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Ashtabula Bottom Bracket Service Interval

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Ashtabula Bottom Bracket Service Interval

Old 06-05-17, 12:38 PM
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Ashtabula Bottom Bracket Service Interval

Hi...just a simple 1-piece Bottom Bracket (invented in America!)...

I notice it is not sealed...big gaps!

How often should I clean and regrease the bearings...
  • if riding in the rain occasionally in urban environment?
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Old 06-05-17, 01:00 PM
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It should be service every six months or more often if use in wet environment .
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Old 06-05-17, 01:11 PM
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Originally Posted by bikeman715 View Post
It should be service every six months or more often if use in wet environment .
It is simple to do and does not require any specialized tools so easy to do more often; just a little grease and time, you can't really overdo it.
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Old 06-05-17, 01:18 PM
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Originally Posted by dsbrantjr View Post
It is simple to do and does not require any specialized tools so easy to do more often; just a little grease and time, you can't really overdo it.
Do you have to remove the pedals to regrease the bearings?

Pita.
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Old 06-05-17, 01:24 PM
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Originally Posted by mtb_addict View Post
Do you have to remove the pedals to regrease the bearings?

Pita.
That would be the easy part.
Technically speaking, no you don't have to remove the pedals to service the bearings. But I find its a lot easier to do if you could take it all apart and get everything nice and clean.
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Old 06-05-17, 01:25 PM
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Originally Posted by mtb_addict View Post
Do you have to remove the pedals to regrease the bearings?

Pita.
While it is simple there IS a certain minimum amount of work to do.
You would need to remove at least one pedal to get the BB/cranks out of the frame; trying to service it in situ WOULD be a PITA and likely take much more extra time than removing a pedal. Removing and regreasing the pedals occasionally will help keep them from getting stuck.
Keep the pedal threads greased and they should come right off.
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Old 06-05-17, 01:26 PM
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Originally Posted by mtb_addict View Post
Do you have to remove the pedals to regrease the bearings?

Pita.
Strictly speaking, no. You can sneak everything apart far enough to re-grease the bearings without full disassembly. On the other hand, pedal removal is easy, and it's probably more convenient to clean the bearing cups and other parts with everything completely apart.

Pedal removal should only be a problem the first time, if at all. Once you've gotten the threads to budge once, and grease them before re-assembling, it shouldn't be too hard to get them back apart the next time.

With that said, I doubt that the majority of bikes made with one-piece cranks were ever serviced more often than once in a blue moon, and that's if the owner happened to be fussy about their bike.

I love the concept -- the only pitfall was that it couldn't be done with aluminum crank arms.
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Old 06-05-17, 01:35 PM
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Originally Posted by Gresp15C View Post
...I doubt that the majority of bikes made with one-piece cranks were ever serviced more often than once in a blue moon, and that's if the owner happened to be fussy about their bike.
And a lot of those un-serviced BBs wobbled and squeaked as the rusty bearings ground themselves to dust, and the bikes hit the junk heap way before their time.
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Old 06-05-17, 01:43 PM
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Is it okay if I tighten the pedal just lightly?....so easier to remove next time!


Originally Posted by leob1 View Post
That .
Originally Posted by dsbrantjr View Post
While .
Originally Posted by Gresp15C View Post
Strictly .
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Old 06-05-17, 01:45 PM
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Originally Posted by mtb_addict View Post
Is it okay if I tighten the pedal just lightly?....so easier to remove next time!
Most common cause of stripped pedal or crank threads is inadequate tightening. Just clean and grease the threads and they should come off fairly easily.
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Old 06-05-17, 01:53 PM
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One thing to keep in mind also is that even if the bottom bracket is left so long that it has been damaged beyond repair, replacing it is very inexpensive, so not to worry if you leave things too long
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Old 06-05-17, 01:53 PM
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I'm pretty sure the one pedal you need to remove is the *left* side so you can snake the crank through the frame. Remember that this pedal has a left-hand thread, so it turns in the opposite direction to remove than the one on the right side.

