Creaky bottom bracket? Loctite? Plumbers tape?
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  1. #1
    1/2 roadie 1/2 offroad
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    Creaky bottom bracket? Loctite? Plumbers tape?

    Gotta aluminum/carbon Litespeed Hyperion with Ultegra cranks and a 105 bottom bracket with about 500 miles on it that creaks like crazy.

    So I take out the bottom bracket cartridge and cup, clean them up. Double wrap both the bottom bracket cartridge and bottom bracket cup with plumbers tape. Then I put a buttload of Phil Woods waterproof grease into the inside of the cup (this surface mates with the cartridge when assembled). I also put a little bit of grease on the outside of the plumbers tape. Next assemble it and tighten everything down good and snug. Test ride her and still got a creak. The bike is brand new with only 500 miles on it. Never crashed, and it has been taken care of. So what gives?

    I found somewhere that I could use loctite in place of grease for the inside of the cup (part that mates with the cartridge) Has anybody ever done this? Does this actually work? Anybody else got any tricks?
    Tire side down is a GOOD idea......

  2. #2

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    yo same thing happened to me...
    my bike creaked whenever i pedaled hard... i swore it was the bb.. but greasing the bb up didnt help anything..

    the creak may not be from the BB.. but from the chainring nuts..

    take out ur crankset, undo all the chainring nuts, separate all the chainrings, and grease everything., nuts, threads with some nice bearing grease or something.. then screw it all back together tight.. shd stop the creaking....

    it could also be from the seat, but if it only happens when ur pedalling, chances are its the chainrings or the BB.. and its not the BB since u greased that already

  3. #3
    Diesel Engine
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    Do what he said

    Check chainring and crank bolts (these should be greased too) and also your pedals to make sure they are tight in the frame. If you have Look pedals, it could be your cleats squeaking - ride up and down the street in non-cycling shoes and see if the creak is still there. You didn't do anything wrong when you reassembled the bb, although some may say that all that grease AND teflon tape may be a bit of overkill.

    As far as loctite, you can use it as a thread lubricant on the bottom bracket. Make sure you use BLUE loctite - that's the removeable type. Don't use red as it's permanent and you will have lots of fun trying to do anytthing with the bb in the future.

    For what it's worth, I had a similar creak a while back and swore it was the bottom bracket, then the pedals, then the back wheel, each of which I exhaustively worked on. Turns out it was my saddle rails creaking where they go into the saddle shell. Two squirts of silicone lube and five seconds later the sound was gone - moral of the story is to check the easy stuff before you tear into the bottom bracket again.

    Mike

  4. #4
    Cipo's long lost cousin
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    Just went through this myself

    I have a Ti bike with a crazy drivetrain creak that I finally got fixed. Here's some of the stuff I looked at:

    - First I yanked the BB and re-greased same as you. Inside the shell I found sandblasting grit from the frame manufacturer. I suspect that after some ride time this grit, which may have been trapped in the tubing found it's way to the BB shell. I cleaned and lubed up the threads of my BB and reinstalled... Guess what? The creak was still there.

    - Next I took a look at the seat/post. While the creak sounded like it was coming from the drivetrain I've alway heard that creaking from the post can be deceptive. I cleaned out the seat tube with a rag on a string (more sandblast grit and grease). Then I disassembled the Thomson post and put grease on any contact point including the seat rails. Finally I added a thin layer of grease to the post clamp and seat tube and put it all back together. Guess what? My bike was a little quieter but not much. I had only solved a part of my creak problem.

    - Next I checked the chainring bolts (all tight), crank bolts (now with about 60-70 miles after pulling the BB), and the derailleur. All bolts seemed tight.

    - Finally I pulled my rear wheel and rebuilt my DT-Swiss hub. While this sounds like a hassle DT-Swiss hubs are amazingly simple to work on and it only took 15 minutes to clean and lube the hub. This included adding a thin layer of grease to the QR skewer. Guess what? The creaking had vanished!


    The point of all this is that sometimes things that sound like creaking from the BB aren't always what they seem. Sound travels through bike tubing in mysterious ways. I suspect that a little grease on the drive side endcap of my DT-Swiss hub finally cured what I initially thought was my BB creaking! Try playing detective and you will eventually find the source of the annoying creak...
    "Cycling is like a church - many attend, but few understand." -- Jim Burlant

  5. #5
    1/2 roadie 1/2 offroad
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    Thanks for the tips. I have also greased the stem clamp, and the seatpost to eliminate them. I tend to think it was the bottom bracket because it only happens when I stand up and really put a lot of force into the pedals such as when I am climbing or sprinting.

    Never thought about the chain rings. Thats a new one too me. I will give that a try tonight. Hopefully that will take care of things.

    Thanks!
    Tire side down is a GOOD idea......

