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  1. #1
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    Blur LTc Upper Link maintenance

    I have developed a real nasty creak in either the lower or upper link. Since I consistently grease the lower link I thought i'd start with the upper link first and so decided to take it apart and service the pivots/axles. Has anyone disassembled the upper link to re-grease the axles?

    I thought it was as easy as removing the two allen bolts but apparently I was wrong. The top one loosened all the way but I couldn't remove it from the shaft. The lower allen bolt I successfully removed but how the heck do you remove the shaft?

    I looked on the SC website for instructions but all they had was this.

    Any help would be much appreciated
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Blur LTc Upper Link maintenance-uplink_rev2.gif  


  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by brumos
    I have developed a real nasty creak in either the lower or upper link. Since I consistently grease the lower link I thought i'd start with the upper link first and so decided to take it apart and service the pivots/axles. Has anyone disassembled the upper link to re-grease the axles?

    I thought it was as easy as removing the two allen bolts but apparently I was wrong. The top one loosened all the way but I couldn't remove it from the shaft. The lower allen bolt I successfully removed but how the heck do you remove the shaft?

    I looked on the SC website for instructions but all they had was this.

    Any help would be much appreciated
    First, You take out the Ti allen bolt, Then pop out the washer with a very large allen wrench, Please Note- I learned the hard way... Use a allen wrench that is big just enough to fit in the washer or will scratch it all up in the inside. Next use a 8mm for the top, bottom is a 6mm, Allen wrench to take out the black pivot bolts.. There you go... Once every two to three weeks, I grease the top linkage axle bolts.. If you shine a light inside the black axle bolts, you will see a hole in the center, that is were the allen wrench hole is... P.S You are right, it is the lower link. I had the same thing happen and once i did this it stopped.
    Last edited by JohnnyG 1970; 09-26-2010 at 11:17 AM.
    2011 Santa Cruz TallBoy carbon & 2013 TallBoy LT carbon - S/C All the Time !!!

  3. #3
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    Thanks for the help Johnny G.

    Found out the cause of the creaking... the top black aluminum axle shaft had snapped right where the threads begin. Bike is now at the shop awaiting a new steel shaft replacement under warranty.

    I had been riding this bike for the past month, did two races with the creaking and i'm lucky and fortunate nothing drastic happened.

  4. #4
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    Pivot axles breaking at the threads seems to be reported often...

    A couple things I've learned from disassembling the upper linkage (tips also work for the lower linkage too).

    1) Remove the rear wheel to get the weight off the swing arm assembly.
    2) Let most of the air out of the shock to relieve the stress it is placing on the linkage.
    3) When you start to unscrew the pivot axle make sure it doesn't start to "spring" the opposite side. Gently tapping the opposite side with a no-bounce hammer while unscrewing the axle will allow the axle to screw out properly ("Springing" the opposite side occurs when the head (split collet) of the axle is not releasing freely from the inside of the pivot housing).
    4) Applying liberal grease during reassembly on the exterior of the collet nut and on the exterior of the split collet on the axle will help you disassemble it easier next time. Loctite all threads (242)
    5) Use a torque wrench to tighten the ti-screws to prevent over-torquing and/or stripping the hex (110 in/lbs for the M6; 100 in/lbs for the M5 -see picture inset in first thread).

    --------------------------------------------
    Quote Johnny G; "Once every two to three weeks, I grease the top linkage axle bolts"
    Man, isn't that overkill? Do you find the axles dry? The seals should be keeping the dirt out.

    I'm using Rock "N" Roll grease and it seems to adhere quite well and handle the weather.
    Last edited by MarkHL; 09-27-2010 at 09:18 AM.

  5. #5
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    [QUOTE=MarkHL]Pivot axles breaking at the threads seems to be reported often...

    A couple things I've learned from disassembling the upper linkage (tips also work for the lower linkage too).

