Loose headset



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T

Tony R

Guest
Hello all, I had a new headset fitted a while ago and finally got the whole bike back together
about a month ago. Almost every time I go out the locknut and top race work themselves loose. I
expected a bit of bedding in time. It's done 260 miles in the last 4 weeks and is still doing it.
So, the questions are:- is this to be expected? Will it sort itself out given a bit more settling
in? Or am I condemned to carrying two headset spanners and checking the bloody thing every 10
miles? Thanks tony R.
 
P

Pete Biggs

Guest
tony R wrote:
> Hello all, I had a new headset fitted a while ago and finally got the whole bike back together
> about a month ago. Almost every time I go out the locknut and top race work themselves loose. I
> expected a bit of bedding in time. It's done 260 miles in the last 4 weeks and is still doing
> it. So, the questions are:- is this to be expected? Will it sort itself out given a bit more
> settling in?

No, I think there's something wrong there. I had this problem with a Stronglight A9 where the
locknut was running out of threads (it's not threaded all the way to the top) so it couldn't be
fully tightened. Solved by adding a thin washer/spacer or changing an existing washer for a
thicker one.

If nothing like that is happening to yours, all I can suggest is checking: no seals/o-rings are
broken or wrong way up; ball bearings are ok (in place, right way up, etc); and the locknut is
bloody tight. To tighten, grease threads and try a large 32mm/adjustable spanner - which should be
better for the final tightening than a special thin headset spanner. Adjust headset a fraction
tighter than "normal" to allow for some bedding
in.

~PB
 
T

Tony R

Guest
"Pete Biggs" <pLime{remove_fruit}@biggs.tc> wrote in message
news:[email protected]...
> tony R wrote:
> > Hello all, I had a new headset fitted a while ago and finally got the whole bike back together
> > about a month ago. Almost every time I go out the locknut and top race work themselves loose. I
> > expected a bit of bedding in time. It's done 260 miles in the last 4 weeks and is still doing
> > it. So, the questions are:- is this to be expected? Will it sort itself out given a bit more
> > settling in?
>
> No, I think there's something wrong there. I had this problem with a Stronglight A9 where the
> locknut was running out of threads (it's not threaded all the way to the top) so it couldn't be
> fully tightened. Solved by adding a thin washer/spacer or changing an existing washer for a
> thicker one.
>
> If nothing like that is happening to yours, all I can suggest is checking: no seals/o-rings are
> broken or wrong way up; ball bearings are ok (in place, right way up, etc); and the locknut is
> bloody tight. To tighten, grease threads and try a large 32mm/adjustable spanner - which should be
> better for the final tightening than a special thin headset spanner. Adjust headset a fraction
> tighter than "normal" to allow for some bedding
> in.
>
> ~PB
>
Thanks Pete, there are no washers/spacers fitted at all. Perhaps I should try adding one although I
can't quite picture how this would help - it'd reduce the amount of thread left for the locknut
wouldn't it? I'm already having to bodge the front brake cable hanger on to the stem because I'd
assumed there wasn't enough space below the locknut (with the hanger below the locknut I could only
tighten the locknut 1-2 turns) Your answer seems to suggest I might put it back in it's proper place
and it'd help the nut stay in place. Am I misunderstanding hopelessly? In the meantime I'll strip it
and see what I can see. Thanks, tony R.
 
S

Sandy Morton

Guest
In article <[email protected]>, tony R <[email protected]> wrote:
> I had a new headset fitted a while ago and finally got the whole bike back together about a month
> ago. Almost every time I go out the locknut and top race work themselves loose. I expected a bit
> of bedding in time. It's done 260 miles in the last 4 weeks and is still doing it. So, the
> questions are:- is this to be expected? Will it sort itself out given a bit more settling in? Or
> am I condemned to carrying two headset spanners and checking the bloody thing every 10 miles?

Take the whole thing apart and wash it thoroughly in some sort of degreaser - it sounds as if you
have got either grit or a broken ball in
it. Check everything is clean and as it should be and reassemble with clean grease. Lock up the
headset tightly and it should run for 1,000 miles without any trouble.

--
A T (Sandy) Morton on the Bicycle Island In the Global Village http://www.sandymillport.fsnet.co.uk
 
A

Alex Graham

Guest
tony R wrote:

> Thanks Pete, there are no washers/spacers fitted at all. Perhaps I should try adding one although
> I can't quite picture how this would help - it'd reduce the amount of thread left for the locknut
> wouldn't it? I'm already having to bodge the front brake cable hanger on to the stem because I'd
> assumed there wasn't enough space below the locknut (with the hanger below the locknut I could
> only tighten the locknut 1-2 turns) Your answer seems to suggest I might put it back in it's
> proper place and it'd help the nut stay in place. Am I misunderstanding hopelessly?

