Anti-Seize OR Grease on Threaded Square Taper Bottom Bracket?

Leslie

Regular
Hi all

Just need some advice....I am currently building a fixed gear track bike (first time!) and have ordered a new sealed threaded square taper bottom bracket. (68x107mm)... so I was wondering whether you add grease OR anti-seize to the bottom bracket shell? OR I have heard that some people put grease on the drive side and anti-seize on the non-drive side?

Additional question is that you always install the drive side first....why is this? OR does is not really matter?

THANKS and it'll be good to hear how you all set up your own bicycles! :bicycle:
 

Gunk

Veteran
Location
Oxford
If it’s a traditional BB with loose or caged bearings then I would assemble the drive side with copper slip (the fixed cup) and the non drive side dry as you don’t want the adjustment ring slipping.
 
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Location
London
I slop anti seize or thick grease on the drive side and all over the body. Having had a bb seize in a frame through having been left too long, it seems the best approach. What harm can it do? I also grease the threads on the non drive side sleeve if its metal. Plastic sleeves are supposed to NOT be greased according to mr shimano.
Best to take cartridge BBs out for a check/clean externals if needed, regrease every 2 years or so as well. With a new bike I'd take out the BB pretty pronto.
 
On one of my frames the drive side thread was damaged and the sealed BB wouldn't go in without cross threading . The way I overcame this was to fit the non drive side cup in first which allowed the BB to follow the correct path . It went in fine .
 

SGG on a bike

Well-Known Member
Location
Lowestoft
what is anti-seize? I have copper slip and grease but none of the anti-seize. Am I missing out?
You can get aluminium based anti-seize. Generally speaking, copper slip isn’t the best thing to use with aluminium as it can cause electrolytic corrosion (over a long period of time). Relating that to a cycle, steel BB into steel frame, copper slip is fine. Steel BB into ally frame, less so and aluminium based anti- seize better. Safest option is plain grease or petroleum jelly, but obviously less effective than a dedicated anti-seize. In the real world, it probably won’t make much difference what‘s used as the BB is likely to be replaced long before any nasty stuff happens.
 

Ajax Bay

Veteran
Location
East Devon
The threads on the cartridge BB (hope it's a UN-55) may have thread locker already applied - well the one I have here (new sealed threaded square taper bottom bracket (68x107mm)) does on the left hand side alloy 'adapter'. So I rely on that to install the BB in the nicely cleaned out BB shell thread (left side). But the Shimano manual (at Page 17) recommends grease (but not if the left hand one is plastic eg UN-26).
The main part of the bottom bracket is screwed in from the right hand side. It has a flange which butts against the BB shell face when tight (50+Nm). If you screwed the left hand side in first, there wouldn't be anything there to 'stop it'. So if you installed that first, when you tried to screw in the main BB from the right side, you might not get it all the way home (bad). But as @Illaveago has said, probably not a biggy.

Researching this 'grease v no grease' dilemma (thank you for the OP) I finally found a comprehensive answer, the validity of which may not be proportionate to its length, but for the aficionado, worth reading, and applies to more than BBs. A @figbat tribilogical (re)view might add further value.

