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  1. #1
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    O-Rings & Bushings will be the death of me!

    Here is my problem:

    I researched and test rode 5 bikes before I decided to purchase a 2012 Element 950. It was a great bike for the first year (see my reviews). Now I am into year two and I cannot stop the "bleeding" (aka o-rings falling off and creaking noises for days).

    Rocky Mountain: PLEASE make it easier for RM owners to locate and purchase replacement o-rings in bulk quantities at a reasonable price. I have spoken to RM and my "local" RM dealer (90 minute drive) and have been told I can buy "10 or so" o-rings and have them shipped to my house for $20. THIS PRICE AND QUANTITY IS SIMPLY NOT ACCEPTABLE. I have replaced half of the o-rings in the past few months and the others are cracking and ready to go. I plan on having this frame for 3-4 more years...so I'm guessing I am going to need multiple bags of $20 o-rings.

    Also...it seems to be very difficult for multiple RM customers to find replacement o-rings locally (see thread on this RM page). I have tried with no luck. These specific o-rings have inner/outer measurements, thickness, and rubber compound that is simply not readily available.

    NOISE: I have become proficient at servicing every aspect of my frame (except REMOVING the main pivot bearings and Igus bushing just above the BB). I have performed service on all pivots, headset, cranks, chainrings/bolts, rear through axle, derailleur hanger, cable routing, etc/rest of the bike and still cannot eliminate a major creak coming out of the BB area. Neither can my LBS.

    I am stumped, frustrated, and tired...

  2. #2
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    Could a small bead of silicone sealant be an alternative method of keeping the crud out? Obviously it would need to break loose from the surfaces of the stays so perhaps apply it over a light smear of grease....once set it should be pretty durable, it always seems to be pretty strong stuff whenever you need to remove it!
    Rocky Mountain 2003 Hammer, 2009 Vertex 70 RSL, 2012 Element 970
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  3. #3
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    I feel your pain. But even though I don't have the o-ring problem, I had to replace the bushings after 1 year. Do you store your bike in direct sunlight? Maybe that is what's causing the o-rings to crumble? Mine is always in a dark shed. My o-rings still look great.

  4. #4
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    Regarding the noise: are you tightening the main pivot down to spec? I have to 'modern' RMBs that had a creaky swingarm, recurrently, and I'm pretty certain this was down to me not using enough torque when reassembling. Also, last time anything creaked I was 100% sure it was the swingarm main pivot, but after hours of goofing around it turned out to be the dropout pivots.

    I don't know high they have the heating or airco cranked up when RMB assembles, but every new bike I've ever had (all RMBs ;-)) had a creaky pivot within a couple of days of riding. All except my very first Element, and that used semi-permanent Loctite on the pivot hardware. I'll take creaks in that case!

  5. #5
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    RE: O-Rings & Bushings will be the death of me!

    Yikes. Knock on wood as thankfully i have not had any of those problems after 12 months with my 950. Only a cable and housing that was too short aft of the bb. Knock on wood, knock on wood, knock on wood...
    Sent from my Lumia 920 using Board Express

  6. #6
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    According to RM, silicone would NOT be an option.

  7. #7
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    Stored in garage...no direct sunlight. The o-rings were fine the first year...now one falls off every 1-2 months (even after I replaced worn, but NOT snapped o-rings).

  8. #8
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    I am using a torque wrench and tightening to the high end of RM specs.

    I also had the creaking main pivot and have serviced it multiple times chasing down creaks.

    My LBS called RM and they said they have traced a lot of noise to the Igus bushings in the main pivot just above the BB. Now I have to buy a punch in order to get the old bushings out...DOES ANYONE HAVE ANY RECOMMENDATIONS ON FINDING THE CORRECT PUNCH???

  9. #9
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    Mine was fairly quiet for the first year. Now I cannot chase down the big creak that seems to be coming from the BB/crank area when I torque on it (standing and sitting).

    I have worked on it and my LBS has as well. I just bought a new BB and that did not solve it. Going to try new bushings in main pivot next. LBS says cranks, rings, and bolts look good. Everything has been removed, cleaned, greased, and torqued.

    The troubling thing is that this creak has developed AFTER receiving much love, cleaning, greasing (if necessary), and proper torque. It seems like I'll never solve the problem.

  10. #10
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    Can you reproduce the creak while not actually riding the bike? It's a long shot, but trying to get the creak to repeat in a relatively quiet space sometimes helps isolate where it comes from.

    I could always reproduce my creak by compressing the suspension, then hanging over the bike and torquing the cranks by grabbing a hold of both pedals with my hands and pulling in the pedaling direction. "Clunk" on suspension compression, "creak" on 'pedaling'.

    The single time this turned out not to be the main pivot was on my Altitude, where it was a tiny amount of play on the dropout pivots. I could produce the same creak by setting the bike against the wall, and rocking the rear wheel back and forth by pushing/pulling on the top of it with my hand.

