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2020 Trek Domane SLR Project One and Ceramic Speed T47 Bottom Bracket

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2020 Trek Domane SLR Project One and Ceramic Speed T47 Bottom Bracket

Old 08-09-20, 02:56 PM
  #1  
SkepticalOne
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2020 Trek Domane SLR Project One and Ceramic Speed T47 Bottom Bracket

Small PSA for anyone considering Ceramicspeed BB upgrade for Trek Project One...

I bought 2020 Trek Domane SLR Project One last fall and upgraded the BB to Ceramicspeed at the time of specing the bike. Having only put fewer than 4,000km on the bike since taking delivery, I've had a severe creaking arise that I was able to isolate to the bottom bracket. One of the major delights I had in upgrading from a 2017 to a 2020 model was the introduction of the T47 BB as it promised to be more trouble-free than a BB90.

Having now completed my investigation, I thought I would share my findings.

The noise appears to have come from relative flex between two spacer sleeves that bridge the two cups - when the frame flexes under high-load, there is enough movement between two concentric sleeves to cause a creak. Having removed the Ceramicspeed BB and inspected its construction, I applied some grease between the two sleeves on a hunch - the noise went away completely - that is, for three weeks, after which it progressively returned. For a subsequent trial, I removed one half of the tube, leaving the crank spindle only partially shielded within the frame while taking care to run the cables over the remaining half. The result was no more creaking.



I've brought in a Chris King and Praxis T47 BB and both have a much more reliable method to bridge the two cups using a single sleeve connected to cups by O-rings, allowing some play but with no rubbing. The Chris King is now installed and has been trouble-free.

I'll be sure to report back if I experience issues with the Chris King assembly, but at this point, I am very confident that it has a more robust design and I expect no recurrence.

Pics of each below:




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Old 08-09-20, 03:29 PM
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Originally Posted by SkepticalOne View Post
Small PSA for anyone considering Ceramicspeed BB upgrade for Trek Project One...

I bought 2020 Trek Domane SLR Project One last fall and upgraded the BB to Ceramicspeed at the time of specing the bike. Having only put fewer than 4,000km on the bike since taking delivery, I've had a severe creaking arise that I was able to isolate to the bottom bracket. One of the major delights I had in upgrading from a 2017 to a 2020 model was the introduction of the T47 BB as it promised to be more trouble-free than a BB90.

Having now completed my investigation, I thought I would share my findings.

The noise appears to have come from relative flex between two spacer sleeves that bridge the two cups - when the frame flexes under high-load, there is enough movement between two concentric sleeves to cause a creak. Having removed the Ceramicspeed BB and inspected its construction, I applied some grease between the two sleeves on a hunch - the noise went away completely - that is, for three weeks, after which it progressively returned. For a subsequent trial, I removed one half of the tube, leaving the crank spindle only partially shielded within the frame while taking care to run the cables over the remaining half. The result was no more creaking.



I've brought in a Chris King and Praxis T47 BB and both have a much more reliable method to bridge the two cubs using a single sleeve connected to cups by O-rings, allowing some play but with no rubbing. The Chris King is now installed and has been trouble-free.

I'll be sure to report back if I experience issues with the Chris King assembly, but at this point, I am very confident that it has a more robust design and I expect no recurrence.

Pics of each below:



Thanks for sharing. I bet you were quite frustrated before you determined the cause.
Just curious - why did you feel the need to upgrade to the ceramic bb?
I have the standard one in my SLR and have no problems with it. Would I notice a difference (other than a lighter wallet) if I upgraded to a CK bb?
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Old 08-09-20, 04:12 PM
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Curious as well regarding the thought process to ceramic. I have a standard Dura Ace threaded BB, Chris King headset and I9 hubs. Having recently had my own creaking challenges which have me replacing the rear hub's bearings I was considering ceramic but decided against the additional cost. On my old Domane (press fit BB), I had ceramic bearings but still had challenges with the whole press fit system which screwed me over for a time and forced me to replace the ceramic before it's useable life was over.

Just wondering if the benefits are worth it before I hit "send" on my bearing order!
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Old 08-09-20, 04:21 PM
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Originally Posted by robbyville View Post
Curious as well regarding the thought process to ceramic. I have a standard Dura Ace threaded BB, Chris King headset and I9 hubs. Having recently had my own creaking challenges which have me replacing the rear hub's bearings I was considering ceramic but decided against the additional cost. On my old Domane (press fit BB), I had ceramic bearings but still had challenges with the whole press fit system which screwed me over for a time and forced me to replace the ceramic before it's useable life was over.

