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Bottom Bracket Fixed Cup Maint/Removal

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Classic & Vintage This forum is to discuss the many aspects of classic and vintage bicycles, including musclebikes, lightweights, middleweights, hi-wheelers, bone-shakers, safety bikes and much more.
View Poll Results: Bottom Bracket Fixed Cup Removal Schedule
Never
2
3.77%
Only if damaged
26
49.06%
Only if it comes out on the first try
5
9.43%
On a regular basis
20
37.74%
Voters: 53. You may not vote on this poll

Bottom Bracket Fixed Cup Maint/Removal

Old 07-22-22, 12:44 PM
  #26  
Narhay
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It is easier to clean the cup and place bearings and grease out of the frame. If it was installed properly once then it can be installed again. Who says the initial installer did a better job than you can?
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Old 07-22-22, 01:06 PM
  #27  
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Originally Posted by John E View Post
Does your definition of "proper tools" include the Sheldon Brown nut-washers-and-bolt system?

When I took the 1959 Capo to CyclArt for a repaint, I needed help removing the fixed cup. Jim Cunningham had a bench vise mounted atop a long pole in the middle of a large room, and that was the only way we could garner enough leverage to break it loose.

For an ISO, British, or Swiss-threaded BB, I can justify removing the fixed cup, but how about Italian or French? I find I need to use Loctite to keep those fixed cups "fixed." Is it really advantageous to take these in and out and grease the threads when they inherently have trouble staying tight because of a major (self-loosening) design blunder?
I don't really grease those, minimal smear to stem corrosion, but the same process that gets a seized/stuck cup out is used to get it properly tight in the inverse when reinstalling it.

Properly servicing the threads can insure them from becoming a problem.

I have never had any cup come loose that I know of.
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Old 07-22-22, 01:11 PM
  #28  
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Originally Posted by leftthread View Post
Include a fifth category: fixed cup removal only to install a cartridge bb.
Of course, it would also have to be remoed if one wanted to do an extra-spiffy frame refinish, too

DD
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Old 07-22-22, 01:13 PM
  #29  
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Originally Posted by Narhay View Post
It is easier to clean the cup and place bearings and grease out of the frame. If it was installed properly once then it can be installed again. Who says the initial installer did a better job than you can?
I assume they didn't no matter what, I want to see for myself, that's why I take them out and make certain it is done correctly.

If it wasn't done correctly or is seized, damaged, worn and ignored it will be rectified right then and there.
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Old 07-22-22, 01:19 PM
  #30  
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Originally Posted by Drillium Dude View Post
Of course, it would also have to be remoed if one wanted to do an extra-spiffy frame refinish, too

DD
That's the spirit.
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Old 07-22-22, 01:21 PM
  #31  
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Minority now.
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Old 07-22-22, 01:27 PM
  #32  
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Originally Posted by merziac View Post
That's the spirit.
Oh, I still leave mine in all the time otherwise. Even Sheldon tha God says that way's the bee's knees:

Fixed Cup:

"For normal servicing, only the adjustable (left) cup need be removed. It is a bad idea to remove the fixed (right) cup for a routine cleaning and repacking. The fixed cup should only be removed when it is going to be replaced with another one, as when replacing an entire crankset."

DD
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Old 07-22-22, 01:42 PM
  #33  
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Originally Posted by Drillium Dude View Post
Oh, I still leave mine in all the time otherwise. Even Sheldon tha God says that way's the bee's knees:

Fixed Cup:

"For normal servicing, only the adjustable (left) cup need be removed. It is a bad idea to remove the fixed (right) cup for a routine cleaning and repacking. The fixed cup should only be removed when it is going to be replaced with another one, as when replacing an entire crankset."

DD
I'm good with anything that gets you there and this is part of my point, if you are willing to take it out for a proper detail of the frame, then we know you won't hesitate to get it out when necessary if there is a problem no matter what it takes.

I get it and in our case you have the experience to make the call, full well knowing the potential pitfalls that may befall you down the road

Respectfully disagree with St. Sheldon on this statement as we all know.

He wasn't afraid of a seized cup so he didn't bother with them, competent shop mentality where production is the priority.

My concern is leading new inexperienced folks down the garden path as happened here in the thread that spun this one off.

I think newbies should learn the correct way before they learn the shortcuts that can be a problem later.

Last edited by merziac; 07-23-22 at 01:10 AM.
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Old 07-22-22, 02:06 PM
  #34  
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Originally Posted by Drillium Dude View Post
Oh, I still leave mine in all the time otherwise. Even Sheldon tha God says that way's the bee's knees:

Fixed Cup:

"For normal servicing, only the adjustable (left) cup need be removed. It is a bad idea to remove the fixed (right) cup for a routine cleaning and repacking. The fixed cup should only be removed when it is going to be replaced with another one, as when replacing an entire crankset."

