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Did I do damage overtightening my cassette

Old 03-24-23, 02:26 PM
  #1  
dennis336
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Did I do damage overtightening my cassette

Apologies if this appears twice. Didn't see it show up after I first submitted so trying again.

I tried changing the cassette on my 2014 Surly Disc Trucker. Got the old one off fine and installed the new one. I used the Park Tools TW6.2 torque wrench set to 40nm to tighten. First time I used it and I think I messed up. As I tightened, I heard loud clicking sounds like I heard when first removing the cassette so I kept going, thinking I'd hear the distinctive torque click (I've used the lower pressure Park Tools torque wrench to tighten the handlebar/stem bolt and hear that clear 'click' when the torque was reached.

In any event, I kept putting pressure on the torque wrench until it wouldn't turn anymore. This is where I realized I may have overtightened. So .... I tried un-tightening (using a different wrench and chain whip) but couldn't get it to budge. I put (for me) quite a bit of pressure and finally stopped since I didn't want to do any further damage. I put a new chain on and took it for a light spin around my neighborhood, shifting through all the gears and it seems to shift fine.

Should I be worried about it being over-tightened? It'll be years until I'll need a new cassette given the miles I ride this bike but I don't want to risk a serious failure when I'm out on a rural gravel road (that's generally how I use my Surly, don't do any touring now).

Do you think I may have damaged the torque wrench by over-tightening?

Thanks for any insights ... I really want to learn bike maintenance but I really am awful at it :-(
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Old 03-24-23, 02:42 PM
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Originally Posted by dennis336
Apologies if this appears twice. Didn't see it show up after I first submitted so trying again.

I tried changing the cassette on my 2014 Surly Disc Trucker. Got the old one off fine and installed the new one. I used the Park Tools TW6.2 torque wrench set to 40nm to tighten. First time I used it and I think I messed up. As I tightened, I heard loud clicking sounds like I heard when first removing the cassette so I kept going, thinking I'd hear the distinctive torque click (I've used the lower pressure Park Tools torque wrench to tighten the handlebar/stem bolt and hear that clear 'click' when the torque was reached.

In any event, I kept putting pressure on the torque wrench until it wouldn't turn anymore. This is where I realized I may have overtightened. So .... I tried un-tightening (using a different wrench and chain whip) but couldn't get it to budge. I put (for me) quite a bit of pressure and finally stopped since I didn't want to do any further damage. I put a new chain on and took it for a light spin around my neighborhood, shifting through all the gears and it seems to shift fine.

Should I be worried about it being over-tightened? It'll be years until I'll need a new cassette given the miles I ride this bike but I don't want to risk a serious failure when I'm out on a rural gravel road (that's generally how I use my Surly, don't do any touring now).

Do you think I may have damaged the torque wrench by over-tightening?

Thanks for any insights ... I really want to learn bike maintenance but I really am awful at it :-(
You probably havenít done too much damage. I would probably just leave it in place until you need to change the cassette in the future just in case you damaged threads on the lock ring or freehub body but, for the most part, just let sleeping dogs lie.
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Old 03-24-23, 02:52 PM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute
You probably havenít done too much damage. I would probably just leave it in place until you need to change the cassette in the future just in case you damaged threads on the lock ring or freehub body but, for the most part, just let sleeping dogs lie.
Agreed. If things are working fine, just roll with it. IMO, it's pretty hard to damage the cassette itself doing what the OP described. The chance of sudden explosion - or any other kind of catastrophic failure - is not very likely.
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Old 03-24-23, 02:54 PM
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Can't say I've ever heard "loud clicking sounds" removing or installing a cassette, so not sure what's going on there. 40 Nm is a long way from "putting pressure on the torque wrench until it wouldn't turn anymore". If you have a bench vise you might want to clamp your wrench and test it at some different settings to get a feel for when it should click.

As far as what to do, I wouldn't think anything is going to fail but I would be inclined to remove the lock ring and start over PROVIDED that your lock ring tool (I use Park FR-5.2g with the "pin") is making good engagement with the ring.