Just wondering if the benefits are worth it before I hit "send" on my bearing order!
Originally Posted by ckindt View Post
Thanks for sharing. I bet you were quite frustrated before you determined the cause.
Just curious - why did you feel the need to upgrade to the ceramic bb?
I have the standard one in my SLR and have no problems with it. Would I notice a difference (other than a lighter wallet) if I upgraded to a CK bb?
Excellent question regarding Ceramicspeed choice!

When I ordered the Project One, it was a factory option. I've been around long enough to have seen the hot debates; some regarding the ceramic bearings as a snake-oil product, and so I was not expecting any perceptible performance gains in the short-run. When I was ticking the boxes for the order, the cost differential of my 'pro deal' was negligible...the decision was based on the assumption that it would be built to a generally more resilient build-quality offering greater longevity - tolerances on seals, etc. Again, with a double-digit-dollar cost-differential, I ticked the box and didn't look back. Having several riding buddies with the factory Praxis T47 in their 2021 Domanes was a helpful clue in isolating the BB as the source - anyone who has tried to trace a creak or groan knows how misleading this process can be.

I can not say whether there is any benefit to a Chris King T47 relative to a Praxis T47. There are no presentable qualitative differences as far as I can tell. The Praxis assembly is of very high quality to the eye and to the touch - I am very impressed and it was a coin-toss as to whether to install the Chris King vs the Praxis. I figured I would start with the Chris King and run the experiment against all of my Domane compadres. My decision to get both in hand was all about slaying the creak once and for all - I figured I could chalk the cost up to running a fun little experiment.

I have to be careful, as there perhaps aren't enough miles on the new BB to confirm my hypothesis to 100% certainty - I am not slagging Ceramicspeed, rather just cautioning anyone facing this decision in the future regarding possible compatibility issues.

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Old 08-09-20, 05:06 PM
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Originally Posted by SkepticalOne View Post
Excellent question regarding Ceramicspeed choice!

When I ordered the Project One, it was a factory option. I've been around long enough to have seen the hot debates; some regarding the ceramic bearings as a snake-oil product, and so I was not expecting any perceptible performance gains in the short-run. When I was ticking the boxes for the order, the cost differential of my 'pro deal' was negligible...the decision was based on the assumption that it would be built to a generally more resilient build-quality offering greater longevity - tolerances on seals, etc. Again, with a double-digit-dollar cost-differential, I ticked the box and didn't look back. Having several riding buddies with the factory Praxis T47 in their 2021 Domanes was a helpful clue in isolating the BB as the source - anyone who has tried to trace a creak or groan knows how misleading this process can be.

I can not say whether there is any benefit to a Chris King T47 relative to a Praxis T47. There are no presentable qualitative differences as far as I can tell. The Praxis assembly is of very high quality to the eye and to the touch - I am very impressed and it was a coin-toss as to whether to install the Chris King vs the Praxis. I figured I would start with the Chris King and run the experiment against all of my Domane compadres. My decision to get both in hand was all about slaying the creak once and for all - I figured I could chalk the cost up to running a fun little experiment.

I have to be careful, as there perhaps aren't enough miles on the new BB to confirm my hypothesis to 100% certainty - I am not slagging Ceramicspeed, rather just cautioning anyone facing this decision in the future regarding possible compatibility issues.
Did you stick with the ceramic bearings in the Praxis and CK bbs?
Did the Praxis bb replace the Ceramic Speed bb as an upgrade for 2021?
Any other changes for the 2021 SLRs?
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Old 08-09-20, 06:18 PM
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Originally Posted by ckindt View Post
Did you stick with the ceramic bearings in the Praxis and CK bbs?
Did the Praxis bb replace the Ceramic Speed bb as an upgrade for 2021?
Any other changes for the 2021 SLRs?
No - The ceramic bearings remain in the original BB. I plan to make a warranty claim. The CS bearings roll far more freely than either the Praxis or CK BB due to the viscosity of the oil vs. grease.

All 2020 and later Trek Domanes come standard with the Praxis T47 Bottom Bracket unless upgraded as part of a Project One build.

