How not to remove the crankset from your bike #cycling

Mistakes are easy and knowing issues and trying to use them to your advantage isn’t a good idea either.

The mistake

I forgot to grease my pedal threads when I last put pedals on bluebell. This plus steel, aluminium and salt water (two winters worth) meant the pedals are welded on. The Internet says heating the cranks will break the seal, but it might damage the threads. Seems like I’m unlikely to fix them, but I thought I’d take them off and try.

The misuse of known issues

For the same reason as above, it’s advisable to grease the bottom bracket spindle else getting cranks off can be tricky. I initially had a problem with the left crank coming loose, so, I thought I’d clean off the grease in a hope it would bind on better. The real solution would have been to put more force on tightening the crank bolts. Anyway, as a result, the blasted crank wouldn’t come off.

Where it all went wrong

Having the tools for a job is all good and well, but sometimes one can overdo it, put too much force on something and watch your dreams shatter in front of you. What did I break?
The crank puller / removal tool, not only that, I also destroyed (stripped) the thread on the crank, thus destroying chances of removing it.

The plan to fix it

I figured the crankset was done for, so remove the crank somehow, replace crankset with a recently acquired crankset (that was being thrown away) put on other used spare pedals I had lying around (boxes of junk), didn’t even steal then from one of my other bikes!

Step 1

Hacksaw, not much room for it, a bit nervous about the frame, but got a chunk off….
20130331-235405.jpg
Still unresponsive to my hammer, wiggling etc.

Step 2

Drill plus HSS drill bits, started small (nervous) then once through up sized the drill bit to cut through. Great care was taken not to drill the steel spindle. Of course steel is harder than aluminium, but being careful was key (since I hadn’t been earlier). This worked a treat, wedging a claw hammer in the gap broke the seal and freed the crank. He’s the crank and the sheared off crank removal tool:
20130331-235311.jpg
A closeup on the crank:
20130331-235341.jpg
Phew, glad it’s over with.

The lessons

  • Grease it up
  • Forcing it will only break it
  • Keep boxes of junk lying around just in case

Of course I would recommend that most people don’t do this, take it to a bike shop and get their help.

Bluebell is up and running and a crank removal tool is on the shopping list.

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One response to “How not to remove the crankset from your bike #cycling

  1. northernwalker

    Ouch

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