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How many tools do you need to open/repack square taper bb?

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How many tools do you need to open/repack square taper bb?

Old 11-10-15, 08:21 AM
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How many tools do you need to open/repack square taper bb?

I'm looking at buying a new bb + cranks. I'm not sure if I should go for internal threaded like square taper or external bbs.

From reading online across forums, extrnal bb's seem to be considrably less durable than square taper, but also seem far easier to replace as they only need 1 tool and a small plastic adapter if hollow tech. Advantage of square taper is long term durability and the option to service instead of replacing. But they also look far more complicated to open and install. What tools do I need for this?
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Old 11-10-15, 08:28 AM
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Tools and entire procedure available with a Google search for "repack square taper BB," or go to Repair Help Articles - Park Tool or Tool Tips--Bottom Bracket Adjustment. There are some variations dependent on type of cups and the fixed cup, many complications when it comes to replacing spindle, and if parts irretrievably worn you may be installing a cartridge BB, which requires different tools. Good idea if you have a bike co-op locally or a friend to use their tools.

Last edited by cny-bikeman; 11-10-15 at 08:33 AM.
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Old 11-10-15, 08:34 AM
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Basically, you need a crank remover appropriate for whatever crank you have, and tools to install and adjust the cups, usually a lockring spanner, a fixed cup tool (pictured on the same tool here) and a pin spanner for the adjustable cup:

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Old 11-10-15, 08:46 AM
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Too general a statement to say square taper are more durable plus some are with loose balls others are sealed non-serviceable. Most external BB's can also be re-greased by just carefully removing the bearing seal, flushing out the dirt and old grease and re-packing with grease and will last as long as anything. Personally I would go by your favored crankset and accept whatever BB goes along with it as long as it fits your frame but as mentioned the square taper requires more tools so something to consider.
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Old 11-10-15, 08:46 AM
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Above is a prime reason I pointed to general resources. Not all cups have pin holes, that tool will not fit all fixed cups (and often will slip off) fixed cup tool can be DIY, left out crank arm puller. I suggest you research what is appropriate for your individual circumstance before you go ordering tools that may not work or that you will only use once.

Last edited by cny-bikeman; 11-10-15 at 08:57 AM.
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Old 11-10-15, 08:50 AM
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Crank remover:

https://www.amazon.com/XLC-bike-tools...e+crank+puller

Cup remover (spanner wrench):

https://www.amazon.com/Park-Tool-SPA-2-Cluster-Spanner/dp/B001B6LNRQ/ref=sr_1_sc_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1447166932&sr=8-2-spell&keywords=bicycle+spanner+wrench

Grease:

https://www.amazon.com/Super-Lube-210...=marine+grease

Link button isn't working on this deplorable browser...

Remember - adjust to proper preload on reinstallation.

edit - forgot about the lockring

Last edited by 1983; 11-11-15 at 08:30 AM.
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Old 11-10-15, 09:05 AM
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just that loose ball BBs are getting rarer all the time.. replacement spindles are a problem ..

Last edited by fietsbob; 11-10-15 at 09:17 AM.
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Old 11-10-15, 10:55 AM
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Originally Posted by fietsbob
just that loose ball BBs are getting rarer all the time.. replacement spindles are a problem ..
I hope you're wrong, and they never stop making square-taper spindles and 1/4" steel bearings, or I'm sunk. I'm emotionally committed to keeping my 1970s (1960s?) Raleigh forever. I've changed the spindle and bearings once, only to switch from cottered to cotterless cranks. If I have to abandon cup-and-cone BBs, my options are limited and expensive, They may also be mechanically inferior to what I have.

I may be sunk anyway if i ever need new cups, but I plan to re-grease the BB at reasonable intervals.
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Old 11-10-15, 11:12 AM
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Most of my bikes use square taper, or cottered spindles with cups and bearings. These BBs seem to be robust enough to last forever unless abused mercilessly. I've never seen a mucked up one in 40 years of messing with bikes, but I am sure that some get damaged. I reckon I should worry about those with 26tpi cups, though.
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Old 11-10-15, 11:30 AM
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Originally Posted by Moe Zhoost
Most of my bikes use square taper, or cottered spindles with cups and bearings. These BBs seem to be robust enough to last forever unless abused mercilessly. I've never seen a mucked up one in 40 years of messing with bikes, but I am sure that some get damaged. I reckon I should worry about those with 26tpi cups, though.
Also, they never seem to creak or make other strange noises. Too bad Raleigh had to get cute with the 26tpi. The original cottered spindle on my bike was immaculate. I just needed to lose the rusted, heavy Nervar crank set. Even that worked fine - it was just ugly.