    1) Remove the rear wheel to get the weight off the swing arm assembly.
    2) Let most of the air out of the shock to relieve the stress it is placing on the linkage.
    3) When you start to unscrew the pivot axle make sure it doesn't start to "spring" the opposite side. Gently tapping the opposite side with a no-bounce hammer while unscrewing the axle will allow the axle to screw out properly ("Springing" the opposite side occurs when the head (split collet) of the axle is not releasing freely from the inside of the pivot housing).
    4) Applying liberal grease during reassembly on the exterior of the collet nut and on the exterior of the split collet on the axle will help you disassemble it easier next time. Loctite all threads (242)
    5) Use a torque wrench to tighten the ti-screws to prevent over-torquing and/or stripping the hex (110 in/lbs for the M6; 100 in/lbs for the M5 -see picture inset in first thread).

    --------------------------------------------
    Quote Johnny G; "Once every two to three weeks, I grease the top linkage axle bolts"
    Man, isn't that overkill? Do you find the axles dry? The seals should be keeping the dirt out.

    Hey Mark... Over kill, yes I guess... No they still have grease on them- Axle bolts... When- Once every two to three weeks, I check the torque of all bolts ti and the axle bolts at the same time. I re-grease the top axle bolts... The bike in the work stand, so hey why not...
    2011 Santa Cruz TallBoy carbon & 2013 TallBoy LT carbon - S/C All the Time !!!

  6. #6
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    I'll definitely be adding this servicing to my regular maintenance. So easy to do and will keep the bike squeak free.
    I think 2-3 times a riding season will suffice.

    For those who haven't done this servicing yet, it might be a good idea to pull out the axles and re-grease them - a little bit of preventative maintenance goes a long way. The bike shop mentioned that they ship from the factory with very little grease.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by brumos
    ...The bike shop mentioned that they ship from the factory with very little grease.
    Yep, that's what I found out when I disassembled mine after a few rides. IMO under lubricated upper axles; I got suspicious after having to pump quite a bit of grease in the lower pivots before it started exiting out the seals. I disassemble the upper pivots and found them basically dry. The axles already had a bit of wear in the areas where the bearing races contact the axle. The maintenance schedule should coincide with how much water your bike sees (dirt has not been an issue).

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    I'm trying to do this right now... I'm trying to remove part 1, the shaft. When i loosen it, instead of the shaft coming towards me, it is pushing the arm on the rear triangle away from me... basically spreading the two upper arms apart.

    I don't want to damage the frame is this normal or should it be unscrewing toward me?

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    Quote Originally Posted by miked0200
    I'm trying to do this right now... I'm trying to remove part 1, the shaft. When i loosen it, instead of the shaft coming towards me, it is pushing the arm on the rear triangle away from me... basically spreading the two upper arms apart.

    I don't want to damage the frame is this normal or should it be unscrewing toward me?


    Try giving it a tap with a punch and hammer from the opposite side.....the axle collar just needs to be broken free.
    I crashed hard enough on my Tallboy to break my leg,
    The carbon is way more durable than most people.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by miked0200
    I'm trying to do this right now... I'm trying to remove part 1, the shaft. When i loosen it, instead of the shaft coming towards me, it is pushing the arm on the rear triangle away from me... basically spreading the two upper arms apart.

    I don't want to damage the frame is this normal or should it be unscrewing toward me?
    Does this help?

    Quote Originally Posted by JohnnyG 1970
    A couple things I've learned from disassembling the upper linkage (tips also work for the lower linkage too).

    1) Remove the rear wheel to get the weight off the swing arm assembly.
    2) Let most of the air out of the shock to relieve the stress it is placing on the linkage.
    3) When you start to unscrew the pivot axle make sure it doesn't start to "spring" the opposite side. Gently tapping the opposite side with a no-bounce hammer while unscrewing the axle will allow the axle to screw out properly ("Springing" the opposite side occurs when the head (split collet) of the axle is not releasing freely from the inside of the pivot housing).
    4) Applying liberal grease during reassembly on the exterior of the collet nut and on the exterior of the split collet on the axle will help you disassemble it easier next time. Loctite all threads (242)
    5) Use a torque wrench to tighten the ti-screws to prevent over-torquing and/or stripping the hex (110 in/lbs for the M6; 100 in/lbs for the M5 -see picture inset in first thread).
    Edit: Doh! Too slow . . . .