  11. #11
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    A lack of grease on the main pivot metal to metal contact points is the most common cause of creaking, especially creaks near the BB.
    I'm a member of NSMBA and IMBA Canada

  12. #12
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    Identifying the creaking! Has anyone used a screwdriver by placing the handle end to ones ear?
    I use this method to identify engine noise,works like a stethescope.
    Altitude 750 2014

  13. #13
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    I have greased and re-greased the rear axle many times.

  14. #14
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    I had that creak .......drove me nutzzzz .
    It ended up being the "plug" under the BB where the cables exit out of the
    the frame .
    Took it out , cleaned some crud out then wrapped some teflon tape around
    the plug and reassembled .
    Problem solved :-))

  15. #15
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    OK I had some o rings breaking as well. Went on amazon and ordered.

    M1.5x20 Buna-N O-ring, 70A Durometer, Round, Black, 20 mm ID, 23 mm OD, 1.5 mm Width (Pack of 100): Amazon.com: Industrial & Scientific

    They fit fine and for the price I can replace them every week.

    If you want to try them teacher, pm me your address, I'll send you a few.

    I had creaking issues as well. Like you I am almost proficient servicing this thing entirely.

    Turned out the red ferrels combined with dust make a mean creak. Clean them where the derailleur cables enter the frame.

  16. #16
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    I can't understand why RM uses bushings. While there might be some advantages (I guess), hunting down proprietary parts sucks, and if installed too tightly, the bushings wear down the frame.

    RM - Go bearings and don't look back. You have some nice bikes.

    Edited for (I'm ashamed to say) spelling
    Last edited by Pisgah; 10-25-2013 at 03:42 PM.

  17. #17
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    O-Rings & Bushings will be the death of me!

    This issue is a big part of why I left all things ABC at RMB

  18. #18
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    I really want to go 2014 RMB Altitude this spring but all these issues about creaks and such are starting to give me second thoughts?? Any Words?

  19. #19
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    My Element 970 has creaked once. I lubed the pivot axles and the bike has been silent ever since.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pisgah View Post
    ...if installed too tightly, the bushings wear down the frame.
    My understanding is the female alloy parts bottom out on each other, so there should be no way you can overtighten the bushings. Seems to me it's the other way around. Maybe RMB can elaborate?

    I'm fine with bushings as long as the costs don't go out of control. Direct question for RMB: would replacing the alloy parts with (polished) stainless steel make any difference? I'm sure the extra grams would be well worth it for quite a number of users here.

  21. #21
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    At best they'd require constant lubing...and would still probably end up galling. ABC bushings are self-lubricated.

  22. #22
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    Thanks for the o-ring info. I ditched the red aluminum ferrels within the first few months.

  23. #23
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    I have greased the main pivot axle so many times I can do it in my sleep.

  24. #24
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    I am going to eventually replace the main pivot axle bushings. I have been servicing all pivots...again. Eliminated much of the noise by tearing apart the rear pivots and derailleur hanger. There are still little noises.

  25. #25
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    A little feedback from where I am now.

    I have two ABC bikes, an older Element and an Altitude since this summer. The Altitude bushings show some signs of wear after 3 months of hard use. Quite a number of 8-10 hour days and many, many, many nasty runs down. Quite some mud, too.

    The Element I replaced the bushings on the bottom of the link this summer. Lots of riding, including an atrociously wet Tour Mont Blanc and a lot of local riding (hurt my back so the Vertex stayed at home...). The bushings look absolutely pristine. The bushings on the top of the link were visibly used, as was the alloy hardware, so didn't replace them. I figured I'd ride them until they deteriorate further, and try lubing them with RSP UltraSlick (a bit like Judy Butter ;-)) for the time being Of the four bushings there, one looked a little worse for wear, the rest seemed no worse than last time I checked.

  26. #26
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    Same with me and that's after a ride that seized my new 2 month old Chris King ceramic bracket (on its second ride, autsj) and 9 month old Hope pulleys My Element's bushings and o-rings seem to be in the same condition as a few months ago. No play yet. I'll keep inspecting and cleaning them after each few muddy rides.

  27. #27
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    I have RSL70 same bushings! I had a creak that was driving me nuts, turned out to be main pivot bearing that had almost seized! As for Orings I just use generic ones that are "almost" the same size - From memory Rocky use a 1.25mm and I just use a standard 1.5mm and replace when I want as they are cheap as, just buy a big bag of them. So far so good and no stress!

  28. #28
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    O-Rings & Bushings will be the death of me!

    Quote Originally Posted by ccaddy View Post
    I had that creak .......drove me nutzzzz .
    It ended up being the "plug" under the BB where the cables exit out of the
    the frame .
    Took it out , cleaned some crud out then wrapped some teflon tape around
    the plug and reassembled .
    Problem solved :-))

    Yeah that's very common. My 2012 alloy element had the same problem. Now with every cable change I replace the o-ring and grease it. Also had a faulty drop out that creaked as well as a bad BB and creaking bushings. But like the op I've learned very quickly to clean my bushings etc.



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  29. #29
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    How are people handling the regular bushing maintenance? Maybe it's just o-rings, but, the torque specs + LOCTITE recommendation seems unreasonable.