  6. #6
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    Round 2: The head set...

    So I am out riding today, while standing in a steep climb I lean over the handle bars and think it is comming from the head set. Take her apart and regrease her, and no luck. Still gotta creak.

    Could it be the press fit aluminum part inside the steer tube of the fork? The steer tube is carbon. The headset assembly had very little grease on it. Could a head set bearing against a Carbon steer tube make it creak? I would not think so based on my engineering backround.

    Interesting side note here on the bottom bracket: Tefelon tape was used at the factory, as I pulled it off the threads when I dissasembled it. Maybe I will try some antiseze compound and or some blue loctite. The locite is actually suppose to go on the INSIDE of the cup and not on the threads based on what I have found so far.
    Tire side down is a GOOD idea......

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by mtbcyclist
    So I am out riding today, while standing in a steep climb I lean over the handle bars and think it is comming from the head set. Take her apart and regrease her, and no luck. Still gotta creak.

    Could it be the press fit aluminum part inside the steer tube of the fork? The steer tube is carbon. The headset assembly had very little grease on it. Could a head set bearing against a Carbon steer tube make it creak? I would not think so based on my engineering backround.

    Interesting side note here on the bottom bracket: Tefelon tape was used at the factory, as I pulled it off the threads when I dissasembled it. Maybe I will try some antiseze compound and or some blue loctite. The locite is actually suppose to go on the INSIDE of the cup and not on the threads based on what I have found so far.
    You don't need any loctite or plumber's tape. Just grease the BB shell and the threads on the BB lightly and instal your bottom bracket to proper torque. If you pull your bottom bracket out again, take it to the shop and have your frame chased and faced. Litespeed doesn't prep their frames before they ship. And if you are having odd sounds from this area, this could be a cause. A good rule of thumb is that if you didn't see anyone properly prep your frame with your own eyes, it wasn't done. Prep the frame, install BB to torque, and you should be golden as far as your bottom bracket goes.

    As for your other creak in your headset... it is more likely to be from your bar-stem area. I would check the stem bolts first. If you have a threadless stem, take off your top cap and lightly grease it where it contacts the stem, and reassemble. Also check your stem bolts at the bars and make sure that's not it. You can pull your bars off and lightly sand (green scrubbies will work here) the inside clamp area of your stem and the bars where they are clamped. If your headset is properly adjusted, it is unlikely that it is creaking. It very well could be, but I would guess it is more likely your bars or stem, or your front wheel's quick release skewer.

    Random squeaks are not usually coming from the area where they sound like they are coming from. Look elsewhere than where you think it is coming from and you may find it sooner.

    Happy hunting,

    Russ

  8. #8
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    I have a similar problem

    Quote Originally Posted by russw19
    Random squeaks are not usually coming from the area where they sound like they are coming from. Look elsewhere than where you think it is coming from and you may find it sooner.

    Happy hunting,

    Russ
    Well, so along those lines, I've got a ticking - not really a creaking, but more like a tick, when I put real power on the pedals. Not noticeable when I lightly spin or when I coast. My assumption is BB or chainring bolts, but I haven't torn into it yet. Does that sound like the right place to be looking? I don't think it's the pedals, because I swapped those and still have the problem.
    Michael



    You see lots of happy cyclists. When was the last time you saw a runner smiling?

  9. #9
    Diesel Engine
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    It's really a process of elimination

    As russ said (and I can attest to), the noise is rarely coming from where you think it is, which can be frustrating. Look at the easy stuff first (saddle/seatpost, bar/stem, front wheel/fork interface, pedal cleats, etc.) before you start tearing into things. These easy things are not time consuming to work on, and often solve the problem.

    Lightweight bicycle frames are almost like a tuning fork - on my Steelman (853) I seem to notice every little noise, while on my Trek (531rc) lugged frame, I hear nothing. Helps that the Trek is a fixed gear and as a result a mechanically simpler bike, but I can't help but think that the heavier frame of the Trek, in addition to a smoother ride, is also damping out some of the sounds. When I had an annoying noise on my Steelman recently, I swapped the saddle and seatpost between the bikes. No noise on the Trek or the Steelman aftter that although as soon as I swapped back, the noise returned on the Steelman. So, even though the saddle rails were still clicking, I didn't hear it on the Trek. Now I knew where the noise on the Steelman was coming from - I had thought it was a bb or wheel problem for a long time. Interesting.

    As a funny side note, this also gave me a chance to 'justify' multiple bikes to my wife. "Gee, honey, without another bike here I never would have found that problem". Predictably, she was not amused

  10. #10
    B2
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    Quote Originally Posted by russw19
    Random squeaks are not usually coming from the area where they sound like they are coming from. Look elsewhere than where you think it is coming from and you may find it sooner.
    YES - The one and only constant when trying to find that annoying noise.

    Bryan

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