  11. #11
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    thanks, i read that before i started this and didn't understand what that meant until now.

  12. #12
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    While I'm here, I assume that this is the same for the AL models . . . would I be able to use the same grease that comes with the bike for the lower link grease ports?

  13. #13
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    wow i can't believe this i was trying to get out the upper pivot axle collet , i'm torqueing it pretty hard and im thinking wow this is way more than 35in-lb, right then it budged. Completely stripped it. don't know what to do, now. today sucks.

    its like that pivot is welded to the frame or something... any ideas?

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by miked0200
    wow i can't believe this i was trying to get out the upper pivot axle collet , i'm torqueing it pretty hard and im thinking wow this is way more than 35in-lb, right then it budged. Completely stripped it. don't know what to do, now. today sucks.

    its like that pivot is welded to the frame or something... any ideas?


    Give Willie a call at Santa Cruz.....he should be able to help you out.
    I crashed hard enough on my Tallboy to break my leg,
    The carbon is way more durable than most people.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by miked0200
    wow i can't believe this i was trying to get out the upper pivot axle collet , i'm torqueing it pretty hard and im thinking wow this is way more than 35in-lb, right then it budged. Completely stripped it. don't know what to do, now. today sucks.

    its like that pivot is welded to the frame or something... any ideas?
    By stripping, I assume you are referring to rounding the internal hex of the pivot axle and not the internal threads on the frame or external threads on the pivot axle.

    The pivot threads are installed with loc-tite, however would not cause this sort of problem. I suspect the split collet (see pic) is digging into your frame (pivot housing) . The fit between the collet and pivot housing is quite snug and probably one of the reasons they state to grease this area prior to assembly. If your internal hex is rounded you can probably get it out by using an "EZ" out - However, I'd suggest first seeing if you tighten it just a bit to release the bite the split collet (probably) has on the housing and then reverse the direction and unscrew it. Try and get a little oil around the head of the collet (however keep it away from you EZ out hole). You'll need a new pivot axle from SC.

    You should be able to reinstall the wedge and screw and ride it until the new pivot axle arrives. It will also give you some time to get an EZ out...

    Edited: One other problem comes to mind; If you haven't serviced these in a long time and they've seen water, the bearing races may be seized to the alloy pivot axle. If that is the case, you need to soak them down with penetrating fluid (e.g., Kroil Oil) and let them sit over night before trying to unscrew the axle.
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    Last edited by MarkHL; 10-13-2010 at 06:44 PM.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by miked0200
    wow i can't believe this i was trying to get out the upper pivot axle collet , i'm torqueing it pretty hard and im thinking wow this is way more than 35in-lb, right then it budged. Completely stripped it. don't know what to do, now. today sucks.

    its like that pivot is welded to the frame or something... any ideas?

    Shitty!

    Not enough grease from the factory is the reason for this. Don't know why they don't grease this up properly during assembly.

    Grease up the new axle nice and good for the next time you have to pull it out and you shouldn't have this problem.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by MarkHL
    However, I'd suggest first seeing if you tighten it just a bit to release the bite the split collet (probably) has on the housing and then reverse the direction and unscrew it. Try and get a little oil around the head of the collet (however keep it away from you EZ out hole). You'll need a new pivot axle from SC.

    You should be able to reinstall the wedge and screw and ride it until the new pivot axle arrives. It will also give you some time to get an EZ out...

    Edited: One other problem comes to mind; If you haven't serviced these in a long time the bearing races may be seized to the alloy pivot axle. If that is the case, you need to soak them down with penetrating fluid (e.g., Kroil Oil) and let them sit over night before trying to unscrew the axle.
    Thanks for the reply, that has given me hope. BTW you are correct, I did mean the internal hex housing, not the external threads.

    What do you suggest I tighten? the ti bolt that screws into the axle?

    Edit: just saw your edit. It appears that these pivots haven't been serviced in a long time, i bought the bike used about a month ago, so I'm not entirely sure. I'll try the penetrating fluid, good idea thanks.