I am not aware of any differences between 2020 and 2021 Domanes other than colorways.
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Old 08-09-20, 06:55 PM
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Well, ****. I have a 2012 Domane 6.2 P1 and that had the old BB90. I replaced it exactly once in 8 years due to extensive mileage, the Florida sand, and the fact that I’m a hard power peddler.

Just ordered a 2021 Domane SLR7 and I went with the steel BB, not the ceramic option. I hope it all works out. I’ll be sorely disappointed If not.

Thanks, keep us posted.
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Old 08-09-20, 07:01 PM
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Originally Posted by wthensler View Post
Well, ****. I have a 2012 Domane 6.2 P1 and that had the old BB90. I replaced it exactly once in 8 years due to extensive mileage, the Florida sand, and the fact that I’m a hard power peddler.

Just ordered a 2021 Domane SLR7 and I went with the steel BB, not the ceramic option. I hope it all works out. I’ll be sorely disappointed If not.

Thanks, keep us posted.
That's a beautiful machine - I'm confident you'll have no issues with that steel BB. I have one of those in my household as do several of my riding buddies. No one has ever reported an issue. Only issue seems to have been the Ceramicspeed one.
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Old 08-09-20, 07:13 PM
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Ceramic bearings seem like an awful idea on a bike. Don't know a single person who hasn't worn through them extremely quickly.

Great for that one-off event where every single thing matters. Terrible for the day-in, day-out grind.
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Old 08-09-20, 09:03 PM
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Your problem had nothing to do with the bearings themselves, so the questions about ceramic bearings are moot. In the end it is all about the sleeve that is used in each of the bottom brackets. Glad you found the answer, I don't think I would have figured that out. I wonder why the Ceramic Speed went with the two sleeve design. I don't know enough about T47 to even venture a guess. At any rate I do thank you for your post so when I do have to replace my Domane T47, I know what not to purchase.
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Old 08-09-20, 09:35 PM
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Originally Posted by wthensler View Post
Well, ****. I have a 2012 Domane 6.2 P1 and that had the old BB90. I replaced it exactly once in 8 years due to extensive mileage, the Florida sand, and the fact that I’m a hard power peddler.

Just ordered a 2021 Domane SLR7 and I went with the steel BB, not the ceramic option. I hope it all works out. I’ll be sorely disappointed If not.

Thanks, keep us posted.
I have 2300+ miles on my 2020 SLR 7 with the stock steel bearing BB and it is silent and spins quite nicely. In fact the entire bike has been perfect so far with no issues at all. I love the bike.
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Old 08-10-20, 11:31 AM
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Thanks, all. I’m glad I went with the steel. As usual, great advice here from real riders in the trenches. 2300 miles is about 3 or 4 months of riding for me, but I do rotate bikes frequently.

Since I have a 2012, it was an easy choice to go and pick a 2021. I enjoy all my bikes, but there’s just something about the fit and performance of a Domane.........
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Old 08-10-20, 05:52 PM
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isn't t47 a full alloy threaded insert? how could it flex?
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Old 08-10-20, 07:20 PM
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Originally Posted by Chi_Z View Post
isn't t47 a full alloy threaded insert? how could it flex?
The frame flexes. Threaded cups are along for the ride. The telescoping plastic half-sleeves that bridge the space between the two cups across the frame (shielding the spindle from inner cabling/wiring) that are each joined to their respective cups with a snap-fit, creak whenever the frame flexes, resonating across the frame.


Here is a view from one side of my frame when I installed only one of the half sleeves as a test. I installed the BB cups but left the remaining half-sleeve out of the assembly. The result was zero creaking, but of course part of the crank spindle remained exposed to inner cabling/wiring - additionally, the inner bearing assembly was more vulnerable to any water that ran into the frame and so I didn't leave things in this condition. Rather, I sought to understand why this issue only seemed to plague my Ceramicspeed assembly whereas all other Domane owners with the Praxis BB had no such issues.


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Old 08-11-20, 04:21 PM
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Originally Posted by SkepticalOne View Post
The telescoping plastic half-sleeves that bridge the space between the two cups across the frame (shielding the spindle from inner cabling/wiring) that are each joined to their respective cups with a snap-fit, creak whenever the frame flexes, resonating across the frame.
I’m a bit confused about what exactly the “half sleeves” are because from the pictures of the BB, it looks like the outer sleeve goes all the way from one end to the other... and so does the inner one.

