I'm trying to insert my crank extractor into the crank of a square taper (Shimano Tourney). It won't really screw in properly. On several attempts it will go in a little bit (about 1 or 2 mm) and quite abruptly won't turn anymore, as if it didn't go in properly. It doesn't feel right. I've tried it enough times that I'm fairly sure it's not the angle I'm using causing the problem.

I am starting with the inner part of the extractor fully inside the outer part, so it isn't that the inner part is simply already pushing into the spindle or anything.

The crank extractor is the Birzman universal crank extractor.

What am I doing wrong here?

square taper

It's at this point that the extractor will 'stick', only going in a very small amount. Shouldn't it go further?

Extractor in crank

  • 1
    Watch this video at around the 1 minute mark (actually, just watch the whole thing). The video on how the crank remover works is using a non-square taper BB+crankset, but the procedure and idea is identical to what you have.
    – Batman
    Commented Sep 23, 2017 at 19:10
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    You do want good engagement as the force is too high for just a turn or two. Are both threads clean? Try a drop of oil or grease on the thread as well.
    – Chris H
    Commented Sep 23, 2017 at 19:41
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    Batman - Thanks, I've seen this video, it's great but as far as I can tell it doesn't explain why the outer of the extractor won't screw into the threads of the crank. The different sizes only seem to concern the end of the inner part that pushes against the spindle, this isn't the problem. Chris - The threads appear to be clean to me, I did try some grease very sparingly, I may add a little more and see what happens.
    – user34810
    Commented Sep 23, 2017 at 20:12
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    Will it screw into the other side?
    – mikes
    Commented Sep 23, 2017 at 21:37
  • 4
    I like this question - shows the OP is engaging brain rather than brawn (then asking use how to fix stripped threads).
    – mattnz
    Commented Sep 24, 2017 at 2:46

3 Answers 3


If you want to save the cranks, consider taking this to a shop.

Wonder if this bike was run without a plastic cover over the hole?

I suspect the threads in the crank are slightly damaged. You might be lucky and force the extractor in correctly, or you might screw-up the threads completely if it on the wrong angle

An LBS will have taps that will chase the threads back to smoothness. Taps like this are quite expensive and generally unnecessary for the home mechanic. I don't own any this size.

You can try another crank-extractor - I own two and they have subtly different tolerances. Not sure how that works but one goes in where the other doesn't, and its not always the same one that works.

If the cranks are trash already, then slap a lot of lube in and have your best effort at lining up the extractor. Your last resort is to carefully cut the crank off by grinding through the eye, without going into the BB.

If the BB needs replacing AND its the left side, you might be able to grind through the BB axle between crank arm and BB, and then use a drift to push the stubby bit out of the crankarm eye. This should save the crank arm but it will still have damaged threads. If its the right-side then the spider and chainrings will be in the way.

  • 1
    This. If you are SURE that the angle is correct, then you just need to push and turn. Just go for it. But that's the problem, when we hesitate it's because we aren't SURE. That said, if it was me, I would go for it.
    – jqning
    Commented Sep 24, 2017 at 2:18
  • I know mine (on 3 sets of cranks including some not very old and always run with the covers on) doesn't screw in as easily or as smoothly as I'd expect. But that's not reason to force it. By putting a socket spanner (no handle) on the crank extractor mine screws in by hand; the socket just provides a larger surface to grip. But the OP is right to be cautious. +1
    – Chris H
    Commented Sep 24, 2017 at 5:36
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    The threads of the crank look fine to me. I will get another extractor and try it. If i run a tweezer between the threads of the extractor, there appear to be tiny imperfections - and since the extractor stops at about the same point on the left and right sides of the crank, I think this could be the problem. A little bump between the threads that stops it. Thanks for the info.
    – user34810
    Commented Sep 25, 2017 at 20:23

You don't indicate whether you're installing the extractor into the crank with a wrench or your fingers. It's very common for them not to go in readily with fingertips alone, and if you find that putting a wrench on it lets you get it in there then you don't have to do anything further.

Look very carefully at the threads of the crank. Are there signs of stripping or cross-threading? If there is some damage, is it to just a few threads causing a high-friction spot, or is it all or many of the threads past a certain point?

I don't totally understand why this is, but the common way in a shop to touch up an M22x1 extractor thread (as opposed to replacing a destroyed one with a larger size) is not with a conventional tap, but with a much simpler and cheaper piloted chasing tool that looks like this: TC8 They do a good job but you might notice it's pretty much the same thing as the outer part of a crank extractor plus some flutes to clear material and a reference guide, and the nature of various square taper cranks is that there's no guarantee that the extraction threads were precisely aligned enough in the first place that you'll ever be able to necessarily use the guide. (I've at least used them in situations where the guide was a no-go but it was fine in the end.)

Where I'm going here is that while there are no guarantees you won't destroy you cranks this way, if the damage is moderate or better then it's pretty reasonable to use your extractor outer bit as an impromptu thread chaser. What I would do is use a 90 degree scriber you don't have reservations about bearing down on to get into the threads and try to "clear a path" for it, doing some preliminary shoving around of errant or damaged material. Then use either cutting fluid or heavy oil to lube up the threads, guide in the tool as much as you can by hand, and then put a wrench on it and very gradually advance it. The leverage of the wrench will let you feel what's happening, i.e. whether it's totally stuck or able to make some progress. If you have some luck and it advances, do a little bit and then go back out all the way so you can clear any material, then go back in, repeating until you can work it back and fourth with no friction.

  • I am only using my fingers, yes. The threads appear absolutely fine, I think it may be the extractor as described in comment above, so I am going to try a new one and go from there. Thanks for great info.
    – user34810
    Commented Sep 25, 2017 at 20:29

I've got the cranks out - I used the Park Tool CWP-7 instead of the Birzman.

It still wasn't as smooth as I hoped it would be -as others have commented - but much better. Scraped a little of the black paint off of the tool but I'm assuming this is normal. Not entirely sure what is so different between the two extractors just by looking at them, I guess the moral is to make sure your tools are fit for the job before forcing anything. Thanks all for input.

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