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Tragedy at the K Garage

Old 01-05-19, 07:11 PM
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Tragedy at the K Garage

My plan for today was to swap out the drivetrain on my Serotta from the original Chorus 2x6 to a Racing T 3x8 setup. I started with the crank. The drive side showed a serious lack of grease on the threaded parts and required a rubber mallet applied to the crank removal tool, but on the plus side I got to use my peanut butter wrench. Moving on the the non-drive side, I discovered that I didn't have the correct tool to remove the dust cap.



Sadly, there are no round tip wrenches in my toolset.

Do I have any recourse other than drilling holes in this thing?
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Old 01-05-19, 07:17 PM
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I would lay it down and let triflow sit on that crease between the cap and threads for a night. Then try putting a next larger Allen into the hole.
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Old 01-05-19, 07:19 PM
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Ran into a stripped recessed pivot nut recently. It took some thinking.

I wonder if you used a slightly smaller Allen wrench and used a pliable shim between it and the cap. Maybe a thin piece of rubber?

Or or you might consider thin bladed screwdriver just a hair wider than the key hole. Tap it with a hammer until it just seats into the hole.
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Old 01-05-19, 07:27 PM
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Originally Posted by deux jambes View Post
I wonder if you used a slightly smaller Allen wrench and used a pliable shim between it and the cap. Maybe a thin piece of rubber?
That's a good idea. Thanks! I just started 3speedslow's suggestion with penetrating oil. I'll try various improvised wrenches tomorrow.
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Old 01-05-19, 07:31 PM
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A dremel would make a quick slot for a screwdriver.
But wouldn't two little holes for a red spanner look correct? Put two holes in the drive side too.
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Old 01-05-19, 07:47 PM
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Don't forget aluminum foil.

So here's my thought:

Once you've soaked the threads for the night and have found an allen wrench that fits tight in the rounded hole take a bit of aluminum foil and put it inside the rounded hole of the crank cap and then force the allen wrench into the rounded hole. Slow steady pressure until you've either bottomed in the crank cap hole or as deep as you can go, if it's a plastic cap and not an aluminum cap use extra care as you seat the allen wrench into the caps rounded hole not to crack it with too much pressure. The goal is to have the aluminum shim up tight on the edges of the allen wrench against the inside of the rounded out crank cap hole. Then bring up your pressure slowly on the lever arm of the allen wrench and see if you can get the threads to give and move before you overcome the friction of the allen wrench edges biting into the shim of the aluminum foil against the rounded out crank cap.

Good luck.
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Old 01-05-19, 07:54 PM
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Fit a Torx in there. There are many many more sizes of Torx, between the Allen sizes.
Kinda wiggle one in, then wiggle in the next size up, and then perhaps even again, until you have formed a new Torx shaped hole in the dustcap.
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Old 01-05-19, 07:56 PM
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A flat screwdriver will take it right off. And it will still be round, so that when you acquire the correct tool, it will still work.Win win.
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Old 01-05-19, 07:59 PM
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Been there, done that... carefully pounded (Pounding in the Allen head wrench actually helped break the threads loose) a bigger sized Allen head wrench into it to "create" new flats turned it back and forth slowly with lots of penetrant till it finally screwed off the crank arm......threw the offending cap away and replaced it with a new one with grease on its threads.....
Had one that was really seized onto the crank arm. Carefullty cut a slot on its face with my Dremel then used a big flat screw driver to twist it off. Threw the also mangled cap away and replaced it with a new one with grease on its threads and I was happy!
Although these caps can get a bit expensive, I just treat them as regular wear items, usually bunged up by previous owners of my bikes....
Frankly, I always left the caps of my crankset and usually etheir lost and tossed them out, years ago......but. but,..... C&V collecting......these days...

Last edited by Chombi1; 01-05-19 at 08:02 PM.
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Old 01-05-19, 08:07 PM
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Try a tapping in a slightly bigger non-metric wrench. The next size metric is probably too big.
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Old 01-05-19, 08:08 PM
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Would an easy out screw extractor possibly work?
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Old 01-05-19, 08:37 PM
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It’s easy with a torch.
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Old 01-05-19, 08:45 PM
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....every one of those I've ever done, I've accomplished with 50/50 ATF/acetone as the penetrant, and drilling two holes to fit a pin spanner. You try to visualize where the crank bolt flats end, so you can drill through and into the empty space between the crank bolt and the crank...but that's not absolutely required for success. It just makes it easier, rather than bottoming out your drill bit on the bolt head.

I have a nice collection of Campagnolo and Stronglight crank caps now, because I started replacing most of my crank bolts with these things, with an integral thread protector.

