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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all,

So I replaced the stock chainring bolts on my SRAM Force crank with FSA torx bolts. It seems like every time I go to service them (i.e., remedy a click or tick by loosening, cleaning, re-lubing and re-installing), I strip at least one of them from the hex side. I can't figure out what I am doing wrong. I have tried using three different hex wrenches to hold the nut in place while I loosen and tighten the torx side of the bolt, used a park tool torque wrench, applied the appropriate amount of grease, etc. Is there a secret to servicing these that I'm missing?

Any help's appreciated.

Thanks!
 

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I'm not gonna be much help, but I can't figure out why you have to "service" chainring bolts so often. In my experience, you tighten them, and rarely touch them again. If one loosens occasionally, I put some loctite on it and tighten it. I don't touch the other ones if they don't need it.

You may be one of those wrench purists who thinks it's cheating to use loctite. It works for me, so I use it in the places I think appropriate.

What's supposed to be the advantage of the bolts you bought? Maybe they're just badly designed or badly manufactured.
 

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The FSA bolts are Alu. This means you put them on for weight savings and not for durability. Try using a torque wrench or going back to steal bolts.
 

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I'm sorry.

When I said "steal" I was really trying to say "buy some steel bolts" but if you choose to "steal" more FSA bolts then you are on your own.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
No real 'advantage' to using the fsa aluminum bolts, I just get them at a discount so I've always used them. I don't service them every day or anything like that, but it seems like once or twice a year I am buying a new set which seems excessive.

Ha, strath. I am not overly concerned with weight savings when it comes to chainring bolts. Can you point me towards a good set of steel bolts? I think that would be the best solution.

Thanks guys.
 

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Dave Hickey said:
I changed all my crank bolts over to steel.. Call me old fashioned but I hate aluminum crank bolts..
Okay, you're old-fashioned. But you're right. Actually, aluminum is a totally stupid material to use for any small threaded fastener. The weight savings are minimal, and the potential for failure is high. If you want to be that kind of a weight weenie, you need to shell out the $ for titanium.

IMHO, of course.
 

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The key to not stripping the aluminum chainring bolts is to use an allen that doesn't have a ball end on it. Gotta use the square end of the allen. Also, it would seem to be that you are actually tightening them too much. I think I've only stripped out only a hand full of these over the past 2 years, but most of that was due to dirt, mud or previous damage.
 

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dip n ride said:
Hi all,

So I replaced the stock chainring bolts on my SRAM Force crank with FSA torx bolts. It seems like every time I go to service them (i.e., remedy a click or tick by loosening, cleaning, re-lubing and re-installing), I strip at least one of them from the hex side. I can't figure out what I am doing wrong. I have tried using three different hex wrenches to hold the nut in place while I loosen and tighten the torx side of the bolt, used a park tool torque wrench, applied the appropriate amount of grease, etc. Is there a secret to servicing these that I'm missing?

Any help's appreciated.

Thanks!
make sure (the square end of) your allen wrench is fully in the nut or bolt...that's the only thing i can think of that would cause them to strip.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thanks for the replies everybody!

CX, frdfandc, I think that the ball-end hex might have been the problem (at least last night). There have been other times when I haven't used a ball-end hex and still stripped bolts, and in those cases, I would guess that I was just lazy and did not insert the wrench as far in as it can go.

I think at this point I would just rather not deal with the aluminum anymore at all since they seem to be a bit finicky. I'll look into some steel bolts and see if that helps!

Thanks again for the replies.
 

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Over sensitive

dip n ride said:
CX, frdfandc, I think that the ball-end hex might have been the problem (at least last night). There have been other times when I haven't used a ball-end hex and still stripped bolts, and in those cases, I would guess that I was just lazy and did not insert the wrench as far in as it can go.

I think at this point I would just rather not deal with the aluminum anymore at all since they seem to be a bit finicky. I'll look into some steel bolts and see if that helps!
I can't comment on the quality of FSA chainring bolts, nor on your skills as a mechanic, but I've been using aluminum chainring bolts for going on 30 years (first from Stronglight and now from Campy) and never had one strip. You can conlude what you want from that information :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Kerry Irons said:
I can't comment on the quality of FSA chainring bolts, nor on your skills as a mechanic, but I've been using aluminum chainring bolts for going on 30 years (first from Stronglight and now from Campy) and never had one strip. You can conlude what you want from that information :)
Ha, well, not that I don't appreciate the rhetoric put into your thinly veiled insult, but truth be told, I have been maintaining my bikes for about 10 years, been using the same hex keys for about ten years, and have only encountered this problem in the last 1.5 (which, strangely, exactly coincides with the first time I bought these chainring bolts).

So, I'll just assume it's the bolts. :D
 

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dip n ride said:
been using the same hex keys for about ten years, and have only encountered this problem in the last 1.5 (which, strangely, exactly coincides with the first time I bought these chainring bolts).

So, I'll just assume it's the bolts. :D
It might also be time for some new hex keys, if they're rounded at all, that contributes to the problem. Cheapo hex wrenches last me a couple of years (at least the 5 & 6mm ones) before they get rounded enough to start causing problems with stubborn and/or alu bolts. Usually on the fixer uppers I'm working on for friends and whose rusty bolts haven't been turned in many years.
My toddler told me the other day that I needed to us some "rust-eze" (Cars reference) on the garage sale bike I was working on. LOL
 

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hex vs. torx

You said you tried three different hex wrenches, did you try using a torx wrench? Torx wrenches have more surface area and usually have very good puchase on the bolt.
 

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Sounds like he is using a torx on the front side of the bolt and a hex on the back side (which is where it is stripping). Not sure a torx on the back is going to help at all.

OP, I would also recommend a light coating of grease on the threads as well when you assemble, especially as the fasteners are aluminum. Just take your time to get the hex wrench seated (correct end as previously suggested) and you should be fine. If done properly you will break the chainring bolt before you strip out the hex fitting.
 
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