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Have Park Tool Cotter Pin Press - How To Properly Use? (I've searched already)

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Have Park Tool Cotter Pin Press - How To Properly Use? (I've searched already)

Old 01-07-15, 02:03 AM
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Have Park Tool Cotter Pin Press - How To Properly Use? (I've searched already)

NOTE: I am posting this in the C & V forum & not the Mechanics forum because this is a "vintage" problem. Mods please move if you feel the need.

I have the tool and the bike with cottered cranks - 1955 Phillips. I put penetrating oil on & will wait overnight. Specific questions:







- do I remove the nut all the way when using a cotter press or undo it just a couple of mm? (I read to undo but leave on when using a hammer to get it out)

-I will use the same pins if possible, since I don't have any (I know bikesmithdesign has them). I understand that I am to grease them, insert, tap with a hammer/mallet then turn the nut & alternate taps & turns. Is this correct?

-I also understand about the orientation of the pins so that the crank arms will be at 180 degrees of each other.

Please offer any other suggestions of how to remove/install using a COTTER PRESS. I've done lots of searches and results given are the creative & alternative ways to do this.
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Old 01-07-15, 02:46 AM
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Leaving the nut on when hammering the pin out is done to protect the first thread from distortion. It's of no benefit with a press.

There's no logic to using the nut when hammering the pin back in just drive it in, then put the nut on to keep it there. Experienced mechanics can tell by sound when the pin is fully in, but what you can do when you think it's in all the way, is attach the nut and tighten a bit. Then hammer once more and check the nut. If it loosened, the pin wasn't home, so tighten and repeat. When it's home, the nut won't loosen.

The use of the press is obvious. Remove the nut, attach the press and turn until the cotter pops free.

BTW- whether driving in or out, never hammer on the pins without first bracing the crank. This both makes the hammer more effective by keeping the crank and frame absorb some of it's energy, but also protects the bearings.
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Old 01-07-15, 03:14 AM
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Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
Leaving the nut on when hammering the pin out is done to protect the first thread from distortion. It's of no benefit with a press.

There's no logic to using the nut when hammering the pin back in just drive it in, then put the nut on to keep it there. Experienced mechanics can tell by sound when the pin is fully in, but what you can do when you think it's in all the way, is attach the nut and tighten a bit. Then hammer once more and check the nut. If it loosened, the pin wasn't home, so tighten and repeat. When it's home, the nut won't loosen.

The use of the press is obvious. Remove the nut, attach the press and turn until the cotter pops free.

BTW- whether driving in or out, never hammer on the pins without first bracing the crank. This both makes the hammer more effective by keeping the crank and frame absorb some of it's energy, but also protects the bearings.
Thank you so much for your concise response. I was hoping you would chime in on this. I will proceed with confidence tomorrow. Thanks.
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Old 01-07-15, 07:08 AM
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Be it insertion or removal, the process I use is...

Make sure the pin, crank and spindle are really clean and free of burrs.

Install the press, snug it up well and give a gently tap with a hammer or some solid tool. Just a tap or two will do and support the assembly, to prevent the gentle taps from damaging bearings in the bottom bracket. Snug up the press again and tap again. Do this a few times until it does not want to snug up anymore.

Install the cotter pin nuts, tight but do not think that tightening them will draw the pin more tightly into the fit. The nut is there to prevent the loosening of the cotter pin and nothing more.

After the first ride, remove the nuts, install the press and snug it up, repeating the above process, if necessary.
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Old 01-07-15, 07:30 AM
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Did I read on another thread you were planning on oiling those threads on the tool? Maybe not. I would use it either dry, or with a very light coat of grease on the threads, instead of oil.
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Old 01-07-15, 08:42 AM
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If you have a press there is no need for a hammer. A hammer complicates things, as you run the risk of damaging your bearings or the cotter itself.

So I advise to never use a hammer. Its simply too risky, and its so easy to use the press there is no point whatsoever.

To remove the cotter:

back off the nut one or two turns. Install the press, and run it down until the cotter moves. Remove the nut (sometimes the press can mess with the first thread on the cotter, leaving the nut on allows you to chase the thread which will happen when you remove the nut). Reinstall the press and drive out the cotter until you can remove it by hand. Be careful- it might just fall out and you don't want to damage the thread so have a catch cloth beneath your work.

