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  1. #1
    Member Here We Go's Avatar
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    Fixing up an old bike - quick questions

    Got a hold of some old bike which was destined for a landfill, and I'm trying to make it a project to get it road-worthy again.

    I have some questions off the top of my head:

    1.) Tires - they're old, but I'm hoping they're serviceable. Thing is, they have all kinds of crud crusted on them, and if I can help it, I'd rather they not look totally ugly. It looks like it might just be old mud which solidified really hard. I tried soaking the tires in water and then using a stiff brush to scrub them, but was surprised when I couldn't seem to get all of the the crusty bits off the tires. The mud or whatever is just hardpacked on there really good. Any ideas for getting the tires nice and pretty and clean so it's more presentable?

    tire crud.jpg


    2.) Chain -- was trying to break it to clean it, and accidentally managed to break off part of one of the outer plates. I can still push the pin back into position to rejoin it, and I think I can get the stiff link out if I work it long enough. My question is, does the broken plate on the chain pose any danger in terms of the chain breaking or anything? If it'll still work fine, I'm not in a hurry to replace it. But do I need to replace it entirely?

    broken chain plate.jpg


    3.) Adjustable cup -- I want to overhaul the BB, but I haven't worked with this particular type of adjustable cup yet. I don't see any pin holes or anything, just hexagonal flats. What is the tool I'm supposed to be using to adjust it? Should I just use an adjustable crescent wrench? The flats are pretty slim, so I would need to be careful to avoid the crescent wrench slipping around. Is there a better tool, or should I just wing it with the crescent?

    BB.jpg

    BB 2.jpg


    4.) Fixed cup -- if I need to move this, due to damage etc, which way will I need to turn it? The bike is a made-in-Taiwan Schwinn pink Sierra, 24" youth MTB. Am I safe to assume that it's not made to Italian or French standards and will have the reverse thread (clockwise to loosen) like most common BB's?

    Thanks in advance!

  2. #2
    Senior Member aidanpringle's Avatar
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    1) - the tyres do look sort of usable but if you are gonna use this bike often I would replace them, check if they have dried up and cracked between the tread and especially on the side wall and if they have cracks on the side wall you should definitely replace them.

    2) - the chain will proabably need replacing, even if you can get it to work it will eventually break when your cycling or when you put any pressure on it which is never fun.

    3) - On the adjustable cup there is the ring with three notches in it, that's the lockring you need to undo first to be able to use a crescent wrench on the adjuster bit, but it is quite likely to slip so a specific tool, (Park HCW 4), makes it easier. to remove the lockring you should use a special tool but (Such as the Park HCW 5) but you can do it with a flat head screwdriver and hammer, there are plenty of videos of how to adjust them on you-tube. Although I recommended park tools there are a ton of cheaper alternatives if you don't wan't to spend alot of money,

    4)- fixed cup it is right to loosen it and left to tighten it, it is left hand thread, opposed to the common right hand thread.

    Youtube is your best freind on bike maintence, there is 1000s of videos on there and you'll find them very helpful
    Last edited by aidanpringle; 01-13-13 at 05:56 AM.

  3. #3
    DOS
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    Just to add to aidanpringle's note -- all of which is spot on -- on the chain, I agree that it probably needs to be replaced and may have been toast anayway given age of bike. Be warned, that after getting new chain, you may discover that chainrings and/or rear cogs are also worn out (new chain will skip if thats the case).

    On BB, Taiwan made Schwinns certainly have english threading. I always remember which cup turns which way because both sides tighten by turning cups toward the rear of the bike and loosen by turning toward the front.
    My Opinions > My Knowledge

  4. #4
    DRF aka Thrifty Bill wrk101's Avatar
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    Yes, there are better tools than an adjustable crescent wrench. There are a whole long list of bike specific tools, tools that do work better than your general hand tools. But basic hand tools can work, just not as well.

