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Thread: BB lifespan and warranty questions

  1. #1
    out-of-office papajohn's Avatar
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    BB lifespan and warranty questions

    The horrific creaking coming from my Stumpjumper's nether regions is back again (save the "sounds like a personal problem cracks please"). Only occurs when I am cranking on the pedals. When I last heard the noise I pulled and replaced the XTR M970 BB (plenty of grease added) and problem solved. However at the same time I was also replacing the rings on the crank, the chain, and rear der for unrelated reasons.

    Well fast forward 9 months and the creaking is back in a big way, worse than ever before, and seriously detracting from my ride enjoyment. Clearly I want to be a bit more surgical in my fix this time. I believe the BB to be the culprit, but at $65 for the part I'm a bit irritated to be doing this again so soon.

    So my question is what is a fair expectation for a BB's life? I'm only riding about 15-20 miles a week max (on a reaaaaally good week) so it's not like I've put thousands of miles on it.

    On my Hardtail I've NEVER replaced the BB after 5 years and it is for the most part silent and still working well - perhaps because it is not a Shimano part. Granted I probably should have replaced it at some point - but if it ain't broke (or more specifically if it ain't creaking like a bitch....).

    I do know of other Specialized riders complaining of this same thing - so I won't wholly blame Shimano (just yet). Any similar experiences with other XTR BB users or Specialized riders? Is there some special tricks besides being liberal with the grease to seal the BB bracket better and increase the lifespan?

    Finally - and most importantly: does Shimano's 3 year warranty on XTR gear apply to a BB?

    The observer, when he seems to himself to be observing a stone, is really, if physics is to be believed, observing the effects of the stone upon him.
    -Bertrand Russell


    An expert is a person who has made all the mistakes that can be made in a very narrow field. Niels Bohr

  2. #2
    Mojo Cereal Killer ab aeterno's Avatar
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    First course of action would be to check tightness of all bolts (and BB)on the bike (aluminum frames are echo chambers), check for any lateral play in the crank arms, make sure seat tube has a thin film of grease, next pull siad BB clean it and the inside of the BB shell really well, add some grease to the shell and maybe put a layer of plumbers tape on the BB threads and reinstall. The bottom bracket is likely still in good shape unless you run through lots of deep water.

    Quote Originally Posted by papajohn View Post
    The horrific creaking coming from my Stumpjumper's nether regions is back again (save the "sounds like a personal problem cracks please"). Only occurs when I am cranking on the pedals. When I last heard the noise I pulled and replaced the XTR M970 BB (plenty of grease added) and problem solved. However at the same time I was also replacing the rings on the crank, the chain, and rear der for unrelated reasons.

    Well fast forward 9 months and the creaking is back in a big way, worse than ever before, and seriously detracting from my ride enjoyment. Clearly I want to be a bit more surgical in my fix this time. I believe the BB to be the culprit, but at $65 for the part I'm a bit irritated to be doing this again so soon.

    So my question is what is a fair expectation for a BB's life? I'm only riding about 15-20 miles a week max (on a reaaaaally good week) so it's not like I've put thousands of miles on it.

    On my Hardtail I've NEVER replaced the BB after 5 years and it is for the most part silent and still working well - perhaps because it is not a Shimano part. Granted I probably should have replaced it at some point - but if it ain't broke (or more specifically if it ain't creaking like a bitch....).

    I do know of other Specialized riders complaining of this same thing - so I won't wholly blame Shimano (just yet). Any similar experiences with other XTR BB users or Specialized riders? Is there some special tricks besides being liberal with the grease to seal the BB bracket better and increase the lifespan?

    Finally - and most importantly: does Shimano's 3 year warranty on XTR gear apply to a BB?

  3. #3
    arrogance in the flesh Hello Kitty's Avatar
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    warranty a bottom bracket?

    are you serious?

  4. #4
    I Build TOUGH Wheels Mattlikesbikes's Avatar
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    John,

    When I was using shimano XTR BB's I was having to repack the grease in the BB every 2 months. I was replacing bearings every 4 or so. I then switched to Phil Woods bearings and now a full 18 months later I am still using the same bearings and am only now having to repack them.

    You don't need to replace the entire BB, just the bearings. I own a Phil Woods bearing removal tool so swapping in ne bearings takes about 2 minutes.


    When my PW bearings finally bite the dust I'm going to give Enduro Zero Carbon bearings a shot.

    I don't think the XTR 3yr covers BB's as that is considered a normal wear and tear item. Even though their external BB's are crap.

  5. #5
    700 Acres Pusher
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mattlikesbikes View Post
    John,
    I then switched to Phil Woods bearings and now a full 18 months later I am still using the same bearings and am only now having to repack them.

    You don't need to replace the entire BB, just the bearings. I own a Phil Woods bearing removal tool so swapping in ne bearings takes about 2 minutes.
    http://www.aspirevelotech.com/images...earingTool.jpg

    When my PW bearings finally bite the dust I'm going to give Enduro Zero Carbon bearings a shot.

    Good bearings are the way to go.

    I run RF Taperloc BBs. When I wore out the crappy old EOM Enduros, I replaced them with SKF.

    Kinda pricey, $40x2. But it seems to have paid off.

    I have six years on them and they are still rolling strong.
    BikeMojo.com Foreign Affairs Bureau Chief

  6. #6
    MoJo Friar Brian Robinson's Avatar
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    Yeah, I'm still running the square taper XTR that I've had since the mid 90's. Thanks for reminding me why I don't "upgrade".
    Brian

    You're the icing on the cake on the table at my wake.
    You're the extra ton of cash in my sinking life raft.