To re-install:

If the cotter has a wear mark in the middle, burnish it lightly with a file, just a little so the cotter won't bind when being re-installed. Otherwise do not file the face. A light grease is OK but not mandatory- get your fingers greasy and just handle the cotter- then wipe it down once and you are good to go. Run the cotter in as far as it will go by hand- work the crank arm back and forth a little to insure this. Install the press, and run it down until its getting really hard to move the bolt on the press. At this point the cotter is in tighter than you can get with a hammer. Remove the press, and install the washer and nut. Do not tighten down the nut excessively but make sure it is tight. Its only function is to retain the position of the cotter- not to snug it in place- you did that with the press.

Ironically, the use of a hammer should only be attempted by someone with a lot of experience. Ironically because such a person will have sorted out that the cotter press is the only elegant way to do it, and good mechanics like elegance.

If you use the press, the cotters can be reused many times- 20 times for sure. This is important, because the bearings are not sealed from moisture so the Brits intended that the bearings be serviced. Try cleaning the oil trap in a BSA motorbike sometime and you will know what I mean. Service is the key to long life, and British 3-speeds will easily last 100 years of use if serviced out properly.

Good quality cotters have gotten hard to find! So why ruin perfectly good ones when they can be reused indefinitely with proper application of the press? Don't use a hammer!
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Old 01-07-15, 12:01 PM
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Originally Posted by rootboy View Post
Did I read on another thread you were planning on oiling those threads on the tool? Maybe not. I would use it either dry, or with a very light coat of grease on the threads, instead of oil.
Hey thanks. I used very light grease & not oil.

Thanks to everyone who gave details and insights. I'll let you know how it goes.
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Old 01-07-15, 12:33 PM
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Bikesmith's cotters are reported to no longer be available. I hope this changes soon, as they are of a quality that is no longer made or readily available.

So, be nice to the good OEM cotters! Today's common cotters are not nearly as hard as the good old ones.

I have a press now, but still use my method of tightening cotters that I used before with apparent good results.

I secure the nut, then, while maintaining torque on the wrench, I tap the cotter's blunt end repeatedly until the nut no longer wants to turn. No heavy walloping here, just tap-tap-tap with a medium hammer. The bearings would be hard to damage unless walloping with a good-sized hammer ensued (I've known bb bearings to endure even walloping).

I was pleased by how much added nut-turning was possible, as the cotters settled more fully using this approach.

If there is wrench clearance for tightening the nut with the press in place, this might be as good.

I've seen cotters readily damaged from not being inserted tightly enough.
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Old 01-07-15, 01:06 PM
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When dealing with cotters, I apply a "REAL" penetrating oil multiple times in the preceding day(s).
"Ring" the spindle area with a wrench occasionally to help the PO to get "sucked in" by capillary action. Not hard raps, but "rings" like a bell.
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Old 01-07-15, 01:39 PM
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HELP! Non drive side cotter got BENT! The nut came off by hand but apparently didn't have the cotter press aligned correctly. Got the drive side off easily & crank arm is off. How can I still complete bb service with a bent cotter pin??? Can I try to bend it back? Can I just leave it? I'm so MAD! I was trying to be so careful.....I just feel like crying.

I've read & researched, got the correct tool, was not in a hurry, etc. & I messed up on my first try.
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Old 01-07-15, 01:56 PM
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Originally Posted by Velocivixen View Post
HELP! Non drive side cotter got BENT! The nut came off by hand but apparently didn't have the cotter press aligned correctly. Got the drive side off easily & crank arm is off. How can I still complete bb service with a bent cotter pin??? Can I try to bend it back? Can I just leave it? I'm so MAD! I was trying to be so careful.....I just feel like crying.....
Hold the tears, find an experienced mechanic, and bring him to the bike. Then open the floodgates and let him/her solve the problem. I hate to be sexist, but if you look like your avatar, it'll work vastly better than the cotter press. That smile alone can move the world.

All kidding aside

Try hammering the screw straight again using a punch, then take another go. If that fails, saw the screw part off flush, then drill a small recess into what's left, or use a center punch to make a dimple. Find a bearing ball, or small piece of metal, position it over the screw (the dimple helps to keep balls from rolling off) and use that to try again with the press.

BTW- Hammering (done properly) is much more effective than a press on REALLY tight cotters. It delivers concentrated energy that can knock any pin halfway to China. But the key is to do it right, with the crank arm braced to an anvil (of sorts) so it cannot absorb any energy, and a sharp clean blow. Elsewhere here I recently (within days) detailed how it's done, you can probably find it if you search the my prior posts.
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Old 01-07-15, 02:07 PM
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Dang! If it were me I would put a vise grips on that and see if I can straighten it. The cotter of course can't be saved so now the big deal is going to be getting it out intact.

