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  1. #1
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    Campagnolo Power Torque crank (Veloce, Centaur, Athena) creak/click? Read on

    Edit: Wazgilbert posted some useful information about the "short" wave washer here which undermines my argument quite a lot. I thought there was a "bad batch" of wave washers out there causing low preload and hence a tendency to click/creak. I thought I had enough evidence to make it worth writing this post. But Wazgilbert's measurements seem to show that I'm wrong. So I don't know what's going on. You might want to ignore much of what's said below since I now have no constructive suggestions. Wazgilbert is going to measure a few other washers, I will update this post again if he comes up with any new information. Sorry if I've wasted anyone's time or money.



    If you bought a Campagnolo Power Torque crankset in 2012 you may have a defective wave washer which may cause it to creak or click under load (eg while pedalling out of the saddle). You can read the full thread here, but it's very long and has an unhelpful title. This posting is just a simplification to warn you.

    This thread is not about Ultra Torque cranks. It is only about Power Torque which in 2012 is used on Veloce, Centaur & Athena. Earlier versions of Veloce, Centaur and Athena (pre-2010 IIRC) used Ultra Torque.

    What is the noise?

    A creak or click once per pedal revolution when the crank is under load, eg when climbing out of the saddle. Creaks and clicks have lots of sources, your click could be an indicator of a different problem, you should check out alternatives (pedals, headset, quick releases, etc) before reading further.

    With the "Power Torque click", in my case, removing the crank, adding more grease to the bearings and cups, and replacing the crank will silence the click for tens of miles. Then it comes back.

    What is the cause?

    I believe that the problem is caused by a weak "wave washer" which provides the "preload". Other posters on these forums agree. The preload stops the crank moving from side to side when you pedal. The wave washer is the big spring like thing which fits between the left hand crank arm and the bearing in its cup. If this wave washer is too weak, the crank moves from side to side, especially when you are pedalling out of the saddle. This side to side movement gradually pushes the grease out, and the click begins as the un-lubricated parts rub together.

    I believe Campagnolo changed the design of the wave washer in spring 2012 (I am not sure of the dates). I believe the "old, good" wave washer was about 5 mm high, and very strong. If you squeezed it between thumb and forefinger, you would hardly be able to move it. The "new, bad" wave washer is about 10 mm high, a bronze colour, and is so weak, you can squeeze it quite flat between thumb and forefinger. I have put photos of the "old" and "new" wave washers at the bottom. The "old, good" is on the blue frame, the one in the guy's hand, with the Campagnolo logo at the top. The "new, bad" washer is on the black frame (my bike).

    I have spent 3 months (and counting) trying to get Campag's UK representative to believe me that the wave washers are bad. I still don't have a resolution, but Italy is now involved so there is hope.

    I am not just making stuff up. Campag Italy gave me the production specification on the wave washer. The specification says it is supposed to take 17 kg to squash it flat. My wave washers take about 5 kg to squash flat - they are much, much weaker than the specification. You can read the big thread if you want more details of my diagnosis.

    How do you find out if you are affected?

    I would guess that if you bought your crank in 2010 or 2011 you are not affected.

    The most reliable way is to pull the crank arm off (good luck with that*) and take a look.

    If you don't want to do that, a simple but maybe less reliable way is to put both your thumbs on the big crank bolt on the left hand side. Wrap your fingers around the chainstay and the down tube, and push with both thumbs quite hard. If the crank moves a tiny bit (a fraction of a millimeter) sideways, you may have a "new, bad" wave washer. You may also hear a distinct crunch/click when you do this. When you release the pressure, the crank may spring back, or it may "stick" until you pull it back by hand, or turn the pedals.

    I expect that if you have the "old, good" wave washer you will not be able to move the crank with your thumbs. But you might be able to move it if you exert more force, for example by squeezing the crank arm and the chain stay with your fist. It's not whether you can move the crank that matters, it's how much force it takes. Thumb pressure is less force than squeezing the chain stay.

    How many people are affected?

    I have no idea. I have found 2 or 3 on the Internet who might be affected. Plus me. The problem seemed to surface in summer 2012. Some people may have "new, bad" wave washers but a silent crank - for some people the preload from the "new, bad" wave washer might be adequate.

    The Campagnolo UK guy bought some wave washers at retail in late September 2012 and they were still the "new, bad" kind. So I suspect that all the washers in retail are "new, bad" ones, in the UK at least.

    What can you do?

    If your crank is silent, don't worry

    If you get a click or creak, check out all the other possibilities first, there are some good troubleshooting guides on the Web.

    If you were planning to buy a Power Torque crank, maybe you should hold off until this is sorted. Power Torque is a really bad system IMHO*, I would suggest you think hard before buying it.

