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headset sticking or is it a self-centering(17 posts)

headset sticking or is it a self-centeringishmael
Oct 19, 2001 8:10 AM
it sticks a bit when pointing dead ahead, it never did this before..i took it to the bike store and they said it was too tight and they loosened it but it still sticks in the center ,will it go away....he said it could be a self-centering headset, why would anyone want such a thing...its record threadless 2001
It's pitted!MrCelloBoy
Oct 19, 2001 8:24 AM
time for a new one. It'll drive you NUTZ otherwise.
NST as a self-centering headset (on purpose anyway).
It's pitted!ishmael
Oct 19, 2001 8:28 AM
will it be ok to ride in the meantime (when im able to again)..its not going to damage anything is it..
damage is already donemr_spin
Oct 19, 2001 8:40 AM
Ride on! Don't worry about it. There is no real danger in riding on a pitted headset. Unless it is so deeply pitted, the steering can lock up! I can't imagine that kind of damage happening and the bike still being ridable.

Ride it until you can fix it.
Oct 19, 2001 8:47 AM
It will just get worse and it can be disconcerting when you're cruising (or attempting to) in a straight line. normally you corrent just slightly to the sides constantly when going "straight". The pit will make this irritating.
re: headset sticking or is it a self-centeringbrider
Oct 19, 2001 8:24 AM
Sounds like your headset is toast. What you're experiencing is called "brinelling", which is so named because of the metal hardness test that puts a dimple into a piece of metal at a specific load, and measures the depth of penetration. So what you have is a headset where the bearing balls have caused little indentations in the bearing race. Not much you can do about it but replace the races and balls. BTW, get a new bike shop. If they didn't tell you what I just told you, and referred to a "self centering" headset, they're either clueless or just plain mean. In either case, you should have better mechanics working on your machine.
self-centering my @$$!Rusty McNasty
Oct 19, 2001 8:46 AM
What kind of morons do they have working there? And why are they giving you this line of hogwash? Are they trying to get rid of you as a customer? Either that, or they don't know $hit from shinola! Either way, don't go back to those hosers.
bike shop jockosguido
Oct 19, 2001 10:05 AM
The mechanic who made the quip about the "self centering" headset very likely was the one who adjusted your headset too tight, which is the reason the ball-bearings dented the races.

A good headset is supposed to be adjusted to the point of no play, not "preloaded" another half turn, as assemblers definitely have to do with cheapo Huffys. A good headset will rotate as easily as a wheel hub. It's adjusted right when the fork no longer makes a clicking sound when you lock the front wheel and wiggle the bike forward and aft.

The bike shop should pay for your next headset and you should check the adjustment, or better yet, do it yourself.
re: headset sticking or is it a self-centeringMJ
Oct 19, 2001 9:15 AM
take it apart and clean it first - it may not be pitted - it's amazing what a clean and relubing will do

thought mine was toast - but it just needed a clean - and no there was no pitting
re: headset sticking or is it a self-centeringdug
Oct 19, 2001 10:14 AM
This is coming from ishmael - who can't figure how to maintain his own butt. Seriously doubt he know how to maintain a headset. Then again his post, pretty much covers that one...
Self centering??muncher
Oct 19, 2001 9:21 AM
I have never come across one of those, and frankly, don't think they exist.

Give it a good clean first - they can go like that with a bit of grit/rust in there - if it doesn't work, at least you'll know that you're not wasting your money.
kinda like a fixed gear chain tensioner?!huh
Oct 19, 2001 11:25 AM
ha, what a dummy!
Thanks for visitingmuncher
Oct 22, 2001 12:38 AM
Always good to have someone on the board who can combine excessive stupidity with an astonding lack of knowledge in such an erudite way - we are all so glad you could make time to pass on your nugget of wisdom.
Like Your Nether Region, It Is Probably Pitted and Scarred.....Greg Taylor
Oct 19, 2001 10:40 AM
...but no, it probably isn't totally toast. One way to put off replacing it is to clean and repack the critter using new bearings, but leave off the "cage" that captures the ball bearings on the lower race. The pitting normally occurs on the lower race -- it "catches" when the dimples that you have dug into the races line up with the ball bearings. If you leave out the cage (and slip in a few more bearings), the ball bearings don't line up with the dimples least until you create more divots. You can probably use Preparation-H as a lube...
<font color="#FF0000"> Time for new HS</font>JamesT.Kirk
Oct 19, 2001 11:25 AM
Just get a new one. If you don't insist on Chris King or something, you can get a new one w/ out spending too much. You can repack and adjust all you want, it still won't change the fact that it's shot. I had the same problem and couldn't ride hands free because the steering would lock straight ahead. You can't make any corrections by shifting your weight. I didn't realize how often I sat up until I couldn't do it.
it might have actually been too tightmk_42
Oct 19, 2001 12:47 PM
I had this happen from the other angle. I had a bike shop tell me that I needed to have a headset replaced because it was pitted when it was just too tight (which can get it pitted but hadn't yet). I just got overzealous tightening it without noticing I guess.
Try cleaning it and then adjusting it. If it's still doing it, it probably really is pitted and then all the above comments apply.

As for the guy at the shop. I won't say it's not possible he was a fool, or an a$$ but pitted headset is pretty easy to identify and I would take his word seeing your bike over all the rest of us diagnosing it over the internet without ever touching it.

You might try...Tom C
Oct 19, 2001 7:24 PM
to tap out the cups after marking the straight ahead position with some say, nailpolish. Take out the crown race(fork race) after marking straight ahead as well. If you don't have the tools, price the work at the shop to remove the cups and crown race. You can tap them in yourself with a wood block or you can rig up a cup press with a long carriage bolt, nut and washers and a couple of woodblocks with holes drilled to allow the bolt to pass through. The cups can be then repressed in by turning the bolt.The crown race really requires the tool(crown race setter) It's a kind of slide hammer. I got mine for 10 bucks at the Third hand/Loose screws.The good part now. Reorient(use some grease)your cups and crown race 90 degrees for one, 45 for another perhaps to the right and 45 for the last perhaps to the left. The point is to get the brinneled parts to not line up and not be straight ahead. If you had caged balls use loose ones. If you had loose balls already, experiment with changing the number used by one. Usually this is a temporary fix but depending on your weight and riding habits can work surprisingly long.