I’m guessing that the inner sleeve snaps onto one side, the outer sleeve snaps onto the other side, and then you slide the outer sleeve over the inner sleeve? So the outer and inner sleeve essentially merge into one very thick sleeve.

But because there is some slop between the outer and inner sleeve, that causes creaking? Let me know if this sounds right. I’m trying to imagine what advantage this design has over a single sleeve design, and how the CS designers didn’t foresee this issue.

EDIT: here’s my very crude drawing. Blue is bearings, red and black are the left and right CS alloy housing/plastic sleeves. Green squiggles are creak zones.



My only hypothesis for why CS would choose this design is that it allows frames to get away with more misalignment than a single sleeve design. But I don’t know enough to comment more.

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Old 08-11-20, 04:56 PM
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Originally Posted by smashndash View Post
I’m a bit confused about what exactly the “half sleeves” are because from the pictures of the BB, it looks like the outer sleeve goes all the way from one end to the other... and so does the inner one.

I’m guessing that the inner sleeve snaps onto one side, the outer sleeve snaps onto the other side, and then you slide the outer sleeve over the inner sleeve? So the outer and inner sleeve essentially merge into one very thick sleeve.

But because there is some slop between the outer and inner sleeve, that causes creaking? Let me know if this sounds right. I’m trying to imagine what advantage this design has over a single sleeve design, and how the CS designers didn’t foresee this issue.

EDIT: here’s my very crude drawing. Blue is bearings, red and black are the left and right CS alloy housing/plastic sleeves. Green squiggles are creak zones.



My only hypothesis for why CS would choose this design is that it allows frames to get away with more misalignment than a single sleeve design. But I don’t know enough to comment more.
You are almost exactly correct, except there is no slop per se. The two sleeves have a friction fit. The relative motion is the result of frame deflection - that is, flex in the frame itself, that results in the sleeves translating under close-fit tolerances (green squiggles). A separate issue is any axial misalignment between the two sides, further complicating the mating stresses of the concentric sleeves.

You are correct in that each sleeve snaps relatively rigidly into the respective cup.

The other designs (Praxis and Chris King) have a large (greased) O-ring interface at each cup allowing for longitudinal translation and axial alignment without the buildup of interfacial stresses (green squiggles) in the same way as CS. Ironically, the CS doesn't allow for more misalignment allowance, as it puts an undue constraint on the two cups being statically and dynamical coaxial, whereas the pivoting of the single sleeve design, with less restraint at the cups provides greater allowance for static and dynamic misalignment. A perfectly coaxial and perfectly rigid frame would not experience the issues I am experiencing...so maybe the blame goes to the 2020/21 Trek Domane for not being sufficiently stiff and accurate to accommodate the CS design.

More pics to confirm your interpretation above:




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Old 08-11-20, 08:45 PM
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I think the advantage to the CeramicSpeed solution is that it fits a wide variety of frame shell widths whereas the the Praxis design is for one size only.
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Old 08-12-20, 02:56 AM
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Originally Posted by SkepticalOne View Post
You are almost exactly correct, except there is no slop per se. The two sleeves have a friction fit. The relative motion is the result of frame deflection - that is, flex in the frame itself, that results in the sleeves translating under close-fit tolerances (green squiggles). A separate issue is any axial misalignment between the two sides, further complicating the mating stresses of the concentric sleeves.
Originally Posted by Ferrouscious View Post
I think the advantage to the CeramicSpeed solution is that it fits a wide variety of frame shell widths whereas the the Praxis design is for one size only.
Ferrouscious got it right. I reached out to CeramicSpeed and they replied:

“Hope you are well and thank you for your email. We have developed the 2 pc inner sleeve in order to offer a better protection for the bearings (preventing any possible contamination from the inside). The 2 pc sleeve also allow to have a perfect fit for all BB shell width's.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s0yjKdQgY58”

“That's the first time that we hear about creaking noises between the inner sleeves. Problably something else is going on.
1- Are the BBcups and frame threads greased before the installation of the cups?
2- Are the BBcups torqued as per the manufacture specs?
3- Is the crankset installed and torqued as per the manufacture specs?

T47 widths T47-68/73/83/85/86/92 and some fat bikes with 100mm”

So yeah the design is meant to accommodate all widths of shells. Though for $350 I would hope to get a bespoke sleeve for a particular BB width. I’ve personally never heard of T47 beyond 86.5 and 85.5 (Trek). Chris King’s “ThreadFit™ T47 30i will fit 68mm, 73mm, 83mm, 86mm, and 92mm shell widths with 30mm spindles.” Looks like their design has a single center sleeve that slots in on either side. The Praxis seems to be for 85.5mm shells only.

