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You ever have a rattle you can't find?

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You ever have a rattle you can't find?

Old 01-03-19, 09:16 AM
  #1  
Skipjacks
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You ever have a rattle you can't find?

I don't need help. I'm just venting.

You ever have a rattle you can't find? When I ride I hear a rattle. It's clearly metal on metal. It's a very distinctive sound. It sounds like a loose bolt with a washer rattling between the bolt and the frame.

BUT I CAN'T FIND IT!!!!

I can't pinpoint where it's coming from with my ears when riding and I can't recreate it at home on the rack.

I've tightened every both.

I've looked at every place 2 parts meet on the bike. Bolts, fork, wheels, handlebars, you name it.

I've taken the bike apart and put it back together.

And the rattle is still there.

It's not loud. It's not annoying. It's not interfering with the safe operation of the bike.

It's just cheesing me off that I can't figure out what it is!

Thank you for listening. I feel better.
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Old 01-03-19, 09:27 AM
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it wasn't uncommon for one of my wing nuts that held my rear rack to loosen. but when I moved it to another bike I changed the hardware. so when a new rattle became obvious it took a while to find, but I found it. a diff. wing nut on the bottom of the rack was tapping the top of the rear fender. so I glued a small square of foam rubber door sweep/insulation at the contact spot





waiting for the next rattle to appear ...

Last edited by rumrunn6; 01-03-19 at 09:32 AM.
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Old 01-03-19, 09:29 AM
  #3  
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Brooks seat squeak. Took me forever to figure that out.
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Old 01-03-19, 09:34 AM
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I used to ride with a crew, and one of the guys had a press-fit BB that creaked on each pedal stroke. I could barely stand to ride near him. I can't abide a noisy bike.
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Old 01-03-19, 09:37 AM
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Originally Posted by Skipjacks View Post
I don't need help. I'm just venting.

You ever have a rattle you can't find? When I ride I hear a rattle. It's clearly metal on metal. It's a very distinctive sound. It sounds like a loose bolt with a washer rattling between the bolt and the frame.

BUT I CAN'T FIND IT!!!!

I can't pinpoint where it's coming from with my ears when riding and I can't recreate it at home on the rack.

I've tightened every both.

I've looked at every place 2 parts meet on the bike. Bolts, fork, wheels, handlebars, you name it.

I've taken the bike apart and put it back together.

And the rattle is still there.

It's not loud. It's not annoying. It's not interfering with the safe operation of the bike.

It's just cheesing me off that I can't figure out what it is!

Thank you for listening. I feel better.
I had a bike that I swear had a ball bearing loose in the downtube. Noise disappeared when I sold the bike

(It was a crappy gas pipe SS conversion in the first place and I sold it to a college kid for like $60.)
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Old 01-03-19, 11:55 AM
  #6  
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Originally Posted by Koyote View Post
I used to ride with a crew, and one of the guys had a press-fit BB that creaked on each pedal stroke. I could barely stand to ride near him. I can't abide a noisy bike.
It's funny...

The noise doesn't bather me at all.

The fact that I can't figure out what the noise is bothers the hell out of me!!! hahahaha
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Old 01-03-19, 12:48 PM
  #7  
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Originally Posted by ksryder View Post
I had a bike that I swear had a ball bearing loose in the downtube. Noise disappeared when I sold the bike.
I actually did this to myself while overhauling a headset, dropped one ball and it went past the upper cup and into the vent hole in the head tube into the top tube. What are the odds? Could not do that again on a bet. Didn't worry about it until the first ride and decided it would drive me crazy so made sure the ball rolled to both ends of the top tube and then pulled the seatpost and dribbled some Elmer's glue into the back of the top tube through the hole in the seat tube, tilted the bike back so the ball rolled into the glue and left it like that overnight to set up. Problem solved.
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Old 01-03-19, 01:30 PM
  #8  
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Originally Posted by Skipjacks View Post
I can't pinpoint where it's coming from with my ears when riding and I can't recreate it at home on the rack.
Perhaps there's a bit of weld flux or small debris inside the rim. If you have another bike with the same wheel size, swap them out and see if the noise persists.
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Old 01-03-19, 02:31 PM
  #9  
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It's not enough to simply tighten things down. You should remove items (like a seatpost or saddle), and then remount.

Swap out parts and accessories, one by one. It's often the only way.
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Old 01-03-19, 02:45 PM
  #10  
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On my Davidson the chain stay internal cable routing tube was loose, only rattled under bumpy conditions. Took forever to find but a shot of foam insulation through the BB has fixed it for the past four years.
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Old 01-03-19, 02:47 PM
  #11  
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Originally Posted by EdwinHeadwind View Post
Perhaps there's a bit of weld flux or small debris inside the rim. If you have another bike with the same wheel size, swap them out and see if the noise persists.
+1 . I had a Mavic rim with a scrap of metal inside, probably a leftover from when the spoke or valve holes were punched. At low speed the rattle was annoying. It was hard to trace since it disappeared at higher speed when the centrifugal force (yes Physic Majors, I know that's not technically the correct concept.) would pin the scrap in place and quiet everything down until I slowed down.
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Old 01-03-19, 02:49 PM
  #12  
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I had a clicking metallic noise for a few hours on ride before. It did not follow any other typical pattern of any other random noise I had before. Eventually narrowed it down to intermittent only when I sitting, going at slow speed and only when pedaling with decent power on the down stroke of my right leg. Turned out to be the hard plastic aglet from my shorts string hitting my aluminum top tube.

