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Old 01-09-12, 11:04 AM   #1
Puget Pounder
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Torque down your bolts!

I changed the pulleys on my derailleur last night. This morning, I was on my commute and I hear the all-too familiar bolts and washers pinging as they litter the ground. I hopped off the bike and found that I had not tightened the bolts holding the plates down so I had a bunch of bolts, washers, pulleys, and a derailleur plate on the ground. Luckily, they all stayed in roughly the same area, so I (repeat: luckily!) found everything and put it back together. The last time something like this happened was when I started screwing in a pedal by hand and forgot to finish it off with my pedal wrench. It was only about 1 thread in, so when I hopped on the bike, it stripped the first thread. Plenty of threads left, so the crank was still usable.

I got passed by about 10 people while i was putting everything together and the only person who asked me if I was alright was an astronaut looking fellow on a carbon space bike. They're not all bad!

I'd love to know your similar stories
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Old 01-09-12, 11:24 AM   #2
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I think every flipper has done this at leat once. (Whether they'll admit it is another thing. )

Generally when I am setting up a bike I'll loose-assemble the handlebar clinch-bolt.
You can probably guess the rest but it gives especial meaning to the term "drop bars".

Thankfully, I do a hard shake-down on any bike I put up for sale and thus my buyers have been spared from my boo-boos.
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Old 01-09-12, 11:25 AM   #3
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Stem fixing bolts are my nemesis. I can't tell you the amount of times I've tried to get on it, and had the bars rotate 30 degrees on me.
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Old 01-09-12, 11:26 AM   #4
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eh.. forgot to close a QR a few times and keep on forgetting to properly tighten seat post bolts. I'm an absolute idiot when it comes to wrenching!
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Old 01-09-12, 11:33 AM   #5
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I was trying out a flip and noticed that the rear tire was wobbling and rubbing the rear brake. Got it back, and not only were the nuts loose, the rear axle was loose! Doh!
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Old 01-09-12, 11:36 AM   #6
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Yup did that! I forgot to crank the QR on the rear wheel causing it it throw chain and inadvertantly me. It cost me some scrapes and a sprained wrist.
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Old 01-09-12, 11:53 AM   #7
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My last purchase came and I neglected to double check the fixed BB cup. After about 10 miles it had turned almost out of the shell, so every 1/2 mi I had to stop and turn it as much as I could to tighten it by hnad on the way home. It was my 'Nago with a sweet NOS SR crankset, so I had to treat it sweet. PIA for 10 miles, and never again will I forget to check other's work.
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Old 01-09-12, 12:15 PM   #8
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yep...learned the hard way too. Still have my front teeth, thankfully.
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Old 01-09-12, 12:27 PM   #9
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eh.. forgot to close a QR a few times
Figured this out yesterday...........
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Old 01-09-12, 12:32 PM   #10
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Wow. Quick release for sure. Fortunately hasn't happened to a customers bike.....that I'm aware of.
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Old 01-09-12, 12:37 PM   #11
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I'd love to know your similar stories
I don't have any. I torque things down.

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Old 01-09-12, 12:48 PM   #12
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I don't have any. I torque things down.

You jinxed yourself!

The next time you ride, you will find that you did not torque any of your spoke nipples down... your rim will just fly off your hub
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Old 01-09-12, 12:52 PM   #13
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I did notice a derailleur pulley bolt backing itself out once. Whenever I remove a pulley those bolts bother me because they are so small that I could easily strip them with even a small wrench. Of course one pulley rotates in the direction of tightening its axle bolt, and the other in the direction of loosening it. So the key is keeping them lubed and free enough that the bearing exerts little friction on the bolt.

When I'm doing a re-build or repair I often have to leave something loose with the intent to check everything later before a test ride. Most of the time I remember. That's what test rides are for!
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Old 01-09-12, 12:58 PM   #14
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Thing about bolts and nuts on C&V bikes is that the quality control on even the same items as so varied as many things were not made to tolerances and quality that we have for products today. We had/have no idea when that 70's and 80's vintage components threads will suddenly gall and seize up on us, sometimes at even the slightest amounts of force to tighten them. For me it's always been a sort of a slow "feel it out" proposition when mounting a C&V crank arm on a spindle or a stem into a fork steerer tube, doing that one last 1/4 or 1/8 turn to snug it up and trying to feel if the treads are still doing OK and dreading that possible sickening feeling of sudden loss off resistance that means you stripped it or sheared the bolt.
I'm proud to say that I have stopped stripping and shearing bolts without the aid of torque wrenches after doing so hundreds of times as a youth (Last one I messed up was maybe back in highschool), but I think everyone has to go through that "destructive" phase to develop that "feel".......But some never seem to get that feel, despite your efforts to teach them on how to be careful when you torque down fasteners.
I always never liked my younger brother's physical gauge to determine when things are tight enough. He thought that things were only tight enough when the arm and hand he had on the socket wrench started to tremble against the resistance.......the cave man!
I can still hear my younger brother yelling "Rats"! from our apartment basement when he yet stripped another component on his bike when we were in college....goody!, I always said to myserlf......another excuse to visit the LBS!

