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Fixed Cup stuck and Sheldon method not succeeding. Help, please.

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Fixed Cup stuck and Sheldon method not succeeding. Help, please.

Old 07-27-11, 10:56 AM
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LeicaLad 
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Fixed Cup stuck and Sheldon method not succeeding. Help, please.

Good Wrench Men,

I am trying to replace a Stronglight BB on my 40 yr-old Gitane TdF. Itís long overdue. Iíve removed all but the fixed cup and I am, or rather it is, stuck. Really stuck.

I have a Park BB tool, but it is 36mm. This Stronglight cup is between 37mm & 38mm. I have no wrenches with a face that could grip the tiny purchase area of this cup.

So, Iíve been trying the Sheldon Method. And Iím STILL having no luck in loosening that d*mn fixed cup.

Got the 1/2" bolt & half-dozen lock washers. First, I included a couple rubber washers at the contacts with the cup. I'm thinking the rubber will stick and improve the friction. Ha. Rubber disintegrated from the pressure. Okay. Back off, clean away rubber remains, & start over.

Bolt is from inside BB bracket. Nut on the outside. Following Sheldon's instructions. I've cranked it down and put all my not-inconsiderable-weight on the torque. No luck. Ugh. I've filled the inside with dry lube (spray type), as it's what I have. Not sure what to try next. No vise available. No crescents that size that have clean face to grip that tiny edge purchase the fixed cup offers.

This is a replacement job, so I do want it off. The cups are technically serviceable, but they & spindle have a few pits and scars. It really needs to be replaced. I figure 40 years is good enough. I have options in my parts box. Phils, OMAS, whatever. But..., I gotta get this damn fixed cup off first.

Any advice for me at this stage?

Thank you in advance.
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Old 07-27-11, 11:10 AM
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Are you turning it the right way ? Most fixed cups are lefthand thread, so turn clockwise to remove ..... but there are a few screwy old threadings with righthand fixed cups ...... Swiss or French ?? Not sure ..... maybe ask in Classic & Vintage.
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Old 07-27-11, 11:25 AM
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I'd guess a 40 year old Gitane would have a French threaded BB. Still doesn't hurt to check.

Assuming you know what way to turn it, soak the cup threads with some sort of penetrating oil, repeatedly, over the course of several days. Then, get out a propane torch and heat it up. If you keep the torch pointed at the cup, you shouldn't do any damage to the paint but take it slow to be sure. Get a big wrench and increase the leverage if needed by using some sort of extender. You can also try tapping on the cup to loosen up the bond between the cup and frame. The 'big bolt' technique should be enough to grip the cup but you will want to get a serious wrench to turn the bolt, preferably something with a long handle or a handle that can have an extender fitted over it.

I had a stuck fixed cup on an old PX-10 that took a week to get off. I used all the above methods and finally got it off but at one point I was worried I was going to crumple the frame due to the force I was putting on it to try and turn the cup.

The cup is stuck because the cup and frame have bonded chemically/galvanically/mechanically. You need to break that bond by using penetrating oil, heat, tapping, etc. Do this first, then resort to brute force for the final push.
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Old 07-27-11, 11:28 AM
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French threading is right-hand for both cups, like Italian. Given your bike is 40 years old and French the fixed cup is probably right-hand threaded and removes counter clockwise. Are you turning it that way?

English and Swiss fixed cups are left-hand threaded.
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Old 07-27-11, 11:57 AM
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Thanks, guys.

Yes, French threads. So, backwards from British/Japanese.

I gotta go get some penetrating oil. All I have is some dry spray (Liquid Wrench branded), and I know that won't do the trick.

As this cup has never been removed (I bought the bike new), I know it is thoroughly bonded.

I'll have to borrow a torch. This frame has been around the globe and never refinished, so it has many battle scars. I'll hope not to do worse, but I'm not overly worried about scratching up a very well-scratched BB bracket.

I'm reading the history threads. I think it'll be a combo of brute force and... brute force. I just don't want to ruin the frame. I love this bike.

Still open to tips.

Thanks.
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Old 07-27-11, 12:16 PM
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recently had similar difficulties removing the fixed cup on a cannondale sr500. I completely rounded the nut (using the sheldon method/tool). I ended up taking it to the LBS and paid 5$ to have them remove it for me... worth it, would have been even more worth it if I hadn't already wasted a couple hours of effort trying to DIY.
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Old 07-27-11, 12:30 PM
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Put the Sheldon bolt in and take it to your local garage/ tire shop. Their air impact wrench will make short work of a stuck fixed cup.

