Add extra balls to headset

Discussion in 'Cycling Equipment' started by Jeff, May 10, 2003.

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  1. Jeff

    Jeff Guest

    My old no-name headset had 36 ball bearings, 18 above, 18 below. It has extremely light "shadows" in
    the bottom race where the balls sat.

    It appears there is plenty of room between ball bearings, I thought changing the ball count might
    prolong its life, so I installed 44 ball bearings.

    Does the group think this has any downside?
     
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  2. Russell Yim

    Russell Yim Guest

    >My old no-name headset had 36 ball bearings, 18 above, 18 below. It has extremely light "shadows"
    >in the bottom race where the balls sat.

    The shadows are a form of headset wear/failure called brinelling, partly caused by the fact that the
    balls don't move much in a headset.

    >It appears there is plenty of room between ball bearings, I thought changing the ball count might
    >prolong its life, so I installed 44 ball bearings.

    Good thinking, as more balls will spread the load a headest sees, better.

    >Does the group think this has any downside?

    Nope, see above. Fill each race with as many balls as possible, and then remove approximately two or
    three, to allow the balls free movement (to prevent further brinelling.)

    Russell

    Trekkie, Disnoid =B0o=B0, and Sheena Easton fan

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  3. Spacey Spade

    Spacey Spade Guest

    Jeff wrote:
    >My old no-name headset had 36 ball bearings, 18 above, 18 below. It has extremely light "shadows"
    >in the bottom race where the balls sat.
    >
    >It appears there is plenty of room between ball bearings, I thought changing the ball count might
    >prolong its life, so I installed 44 ball bearings.
    >
    >Does the group think this has any downside?

    I've done that before... I don't think it would hurt. I think I did it was on a freewheel... hmmm...
    can't remember.
     
  4. Mike Krueger

    Mike Krueger Guest

    << My old no-name headset had 36 ball bearings, 18 above, 18 below. It has extremely light "shadows"
    in the bottom race where the balls sat. It appears there is plenty of room between ball bearings, I
    thought changing the ball count might prolong its life, so I installed 44 ball bearings. >>

    Sure, you can do that to "beef up" the headset. Insert as many balls into the race as will
    physically fit, and then remove one.
     
  5. If you "balls" are in a retainer (cage), then that's actually pertially the cause for the
    brinnelling (the spots on the cups/cones) The retainer forces the balls to pound away on the same
    spot, instead of letting them move about freely.

    If they are in a retainer (cage), remove the balls from the cage, or get a bunch of new loose balls
    (same size). Repack the cup with grease, install as many balls as will freely fit. Don't squeeze any
    in, there should be a little space between the last two balls. You'll notice a real improvement.

    May you have the wind at your back. And a really low gear for the hills! Chris

    Chris'Z Corner "The Website for the Common Bicyclist": http://www.geocities.com/czcorner
     
  6. Phil Brown

    Phil Brown Guest

    >The retainer forces the balls to pound away on the same spot, instead of letting them move
    >about freely.

    No HS bearing, caged or loose, movs around the races. At the most you turn a quarter tuen from
    straight ahead, not enough to cause the bearings to migrate. Phil Brown
     
  7. Jobst Brandt

    Jobst Brandt Guest

  8. Mike Krueger wrote:
    > << My old no-name headset had 36 ball bearings, 18 above, 18 below. It has extremely light
    > "shadows" in the bottom race where the balls sat. It appears there is plenty of room between ball
    > bearings, I thought changing the ball count might prolong its life, so I installed 44 ball
    > bearings. >>
    >
    > Sure, you can do that to "beef up" the headset. Insert as many balls into the race as will
    > physically fit, and then remove one.

    Why remove one? This is starting to sound like bicycle myth and folklore.

    Mark McMaster [email protected]
     
  9. A Muzi

    A Muzi Guest

    >My old no-name headset had 36 ball bearings, 18 above, 18 below. It has extremely light "shadows"
    >in the bottom race where the balls sat.

