Ask a Mechanic: Installing and Torquing Santa Cruz Pivot Bolts

Luke asks, “After having ridden my Hightower for a few months, I’d like to grease my links and pivots, but am nervous about reinstalling and torqueing the bolts. Mind showing me how?”

As incredible as Santa Cruz bikes are, their angular contact bearings and pivots need some love from time to time. If you want to regrease your lower linkages via the Zerk fittings, check out our other video HERE. Today’s video will specifically focus on proper prep and installation, including torqueing of all major pivot axles and their appropriate hardware.

After you’ve pulled your rear wheel and crankset, you can remove all of the appropriate pivot links and bolts, however, it’s a good idea to only pull and service one at a time to avoid completely freeing you’re your rear triangle or any major links.

For the pivot collet axles, which function as the backbone of each major pivot point, first remove the M6 bolt that secures the axle in place as well as the tapered washer. Then remove the entire pivot collet from the frame. Clean all of the frame’s contact points and completely wipe off all of the bearings and hardware. At this point, you can clean and regrease any bearings and hardware as you see fit. For tips and tricks on doing that, check out our Suspension Tips and Tricks video HERE.

Before installing the pivot collet axles, you’ll want to grease them where they contact the bearings and frame journals with a thick, sticky grease like Dumonde Tech’s MR Grease. Make sure that the pivot threads are completely clean and grease free. Apply your Loctite Blue 242 to the nut that your pivot bolt will interface with and not to the bolt itself in order to keep everything contaminate-free.

Thread in the axle and torque it down. All of Santa Cruz’s models utilize the same 35 in/lb torque spec for the pivot axles, regardless of model or year. Loctite the M6 bolt’s threads, place the washer inline, and lightly grease the tapered washer. Torque your M6 bolt to the 80 in/lbs. All models and years of Santa Cruz bikes utilize this torque spec except the new Tallboy 3, which recommends 50 in/lbs for the M6 bolt. Repeat this process for all 3 pivot axles.

One last torque spec to be aware of is where your shock’s linkage pivots from the frame. After removing the bolts, cleaning the hardware, and regreasing as necessary, you’ll want to Loctite the bolts, reinstall them, and torque them to 140 in/lbs.

As tempting as it might be to overtighten any axles or bolts, we’d like to stress that this shouldn’t be done. Doing so will dramatically affect the performance of your bike’s suspension and linkages. Not only will this make for a terrible ride, but your bearings and hardware will also wear much faster than normal.

Get your questions answered and your needs filled at Art’s Cyclery.