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Need Seized stem/headset advice/opinions(8 posts)

Need Seized stem/headset advice/opinionsSkidoo
Oct 29, 2002 2:02 PM
I took my Schwinn 853 steel frame to the LBS to replace the indexed headset. Unfortunately, the LBS informs me that the stem has seized, and despite everything they try, they cannot separate the stem/headset/fork. The mechanic said the only option is to hack apart the stem/steer tube and replace everything. They did manage to eliminate the indexing in the headset in the process, so the original problem is fixed.
Is there a less 'invaisive' approach besides cutting it up, or should I just leave everything alone and continue to ride it as a beater bike?
Lots of penetrating fluid and some luck...but would replace itspookyload
Oct 29, 2002 2:53 PM
I would replace it because the side to side loads he was applying to try and break it free was probably pretty severe, and could have done untold damage. Also the part that seized could have done damage too. As for the origional part being fixed, I doubt it. If you headset pitted and it doesn't feel that way now it is probably because it it too loose. Once a headset is pitted it can't come unpitted till the cups are replaced. Since you will be replacing the headset and fork anyways, you might think about using a threadless fork and headset. You would be replacing a functional stem, but this problem would never come up again
Pentrating fluid ???Skidoo
Oct 29, 2002 4:27 PM you mean like WD-40 or something else? I searched the archives on the board and someone mentioned using ammonia to free a corroded and frozen stem. Any thoughts?
Liquid Wrench (or other) WD-40 is NOT penetrating oil (nm)Kerry
Oct 29, 2002 5:00 PM
Points it out, but does'nt give you any hints..SnowBlind
Oct 30, 2002 10:13 AM
penetrating oil is available at hardware/plumbing stores, boat stores, some automotive stores, aircraft maintence shops. Our fighting boys use MilSpec VV-P-216B Type I. (not generally available, nasty smelling stuff) If that don't get it unstuck, get the saw out...
For us civilians, Hercules Jet Stream is a good one, widely available. Mouse's milk is really good, related to the MilSpec stuff, but is an aircraft specific and not easily available.
Tri-Flow counts as a penetrator, but it is not very good. With a good penatrating oil you see chunks of rust falling off.
re: Need Seized stem/headset advice/opinionsSnowBlind
Oct 29, 2002 3:31 PM
Lots o' penetrating oil.
Hang a power sander from the stem, along with some extra weight. (couple of pounds)
Let it run, see if it vibrates loose.
See Zinn Road bike repair for more ideas and details.
Some tricksKerry
Oct 29, 2002 4:44 PM
The obvious soaking with Liquid Wrench, alternately heating/freezing the stem with hair dryer/ice, emptying a CO2 cartridge up the steerer tube, ammonia water instead of penetrating oil, clamp the stem in a vice and a 2X4 up near the fork crown and give it a serious twist. Finally, if none of this works, you cut off the stem, take the blade out of your hacksaw, and notch the remaining stem tube from the inside (don't cut into the steerer tube). With two or three notches, you should be able to peel the stem parts out with a flat bladed screwdriver.
I hate to ask the obvious question............Dave Hickey
Oct 29, 2002 6:22 PM
Does this LBS know what they're doing? Many times, a seized stem is caused by the wedge being stuck in the bottom of the stem. In order to loosen the stem, unscrew with bolt slightly and tap it with a hammer. I have a couple of stems that will never loosen unless I free the wedge.