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Stem spacers spinning

I have had some problems with my headset coming loose on my new road bike, I am able to tighten it up to remove the play but have noticed the stem spacers are still loose and I can easily turn them with a finger and thumb grip.
Just wondering, if this something to worry about or not?

Previously after tightening the headset it came loose again, so spoke to the shop and they suggested tightening the stem bolts a bit more so I have now set them to the max torque 6NM but not convinced this is the issue, and wondering if the loose spacers is a sign the headset in not tightened correctly ?

Note.

I also checked the space between the steerer and the top of stem and I reckon it is somewhere between 1mm and 2mm I think 3mmm is recommended so maybe that is an issue ?
«13

Posts

  • MattFalleMattFalle Posts: 5,591
    I had an inkling it was 5mm gap needed but perhaps someone can confirm.

    Have you tried swapping a spacer over from under to over the stem to see if there is any difference or tried a bigger spacer on top to increase the gap?
  • DeVlaeminckDeVlaeminck Posts: 7,227
    It does suggest your stem isn't compressed onto the spacers - I assume you are tightening the stem after not before tightening the top cap? Otherwise yes it may be that your stem isn't actually above the steerer once you tighten things down.

    [Castle Donington Ladies FC - going up in '22]
  • wilberforcewilberforce Posts: 239
    Park Tools guides suggest 3mm gap is required.
  • N0bodyOfTheGoatN0bodyOfTheGoat Posts: 4,643
    Is the headset bung inside the fork steerer tightened up properly?
    ================
    2020 Voodoo Marasa
    2017 Cube Attain GTC Pro Disc 2016
    2016 Voodoo Wazoo
  • ibr17xviiibr17xvii Posts: 799

    Is the headset bung inside the fork steerer tightened up properly?


    ^^^This^^^.

    What the OP describes used to happen on my CAAD12 & it needed tightening down to more than I was comfortable with TBH but as soon as I did everything was fine.
  • joe_totale-2joe_totale-2 Posts: 1,331
    If the bung is tightened up properly and the spacers can still move then I'd either carefully file down your steerer or buy a spacer such as this:

    https://www.bikester.co.uk/kcnc-headset-spacer-1-1-8-2mm-red-654362.html
  • masjermasjer Posts: 222
    edited 9 April
    Some top-caps are quite deep and need more than 3mm or they'll bottom out on the bung.
  • FattyFoggonFattyFoggon Posts: 15
    so is fair to say that I should not be able to turn the spacers after tightening the headset?
  • FattyFoggonFattyFoggon Posts: 15
    @joe_totale-2 daft question but how do I check the bung is tightened up properly?

    Also, was actually thinking about getting and additional spacer 2or 3 mil to give a bit more clearance, so sounds like this might still be a good option , cheers
  • DeVlaeminckDeVlaeminck Posts: 7,227
    Correct. But you do tighten the stem bolts after you've compressed everything - not before - yes? Otherwise your stem will be tight on the steerer and won't get pushed down - apologies if this is obvious.
    [Castle Donington Ladies FC - going up in '22]
  • masjermasjer Posts: 222

    so is fair to say that I should not be able to turn the spacers after tightening the headset?

    Yes, the spacers have to be compressed to tighten the headset. One of the above suggestions will be the problem.
    I wouldn't tighten the stem any more- 5nm is normally all that's needed.
  • ibr17xviiibr17xvii Posts: 799

    so is fair to say that I should not be able to turn the spacers after tightening the headset?


    No in a word.
  • FattyFoggonFattyFoggon Posts: 15
    cheers guys, yeah I undo the stem bolts first then tighten headset then retighten stem bolts with torque wrench to 6nm is says on the stem 6NM - 5NM.

    So will try adding an additional spacer hopefully that will do the trick!
  • DeVlaeminckDeVlaeminck Posts: 7,227
    When you say then tighten the headset you mean you tighten the top cap to compress the spacers and stem? It's only I call tightening the headset setting the compression on the bearings which is different but I make no claims to being a mechanic.

    In that case I'd say it's likely your steerer is marginally too long as you suspected and the suggestion to get a small spacer is the way to go.
    [Castle Donington Ladies FC - going up in '22]
  • FattyFoggonFattyFoggon Posts: 15
    yeah sorry no mechanic myself obviously, but yeah I do mean tightening the top cap to compress the spacers and stem
  • elbowlohelbowloh Posts: 6,783
    A pic might help of your set up e.g. no. of spacers above and below the stem.