  18. #18
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    Uggh, after swearing off never buying a SC again after countless issues with Blur Classic pivots, I'm considering getting a Tallboy as I thought all the issues were resolved with the new designs....how common are these issues? Is this the same pivot as on the tallboy? Will greasing it when new help out? Thanks for any info.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by miked0200
    Thanks for the reply, that has given me hope. BTW you are correct, I did mean the internal hex housing, not the external threads.

    What do you suggest I tighten? the ti bolt that screws into the axle?
    I meant slightly tighten the pivot axle so it would help disengage it from the housing IF the edge of the collet was digging into the housing. You can probably ignore that.
    Otherwise, I figured you could just put it back together and ride it until you receive a new pivot axle from SC.

    Since you have no history with this bike, I suspect the bearings are frozen to the axle. Lay the bike on its side and soak it down with penetrating oil. Also use the oil on the threads on the opposite side. You may want to "gently" tap the pivot a few times with a block of wood and a hammer. (Sort of like trying to open a stuck peanut butter lid).
    Then use an EZ out in the rounded hex. If all this fails the pivot can be milled (or EDM'd) out at a machine shop. It would probably cost you $50.

    -------------------------------------------------------
    EJ_92606
    With the old designs, if the bearing races froze to the axles, you could use a press (or punch and hammer) and force the axle out. Since the new design has the pivot threaded into the frame this is no longer an option.
    All the more reason to do regular maintenance on the upper pivots (use the grease gun on the lower). The more water the frame sees, the more often maintenance will be required.
    Last edited by MarkHL; 10-15-2010 at 11:07 AM.

  20. #20
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    thanks for the ideas, however the larger pivot, the one that i did not strip still won't come out. I used pb blaster on it, tried hitting it with a hammer and a block of wood etc. It will turn easier now however it still will not come out.

    I was thinking about loosening the axle a tad then using a clamp to try and push the two upper arms together to push the axle out, but I thought maybe that would tear up the threads on the frame.

    Think it's worth a try?

  21. #21
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    I don't know what SC's current policies are, but they use to allow you to send the frame to them and they would fix problems like this. I suggest you call them, tell them your situation and see if you can arrange for them to fix it. Sounds like you need new pivots and bearings. It seems like a better option at this point than risking damaging your frame. (831) 459-7560

    Otherwise, keep applying the penetrating oil and give it time to work... The bearings are located in your pivots and you need to get them soaked. I don't think the clamping technique is a good idea, you'll either spring the mounts or break a weld. However, **smacking the ends with a no-bounce (plastic) hammer to agitate the bearing race to axle contact area my help break it free.

    **smacking = about as much force as you can apply using only your wrist.
    Last edited by MarkHL; 10-15-2010 at 11:09 AM.

  22. #22
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    thanks for the help mark, I hope I won't have to send it in but maybe I will.

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    Ok, so i'm doing some regular maintenance on the upper link - decided to regrease both axles.

    I can't get the collet nut (see image below) out of the pivot axle. I've tried everything.
    Any suggestions on how to get it out?

    The bottom one came out on it's own without any problem.

    Thanks
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  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by brumos
    Ok, so i'm doing some regular maintenance on the upper link - decided to regrease both axles.

    I can't get the collet nut (see image below) out of the pivot axle. I've tried everything.
    Any suggestions on how to get it out?

    The bottom one came out on it's own without any problem.

    Thanks
    Find a allen wrench that just about fits in there... If you go to small with the allen wrench you chew up the inside... Then the bolt and washer fit like shi*... Once you get the allen wrench in there... Just give it a pop... And it will come right out... Note... When putting back together put grease on those... So the next time they come out easier...
    2011 Santa Cruz TallBoy carbon & 2013 TallBoy LT carbon - S/C All the Time !!!

  25. #25
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    Thanks JonnyG. Popped out like you described.

    Ain't nothing better than a freshly tuned bike. Much different than before, so much smoother and feels like it floats over the rough terrain. Love this bike.

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