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Old 01-09-12, 12:58 PM   #15
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Public confession time. I fixed up a nice vintage Centurion Mixte.



Before I posted it on the local CL, I offered it to Robbie Tunes, knowing his penchant for Centurions. He said he was interested and we had a tentative agreement for me to ship him the bike. I rode the bike to the LBS to ask about bike boxes and see about having it packed up. I had ridden the bike on several test rides without any incident. However, on this trip, as I was going from the street, over the sidewalk ramp and onto a municipal path, the wheel turned right and the handlebars didtn't. Apparently, I did not tighten the handlebar stem enough. I fell, bruised some ribs, and, most tragically, dented the front fender.



This spoiled the deal with Robbie, and made me feel awfully stupid. I still feel ashamed of my carelessness. Of course, Robbie was gracious and understanding, but I'll always regret not tightening that bolt.
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Old 01-09-12, 01:21 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by jimmuller View Post
I did notice a derailleur pulley bolt backing itself out once. Whenever I remove a pulley those bolts bother me because they are so small that I could easily strip them with even a small wrench. Of course one pulley rotates in the direction of tightening its axle bolt, and the other in the direction of loosening it. So the key is keeping them lubed and free enough that the bearing exerts little friction on the bolt.

When I'm doing a re-build or repair I often have to leave something loose with the intent to check everything later before a test ride. Most of the time I remember. That's what test rides are for!
Tighten those bolts. The pulley turns on the bushing. The bushing is kept from turning by the bolt. Simplex SLJ aluminum bolts wouldn't last long if the pulley turned on them.
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Old 01-09-12, 04:40 PM   #17
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Once I clamped down the rear derailleur cable when I was installing a kickstand.. It was a friend's bike.. two years later I'm overhauling his bike, see the clamped cable and think "What kinda clown installed this kickstand......oh......"
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Old 01-09-12, 05:31 PM   #18
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Dropped a rear wheel starting off. Rotated bars forward a time or two. Even forgot to tighten the steering stem. And failed on many occasions to CAREFULLY inspect a bicycle BEFORE buying it. Yup, I done it all and even have a T-Shirt to prove it.

These days I torture test each build before the test ride(s). I urge people who read MY "TEN SPEEDS" to do the same. It is one thing for the drop bars to drop when one is prepared, and a completely different thing when unexpected. Once the torture test is complete, I then set out on the bicycles test and fit rides.

Saves a lot of hurt.
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Old 01-09-12, 05:41 PM   #19
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...The pulley turns on the bushing. The bushing is kept from turning by the bolt.
You are correct. I mis-stated that in my last note. What I meant was that the pulley should be free on the bearing, as it should be anyway, so that it doesn't exert any significant torque on the bushing. If the bolt is loose enough that the friction between bushing and pulley is greater than what is required to turn the bushing itself, the spinning bushing can then further rotate the bolt. Or from a macroscopic viewpoint, if you can't spin the pulley easily then it needs attention anyway.

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Once I clamped down the rear derailleur cable when I was installing a kickstand.. It was a friend's bike.. two years later I'm overhauling his bike, see the clamped cable and think "What kinda clown installed this kickstand......oh......"
Don't blame yourself! Maybe the kickstand loosened up with use. Or maybe the chainstays collapsed form the pressure. Sometimes the mechanic isn't the problem.
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Old 01-09-12, 05:44 PM   #20
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Sometimes the mechanic isn't the problem.
So true! As a retired Industrial Mechanic, we often times wondered what the mechanical engineer was thinking when he, or she, designed this or that.
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Old 01-09-12, 05:50 PM   #21
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So true! As a retired Industrial Mechanic, we often times wondered what the mechanical engineer was thinking when he, or she, designed this or that.
Yeah, it wasn't my fault that my derailleur exploded!
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Old 01-09-12, 06:19 PM   #22
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I just left my house and installed and ITM stem and bar and at the corner from my house i go to brake and push forward with slight pressure and the handlebars flip up and i start to wobble around nervously because thats was unexpected, not to mention i was in traffic (felt helpless). I make sure everything i install is nice and tight.
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