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Old 03-24-23, 03:23 PM
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Thanks, guys, for the quick responses. Letting it go was the answer I was hoping for (it'll be a long time before I'll wear out the cassette on this bike). So, if there's little risk to just carrying on, that's what I'll do.

Scott, good suggestion on testing out the torque wrench - I'm not very experienced and I do want to change the cassette on my Trek Domane so I'd like to be more confident of what 40nm feels like. btw, my first instinct, too, was to try removing/loosening the lock ring but was unable to do it and got worried about doing more harm than good trying to undo it all. And, I think I wasn't very accurate describing the sound - maybe more of a creaking sound than clicking ... kind of had to be there

Thanks again, really appreciate you all sharing your knowledge and experience!

Last edited by dennis336; 03-24-23 at 03:39 PM.
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Old 03-24-23, 03:28 PM
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Originally Posted by dennis336
Thanks, guys, for the quick responses. Letting it go was the answer I was hoping for (it'll be a long time before I'll wear out the cassette on this bike). So, if there's little risk to just carrying on, that's what I'll do.

Scott, good suggestion on testing out the torque wrench - I'm not very experienced and I do want to change the cassette on my Trek Domane so I'd like to be more confident of what 40nm feels like. btw, my first instinct, too, was to try removing/loosening the lock ring but was unable to do it and got worried about doing more harm than good trying to undo it all.

Thanks again, really appreciate you all sharing your knowledge and experience!
FYI - 40nm is not a critical number for cassette installation. I've always just gone with "pretty tight" without a torque wrench, and have never had a lockring loosen up at all while riding.
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Old 03-24-23, 03:32 PM
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Originally Posted by Eric F
FYI - 40nm is not a critical number for cassette installation. I've always just gone with "pretty tight" without a torque wrench, and have never had a lockring loosen up at all while riding.
That's good to know ... I've read that in some other on-line sites but, until my confidence increased I ended up following the 40nm guidance I read rather than going by feel. Of course, look where THAT got me

Thanks again
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Old 03-24-23, 04:15 PM
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I always went by feel, let it click/pop a few times and call it good. Never had a problem. But...tried it with the torque wrench after reading here. 40nm was substantially more than my guess of good enough. I still don't normally use a torque wrench but I crank it down a good bit more than previously. I doubt you've damaged anything.
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Old 03-24-23, 04:29 PM
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I've definitely damaged at least one freehub body (stripped threads) before by following the 40Nm torque spec. Now I just go by feel (I know, not best practice🤷‍♂️).
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Old 03-24-23, 04:35 PM
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Originally Posted by tFUnK
I've definitely damaged at least one freehub body (stripped threads) before by following the 40Nm torque spec. Now I just go by feel (I know, not best practice🤷‍♂️).
Wow. That's a real "Oh, ****!" moment, right there.
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Old 03-24-23, 04:44 PM
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Originally Posted by tFUnK
I've definitely damaged at least one freehub body (stripped threads) before by following the 40Nm torque spec. Now I just go by feel (I know, not best practice🤷‍♂️).
Yikes! Of course, following best practice got you stripped threads! But, yeah, I was completely worried I'd strip the threads either when I over-tightened or when I made my attempts to un-tighten. I really need to stop following recommended best practices
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Old 03-24-23, 04:48 PM
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Originally Posted by dennis336
Apologies if this appears twice. Didn't see it show up after I first submitted so trying again.

I tried changing the cassette on my 2014 Surly Disc Trucker. Got the old one off fine and installed the new one. I used the Park Tools TW6.2 torque wrench set to 40nm to tighten. First time I used it and I think I messed up. As I tightened, I heard loud clicking sounds like I heard when first removing the cassette so I kept going, thinking I'd hear the distinctive torque click (I've used the lower pressure Park Tools torque wrench to tighten the handlebar/stem bolt and hear that clear 'click' when the torque was reached.

