pedals won't loosen from crank arms

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pedals won't loosen from crank arms

Postby jules21 » Wed Dec 19, 2012 9:10 am

has anyone got any tips for loosening pedals? after 5 years of pounding on them, over the victorian alps, around the bay, and in criteriums, they will not budge.

i've tried spraying them with wd-40 but this hasn't worked yet. i may keep trying that.

yes, i'm turning them the right way. i've tried using a 6mm hex wrench and 15mm spanner (open end and cone spanner), to the point where i'm worried i'll strip the 'bolt' head if i pull any harder.
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by BNA » Wed Dec 19, 2012 9:36 am

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Re: pedals won't loosen from crank arms

Postby TheLBJ » Wed Dec 19, 2012 9:36 am

A few ideas

- More torque (get a solid piece of tube over the end of the spanner - this has worked for me before)
- Remove the crankarm from the bike and try to remove the pedals with the crankarm in a vice (if available)
- I've never tried this but I've read about using a gas flame to heat the pedal up to loosen it. I wouldn't do it near carbon components, but depending on how brave you are, it might be worth a shot

If all else fails can I suggest taking it to your LBS? I think you'd be surprised at what they can do!
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Re: pedals won't loosen from crank arms

Postby Marty Moose » Wed Dec 19, 2012 9:36 am

Take it too a shop with a park pedal spanner.Most shops have one.

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Re: pedals won't loosen from crank arms

Postby LG » Wed Dec 19, 2012 9:48 am

Heat - a small gas torch or even gas cooktop. Heat the aluminium crank near the pedal axle, then loosen. Aluminium expands a lot faster than steel and this breaks the bond, works an absolute treat. It's been my go to method a number of times.
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Re: pedals won't loosen from crank arms

Postby drubie » Wed Dec 19, 2012 10:11 am

Marty Moose wrote:Take it too a shop with a park pedal spanner.Most shops have one.

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+1 - a proper pedal spanner designed for the job makes very short work of stuck pedals. Best bike tool in my toolbox.
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Re: pedals won't loosen from crank arms

Postby ColinOldnCranky » Wed Dec 19, 2012 10:33 am

Just a caution in case you are trying to use reasoning to establish the direction that you apply the torque.

Set the pedal so it is at around 3 o'clock forward with the handle end of the spanner hanging 9 o'clock to the rear and then press down on the spanner. Do the same with the other side.

You may reason that that will do the same as when you are pedalling which tightens the thread. But because you have a layer of rotating ball bearings between the shaft and the pedal it is in fact the opposite.

And like drubie says. it will budge with the right spanner.
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Re: pedals won't loosen from crank arms

Postby jasonc » Wed Dec 19, 2012 10:36 am

mine takes an 8mm allen key on the frame side. i bought a really high tensile set of allen keys and they now come off with 1 yank.
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Re: pedals won't loosen from crank arms

Postby g-boaf » Wed Dec 19, 2012 12:18 pm

TheLBJ wrote:A few ideas

- More torque (get a solid piece of tube over the end of the spanner - this has worked for me before)
- Remove the crankarm from the bike and try to remove the pedals with the crankarm in a vice (if available)
- I've never tried this but I've read about using a gas flame to heat the pedal up to loosen it. I wouldn't do it near carbon components, but depending on how brave you are, it might be worth a shot

If all else fails can I suggest taking it to your LBS? I think you'd be surprised at what they can do!


Never do the torch near carbon, is too risky - the LBS is the best bet. Otherwise, I'd suggest the longest and most solid piece of tube and the park pedal wrench, this will help - and keep your hands well clear of the front chain rings. :oops:

I've only ever done this job once and did manage to get a decent gash in the hand after it loosened and whack, got the chain ring. :oops: When the pedals loosen, they really loosen. :shock:
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Re: pedals won't loosen from crank arms

Postby jacks1071 » Wed Dec 19, 2012 12:28 pm

Before you "get a bigger hammer" I'd consider rigging up a couple of ice-cream containers with WD40 in them so you can soak them in WD40 for 2 or 3 days.

Failing that, add heat as suggested by another poster above.

Brute force should be your absolute last resort.

When you eventually replace the pedals, grease the threads or use Anti-sieze and do them up tight. Many that I've seen jammed on had mashed threads from the pedals being under-tightened at the initial installation. I've heard you can helicoil the pedal threads on some cranks but I have never done this personally.
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Re: pedals won't loosen from crank arms

Postby il padrone » Wed Dec 19, 2012 8:18 pm

ColinOldnCranky wrote:Just a caution in case you are trying to use reasoning to establish the direction that you apply the torque.

Set the pedal so it is at around 3 o'clock forward with the handle end of the spanner hanging 9 o'clock to the rear and then press down on the spanner. Do the same with the other side.....

....And like drubie says. it will budge with the right spanner.

Correct spanner in place. Use your foot on the spanner-end, or if necessary also try a sharp strike with a hammer on the end of the spanner.
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Re: pedals won't loosen from crank arms

Postby Mulger bill » Wed Dec 19, 2012 9:37 pm

Marty Moose wrote:Take it to a shop with a park pedal spanner. Most shops have one.