Last edited by habilis; 11-10-15 at 11:33 AM.
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Old 11-10-15, 02:15 PM
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So am I gettng this correctly that square taper bbs need different tools depending on the exact type? Or in other words that there is no single answer, hence my confusion. With external its very simple.

I'm looking at cranks and cranks for square typer or older spindle bb's are so much cheaper and widely available. At least half the price.
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Old 11-10-15, 02:26 PM
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there are minor variations of Lock rings and adjustable cups from various Mfg as produced over the Years

The Fixed cup with its 2 flats is less variable ,, There the issue is holding the wrench on, so It wont slip off

to get it Tight.. (typicaly you clean and look thru the BBshell without removing the fixed cup to make sure Its not showing chips out of the metal in the line where the bearings roll ..

Typically the Spindle is where the chips and flaking .. 'potholes ' show Up first..
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Old 11-10-15, 03:04 PM
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Originally Posted by mozad655
So am I gettng this correctly that square taper bbs need different tools depending on the exact type? Or in other words that there is no single answer, hence my confusion. With external its very simple.

I'm looking at cranks and cranks for square typer or older spindle bb's are so much cheaper and widely available. At least half the price.
Do you already have a bike, or at least a frame? Frames vary in the threading of the bottom bracket! If you want to go with cup-and-cone, or any other threaded system, best to start with the frame and then look for a bottom bracket with the correct width and threading. It's hard to advise you because it's not clear where you are in the purchasing process. Can you find a complete new or used bike with most of the features you want? That's always the easiest and least expensive approach.

Last edited by habilis; 11-10-15 at 03:07 PM.
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Old 11-10-15, 03:16 PM
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Why go with cup and cone when a sealed Shimano UN55 BB will basically last forever? One special tool to remove that fits pretty well all sealed BBs. One crank puller to get the cranks off. Or if you want to, put in self extracting bolts, can get them for $10 off Amazon. But unless you have a need to remove the cranks constantly, you likely won't touch the BB for years.
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Old 11-10-15, 06:47 PM
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I don't know of any quality loose-ball, square-taper, bottom-brackets still being made. You may some on fixed gear track bikes and some vintage models. Most loose ball models are really low end; they work, but not with precision of a quality model, Almost every recent ST bike of quality uses a cartridge
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Old 11-11-15, 03:42 AM
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Originally Posted by habilis
Do you already have a bike, or at least a frame?
I already have a bike. It came with external mega exo bb and is showing signs of wear. External bb are threaded aswell, so I believe a threaded internal like square taper will fit just perfectly (+ new cranks). Correct me if I'm wrong. The width of my current bb is 68mm.

Originally Posted by Trevtassie
Why go with cup and cone when a sealed Shimano UN55 BB will basically last forever? One special tool to remove that fits pretty well all sealed BBs. One crank puller to get the cranks off.
I have not really considered the sealed versus cup-cone, but I woudn't mind going with sealed. When you say special tool are you talking about a bottom bracket special tool like this one? Wiggle | Cyclus Bottom Bracket Tool Shimano | Workshop Tools And a crank puller like this? Wiggle | LifeLine Performance 2 in 1 Crank Remover | Workshop Tools. So only 2 tools?
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Old 11-11-15, 04:30 AM
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Originally Posted by mozad655
I already have a bike. It came with external mega exo bb and is showing signs of wear. External bb are threaded aswell, so I believe a threaded internal like square taper will fit just perfectly (+ new cranks). Correct me if I'm wrong. The width of my current bb is 68mm.



I have not really considered the sealed versus cup-cone, but I woudn't mind going with sealed. When you say special tool are you talking about a bottom bracket special tool like this one? Wiggle | Cyclus Bottom Bracket Tool Shimano | Workshop Tools And a crank puller like this? Wiggle | LifeLine Performance 2 in 1 Crank Remover | Workshop Tools. So only 2 tools?
They're the tools. If you don't anticipate pulling many cranks off, you could use self extracting crank bolts, but for the money that tool is good value... Sealed is definitely the way to go if you aren't restoring a vintage bike. No adjustment needed, fit and forget...
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Old 11-11-15, 05:28 AM
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Any idea what spindle lenght I should go for? I've never used a square taper on this bike before so I can't compare it to previous or current measurements.
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Old 11-11-15, 06:07 AM
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Originally Posted by mozad655
Any idea what spindle lenght I should go for? I've never used a square taper on this bike before so I can't compare it to previous or current measurements.
Your crank set and rear hub will dictate the length of the BB spindle.