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Old 01-05-19, 08:47 PM
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I have never been able to salvage a stuck dust cap. I either buy a replacement or go with a modern bolt. It won`t be any easier to get it off the next time around even if you can get it off without mangling it.
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Old 01-05-19, 08:50 PM
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Drill one hole, get a nail and a hammer and tap it out. And If I have any dust caps laying about, you can have them all.
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Old 01-05-19, 08:53 PM
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^
What Spadoni said - or drill two holes and take it out with an adjustable pin spanner (such as a Park SPA-6)

-Kurt
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Old 01-05-19, 09:06 PM
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Originally Posted by 3alarmer View Post
....every one of those I've ever done, I've accomplished with 50/50 ATF/acetone as the penetrant, and drilling two holes to fit a pin spanner.
Careful here. Acetone will melt a plastic cap. You may not care if you plan to discard it, but you might have a mess to clean up in the threads.
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Old 01-05-19, 09:19 PM
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First thing to do (after applying an aggressive penetrant) is to impact the periphery of the cap repeatedly with a wood dowel. Work it repeatedly until the threads are cracked loose from each other. There will still be static tension on the threads that will require some torque to overcome.

Using a 7/32" or equivalent 5.5mm hex key, cut off the short leg of the key (and the bend with it).
Taper the tip of the key to the tune of a half-millimeter, using a flat file to taper each of the six flats.
Now you have a tool that can be effectively driven into the rounded hole, recreating a good part of the hex shape that you once had there. Grip the key with a Vise-Grip while striking with a hammer while using eye protection, then turn the cap out of the crankarm.
The cap can be re-used, but you will want to force the tool a ways through the hole (with the cap perhaps resting on a block of wood) so that a normal 7/32" key can later be used to install it and remove it in normal fashion.
Grease the cap threads well before reinstalling!
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Old 01-05-19, 09:21 PM
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Originally Posted by Reynolds 531 View Post
Fit a Torx in there. There are many many more sizes of Torx, between the Allen sizes.
Kinda wiggle one in, then wiggle in the next size up, and then perhaps even again, until you have formed a new Torx shaped hole in the dustcap.
^^^This is the correct answer.
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Old 01-05-19, 09:57 PM
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FWIW, the cap is steel. I'm not sure I can "gently tap" a bigger allen wrench into that. I'm not even sure I can drill it with what I've got on hand.
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Old 01-05-19, 10:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Andy_K View Post
FWIW, the cap is steel. I'm not sure I can "gently tap" a bigger allen wrench into that. I'm not even sure I can drill it with what I've got on hand.
See the first part of my post above, torx bits or Lisle tool super outs, easy peasy.
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Old 01-05-19, 11:11 PM
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Originally Posted by Andy_K View Post
FWIW, the cap is steel. I'm not sure I can "gently tap" a bigger allen wrench into that. I'm not even sure I can drill it with what I've got on hand.
A torx 27 or 30 may be the ticket. Maybe. There are also some small "spline" drive bits. Or triple square drive bits.
If you do not have them lying around... I do but bought sets for a few projects over time.. I would do as previously suggested and drill two 3/32" or so holes near the perimeter, reference another cap to stay inside the threaded section, then a pin wrench or something to use as a drift, part of the trick is to have the bike restrained.
Penetrant is useful and a initial step.
Been here a number of times, the chrome is hard, the material below is not, be sure to use a punched locator point to prevent drill wander.

This is the reason that I do not like crank bolt dust caps.
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Old 01-05-19, 11:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Andy_K View Post
...Do I have any recourse other than drilling holes in this thing?
Well, the moral of this story is going to be to always grease the threads, and whenever a cap fails to yield to a normal amount of loosening torque, to apply penetrant and impact the cap's periphery with a sturdy dowel before using any additional amount of torque.
All of which has never failed me (other than the times that I didn't do this of course).

And as for "wiggling in" a tool bit or "gently" hammering on it, I usually go big or go home. It's very hard to do any damage hitting the head of a crank bolt, so I aim for a complete bottoming out of the hardened bit in the hole. The hammering and resultant wedging action serves to cold-work the bore into a cold-forged net shape that matches the exact shape of the tool.
And again, with vigorous blows it is most advisable to hold the bit with a Vise-Grip and to wear safety glasses.

Last edited by dddd; 01-05-19 at 11:37 PM.
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Old 01-06-19, 12:28 AM
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Originally Posted by Hudson308 View Post
Careful here. Acetone will melt a plastic cap. You may not care if you plan to discard it, but you might have a mess to clean up in the threads.
...the plastic ones don't get corroded in place. If it's corroded in place, it ain't plastic.
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Old 01-06-19, 01:36 AM
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Originally Posted by Andy_K View Post
FWIW, the cap is steel. I'm not sure I can "gently tap" a bigger allen wrench into that. I'm not even sure I can drill it with what I've got on hand.
Do you have a bench grinder? I've made several custom tapered hex wrenches by taking whatever SAE size allen/hex key is larger than 5mm and tapering it down to pound into a stripped dust cap to screw it out. To my knowledge, this is the only possible use for SAE sized hex keys. Lord knows they don't fit anything else :shrug:
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