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$16 Cotter Press

Old 06-22-11, 04:08 PM
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Shipping for the Chain Breaker + a tubing bender was $8.99.
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Old 06-22-11, 04:52 PM
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Seems to me that whenever someone comes up with an inexpensive way to remove crank cotters out properly, everyone else comes up with an inane bunch of alternatives.

Just get a press - build it, buy it, or bodge it - and forget about heat, hammers, and bench vises.

-Kurt
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Old 06-23-11, 07:31 AM
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Originally Posted by cudak888
Just get a press - build it, buy it, or bodge it - and forget about heat, hammers, and bench vises.
+1 except for the bench vise. It's overkill 99% of the time, but for that remaining 1% the extra leverage is helpful.
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Old 06-23-11, 08:21 AM
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Kurt, well put, and of course you're right, but sometimes the wallet won't allow it. I absolutely advocating using the right tool for the job whenever possible. But in the meantime, until I can afford the tool, it's useful to know what some reasonable (or even unreasonable) workarounds are.

Now let me go look for this sale at Harbor Freight...
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Old 06-23-11, 08:27 AM
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FYI - if you buy more than one from Harbor, the shipping is not multiplied accordingly. Something to consider for you guys who live close together. I just bought 2 - and the difference in shipping was only $1 -something.

Oh - and they are still on sale.
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Old 06-23-11, 08:32 AM
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I'm putting an order together now. Anything else from HF I should take advantage of?
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Old 06-23-11, 08:37 AM
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By the way, I bought this scale, and it gives various readings for the same object, so it turns out to be junk.

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Old 06-23-11, 02:52 PM
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Amesja, Is it necessary to drill the cup out on this or could you just remove it entirely and have a larger hole for the pin to exit?
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Old 06-30-11, 11:28 AM
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I found another use for this press last night, A guy I work with came over to pick up a bunch of old junk frames and rims for scrap and as he pulled up in front of my house his left front brake line broke off due to rust.

With no parts stores close or open we had to improvise, we tried bending the line over and crushing it down with a vise-grip but even with four fully crimped bends it still didn't want to stop leaking.

Then I had a brainstorm, I ran inside and grabbed the HF press and with a bolt stuck in the one side to provide a flat clamping surface I put it on one of the crimps we put in the brake line and cranked it down tight.

No more leak, he could stand on the pedal with both feet and it was solid, it got him home and he'll replace the brake line this weekend.
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Old 06-30-11, 12:33 PM
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Originally Posted by noglider
Kurt, well put, and of course you're right, but sometimes the wallet won't allow it.
Hardly. Amesja proved that perfectly adequate cotter presses can be had for all of $16 and 15 minutes of tinkering with a drill.

-Kurt
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Last edited by cudak888; 12-26-19 at 04:51 PM.
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Old 06-30-11, 08:59 PM
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Well, as you may know, I ordered the part a few days ago, because $16 is hard to resist, and $10 is even harder.

However silly using a hammer is, it's still a fun topic to talk about. Maybe it's fun BECAUSE it's silly. It's so satisfying to triumph over the damn cotter after all that manly banging, dontcha know.
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Old 07-05-11, 03:07 PM
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I received my chain breaker today. I drilled out the small threaded section to allow a cotter to pass through. I don't have a drill press, but an ordinary drill sufficed.

Just for fun, I removed a cotter from my Rudge and put it back in. Yes, this press made child's play out of the job. You're right. I should have gotten this much sooner.
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Old 08-07-11, 09:57 PM
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Currently on sale for $9.99
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Old 08-08-11, 02:35 AM
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Originally Posted by noglider
What did mechanics use in the heyday of cotters? I am under the impression that they used hammers, but maybe not.
One of these. I've not seen many. This particular one is French. They give a TON of tonnage - literally. You can push a cotter right through a hole if you tried.



From: https://www.bygonebicyclist.com/?p=499

A good fix, in a bind, is a giant c-clamp with a socket. I've taken a liking to an air-hammer with a brass bit lately.
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Old 08-08-11, 02:49 AM
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when I lived in Denver my LBS had one of those, it was HUGE
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Old 12-13-11, 07:43 PM
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This is such nifty idea that I just made up two of these presses - one for myself and one for a friend.

To keep the pusher from falling out, I stuffed a plastic drywall screw anchor sized for a #8 screw over it while it was inserted into the larger bolt. I first snipped off about a third of the anchor. Seems to work. You could probably find a press-on stamped steel nut to do the same thing.
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Old 12-13-11, 10:54 PM
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Originally Posted by blaise_f
One of these. I've not seen many. This particular one is French. They give a TON of tonnage - literally. You can push a cotter right through a hole if you tried.


