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Thread: Creaky cranks

  1. #1
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    Creaky cranks

    Long time reader, first time help ask-forer:

    My fixed is cursed with creaky cranks. I assume the problem is because the cranks aren't on the square-tapered spindles tight enough, because the previous incarnation of the fixed had the same problem. A new spindle and cranks solved the problem for awhile, but it's come back. The parts are just old stuff that was around at the Oberlin Bike Co-op, which may have something to do with it.

    Are the cranks not on tight enough (I used a mallet)? The spindle nuts not tight enough? cranks and spindle not compatible?

    the noise isn't a big deal, I just don't want the cranks to 'strip' and go loose when I really need to stop.

    Thanks to grassroots bike community - you all warm my heart.

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    If it was a problem of the cranks not being on tight enough, it've probably gotten much, much worse and quickly. Check your chainring bolts, your pedals (did you grease their threads?), and your BB cups.

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    like, really sloppy sloppy robot's Avatar
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    crank creak sucks.. i just switched some cranks off cause of it.. heres what ive learned in tryinng to end this ..

    1. cranks eventually wear out and creak,.. lame.. new cranks are best
    2. any amount of grease on spindle or inside crank where it touches spindle will make it creak.. to fix .. take apart.. use degreaser or citrus juice (lime juice will work) and a qtip and clean them as best you can..then tighten down super hard again.
    3.. yes.. if they loosen they creak
    4. pedals creak if NOT greased.. i know ,.. confusing.. but usually you cann tell the diff betweenn pedals and cranks..
    5. if it really bums you out.. buy a new BB and new crankset.. to me solid cranks make the bike.. and creak drives me nuts
    6. oh yeea.. like someone said.. check chainring bolts

  4. #4
    BIG RING Bikeophile's Avatar
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    also, un-oiled chains creak too

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by glinmaleldur
    Long time reader, first time help ask-forer:

    My fixed is cursed with creaky cranks. I assume the problem is because the cranks aren't on the square-tapered spindles tight enough, because the previous incarnation of the fixed had the same problem. A new spindle and cranks solved the problem for awhile, but it's come back. The parts are just old stuff that was around at the Oberlin Bike Co-op, which may have something to do with it.

    Are the cranks not on tight enough (I used a mallet)? The spindle nuts not tight enough? cranks and spindle not compatible?

    the noise isn't a big deal, I just don't want the cranks to 'strip' and go loose when I really need to stop.

    Thanks to grassroots bike community - you all warm my heart.
    The taper of Campy and Shimano cranks/axle interface is different. This might cause creaking when mismatched.
    Cheers,
    v.

  6. #6
    Zugster Bags FlippingHades's Avatar
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    In my experience, most of the creaking on my bike comes from the crank bolts working loose (that's also noticeable as play in the cranks). Add some blue loctite and tighten 'em down nice & snug.

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    Retrogrouch in Training bostontrevor's Avatar
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    Bottom bracket spindles should be greased. Nobody seems to know where the old wives' tale came from, but the crank and BB spindle are not meant to mate dry. Grease will allow the crank to seat properly at the appropriate torque. Without it, it may get "hung up" by metal-on-metal friction which can introduce play later on as it rides out and settles in.

    Don't use loctite. Your bolts will only loosen if they aren't tight enough in the first place. If they're tight enough to seat the cranks to the right depth and hold them in place, they won't work loose.

    Some say it's impossible to reach appropriate tension using a short-handled hex wrench such as you might find in a folding set or a multi-tool. It is possible in my experience but requires a LOT of effort. If you're concerned, get a torque wrench or take it to the shop and have them torque it down properly.

    If you ride with your cranks loose too often or too long, you will pin-cushion the spindle holes. This typically means the cranks will never again seat properly and will eventually work themselves loose again and you will repeat the cycle until you have pin-cushioned them so severely and worked them so far up the spindle that they split. This is the source of split cranks, not grease on the spindle.
    Last edited by bostontrevor; 06-11-05 at 05:12 PM.

