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  1. #1
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    Hollowtech I advice needed

    I have a 03 Blur with a now creaky LX/octalink crank. I expect I'll replace the crank, but untill then I'm looking for the source of the creaking. Two questions:

    1. At speced torque on the BB cups, the BB spindle is hard to turn and feels rough, but it feels quite smooth at lower torques. Whats with that?

    2. The 10mm hex crank bolts feel like the crank and BB have 'bottomed out' - the splines are fully engaged and the back of the crankarm is pressing against the BB axle 'flat' just inboard of the splines, when the speced torque is reached. Is this normal? It's quite a different feeling compared to a square tapered BB axle, where the torque slowly ramps up to spec as the bolt is tightened.

    Any other thoughts and advice would be appreciated. I really dont like Shimano's lack of interchangeability/disposable parts, like this unique, low end, weird size(121) BB which is the ONLY option for the LX hollowtech I crank. At least Shimano couldnt patent the integrated crank as they didnt invent it, so there are more options and interchangeability with BB-bearings in the new integrated cranks from shimano, Raceface, FSA and Truvativ.

    Thanks in advance for help with my two questions!!!!

    Ride On!!!!

  2. #2
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    1. You should be able to tighten the drive side BB cup to full torque spec without the bearings feeling less smooth. When you tighten the non-driveside BB cup it adds some preload to the bearings. It makes the bearings feel less smooth if you are just spinning the axle by hand. Once you put the crank arms on, you will hardly notice. It will loosen up a little bit too after it breaks in.

    2. Yes, it should feel like it bottoms out once tight.

    The answer to your questions may be lube. I like to use anti-seize compound on the BB/BB shell thread interface and grease on the BB/crank arm spline interface to prevent any creaking. Also, you should grease up all your chainring bolts & nuts before installing the chainrings.

    If after doing all of this you still have a creaking sound, the only possible cause would be the spline interface between the driveside crank arm and spider carrier.

  3. #3
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    Reputation: Bikinfoolferlife's Avatar
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    I'd replace the bottom bracket before the crankset. Like Gearhead sez about assembly with grease.
    "...the people get the government they deserve..."
    suum quique

  4. #4
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    Thanks guys! I'll use the never-seize and grease, wont worry about the bottoming out feeling, and replace the BB if I'm still having trouble ($20). I really appreciate the quick response!

    Ride On!!!

  5. #5
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    I've got the XT version of that generation of crank, and I've got a similar problem. Creaking, popping, etc, coming form the nondrive side. I took the crank arms off after a really muddy race, cleaned everything, greased the crank arm bolts and BB splines. Now, I may have needed to get the BB out and grease those threads, but for the life of me I couldn't get it out, so maybe that's where I've gone worng her, but.... Anyway, everything is back together and still it makes with the creaky poppy. Long story short, I think, the BB bearings are toast. Could be the BB threads, but I would hazard a guess and say that this is the problem for both of us.

  6. #6
    Now with 3 more inches!
    Reputation: tigerdog's Avatar
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    FWIW I had a Specialized Strongarm II crankset with a plastic cup octalink BB. The creaks used to drive me insane. I made use of the online deals last year and replaced both with a Hollowtech I XT crankset and the XT BB (under $90 for both). No more noise from mine. Don't know if it helps but a torque wrench and anti-sieze on the threads were involved in the re-fit.

    Matt

  7. #7
    On MTBR hiatus :(
    Reputation: Speedub.Nate's Avatar
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    I'm curious to try a 572 crankset with a 118mm ES-71 bottom bracket and a 1.5mm shim under the drive side cup to center things. I think with a 68mm bottom bracket shell, this would work with minimal impact on the chainline.

    Unfortunately, the new bike I'm building has a 73mm shell, and I'm worried this may be too wide and might pull the non-drive crank into the cup.

    In any case, I've got the first generation LX Octalink which I've owned since '99, paired up with an ES-70 series bottom bracket (no funny bottom bracket spindle lengths for that first go-around), and it's running strong and silent -- so it's making the jump to its fourth bike.

  8. #8
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    I had another thought for you guys with the creaks. I was just solving a creak on an old Cook F crankset on one of my bikes yesterday and it was one with a spider that separates from the crankarm that had come slightly loose (like a ding dong I didn't think to check this in the first place, of course). I know some of the Shimanos had the same thing going with a lockring you need a tool for (Shimano TL-UN96), but I seem to remember someone told me that Shimano doesn't have that feature on some of the more recent cranksets.
    "...the people get the government they deserve..."
    suum quique

  9. #9
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    Creak gone

    In my case, the neverseize and grease did the trick. I didnt grease the chainring bolts, so the creaking was coming from either the octalink interface or the cups. (I'm guessing the latter.) I used a torque wrench, and cleaned all with kero and compressed air. Once again, thanks Gearhead, the 'bottoming out feeling' in the octalink cranks was no longer a worry for me since receiving your advice.

  10. #10
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    Sweet, best of luck with a creak free ride.

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