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Why I hate cottered cranksets...

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Why I hate cottered cranksets...

Old 12-04-22, 01:24 AM
  #26  
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Originally Posted by bulgie View Post
Not to toot my own horn, uh no scratch that, YES to toot my own horn... I mentioned three different presses in post #9. Including the awesome Bikesmith, which I mentioned twice (with links both times) and which I recommended people buy.

What do I win? Is there an award for "Most Thirsty"?
Shoot. Now I know I'm half-asleep to have forgotten that big honkin (pun intended, @Mad Honk has the same one) VAR tool posted here and the others you mentioned.

Well, make it another vote for the Bikesmith tool as the affordable no-brainer. And a vote for me to get some shuteye.

-Kurt
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Old 12-04-22, 01:39 AM
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A cotter press is no guarantee that even a virgin cotter with thick 7mm+ (Whitworth fine-pitch) stud will press free without bending.

If such a valuable cotter shows even a hint of bending, apply heat to the smoke point before tightening the cotter press further.

I leave the cotter press in place, tensioned, while applying heating cycles, which I feel helps the cotter to migrate in the free direction.
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Old 12-04-22, 01:40 AM
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Originally Posted by dddd View Post
A cotter press is no guarantee that even a virgin cotter with thick 7mm+ (Whitworth fine-pitch) stud will press free without bending.

If such a valuable cotter shows even a hint of bending, apply heat to the smoke point before tightening the cotter press further.
^
This. Saved my bacon more than once.

-Kurt
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Old 12-04-22, 04:40 AM
  #29  
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Originally Posted by albrt View Post
I have had very good luck with the Bikesmith press. It's too expensive if you are only going to remove one crank...
Sure, it might technically be "just one crank," but it will be installed and removed multiple times trying to set things up properly. I tried maybe three or four spindles on my Automoto before finding one with acceptable dimensions. It's an iterative process my friend.

Ergo, just but the tool.
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Old 12-04-22, 07:26 AM
  #30  
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Originally Posted by dddd View Post
A cotter press is no guarantee that even a virgin cotter with thick 7mm+ (Whitworth fine-pitch) stud will press free without bending.

If such a valuable cotter shows even a hint of bending, apply heat to the smoke point before tightening the cotter press further.

I leave the cotter press in place, tensioned, while applying heating cycles, which I feel helps the cotter to migrate in the free direction.
If I was a cotter, I'd flee in the opposite direction from open flames chasing me!
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Old 12-04-22, 07:45 AM
  #31  
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Originally Posted by cudak888 View Post
Shoot. Now I know I'm half-asleep to have forgotten that big honkin (pun intended, @Mad Honk has the same one) VAR tool posted here and the others you mentioned.

Well, make it another vote for the Bikesmith tool as the affordable no-brainer. And a vote for me to get some shuteye.

-Kurt
To be fair. I noticed the link but searched for it for several minutes when I scrolled back up to check it out after getting to the bottom of the thread. I don't think I was half asleep, just too old to find it again. You wouldn't believe how much time I spend looking for something I just saw a few minutes ago online or in my garage or workbench.
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Old 12-04-22, 07:51 AM
  #32  
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Treatland.tv, a moped parts supplier out of CA, also sells a pin press. $38.
I have one. It required a little modification - removal of about 1/8 inch of material from each end of the "C". Otherwise it works well. Has removed several pins easily.
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Old 12-04-22, 11:25 AM
  #33  
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And of course, suspend the bike from the ceiling and support the crank arm at the BB with a vertical hollow steel tube resting solidly on the floor before you hit it with the hammer so you do not brinnel the races or mark the crank shaft....

https://www.rexnord.com/blog/article...-is-brinelling
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Old 12-04-22, 12:23 PM
  #34  
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Is the Bikesmiths press made of steel? Or aluminum? What size and pitch is the bolt? Anything anyone wishes it had but it doesn't?

I'd been thinking I should machine one for myself out of some old scrap steel blocks that I have. May as well do that before I need it. I'm thinking of putting cottered cranks on an old constructeur bike I have.
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Old 12-04-22, 12:26 PM
  #35  
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Originally Posted by bulgie View Post
...

