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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hi Everyone,

I bring questions and thoughts about SS cranks. I've been running an older XT crank (probably 2001), for the past few years on my SS chameleon. Although mechanically, it's been pretty good - it's extreamly loud. It's a ticking sound on the non drive side when climbing (and some seated high torque spinning). I've spend loads of $$ and time over the past year to have it looked at - BB pull/relube, different chainring, freewheel, chain, etc... The only thing I haven't completly replaced is the crank itself. I can't tell you how much this ticking is driving me crazy... This year alone, I've replaced several things on my drivetrain: bought a 34t salsa stainless, SS sram chain, and a shimano 17t freewheel, new ES-70 BB (or whatever the splined one is). Still, I have this ticking. Crankbolts are tight, BB and crank are torqued properly, but nothin' is fixing it.

So, not I'm left with possibly having to buy a new crank. Frankly, I'm thinking about going out and buying a new LX crank - it will be compatible with my current BB, and I have the tools to install it. However, I wonder if my problems are due to bottom bracket - specifically, it rubbing up against the plastic cup on the non drive side...

The other (more scary) option is to get a new frame. My LBS had to retap and face the BB cavity because it's been pulled so much. I've never had a problem with it coming loose, but it's been serviced several times.

Lastly, it could be that I have a crack in my frame... I've cracked 2 gary fisher paragon frames in the last 4 years (and finally went with a chameleon). I looked the frame over, but could not find anything. Ironically, the creaking on my GF frames was only on the non drive side.. But that was more of a creak, this current issue is a tick/plastic rubbing sound.

As you can see, I've given alot of thought to this. It basically, ruining my love to ride. I *hate* having to listen to anything but my freewheel buzz during my ride....

any advice is welcome (including recommendations for a good therapist :) )

mm
 

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The man who fell to earth
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I have the first generation XT splined (Octalink) cranks like you do, and when I first installed it I got the creaking/clicking sound. It turned out I didn't have them tight enough, the torque required on them is higher than you might think. Also, I had to retorque a few times after initial install because they were apparently "seating" themselves as I was riding (and the click sound would start up again). After retightening, they were nice and quiet again.

It sounds like you've been very thorough and have tried about everything, but you may want to try greasing the BB itself, the BB cups on both sides (especially the threaded part), and possibly the crank arms splined interface too. I've heard conflicting stories on whether or not greasing the splines is appropriate, my personal opinion is that it's ok. If you're at wits end and are preparing to replace the crank anyway, I would definitely apply some light grease to the splined interface as well. Also apply grease to the bolts used to secure the cranks to the BB, and also to the boltheads where they compress the crank onto the splined shaft. With all of those junctions lubricated and with the proper torque (and retorque after a few rides), if that's where the clicking sound is coming from, it should go away.

If the click is still there after these actions, it may be that there is a casting/manufacturing flaw in the splined interface of the cranks or the cranks were slightly damaged early on by insufficient torque after initial installation. Remove them and inspect the inner splined cavity on both cranks and look for casting flaws or 'mushroomed' metal curls pushed up into the splined interface (prohibiting a proper seat/union). It's also possible that the BB itself may be damaged or flawed. My XT Octalink BB's usually wouldn't last more than 6 months, but they typically just get warbly orbits and excessive play, not start clicking. Also, I have the next generation XT Octalink cranks (I think the first were 751's and then came 752's?) in addition to the 2001 model like you have. If memory serves, these have a very similar BB to the earlier version but it is not exactly the same. I'm pretty sure the newer BB is not supposed to be used on the earlier version of the Octalink, although it can be bolted onto it. I'm not positive about that part, but I would definitely investigate the whole 751/752 BB compatibility issue and make sure you haven't mixed the two inappropriately.

Also, be aware there can be creaking/clicking ghost sounds coming from other places on your bike that sound like, or give the appearance, they are coming from the crank. Check the chainring and its bolts to ensure they are securely tightened and seated properly. Sometimes the seatpost can click or creak at the same frequency as a crank (stand up and pedal to eliminate that source). Or the seat itself where it bolts to the seatpost. One or both of the pedals can start clicking or creaking if the bearing/bushings are dry or shot. Even dry shoe cleats sometimes can make weird sounds like that with every revolution. Headsets and stem bolts are other possible sources. Hub bearings and FW's can make clicking sounds too, but usually at a much higher frequency than crank revolution. And like you say, it's possible a crack could be somewhere in the frame, you might want to wash you frame off thouroughly and give it a real close look for cracks, especially around the high stress areas.

For me, after going through two generations of XT Octalink splined systems (and several BB's) and trying out the Truvativ ISIS for a whole month or so (before the BB fell apart), I eventually gave up the whole damned splined interface crap and went back to square taper. I bolted on a set of Race Face Turbines with a good 'ole XT square taper BB and haven't looked back. Super durable BB, lightweight, strong, well sealed, creak/click free, and very affordable. From my experience the square taper is where it's at, splined systems are a bunch of marketing hype, as I was very disappointed with my experience with them overall.

good luck
 

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Second the pedal

Could be a pedal problem. What kind of pedals do you run. Some Time ATACs are notoriously noisy. Do you have another pair of pedals that you could swap and see if the tick remains. How old are your cleats? Bearings in good shape? Since you've changed just about everything else, it could be the pedals.

Where did you get the Salsa stainless ring?
 

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Steamroller
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Prayer changes things!

Really, pray for your bike, then go through Ziggy's list carefully. If you still cant fix it, you may consider a new bike. Don't let a bike ruin your love of riding. I recently sold a real nice bike just because I got real frustrated with several irritating problems which I could not solve. I was fortunate to get a good price for it and a great deal on a new bike and had an upgraded, trouble free ride for very little out of pocket.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
pedals: TIME

They're about 4-5 season old (actually my 1st clipless) with 1 rebuild. There is some rotational play (meaning: grab the pedal and move it from side to side). From what I understand, there really isn't a fix for this (other than buy new pedals). Besides, I did try this last year and the creaking was still there.

I don't think I have the first gen octalink crank, but I do remember shimano replacing some because of a faulty spider/crank connection that caused creaking. That's why I'm leaning towards buying a new LX just to see. I've spent over $300 in parts/service to fix this $#*& thing, and it would pain me to give up the 'fight'...
 

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I had a similar problem

but it was more an intermittent creaking when spinning (none while climbing or sprinting). It would do it while on or off the saddle... I went through the following:
1. remove bb and reinstall using antiseize on the bb shell threads... torqued to spec... creak still there.
2. remove bb and reinstall using teflon tape on the bb threads and antiseize on the shell threads... torque to spec, creak still there...
3. teflon taped and greased pedals... creak still there.
4. cleaned, and tightened seatpost... creak still there.
5. tightened wheel bearings... creak still there.
6. replaced bb and crank with new... teflon taped, antiseize and torqued to spec... creak still there...
7. almost sell bike, decided to retension wheel... that fixed it. loose spokes were creaking under weight but small torque loads...
Luckily, I was able to do the work myself... Otherwise, I would've spent a ton of labor clams at the shop...
 
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