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How to loosen a seized stem(4 posts)

How to loosen a seized stemkcd
Feb 4, 2002 10:06 AM
Does anyone know of an effective way to loosen a handlebar stem that is seized to the frame from aluminum-steel corrosion? Brute force and application of silicon lubricant didn't work.
This worked for me.zelig
Feb 4, 2002 10:51 AM
Check Sheldon Brown's site as there are always good things to learned.

I assume it's a steel fork and aluminum stem? Take off the front wheel and brake. Then, placing the frame upside down, put penetrating oil into the steerer. Reapply now and then over a few days. It will get messy underneath. Then try removing the stem. I've also used a small rod/tube to hammer it out from the bottom of the fork crown.

If its an aluminum steerer, use the same method but use ammonia (plenty of ventilation) and make sure the expander bolt hole is sealed. Allow it to soak for a bit. You may need to do this more than once and make sure you give the stem a few good wacks with a plastic headed hammer or rubber mallet to break to bond.
Don't Force Itgrzy
Feb 4, 2002 10:52 AM
...use a bigger hammer.

Ultimately it's tough thing to do. I turned mine over to the LBS and was prepared to have it machined out. A very wiley mechanic was finally able to loosen it - I think he may have used a torch. Not good if you value the paint. It's a very tough thing to do and not damage the frame, fork or headset. I inverted the frame and used lots of Liquid Wrench.

Ultimately you can cut it off, remove the fork from the frame. Then take the fork to a machine shop and have them bore out the steel steerer, but they have to be careful not to change the ID. All the have to do is leave a little bit of the corroded aluminum behind and then you can have at it with a hone.
Just did this.Chen2
Feb 4, 2002 12:01 PM
Loosened the top nut from the head set. Ran "Liquid Wrench" between stem and steer tube, let it soak in. Loosened expansion bolt, hit bolt with rubber mallet, stem came loose.
-Al