  8. #8
    LV 99 9999HP/9999MP Erich Zann's Avatar
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    i had this same problem. the first thing i did was clean the bottom bracket spindle with some lighter fluid to assure that there was no debris causing the creak. then i greased the spindle as recommended and tightened the hell out of the bolts when i fastened the crank. this solved the problem.

    however another time i had creaking it was because i was using a aluminum ta crank on a titanium phil BB spindle. i guess the crank worked itself loose then the hard titanium spindle F'd up my left crank arm. ...still looking for a left 165 TA crank arm to replace the F'd up one. the taper is the part that's F'd up. someone told me i could grind 5mm off of a BB spindle and then the crank arm would fit on fine. in theory this seems to hold water yet i have yet to try it out. anyway, oes to show you that you should check spindle/crank compatability and always make sure your crank is securely fastened lest you F it up like me

  9. #9
    Retrogrouch in Training bostontrevor's Avatar
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    The other thing in your case may be galvanic corrosion. I've heard that since Ti doesn't corrode, it merely carries the galvanic charge until it reaches a part that will corrode, such as steel or aluminum. I have no idea how true this is, but it seems to make some amount of sense.

    Of course it seems a stretch to say that your Ti BB spindle really provides that much of an increased galvanic differential.

    edit: or maybe it was Ti's lack of galvanic response meant that the effects were localized to the exposed site and their severity accordingly increased. Anyhow, something like that.

  10. #10
    like, really sloppy sloppy robot's Avatar
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    hmm.. ive never heard of anyone greasing the spindle.. and getting grease on it has always caused creek for me.. maybe more grease stops it? lets here more opinions on this.. who greases their spindles?

  11. #11
    Retrogrouch in Training bostontrevor's Avatar
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    Three of my four bikes with three-piece cranks (yes, I do have a bike with one-piecers) have greased spindles. I'm pretty sure my Panasonic which I'm all on about these days doesn't as whoever assembled that bike seemed to be generally allergic to grease. (Luckily it's lived a sheltered life so I easily disassembled and reassembled key bits with appropriate lubrication.)

  12. #12
    like, really sloppy sloppy robot's Avatar
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    from the park tool website..(i had to know)

    "Aluminum cranks typically do not require lubrication of this press fit. Aluminum by its nature is self-lubricating as it is covered with a thin layer of oxidation. Adequate torque is typically enough to keep arms from creaking."

    you scared me that i was building bikes wrong for 25 years.. in my experience.. small amounts of grease can cause noises.. ive never globed on the grease so that might fix it.. but my feeling is youre gonnna have problems sooner with greased spindles.. but thats just an opinion

  13. #13
    Retrogrouch in Training bostontrevor's Avatar
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    http://www.sheldonbrown.com/brandt/i...ng-cranks.html

    I'll see your Park and raise you a Jobst.

    Just because Al is covered with Al2O3 doesn't really explain much to me. The oxide still conforms to the ridges and valleys in the original metal. That provides the friction. Grease fills those valleys and provides a uniform layer of lubricant for things to slide on.

    Have you never removed a crankset and found that the steel spindle had galled the Al cranks, leaving Al residue behind?

  14. #14
    like, really sloppy sloppy robot's Avatar
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    ha! i was looking for that on his site.. couldnt fine it.. so went for the google.. ok.. i guess nothing left for us to do now but fight.. cmon trev. roll those sleaves up..

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    Retrogrouch in Training bostontrevor's Avatar
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    Oh it's on, biatch! Let's go! Pow pow.

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    Senior Member jamey's Avatar
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    i grease my spindle..why does that sound so dirty?

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    Senior Member mikorp's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wilcru
    If it was a problem of the cranks not being on tight enough, it've probably gotten much, much worse and quickly. Check your chainring bolts, your pedals (did you grease their threads?), and your BB cups.
    what he said...

  18. #18
    aka mattio queerpunk's Avatar
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    oh man, i've heard so much good things about the Oberlin Bike Co-Op.
    it'll take years and some magic if the Wesleyan (middletown ct)* bike co-op ever gets to where oberlin seems to be at--based on the stories i've heard.

    *just graduated. bike co-op = 1 yr old.

  19. #19
    Zugster Bags FlippingHades's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bostontrevor
    Don't use loctite. Your bolts will only loosen if they aren't tight enough in the first place. If they're tight enough to seat the cranks to the right depth and hold them in place, they won't work loose.
    I realized, reading this, I mis-spoke -- I meant my chainring bolts (they sometimes get called crank bolts too) were getting loose. I've never had trouble with the crank arm to spindle bolts getting loose.

  20. #20
    Retrogrouch in Training bostontrevor's Avatar
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    Ah. Yeah, I still am not a fan of loctite. I have many bikes, none involve loctite. All involve grease. Get a proper stack bolt tool to hold the nut side while you crank the bolt down and it shouldn't come loose. But that's just my experience.

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