If you've removed a brake cable hanger thats probably the problem. The locknut that goes right onto
the top has an internal shoulder at the top, so will only screw on so far before the shoulder hits
the top of the steerer. If you put the cable hanger back on you will not be able to tighten the
locknut as far, but then it wont run out of room before it tightens properly.

--

-Alex

----------------------------------
[email protected]

http://alexpg.ath.cx:3353/cycling.php http://www.westerleycycling.org.uk
----------------------------------
 
T

Tony R

Guest
"Alex Graham" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...

>
> If you've removed a brake cable hanger thats probably the problem. The locknut that goes right
> onto the top has an internal shoulder at the top, so will only screw on so far before the shoulder
> hits the top of the steerer. If you put the cable hanger back on you will not be able to tighten
> the locknut as far, but then it wont run out of room before it tightens properly.
>
> --
>
> -Alex

Hi Alex, I haven't removed the hanger from this setup as such, more like haven't added it in to the
new setup. Clear as muck? I'll try again. Old headset had space for cable hanger, washer, seals
under locknut. New headset was fitted and when I went to put the hanger back on I found I could only
tighten locknut less than 2 revolutions, so I reluctantly (and inelegantly) bodged it onto the stem.
Would the 1.5 turns have been safe enough do you think? I've just had a look at the top
race/steerer/locknut to remind myself and when the locknut is fully tightened (without hanger) there
is still a gap
(c.1-2mm.) between the top of the steerer and the lip at the top of the locknut. Does this help in
the diagnosis any? Thanks for the help, tony R.
 
T

Tony R

Guest
"tony R" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
>
> "Alex Graham" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
>
> >
> > If you've removed a brake cable hanger thats probably the problem. The locknut that goes right
> > onto the top has an internal shoulder at the top, so will only screw on so far before the
> > shoulder hits the top of the steerer. If you put the cable hanger back on you will not be able
> > to tighten the locknut as far, but then it wont run out of room before it tightens properly.
> >
> > --
> >
> > -Alex
>
> Hi Alex, I haven't removed the hanger from this setup as such, more like haven't added it in to
> the new setup. Clear as muck? I'll try again. Old headset
had
> space for cable hanger, washer, seals under locknut. New headset was
fitted
> and when I went to put the hanger back on I found I could only tighten locknut less than 2
> revolutions, so I reluctantly (and inelegantly) bodged it onto the stem. Would the 1.5 turns have
> been safe enough do you think? I've just had a look at the top race/steerer/locknut to remind
> myself and when the locknut is fully tightened (without hanger) there is still a gap
> (c.1-2mm.) between the top of the steerer and the lip at the top of the locknut. Does this help in
> the diagnosis any? Thanks for the help, tony R.
>
PS - I've just tried it again with the hanger in. It's more like maximum of one turn of the locknut.
This leaves a gap of c.5mm. between top of the steerer and lip of locknut. I could try it out
like this but I was/am nervous of the possibility that there isn't much leeway for the locknut to
loosen before it is off altogether. What do you think? Thanks, tony R.
 
P

Pete Jones

Guest
On Tue, 22 Apr 2003 21:39:29 +0100, "tony R" <[email protected]> blathered:

>I haven't removed the hanger from this setup as such, more like haven't added it in to the new
>setup. Clear as muck? I'll try again. Old headset had space for cable hanger, washer, seals under
>locknut. New headset was fitted and when I went to put the hanger back on I found I could only
>tighten locknut less than 2 revolutions, so I reluctantly (and inelegantly) bodged it onto the
>stem. Would the 1.5 turns have been safe enough do you think? I've just had a look at the top
>race/steerer/locknut to remind myself and when the locknut is fully tightened (without hanger)
>there is still a gap
>(c.1-2mm.) between the top of the steerer and the lip at the top of the locknut.

I've got an old 1 1/8" Gorilla headlock I no longer need if you want
it. Might have a 1" one knocking about too, but I'd have to look in The Box.

Pete
----
http://www.btinternet.com/~peteajones/
 
S

Sandy Morton

Guest
In article <[email protected]>, tony R <[email protected]> wrote:
> PS - I've just tried it again with the hanger in. It's more like maximum of one turn of the
> locknut. This leaves a gap of c.5mm. between top of the steerer and lip of locknut. I could try
> it out like this but I was/am nervous of the possibility that there isn't much leeway for the
> locknut to loosen before it is off altogether. What do you think?