    If you bought Power Torque in 2012, you have a click or creak once per pedal rev when out of the saddle, and you are sure the crank is the cause....
    - please post on here
    - contact your Campag service rep. If you are in the UK that is Velotech, Google 'em. Velotech is aware I have a click/creak, but for some reason Velotech is still trying to blame my frame, even though Velotech has actually measured that the wave washers clearly do not meet the Campag specification. (no, I don't understand either)
    - what you want is an "old, good" wave washer, about 5 mm tall, probably from 2011 stock. Your LBS may have one? Or your Campag rep?

    Maybe I am making this all up. Maybe the wave washers are fine. YMMV. But I thought it was worth posting to inform you, if you are suffering the same problems as me.

    * Power Torque IMHO is not great. Installing the crank is really easy. Removing it is really difficult. You need a special "puller" to do it. The Campag recommended one is really expensive. You can buy a cheaper one, but it might require "modification" with a file or Dremel. Even then IMHO there is a good chance you will scratch the cranks. Particularly with carbon cranks. It's nasty. By contrast Campy's Ultra Torque system looks really nice, though I have not used it. One simple bolt and the thing just falls apart.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Campagnolo Power Torque crank (Veloce, Centaur, Athena) creak/click? Read on-bad-washer.jpg  
    Attached Images Attached Images  
    Last edited by CheapSkate; 11-10-2012 at 08:56 AM. Reason: New information

  2. #2
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    Sorry to hear about your un-ending problems! I have to say my 2011 PT Veloce compact crankset has performed flawlessly so far as regards the bottom bracket area. The only issue I have felt is I can feel some flex in the crankset when pushing down hard on steep hills. I am hoping this flex will be reduced with the new ultra light hollow alloy cranks Campy is coming out with for 2013. I will just re-use my 2011 bb parts after I read about your unfortunate experiences!

  3. #3
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    Hi masi85. Thanks for your post & glad it's OK for you. Can you tell me....
    - approximately when did you buy your cranks & cups?
    - approximately how much pressure to move the crank side to side? See my "2 thumb" test and the "chain stay squeeze" test described above
    thanks

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    Revised dates?

    I've revised my "new, bad" washer introduction date back to August 2011. I found a photo of the "new, bad" washer from August 2011.

  5. #5
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    Veloce 2011 group was purchased 22-11-2010 from Shinybikes. When I press on the left side crank either at the fixing bolt or squeezing the arm against the chainstay I get no noticable movement. However, when I then pull back on the left arm I hear a click. I have never noticed any clicks when I ride the bike though!

  6. #6
    cs1
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    This was also a problem on the Ultra Torque.
    Wavewasherectomy - The Ultra-Torque Fix - RogueMechanic
    1995 Waterford 1200
    1999 Waterford RSE-11
    Plus a host of old bikes too many to list.

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  8. #8
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    not really...

    Quote Originally Posted by cs1 View Post
    This was also a problem on the Ultra Torque.
    Wavewasherectomy - The Ultra-Torque Fix - RogueMechanic
    This is an example of an inability to determine the real problem and fix it properly. Instead you get a ridiculous solution that requires multiple reassemblies of the crank and leaves the bearings either too tight or too loose.

    Most UT cranks work fine. If one doesn't, there's bound to be an explanation, but it may require precision measuring equipment that the average person doesn't have access to. Quite often, a crank is improperly installed and the bearings and/or cups are trashed after weeks or months of abuse, but rather that replace the worn out parts and reinstall correctly, shims are used in an effort to correct the problem.

  9. #9
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    I have the power torque bb with a veloce crank with that problem. I bought it last winter, and haven't addressed it yet, other than putting another crank on the bike.
    HTFU for 2008

  10. #10
    39x21
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    For what it's worth, I have had two Veloce Power Torque (2011 and 2012) cranks develop creaks in the past year. After weeks of insanity-inducing trial and error to remedy the situation, I finally realised that it was the crank bolts that were responsible.

    In both cases the chainrings came factory installed with ungreased bolts - removing, greasing and re-torquing them removed the problem in both instances.
    dulce et decorum est pro velo mori

  11. #11
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    Yep I had the creaking crank bolts too, so I initially had two creaks. Even after lubing the crank bolts (and even swapping the chainrings and bolts) my other creak persisted.
    Thanks

  12. #12
    39x21
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    Quote Originally Posted by CheapSkate View Post
    Yep I had the creaking crank bolts too, so I initially had two creaks. Even after lubing the crank bolts (and even swapping the chainrings and bolts) my other creak persisted.
    Thanks
    Bugger. Sorry to hear you've had such a stubborn problem.
    dulce et decorum est pro velo mori

  13. #13
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    updated the other thread with a new spare part from Campy btw.
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    I've got a new Athena carbon Power torque, I've got the click on the crank, drive side and it's all the time. It's a deep clicking, almost like a knocking sound. Hate it! It's my dream bike, Bianchi Infinito with full campy groupo, dreamed and saved for a year, and now it sounds like a Walmart bike. 1st experience with campy and it's frustrating.

