will get a crank arm extractor that I can use a bigger wrench on. An added bonus is the ability to get my knuckles the hell away from the chainring when I am bearing down on the puller.
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Old 08-21-11, 10:30 AM   #6
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Try a good whack with a hmmer.
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Old 08-21-11, 10:37 AM   #7
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Try a good whack with a hmmer.
This is why I do my own work.
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Old 08-21-11, 10:53 AM   #8
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This is why I do my own work.
Good call.

Also, there was a suggestion above to installthe puller into the threads with a wrench. While I don't think this is necessarily a bad idea, there are a couple of things you need to be aware of first: 1. Make sure the end of the puller is hitting the end of the BB spindle and nothing else - not the crank, not a washer; 2. Back the centre part of the puller out of the outer threaded part so you can screw the puller all the way into the crank's extraction threads before the centre part makes contact with the BB spinde; 3. clean any foreign material (dirt, rocks, kangaroo fur, etc.) out of the extraction threads as anything left in there will likely accumulate at the bottom of the threads as you screw the puller in and prevent it from fully seating; 4. if you are using a wrench to thread the puller into the crank, just snug it up... some people think the puller should be put into place to some higher torque than 'finger tight,' but it does not - torqueing the puller into the extraction threads only puts more stress on the threads and increases the chance* of damaging the cranks.

*if the puller is threaded in to the extraction threads all the way and there are no other obstructions, then the chance of damaging the crank during removal is slim - I have only seen cranks damaged when a washer was inadvertently left under the puller or the threads were not fully engaged. Sometimes it takes quite a surprising amount of force to get cranks off. Good luck!
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Old 08-21-11, 11:30 AM   #9
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This is why I do my own work.
You're the one who can't put enough force on the puller to remove the crank. Whacking the end of the puller's handle allows you to apply quite a lot of force, and importantly, applies it as an impulse. If the reason you can't get the crank off is because the alluminum crank has galled to the steel taper, it'll come right off.

Use grease when you put the crank back on.
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Old 08-21-11, 11:40 AM   #10
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An added bonus is the ability to get my knuckles the hell away from the chainring when I am bearing down on the puller.
One of the first things one learns as a machinist, or mechanic is to never wrap your hand around a wrench and lead with your knuckles when trying to loosen tight hardware. The hardware pops free and you break your hand. Push the tool with the heel of your hand to reduce the risk of hand injury.

Also when working near chainrings arrange your tool so you're pushing out from center rather than toward the teeth. This isn't always possible, so if slippage is a possibility, pad the sprocket teeth with leather, or wood to avoid gashes.

Being conscious of the what would happen if a tool slipped or broke and adjusting how you work will pay off handsomely when something goes wrong, as it definitely will one day.
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Old 08-21-11, 02:12 PM   #11
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aggiegrads, Sometimes it just takes a lot of torque to initially move the crankarm. Because it's so important, make sure again that there's nothing except for the spindle end that the pusher bit will contact, disassemble the tool and screw the anchor piece into the crankarm fully, you can snug it up a bit with a wrench if you wish. Install the pusher until it contacts the spindle and using the best leverage available, like a crankarm, screw the pusher in until the crank comes off of the spindle.

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Old 08-21-11, 06:06 PM   #12
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Concur with all the hints above, except using a hammer. Steady force from more leverage is better .

Also, place the chain on the large chainring to hide the teeth, and wear leather work gloves.

When installing, I believe you need 30 ft-lb of torque.

Also, there is an on-going debate of whether to grease the spindle flats or not, and those posts get heated (FWIW, I grease the flats)

As a sanity check, are you sure you have square taper, and not ISIS or Octalink?
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Old 08-21-11, 07:14 PM   #13
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I've got the same Park tool. Sometimes the handle does not provide enough leverage. I've used a pipe wrench on the head of the tool to get more leverage, bypassing the built in handle. It is my tool, so I abuse it at my own risk. Generally, the Park tool provides enough leverage, but sometimes the crank is really stuck on there.

Make sure the puller's "nut" is threaded in the whole way. (I know, it isn't exactly a nut, but it is threaded inside and out and has a hex on it)

I am sometimes guilty of using an ordinary wrench as a slugging wrench. (for the uninformed, a slugging wrench is one designed to be hit with a hammer) When breaking out the hammer, experience and judgement often have to come into play.
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Old 08-21-11, 07:25 PM   #14
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This is why I do my own work.
ditto...........soak in liquid wrench or equivalent and give it time to work.....I can't imagine that in only 2 years it won't come off.....
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Old 08-21-11, 07:35 PM   #15
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Hammer and a piece of wood, steady pressure as somebody mentioned wont do anything, u have to hammer it or it wont come out. Even 2 pieces of wood will avoid scratches. Good luck
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Old 08-21-11, 07:42 PM   #16
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Concur with all the hints above, except using a hammer. Steady force from more leverage is better .
Add me to the steady pressure team. Hammering will work, but it might be at the cost of the tool. There's lots of flex in the system and much of the energy of the hammer's blows will be dissipated.

