Help! Loose front end after stem install



grandamn

New Member
Apr 18, 2011
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I installed my new stem and spaces. I noticed that the front end (tube going through front of frame connecting stem and for) has a very slight wiggle room.. When I ride over a bump i hear it clank. Any ideas?
 

daveryanwyoming

Well-Known Member
Oct 3, 2006
3,857
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+1 on the ParkTools link, but pay extra attention to this image and the associated text:



It's quite possible that your new stem isn't as tall in the steering tube clamp as your old stem and you need an additional spacer to ensure that gap as shown in the image. Without that gap the top cap cannot apply pressure to set the bearing preload and even when you tighten the top cap all the way there can still be excess play in the bearings. So make sure you have the gap as shown or add a spacer above or below your stem so that you do have a space.

-Dave
 

daveryanwyoming

Well-Known Member
Oct 3, 2006
3,857
190
0
+1 on the ParkTools link, but pay extra attention to this image and the associated text:



It's quite possible that your new stem isn't as tall in the steering tube clamp as your old stem and you need an additional spacer to ensure that gap as shown in the image. Without that gap the top cap cannot apply pressure to set the bearing preload and even when you tighten the top cap all the way there can still be excess play in the bearings. So make sure you have the gap as shown or add a spacer above or below your stem so that you do have a space.

-Dave
 

Not Sure

New Member
May 25, 2010
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I think you'd be better off to discuss this in a bike maintenance and repair forum.

Bicycles are quite expensive and require a lot of specialized parts and tools now so
I would find a very pro bike mechanic, get them on your side and keep them on your side.

If you're going to do it yourself, remember what my dad used to say when I would start some ****
he told me to stay out of, "You got yourself into it, and you, are getting yourself out if it."

Cheyenne Cycling Club?
 

Reid2

Member
Jan 6, 2011
2,236
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I disagree, NS.

Every cyclist should want to learn to do basic parts swaps,
if they have the interest, and the fellow just got excellent advice.

There are many tutorials, videos are best, showing the general procedure,
but our friend above made it as clear and simple in writing, as can be.

Sure, have a bike mechanic, but...sometimes money or time constraints strain us.
 
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kdelong

Well-Known Member
Dec 14, 2006
3,477
134
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Originally Posted by Not Sure .


I think you'd be better off to discuss this in a bike maintenance and repair forum.

Bicycles are quite expensive and require a lot of specialized parts and tools now so
I would find a very pro bike mechanic, get them on your side and keep them on your side.

If you're going to do it yourself, remember what my dad used to say when I would start some ****
he told me to stay out of, "You got yourself into it, and you, are getting yourself out if it."

Cheyenne Cycling Club?
Not everyone is mechanically inclined, but most of us are, at least enough to handle this. Why pay and wait for a very minor adjustment? No special tools are needed for this, just a couple of allen wrenches. And it is a good idea to learn as much about bicycle maintenance and repair as possible, since you might find yourself stranded a long way from anywhere and the only way to get back would be to walk and carry your bike, or to fix your bike and ride it. Bikes are not all that fragile. The only concern is when you are working on a carbon frame. Then you need a set of torque wrenches to ensure that you don't over tighten a fastener and break the frame. But there are millions of guys who sucessfully build up a complete bike each year and have never been to wrench school or been a pro wrench.
 

alfeng

Well-Known Member
Jul 23, 2005
6,723
254
63
Originally Posted by grandamn .

I installed my new stem and spaces. I noticed that the front end (tube going through front of frame connecting stem and for) has a very slight wiggle room.. When I ride over a bump i hear it clank. Any ideas?
Obviously, I can't say it often enough in-one-way-or-another ...

  • When you encounter a vexing problem with a component after making a change THEN restore the original component ([COLOR= #808080]presuming the component was functional when it was removed & wasn't broken-or-worn-out[/COLOR]), and start the installation process, again ...
  • if nothing else, it will tell you whether it is your technique ([COLOR= #808080]as implied by daveryanwyoming[/COLOR]) OR the component is dodgy ...

BTW. YOU could put the original stem back on your bike AND remove ([COLOR= #ff0000]all[/COLOR]) the spacers which are currently underneath your stem to achieve a similar reach that the longer stem provides ...
 

danfoz

Well-Known Member
Apr 12, 2011
2,432
184
48
I got one word... youtube - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3SuTxugV6yY&feature=related

here is just one example, there are dozens.