In any event, I kept putting pressure on the torque wrench until it wouldn't turn anymore. This is where I realized I may have overtightened. So .... I tried un-tightening (using a different wrench and chain whip) but couldn't get it to budge. I put (for me) quite a bit of pressure and finally stopped since I didn't want to do any further damage. I put a new chain on and took it for a light spin around my neighborhood, shifting through all the gears and it seems to shift fine.

Should I be worried about it being over-tightened? It'll be years until I'll need a new cassette given the miles I ride this bike but I don't want to risk a serious failure when I'm out on a rural gravel road (that's generally how I use my Surly, don't do any touring now).

Do you think I may have damaged the torque wrench by over-tightening?

Thanks for any insights ... I really want to learn bike maintenance but I really am awful at it :-(
the most likely failure will be the small cog splitting and coming apart.... i've seen it a few times.. the lock ring flexes some under torque and that tends to want to open up that tiny cog.. the ones that broke were 11 tooth, and 9/10/11 speed cassettes......

i always just use a 15" Crescent Wrench, or 18" breaker bar/socket, and feel when tightening the Cassette lockrings.
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Old 03-24-23, 05:18 PM
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Originally Posted by dennis336
Apologies if this appears twice. Didn't see it show up after I first submitted so trying again.

I tried changing the cassette on my 2014 Surly Disc Trucker. Got the old one off fine and installed the new one. I used the Park Tools TW6.2 torque wrench set to 40nm to tighten. First time I used it and I think I messed up. As I tightened, I heard loud clicking sounds like I heard when first removing the cassette so I kept going, thinking I'd hear the distinctive torque click (I've used the lower pressure Park Tools torque wrench to tighten the handlebar/stem bolt and hear that clear 'click' when the torque was reached.

In any event, I kept putting pressure on the torque wrench until it wouldn't turn anymore. This is where I realized I may have overtightened. So .... I tried un-tightening (using a different wrench and chain whip) but couldn't get it to budge. I put (for me) quite a bit of pressure and finally stopped since I didn't want to do any further damage. I put a new chain on and took it for a light spin around my neighborhood, shifting through all the gears and it seems to shift fine.

Should I be worried about it being over-tightened? It'll be years until I'll need a new cassette given the miles I ride this bike but I don't want to risk a serious failure when I'm out on a rural gravel road (that's generally how I use my Surly, don't do any touring now).

Do you think I may have damaged the torque wrench by over-tightening?

Thanks for any insights ... I really want to learn bike maintenance but I really am awful at it :-(
is it possible the "loud clicking sounds" were just the knurled surface of the interior side of the lockring slipping against the cassette?
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Old 03-24-23, 05:25 PM
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Originally Posted by mschwett
is it possible the "loud clicking sounds" were just the knurled surface of the interior side of the lockring slipping against the cassette?
That makes the most sense to me. Knurled lock ring + knurled interface surface on the small cog = clicky noises when tightened against each other. It also means less likelihood of things coming loose by themselves.
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Old 03-24-23, 05:27 PM
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Originally Posted by scott967
Can't say I've ever heard "loud clicking sounds" removing or installing a cassette, so not sure what's going on there.
Most cassettes have radial grooves on inside face on the lockring and similar grooves on the outside of the smallest cog. These grooves ride over each other as you tighten the lockring and make a prominent clicking sound. It would be easy to miss the setting click of a "clicker" type torque wrench when tightening one of these.
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Old 03-24-23, 07:20 PM
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Originally Posted by HillRider
Most cassettes have radial grooves on inside face on the lockring and similar grooves on the outside of the smallest cog. These grooves ride over each other as you tighten the lockring and make a prominent clicking sound. It would be easy to miss the setting click of a "clicker" type torque wrench when tightening one of these.
yes, this exact thing happened to me the last time i did it. didn't get to 40nm because i live in fear of overtorqueing things on bicycles.
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Old 03-24-23, 07:28 PM
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O donít quite understand the need for such high torque numbers for cassette lock rings. I just make it tight and feel the indents give a few times and call it a day. Have never had one come loose and the impact of that happening is minimal.
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Old 03-24-23, 07:49 PM
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Originally Posted by mschwett
is it possible the "loud clicking sounds" were just the knurled surface of the interior side of the lockring slipping against the cassette?
That sounds just like what happened - and probably why I missed the click of the torque wrench.
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Old 03-24-23, 07:50 PM
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Originally Posted by HillRider
Most cassettes have radial grooves on inside face on the lockring and similar grooves on the outside of the smallest cog. These grooves ride over each other as you tighten the lockring and make a prominent clicking sound. It would be easy to miss the setting click of a "clicker" type torque wrench when tightening one of these.
Yup, that's what I'm thinking happened.
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Old 03-24-23, 07:54 PM
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Originally Posted by Eric F
FYI - 40nm is not a critical number for cassette installation. I've always just gone with "pretty tight" without a torque wrench, and have never had a lockring loosen up at all while riding.
Ditto. I don't even own a torque wrench that will go to 40nm.