I've found that zero lockwashers is best- you want to tighten the bolt to the cup as you're trying to remove it, and lockwashers are for keeping the bolt from loosening- different purposes. For right-hand threads (Italian, French?), put the socket wrench through the inside of the BB to remove the fixed cup, and for left-hand threads (English), put the wrench on the outside of the BB.

Last edited by cycle_maven; 07-27-11 at 12:38 PM.
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Old 07-27-11, 01:02 PM
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Can you peer inside the BB shell from the adjustable side and get a glimpse of the threads to verify if they are left or right ?
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Old 07-27-11, 02:00 PM
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All penetrating oils are not equal. PB blaster seems quite popular and I keep a can of that around but the absolute best, according to many, is a 1:1 mixture of acetone and automatic transmission fluid. It has a proven history of working well but it does not "keep" well so I only mix up enough to get the job done when I need it (thus the can of PB Blaster for the quick jobs). Keep it off the paint unless you intend to also remove the paint. I've never seen this mentioned here but many auto/tractor mechanics and machinists recommended it highly.
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Old 07-27-11, 02:03 PM
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Have you tried giving the cup a few good whacks with a hammer ? Might loosen it a bit. Also, a nice flame under the BB shell might help too ... or not
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Old 07-27-11, 02:12 PM
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Yes, French threads. So, backwards from British/Japanese.
If the treading is not stamped onto the fixed cup, the way to tell the treading on an old Stronglight fixed cup is as follows:

2 rings, 8 sides: English (LH thread)
1 ring, 8 sides: French (RH thread)
1 ring, 2 flats: Italian (RH thread)
no rings, 8 sides: Swiss (LH thread)
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Old 07-27-11, 02:33 PM
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I bought this baby new in the summer of 1971. It's French everything Ė headset, pedals, etc. This is the original Stronglight 93 crankset and original Stronglight BB.

A photo:



I have limited tools or equipment where I am. No vise, no big crescents. I ran off to hardware store to create my Sheldon Tool. Will make another run for PB blaster. Don't think I can do the acetone & tranny fluid as a guest in my aging mum's house. Great idea, tho. I'll make note of this for future operations!

So, I'll do my best with what I have. There is an LBS here that is old enough (the shop, although not necessarily the wrenching staff) that they might have a proper tool. That's my fallback, but I hate to give in. . . mostly as a matter of principle!
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Old 07-27-11, 02:48 PM
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If the cup is disposable anyway, take it to a muffler/auto shop and have them chisel it off with an impact air chisel. A sharp bit will gouge into the face of the nut and the rapid vibration will loosen any seized part. Chisel in the proper direction to loosen the cup.

MIG weld a big nut to it and use an impact wrench to remove. I know from experience these techniques work on antique car parts so it seems like they'd work on bike parts too.
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Old 07-27-11, 02:50 PM
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How about a plumber's pipe wrench with a nice long handle or bar ?
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Old 07-27-11, 03:21 PM
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are you planning to reuse the existing BB? if so I would not removing the fixed cup. if your replacing the BB, try and find someone to chase the threads.

I used a bare minimum of washers, I think just the bolt, nut and a lockwasher.


I had a stuck/cross threaded adjustable cup on a Bianchi last winter. first thing I noticed with the itaadjusting cups right hand thread was I need to remove it via the drive side when using the 'Sheldon' method.

My Sheldon tool


a 3/8" ratchet proved to small for the task



at my brother bait/tackle/hitch store borrowing a huge 1" drive breaker bar and socket. he claims to have broken this in his auto/light truck Mechanic days
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Old 07-27-11, 03:55 PM
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An impact wrench and/or welding a nut onto the cup is a great idea. Any good muffler shops in your area? They would know all the tricks but I wouldn't let the frame out of your sight while they were working on it!

You can find ATF at any car store or even most grocery stores and acetone at any drugstore in the nail polish section. You wouldn't need much and it isn't expensive.

Good luck!

PS, I might have an identical replacement cup if you end up needing one. Can't vouch for it's condition at the moment but you could have it gratis if needed.
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Old 07-27-11, 04:25 PM
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get some pipe to put over your ratchet or breaker bar. seatpost is a good one. shock the bb with some hammer blows. finally use the blue wrench(torch). you can also use canned air duster. turn the can upside down to freeze it and give it another hit with the hammer
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Old 07-27-11, 04:50 PM
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Wow! Some serious techniques here. I'm sooo short of a decent workshop. No stand and few tools. Spread out on a cement floor, I feel like I'm wrestling with steel. I guess I Am wrestling with steel. The steel has the advantage.

I don't plan to reuse this, as I've replacements in hand. Two Phil cartridges and an OMAS unit. Depends on which spindle length proves the best fit to the Stronglight 93 when it goes back on.

