After a while your cranks will begin to creak, Its inevitable, like the sun rising and people in minivans talking on their cell phones while driving.
If you ride in muddy conditions this might happen even faster
Its fairly easy to stop the creak with about 45 minutes of work.
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Step 1: Tools
You will need:
For Isis/Splined Cranks
10mm allen key
Bottom Bracket Tool Park BBT-24
For Square Taper Cranks
8mm Allen Key or 14mm Socket
Bottom Bracket Tool
For Outboard Bearing Cranks
10mm Allen Key
5mm Allen Key
Park BBT-19Park BBT-19
Cleaner, I user OranJ Peels and Bio Cleaner
Grease or Anti Seize
You should also have a torque wrench, I used the Park TW-2
Step 2: Remove the Cranks
You need to remove the cranks first.
On most modern cranks they'll have dustcaps on them that when loosening the crank bolt will pull the crank off. Side note, syncros sold these as crank-o-matics back in the 90s, then shimano came out with them...
Back on track, if you have square taper cranks or no crank-o-matics you might have to use a crank puller. You would thread that in and then turn the handle to back it out.
Step 3: Bottom Bracket
Remove the bottom bracket using the appropriate tool.
The drive side bottom bracket is reverse threaded, so lefty-tighty righty-loosey.
Step 4: Clean Out the BB Shell
Clean out the bottom bracket shell by spraying in some cleaner and using a rag.
You might want to use a small brush too if its really messy.
Step 5: Clean the BB
When I pulled the bottom bracket out, it was nasty. spray it down with cleaner and clean it with your rag.
I went over it with a brush to get at all the crud in the threads.
Step 6: Clean the Cranks
You need to remove the dust caps and the bolts in the cranks if you want to get it clean.
Step 7: More Cleaning
So you need to keep cleaning. I used more cleaner, more rags, and more brushes on the crank arms. Make sure to clean all surfaces that contact other parts.
Step 8: Grease
You need to grease the bolts, and the inside of the crank arm and put it back together.
I no longer use plain old grease on bottom brackets and cranks, I use anti seize compound.
Step 9: Grease the Bottom Bracket
You need to grease the threads of the bottom bracket, and the splines if its ISIS. Also grease the part of the bottom bracket that fits inside the non drive side cup.
This is a debate as old as bottom brackets themselves, but I do not like to grease the spindle or the cranks on square taper bottom brackets.
Step 10: Tighten the Bottom Bracket
Now its time to reinsert the bottom bracket. I like to thread in the non drive side first, the the drive side, remembering the drive side is reverse threaded.
I used a torque wrench to tighten the bottom bracket to 300 inch pounds.
Park tools supplies a nice guide for torque values here.
Step 11: Tighten the Cranks
I tighten the cranks using the torque wrench as well. Park says you can use 350 inch pounds.
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