Around here cotters are still easy to find if you go to a donation bike shop. Regular LBSs don't seem to have them.

Anyway, if you can straighten out the cotter a bit, the press can then be employed.

This is another reason to not remove the nut upon initially applying the cotter press. The presence of the nut will prevent the press from bending the cotter significantly if misapplied. Go back and read my instruction above and you won't go wrong.

Plan B on the bent cotter would be to create a metal panel that has a hole in it that you can put the threaded end of the cotter through. Then you can get a hack saw and cut the rest of it off without damaging the finish on the crank. After that, obtain a brass drift of sufficient size- you're going to have to hammer that thing out after all. If you go this route, you will have to block the crank up in such a way that the force of the blows is not being sustained by the bearings in the bottom bracket.
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Old 01-07-15, 02:42 PM
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Sometimes it doesn’t matter how careful you are, they will bend anyway, it happens so cheer up. I have been taking a lot of these out recently, when the planets align they pop right out with the cotter press. I have had two on 1930s vintage bikes that bent with the cotter press. Sometimes old stuff is stubborn, I know I can be, the key is to be more stubborn than the cotter.


Some of the other people posting here gave me the chutzpa to do what needed to be done. If the cotter is bent, it’s no good anymore, at least that’s my thinking. If you have a shop vise, pad the crank to keep from scratching it and have someone help you position the bike- crank in the vise so that the crank is in there horizontally. Build –stack some 2X4 wood under the exposed part of the crank right next to the pin. You could cut a piece of 2X4 and drill a small hole in the end for the pin to fit into when you knock it out, I didn’t. Grab the bent portion of the pin with vise grips and wiggle it back and forth until it breaks off. (If you are a lousy aim with a hammer hold the punches with some vise grips) Take a big hammer and small punch and center it as best you can and give it a few good whacks. Take a larger punch and finish the job. It took ten good whacks to get the pin out of my Drysdale track bike. The grease had turned to the consistency of rock candy and glued the pin to the crank. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for elegant when it works, but sometimes a big hammer is the answer.
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Old 01-07-15, 03:02 PM
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UPDATE: PLAN B - I removed the drive side crank arm & chainring. It was super easy & not tight. Once I got the cotter pushed as far as it would go I used an awl & a light tap on the end & it fell out. The lock ring & adjustable cup were super easy to get undone even with the Left side crank arm attached. Cups & cones, at least on the right side are great after lots of cleaning. Here's the photos:



So, Here's my question, and I know the purists will cringe. Why can't I just clean the adjustable cup (still all attached - see photos), add grease & put everything all back together? The cotter is bent about 6 threads down from the end. I don't suspect the cotter will come out if I'm riding would it?

Now that it's all apart is there an EASY way to straighten & remove it? I have to be careful of the threads on the fixed cup.
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Old 01-07-15, 03:04 PM
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Originally Posted by dddd View Post
Bikesmith's cotters are reported to no longer be available. I hope this changes soon, as they are of a quality that is no longer made or readily available.
Reported by whom? The Bikesmith website doesn't indicate any availability issues. I just ordered and received 4 Raleigh cotters in November 2014.
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Old 01-07-15, 03:12 PM
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Originally Posted by BGBeck View Post
Reported by whom? The Bikesmith website doesn't indicate any availability issues. I just ordered and received 4 Raleigh cotters in November 2014.
I'm glad that you got your cotters!

I believe it was posted to the CR list recently. Report was that only one of the 3-4 sizes is still available (seems obviously it's the British ones).
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Old 01-07-15, 03:30 PM
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Now that you've got the offending crank arm off the bike it may be easier to hammer it out. I would try to give it a good soak for a few days in penetrating oil first. I feel your pain, as I had a cotter that was so tight that it wouldn't come out. The non threaded ends were mushroomed over from some knuckle head hammering them in. I got so sick of messing with that low end crank that I took an angle grinder to it, only took 5 minutes that way.
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Old 01-07-15, 03:43 PM
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Originally Posted by dddd View Post
I'm glad that you got your cotters!

I believe it was posted to the CR list recently. Report was that only one of the 3-4 sizes is still available (seems obviously it's the British ones).
If you're referring to this thread, https://www.bikeforums.net/classic-vi...e-cotters.html, it is interesting that I placed my order five days after jayjay1976 started his thread.