What kind of gearing does this bike have - for example, cassette, freewheel, or internal gear hub (IGH)? If you have IGH, the chain line (distance of the chain from the midline of the frame) is usually 42mm.

If you have a derailleur, the chain line is the distance of the middle cog to the midline of the frame. Measure the length of the space between your rear dropouts (called "Over Locknut Distance") and divide it in half. That represents the midline of the frame. Add to that the distance from your drive-side dropout to the middle cog and you'll have the chain line.

Once you determine chain line distance, your crank's chain ring (if it's a single ring) should be the same distance from the midline of the frame to achieve a straight chain line. This is important to prevent excessive wear of drive train components. If you have a multi-ring crank, measure from the midline of the BB shell to the middle chain ring on a triple or the space between the rings on a double crank.

Let us know how your bike's crank set and gearing are configured. There is one more measurement needed to determine BB spindle length. On a square taper spindle, the tapered portion ends approximately where the crank bolt bottoms out in the crank - the bottom of the recessed hole in the outside of the crank set. Once you determine which chain ring (on a multi) is on the chain line, measure from that ring to the bottom of the crank bolt hole and add that distance to the chain line distance. That number is half the length of your BB spindle. Double that distance and you have your spindle length.

Since you now have an external BB with a hollow crank shaft, you must keep the same kind of BB if you want to retain your crank set. (For example your current crank won't work with square taper.) If you want a different crank set, you must obtain it first and then calculate BB type and spindle length to conform to the new crank set.

Last edited by habilis; 11-11-15 at 06:31 AM.
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Old 11-11-15, 07:26 AM
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Originally Posted by habilis
Since you now have an external BB with a hollow crank shaft, you must keep the same kind of BB if you want to retain your crank set. (For example your current crank won't work with square taper.) If you want a different crank set, you must obtain it first and then calculate BB type and spindle length to conform to the new crank set.
So its not possible to buy a new fitting bottom bracket until I have the matching crank at hand to make measurements first? What would I make measurements on though if the new crankset cannot be installed yet?

If I told you the distance between the center of the seat tube to the single chainring that I'm running right now. Is it not possible to calculate a spindle lenght that will make any regular square taper crank have its chain ring in the same position?
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Old 11-11-15, 07:32 AM
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Not all square taper cranks require the same spindle length.

Anyway, you are wasting your time and money. Buy a direct replacement for the bottom bracket that came with your bike and that works with its crank. There is no reason to buy a square taper bottom bracket, and a new crank to fit it, and new chainrings to fit that crank, and the tools to remove the existing bottom bracket/crank and install the new, unless you just have more time and money than you know what to do with. The bike will not ride any better.
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Old 11-11-15, 07:41 AM
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Originally Posted by jyl
Not all square taper cranks require the same spindle length.

Anyway, you are wasting your time and money. Buy a direct replacement for the bottom bracket that came with your bike and that works with its crank. There is no reason to buy a square taper bottom bracket, and a new crank to fit it, and new chainrings to fit that crank, and the tools to remove the existing bottom bracket/crank and install the new, unless you just have more time and money than you know what to do with. The bike will not ride any better.
I agree. Now that we know what you currently have, it doesn't make much sense to reconfigure this bike. The easiest solution is to stay with the same type of components you already have - it saves all that calculating and costs far less. If you fear that you won't be able to get replacements in case of a future BB failure, buy a spare now.
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Old 11-11-15, 07:44 AM
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Originally Posted by jyl
Anyway, you are wasting your time and money. Buy a direct replacement for the bottom bracket that came with your bike and that works with its crank. There is no reason to buy a square taper bottom bracket, and a new crank to fit it, and new chainrings to fit that crank, and the tools to remove the existing bottom bracket/crank and install the new, unless you just have more time and money than you know what to do with. The bike will not ride any better.
Even if its FSA mega exo BB? Reviews are terrible, its far more expensive than competition and its not as widely available. What if the choice was between direct BB replacement or new shimano external bb + cranks? Lets forget square taper.
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Old 11-11-15, 07:55 AM
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Originally Posted by mozad655
Even if its FSA mega exo BB? Reviews are terrible, its far more expensive than competition and its not as widely available. What if the choice was between direct BB replacement or new shimano external bb + cranks? Lets forget square taper.
Can you find a more reliable BB that fits your current crank? That would be my approach. Make sure it also fits a 68mm shell.
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Old 11-11-15, 08:19 AM
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Originally Posted by habilis
Can you find a more reliable BB that fits your current crank? That would be my approach. Make sure it also fits a 68mm shell.
Its difficult with FSA. Mega Exo BB-4000 is designed for 19mm spindles so the crank/spindle will be too small for regular external bb's that have 24mm holes.
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