    "Russell Yim" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]... The shadows are a form of
    headset wear/failure called brinelling, partly caused by the fact that the balls don't move much
    in a headset.

    I used to think that but the FAQ makes a compelling argument that that's not true. The eroded areas
    are not areas smashed into the part. Please see: http://draco.acs.uci.edu/rbfaq/FAQ/8f.13.html

    Neither

    --
    Andrew Muzi http://www.yellowjersey.org Open every day since 1 April 1971
     
  10. Jeff-<< It appears there is plenty of room between ball bearings, I thought changing the ball count
    might prolong its life, so I installed 44 ball bearings.

    Does the group think this has any downside?

    Remove the old bearings and cage they came in, grease the cup, add balls of the same size until all
    are in the cup and touching, remove one ball...

    Peter Chisholm Vecchio's Bicicletteria 1833 Pearl St. Boulder, CO, 80302
    (303)440-3535 http://www.vecchios.com "Ruote convenzionali costruite eccezionalmente bene"
     
  11. Andy Dingley

    Andy Dingley Guest

    On Sat, 10 May 2003 23:33:55 -0500, "A Muzi" <[email protected]> wrote:

    >"Russell Yim" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    >news:[email protected]... The shadows are a form of
    >headset wear/failure called brinelling, partly caused by the fact that the balls don't move much
    >in a headset.
    >
    >I used to think that but the FAQ makes a compelling argument that that's not true.

    The FAQ doesn't dispute that. It just points out that "Brinelling" isn't caused by impacts, even
    though it's still obviously referred to by that erroneous name on a regular basis.

    The root cause is that balls don't migrate. You can see the same sort of problem on some rear
    suspension swing-arm bearings too. Ball races just aren't designed for repeated movement over a
    small arc, with no large scale movement.

    Changing their number will at least reduce some of the "indexing" (should it have got to that
    stage), because they're less likely to be sitting in the same positions as previously. A headset
    previously running with a cage has a lot of space for an extra ball or two.
     
  12. Qui si parla Campagnolo wrote:
    > Mark-<< Why remove one? This is starting to sound like bicycle myth and folklore.
    >
    > Cuz if they touch, they will ring into each other and kill bearings. This doesn't 'beef up' the
    > headset but extend it's life a bit.

    A little knowledge is a dangerous thing.

    Allowing the balls to touch can increase friction and wear in high speed bearings. This is why high
    speed bearings often use bearing retainer rings, despite the fact that the retainers allow fewer
    balls to be installed.

    Headsets travel at near zero speeds so allowing the balls to touch has no detriment. Headsets are,
    however, often under high load, and using a full compliment of balls increases the service load of
    the bearings.

    It is best to use a full compliment of balls in a headset.

    Mark McMaster [email protected]
     
  13. John Dacey

    John Dacey Guest

    On Sun, 11 May 2003 17:26:09 -0400, Mark McMaster wrote:

    >It is best to use a full compliment of balls in a headset.

    Try "Ooh, your sphericity is wondrous to behold" - they'll fall for it _every_ time.
    - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - http://www.businesscycles.com John Dacey Business Cycles Miami,
    Florida 305-273-4440
    - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - Now in our twentieth year. Our catalogue of track equipment: seventh
    year online
     
  14. Mike Krueger wrote:
    > << Headsets travel at near zero speeds so allowing the balls to touch has no detriment. Headsets
    > are, however, often under high load, and using a full compliment of balls increases the service
    > load of the bearings. It is best to use a full compliment of balls in a headset. Mark McMaster
    > [email protected] >>
    >
    > How do you define a full compliment when debating whether to use 21 or 22 balls in a headset race
    > that was originally designed for18 balls in a retainer?

    It should be pretty obvious when you assemble the headset. The races should seat together
    exactly the same way with a full compliment of bearings as it did when the balls were in a
    retainer. If, when adding an additional ball, the races no longer seat fully together, then you
    have one ball too many.

    Mark McMaster [email protected]
     
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