"For thread preparation, three choices exist: leave the thread dry (un-prepped), treat the threads with a lubricant, or treat the threads with a thread-locking compound. With almost no exceptions, leaving threads untreated is a mistake, so for a good mechanic the question comes down to whether to lube it or to “lock-it” (use a thread-locking compound [henceforth thread lockers]).
"Lubrication provides three benefits. First, the lubrication reduces galling (the tearing of the surface of a material as a result of friction). Second, through the reduction of friction the lubricant allows the threaded fitting to turn further at a given torque, thereby increasing the tension on the fitting (it’s the tension that ultimately keeps the part from unthreading). Finally, lubrication resists contamination of the thread by moisture, which reduces the potential of corrosion developing.
"Thread lockers also provide several benefits. In the case of liquid thread lockers applied at the time of final assembly, they also have some lubricating properties. These lubricating properties reduce galling and reduce friction. While these properties are in common with lubricants, lubricants are superior at doing these things. Second, thread lockers cause a part to hold more securely at the same torque compared to using a lubricant. Finally, thread lockers (particularly the liquid ones) have the maximum potential to prevent corrosion.
"So at first glance, it appears as though thread lockers come close to matching lubricants in some ways, and offer superior results regarding security and corrosion prevention. But that’s not the whole story, because each of these choices has certain drawbacks.
With lubricants (which include oil, grease, and anti-seize compounds), ease of application varies depending on the material and the circumstance. When parts are fully disassembled, it’s pretty much a toss-up which of these three categories of lubricants are easiest to apply (though there are small differences). But when working with partially-assembled parts (for example, lubricating a cable pinch bolt that is already installed in a derailleur or brake), the ability of oil to seep into the threads gives it an advantage over grease and anti-seize, which both require full disassembly to apply. On parts that are not assembled, grease and anti-seize are equally easy to apply, but anti-seize is notorious for making a mess that’s no fun to clean up.
"Thread lockers exist in two basic categories: dry “pre-applied” compounds (which are on the threads when the part leaves the manufacturer), and liquid compounds (which the mechanic applies immediately prior to assembly). With liquid thread lockers, one must always disassemble the fitting (if pre-assembled), which is harder than using oil, but the same ease of use as grease. Dry thread lockers take zero effort to apply (since they are pre-applied at the factory), but since they cause the part to have high resistance during installation, ultimately they are the least convenient of all the options.
"The dry thread lockers excel at the locking job, but since they are rarely applied to the full length of a threaded item, they leave some threads exposed to moisture (and the potential for corrosion). Properly applied, liquid thread lockers will cover 100% of the thread, thereby maximizing the corrosion resistance.
"There are three common misconceptions about thread lockers. First, some think that thread lockers cause problems with disassembly, possibly to the point that a part may be destroyed in the attempt to remove it. This misconception results from using the wrong grade of thread locker for the application. Even when misuse has occurred, heating the parts with a hot-air gun will cause the thread locker to soften enough to eliminate any removal difficulty.
"The second misconception is that as soon as one breaks loose parts retained with a thread locker, that all the benefits are lost unless fresh thread locker is applied. In fact, with both the dry and liquid thread lockers, only a small percentage of effectiveness becomes lost with each disassembly repetition. That is because both varieties are reactivated by heat. The very resistance that occurs from re-installing a part with used thread locker on it causes a repetition of the curing cycle. This does not mean that one should ignore re-applying thread locker when parts have been fully separated; more relevantly, when a mechanic wants to just loosen and retighten an adjustment where thread locker has been used, it shouldn’t be considered necessary to fully remove the part to reapply thread locker.
"The third misconception about thread lockers are that they are some form of an adhesive. In the case of liquid thread lockers, the liquid consists of an anaerobic compound that changes from a liquid to a solid with reduced exposure to oxygen (which is why brand-new bottles come about half full). In converting to a solid, these anaerobic compounds also expand, thereby creating more pressure between the threads (which explains why the parts end up more secure at a given torque than would have been the case with dry or lubricated threads). This solid cannot be dissolved by water, and it fills all the air gaps between the threads, which explains why nothing beats the anti-corrosion benefits of liquid thread lockers (when applied to cover all of the threads). Dry thread lockers are more of a plastic that softens with heat (which comes from the friction of assembly), then the thread locker re-hardens with cooling.
"Oil, grease, and anti-seize are all closely related. In fact, grease and anti-seize are simply oil with additives. Of these three types of lubricants, oil, being a liquid, remains in place for the least time. It diminishes through leaking, evaporation, and “wash-out” (which is the result of repeated exposure to liquid water). Grease is oil that has been stabilized by the addition of some form of wax. This reduces the rate of leaking (leaking still occurs, particularly in warm environments, because the wax and oil tend to separate), evaporation (which still occurs for the same reason as leaking), and washout (because the semi-solid state of grease resists displacement by water better than liquid oil). The better stability over time gives thread lockers the advantage over lubricants in regard to corrosion resistance.
"Anti-seize is a high-wax-level grease with the addition of additives that chemically reduce corrosion by changing the exchange of ions between two adjacent dissimilar metals. Without the neutralization of this ion exchange, the two dissimilar metals become chemically bonded by the creation of a new compound between where the two materials touch. Since this ion exchange does not happen uniformly, the two initially-smooth metallic surfaces become very textured, with the new compound acting very much like a mortar between the very rough surfaces of two concrete blocks. Note that galvanic corrosion only occurs between dissimilar metals, so using anti-seize between two pieces of steel, two pieces of titanium, or two pieces of aluminum is not very different than just using grease. The high wax level reduces the tendency for leaking, evaporation, and “wash out”, but because anti-seize can still degrade over time, properly used liquid thread lockers still provide the ultimate corrosion resistance.
"Given all this, it seems as though using liquid thread locker would always be the best choice, but this misses a few points. First, since liquid thread locker doesn’t lubricate as effectively as grease or oil, when a manufacturer recommends a torque based on the assumption that the threads are treated with a lubricant, the mechanic must account for this. With a thread locker, when the recommended torque is a range of values, use the bottom of the range. Second, parts treated with thread locker don’t just spin effortless after the “break free” point has been overcome, leading to a more tedious and time-consuming breakdown. Finally, when lubricating threads, the exact choice of lubricant is not terribly important, but when using a thread locker, the thread diameter, the thread pitch, and even the length of thread engagement can influence which grade of thread locker works best."
 
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fossyant

Ride It Like You Stole It!
Location
South Manchester
I always use copper slip. They don't come undone. Better to use it so the things don't weld themselves in. Also, if you can get a BB with the alloy locking cup, not the plastic.
 

SkipdiverJohn

Veteran
Location
London
I use grease on bike threads for the simple reason that if doing a BB bearing service, I will already have the grease pot out anyway to reload the bearing cups. That means I don't have to faff around searching for my copaslip as well.
Although theoretically, anti-seize compounds are better than regular grease, in the real world it doesn't make much difference. I've used both on the spring shackle pins on an ancient leaf sprung Land Rover at different times (these are notorious for seizing solid), and haven't found one to be any better than the other. Both prevent seizure and the resulting swearing and loss of temper when subsequently dismantling the parts years later! What I can say with absolute certainty, is that anything is better than dry assembly.
 

raleighnut

Legendary Member
Location
On 3 Wheels
I use grease on bike threads for the simple reason that if doing a BB bearing service, I will already have the grease pot out anyway to reload the bearing cups. That means I don't have to faff around searching for my copaslip as well.
Although theoretically, anti-seize compounds are better than regular grease, in the real world it doesn't make much difference. I've used both on the spring shackle pins on an ancient leaf sprung Land Rover at different times (these are notorious for seizing solid), and haven't found one to be any better than the other. Both prevent seizure and the resulting swearing and loss of temper when subsequently dismantling the parts years later! What I can say with absolute certainty, is that anything is better than dry assembly.
The thing is the biggest compound in grease is Soap, this actually promotes 'Galvanic Corrosion' now if things need to slide against each other then this is OK as the blend of Oil and Soap is very slippery but if components are static then grease is of no use whatsoever .
 
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