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Stuck Headset

JonS123JonS123 Posts: 171
edited May 2009 in The workshop
Noticed for last few days the headset has been stiff when I first move the bike on a morning so went to take things to bits to see if it was lack of grease/something worse. However once I undid the long nut that is attached to "the wedge" (threadless headset) the stem refuses to move. Bit of wood to top of stem and hammered didn't shift anything, though I do know the wedge was free from the stem. Any suggestions on what if anything I could try, or should I wimp out and take it to the LBS (which would have to wait untill after pay day anyway :()

While on the subject, there is a FSA top locknut with 2 little screws that are 180 degrees apart on the top, that screw into the stem - what do these do, they dont appear to be able to take any load.

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  • mudcoveredmudcovered Posts: 725
    JonS123 wrote:
    Noticed for last few days the headset has been stiff when I first move the bike on a morning so went to take things to bits to see if it was lack of grease/something worse. However once I undid the long nut that is attached to "the wedge" (threadless headset) the stem refuses to move. Bit of wood to top of stem and hammered didn't shift anything, though I do know the wedge was free from the stem. Any suggestions on what if anything I could try, or should I wimp out and take it to the LBS (which would have to wait untill after pay day anyway :()

    You do know that you that with a threadless headset the top cap doesn't hold the stem in place and stop it moving around?

    With threadless headsets that top cap bolt is only used to adjust bearing preload. The stem is clamped to the steerer by the pinch bolts on the stem itself. IF you are adjusting bearing load then undo the pinch bolts and then use the top cap bolt to adjust things.

    If you want to get to the bearings then you will need to loosen the pinch bolts on the stem and then remove the top cap completely.

    http://www.sheldonbrown.com/headsets.html has the lowdown on all of this.

    Mike
  • JonS123JonS123 Posts: 171
    Yeah I know - I may have got my self muddled up with threaded/less - on my bike I have the 2 locknuts attached to the steerer, and steam that will "wedge" into the steerer. Its the steam that is somehow seized up to the steerer even if though the bottom bit of the wedge is not loaded up to the main it of the steam.
  • fossyantfossyant Posts: 2,549
    Do you mean you have the old fashioned headset, with a quill stem - i.e. the stem slots into the fork, and a wedge is tightened up.

    First, put the allen bolt back into the stem, and make sure it screws into the wedge - i.e. it won't pull back out. Then tap the bolt with a hammer, so the wedge spearates from the stem, but doesn't drop out. Don't touch the twop lock nuts yet.

    If the stem won't budge, then you'll need WD40 or plus gas if it's bad. - best tipping bike upside down and spray into fork steerer, and let soak.

    If the headset's gone stiff, I'm sure you'll be looking at a new one.
  • JonS123JonS123 Posts: 171
    Yeah its a quill stem - sorry for any confusion :)

    The wedge was easy enough to work free, was able to verify by prodding it while having the bike upside down. Did try spraying with wd40 as well as some drops of oil but no luck so far, though it did look rather rusty what WD40 dripped out the other end so guess its doing something.
  • JonS123JonS123 Posts: 171
    They say a picture is worth 1000 words...

    so http://www.jonsimmonds.co.uk/bike/one.jpg http://www.jonsimmonds.co.uk/bike/two.jpg http://www.jonsimmonds.co.uk/bike/three.jpg

    I have never striped the headset before, LBS may have when I took it in for a service but that was a few years ago and can't remember if they did or not, but looking at it I can only see one nut, and not the 2 I was expecting, appears the top race just has some "etched in" grips, half tempted to just replace it with something threadless which I have worked with before.

    Will leave it soaking in WD40 and have a play on Sunday/Monday me thinks.
  • nicklousenicklouse Posts: 81,520 Lives Here
    well if you have losened the wedge the Quill stem should lift straight out.

    but it does look like it is well pressed into the top nut.

    the FSA "nut" should have the grub screws locking onto the threaded steerer of the fork so that should not be touched until the quill stem is out.

    a bit of reading.

    http://www.parktool.com/repair/readhowto.asp?id=127

    Looks like your threaded race has the knurled finish and the FSA is the Locknut.
    "Do not follow where the path may lead, Go instead where there is no path, and Leave a Trail."
    Parktools :?:SheldonBrown
  • JonS123JonS123 Posts: 171
    The quill stem won't lift out, its well and truly stuck! After a bit of googling I have seen various advice ranging from using some coke or other fizzy drink which could eat away at any rust thats formed, to using a pipe from the base of the stem to hammer it out, to attacking with a hacksaw and replacing... Think I will try the pipe approach first
  • JonS123JonS123 Posts: 171
    Well another few hours spent trying to get the stem off, to no joy. Ended up bending my forks trying to twist it out (not a good idea I know) so looks like its a hacksaw through the top and new forks/headset/stem, don't think id feel comfortable riding at speed knowing that I had to bend things into shape.

    So were can I find a cheap front fork?...
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