The Baltimore bike co-op has one of those. A very cool tool. Another reason to support your local co-op.
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Old 12-13-11, 10:57 PM
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Originally Posted by jeirvine
The Baltimore bike co-op has one of those. A very cool tool. Another reason to support your local co-op.
I need / want one, but refuse to pay $300+ for it.
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Old 12-13-11, 11:08 PM
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Originally Posted by blaise_f
I need / want one, but refuse to pay $300+ for it.
You can have one for $150: https://www.ebay.com/itm/VINTAGE-VAR-...item23175733b2

Or... you could buy the perfectly adequate tool from HF for $16.
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Old 12-14-11, 04:25 AM
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Originally Posted by Amesja
The C-clamp method works with an older quality C-clamp. I wouldn't try it with some of the newer cheapo chinese cast C-clamps. Those will snap if you just drop one unloaded onto a wood workbench from more than 12" inches. Drop one on a concrete floor and they shatter into multiple pieces.

the other problem with a C-clamp is the thread pitch. A C-clamp has a very coarse thread pitch of like 6-8 threads per inch where a good press like the wheelsmith or even this Harbor Freight conversion will have something on the order of 25-30 tpi or more. That is just leverage. With more TPI you have a ton more leverage for each thousandth of an inch you need to move the cotter until it gives way.
Most of my C-clamps have coarse threads, but I have one oddball with fine threads that I have used to press out a few cotters. Sometimes I have to crank it up tight and lightly tap it with a hammer to crack the cotter loose. The HF tool looks slick and I would sure be making one if I had more than a few cotters to press out.
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Old 12-14-11, 09:38 AM
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Originally Posted by auchencrow
If you come up against a recalcitrant cotter, the c-clamp will yield first. (been there done that).
+1. Moved from that to a Sears ball-joint separator, which worked great but left marks on the crank. Finally paid up for the Bikesmith tool and now wonder why I didn't just buy it in the first place. It's the right tool for the job.
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Old 12-14-11, 10:10 AM
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I have both the Bikesmith tool and the Harbor Freight tool. I really like the former and am not about to make any complaint about it. But there are times when the Harbor Freight tool is better. On my Raleigh Lenton Sports, for example, the Bikesmith tool couldn't get close enough to the chain ring, so couldn't press the drive side cotter out straight, and I'd bent it before I realized what was happening. It should have worked on the other side, but it bent that one over as well. After drilling a guide hole into the remains of those, the Harbor Freight tool popped them both out without further trouble; but I had to grind off the ends of the jaws of the latter so it could get close enough to the chain ring.

I did not modify the pusher of mine; I only drilled out the hole at the receiving end and ground the edges off the jaws. It is not the better tool in most cases, but in really tough cases it is the right tool for the job.
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Old 12-14-11, 11:52 AM
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I recently bought the bikesmith tool, and it works really, really well. I was sick of trying to do it with a hammer and failing 50% of the time. I may make one of these eventually too, because as Rudi says, there will probably be times when the bikesmith tool doesn't quite fit.
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Old 12-14-11, 02:24 PM
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I came across this thread about two weeks too late. I recently removed a cotter by using the "hammer, pipe, nail set" method described by Sheldon Brown, and know I don't want to do that again. Thanks for the tip Amesja.
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Old 12-14-11, 04:03 PM
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Originally Posted by noglider
Kurt, well put, and of course you're right, but sometimes the wallet won't allow it. I absolutely advocating using the right tool for the job whenever possible. But in the meantime, until I can afford the tool, it's useful to know what some reasonable (or even unreasonable) workarounds are.

Now let me go look for this sale at Harbor Freight...
I'm a HUGE fan of using the right tool for the job.

I bought a Zinn Vise whip as soon as I could afford one, and will never use a chain whip again! I bought a Precision Instruments dial torque wrench and was astounded how just completely inaccurate "click" torque wrenches are. The funny thing is I've never been in a bike shop that had a decent quality (Precision Instruments or Snap-On Torque-O-Meter which is made by Precision Inst.) dial-type torque wrench. They only have the crappy toy-quality Pedros or Park.

Speaking of getting Hard to find, did you know that Park no longer makes the Third Hand brake tool. I still use cantilevers on multiple bikes and hate disc brakes (I call 'em boat anchors). On eBay the Park third hand tool is fetching a pretty price. If you've got one, hold onto it.
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