    Code:
    All custom hardware (alloy thru-bolts, screws, and nuts) 
    requires the use of LOCTITE 262 (a high strength threadlock). 
    The torque specification unless otherwise stated is 100 
    to 110 in*lbs or 11.3 to 12.4 N*m.
    
    Non custom hardware (steel bolts) requires the use 
    of LOCTITE 242 (blue), a medium strength threadlock. 
    The torque specification unless otherwise stated is 60 
    to 80 in*lbs or 6.7 to 9.0 N*m.
    LOCTITE 262 is "permanent" at least in the sense that it's not prone to loosening w/o tools. How many times can one use a 6mm and a 4mm Allen (IIRC) be used before the alloy hardware has rounded socket(s)?
    Last edited by rainking; 02-15-2014 at 03:11 PM. Reason: easier to read

  30. #30
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    Loctite 262 would be a problem, but the spec calls for 242, which is medium strength and designed to be easily removed with handtools. Same stuff as used on most fastners on the bike. In practice I haven't found any difficulties -- no rounded bolt heads etc.

  31. #31
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    The big diameter custom alloy bolts use the 262 because of the anodizing on the alloy bolts, 242 doesn't grip the anodizing as effectively. Loctite notes that aluminium and anodized aluminium are both "inactive" surfaces and they would normally recommend primer to activate them. So the 262 without primer is likely grippy enough to hold them together without becoming permanent.
    I'm a member of NSMBA and IMBA Canada

  32. #32
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    O-Rings & Bushings will be the death of me!

    I'm on the look out for a reasonably priced bearing press for the main pivot bearings. Any suggestions.


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  33. #33
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    Great info. on Loctite 262, aluminum and aluminum alloys and activation. Off with the blue and on to the red ;-)

    Thanks!

  34. #34
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    d'oh. Guess I'd better read a little more closely. I'm happy to report that I haven't had anything fall out with just LT blue!

  35. #35
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    Always use blue and never had anything loosen up, nor creaking in 2 years.

  36. #36
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    Just replaced all the bushings including the shock bushing on my 2007 Element 10. After 7 years of hard riding the pivots were super loose.
    Feels like a new bike now.
    Be sure to replace the shock bushing when you rebuild.
    Titus X Carbon
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  37. #37
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    I've ridden my 2013 hard for a year now, the only bushing that has slop in it is the drive side chain stay I'm assuming because of the torque going to rear wheel. I was paranoid when this thread started that all my bushings were going to fall out after a couple months I'm happy with the durability of these things to bad they don't sell them separately.

  38. #38
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    Just broke down the rear linkage for the first time on my wife's '13 Altitude since I was doing an air sleeve job on her Float (don't get me started on the Evolution!)
    I took out all the bushings and all the matching metal insert things and cleaned everything off. Put a light smear of Slick Honey on everything and put it back together. Without the o rings which as far as I could tell would be impossible to get placed in any effective way. For the record, putting the linkage back together with all the little bushings and figuring out what order to reassemble everything in so that the puzzle would go together including the shock........was a major pain in the ass in and of itself.
    Currently avoiding a visit to the RMB website to see what they're going to rape me for to get new bushings for next go round.

  39. #39
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    jm2e,
    Did you have a look at the video for the trick of putting the 0 rings back on?? Takes 2 seconds to do once you watch the video.

  40. #40
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    link?

  41. #41
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    Have you checked here Videos | Rocky Mountain Bicycles

  42. #42
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    Good god, I hope my LBS remembered all of those steps after just servicing my element!

    After two seasons they reported that the bushings in my 950 were fine and they replaced one of the linkage bearings.

  43. #43
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    Anyone know of a shop that stocks the bushings individually? I have one that needs replaced and don't want to shell out the 150 for the whole kit.

  44. #44
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    Re: O-Rings & Bushings will be the death of me!

    Not sure but please post up once you find a source.

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  45. #45
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    The shops will usually buy them in a kit, so they might not be keen to split up the kits.
    I'm a member of NSMBA and IMBA Canada

  46. #46
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    I watched the video. I was wondering why my bushing failed, and may be because I had no o rings on the swing link? They(o-ring) are in the back, but none up front. Were they originally on 2012 950's? I had a broken frame and when it was replaced I guess the shop didn't put them on if they we're suppose to. May be the cause.

  47. #47
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    It's worth following up with the shop and get a warranty on their warranty service.
    I'm a member of NSMBA and IMBA Canada

  48. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by rockyuphill View Post
    It's worth following up with the shop and get a warranty on their warranty service.
    Actually, I wasn't real thrilled with several experiences at this particular place. Don't feel it's worth the hassle of them having my bike for 3 weeks. I'll just get the kit shipped and do it right myself. If done right, I'm hoping I don't need to do this annually.

  49. #49
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    I had a similar experience with my 2013 Element 950, I took apart the rear pivots to check and clean the bushing and found several of the O-rings had not been installed as per the video on the RM website. Don't think this is worth a warranty claim etc, just interesting that it happened to someone else as well...

  50. #50
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    Sometimes these o rings disintegrate. Maybe that happened.

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