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Problems from bottom bracket area

Old 07-01-12, 11:49 AM
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Taz1743
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Problems from bottom bracket area

So for starters, I am new here. I've had an account for a while to post this problem but haven't done it until now, so here goes

I have a Claud Butler mountain bike which I've altered for road use (slick tyres). A problem arose at the start of this year, where there is a clicking sound from that area when even a little pressure is appled to the pedals. I've replaced the bottom bracket (shimano) but there's still this noise.

A new noise appeared this week, a croaking on each rotation of the crank. This noise appears no matter what, so it sounds like me to be the bottom bracket, but I have no clue. It could be that the pedal arms have tightened too much aswell.

Can anyone please give me ideas as to what this is? I cannot use my bike until this is sorted, I feel it's damaging something...

Thankyou
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Old 07-01-12, 12:23 PM
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Same place on each rotation? Where / what position is the cable end of the front deraiilleur cable in, is this catching the crank?

Have you looked at the bike when you are not on it, and rotate the cranks, can you ID where the sound is from this?

Are the crank arms done up, same with the pedals.

Finding creaks is very hard, if not impossible without having the bike physically with you, have you tried taking it to a bike shop?
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Old 07-01-12, 12:46 PM
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Probably the most annoying problem to diagnose on a bike is clicking or ticking synchronous to pedal rotation. There are so many possibilities, and all too often the noise doesn't originate anywhere near the cranks. I've seen it be a hub, headset or saddle problem, so you can see how this can be a nightmare.

That said start with the most basics, and do the simplest first. Eliminate the pedals by trying another pair. If that solves the problem, replace your originals and see if it's still OK. Often the type of noise you describe comes from the pedal/crank thread and simply removing and replacing pedals solves it. Sometimes adding a pedal washer prevents the clicking from returning better than without.

After the pedals, and a basic check of crank tightness it gets more complicated, so if it isn't the pedals, post the specifics of your crank and BB, and I or others will take through some of the next tier of possibilities.
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Old 07-01-12, 03:09 PM
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Originally Posted by jimc101 View Post
Same place on each rotation? Where / what position is the cable end of the front deraiilleur cable in, is this catching the crank?

Have you looked at the bike when you are not on it, and rotate the cranks, can you ID where the sound is from this?

Are the crank arms done up, same with the pedals.

Finding creaks is very hard, if not impossible without having the bike physically with you, have you tried taking it to a bike shop?
First answer, no there is no catching of the crank. I can't access my 3rd set of gears because of another noise (chain hitting deraiilleur).

2nd, no noise when pedalling by hand (can't seem to be able to apply the same pressure though, and the bike was upside down...)

3rd crank arms are definitely done up

4th, no I haven't tried a bike shop. Will they charge a lot for a diagnosis of problems?
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Old 07-01-12, 03:11 PM
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Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
Probably the most annoying problem to diagnose on a bike is clicking or ticking synchronous to pedal rotation. There are so many possibilities, and all too often the noise doesn't originate anywhere near the cranks. I've seen it be a hub, headset or saddle problem, so you can see how this can be a nightmare.

That said start with the most basics, and do the simplest first. Eliminate the pedals by trying another pair. If that solves the problem, replace your originals and see if it's still OK. Often the type of noise you describe comes from the pedal/crank thread and simply removing and replacing pedals solves it. Sometimes adding a pedal washer prevents the clicking from returning better than without.

After the pedals, and a basic check of crank tightness it gets more complicated, so if it isn't the pedals, post the specifics of your crank and BB, and I or others will take through some of the next tier of possibilities.
Will the tightness of the pedal arm be a cause of creaking? It may possibly be too tight BUT it came loose earlier this week so was tightened as a precaution.
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Old 07-01-12, 03:17 PM
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Remove the pedals, grease the threads and crank interface and reinstall and tighten them firmly. See if that helps.
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Old 07-01-12, 03:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Taz1743 View Post
Will the tightness of the pedal arm be a cause of creaking? It may possibly be too tight BUT it came loose earlier this week so was tightened as a precaution.
No they can't be too tight. But as I said first time, and others since, stop pulling your hair out and try the simple first. Remove both pedals, clean the threads and, most important the flat face where the pedal meets the crank (both the pedals and cranks) and reattach the pedals. This is 5 minutes work (if you're slow) and solves the problem about 1/3 of the time. Also, if you have, try a totally different set of pedals, so definitively eliminate the pedals as the problem.