    You're the good things.

  7. #7
    arrogance in the flesh Hello Kitty's Avatar
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    Big wheeled Mojo ATX29's Avatar
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    When my PW bearings finally bite the dust I'm going to give Enduro Zero Carbon bearings a shot.

    Man my Shimano lasted longer than the Enduro Zeros. They did feel good while they lasted.
    Endurance: The end is nothing;the road is all.
    Willa Cather

  9. #9
    out-of-office papajohn's Avatar
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    Thanks guys for the great advice - as usual. When Googling it fails, "mojo" it...

    Two weeks ago I pulled the BB to clean it, re-grease it, and retighten the bolts. Sounded slightly better for the first mile of my next ride, but by mile 10 or so it was the same or worse than before. And it's a carbon frame so I'm not getting any of the Aluminum frame echo-chamber effect.

    I didn't honestly believe Shimano would warrant the BB for 3 years. But it is pretty damn sad if they don't even make it a year under very low mileage and no water submersion (it's been a drought for the past year after all). I expected more from XTR - but the chainrings previously taught me that is not a valid expectation.

    Sounds like some non-OEM bearings may be my next purchase. Can't see repeating the same mistake by buying another Shimano BB.

    Matt - is that something you can do in the shop or do I need to put in an order for PW hollowtech II bearings?

    The observer, when he seems to himself to be observing a stone, is really, if physics is to be believed, observing the effects of the stone upon him.
    -Bertrand Russell


    An expert is a person who has made all the mistakes that can be made in a very narrow field. Niels Bohr

  10. #10
    out-of-office papajohn's Avatar
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    In keeping with my sig line - I am rapidly becoming a Shimano "expert"

    The observer, when he seems to himself to be observing a stone, is really, if physics is to be believed, observing the effects of the stone upon him.
    -Bertrand Russell


    An expert is a person who has made all the mistakes that can be made in a very narrow field. Niels Bohr

  11. #11
    MoJo Mother Superior -dustin's Avatar
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    First - Creaking under load can be a million things. Narrowing it down to the rear cuts that in half. So 500k other things to check....

    Second - I always hear that Shimano won't warranty stuff, but...I've never had a problem getting parts replaced. Shifters, derailleurs, BBs, wheels...if I have a legit claim, I will get taken care of. Hell, I've replaced no less than 5 D/A rear derailleurs simply because the main spring has worn out. Wear issue? Yes. Replaced under warranty by Shimano? Yes.
    And what they wanted, Was his eternal Slowdown.

    dustin@planocycling.com

  12. #12
    MoJo PoLaR BeAr
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    a) Sometime in 3q or 4q 2007 I put some Race Face Diabalous bearings in (x-type, compat with Shimano and others). I had bought a second set at the same time to have them handy in six months or so. Seems as though they changed to Phil Wood grease in them and upgraded the seals. I'm still rolling that original set. 35 bucks. I'm way out ahead on this one.

    b) +5 on other sources of creaks on a multipivot bike. I've had linkage pivots with dirt in them cause pedal-crank-induced-creaks (much more so back in '02 when I rode a specialized - I guess they're just more flexy than my current bike). SO while it's a PITA disasm/cleaning/reasm of all pivot locations may yield fruit too.

  13. #13
    arrogance in the flesh Hello Kitty's Avatar
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    has it ever occured to any of you that stuff just wears out ?

  14. #14
    I Build TOUGH Wheels Mattlikesbikes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hello Kitty View Post
    has it ever occured to any of you that stuff just wears out ?
    I know, seriously.

    My road bearings from Shimano have lasted a long time, but the dry dusty trails of texas just seem to destroy Shimano bearings.

    Quote Originally Posted by papajohn View Post
    Matt - is that something you can do in the shop or do I need to put in an order for PW hollowtech II bearings?
    PW bearings have to be ordered. How are your dust covers? Still in good shape? They typically crack after a year or so. They need to be reused with PW bearings. Enduro supplies replacements with their bearings.

  15. #15
    700 Acres Pusher
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    Quote Originally Posted by papajohn View Post

    Sounds like some non-OEM bearings may be my next purchase. Can't see repeating the same mistake by buying another Shimano BB.

    Matt - is that something you can do in the shop or do I need to put in an order for PW hollowtech II bearings?
    You can likely order direct from Phil Wood.

    If you want SKF or INA bearings, just take your old ones to Purvis Bearings. They will measure them and order in what you need.

    I believe there is a Purvis Bearing shop on IH35 just north of downtown.
    BikeMojo.com Foreign Affairs Bureau Chief

  16. #16
    Runs With Steak Knife CalVinsBike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by aLaN View Post
    You can likely order direct from Phil Wood.

    If you want SKF or INA bearings, just take your old ones to Purvis Bearings. They will measure them and order in what you need.

    I believe there is a Purvis Bearing shop on IH35 just north of downtown.
    On the north bound side frontage road, just north of Rundburg. You can't miss it, there is a giant bearing about 3 ft in diameter and like 12" thick.
    Love thy neighbor as thyself because thy neighbor is thyself.
    -Bill Moyers, The Power of Myth


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  17. #17
    Wheelie Artist
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    Quote Originally Posted by aLaN View Post
    I believe there is a Purvis Bearing shop on IH35 just north of downtown.
    Purvis is closer to Round Rock than it is to downtown!

  18. #18
    MoJo PoLaR BeAr
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hello Kitty View Post
    has it ever occured to any of you that stuff just wears out ?
    It's made of metal and plastic, why should it?


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