Creeping headset looseness

Discussion in 'Cycling Equipment' started by Jeff, Jun 14, 2003.

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  1. Jeff

    Jeff Guest

    My headset is coming loose on every ride. Is there a common assembly error that causes this?

    The facts:
    - Bike is 15 years old, I have cleaned and repacked the headset a few times
    - Recently I cleaned and repacked, noticed there is plenty of space, so added extra ball bearings
    - Each morning, after my 10 mile commute, the head set becomes loose, I can turn the top screwed
    race by hand
    - So I tighten the screwed race until steering binds, and back off a fraction of a turn
    - Then I tighten the locknut hard
    - Yes, the notched washer is in place between the locknut and screwed race
    - Ten miles later, I can turn the race again
     
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  2. By adding a few bearings, I assume your headset has loose balls? You may have too many. There should
    be just enough to fill the cup, touching, with a small gap (usually a little less than the size of
    one ball) left over.

    Take your headset apart again, line up the balls in the cup as best as you can and check. If there
    is no space, or you can't line them up "straight", remove a ball and see if that fixes it. be sure
    to check both top and bottom bearings.

    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
     
  3. Rudge

    Rudge Guest

    The top lock nut may be touching the top of the steerer tube instead of tightening on the top
    bearing cup.

    Try adding another washer between the top nut and the top bearing cup or replacing it with a
    thicker washer.
     
  4. On Sat, 14 Jun 2003 21:26:58 GMT, "Jeff" <[email protected]> wrote:

    >My headset is coming loose on every ride. Is there a common assembly error that causes this?
    >
    >The facts:
    >- Bike is 15 years old, I have cleaned and repacked the headset a few times

    Have you been riding that same bike regularly for those 15 years? I'd be tempted to think that your
    headset races are worn. Look at the fork race, the two cups, and the adjustable race carefully, when
    they're completely greaseless. Any indentations or cracks are Bad. I've experienced in my rear hub
    when it had a badly worn cup that cup-and-cone bearings come loose when they're worn.

    Jasper
     
  5. Jeff

    Jeff Guest

    Rudge, I think you solved it.

    I left off the front reflector bracket, thought it was unnecessary.

    Now I know it serves as an extra notched washer.

    Thanks, everybody.

    "Rudge" <[email protected]> wrote
    > The top lock nut may be touching the top of the steerer tube instead of tightening on the top
    > bearing cup.
    >
    > Try adding another washer between the top nut and the top bearing cup or replacing it with a
    > thicker washer.
     
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