You in the CBD Friday Jules? Can bring one in...
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Re: pedals won't loosen from crank arms

Postby Wal42 » Thu Dec 20, 2012 5:06 am

This won't help after they're stuck, but I remove mine once a month, re-grease the thread then re-fit them. Getting them off if you service them occasionally involves sticking your pedal spanner on & giving it a tap with a rubber mallet (and I do mean tap), just to break the tension.
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Re: pedals won't loosen from crank arms

Postby Marty Moose » Thu Dec 20, 2012 9:12 am

Wal42 wrote:This won't help after they're stuck, but I remove mine once a month, re-grease the thread then re-fit them. Getting them off if you service them occasionally involves sticking your pedal spanner on & giving it a tap with a rubber mallet (and I do mean tap), just to break the tension.

Point is he had not used the correct tool.They may well not be stuck.

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Re: pedals won't loosen from crank arms

Postby jules21 » Thu Dec 20, 2012 9:35 am

thanks everyone for useful suggestions. i love this forum!
Mulger bill wrote:You in the CBD Friday Jules? Can bring one in...

hey shaun if that's possible for you, it would be much appreciated. i am in the CBD. i could buy you a coffee.
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Re: pedals won't loosen from crank arms

Postby Ozkaban » Thu Dec 20, 2012 9:57 am

jacks1071 wrote:When you eventually replace the pedals, grease the threads or use Anti-sieze and do them up tight. Many that I've seen jammed on had mashed threads from the pedals being under-tightened at the initial installation. I've heard you can helicoil the pedal threads on some cranks but I have never done this personally.

+1 to this. I've had similar issues and ever since have lightly greased the threads. No probs since.
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Re: pedals won't loosen from crank arms

Postby brentono » Thu Dec 20, 2012 10:01 am

Spanner in vise, crank in hand, works (and does not damage crank 8) ) :D
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Re: pedals won't loosen from crank arms

Postby Mulger bill » Thu Dec 20, 2012 8:47 pm

jules21 wrote:thanks everyone for useful suggestions. i love this forum!
Mulger bill wrote:You in the CBD Friday Jules? Can bring one in...

hey shaun if that's possible for you, it would be much appreciated. i am in the CBD. i could buy you a coffee.


My pleasure mate. Expect inbound PM with contact details.

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Re: pedals won't loosen from crank arms

Postby bychosis » Thu Dec 20, 2012 10:11 pm

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Re: pedals won't loosen from crank arms

Postby JustJames » Fri Dec 21, 2012 7:52 am

Wal42 wrote:This won't help after they're stuck, but I remove mine once a month, re-grease the thread then re-fit them.


Why would you need to re-grease?

The thin layer of grease is not going anywhere, and it's doing its job of preventing electrolytic welds while you leave it there.
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Re: pedals won't loosen from crank arms

Postby Wal42 » Fri Dec 21, 2012 3:22 pm

JustJames wrote:
Wal42 wrote:This won't help after they're stuck, but I remove mine once a month, re-grease the thread then re-fit them.


Why would you need to re-grease?

The thin layer of grease is not going anywhere, and it's doing its job of preventing electrolytic welds while you leave it there.




Obviously, because I have nothing better to do than service my bikes. I've sort of noticed if you pull things apart regularly, clean, inspect, re-lubricate & re-assemble then you find faults before they happen & everything comes apart without too much force.

But that's my hobby, I don't expect most people to understand where that type of thinking comes from.
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Re: pedals won't loosen from crank arms

Postby jules21 » Fri Dec 21, 2012 3:24 pm

once again, thanks to everyone for your useful suggestions. for the record, the very generous Shaun (Mulger Bill) brought his park tool pedal wrench to work, which made light work of the pedals (bar a bit of blood loss). thanks very much Shaun. i'm sure everyone is thrilled to hear this :)
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Re: pedals won't loosen from crank arms

Postby twizzle » Fri Dec 21, 2012 3:43 pm

jules21 wrote:once again, thanks to everyone for your useful suggestions. for the record, the very generous Shaun (Mulger Bill) brought his park tool pedal wrench to work, which made light work of the pedals (bar a bit of blood loss). thanks very much Shaun. i'm sure everyone is thrilled to hear this :)


Oh yeah, I'm always thrilled about blood loss. :twisted:

Do tell! Chain ring attack, was it? I've done that to myself a couple of times. You would think once would be enough.
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Re: pedals won't loosen from crank arms

Postby barefoot » Fri Dec 21, 2012 3:46 pm

il padrone wrote:if necessary also try a sharp strike with a hammer on the end of the spanner.


This.

Shock will break it free.

It's probably more gentle on your parts (and tools!) to apply a momentary force like this, than to apply an equivalent force over a longer duration by way of massive levers and brute effort.

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Re: pedals won't loosen from crank arms

Postby drubie » Fri Dec 21, 2012 5:23 pm

jules21 wrote:once again, thanks to everyone for your useful suggestions. for the record, the very generous Shaun (Mulger Bill) brought his park tool pedal wrench to work, which made light work of the pedals (bar a bit of blood loss). thanks very much Shaun. i'm sure everyone is thrilled to hear this :)


Well, don't leave us hanging! Whose blood and how was it spilled? I have a lovely scar in the base of my right hand where a chain ring bit me like a white pointer trying to remove a pedal (with the wrong tool :oops: ). Haven't hurt myself since I bought a proper pedal spanner so I'm eager to hear the gory details.
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Re: pedals won't loosen from crank arms

Postby Mulger bill » Fri Dec 21, 2012 7:40 pm

All good Jules, thanks for the coffee :)

Not much blood, I took a bit of bark off a knuckle against the RH crankarm is all. One well placed bandaid and it's gone. Fact is, it'd be easier to tell people when I don't lose some skin when I approach a crankset with tool in hand. :oops:

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