    I had this very issue when i first put my bike together, the top cap wasn't engaged properly in the steerer tube.
    Felt F1 2014
    Felt Z6 2012
    Red Arthur Caygill steel frame
    Tall....
    www.seewildlife.co.uk
  • FattyFoggonFattyFoggon Posts: 15



    picture all spacers below stem atm reckon the gap at the top between stem and edge of steerer tube is between 1 and 2 mm
  • whyamiherewhyamihere Posts: 7,499
    That definitely needs another couple of mm worth of spacers. The top cap is almost certainly touching the top of the expander before it can compress the headset.
  • Ben6899Ben6899 Posts: 8,895
    I can't believe it's left the shop like that. Has the bung slipped up and is therefore making the steerer appear longer?
    Ben

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  • FattyFoggonFattyFoggon Posts: 15
    Not sure about the bung are you saying it is too high inside the steerer?
    Also some one give us a 5 mm spacer to try out until I get a 2 mil or 3 mil spacer but would s 6 to 7 mil gap be too high?
  • elbowlohelbowloh Posts: 6,783




    picture all spacers below stem atm reckon the gap at the top between stem and edge of steerer tube is between 1 and 2 mm

    Everything i've ever read on the subject says you need a spacer above the stem also to achieve compression.
    Felt F1 2014
    Felt Z6 2012
    Red Arthur Caygill steel frame
    Tall....
    www.seewildlife.co.uk
  • MattFalleMattFalle Posts: 5,591

    That definitely needs another couple of mm worth of spacers. The top cap is almost certainly touching the top of the expander before it can compress the headset.

    this, deffo.
  • whyamiherewhyamihere Posts: 7,499

    Not sure about the bung are you saying it is too high inside the steerer?
    Also some one give us a 5 mm spacer to try out until I get a 2 mil or 3 mil spacer but would s 6 to 7 mil gap be too high?

    You want to avoid having too big a gap between the top of the stem and the top of the steerer, but what you could do is to put the 5mm spacer below the stem and take one of the existing spacers, which look like 10mm ones, and put it on top of the stem. Then you won't have a problem.

    To check the bung, take the stem off and just make sure that the bung (the silver bit you screw the top cap into) is flush with the top of the steerer tube on the fork. If there's a gap, it may not have been secured tightly enough and could have been pulled out. They generally have a 6 or 8mm hex fastener, you can loosen it off, push it down flush and then tighten it back up again.
  • masjermasjer Posts: 222
    Take the stem off the steerer to check if the bung has lifted. If it has, just loosen it with an hex key, push down until flush with the top of the steerer and re-tighten. This will cure your problem.
    If it hasn't lifted, (temporarily) use the 5mm spacer underneath the top-cap- rather than underneath the stem. This way will leave the stem at the same height ie not too high on the steerer.
    From the photo it looks like the stem is already high -maybe too high? If you like it that way just leave.
  • MattFalleMattFalle Posts: 5,591
    edited 9 April
    elbowloh said:




    picture all spacers below stem atm reckon the gap at the top between stem and edge of steerer tube is between 1 and 2 mm

    Everything i've ever read on the subject says you need a spacer above the stem also to achieve compression.
    nah fam - so long as you have a gap between the seteerer and top cap it all works - no need for spacers above or below the stem



  • DeVlaeminckDeVlaeminck Posts: 7,227
    I would second putting a small spacer on top of the steerer - this may mean lowering the stem a bit - just because I wouldn't want my stem clamping over the top edge of the steerer especially if it's carbon.
    [Castle Donington Ladies FC - going up in '22]
  • MattFalleMattFalle Posts: 5,591

    Not sure about the bung are you saying it is too high inside the steerer?
    Also some one give us a 5 mm spacer to try out until I get a 2 mil or 3 mil spacer but would s 6 to 7 mil gap be too high?

    it'll be fine but tbh if you took one of the huge stack of spacers from under the stem and popped it on top I'd try that preferably.

    That's a lot of spacers....
  • MattFalleMattFalle Posts: 5,591
    Ben6899 said:

    I can't believe it's left the shop like that. Has the bung slipped up and is therefore making the steerer appear longer?

    this.
  • elbowlohelbowloh Posts: 6,783
    MattFalle said:

    elbowloh said:




    picture all spacers below stem atm reckon the gap at the top between stem and edge of steerer tube is between 1 and 2 mm

    Everything i've ever read on the subject says you need a spacer above the stem also to achieve compression.
    nah fam - so long as you have a gap between the seteerer and top cap it all works - no need for spacers above or below the stem



    It might "work", but all the manufacturer's instructions will say you need a small spacer above.
    Felt F1 2014
    Felt Z6 2012
    Red Arthur Caygill steel frame
    Tall....
    www.seewildlife.co.uk
  • masjermasjer Posts: 222
    MattFalle said:

    Not sure about the bung are you saying it is too high inside the steerer?
    Also some one give us a 5 mm spacer to try out until I get a 2 mil or 3 mil spacer but would s 6 to 7 mil gap be too high?

    it'll be fine but tbh if you took one of the huge stack of spacers from under the stem and popped it on top I'd try that preferably.

    That's a lot of spacers....
    This would still leave no gap.
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