It’s not always easy to remove a bike crank without a puller. It can be downright frustrating if you don’t know what you’re doing. However, there is a way to remove the bike crank without a puller.
This article will take you through the process step-by-step, so you can successfully remove your bike’s crank.
What You’ll Need?
Here are the items you’ll need to follow along with this article:
- An adjustable wrench, pliers, or socket set
- Penetrating oil
- Sandpaper or Dremel tool with a sanding drum
- Safety glasses or goggles
- A towel to lay your bike on
- Two torque wrenches (one large, one small)
- The right size Allen wrench for your pedals
- Plastic wedges/shims
The Process On How to Remove the Bike Crank Without a Puller?
It is possible to remove a bike crank without a crank puller by following several steps. Here are the steps you’ll need to follow to remove your bike’s crank successfully:
1. Remove The Bike’s Pedals
Use your adjustable wrench to remove the bolts on both pedals, using a large torque wrench if they are stuck. If you have plastic shims under your pedals, remove them as well.
2. Remove The Chainring Bolts
Using an Allen wrench, remove the chainring bolts from the inside of the frame (be careful not to drop them in the frame).
3. Check for Bearing Dust Caps
On each side of the bottom bracket, you should see some tiny holes or slots with an even smaller crank bolt holding on a bit of metal cap. Remove these bolts and remove the dust caps. Now your spindle is exposed.
4. Grease the Spindle
Grease the exposed spindle with high-quality grease (pedal wrench or another bicycle grease).
5. Pry Off Dust Caps with Your Plastic Wedge/Shim
Now you’ll need to pry out the bearing dust caps on the drive side of the frame. Use your plastic wedge or shim to go between the dust cap and the semi-gloss paint of the bike’s frame, then lift it up slightly. Once you have enough room, pry out toward yourself with a small flat head screwdriver until it comes loose enough for you to grab it with your fingers. Do this for all four bearing dust caps.
6. Use a Towel to Prop Up Your Bike
Now that your bike crank arm is exposed, you can prop it up with a thick towel folded in half vertically and then horizontally so that it sits about a foot off of the ground.
8. Pull Out the Spindle
Grab both sides of the spindle with your adjustable wrench and pull straight out (be careful, it’s heavy). You can now remove your bike crank arm without a Crank puller.
This is how you should remove a bike crank using the simple steps above.
Troubleshooting Guide for Removing the Bike Crank Without a Crank Puller
To help you with any issues removing your bike crank, here is a quick guide:
- If the spindle is very rusty, you can spray it with some penetrating oil and allow it to sit overnight before attempting to use a wrench on it again.
- If the bike crank won’t budge and nothing seems to work after trying these solutions, take your bike into a cycling shop, where they will remove the bike crank using a puller.
- If you still can’t remove your bike crank and it’s not rusty, then the issue is most likely that the bearings are frozen. This means that there is dirt in them, and they will need to be replaced before you can successfully pull out your bike crank.
- If your spindle is bent, after removing it and trying to straighten it out with a vice, take it back into your shop, where they can use a unique tool to align the spindle.
- If one side of the bottom bracket is stuck and won’t come out, you can use an impact driver to tap on that side of the spindle. You should only need to use light taps. You don’t want to break them.
- If you don’t have an impact driver, use a rubber mallet and strike it gently.
- If necessary, you can also use a wrench to hold it still while another wrench pulls up on the spindle (you could do this in conjunction with the impact driver). It would help if you never tried to pry or twist the spindle on the bike.
- If you have a plastic shim from under your pedals, pry it out with a hex wrench before using the wrench to try and remove the crank arm.
- When removing the chainring a crank bolt, make sure that they aren’t stuck in place and that they will fall into your frame’s bottom bracket when removed by striking them lightly with a metal rod.
- If you are using an Allen wrench to remove the chainring a crank bolt, spin them counter-clockwise to remove them (most bikes have this set up). If they refuse to budge, use some penetrating oil and allow it to sit before attempting again.
- Try not to rest both sides of your bike on any parts of the crank so that you don’t scratch up your bike.
I have put together a few quick troubleshooting guides that you can use if you are having trouble removing your bike crank.
Common Mistakes and How to Avoid Them
It is common for people to make the following mistakes when they attempt to remove the crank arms from their vehicles:
Using A Steel Wrench On the Spindle
Steel wrenches are made to be used with either screwdrivers or sockets, not with bare metal. This will scratch and damage your spindle, making it almost impossible to remove without special tools.
Not Having a Good Surface to Work On
Make sure you have a sturdy table or workspace where you can put your bike in order to get leverage from both sides.
Not Having the Proper Tool for The Job
There are a lot of tools made specifically for removing bike cranks, and you should always use those instead of trying to improvise with something that wasn’t meant for this purpose. If you have a problem using your crank removal tool or inserting it into your bike, check out the section below for more info.
Using WD-40 to Loosen the Crank Arms
WD-40 is dangerous on bike parts because it can make them rust faster. If you use it, make sure to wipe off any excess with a towel.
Not Using an Adjustable Wrench
Using your adjustable wrench too close to the frame can ruin the bike’s paint job, so be extra careful if you’re doing this.
Not Using Penetrating Oil
This is almost always recommended before trying to remove a stuck part on a bike. The penetrating oil will make the spindle easier to remove and help prevent damage.
Not Using Safety Glasses
I know this seems like common sense, but pictures of people trying to remove their cranks without their safety glasses are surprisingly easy to find online (which is scary). It would help if you always protected your eyes with safety glasses when working on your bike and wearing gloves.
Using a Wrench in The Wrong Direction
If you’re doing this, stop immediately and try again in the other order (it doesn’t matter which way you do it or which hand you use). This is how people end up ruining their spindles.
As these are all mistakes that people have made before, you can avoid making the same mistakes by being aware of them in the future.
Removing your bike crank can seem like a daunting task, but with the right tools and knowledge, it’s something that you can do at home. We’ve provided a comprehensive guide on how to remove your bike crank, as well as some tips on how to avoid making common mistakes. If you’re still having trouble removing your bike crank, don’t hesitate to take it to your local cycling shop for assistance.