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    Hi, is your click once per rotation of the pedals, or a few times per rotation?

    I was able to identify an unrelated click on a freshly assembled drivetrain, by having it mounted in a turbo trainer and rotating the cranks by hand. It turned out that it only happened in certain gears on the cassette and was more than one click per revolution.

    I hadn't torqued the lockring up enough, and by adding a few more lbs of force into the locking of the cassette - click gone.

    it was driving me bonkers, as I had a completely new drivetrain, and I was worrying that this thread's power-torque specific woes were my issue. It wasn't and now I'm happy to say, I'm relaxing into it.

    Good luck.
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    Once per revolution, at the apex and into the down stroke

  17. #17
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    Also, this group was installed at the shop, not by Bianchi. I had at least 200 miles or so on the group and bike before it appeared, but I'm less than 1000 for sure.

  18. #18
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    I installed mine myself and ran it for about 40 miles on the turbo trainer, before heading out on the road. I found the cassette clicks, fixed that and have got about 60miles done without other issues, I'll look out for anything new as the miles rack up.
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  19. #19
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    My modified puller


  20. #20
    cs1
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    So what is the verdict? If Campy cranks are so bad what do we use?
    1995 Waterford 1200
    1999 Waterford RSE-11
    Plus a host of old bikes too many to list.

  21. #21
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    PT Pullers

    The type of modification to a standard flywheel puller shown above in the post by kiekeboeboe is not a great idea.

    If a tie-bar to fix the foot width were added, though, it would work acceptably.

    The reason that Campag recommend the Facom U301 (which can be had for about 40.00 or so from Primetools.co.uk) is that unlike the puller above, the design is such that the tighter the central screw is done up against the blanking piece in the end of the spindle, the harder the legs of the puller are pushed in against the crank, so making it very difficult for the puller's "feet" to slide up the sides of the crank.

    The plasticised paper guard Campag part # UT-FC095 prevents any marking.

    In a very high percentage of cases, pulling problems on these cranks we have seen have been the narrow washer that sits under the head of the bolt being left in. We still get cranks returned with the remains of this washer in place that have been hammered off from the back.

    Dry splines, where they should be liberally greased are also problematic.

    Noise

    With regard to CheapSkates comments in the thread above, I think it appropriate to give Velotech's side of the case.

    We first spoke to CheapSkate with regard to this problem after he was referred to us by one of our accredited mechanics. I have an email trail stretching from 15.06.12 to 03.10.12, comprising some 31 responses from me to over 40 mails from him - so were were hardly dismissive of the problem.

    As CheapSkate assured me that all of the possible causes of noise had been eliminated (pedals, pedal-crank interface, chainring bolts, rear QR, BB cups shifting in frame and so on ...) and as I couldn't reproduce the noise that he was getting when we received the crank for testing, I was forced to conclude it almost *had* to be the frame ... this was also an early suggestion because concentricity off BB threads and parallel between the sides of a BB shell perpendicular to the threads are not a given in any frame set and can cause noise in many types of BB system. it's not uncommon in composite frames to get fretting between the BB sleeve and the carbon of the shell which is the cause of some otherwise "untraceable" noises, as are things as diverse as bottle cage mounts, rear gear hangers and brake cable ferrules.

    Eventually we took the crankset back and tested it ourselves - we could not induce a noise. I have my full workshop records detailing exactly the work done, as we do for all the work we undertake, should anyone want to check them.

    We then sent the crankset back to Italy and had it tested in the Campagnolo Tech Lab. They could find no problem and sent it back. As CheapSkate didn't want the crankset, I then undertook a long-term test, fitting it first to one of our demo fleet and more latterly to my TT bike. It's still on there, I have ridden it around 800km, and it does not make any noise.

    We said all along that some small side-to-side play is normal in a PT crank set under axial pressure - this is inevitable as the design is the way it is to accommodate the Campagnolo tolerance of +/-0.8mm in the faces of the BB shell (in the case of a threaded shell). The purpose of the spring clip as C40 and others have noted, is to hold this movement to a minimum. 0.5 mm is the normal maximum. The c-clip that retains the drive-side bearing on the axle is there to prevent the movement of the d/s bearing in the event that the spindle should be very aggressively pressed against the limit provided by the spring clip.

