Bicycle Mechanics Broken bottom bracket? Tacoed wheel? If you're having problems with your bicycle, or just need help fixing a flat, drop in here for the latest on bicycle mechanics & bicycle maintenance.

mysterious clicking

Old 05-10-04, 11:20 AM
  #1  
Mark4
Got Lugs?
Thread Starter
 
Mark4's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 102
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Here’s the problem: There’s a mysterious clicking sound that seems to be coming from the left side of the bottom bracket on my used 20 yr old road bike. The sound in question doesn’t become noticeable until I’ve ridden at least a few hundred yards. Fine if I’m just riding around the block… extremely annoying when riding more than a mile (and I usually put on 20+ miles on a typical outing). At times the clicking gets so loud, I have trouble fine-tuning my friction shifters since I can’t hear what’s going on with the chain… but the problem goes away after the bike sits for a while (only to return after riding a few hundred yards).

My LBS stressed the cranks, checked the chain for wear etc. and took it for a test spin around the parking lot but couldn’t find anything wrong with the bike. Everything seems tight and smooth. However, the guy I spoke with thought it *might* be a bearing that heats up while riding… but I’m not so sure. He said bring it back when it starts clicking. Unfortunately the time it takes to get the sales guy to have a look at it almost ensures the clicking will go away… and not show itself during a quick spin around the parking lot.


Has anybody else here experienced a problem like this? Should I just go ahead and have the bearings repacked/replaced, or is there something else that might be causing the clicking sound?

Also, what tools would I need to perform the task myself? It's a mid-80s Sugino crankset. I know I will need a crank-puller... but is there anything else I should get? And how can I find out what size replacement bearing should be used? May defer to the lbs this time, but I'd like to eventually purchase the right equipment for DIY bottom bracket maintainance. Thanks!
Mark4 is offline  
Old 05-10-04, 11:48 AM
  #2  
madpogue 
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Madison, WI USA
Posts: 2,873
Mentioned: 18 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 654 Post(s)
Liked 52 Times in 43 Posts
Is it a constant click, or just once per crank rev? And I presume it stops when you coast, right? How does the crank feel when you spin it? Try this. Spin the crank "cold" with your hand, then ride until the symptom starts again, then hand spin it again. If it sounds or esp. feels different, yeah, the LBS theory is probably right. But sounds are funny; there've been a lot of threads here about noise problems, and noises can often "telegraph" from the true source to a place where they're more evident.

Next time you go to the LBS, ride it there, or park far enough away to ride so that the symptom reappears. Have the mechanic (skip the "sales guy") waiting at the door as you pull up with it happening. Then s/he will be able to hear it for her/himself.

Mid-'80s means, unless it's been re-fitted, it's probably NOT a cartridge BB. Your best bet is to replace the whole BB with the proper length cartridge unit. If it's a bearing problem, it may be in the races as well as the ball bearings themselves; a cartridge BB won't cost much more and will provide many more years of worry-free cranking. You should be able to get the old BB out with standard tools. I cheat and use a screwdriver and a gentle whack with a mallet to remove the lock ring on the left side. A sufficiently large adjustable wrench should get the fixed cup off the right side (reverse-threaded, probably). To install a cartridge BB, you'll need a spline tool made for it. Oh, and if you're planning on using your existing cranks, you'll have to get the "traditional" square taper BB. There are a couple of new BB designs that use splines to mate the crank arms to the BB, which won't work with your bike.

It just occurred to me; since you hear it on the left side, maybe it's the left pedal. Same idea as above; spin the pedal after the symptom appears and see if it feels/sounds different. D'you have a spare left pedal you can put on, just to test? (Don't forget, left pedals are reverse-threaded.)
madpogue is offline  
Old 05-10-04, 12:18 PM
  #3  
dobber
Perineal Pressurized
 
dobber's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: In Ebritated
Posts: 6,555
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 1 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
My recent delve into a creak/click/tick

-Pedals, OK

-Cranks on tight, Ok

-Bottom bracket (sealed), OK

-Chainring...................gotcha, you sneaky lil bastard
dobber is offline  
Old 05-10-04, 07:41 PM
  #4  
Mark4
Got Lugs?
Thread Starter
 
Mark4's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 102
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Thanks for the input, madpogue & dobber.