DD
merziac seems to be doing most of the defense on this thread that I started. Much appreciated. I've said this before and caught hell for it. But I'll say it again, there are a number of things on Sheldon's site that I disagree with. This being one of them. Hey, there's even more in the Bible I disagree with and I'll probably catch hell for that. Literally.
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Old 07-22-22, 02:11 PM
  #35  
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Originally Posted by Narhay View Post
If it was installed properly once then it can be installed again.
Given how, and where, a lot of modern bikes are assembled today, that's a BIG "if" (I know, not really relevant to C&V, but just sayin'...).
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Old 07-22-22, 02:13 PM
  #36  
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Originally Posted by merziac View Post
Minority now.
Yeah, but I thought there was only going to be 2 votes for "On a regular basis".
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Old 07-22-22, 02:24 PM
  #37  
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Originally Posted by merziac View Post

I think newbies should learn the hard way before they learn the shortcuts that can be a problem later.
It's not a bad shortcut, tho. One can inspect the bearing surfaces on the fixed cup easily enough, and can clean old lube/lay in new with it in place, too. Slide pre-greased bearings (assuming caged) over pre-greased driveside of spindle and insert. Heck, even if I got the bike from somebody else, and servicing without removing showed a clean setup including the fixed cup, I wouldn't be concerned in the slightest if the cup might be seized. Why would I? Because a fixed cup is supposed to be as close to locked in place as possible, a stuck one, in a way, is somewhat of an asset if you aren't planning on a refinish during your time of ownership - and you've ever had one unwind on you 50 miles into a century.

Does anyone here remove the cups from the head tube, re-grease, and re-install when overhauling their headset?

I get it, I'm not normally one for shortcuts, either, but this one's a no-brainer.

DD
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Old 07-22-22, 02:30 PM
  #38  
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Originally Posted by gearbasher View Post
merziac seems to be doing most of the defense on this thread that I started. Much appreciated. I've said this before and caught hell for it. But I'll say it again, there are a number of things on Sheldon's site that I disagree with. This being one of them. Hey, there's even more in the Bible I disagree with and I'll probably catch hell for that. Literally.
Yea, we're swimming against the tide here for sure.

I understand the many reasons for the esteemed members here working around this task and fully acknowledge that they can make there own calls on this knowing the consequences if it goes south.

That being said I will reiterate for this, a good defense is the best offense, I take these head on and have never failed to get one out and make sure all is very much right when I get done.

I was a flat rate master auto tech for 20 years, if you didn't do something that should have been done and it came back for anything related to that it usually really sucked to be you.

Now days there are shops where you will be charged back for the repair you attempted and you will be charged back for somebody else to correct your mistake. Maybe a formal reprimand or worse as well, depending on who has it out for you, some get crucified, often when it may not have actually been your fault after laying hands on it.

Should have been more thorough, gone above and beyond, should have known, found it while you were there, etc.
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Old 07-22-22, 02:40 PM
  #39  
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Originally Posted by Drillium Dude View Post
It's not a bad shortcut, tho. One can inspect the bearing surfaces on the fixed cup easily enough, and can clean old lube/lay in new with it in place, too. Slide pre-greased bearings (assuming caged) over pre-greased driveside of spindle and insert. Heck, even if I got the bike from somebody else, and servicing without removing showed a clean setup including the fixed cup, I wouldn't be concerned in the slightest if the cup might be seized. Why would I? Because a fixed cup is supposed to be as close to locked in place as possible, a stuck one, in a way, is somewhat of an asset if you aren't planning on a refinish during your time of ownership - and you've ever had one unwind on you 50 miles into a century.

Does anyone here remove the cups from the head tube, re-grease, and re-install when overhauling their headset?

I get it, I'm not normally one for shortcuts, either, but this one's a no-brainer.

DD
Headset cups, pressed in vs threaded, apples and oranges IMO.

Wouldn't be a bad idea considering how many stuck stems and other HS problems crop up.

Again, you and I make these decisions knowing full well they could suck, we have had our eyes opened wide by many things that prepare us for this sort of thing.

Our big boy pants have had tools in them for a long time.
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Old 07-22-22, 02:56 PM
  #40  
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Bottom bracket service is just part of the job. It doesn’t need doing very often unless you ride a lot more miles than I ride. I have about a dozen or more bikes that I ride in rotation so now that they have all been done, I’m good for a while. The main bike I ride has a Phil BB so that one is a “get out of jail” card. The last BB fixed cup I removed was at a friends house who also removes the fixed cup for service and he asked if I could help. I said sure , fully expecting to struggle , he took out a very nice tool that has a T handle and two piece screw together driver from both sides of the cup. Man that made it much easier. We still had to steady the stand while he turned the cup free. I usually am by myself so I lay the bike down on a rug and work against my knees tapping the wrench with a brass hammer. Not my favorite job but a heck of a lot better than a stuck stem or seat post!
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Old 07-22-22, 02:56 PM
  #41  
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Originally Posted by merziac View Post
Our big boy pants have had tools in them for a long time.
Moving to the adult / After-Dark section (oh wait, we don't have one....)
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Old 07-22-22, 04:34 PM
  #42  
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Wow, this thread really blew up!

I am surprised nobody has yet mentioned the quasi-permanently-installed fixed cups on the old Raleighs, which were commonly painted with the frames. This seems like a manufacturer's vote for leaving the cup in place - and a manufacturer with a reputation for building things to last!

