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Question about a stuck stem

edited June 2018 in Workshop
I have a stuck / frozen quill stem in an old time steel frame. I have read the usual literature on this subject, and was wondering whether a tap with a hammer (with a bit of wood for protection) on the stem itself would do any good to shift it / help get the penetrating oil in. Would such a blow damage the headset bearings?

Note that I've already hit the top bolt with the hammer / wood and successfully loosed off the wedge nut inside.


  • gazza1286gazza1286 Posts: 45
    You probably have a problem with galvanic corrosion. RJ the bike guy has a few videos on YouTube covering this. Here's one which may help.
  • mercia_manmercia_man Posts: 1,431
    I’ve used a rubber mallet and penetrating oil successfully to move a stuck stem.
  • mercia_manmercia_man Posts: 1,431
    Another way to get it moving is to use leverage - such as slipping one end of a large ring spanner over the front of the stem.
  • frisbeefrisbee Posts: 691
    Can you go in from the bottom? A metal rod or drift and some blows straight onto the wedge.
  • Monty DogMonty Dog Posts: 20,614
    A lot of steel forks allow you to access the inside of the steerer - turn the bike upside down and give it an ample dose of penetrating fluid. Can you unscrew and release the wedge through the bottom? With the wedge removed, you might be able to drift the stem upwards. Striking the top of the stem downwards is generally OK - most loose-ball headsets have steel ball races.
    Make mine an Italian, with Campagnolo on the side..
  • Thanks all for the answers - I will consider my options.

    I can get in from underneath but I can't get hold of the wedge nut at the moment.
  • keef66keef66 Posts: 13,123
    In days gone by it was generally required to loosen the securing nut a few turns then whack it with a hammer to free the wedge.
  • Bumo_bBumo_b Posts: 211
    Is it the wedge nut stuck or the stem with the nut loosened? Access it from below and let the penetrating fluid from that angle sit for a few hours, as well as doing the same from above. The issue with giving it a healthy thump from below is that it normally drives the wedge tighter. Sharp taps from above are best with a wooden mallet or hammer on a lump of wood.
    The best fluid I have found is ... lsrc=aw.ds
  • svettysvetty Posts: 1,904
    Have you tried heating the head-tube with a heat gun/hair-dryer?

    Invert the frame, stick the stem in a vice and use the frame as leverage?
    FFS! Harden up and grow a pair :D
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