Just tried a different set of pedals and checked out the chainrings. Both seem to be fine, and not the source of the click. It clicks when using either chainring, and the allen-nut-things are tight. Swapped on another set of pedals and it sounded the same. It still makes a click-click noise when I pedal down on the left (almost as if my shoe laces are hitting the bottle cages as I pedal... though I tucked them away to rule out the possibility). Will probably take it back to the LBS and see about having the bottom-bracket serviced. At the very least I'll know when it was last worked on. I've put about 50 more miles on the bike since, and it seems to click most of the time now... even after sitting awhile. Will probably stick with the bb/race/cone setup since I like my current crank arms.
Mark4 is offline  
Old 05-10-04, 10:12 PM
  #5  
531Aussie
Aluminium Crusader :-)
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Posts: 10,040
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 14 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I once went through all this, only to find it was the bloody crank hitting the front derailleur (D'OH!!), but you said it occurs on both chain rings, so that can't be it.
531Aussie is offline  
Old 05-11-04, 08:26 AM
  #6  
madpogue 
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Madison, WI USA
Posts: 2,873
Mentioned: 18 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 654 Post(s)
Liked 52 Times in 43 Posts
Could it be a slightly bent inner chainring, a coupla teeth grazing the chainstay? Shoelaces of your right shoe hitting something on its upstroke? Chainring or crank arm hitting the "sticking-out" end of the der. cable? Yeah, it sounds like a left-side sound, but that can be deceptive...

A square taper cartridge BB (compatible with your crank) shouldn't be that hard to find. Esp. if you have a source for used or NOS components; I find them frequently at swap meets, etc. Or have the LBS measure the length, and look for a match (there may even be some length leeway) on eBay.
madpogue is offline  
Old 05-11-04, 08:42 AM
  #7  
nutbag
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Mentioned: Post(s)
Tagged: Thread(s)
Quoted: Post(s)
I had a similar problem, and swapped all the parts over (cranks, bottom Bracket, pedals), only to find that the 'clicking' was my aluminum Zefal frame-mounted pump, mounted on the seat tube, rubbing against one of the bottle cage bolts (no cage on the seat tube, only bolts). The bolt had worn a groove in the pump, and the frame flexes just enough when pedalling that the bolt was clicking in and out of the groove.
 
Old 05-18-04, 07:09 PM
  #8  
Mark4
Got Lugs?
Thread Starter
 
Mark4's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 102
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Well, I finally got my bike back from the LBS after a week (they're a very busy shop), and it turns out some of the bearings had broken lose and caused the sound I was hearing. Since my first post, the bike developed quite a bit of play in the bottom bracket, so that helped the diagnosis. They replaced the outer cups (I think that's what they're called) and bearings... or something along those lines. The recipt simply says "BB". Cost a little over 10 bucks. In any event, there was no play, and everything seemed to work nicely.

Unfortunately, it started making the same sound again after about 3 miles of light riding on level ground! Not what I wanted to hear after a long day of work. I checked the bottom bracket and there's quite a bit of play. So, it's like the same problem... only it's develping a lot faster than it did before

Should I go back to the same LBS or try another shop? I'd hate to wait another week or so only to run into the same problem again. I want to ride!
Mark4 is offline  
Old 05-19-04, 06:33 AM
  #9  
Juha
Formerly Known as Newbie
 
Juha's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Helsinki, Finland
Posts: 6,251
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
My 0,02€: I would probably give them another chance to fix it. Maybe you can ask them to fix it immediately instead of waiting a week, compensating the fact that their first attempt failed so miserabely. If they refuse, just take your bike and business elsewhere.

--J
__________________
To err is human. To moo is bovine.

Who is this General Failure anyway, and why is he reading my drive?


Become a Registered Member in Bike Forums
Community guidelines
Juha is offline  
Old 05-20-04, 07:21 PM
  #10  
Mark4
Got Lugs?
Thread Starter
 
Mark4's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 102
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Thanks, I took it back to the same LBS. They checked for play and put it right up on their repair jig. One of the mechanics said it must not have been tightened enough to begin with... another mechanic (the one who did the original fix) expressed disbelief but seemed nice enough about it. That's the good news.

The bad news is that the problem's coming back. After a few miles it's started clicking again... and developing a minor amoung of play. My best guess is that when it was loose, a bearing or two broke free and the clicking is the sounds of bearings being either knocked around in the BB or shuffling around bumping into each other where (I think) there are now gaps.

Can this happen with modern replacements for old BBs? I've heard they have some sort of cage to keep this from happening... but it sounds much like the old one did before I took it in.
Mark4 is offline  
Old 05-21-04, 12:06 PM
  #11  
madpogue 
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Madison, WI USA
Posts: 2,873
Mentioned: 18 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 654 Post(s)
Liked 52 Times in 43 Posts
Some non-sealed and non-cartridge bearing systems have cages that space the ball bearings, some don't. Those cages can bend, and allow the balls to fall loose.

