Bottom Bracket Service: PF30
This article reviews bearing removal and installation for PF30 press fit bottom brackets.
The PF30 system uses an unthreaded frame shell with an inside diameter of nominally 46mm. The inside of the shell is a straight bore, without the stops or clips of the BB30 standard. The shell widths are 68mm for road bikes and 73mm for mountain bikes.
The cartridge bearings are held by a plastic or aluminum adaptor. These are then pressed into the shell. The PF30 bottom brackets accept the BB30 compatible cranks with the 30mm diameter spindles. Adaptors are available to use non-BB30 cranks in the PF30 frame shells. The bearing service in this article assumes the PF30 bearings are installed into the PF30 frame shell.
Like any bearing, the PF30 bearings will eventually wear out and need to be replaced. However, it is also possible to remove the cranks, pull a seal from each bearing to clean and re-grease the cartridge bearings. If the bearings feel rough after this service, or of there is play in the bearings, it is a sure sign the bearings are worn out and need to be replaced.
The bicycle manufacturers design of the PF30 system in such a way that removing the bearing is likely to cause some damage to the bearing or bearing adaptor. The frame will not be damaged, but the bearings may not be be reusable after removal. The bike manufacturers assume that the bearing assemblies will be replaced when they are removed and will not reused.
To remove the PF30 bearings, begin by removing the cranks. If the bearing adaptors were installed with a retaining compound, it is a good idea to apply some mild heat to the shell to soften the compound. Do not use an open flame, a heat gun or even a hair dryer can provide enough heat to make a difference.
Install the BBT-30.4 driver through one bearing and push it toward the opposite bearing. Engage the sliding guide on the BBT-30.4 into the bearing opening to center the driving tool. Use a steel hammer to strike the end of the bearing driver to push out the bearing adaptor. Watch for movement of the opposite side adaptor as it is unpressed. NOTE: FSA brand PF30 bearing uses a narrow center plastic dust shield. Engage the BBT-30.4 through the one side and push the foot through the sleeve until it contacts the opposite side bearing adaptor.
Repeat impacting the BBT-30.4 driver until one bearing adaptor is fully out. Remove the tool from the bike. Reverse the tool in the shell to now push out the other bearing. Slide the blue ring into to the frame shell to center the tool. Strike the end of the driver repeatedly with a steel hammer to remove the last bearing adaptor.
The installation of the PF30 is similar to that of a headset. The PF30 bearing are pressed into the shell until the bearing adaptor lip contacts the frame. The pressing surfaces are normally left ungreased. However, if creaking is a concern, it is a good idea to first apply a coating of a mild retaining compound, such as Loctite 641 Retaining Compound. Plastic can be difficult to get to the compounds to cure. It is also good to apply the Loctite “Primer Activator” on the surface before apply the compound.
The Park Tool BBT-30.4 Bottom Bracket Tool Set includes two bushing that help guide the bearings into the frame. Press the PF30 bearing adaptors into the frame using the HHP-2 or HHP-3 Headset Press.