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threaded headset adjustment(4 posts)

threaded headset adjustmentdotkaye
Oct 2, 2001 1:28 PM
refurbishing a 1991 Paramount (Japanese version), came with a Shimano 600 headset in fairly good shape, no visible indents, just full of crusty old dried-up grease. Cleaned it up, repacked with grease (Finish Line synthetic), reassembled. It starts to get stiff even before all the play in the fork has been removed. By the time there is no play in the fork, turning the fork is unusually stiff. There's no roughness, it's just a lot stiffer than I'd expect. I'm sure I got the parts back in the same order and orientation as they were..
Is it possible to overpack the bearings with grease ?
Was it ever right?nee Spoke Wrench
Oct 2, 2001 5:09 PM
It's always more difficult to repair old bikes than it is to build new ones because old bikes can have problems that you weren't aware of. Are you sure that the last guy to work on that headset had it right?

My first suspicion would be that you didn't get all of the parts back in the proper orientation. That's the problem with headsets about 95% of the time, maybe more. It's pretty easy to put a headset bearing in upside down.

When you install the fork, start by making sure the lower bearing is properly engaged and rolling smoothly. Then be sure to hold the lower race in place with the steer tube centered in the head tube as you screw down the upper cone.

The last possibiity is that all of the headset parts aren't parallel for some reason. This would include cups pressed in improperly, crown race installed improperly, upper cone cross threaded onto the fork, bent steer tube. I don't think that any of these happen very darn often.

Good luck.
Was it ever right?dotkaye
Oct 3, 2001 10:31 AM
thanks.. I think so, it was originally OK, just a bit gritty when turning, but quite easy to turn, with no play. I've tried each of the bearings the other way round, but that's patently wrong, they don't even seat properly in that orientation. A thread suggested if the seals are wrongly oriented, it could cause similar, so I'll try that next..
Oct 3, 2001 11:05 AM
the key is your statement that the thing was gritty to start with. Grit raises hell with bearings and races - it's unlikely that you'll ever get things that satisfactory - especially when one considers the elapsed time - it didn't happen over night. A replacement 600 headset is relatively cheap - see if you can just replace the sealed bearing races (is this a sealed design or older ball/cage design?) if it's a cage/ball design then just replace the whole thing since the race surfaces will be toasted as well.

Too much grease makes a mess, but can also blow out seals in some bearing designs if a grease gun is used. It's hard to damage things when packing by hand.