As for the grease for wet conditions, I have seen a lot of recommendations for "marine grease", which is used for lubricating the wheel bearings of boat trailers that get immersed in water.
Steve
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Old 06-05-17, 01:56 PM
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I service them every season and I never intentionally ride in the rain. It's so simple there's no reason not to. Mainly to maintain adjustment.
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Old 06-05-17, 01:59 PM
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If you don't want to service it as often, you can replace the bottom bracket with a sealed cartridge. You'd need an adapter to do so, as well as a different crankset and likely different pedals, but it's doable.
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Old 06-05-17, 02:02 PM
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In my opinion, those cranks are a brilliant design for inexpensive bikes. They are very rugged, easy to service, and the parts to repair them as I said before are inexpensive. The only downside is that they are quite heavy,but you wouldn't notice that on most of the bikes that have them. If you want to see a hi tech application of a one piece crank design, look at this:
https://www.cyclesuperstore.ie/shop/...asp?idpage=120
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Old 06-05-17, 02:09 PM
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Originally Posted by SkyDog75 View Post
If you don't want to service it as often, you can replace the bottom bracket with a sealed cartridge. You'd need an adapter to do so, as well as a different crankset and likely different pedals, but it's doable.
That is a viable option, but considering how much it might cost, unless you were looking to save weight, simply servicing the existing crank and replacing parts when needed would be far cheaper
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Old 06-05-17, 02:19 PM
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Originally Posted by alcjphil View Post
In my opinion, those cranks are a brilliant design
Yep...that's why I bypassed a bike with 3-piece BB, and bought a bike with 1-piece BB.

I heard Ashtabula is bomb proof!
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Old 06-05-17, 02:33 PM
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Originally Posted by mtb_addict View Post
Yep...that's why I bypassed a bike with 3-piece BB, and bought a bike with 1-piece BB.

I heard Ashtabula is bomb proof!
The basic design is robust, but some of the ones found currently on low cost bikes are no more than firecracker proof, they are not anything like the cranks found on something like an old Schwinn Varsity

Last edited by alcjphil; 06-05-17 at 02:36 PM.
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Old 06-05-17, 02:39 PM
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You will ruin your crank if you don't tighten your pedal properly. And how much labor are you saving? It's easy with a wrench that fits, even easier if you have a pedal wrench, and pedal wrenches are not expensive.

Servicing these cranks is so easy, it's fun.
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Old 06-05-17, 03:40 PM
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Originally Posted by noglider View Post
You will ruin your crank if you don't tighten your pedal properly. And how much labor are you saving? It's easy with a wrench that fits, even easier if you have a pedal wrench, and pedal wrenches are not expensive.

Servicing these cranks is so easy, it's fun.
Didn't know there're wrenches just for pedals. Thanks!!! I need one!
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Old 06-05-17, 03:42 PM
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Yeah you should be reading sheldonbrown.com and parktool.com. You'll learn a lot, such as the existence of pedal wrenches.

This would be a good time to tell you that the left pedal (the one you put your left foot on) is reverse-threaded. Turn clockwise to remove.
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Old 06-05-17, 03:48 PM
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Originally Posted by noglider View Post
Yeah you should be reading sheldonbrown.com and parktool.com. You'll learn a lot, such as the existence of pedal wrenches.

This would be a good time to tell you that the left pedal (the one you put your left foot on) is reverse-threaded. Turn clockwise to remove.
Also...you use a 9/16" pedal wrench on a 1/2" pedal...
but you use a 15mm pedal wrench on a 9/16" pedal....very non intuitive.
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Old 06-05-17, 04:00 PM
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Originally Posted by mtb_addict View Post
Also...you use a 9/16" pedal wrench on a 1/2" pedal...
but you use a 15mm pedal wrench on a 9/16" pedal....very non intuitive.
You use a 15 mm pedal wrench on ANY pedal that has wrench flats regardless of spindle size
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Old 06-05-17, 04:20 PM
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Originally Posted by alcjphil View Post
You use a 15 mm pedal wrench on ANY pedal that has wrench flats regardless of spindle size
This Park pedal wrench with two sizes.

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Old 06-05-17, 06:39 PM
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Originally Posted by mtb_addict View Post
Yep...that's why I bypassed a bike with 3-piece BB, and bought a bike with 1-piece BB.

I heard Ashtabula is bomb proof!
They are quite tolerant of neglect. I serviced an adult trike with an Ashtabula crank last week, and there was not a speck of grease to be found anywhere in the assembly. I took it apart to find it sparkling clean inside.
not the first time this has happened by the way.
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