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Crank Installation Secrets

 

Having Troubles? We can help!

 
 

I’ve received a few phone calls and emails over the past few weeks from customers who were having some troubles getting their cranks installed properly, so I thought I’d pass along a few of my secrets of Profile crankarm installation.

The first step I take is preparation. I know most people are going to use a hammer and a 2×4 to install the bearings into their frame, and while that way will work, it also can lead to mis-aligned bearings that will end up rough and chunky-feeling. 

You’re really better off using a vice, or a large C-Clamp, and a couple of large metal washers to press your bearings into your frame. You can probably buy an 8″ C-Clamp at a home improvement warehouse for less than 20 bucks, use it, and then return it, if you’re sneaky like me. 

Always save your receipts...

I recently got a new frame myself, and I found a great way to press bearings into the frame, but it only works if you’ve already installed your cranks. Leaving the drive-side crankarm on the BB spindle when you disassemble your old frame is the key. 

Then, all you have to do is lightly grease the BB shell where the bearings will sit, place the cone spacer and a washer next to the sprocket washer, then place a bearing, the tube spacer, and slide everything into the frame. Then place the other bearing and cone spacer and 2-3 washers and the other crank on the spindle, and then the crank install tool with a washer or two instead of the sleeve. Then tighten everything down, and you’ve got your bearings installed smoothly and you’re ready to rock.

 

Anyway, with a Spanish, Mid, or American BB, 90% of the time, you’ll use the gold tube spacer, so slide that into the BB shell of your frame, and hand press the bearings into the shell. 

Place the washers on the bearings, and tighten the C-Clamp down, making sure the bearings are going in straight. When the bearings stop moving, loosen the C-Clamp, remove it, and insert your bottom bracket spindle into the bearings and the tube spacer inside. 

Slide the thinner cone spacer on the drive side, and then apply a liberal coating of the Anti-Sieze compound that was included with your cranks. 

If you’ve lost that little brown tube of Anti-Sieze compound, then regular bicycle (lithium) grease will work just fine.

Make sure, at this point, that the splines of your crankarm are clean. We run a broach through the crankarms to clean out the splines before we ship them, but some times an arm sneaks out of here with out getting broached, and a few extra minutes of preparation at this point can save you hours of anguish. 

If there is debris (usually paint or chrome overspray) in the splines, a small wire brush, such as a battery terminal cleaner brush, will work nicely to remove it. Usually, you won’t have to worry about this, but it doesn’t hurt to check the arm beforehand, either.

 
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1. OK, now we can finally get down to the business of installing crank arms. Place the drive side crankarm, with your sprocket and sprocket top hat washer, on the end of the BB spindle. Take the Installation Tool and remove the sleeve from it. Slide on two of the thicker silver washers, and thread the tool into the spindle.

 

2. Get a wrench, a large box wrench preferably, or at least a large adjustable wrench. Don’t use the Vice-Grips that your Grandfather bequeathed to your dad when he died in the Korean War, you need a wrench you can put some torque on. Then, tighten the crank tool until it bottoms out.

 
 

3. When it does, remove it, remove the washers and replace them with the sleeve, and re-thread the tool into the BB spindle. Tighten it down until it bottoms out again.

 
 

4.  Then, remove the tool.

 
 

5. Replace it with your crank bolts, and tighten them up. You should tighten this first bolt until it stops, or becomes very difficult to turn it further.

Repeat the process for the non drive side, and you should be good to go.

 
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