Loose Headset

Discussion in 'Cycling Equipment' started by heajc, Jan 18, 2011.

  1. heajc

    heajc New Member

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    Headset becomes loose on rides after being tightened. I have checked the bearings and race, everything appears in order. I can tighten everything down to remove the play but when I go out on a ride it loosens up again. I've tried re greasing the bearings, adding washers under the cap, nothing seems to work. Any thoughts and or comments will be appreciated.
     
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  2. tafi

    tafi Member

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    Then it is proably the expander/binder/star nut being pulled loose. You tighten it up the top bolt which applies tension on the bolt (pulling upwards on the binder) then go out for a ride. The vibration out on the road is just enough to disturb the friction between the expander/binder bolt and the wall of the steerer so that it is slowly pulled up by the bolt tension, by which time the headset is loose.

    Solution: ensure that the binder is tight inside the steerer.
     
  3. dhk2

    dhk2 Active Member

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    The main suspect to me here would be that the stem is "creeping" up the steer tube as you ride because of insufficient clamping force. Perhaps you've got grease on either the stem or steer tube, the mating stem bore or steerer are worn/wrong size, the clamp bolts are worn/corroded, or you're not using the specified torque.

    You don't mention how many times this has happened. If it's a new install you've done, it could be the bearings and spacers are seating in. If the headset was fine for a long time (held preload adjustment) and then started giving you trouble the last few rides, I'd take it to a good LBS mechanic right away. Particularly if the bike is new to you, and well-used, there could be some safety issues that you don't want to experience; ie steer tube fails on the road. Even if it's "only" the stem coming loose, lose of steering control could result.
     
  4. heajc

    heajc New Member

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    The bike only has 350 miles on it. This has happened a couple of times already. Could the compression bolt be defective?
     
  5. alfeng

    alfeng Well-Known Member

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    FYI. After the spacers-and-stem are (properly!?!) installed, the "compression" bolt ONLY holds the top cap in place ...

    As tafi mentioned in another thread, it could be a problem with the centering cone ... It could be, also as tafi has suggested, the star nut is not holding. What (brand & model) headset is currently installed on the bike? Does the headset have cartridge or caged bearings? Did you do the initial installation? Is this problem occurrng on a Road bike or MTB?
     
  6. heajc

    heajc New Member

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    The brand is FSA-Orbit IS-2 that came installed on a new road bike. The bearings are sealed. Not to get of topic but after taking the headset apart I do not recall a centering cone? Would that essentially be the bearing race compression rings?
     
  7. alfeng

    alfeng Well-Known Member

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    If your headset's upper "dust cover" (for want of a better description & name) doesn't have a conical protrusion which is akin to the conical protrusion on the crown race which nests against the inner collar of the cartridge bearing AND if there isn't a separate centering cone, then there is probably a missing piece from your headset's assembly.

    BTW. The CHRIS KING headset's upper "cover" has just such a fore mentioned conical protrusion instead of a separate centering cone.

    ---​
    As far as the "bearing race compression ring" I have to presume we are talking about the same thing and that it is simply a matter of nomenclature (that is, my lack of) -- the centering cone is usually "split" so that it can compress around the steerer as it is pressed against the bearing's nesting collar. I had an older, 1" threadless Ritchey headset whose upper bearing assembly did not use a centering cone & simply relied on the snug fit (!?!) around the steerer ... at least, that is my recollection. Similarly, a long time ago, it was not uncommon (okay, maybe it wasN'T that common) to machine the threads out of the upper portion of a threaded Shimano headset to create a threadless headset.
     
  8. davereo

    davereo Well-Known Member

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    Take it back to your LBS. You should not be having this type of problem with a bike that has 350 miles on it.
     
  9. jackson123

    jackson123 New Member

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    Take it back to your LBS. You should not be having this type of problem with a bike that has 350 miles on it.



    back to your LBS might be the way to go.
     
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