I have a very stuck bottom bracket (see image)

Just trying to remove the adjustable cup (non-drive side) and the moment, and it's not budging. I'm trying to remove it with a Park Tool Adjustable Cup Wrench. The fixed cup isn't budging either. I've used a fair amount of penetrating oil, and even tried applying heat. Nothing seems to be working.

Any ideas on how I can get this thing out?

bottom bracket

  • 4
    Are you sure you're turning it in the right direction. Commented Jul 16, 2021 at 18:22
  • 1
    Which way did you remove the lock-ring? Clock-wise or CCW? The cup goes the same way.
    – Carel
    Commented Jul 16, 2021 at 18:34
  • 1
    Worst comes to worst, weld a big steel rod/pipe onto it and use that as a handle.
    – MaplePanda
    Commented Jul 17, 2021 at 0:40
  • 2
    What parts do you want to keep?
    – Criggie
    Commented Jul 17, 2021 at 1:03
  • 1
    @Criggie, If I can keep everything intact then great, but I'm not opposed to destructively removing the bottom bracket.
    – ben_re
    Commented Jul 17, 2021 at 9:28

2 Answers 2


You're in for a world of fun.

The visible threads prove that the cup was threadded in originally. But over time something has bonded them together. That could be galvanic corrosion, or simply dirt, or a crossed/damaged thread.

Start by double-checking the thread. Put the lockring back on to confirm which way is on/off. Add penetrating oil and heat to help it soak in.

You are using the correct tool to interface with the flanges, but if its old then the edges might be worn and slightly curved. Clean them with a wire brush, and maybe score in the corner with a triangular file. Then retry the park tool. If that doesn't work you can try a large spanner but I find they're too thick and twist.

Some have suggested putting the whole frame horizontally into a secured bench vise, which might help grip the little lip.

For a non-cottered crank I made a spacer that lets you refit the crank bolt and retain the park tool on the flanges. The park tool can handle some light tapping with a hammer, but not a lot. If it starts denting then you're hitting it too hard.

Use heat on the frame, ice on the cup, and a lot of cursing can help.

If you can't unscrew either side, then it might be a lost cause.

If you're planning on installing a cartridge BB then the axle and cups can be destructively removed. You need to get the axle out, which requires a cup to come out. The cups are hardened steel so they don't drill or cut easily. You might consider a carbide drill bit to put two holes into the cup, and then try a pin spanner to turn it.

You could also try welding one cup to the axle, and then using the axle to turn the cup. Note the heat of welding will expand the cup even harder into the frame, so pre-heat the BB and go quick.

Do not hacksaw off the axle ends - that will not help.

Once you have one cup off, the axle will slide out that side along with all the bearing balls. At this point, it is possible to hacksaw through the remaining cup providing a space where it can compress and release the thread. It is hard work and easy to cut into the softer frame when you get near the end. I've done this once.

Update: I'd suggest you start by fitting your park tool in place, and then find some washers that will fit over the axle to raise the level, and then use some sort of clamp on the flat part of the axle where the cotter pin goes. Ideally it should be kinda wedged together so you can tap on the side of the tool with a steel hammer.

  • 1
    “Note the heat of welding will expand the cup even harder into the frame” but that’s only during welding, once it’s cooled down shouldn’t it pretty much shrink down to original size? Possibly even loosening slightly due to the “movement”.
    – Michael
    Commented Jul 17, 2021 at 6:21
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    Managed to get it off by securing the tool in place with some washers on the axle and a set of mole grips. Used the same technique on the fixed cup but used a bolt and some washers in place of the axle. Thank you for the advice..
    – ben_re
    Commented Jul 17, 2021 at 17:56

Cottered spindles don't make it easy, but ultimately you will likely need to rig up something to keep one side or the other's tool held on as you apply the torque that's needed. For the most part that will probably be easier on the fixed up side. The most stuck cups often still need enormous amounts of force even once the heat/cold/oil plans have gotten them capable of moving.

Sometimes you can get enough purchase on the fixed cup to break it free using a bench vise and then turning it using the frame as leverage, but often slipping will be a problem there too. You may be able to get your fixed cup wrench on, then use other headset/BB wrenches or just the right size of big washers to clamp it on with the crank to secure it all. Then you can let loose with a cheater bar over the fixed cup wrench. I've used Park FFS-2s for that kind of thing and also big pieces of PVC.

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