    Easiest way to solve this problem without spending $$ on tools is to find a bicycle co-op. They have the tools, volunteers for advice, and access to affordable parts.

    Your chain is toast. Don't be surprised if your freewheel skips after you install a new chain. If so, you will be replacing the freewheel too. Freewheel removal requires a specialized tool. Again, the co-op is your best choice if there is one in your area. If not, most bike shops will remove a freewheel for you at a nominal charge.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Bill Kapaun's Avatar
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    Although you likely should replace the chain, a quick link would work as a repair.
    Chances are a new chain wouldn't cost much more than the quick link though.

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    As it is the chain cannot be used. If it is long enough to be shortened by 1", you could remove the damaged link and rejoin it at a good sideplate.

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    "Chances are a new chain wouldn't cost much more than the quick link though."

    If you decide to go for a new chain I would highly recommend that you get one (SRAM, KMC, Wippermann are all good) which closes with a master link. You will still need the chain tool to cut the new chain to length.

  8. #8
    SE Wis dedhed's Avatar
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    Resurrecting a low end bike from the dump I recommend the cheapest walmart chain
    '68 Raleigh Sprite, '02 Raleigh C500, '84 Raleigh Gran Prix, '91 Trek 400

  9. #9
    7-speed doomsday prepper ThermionicScott's Avatar
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    +1 on a new chain. How much do you trust the other plates on the old chain not to break while riding?
    Quote Originally Posted by chandltp View Post
    There's no such thing as too far.. just lack of time
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by ThermionicScott View Post
    +1 on a new chain. How much do you trust the other plates on the old chain not to break while riding?
    +1 but the OP was the cause of the broken sideplate. I assume he didn't align the pin of the chain tool properly and broke off the missing piece.

  11. #11
    Member Here We Go's Avatar
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    Yeah, that was my own stupidity on the chain. Good idea on the 1" reduction. I'll measure and see if that'll fit. If not, I'll definitely replace it, and I have an old 5-speed freewheel I can change out too if it skips.

    Anyone know what the specialty tool for the adjustable cup was supposed to be? Just wondering. I was fine with a medium-sized crescent wrench.

    Fixed cup off with my hulklike strength, thanks to my turning it the correct way.

    The tires seem usable. Some smallish cracks in the black parts, but those are supposedly harmless. Anyone got any other ideas for getting the petrified mud off? I'm gonna try letting the the tires soak for a day in soapy water and then give them another battle with a toothbrush or other stiff brushes. Anyone got a better idea?

    And where the heck do you get a cheap transverse cable for cantilevers anyway?

  12. #12
    SE Wis dedhed's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Here We Go View Post
    And where the heck do you get a cheap transverse cable for cantilevers anyway?
    That's the kind of stuff I pull off the bikes that are going to or are in the scrap bin!
    '68 Raleigh Sprite, '02 Raleigh C500, '84 Raleigh Gran Prix, '91 Trek 400

  13. #13
    Senior Member aidanpringle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Here We Go View Post
    Anyone got any other ideas for getting the petrified mud off? I'm gonna try letting the the tires soak for a day in soapy water and then give them another battle with a toothbrush or other stiff brushes. Anyone got a better idea?

    And where the heck do you get a cheap transverse cable for cantilevers anyway?
    if you ride the bike it's gonna get mucky quick so I wouldn't fuss over a bit of mud.

  14. #14
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    I have had good luck maintaining old "10 speed" bikes using waterpump pliers for the lock ring and adjustable cup on the bottom brackets.
    The only reason you should need to remove the fixed cup is if you need to replace it; you can reach through from the other side to clean and repack it and replace the bearings.
    The 5 speed freewheel cogs are pretty thick steel, I would be surprised if you had to replace the freewheel when changing the chain
    I'm not sure the 5 speed chains come with master links; since the pins do not need to be replaced after breaking the chain, it is much less of an issue than on 8-11 speed chains.

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