Good steady pressure does the job, just lean into it.
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Old 08-21-11, 07:52 PM   #17
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bring it your lbs, they'll get it off and if they do any damage its on them.
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Old 08-21-11, 10:21 PM   #18
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Add me to the steady pressure team. Hammering will work, but it might be at the cost of the tool. There's lots of flex in the system and much of the energy of the hammer's blows will be dissipated.

Good steady pressure does the job, just lean into it.

A +1 from me. I've never met a crank I couldn't remove with a normal Park puller and steady pressure.

To add to the tips above: after threading the outer part of the puller into the crank and then the center part into the puller, take a look at the angle of the handle vs. the crank arm. This angle should be pretty narrow. If it's not, back the outer part out a little and screw the center part in. (They're different pitch threads, so it only takes a little movement to make a big difference in angle.) When the angle is pretty narrow, and the handle of the remover is to the right of the crank arm, squeeze the arm and the remover together with both hands, kind of like scissors. (As above, don't put your fingers in the "scissors".) I bet the crank comes right off, even if the aluminum has galled to the spindle.
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Old 08-22-11, 07:23 AM   #19
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The only thing that I use a hammer on a bike is the bolt to a quill stem and then it is only a very light tap.
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Old 08-22-11, 08:19 AM   #20
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Thanks for all the tips guys. I picked up a different puller that let me use a bigger wrench, and also let some liquid wrench sit for about 24 hours. I still needed a 24" breaker bar to brace to the ground while I used the crank as the lever arm. There was clear evidence of galling and it took about 3/4 of a turn before I could turn the extraction bolt without the breaker bar. Hammer not considered.

I have everything put back together, so my only question that remains is whether or not there was plastic deformation in the crank arm. If so, I would think that I need to slightly over-torque to get the arms on far enough to avoid loosening at the taper. I am OK with this being the last time I put these cranks on the spindle, If I need a new bottom bracket, I'll move to outboard bearings and upgrade the crankset.

Any input?
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Old 08-22-11, 08:30 AM   #21
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Clear evidence of galling as in aluminum left on the bottom bracket spindle? If so, definitely clean that off before reinstalling. I'd torque the arms to spec and then assess things from there. If it's clear that the arm has bottomed out on the spindle, I'd start shopping for a new crank. If not, I'd say you are as good as new and not worry about it. You may need to tweak your front derailler adjustment though.
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Old 08-22-11, 08:35 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by aggiegrads View Post

I have everything put back together, so my only question that remains is whether or not there was plastic deformation in the crank arm. If so, I would think that I need to slightly over-torque to get the arms on far enough to avoid loosening at the taper. ....

Any input?
It depends on the surface inside the cranks and if the area at the corners is OK. Ideally the crank will meet the spindle tightest near the corners, and not be restricted by any high spots in the centers of the flats. If you're good with a file and have small curved files, you can file a hair (and only about that much) off the centers of the flats so the spindle is holds in the corners.

Otherwise the torque is the same or close, since you're not actually making the crank tighter, simply pushing it higher on the taper.
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Old 08-22-11, 08:58 AM   #23
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Clear evidence of galling as in aluminum left on the bottom bracket spindle? If so, definitely clean that off before reinstalling. I'd torque the arms to spec and then assess things from there. If it's clear that the arm has bottomed out on the spindle, I'd start shopping for a new crank. If not, I'd say you are as good as new and not worry about it. You may need to tweak your front derailler adjustment though.
There were small Aluminum "scratches" on the flats of the spindle, although they were smooth and did not need to be filed or ground off. It just looks like the arms were installed further up on the spindle than they needed to be. It took about one and a half full turns before I could get the arm off.

The surfaces did seem to be OK other than evidence of trading metal. Both surfaces were smooth to the touch. The arm was definitely not bottomed out on the spindle.

I did grease the flats when I re-installed the cranks. I don't have an 8mm Socket bit, so I haven't used a torque wrench yet, I have just snugged them up until it seemed like they weren't moving anymore and it started to get "firm". I'll run to a nearby Sears and get an 8mm bit for the torque wrench during my lunch hour.
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