OP, if you really want to remove the lockring, just put on your chainwhip and use a longer wrench on the cassette removal tool. Leverage is your friend. But I do agree (with other posters) that you're probably good-to-go. But in a few years, when you want to replace the cassette again, just remember that a longer wrench is the key.
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Old 03-24-23, 09:18 PM
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I always used a long Sears torque wrench. I guess it's click was louder than the lockring noises! Not a whole lot louder, but I went slowly, and could hear the difference. tick, tick, tick, ... Click.

Now I use the cool Abbey Tool cassette tool, with it's built-in 9 inch handle. (It's a "souvenir" from some years ago, just a cool, satisfying tool, and doesn't even need to have the quick release skewer removed. nice!)
After comparing to a torque tightened cassette: I use a "three finger pull" on the handle, with a reasonable instead of max effort. I get a burst of clicks from the lockring. Cassettes torque isn't too critical.

Torque wrenches are great for us amateur mechanics. Getting a feel for the correct torque for stem or seatpost bolts, or for lockrings, isn't obvious the first time. Now I know to tighten the seatpost correctly with my "Y" wrench and two fingers.

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Old 03-24-23, 11:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Koyote
I don't even own a torque wrench that will go to 40nm.
Same. I use a torque wrench on small bolts that clamp carbon parts so I donít over-tighten and do damage. The higher-torque stuff goes by ďpretty darn tightĒ feel.
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Old 03-25-23, 06:49 AM
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If you had some super light 190g rear hub, maybe itís a concern.

If itís the type of hub that pairs nicely with a Surly, I bet itís fine.

Keeping the chain whip in place while applying a whole bunch of force might be the crux. Iíve definitely gotten some cassette shaped scabs on my hands from this.
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Old 03-25-23, 08:22 AM
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Iím experienced, and I have had cassette retainers come loose when not using a torque wrench. Use the torque wrench - there is no downside, engineers have figured it out.

I donít use a torque wrench for most fasteners, just the critical ones. If they took the time to mark it, I use the spec. When I install a threadless headset, if I donít torque it, it gets loose. If I use the torque wrench, I get it right the first time.

BTW, most of us are over-tightening pedals.

In this thread, I have seen various justifications for not using a torque wrench. The real reasons might be not owning one, laziness, impatience, habit or pride. None of these are good reasons.

Where OP ran into trouble was the inherent clicking of this fastener, and is quite understandable. One trick I use is this: I wrap a bare hand around the head of the torque wrench, so I can feel when the tool clicks, rather than the retaining nut clicking. And note, recommended procedures are still the best way. Your blanket statement against correct procedures was meant as a joke, but itís not a good idea.

Also, if youíre not sure if the wrench has clicked, loosen and restart the operation.

i think the advice to just use the wheel as it is, is good advice in most situations. But if I were about to start a major tour, Iíd remove and replace it now, rather than risking a failure on the road. Worst case is youíd have to replace the cassette too.
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Old 03-25-23, 08:40 AM
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Originally Posted by dennis336
Yup, that's what I'm thinking happened.
When using a torque wrench donít just depend on the ďsoundĒ. The wrench moves in your hand as well. Pay more attention to that movement than to the sound it makes.
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