Maybe that's also why Sheldon preferred to leave them. He did love an old Raleigh, and often espoused their way of doing things.

I also wonder if it's down to personal anatomy. I have long fingers and can easily reach through a BB to clean the bearing race on an installed fixed cup. It is not a problem for me. I am confident in my ability to get all the old grease and crud out of there. It occurs to me that others may not be so endowed, and this may change their situation.
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Old 07-22-22, 11:16 PM
  #43  
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Originally Posted by John E View Post
Does your definition of "proper tools" include the Sheldon Brown nut-washers-and-bolt system?
For an ISO, British, or Swiss-threaded BB, I can justify removing the fixed cup, but how about Italian or French? I find I need to use Loctite to keep those fixed cups "fixed." Is it really advantageous to take these in and out and grease the threads when they inherently have trouble staying tight because of a major (self-loosening) design blunder?
I have a bolt and nut Sheldon tool, but I was referring to the specialized wrenches for bottom brackets. All of my bikes are British threaded, so I haven't had to deal with the others.
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Old 07-22-22, 11:37 PM
  #44  
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Originally Posted by merziac View Post
I think newbies should learn the hard way before they learn the shortcuts that can be a problem later.
Here I think you've dug yourself a hole. There's a very good case to be made for taking out the fixed cup when you first acquire a frame. The case for taking it out again when you're the one who installed it and are confident you did it right is, IMHO, weaker. Encouraging inexperienced home mechanics to do a job which might not be necessary and, if it is, might require extraordinary amounts of force just seems like a bad idea. The chances of something bad happening in this case seem much greater than the chances of accomplishing something good. By all means instill the value of doing things the right way, but there are just some things you shouldn't try until you know what you're doing.
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Old 07-23-22, 01:24 AM
  #45  
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Originally Posted by Andy_K View Post
Here I think you've dug yourself a hole. There's a very good case to be made for taking out the fixed cup when you first acquire a frame. The case for taking it out again when you're the one who installed it and are confident you did it right is, IMHO, weaker. Encouraging inexperienced home mechanics to do a job which might not be necessary and, if it is, might require extraordinary amounts of force just seems like a bad idea. The chances of something bad happening in this case seem much greater than the chances of accomplishing something good. By all means instill the value of doing things the right way, but there are just some things you shouldn't try until you know what you're doing.
Maybe, poor choice of word, correct instead of hard, it can in fact be both.

Your logic is as flawed as mine in the inverse IMO.

What happens if they shortcut, miss a problem and blow up a whole Campy bottom bracket that they still don't know how to get out and may not be able to find or deal with.

As I stated before, I have been a professional senior master auto mechanic most of my life and have trained several new techs. Advocating and teaching shortcutting is a cardinal sin upfront and a disservice to all that are involved. I realize that working on your own things is a different situation but if we send them down the garden path and they get lost, that's on us and not acceptable to me.

We'll have to agree to disagree and having done a lot of this sort of thing for a living, I'm sticking to it.
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Old 07-23-22, 04:12 AM
  #46  
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Originally Posted by merziac View Post
You forgot the "Always" option too.
I picked on a regular basis for that as it was the closest. Because my regular is always.
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Old 07-23-22, 06:03 AM
  #47  
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Its a risk decision. What is the likelihood of a bad assembly of the BB if the bike is C&V, the races look good and the function, when assembled, is smooth without the cranks attached?
What would be the impact of a bad assembly? Is there evidence the risk has turned into an issue?

If it is done right the first time, which may have been several k miles ago, why "fix" what isn't broke?

What is the likelihood of disassembly followed by incorrect installation of the assembly and what are the impacts?

Which has the lower risk score, servicing with or without fixed cup removal?

The biggest impact, IMHO, is damage to the fixed cup and the lock ring during disassembly and installation. Most effective mitigation is to use the right tools designed for the work on the parts.
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Old 07-23-22, 08:21 AM
  #48  
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I’m of the leave well enough alone school of thought. I have had to take out some for damage or replacement, and haven’t had to resort to very extreme measures. One even included a 64 Frejus that was uneventful. My trepidation has been in frame damage potential. I believe that I have read here about ruined frames in unskilled attempts at removal. We desire thin tubes and light steel which may flex when ridden. I am somewhat reluctant then to put a 3 foot lever on a BB cup to prove a point when all looks fine from the other side. That force seems like more than was baked into the design. Mystery cracks in BB lugs, etc might be a reward, but probably not, but unnecessary stress could be asking for problems easily avoided. A rare BB failure is different than a ruined vintage frame, and isn’t a terminal outcome.
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Old 07-23-22, 08:54 AM
  #49  
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The best method of removal is:

Cup in shop vise, grab frame and turn it the correct way. If you have the tools, frequently might be the best answer. If you don't, one of the other answers could be the best one.
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Old 07-28-22, 10:22 PM
  #50  
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Merziac needs no defending.
Doing the job correctly is the reason I do all of my own work. I've ceased to trust anyone else taking the time or knowing what they're doing.
but that might just be me
Steel Charlie is offline  

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