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Question overhauling my pedals

Old 09-12-21, 09:26 PM
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gululok
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Question overhauling my pedals

Hi all, I'm new.

I'm trying to fix up an old bike. The left pedal makes a very strong click on down stroke, so I thought I would re-pack the grease. When I disassembled the left pedal, the outer race has 10 bearings, and the inner race has 12 bearings. The right pedal has 13 bearings in both outer/inner race. How many bearings are there supposed to be in each race? Do I need more bearings, or can I shuffle them for 12 bearings in each race?

I found this white lithium grease in my garage. It's opaque white, and a little runnier than the old grease that was in the pedals before. Is it good for this purpose? My local bike shop has the park tools polylube that I see people use in youtube videos, but I'm hesitant to get that giant tub when I'm only working on my one bike.

Last edited by gululok; 09-12-21 at 09:38 PM.
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Old 09-12-21, 11:04 PM
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If your right and left pedal are a matched pair then they both should have 13 balls at each end. The reason for the loud click is the shortage of balls, some of which have probably disintegrated with use (or been lost during a previous rebuild).

Leave the lithium grease where you found it, head off to your local auto or hardware store and get a tub of general purpose grease. People here can talk for weeks about grease, but nothing on a bike except a coaster brake hub is really under that heavy a load. It just has to stay in place.
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Old 09-12-21, 11:15 PM
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I use white lithium grease when repacking anything on the bike, pedals, headset, hubs, bottom bracket, etc. It's white, not opaque, actually looks like Campagnolo grease, and it feels thicker than the Park stuff. You can get this stuff at Lowe's.

I don't know what kind of pedals you have, but the vintage ones I overhaul usually have the same number of bearings in both races, inner and outer. The count is often 13, or 26 in each pedal. Unlike a headset, you can normally pack a pedal race full of bearings without leaving any dead space.
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Old 09-12-21, 11:59 PM
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Originally Posted by SurferRosa View Post
I use white lithium grease when repacking anything on the bike, pedals, headset, hubs, bottom bracket, etc. It's white, not opaque, actually looks like Campagnolo grease, and it feels thicker than the Park stuff. You can get this stuff at Lowe's.

I don't know what kind of pedals you have, but the vintage ones I overhaul usually have the same number of bearings in both races, inner and outer. The count is often 13, or 26 in each pedal. Unlike a headset, you can normally pack a pedal race full of bearings without leaving any dead space.
It's a basic bike from Costco, so I imagine they're just cheap generic pedals. Metal cage screwed onto plastic spindle housing.

Btw, is there any trick to pulling out the dust cover? I spent a long time prying with various screwdrivers, and ended up putting in a screw to gain purchase, but that left a hole that I'd have to caulk over.
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Old 09-13-21, 08:52 AM
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Originally Posted by SurferRosa View Post
Unlike a headset, you can normally pack a pedal race full of bearings without leaving any dead space.
Is there some rule of thumb on when you can pack a race full and when not? I too come across mismatched numbers of bearings and always wonder what's right.
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Old 09-13-21, 09:44 AM
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Originally Posted by Chuckles1 View Post
Is there some rule of thumb on when you can pack a race full and when not? I too come across mismatched numbers of bearings and always wonder what's right.
If you cram every bearing you can in there and then put it back together and it doesn't work smoothly, then you have one too many bearings.

Conversely, if putting it together and adjusting it, you have a lot of wobble and play occasionally but it otherwise runs smoothly (when it's not wobbling), then you probably don't have enough balls in it.
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Old 09-14-21, 03:24 PM
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Originally Posted by Chuckles1 View Post
Is there some rule of thumb on when you can pack a race full and when not?
This is how I approach it when I have a question or doubt:

Hubs - check Velobase

Headset - use retainers if possible. Use loose balls if necessary, packing the race(s), then removing one ball to allow them to move freely.

Freewheel - same as loose balls in a headset.

Pedals - Almost always at least 11 loose balls in each race packed without dead space. (Often 13 or 26/pedal.)

And with cup and cone bottom brackets, I always use 11 loose on each side.
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Old 09-14-21, 07:26 PM
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[QUOTE=gululok;22227405

Btw, is there any trick to pulling out the dust cover? I spent a long time prying with various screwdrivers, and ended up putting in a screw to gain purchase, but that left a hole that I'd have to caulk over.[/QUOTE]

Use the shortest screw you have to fill the hole. Then, in the future when you want to lube the pedals, remove the screw and use a grease gun
with a blunt 'needle' fitting to inject grease into the hole til it extrudes from the other end of the pedal, replace screw and you are done.
This was Speedplay's standard approach to lubing their pedals and it works well. One indication for relube is a pedal that spins freely.
Lubed pedal will just spin a turn or so.
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