If you have clip in shoes and pedals, try a pair of standard rubber or non-clip pedals, since pedal cleat noise is also a common issue.

The goal is to methodically rule out anything that is easy, before starting to take apart more complicated parts. I know of someone who just about disassembled and rebuilt his entire bike chasing a creak for weeks only to discover that one cleat mounting screw was loose and the cleat was flexing up and down under his foot.
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Last edited by FBinNY; 07-01-12 at 03:30 PM.
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Old 07-01-12, 03:27 PM
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You might need to dismantle your BB and clean and regrease the bearings and inside of the hub where the spindle sits.

I have to do that quite often with my MB, it gets water in and the hub gets mucky with rusty coloured muck.

Much better when I clean and regrease it.
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Old 07-01-12, 09:53 PM
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Originally Posted by Taz1743 View Post
...crank arms are definitely done up

...no I haven't tried a bike shop. Will they charge a lot for a diagnosis of problems?
I don't know what the other person meant by "done up," so don't know if you do either. The pedals and crank arms need to be tight - follow FB's advice as far as making sure there are not problems with the meeting of parts.

Shops will generally give a free estimate, but there is no way to know the source of a clicking sound without eliminating the possibilities one by one - by working on the bike. So of course they would need to charge you. There is no way to know the amount ahead of time, but in most cases it would be a rather modest amount - $10 to $15 would be my guess, plus parts if needed.

Originally Posted by Taz1743 View Post
... (crank arme) came loose earlier this week so was tightened as a precaution.
If something comes loose it is tightened as a correction, not as a precaution. Does "came loose" mean it made noise, wobbled around, or came off? If either of the latter two occured and the arm is still/again clicking then you need to replace the crank arm.

Last edited by cny-bikeman; 07-01-12 at 09:59 PM.
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Old 07-01-12, 10:16 PM
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Of all the jobs you could bring to a bike shop, this may be the one you want to the least. If you're lucky you'll find a good mechanic with incite (or just plain luck) who'll find the problem in short order. More likely it'll involve lots of time, wasted effort, wasted replacement of perfectly good parts, and a pretty expensive tab, and no guaranty of success.

Try to work through and eliminate anything you can and only see the dealer after clearing the field.

To give you an idea of how difficult this can be, here's the causes of "bottom bracket creak" on my commuter over the years. Saddle rails twice, pedal threads 4 or more times, broken rear axle, loose toe clip screw (god that one was a pain), stem creak (could of sworn it came from the BB area), loose chainring bolt, and a few other things that resolved on their own so I never found them. It never was a loose crank arm, nor anything related to the BB.

My all time favorite was a newly installed front derailleur cable that I trimmed a bit long, touching the left crank arm.
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Old 07-02-12, 03:06 AM
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Nobody's advised you to check the frame for cracks yet.

Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
incite
I don't want to incite a spat, but I think you meant insight
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Old 07-02-12, 07:59 AM
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Originally Posted by Kimmo View Post
Nobody's advised you to check the frame for cracks yet.



I don't want to incite a spat, but I think you meant insight
Sure did. That's two from last night. From now on, I'll send you all my late night posts to be proofed before putting them up.
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Old 07-26-12, 12:50 PM
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I took my bike to the local bike shop. He didn't narrow down the problem, just gave me a quote for £150 (£200 inc. labour!). I'm going to replace the crankset, chain, rear sprocket because they're old. My crank is actually a little out of alignment and on each rotation, the chain touches the front dérailleur, but this isn't the cause of the clicking, which I still haven't sourced. The click has now got so frequent it happens on each rotation, sometimes twice. The noise is amplified through the frame, so I'm not sure of the location but I'll replace these parts as they aren't too expensive, and if needs be, I can still return them.

Is there guides on this forum of how to replace parts properly? I'm not new to cycling but I'd just like to make sure everything is going on correctly.
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