I emailed Bikesmith today. His reply: "Not sure where this came from. I am permanently out of Peugeot cut 9.0s and don't expect to have 8,5s for quite a while. But everything else in on hand. I just ordered another 300 9.5s Monday."

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Old 01-07-15, 04:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Velocivixen View Post
UPDATE: PLAN B - I removed the drive side crank arm & chainring. ...... I don't suspect the cotter will come out if I'm riding would it?

Now that it's all apart is there an EASY way to straighten & remove it? I have to be careful of the threads on the fixed cup.
First of all I commend you on thinking out of the box and solving your problem. When I speak of thinking like a mechanic, this is exactly what I mean. If I were there I'd buy you a beer.

As for just putting it back together again and wondering if the cotter will hold, Murphy's Law applies. The cotter will hold UNTIL you';re far from home, it's raining, or you're in a rush. In short it will fall out at a most inconvenient moment.

OTOH - you have a great opportunity to hammer it out right now if you have access to a heavy bench vise or piece of pipe. Use the hammer and punch to straighten the pin ad best you can, or cut it off flush (a washer will protect the crank arm). Then support the arm on something solid with a gap or hole for the head of the cotter to be unsupported. have a friend hold it for you. Use a hammer and punch held in a vice-grip (for the chicken factor), and give the punch a SOLID blow -- whatever you can muster -- and the pin will shoot out on the first shot. (2 beers if it doesn't) This is the difference between hammering on something well braced, and hammering on something that can move.

When I teach repair I clamp a broom handle so it sticks out the side of the vise for it's length. I offer $100 to the student that can hammer a nail into the supported end. No one's collected yet.
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Old 01-07-15, 04:23 PM
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When using a hammer on cotters, you do not tap with the hammer. You bang the crap out of it. It's got to be in there damned tight.

You're doing a great job already. Bending the cotter in this way is very common. I've done it a lot.
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Old 01-07-15, 04:25 PM
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Originally Posted by Velocivixen View Post
UPDATE: PLAN B - I removed the drive side crank arm & chainring. It was super easy & not tight. Once I got the cotter pushed as far as it would go I used an awl & a light tap on the end & it fell out. The lock ring & adjustable cup were super easy to get undone even with the Left side crank arm attached. Cups & cones, at least on the right side are great after lots of cleaning. Here's the photos:
Looks like the bearings and BB are really clean- not a lot of use at all.

Do you know about Kroil? You can find it at kanolabs.com If you are going to be working on vintage machines of any type its a good thing to have in your arsenal.
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Old 01-07-15, 05:15 PM
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I guess you can just say I'm stubborn & don't like defeat. I like to call it "tenacious determination" I was not able to straighten the thing out, so I used a dremel attachment to saw it off mostly flush with the crank arm. I've beat the sh*t out of it hard with a hammer & a punch with no luck!!! Man, the other side came out smooth as butter.

I'm going to my LBS.
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Old 01-07-15, 05:30 PM
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I had a similar experience with a recent stubborn cotter. I resorted to drilling, but got careless in the process and managed to snap off the tip of a drill bit in the fresh hole I had just created! I figured that material was likely harder than the cotter itself. At that point, I had drilled enough of the cotter out so that it was a few mm below the crank arm. I was able to fit a small socket from a wrench set in that hole and than used the cotter press to apply force. That sucker popped right out.
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Old 01-07-15, 05:43 PM
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Never under-estimate the effectiveness of drilling a cotter down the middle from the blunt end.

Starting with a thin bit like 3/32" and working up to 3/16", if you can get it to go in straight without breaking through to the harder spindle, the cotter is then removable with a heck of a lot less force. This never-fail method used to be my go-to method after failing to get it out with hammering, and since this cotter is destroyed already this would be my next effort.

I've also had good luck with stubborn, not-yet-smashed cotters using a couple of minutes heating with a propane torch. No damage whatsoever to the metal parts or chrome if you cease heating when the joint begins issuing a good bit of smoke.

I hope the shop that the shop that the OP takes it to is a good one!

Someone mentioned a brass drift, but I think that a 1/4" steel drift is the tool needed here with the cotter cut flush.
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>Use goggles when hammering!!!!!
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Old 01-07-15, 06:19 PM
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Update: LBS used 1 heavy blow & the cotter came out. No charge. Of course I bought some items, including 2 new cotter pins. Question is: what happens if the angle of the flat spot on the pin isn't exact as the original? New pins are 9.5 circumference & match, but aren't beveled on the flat quite as high up as the original. So if I use them what will happen?
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