I believe any noise on a bike is a bad noise and for most people myself included, good or bad... it circulates in your mind often with the highest priority and frustration.

Last edited by u235; 01-03-19 at 03:58 PM.
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Old 01-03-19, 03:06 PM
  #13  
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I had a clicking noise on each pedal rotation. The shop owner helped me find the source, I had a cracked chain stay.
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Old 01-03-19, 03:40 PM
  #14  
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I rode several years with the head of a nipple rattling inside my rim. I knew what it was, Had I been home when I replaced the nipple, I"d have pulled the tire and fished it out, but I was on an organized ride and wanted to get back to it. The rattle would come and go depending on where the nipple was, how fast I was going and how rough the road.

Ben
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Old 01-03-19, 03:52 PM
  #15  
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I've had a weird ping noise that correlated roughly with my pedaling cadence. It was hard to pinpoint. It turned out that the waist drawstring on my jacket had a little plastic ball on the end, and it was bouncing on the top tube of the bike.
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Old 01-03-19, 04:40 PM
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Originally Posted by HillRider View Post
+1 . I had a Mavic rim with a scrap of metal inside, probably a leftover from when the spoke or valve holes were punched. At low speed the rattle was annoying. It was hard to trace since it disappeared at higher speed when the centrifugal force (yes Physic Majors, I know that's not technically the correct concept.) would pin the scrap in place and quiet everything down until I slowed down.
Mavic SUPs and Open 4 CDs were notorious for this -- there was some sort of "tab" inside the rim -- right at the seam -- that would rattle. A local mechanic I knew would use a punch and hammer to dent the spoke channel right above where he knew the tab was, and this pinned it against the inside wall of the rim and silenced it. I had this problem on at least two Mavic rims BITD. Weirdly, lowering the tire pressure could sometimes make it stop.
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Old 01-04-19, 05:18 PM
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Oh, yeah.

Seems trickier on my frames with oval tubing. Something about it transmits noises away from the actual source. On my conventional frame Centurion the noises seem readily apparent. But on the Univega with that spiffy Bi-Axial Power Oval frame, the oval top tube is thin, pingy and resonant, almost like a chime. So it's tricky to track down noises -- everything resonates in the top tube.

Recently chased down a squeak that finally motivated me to redo the bottom bracket. Turned out to be a dork disk I'd forgotten to remove when I'd swapped out the 7-speed cassette for 8-speed. The 32T big cog hid the smallish dork disk so I forgot it was there. On the plus side, it did motivate me to redo that BB, so... not completely a bad thing.

Intermittent squeaks that turned out to be my shoes rubbing against the crank arms.

And the thing @noglider mentioned -- clothing or other stuff pinging against the bike.

Shoes catching an overlong bit of cable on the front derailleur, causing it to snap back and ping the frame.

And, once or twice, an actual mechanical issue that needed attention, mostly because I stupidly sold my torque wrench several years ago thinking I'd never need it again and now resort to guesstorquing. Like a slightly loose crank arm on a square taper BB. A retaining ring on a new cassette that needed tightening. Or trying to adequately tighten a chainring bolt without the little nut wrench to keep it from spinning uselessly.
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Old 01-04-19, 05:55 PM
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The internal components of my CBE110 coaster hub rattled when it doesn't have enough grease.
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Old 01-08-19, 12:46 AM
  #19  
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Step 1: Tighten both of your hubs' quick releases

Step 2: Get a mechanic's stethoscope from an autoparts place for less than $15

I had a creak I could not find. Sounded like the bottom bracket to me:
~I tightened all the chainring mount bolts, still squeaked.
~Removed, cleaned and reinstalled the chainring bolts to the correct torque, using a star pattern. Still squeaked.
~Removed clean chainring bolts, applied some light threadlock on each and torqued them back on in a star pattern. Still squeaked.
~Removed crank mount bolt, reinstalled it and the lockbolts to the correct torque, alternating in stages as recommended by Shimano manual. Still squeaked.
~Removed entire crank, cleaned, regreased and reinstalled using correct torques, and alternating... Still squeaked.
~Removed clean crank, tightened bottom bracket to correct torque. Reinstalled everything... torques and alternating... Still squeaked.
~Removed crank and bottom bracket. Applied teflon tape to bottom bracket threads Reinstalled...torques, alternating... Still squeaked.
~Bought new bottom bracket. Torqued on new BB correctly with teflon tape on threads...torques, alternating... Still squeaked.
~Rode with squeak for several weeks, endured ribbing from friends. Also twisted feverish dreams about mice, about biting pieces of metal off my bike and chewing them slowly as my teeth broke, filling my mouth with a bloody, squeaky mash of broken teeth and aluminum. And still the bike squeaked.
~Remembered that I had a mechanic's stethoscope in my motorcycle tools. Asked my neighbor George to use it at several points on my bicycle while I reproduced the maddening squeak on my rollers. He isolated it to my rear hub. I tightened the quick release and the g0dd@mn bike at last stopped squeaking.

Last edited by calamarichris; 01-08-19 at 12:54 AM.
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Old 01-08-19, 09:25 AM
  #20  
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Good story, @calamarichris. We should learn from that.

Another hard-to-find creak for me turned out to be a saddle. I dropped plenty of oil where the rails met the plastic shell, but I never got the creak out. My wife happens to like the saddle, and the creak doesn't bother her, so problem solved.
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