SkepticalOne have you tried contacting Trek or Ceramicspeed about the creak?
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Old 08-12-20, 03:36 AM
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Originally Posted by smashndash View Post
Ferrouscious got it right. I reached out to CeramicSpeed and they replied:

“Hope you are well and thank you for your email. We have developed the 2 pc inner sleeve in order to offer a better protection for the bearings (preventing any possible contamination from the inside). The 2 pc sleeve also allow to have a perfect fit for all BB shell width's.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s0yjKdQgY58”

“That's the first time that we hear about creaking noises between the inner sleeves. Problably something else is going on.
1- Are the BBcups and frame threads greased before the installation of the cups?
2- Are the BBcups torqued as per the manufacture specs?
3- Is the crankset installed and torqued as per the manufacture specs?

T47 widths T47-68/73/83/85/86/92 and some fat bikes with 100mm”

So yeah the design is meant to accommodate all widths of shells. Though for $350 I would hope to get a bespoke sleeve for a particular BB width. I’ve personally never heard of T47 beyond 86.5 and 85.5 (Trek). Chris King’s “ThreadFit™ T47 30i will fit 68mm, 73mm, 83mm, 86mm, and 92mm shell widths with 30mm spindles.” Looks like their design has a single center sleeve that slots in on either side. The Praxis seems to be for 85.5mm shells only.

SkepticalOne have you tried contacting Trek or Ceramicspeed about the creak?

I have a warranty claim in process with Trek which includes much of the info I provided in this thread.

Ironically, per the comment above re: the sleeves providing better protection from contamination from the inside, the CS design does not appear to offer nearly the weather-sealing of the other two designs that provide an O-ring seal.

My hypothesis above does not attribute the issue to the CS BB only, but rather flex in the frame which does not appear to play well with the CS design. An additional factor may be poor L-R alignment of the Trek frame threads, pre-straining the sleeve assembly, however I have not performed any such measurements of the frame to verify. As promised above, I will be sure to report back any issues that emerge with the now-installed Chris King assembly.

As a footnote, Ceramicspeed BB came installed in the bike from the Trek factory, and was subsequently reinstalled several times to 40N-m using the Park Tool TW5.2 torque wrench and the threads were greased with Park Tool ASC-1 anti-seize compound.

Last edited by SkepticalOne; 08-12-20 at 03:43 AM.
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Old 08-12-20, 07:34 AM
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Originally Posted by SkepticalOne View Post
the threads were greased with Park Tool ASC-1 anti-seize compound.
they're gonna call you out on that one... CS said grease...
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Old 08-12-20, 07:52 AM
  #21  
SkepticalOne
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Originally Posted by Ferrouscious View Post
they're gonna call you out on that one... CS said grease...
I don't expect anyone to "call me out" as I have no beef with anyone...I bought a custom bike for many thousands of dollars and took delivery. Within a very short time, the bicycle exhibited very rejectionable noise. After several trips to the LBS without any success at reducing the noise, I decided to run some experiments myself. As a result, I was able to affect the presence of the noise by removing one of the sleeves altogether. I ordered the alternate assemblies (Praxis, Chris King), as my wife and several friends have the same bike but with the Praxis (default) BB without any reported issues. I am now using the Chris King assembly (as a test) and am in the process of making a warranty claim with the bike manufacturer on the Ceramicspeed factory-upgrade for which I expect a modest sum refunded to me. My claim is not with Ceramicspeed. They ostensibly make excellent products and I have merely identified qualitative aspects of their design implementation that appear to be either the source or a contributor to the noise I am experiencing.

Of note, the metallic anti seize grease is what was used by OEM, and was visible upon initial removal. Also, anti seize compound is a grease but with suspended metallic to prevent galvanic corrosion. Additionally, the Chris King instruction explicitly recommends an anti-seize compound. The only other difference with CK BB is recommended torque to 50N-m vs 40N-m.

Note CS works perfectly when one half sleeves removed (per above).

I have no beef with CS - only sharing the results of my testing as it may assist others or at least serve as an interesting thread.

Last edited by SkepticalOne; 08-12-20 at 07:57 AM.
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