This isn't really a "modern replacement for an old BB". A true "modern replacement" is a cartridge BB as I described above. That woulda cost you considerably more than $10. Still, even if they just serviced the existing BB (apparently they replaced the outer races, along with some other work), it shouldn't have worked loose this quickly. Any service, however cheap, should be done to last longer than this did, and they should back up their work by checking it out again. It's possible they simply didn't torque down the lock ring sufficiently, or some such. Give 'em the benefit of the doubt that they made an honest mistake, but hold 'em to correcting it.
madpogue is offline  
Old 05-21-04, 01:36 PM
  #12  
demoncyclist
Senior Member
 
demoncyclist's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: Medway, MA
Posts: 2,726

Bikes: 2011 Lynskey Sportive, 1988 Cannondale SM400

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 19 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Take it back and tell them you want the $10 credited towrds the replacement of your BB with a cartridge type sealed unit. The part should be less than $30 for a Shimano square taper unit. I buy these in bulk for the SPinning bikes that I service, and they cost me less than $20 each. The replacement Campy BB I put on my Bianchi over the winter was $28 from Branford bike. Cheap, reliable, and relatively well sealed. I put over 15K miles on the original, and rode it in all kinds of weather, including post-hurricane downpours.
demoncyclist is offline  
Old 05-21-04, 07:16 PM
  #13  
sakarias
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Juneau, AK
Posts: 201
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Hmmm. I read that you swapped the pedals for another set and still had the noise on the same side. Too bad, because I was going to suggest the problem was (could still be, maybe) a pedal that is not sufficiently tightened into the crank arm. I fixed a cyclical clicking on my wife's bike that was due to that (took me forever to try that solution). Apparently I had not tightened them enough when I installed them. One side made noise.

Last edited by sakarias; 05-21-04 at 08:18 PM.
sakarias is offline  
Old 05-21-04, 07:27 PM
  #14  
RiPHRaPH
Don't Believe the Hype
 
RiPHRaPH's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: chicagoland area
Posts: 2,668

Bikes: 1999 Steelman SR525, 2002 Lightspeed Ultimate, 1988 Trek 830, 2008 Scott Addict

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 21 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
i went through this recently as well. it wouldn't start till miles into the ride then never stop. turned out to be a hairline crack in the **water bottle cage** >>after doing most of the above, i replaced the water bottle cage and it never returned.
RiPHRaPH is offline  
Old 05-24-04, 08:04 PM
  #15  
Mark4
Got Lugs?
Thread Starter
 
Mark4's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 102
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by demoncyclist
Take it back and tell them you want the $10 credited towrds the replacement of your BB with a cartridge type sealed unit. The part should be less than $30 for a Shimano square taper unit. I buy these in bulk for the SPinning bikes that I service, and they cost me less than $20 each. The replacement Campy BB I put on my Bianchi over the winter was $28 from Branford bike. Cheap, reliable, and relatively well sealed. I put over 15K miles on the original, and rode it in all kinds of weather, including post-hurricane downpours.
Took it back and they made a similar offer. I got a sealed BB, minus the price of the cheaper one, and they installed it for free... right then and there. Even after 50 + miles, it's fair to say the clicking is gone.

Thanks all for your help!
Mark4 is offline  
Old 05-24-04, 09:52 PM
  #16  
OneTinSloth
(Grouchy)
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 3,643
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
it doesn't sound like they were tightening it enough. those old BBs can be a royal pain in the ass. my girlfriend's bike had an old one, i took it to my friend's shop one night, and he spent a good amount of time overhauling it, put it all back together, tightened it down and the damn thing STILL had play in it. a few nights later, we narrowed it down to the spindle being very worn, and since his shop didn't have the right length, we slapped a gratis shimano cartridge unit in there. works like a dream now.

when he put the old one back together and found that it still had play in it, i though he was gonna whack the frame with the pedal wrench. it was probably 3am and he was tired as hell, and very frustrated... i would've done it myself, but i was replacing the cranks and cog on one of my bikes on the other side of the stand. i miss that kid a lot, he is a genuine, honest to goodness, good person.
OneTinSloth is offline  
Related Topics
Thread
Thread Starter
Forum
Replies
Last Post
dabigboy
Introductions
6
03-01-16 07:18 PM
WheresWaldo
Tandem Cycling
28
07-26-10 01:10 PM
Vern
Singlespeed & Fixed Gear
4
10-28-08 06:38 AM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service

Copyright © 2018 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.