    I concluded one of my very last emails by saying:

    "I'm in Italy next week at the factory, and am taking all of our correspondence with me in any case, as cases like yours and the removal issue are part of the discussion we will have. As I have said, I don't doubt that you had a noise issue, I just can't reproduce it and if I can't reproduce it, I can't suggest a fix.

    I hear what you say about the quoted spring values, so on the basis that every spring I have seen to test conforms in spec to the two that you sent me, I wonder if the values sent by the Service Dept are wrong."


    The bold type is mine.

    This remains the position.

    Graeme
    Head Tech, Velotech Cycling Ltd
    Campagnolo Main UK Service Centre.
    Last edited by gfk_velo; 06-17-2013 at 10:50 AM. Reason: clarity, spelling

  22. #22
    cs1
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    Quote Originally Posted by gfk_velo View Post
    when we received the crank for testing, I was forced to conclude it almost *had* to be the frame ... this was also an early suggestion because concentricity off BB threads and parallel between the sides of a BB shell perpendicular to the threads are not a given in any frame set and can cause noise in many types of BB system. it's not uncommon in composite frames to get fretting between the BB sleeve and the carbon of the shell which is the cause of some otherwise "untraceable" noises, as are things as diverse as bottle cage mounts, rear gear hangers and brake cable ferrules.

    Graeme
    Head Tech, Velotech Cycling Ltd
    Campagnolo Main UK Service Centre.
    Did the OP have his BB faced to eliminate that problem? It isn't a big expense at all.
    1995 Waterford 1200
    1999 Waterford RSE-11
    Plus a host of old bikes too many to list.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by cs1 View Post
    Did the OP have his BB faced to eliminate that problem? It isn't a big expense at all.
    It was Stork carbon frame, I believe so the chase / face operation should be unnecessary - provided the BB shell was correctly formed in the first place, there is insufficient heat in either the in-moulding or the bonding process (depending on which method Stork use to retain their BB shells) to cause distortion.

    I'm not in the office to check back-emails, I am away on event support - but I think that CheapSkate fitted the same crankset to a second bike and got the same result - which is odd because I just can't reproduce the problem, as I say.

    Interestingly I had a response from my opposite number in Italy today who tells me that there has *not* been any change in spec for the pre-load induced by the PT wavy washer since it's introduction. The only change showing on the schematics was in 2010, pre-launch.
    Last edited by gfk_velo; 06-18-2013 at 01:02 PM. Reason: spelling

  24. #24
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    Just a follow up to Graeme (gfk_velo's) comments above.

    [By way of background I come from an aerospace engineering background, where the specification is sacrosanct. So when Campag sent me the PT spring preload specification I assumed it was valid and so compared my springs with the specification. When I found my springs and the specification were very different I assumed I'd solved the problem and so started this thread on the assumption it might help others. But it sounds like the specification that Campag sent me was not correct, therefore this thread is probably a waste of time. So apologies.]

    A very fair set of comments, I did lose my temper with Graeme at one point for which I apologised, I'm not exactly proud of what I said. But Graeme aka Velotech was patient and helpful on this and other issues. Thanks, Graeme.

    To address some points (in no particular order)

    (1) I still say the PT design sucks, from the point of view of crank removal. Shocking. But I've ranted about that enough.

    (2) I did not face my BB, neither bike needed it. I measured it with calipers and had the BB re-checked by a bike shop. 68.1 mm shell width, shell faces better than 0.02 mm peak to valley flatness which is the limit of my vernier micrometer. Storck specifically told me not to chase or face the BB. The ally BB tube is a single piece machining so should not have alignment issues unless it was machined wrong.

    (3) I've since done 4000 miles on square taper without a sound, so there's nothing wrong with the rest of the bike

    (4) I still don't understand how 5 kgf preload is enough to prevent axial float each pedal stroke while climbing, or how repeated axial float is a Good Thing, or why UT has circa 20 kgf when PT has only 5 kgf. Other external BB systems tend to creak if there is axial float.

    So who knows? I would suggest ignoring this thread and going back to zero. If your PT crank creaks or clunks, don't take my advice!!

  25. #25
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    While not likely, it is possible for a BB shell to be the proper width, and the faces parallel, but not square to the threads. An easy way to check that is to screw the cups in until they almost touch the face and then use feeler gages to check for variations in the gap between the face and cup. It should not exceed .004 inch (IMO).

    As for the float, I'm not sure that everyone understands that the retaining clip limits the movement to a small fraction of a millimeter, so it's not like the whole crank can move very much. It certainly can't move enough to make significant changes to the bearing preload.

    If all metal to metal surfaces are greased, creaking is unlikely.

    I read posts from a long time Campy mechanic in Boulder who has nothing bad to say about the PT system and has had no customer complaints about creaking.

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