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Lightening cranks creaking

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Lightening cranks creaking

Old 05-09-20, 01:40 PM
  #1  
gerryfaw
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Lightening cranks creaking

Hi. I have a pretty new custom Calfee Dragonfly tandem with Di2, hydraulic discs, Calfee wheels and Lightening cranks with ceramic bearings. A creak has surfaced over the last 5-6 weeks and my shop helped diagnose it as coming from the captainís BB. FYI, I have a Bushnell lightweight EBB. The shop removed the BB and cranks, cleaned and greased everything and reinstalled, but the noise persists. Because it makes the noise even when just turning the cranks by hand and also when very soft pedaling while riding, they believe itís the bearings.

Iíve googled this issue and saw it discussed and some were recommending using loctite on the spider bolts and even the lightening cups. But, weíve pretty well determined that it must be the bearings.

Iíve emailed the guy at Calfee who assisted me with the build and also contacted Lightening. That was 2 days ago and I havenít heard back yet.

So, I was wondering if anyoneís has had this issue with those cranks and was hoping for some help and/or guidance. I searched ĎLightening crank creakingí in the forum but got no results.

thanks
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Old 05-10-20, 03:52 PM
  #2  
Chris_W
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Step 1: Get rid of the ceramic bearings, which are a complete waste of money.
Step 2: Install some proper steel bearings.
Step 3: Go ride your bike.
Even if that hasn't solved the problem, at least you're no longer one of those fools who rides ceramics bearings.
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Old 05-11-20, 07:04 AM
  #3  
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I will do that. Thanks Chris. Iíll go back to ceramic bearings when I get my rpmís up to 3000 so that I can take advantage of them vs steel
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Old 05-11-20, 08:01 AM
  #4  
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Your creaking could be caused by insufficient bearing preload. Take out a crankarm and add a BB30 spacer or wave washer. Be sure to respect the Lightning torque spec on the spindle. I like to use angular contact bearings with 30mm spindles so that the bearings can be axially preloaded without excess friction.

It could also be a seal rubbing. Make sure the bearing shields are clean and centered.

If the spindle isn't a snug fit in the bearings, use green Loctite instead of grease on that joint.
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Old 05-11-20, 09:00 AM
  #5  
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Just chiming in as a Lightning crank user...

We never had any creaking or squeaking (not much help to you, I understand). We are still running the original steel bearing set after a couple years without issue.

TIP:

The only issue we ever had with these cranks was from the drive spider lockring loosening up. TurboTandem (Andy) had a solution to add a washer under the lockring which seems to eliminate the spider from working the lockring loose. Loctite as usual and we never had the issue reproduce after adding the extra washer. We provided this feedback to Lightning and so they should be aware of it and the fix. I don't know if they now provide the extra washer as a standard.
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Old 05-11-20, 11:39 AM
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Thanks for the suggestions Ďone is...í. I had my shop order angular contact bearings and they said it looked as if loctite has been used when the cranks were initially installed. They said they cleaned the bearings when they checked things out.

And thanks for chiming in twocicle. Appreciate the heads up on the spider and chainrings. I will ask the shop guys to use loctite on those bolts also.

BTW, I ride exclusively on roads that are adjacent to the shoreline in the Florida panhandle. Lots of wind and sand and salt blowing. I guess itís easy to get contamination in such an environment. These creaks started after about 6 months of riding out here. I hope it turns out to be just a maintenance issue.

thanks again folks.
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Old 05-11-20, 10:03 PM
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We have the twin to your Calfee with lightning cranks. First couple years I was chasing creaks as well, a few sources:
Re torque the bb shells into the frame(drive bb) and shim the cranks properly as others have stated.
Buy the tool from lightning for their proprietary lock ring on the spider, re torque(this needs to be TIGHT) with loctite.
Check all chainring bolts
Cross drivetrains on tandems wreak havoc with every attachment/bolts/bearings. Check often and maintain as needed.

enjoy!
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Old 05-11-20, 11:24 PM
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Most BB creaking issues are caused by bearing misalignment. The fact that it does so when not under load is a strong indication. Most often the root cause is the frame. Greasing the crank axle again would probably solve it temporarily. This can be fixed permanently by some aftermarket BB which connect the bearing seats through both sides and essentially get them on a common axis. It is possible, of course, that the crank axle is out of alignment, given the 3 piece design. Swapping the crank out for a few months might sort that out.

I don’t know who actually makes the Lightning crank. My cranks are from High Sierra, and they look identical in every detail except no branding, and they are custom length. Tom didn’t confirm or deny that they are the same crank. Zero problems so far, but I have it on a conventional english threaded BB. The bearings are tiny, which I am sure will wear out very quickly.
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Old 05-12-20, 08:29 AM
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Thanks for all the technical information. This is great. I gleaned and summarized the points and sent them in an email to my shopís service manager.

Jason at Calfee and Tim at Lightening have gotten back to me. Timís never heard that kind of noise before. He asked if itís still there with the chain off (it is). I mentioned that I ride where there is a lot of wind and sand blowing. He said that could get to the bearings and recommended trying a new set.

Calfee recommended swapping out the cranks and BB and see if the noise persists. If it does persist, that would rule out the crank arms and BB and might signal an issue with the BB cup i.e., a build issue. UGH!

thanks a lot folks for all the great help.
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Old 06-03-20, 09:29 PM
  #10  
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And if all else fails, contact Hambini for an objective take on your problem. Problem is, he's in the UK. But he's brutally honest when it comes to carbon BB shells, new BB standards, cranks, and bearings. I'd be curious if he's ever attempted to address BB issues with an eccentric. Which makes me think.... are you sure your eccentric has square faces and is machined appropriately? (I'll always remember a friend who had BB problems. He was assured his Shafer-built Salsa had been properly prepped prior to assembly. When I faced the shell, I knew immediately that it had NOT been prepped properly.)

Anyway, it usually comes down to carbon BB shells being out-of-round, improper interference fit dimension(s) and faces being non-parallel. That's where the Hambini BB insert addresses these problems by providing proper specs for your bottom bracket.
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Old 06-04-20, 11:20 AM
  #11  
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Thanks LV2TNDM. Calfee listen to the noise and mentioned that it could be an issue with the BB shell becoming detached. They said itís very unlikely but that it has happened.

So far my shop has cleaned and greased the BB and EBB twice, which worked for one ride, and just recently replaced the BB and bearings with angular bearings. That made no difference.

Weíre going to put a different crank and spindle in and see if that eliminates the noise. If so, Calfee says that suggests an issue with the lightening crankset.

We shall see. Iím thinking the worst... an issue with the BB shell.

thanks for your input.
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Old 06-12-20, 06:18 PM
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Originally Posted by LV2TNDM View Post
Anyway, it usually comes down to carbon BB shells being out-of-round, improper interference fit dimension(s) and faces being non-parallel. That's where the Hambini BB insert addresses these problems by providing proper specs for your bottom bracket.
Except Calfee tandems do not have a Carbon BB shell. Both front and rear are sleeved with metal. Bonding to the frame may be the underlying issue the OP is now chasing.
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Old 06-13-20, 11:45 AM
  #13  
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Ha, thatís interesting, twocicle. I was going to pressure the possible BB bonding but have had 2 consecutive rides w/o the noise. Iíd noticed it was becoming less noticeable but now I hear nothing. Iím expecting it to return but donít want to touch it now. Very superstitious.
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