It possibly sounds like you did not tighten down the 5mm stem cap bolt down enough. Do NOT overtighten as you do not want to load the headset bearings down too much, just enough so that you remove the "play" from the stack. Once complete and to test, squeeze the front brake, then grab the wheel just in front of the caliper and try to move back and forth. You should notice whether you tightened enough or not. You also want to make sure the fork turns freely and that you did not overtighten the stem cap bolt.

An important note: it is the stem bolts (that tighten to the steerer tube), NOT the stem cap bolt that locks the whole thing in place,
 

Not Sure

New Member
May 25, 2010
92
2
0
One reason I "wait and pay" is so that I don't screw it up.

I said a very pro mechanic. Not a mechanic that works on pro's bikes. A pro bike mecahnic.
Someone who does this kind of thing 8-10 times per week, 49 wks per year, 3-5 yrs running.

Someone who knows to use a tork rench on a CF frame; has one hanging on the wall above their bench and
has access to the specs for how many foot pounds to tighten your specific thing to.

Sure, guys build up their own bikes. Then they ride until they destroy them and or crash as the result,
and write in to internet message boards to find out how other guys think it should have been done.

Amateurs who do complex stuff on their bikes are like people who use Flobies for haricuts.
It'll cut your hair, but then what?






Quote:
Originally Posted by kdelong .




Not everyone is mechanically inclined, but most of us are, at least enough to handle this. Why pay and wait for a very minor adjustment? No special tools are needed for this, just a couple of allen wrenches. And it is a good idea to learn as much about bicycle maintenance and repair as possible, since you might find yourself stranded a long way from anywhere and the only way to get back would be to walk and carry your bike, or to fix your bike and ride it. Bikes are not all that fragile. The only concern is when you are working on a carbon frame. Then you need a set of torque wrenches to ensure that you don't over tighten a fastener and break the frame. But there are millions of guys who sucessfully build up a complete bike each year and have never been to wrench school or been a pro wrench.
 

swampy1970

Well-Known Member
Feb 3, 2008
10,085
403
83
Not Sure,

I think a mechanic that works on a Pro's bikes will likely have more experience than the guy down the local bike store. There's a reason they were selected to work on the best bikes - and it aint because he also goes and gets the the coffee ;)

A torque wrench should not be left hanging on a wall. A torque wrench should be kept in its case or at the very minimum, left on a flat shelf where it can't fall off. Beam torque wrenches should be left in the case. The big no-no with torque wrenches is dropping them - which is why they don't go up on the peg board.

Bikes don't require rocket science to tune up. Just read the instructions for the relevant part. All the component manufacturers have technical support sections on their websites with all the instructions should you not have the ones that came with the bike or component.

Torque wrenches that operate with a acceptable degree of accuracy can be had for less than the cost of a tire and a socket set of allen wrenches to pop on the end of the torque wrench can be had for much less than that. If you have a carbon frame and/or fork you should have a torque wrench. You'll probably noticed that the bolts that clamp the stem to the steer tube often have threadlock on them. If you undo these a few times it's often wise to put a dab more "loctite blue" threadlock on them.

You don't need Mac Tools or Snap On. Craftsman tools are easy to get and robust enough for even someone who wrenches on cars alot as a hobby. Harbor Freight tools are very well priced and according to the local Mac Tools guy their smaller torque wrenches work very well if used only a few dozen times a year over the course of a few years.

There's only a few sets on bolts to tighten for a stem... Just take your time and follow the instructions to the letter the first few times you do it. Not only is it quicker to take your time and do it yourself, it'll also bring the sense of satisfaction of a little job well done and also give you the knowledge to fix your own bits should something go wrong with your, or someone elses, bike while you're out on the road.

For items such as the bar clamp that may have 4 bolts on it, just use a regular allen wrench to snug everything up just tight enough to stop the handlebar from rotating, taking note to keep the gap between the clamp and the stem fairly even on all four corners, then use a torque wrench to finish the job off. Some manufacturers such as FSA print the desired torque setting on the stems. One quick check with the frame/fork install manual should let you know if that's also recommended by the bike manufacturer for the fork steerer tube. A similar check should be done for a clamp on front mech.

The only jobs that are really bike shop only jobs are things that getting the bottom bracket shell faced (for steel frames) or installing headsets if a special press is required to install properly. Old school items such as rear mech hanger alignment is something you can get close too at home but are very easy with the correct tool - which isn't cost effective for a one off job. Of course you shouldn't be bending that on a carbon frame as cracking noises often mean bad things ;)