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Discussion Starter #1
I recently purchased an early 90s merlin road bike off ebay from a local guy, got a good deal I thought, $750 for the bike with full dura ace 8sp sti group, lots of nice extras like am. classic titanium seatpost. But in the process of refurbing the bike which has been sitting around a number of years I discovered the bottom bracket (which is the dreaded suntour grease guard pressed-in one) has a fair amount of play and needs new bearings. Now I have done a lot of research since into this (unfortunately I wasn't aware of this problem with the older merlin frames and should have done my homework, 20-20 hindsight) and have downloaded the manuals for overhauling it from merlin, asked merlin if they had the tools available (of course no), searched this forum, google, etc. to see if specifically i could find the spindle removal tool kit somewhere. Yes I contacted local merlin dealers (in the Boston area) by email to see if they had the tools and could do the service but haven't heard back from them. I changed the pressed in sealed bearings on my old Klein MTB (relatively EZ since you can whack out the spindle w/ a hammer) last year so am comfortable with doing this procedure and would prefer to do it myself to save some $ and because I enjoy it. Does anyone have the BB spindle removal tool set who would sell it to me at a reasonable cost or perhaps let me borrow it? As a last resort I figured out I could cobble something together from the hardware store but it will take a fair amount of work. And I'm curious how much it cost to have the BB shell threaded by merlin (if they would even still do this) by someone who sent theirs in and had it done. Unless it's very reasonable I doubt I would go this route anyway, since I wanted a nice road bike at a budget price to get back into road riding after having stopped racing 10 years ago. any advice, suggestions would be greatly appreciated thanks.
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Would it be possible to just hammer out the bottom bracket spindle (and then remove the circlips and knock out the sealed bearing cartridges) like with a normal pressed-in bottom bracket? I don't care about the grease guard feature so if this was ruined I wouldn't care. Then perhaps after removing the grease guard stuff inside the bottom bracket shell I could just put the spindle, new bearings, and circlips back in?
 

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grease guard bb

I have a mountain merlin I bought 1991 and it has a grease guard bottom bracket. I had the steel spindle replaced with a titanium one back in 1995 and it cost me something like 100 bucks then.You didn't say what year is your bike, but with mine I believe a standard threaded bb wouldn't fit as the diameter of the bb is small.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for the info. I had read in the archives about some people sending their merlins back to be fitted for a threaded bottom bracket, which I thought was perhaps a regular bottom bracket shell tap/threader wouldn't be able to cut titanium. Now that you mention it I remember some people mentioning having a new bottom bracket shell welded into their frames and upgrading to the threaded BB shell, which I assumed was because of cracks, but probably is the only way to do it. It looks like I'll have to make a homemade spindle removal tool, it seems there aren't any around anymore, or at least that I can find.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
For future reference I thought I'd post my experience in taking out the spindle and bearings out of my frame. I contacted Merlin and asked if the hammer method was OK in removing the spindle and they gave me the official line of that it is not recommended but if it were their own bike there shouldn't be a problem. So I carefully tapped it out with a hammer and wood dowel and it came out real EZ, much much easier then when I did the BB on my old Klein MTB, where the axle had started to get some corrosion and it took a real beating directly with the hammer face to get it out of the frame. Ostensibly one nice thing about the grease guard is that it keeps the spindle to bearing interface nicely lubed which is why i think pounding it out was trivial. removed the circlips and bearings with a smaller wooden dowel easily also. now i have to get the 6903s and put it back together, i don't expect any problems.
 

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Successful GG BB bearing exchange

I know that this is way after the original post, but every now and then someone is asking about the procedure to do this so I thought I would comment.
I've got a 92 Merlin Road with a GG BB and I just replaced the bearings and spindle yesterday.
Procedure:
Purchased a Phil Wood SS symmetric spindle. Bought a set of Enduro abec-5 61903 rsr bearings. (6903 is the standard size 17mm inside by 30mm outside, by 7mm depth. Note that these do not have an open side for grease guard injections.)

Removed the crank. Removed the circlips and tapped out the drive side. The collar on the spindle removed one of the bearings with the tapping. For the nondrive side I put a dowel in from the drive side and tapped it out going around and around.

Cleaned up the inside of the shell.

Loaded one of the bearings on the spindle by setting the spindle through the bearing and then sitting it on my drill press with a hole the size to accommodate the spindle. (Actually the hole should be the proper size to touch the inside of the race, but I did not do that.) Got it about right then loaded that in the shell. The bearings just touch, set in the shell a mm or two.

(Then I should have probably set the opposite bearing into its side so that when I tapped the reverse bearings in, the spindle would remain square, thus the bearings would be sure to seat squarely too.)

I tapped in the one side with the bearing attached to the spindle by placing an old bearing over the new and using that to tap against. Once it seemed in the right place I put the opposite bearing side in.

I continually checked the alignment by sight as well as spinning the spindle. I noticed that at first there was more resistance and I assume that was due to the fact that the seated side was not perfectly square. I spent a few minutes trying to be sure that things were squaring up properly. They did.

The only problem with using the old bearing as a guide was that they tend to stick in the outer part of the shell that is just on the outside of where the circlips go. Then they have to get unstuck... with a light perpendicular strike from the hammer. As I was constantly checking alignment this was slightly tedious. I suppose that you could dremel or sand them down a tad, or manufacture a brass piece to fit in less snugly.

Then I checked for the reveal of the spindle on both sides. Although it was a symmetric spindle, I wanted the drive side to be a little in for a better chainline and figured I had a few mm to play with. I tapped the spindle and checked that I was not moving the bearings as well. (You could install clips first but I did not.)

I checked again for binding, made sure that there really was enough room to fit the circlips in, installed them and put the crank on.

The annoying creak I had had is finally gone. (Previously I had cleaned the chain, changed the chain, switched pedals/cleats, tightened crank bolts, swapped out wheels/cogset, and examined the bike and cranks for cracks. I was close to insane, but have since pulled back to just, well, odd.)

It took me about an hour soup to nuts. If I did it again I might pay a little more attention to the loading of the bearing on the spindle/ making sure the inner ring was supported when mating to the spindle. I also might have a second set or at least a single additional bearing on hand in case I mashed one in the learning curve.

I hope that this is helpful.
E
 

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Once again realizing that this post is ancient. I had a 1992 Merlin mountain bike with the "grease guard" B.B. and when it came time to replace the bearings ( actually I swapped out the spindle as well ) I did the entire process with no special Merlin tools. any good mechanic should be able to improvise and get it done.
 

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Hi I just bought a 57cm 1991-92 merlin ti (geometry by Rob Vandermark) road and want to change the 1" threaded fork to a1" threadless/ahead fork. Does anyone know the head angle of this frame and what the right fork rake and axle to crown distance should be?
Thanks
 

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Hi I just bought a 57cm 1991-92 merlin ti (geometry by Rob Vandermark) road and want to change the 1" threaded fork to a1" threadless/ahead fork. Does anyone know the head angle of this frame and what the right fork rake and axle to crown distance should be?
Thanks
That would be a 73 degree head tube angle. Any1" fork you can find that was designed primarily as a race fork should work just fine. I think Ritchey 1" carbon forks are still readily available.
 

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I just had the "grease guard", bearing replaced by my lbs. Total $30.00 with $10.00 for bearings and $20.00 labor. They had the tools, but have heard it can be done by any good mechanic.

I have had my Merlin Road since it was new. ENJOY!
 
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