What kind of brakes do you have?

--
A T (Sandy) Morton on the Bicycle Island In the Global Village http://www.sandymillport.fsnet.co.uk
 
T

Tony R

Guest
"Pete Jones" <[email protected]> wrote in message
news:[email protected]...
> On Tue, 22 Apr 2003 21:39:29 +0100, "tony R" <[email protected]> blathered:
>
> >I haven't removed the hanger from this setup as such, more like haven't added it in to the new
> >setup. Clear as muck? I'll try again. Old headset
had
> >space for cable hanger, washer, seals under locknut. New headset was
fitted
> >and when I went to put the hanger back on I found I could only tighten locknut less than 2
> >revolutions, so I reluctantly (and inelegantly)
bodged
> >it onto the stem. Would the 1.5 turns have been safe enough do you think? I've just had a look at
> >the top race/steerer/locknut to remind myself and when the locknut is fully tightened (without
> >hanger) there is still a gap
> >(c.1-2mm.) between the top of the steerer and the lip at the top of the locknut.
>
> I've got an old 1 1/8" Gorilla headlock I no longer need if you want
> it. Might have a 1" one knocking about too, but I'd have to look in The Box.
>
> Pete
> ----
Thanks Pete, I'd be very tempted if I knew what the hell one was. It sounds very useful and I feel
I'd need the 1" one if you find one. Many thanks, tony R.
 
T

Tony R

Guest
"Sandy Morton" <[email protected]> wrote in message
news:[email protected]...
> In article <[email protected]>, tony R <[email protected]> wrote:
> > PS - I've just tried it again with the hanger in. It's more like maximum
of
> > one turn of the locknut. This leaves a gap of c.5mm. between top of the steerer and lip of
> > locknut. I could try it out like this but I was/am nervous of the possibility that there isn't
> > much leeway for the locknut
to
> > loosen before it is off altogether. What do you think?
>
> What kind of brakes do you have?
>
> --
> A T (Sandy) Morton on the Bicycle Island

Cantilevers, c. 1991 Shimano, supplied with a mainly XT equipped tourer. tony R.
 
P

Pete Biggs

Guest
tony R wrote:
> Thanks Pete, there are no washers/spacers fitted at all. Perhaps I should try adding one although
> I can't quite picture how this would help - it'd reduce the amount of thread left for the locknut
> wouldn't it?

Yes and that's the deliberate idea, but it's only necessary IF the locknut is not threaded all the
way to the top or has some kind of shoulder (not all are like this) AND the locknut can be turned so
much that it runs out of thread before it's actually locked. It still may /feel/ tight just because
there's no thread left.

Having no washers at all worries me. A washer or hanger will (also) help the locknut grip and lock.

> I'm already having to bodge the front brake cable hanger on to the stem because I'd assumed there
> wasn't enough space below the locknut (with the hanger below the locknut I could only tighten the
> locknut 1-2 turns).

Doesn't seem normal or enough, but I'm not sure what the minimum safe number of turns would be.

A washer thinner than the hanger could be used which would allow the locknut to be turned more - but
not quite as much as without the hanger.

How many turns does it go round now (without the hanger)? Note. Some locknuts only have 5 turns
at maximum.

In any case, using a locknut from a different headset and/or a thin washer might make it all
work better.

> Your answer seems to suggest I might put it back in it's proper place and it'd help the nut stay
> in place.

...Mainly to prevent the nut from turning too far - which I'm not sure is the problem or not. It's
just one possibilty.

~PB
 
P

Pete Jones

Guest
On Tue, 22 Apr 2003 23:14:01 +0100, "tony R" <[email protected]> blathered:

>> I've got an old 1 1/8" Gorilla headlock I no longer need if you want
>> it. Might have a 1" one knocking about too, but I'd have to look in The Box.

>Thanks Pete, I'd be very tempted if I knew what the hell one was. It sounds very useful and I feel
>I'd need the 1" one if you find one.

There's a pic here - http://www.btinternet.com/~peteajones/bikes/snap.jpg It's a lockring you can
actually lock with an allen bolt, so it can't come loose. Unfortunately, a check of The Box suggests
I no longer have the old 1" one - must've thrown it away because I'd never need it again. They do
work - try SJS to see if they have any old ones knocking about.

Pete
----
http://www.btinternet.com/~peteajones/
 
D

Dave Kahn

Guest
"tony R" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:<[email protected]>...
> "Pete Jones" <[email protected]> wrote in message
> news:[email protected]...

> > I've got an old 1 1/8" Gorilla headlock I no longer need if you want
> > it. Might have a 1" one knocking about too, but I'd have to look in The Box.