I've soaked it with loosening compound. I'll hit it again in the a.m. If no success, I'll go visit the LBS here to see just what tools they really have. Might be good to educate some young workers what proper bikes actually look like.

Much as the full-on shop treatments appeal to me, I'm on the road and visiting this pleasant small town in Kansas. I know there would be capable men with welding equipment and impact wrenches. . ., but I don't know them. My car has Virginia license plates. Sorta like waving a red flag around here. Think I need to be a bit careful about handing over my vintage treasure (to me) . . . It's only a Gitane, but a very much loved one.

Thanks for all the cool tips.
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Old 07-27-11, 07:17 PM
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Originally Posted by LeicaLad View Post
I don't plan to reuse this, as I've replacements in hand. Two Phil cartridges and an OMAS unit. Depends on which spindle length proves the best fit to the Stronglight 93 when it goes back on.
.
I hope they match whatever threading your BB turns out to be. I'm still not clear if the fixed cup is right or left.
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Old 07-27-11, 07:18 PM
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I had a stuck/cross threaded adjustable cup on a Bianchi last winter. first thing I noticed with the itaadjusting cups right hand thread was I need to remove it via the drive side when using the 'Sheldon' method.
There's one subtle point that you glossed over. You have purposely oriented the screw and nut so that when you turn the screw in the direction to loosen the cup you are also tightening the screw and nut onto the cup. This helps the screw and nut to hold onto the cup.

This is the orientation you need for a right hand threaded cup: the screw head is inside the bottom bracket and the nut is on the outside. You then tighten the screw head through the bottom bracket. This will loosen the right hand threaded bottom bracket cup. If the screw and nut slip, you can tighten the nut and screw together.

This is the orientation you would use for a left hand threaded cup: the screw head is outside the bottom bracket and the nut is on the inside. You then tighten the screw head from the outside of the bottom bracket. This will loosen the left hand threaded bottom bracket cup.

As noted, the OP has a right hand threaded fixed cup.
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Old 07-27-11, 07:27 PM
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Yes. Thank you.

It is right-handed. French thread.

I've followed the Sheldon instructions, too. Nut on the outside. It's just bl**dy tight.

And, I have French thread Phil rings, and a French thread OMAS BB on stand-by.

I have spare French threaded pedals, too, but it doesn't appear that I'll need them.
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1984 Tom Ritchey Team Competition (NOS show bike)
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Old 07-27-11, 08:06 PM
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Are you slipping the bolt or just can't push hard enough? If you just can't push hard enough get a bigger wrench. Alternatively, slide a pipe over your socket wrench and go at it with that. If you think you'll break the socket wrench either use a breaker bar, or use a Craftsman socket wrench.
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Old 07-27-11, 08:45 PM
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Actually, I'm slipping the bolt. I removed all the washers, but one on each side of the cup. This leaves me working very close to the stays. One slip has already left me with a bruised thumb (which exhausted my repertoire of cursing!).

I also have visions of the bolt breaking, and then being unable to get it off the d*mn cup.

Without a proper stand, I actually fear more that I will lose control of the frame and bash the headtube or such into/onto the concrete floor. This would be disastrous.

So, another round of soaking in the loosy juice for the overnight. Then off to make the rounds of appropriate shops in the a.m. I think that it's not so much beyond me as it is beyond what tools/equipment I have to hand. Give me a vise, and any of the suggested breaker bars, etc., and I think I'd have this. I just don't have such available where bike & I are at. sigh.

Many thanks to each of you.
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1971 Gitane Super Corsa (The Garage Queen)
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1984 Tom Ritchey Team Competition (NOS show bike)
(replacing the stolen 1981 Tom Ritchey Everest custom)
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Old 07-27-11, 08:58 PM
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i've seen guys sit on the floor and put their foot on the end of the wrench handle while holding / turning the frame (used as another big lever) leg muscle is stronger than arm muscle.
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Old 07-27-11, 09:07 PM
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Originally Posted by brooklyn_bike View Post
i've seen guys sit on the floor and put their foot on the end of the wrench handle while holding / turning the frame (used as another big lever) leg muscle is stronger than arm muscle.

Pretty much describes the scene. The wife came down, laughed, and left.

Yup.
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1963 Hetchins Mountain King (the gravel grinder)
1971 Gitane Tour de France (The War Horse)
1971 Gitane Super Corsa (The Garage Queen)
1980 Ritchey Touring (The Grail Bike)
1984 Tom Ritchey Team Competition (NOS show bike)
(replacing the stolen 1981 Tom Ritchey Everest custom)
1985 ALAN Record (Glued & Screwed. A gift.)
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