I learned in the '60s and early '70s, when we didn't have the luxury of "hating" cotters, you just had to work on them, to be a bike mechanic, because most bikes had 'em. Well, Schwinn/Huffy/Murray/Columbia had one-piece, but those people never brought their bike to a bike shop for repair. A few fancy race bikes had cotterless (and were a joy to work on), but most of the bikes that came in for repair where I worked had cotters. We had a half-price winter overhaul deal, to keep the doors open in the off-season, so sometimes I'd be taking cotters out multiple times per day.

We only fired up the propane torch for super stubborn ones, but now that I have a heat gun, I'd go for the heat as a "first resort", not only as a last resort. Heat 'til the grease starts smoking, then a little more. Strike while the iron is hot!

Mark B
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Old 12-04-22, 12:28 PM
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Originally Posted by scarlson View Post
Is the Bikesmiths press made of steel? Or aluminum? What size and pitch is the bolt? Anything anyone wishes it had but it doesn't?

I'd been thinking I should machine one for myself out of some old scrap steel blocks that I have. May as well do that before I need it. I'm thinking of putting cottered cranks on an old constructeur bike I have.
...it's steel. The single problem with it is that on some cranks, the clearance is a little narrow on the drive side.
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Old 12-04-22, 01:09 PM
  #37  
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Originally Posted by 3alarmer View Post
...it's steel. The single problem with it is that on some cranks, the clearance is a little narrow on the drive side.
I have the earlier (I think) design without the curved edges. I need to occasionally remove a chainring bolt for clearance. Looking at a picture of the current product, I think it would fit a bit better.
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Old 12-04-22, 03:09 PM
  #38  
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Originally Posted by scarlson View Post
Anything anyone wishes it had but it doesn't?
Well, Mark who makes them says that of the many he's sold, a few that got heavily used eventually wore out. He considered making them of alloy steel, but it would double the cost, so he opted for keeping them affordable for the 99.9% who won't wear one out. But if you're making your own, why not make it out of 4140 or tool steel?

Other than that, it's a pretty refined design, so you should probably try to copy it as faithfully as you can. Definitely use a heat-treated alloy steel bolt for the pusher. Cupped on the end to match the typical radius on cotters.

Mark B
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Old 12-05-22, 04:30 AM
  #39  
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Originally Posted by BFisher View Post
Treatland.tv, a moped parts supplier out of CA, also sells a pin press. $38.
I have one. It required a little modification - removal of about 1/8 inch of material from each end of the "C". Otherwise it works well. Has removed several pins easily.
It just so happens I bought that one Saturday. It was reasonable enough to warrant adding to the tool box.
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Old 12-05-22, 05:55 AM
  #40  
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Send all your bikes with those pesky cottered cranks to me, I'll take care of them.
I'm always looking for an excuse to invest in a set of gorgeous Durax Service Course cranks, and would never stray simply due to a cotter pin.

One of these days I'll find a Var cotter tool and be good to go. Two of the three that I know of in this city happen to belong to my old employer, and they get used just about every day.
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Old 12-05-22, 05:57 AM
  #41  
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Oops. Double post.
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Old 12-05-22, 06:25 AM
  #42  
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I had to deal with 2 pairs of cottered cranks recently. Removal was OK, but what I hate is waiting for weeks to get the new 9mm cotters I ordered.
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Old 12-05-22, 06:52 PM
  #43  
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Jdawg,
I went to the hardware store and spent $3.65 for an 8 grade bolt and two nuts and then went to the scrap yard and got a bit of C-channel and spent a bit of time with the welder tonight. So the $4 tool is ready to ship and will go out tomorrow, and you won't hate cotters anymore. Smiles, MH

Top is the $4 tool I made today to send to you. Bottom is the Park tool I have had for about 35 years. They both work the same way.
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Old 12-05-22, 07:15 PM
  #44  
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Originally Posted by Mad Honk View Post
Jdawg,
I went to the hardware store and spent $3.65 for an 8 grade bolt and two nuts and then went to the scrap yard and got a bit of C-channel and spent a bit of time with the welder tonight. So the $4 tool is ready to ship and will go out tomorrow, and you won't hate cotters anymore. Smiles, MH

Top is the $4 tool I made today to send to you. Bottom is the Park tool I have had for about 35 years. They both work the same way.
Dang MH, you are awesome! Thank you so much! I will likely still hate cotters but someone might get an interesting one that is still intact!
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Old 12-05-22, 07:34 PM
  #45  
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Originally Posted by jdawginsc View Post
I will likely still hate cotters but someone might get an interesting one that is still intact!
You may still hate cottered crank+bottom bracket, but you will no longer hate removing and installing crank cotters.
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Old 12-06-22, 07:26 AM
  #46  
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I've always wished that component makers would make ornate and beautiful cranksets that were square taper instead of cottered. i know this thread isn't about that, but that particular area of a road bike would be a great canvas for that sort of thing...
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Old 12-06-22, 08:14 AM
  #47  
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Originally Posted by dddd View Post
A cotter press is no guarantee that even a virgin cotter with thick 7mm+ (Whitworth fine-pitch) stud will press free without bending.