> Thanks Pete, I'd be very tempted if I knew what the hell one was. It sounds very useful and I feel
> I'd need the 1" one if you find one.

Sounds like something you'd find find in professional wrestling rather than cycling. :)

--
Dave...
 
T

Tony R

Guest
"Pete Biggs" <pLime{remove_fruit}@biggs.tc> wrote in message
news:[email protected]...
> tony R wrote:
> > Thanks Pete, there are no washers/spacers fitted at all. Perhaps I should try adding one
> > although I can't quite picture how this would help - it'd reduce the amount of thread left for
> > the locknut wouldn't it?
>
> Yes and that's the deliberate idea, but it's only necessary IF the locknut is not threaded all the
> way to the top or has some kind of shoulder (not all are like this) AND the locknut can be turned
> so much that it runs out of thread before it's actually locked. It still may /feel/ tight just
> because there's no thread left.

This could be the problem. The locknut is not threaded to the top and it has a shoulder/lip. I
hadn't thought it was running out of thread when I tightened it but I suppose the symptoms suggest
it may be. Although when it's tightened (without hanger) there's still a gap of 1-2mm. between the
top of the steerer and the lip of the nut. Would this not indicate it hadn't run out of thread?

> Having no washers at all worries me. A washer or hanger will (also) help the locknut grip
> and lock.

Yes, when I put the hanger back the locknut has a "grippier" feel.

> > I'm already having to bodge the front brake cable hanger on to the stem because I'd assumed
> > there wasn't enough space below the locknut (with the hanger below the locknut I could only
> > tighten the locknut 1-2 turns).
>
> Doesn't seem normal or enough, but I'm not sure what the minimum safe number of turns would be.

That's what I thought. Hence the bodge.

> A washer thinner than the hanger could be used which would allow the locknut to be turned more -
> but not quite as much as without the hanger.

I think I might try this out. The old headset had a washer that can be reused.

> How many turns does it go round now (without the hanger)? Note. Some locknuts only have 5 turns at
> maximum.

Without the hanger it goes 4.5 turns (steerer/lip gap c.1-2mm); with the hanger only 1 turn
(steerer/lip gap c. 4-5 mm.).

> In any case, using a locknut from a different headset and/or a thin washer might make it all
> work better.

I still have the old locknut. It seems to be threaded right to the top with no lip as such, just a
sort of ridge to which a rubber seal is attached. There's no reason not to mix 'n' match locknuts
is there? Ideally, of course, I'd like to be able to get the hanger back in but 1 turn of the
locknut doesn't seem enough (unless anybody knows different). So, I'll leave the hanger out, try
the old locknut, add a thin washer, accept any more advice and see how it goes. Thanks to all for
the help, tony R.
 
T

Tony R

Guest
"Pete Jones" <[email protected]> wrote in message
news:[email protected]...
> On Tue, 22 Apr 2003 23:14:01 +0100, "tony R" <[email protected]> blathered:
>
> >> I've got an old 1 1/8" Gorilla headlock I no longer need if you want
> >> it. Might have a 1" one knocking about too, but I'd have to look in The Box.
>
> >Thanks Pete, I'd be very tempted if I knew what the hell one was. It
sounds
> >very useful and I feel I'd need the 1" one if you find one.
>
> There's a pic here - http://www.btinternet.com/~peteajones/bikes/snap.jpg It's a lockring you can
> actually lock with an allen bolt, so it can't come loose. Unfortunately, a check of The Box
> suggests I no longer have the old 1" one - must've thrown it away because I'd never need it again.
> They do work - try SJS to see if they have any old ones knocking about.
>
>
> Pete
> ----

Thanks for the information. I may try to find one of these if other solutions fail. Cheers, tony R.
 
P

Pete Biggs

Guest
tony R wrote:
> This could be the problem. The locknut is not threaded to the top and it has a shoulder/lip. I
> hadn't thought it was running out of thread when I tightened it but I suppose the symptoms suggest
> it may be. Although when it's tightened (without hanger) there's still a gap of 1-2mm. between the
> top of the steerer and the lip of the nut. Would this not indicate it hadn't run out of thread?

Not necessarily. There's a "plain" gap of about that amount with my Stronglight A9 locknut between
top of thread and inside top of lip. If there's a particular amount of fork thread left, the
locknut really can _feel_ (almost) as if it's doing its job and tightening against the headset --
this fooled me once, and I was doing exactly the same thing as you and taking a headset spanner on
my rides!!

/snip
>There's no reason not to mix 'n' match locknuts is there?

No.

Good luck!

~PB
 
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