If such a valuable cotter shows even a hint of bending, apply heat to the smoke point before tightening the cotter press further.

I leave the cotter press in place, tensioned, while applying heating cycles, which I feel helps the cotter to migrate in the free direction.
I wish I had seen or thought of this before destroying a pin even with the Bikesmith press......the pin needed replacing anyway but I made things worse when the stud bent, then subsequently broke off flush with the crank arm (in my defense I think the stud was already bent when I started). I didn't want to drill so my non-metallurgist brain said "use a suitable ball bearing as an extension for the bolt on the press". Discovered ball bearings are harder than cotter pin material and pressed the bearing into the broken end of the pin. That certainly made the eventual drilling harder but by now I had wised up, left thing alone for a couple of days, and upon returning VERY carefully drilled out the pin. Luckily with rest and patience no damage to either crank arm or spindle....

As to improvements to the Bikesmith press, only one and that would be that as already mentioned on some drive side arms it can be very tight, not just for the jaws but depending on the crank involved it can be hard to get a suitable wrench on the bolt, and also hard to get a socket on it to extend it.....I would be nice though not necessary to have alternative press bolts that have the nice concave end but with smaller heads or a socket head. For reference the crank I had the most trouble with was off a 1938 CCM. All of the english and french stuff I have done had no issues.

Oh and I was delighted to find the LBS (vintage friendly) had correct cotters of the same manufacture as Mike's good ones in stock. Saved a lot of waiting and cross border nonsense.
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Old 12-06-22, 12:34 PM
  #48  
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Originally Posted by markk900 View Post
As to improvements to the Bikesmith press, only one and that would be that as already mentioned on some drive side arms it can be very tight, not just for the jaws but depending on the crank involved it can be hard to get a suitable wrench on the bolt, and also hard to get a socket on it to extend it.....
Agreed, the bolt head is too large. For that matter, the first generation tool stands out too far for some cranks. Here it is on a fairly pedestrian drive side crank of my Moulton, bottomed out, and still not centered on the crank.



I'd rather see it with a shallower profile at the cotter and a smaller hex on the shaft that can take a deep socket and a ratchet, which would be less prone to slippage over a large wrench, as now.

It'd also be nice to see an alternate bolt that tapers at the end for cotters that do break off in the crank. Last time that happened, I had to unscrew the BB behind the crank - thankfully, it was the left arm - and press the cotter out by centering a punch on it in the hydraulic press. Not fun worrying whether the punch will go flying either - I clamped it with a vise grip to hold it if it did slip.

I'd love to buy Mad Honk's VAR press at this point, but cannot justify it. Yet. Maybe a trade, MH? Hint hint.

-Kurt
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Old 12-06-22, 01:09 PM
  #49  
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I think I ordered my Bikesmith cotter press from Mark in 2017, when I got my '50 Raleigh Superbe - it has a more rounded, refined looking shape, and fits everything I've needed it to fit so far. I hadn't worked on cottered cranks before, and the tool was of immense help. I was initially hesitant, thinking that I wouldn't use it so much after the Raleigh was back in shape, and of course I've used it a whole bunch of times since and I wouldn't mess around with cottered cranks without it. '70s Peugeot cottered crank removal x2, servicing someone else's old battered three-speed x3, installing Williams crank on my Sun Wasp, installing Williams crank on my '64 Triumph...
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Old 12-06-22, 01:16 PM
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Originally Posted by Ged117 View Post
I think I ordered my Bikesmith cotter press from Mark in 2017, when I got my '50 Raleigh Superbe - it has a more rounded, refined looking shape, and fits everything I've needed it to fit so far.
Mine is easily 10, possibly 13-14 years old. I'm sure the new one has a few improvements that are more than just cosmetic.

Mark makes a good tool, regardless.

-Kurt
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