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Thread: Stuck stem

  1. #1
    Just ride. roadbuzz's Avatar
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    Stuck stem

    My olde quill type stemme hath become stucke.

    Weather and short days have forced me to the trainer. So I sez to myself 'what good is aerodynamics when I have to use a fan to move air in the first place, I'm raisin' the stinkin' bars.'

    Wrooong!!!

    I loosened the stem bolt, and had to tap on it to knock the wedge loose. So far, so good. But the stem is still tight as Dick's hat-band. It's all I can do to twist the bars/stem side-to-side, to say nothing of raising them. This seems like a very bad thing. Any suggestions as to what's gone wrong and/or how to get it loose?
    :confused:

  2. #2
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    Some stems have a plug in the bottom rather than a wedge.Even when completely loose some can still be a beech. The fact you can trun it is positive,but it may take some lube and lots or wrestling to get it out.One option might be to try going in from the bottom with a tool to whack it with.Doing that,requuires the wedge or plug to be out the bottom first.

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    you know, I always heard the expression as harry's old hat band. I think that the alliteration between Harry's and Hat sounded good.

  4. #4
    Mr. Cellophane RainmanP's Avatar
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    You could try this. Take the bolt completely out. Remove the fork. Squirt some Liquid Wrench in the steerer. Stand the fork upside down with the top of the steerer tube resting on a block of wood and padded with a rag. Tap the wedge/plug from the bottom using a wooden dowel. Work gently with light taps. It might work and as long as you take it easy there is almost no way you will hurt anything. This will be a good opportunity to service your headset bearings. Use grease on the wedge/plug, bolt and stem when you replace them.
    If it ain't broke, mess with it anyway!

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    Originally posted by RainmanP
    Stand the fork upside down with the top of the steerer tube resting on a block of wood and padded with a rag. Tap the wedge/plug from the bottom using a wooden dowel.
    You have to get the stem out before you can stand the steerer tube on the rag.....I think?..Tapping from the bottom with the plug still in place will just make the problem worse.

  6. #6
    Mr. Cellophane RainmanP's Avatar
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    Pokey,
    Oops, you are correct. My bad. I misread the post and thought it was the wedge/plug that was still stuck.

    OK, Roadbuzz, try it this way. Take the bolt all the way out. Remove the fork. (You could leave it in; I just prefer not to do any tapping on things with the bearings still in place.) Screw the bolt in from the bottom of the fork to pull the wedge/plug out. THEN squirt in some LW and let it soak a while. Support and pad the fork crown somehow (not the race). THEN try tapping the quill from the bottom with a wooden dowel. Do it gently. Tap some. Squirt some more LW. Soak. Tap some more.

    What do you think, Pokey?
    Regards,
    Raymond
    If it ain't broke, mess with it anyway!

  7. #7
    Forum Admin lotek's Avatar
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    Rainman,

    How do you remove the fork if the stem is seized into
    place (or am I missing something here)? Doesn't the
    quill insert into the steerer tube which is the
    upper portion of the fork?

    Marty
    Sono pił lento di quel che sembra.
    Odio la gente, tutti.

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    You're not missing anything.Rainman is still working on the concept.

  9. #9
    Just ride. roadbuzz's Avatar
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    Hey, guys, keep working! I appreciate it.

    I think it is a plug vs. wedge. Lotek's right. The quill is jammed in the steerer. I can loosen the headset (to take pressure off bearings), but he whole mess is still trapped in the headtube. I've Been squirting WD-40 down between the quill and the steerer, which I can access directly by removing the headset adjustment bolt. It's not liquid wrench, but it should lubricate, loosen things, and help flush grit. I'm hoping that ongoing treatments for a few days will free things up.

    FWIW, the quill was greased. The only thing I can figure is that it was overtightened, and permenantly enlarged the quill? Arghhh.

  10. #10
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    Originally posted by roadbuzz
    Hey, guys, keep working! I appreciate it.

    I think it is a plug vs. wedge. Lotek's right. The quill is jammed in the steerer. I can loosen the headset (to take pressure off bearings), but he whole mess is still trapped in the headtube. I've Been squirting WD-40 down between the quill and the steerer, which I can access directly by removing the headset adjustment bolt. It's not liquid wrench, but it should lubricate, loosen things, and help flush grit. I'm hoping that ongoing treatments for a few days will free things up.

    FWIW, the quill was greased. The only thing I can figure is that it was overtightened, and permenantly enlarged the quill? Arghhh.
    Yep, permanently enlarged.I just had the same problem getting a pulg type one out. I knocked the plug out the bottom of the steerer tube,used a socked that just fit inside the steerer on a long extension, and a hammer to pound it out.Nothing got ginked or damaged.If you cannot get the plug out the bottom,your best bet is to continue the lube business from the top and botom and twist and pull till it comes out.Might help to have a helper hold the frame while you do the other part.

  11. #11
    Just ride. roadbuzz's Avatar
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    I've been taking the kinder-gentler approach, and had hoped to not have to disassemble things, but if it hasn't gotten better by this evening, I'll remove the brakes, see if I can get the wedge out, and see if I can bump the stem out that way. For really stubborn stems, Barnett's (chap 28) recommends clamping the fork in a vise. Right before the discussion on what you're willing to sacrifice, fork, stem, or both.

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    Yeah,right,clamp it in a vice!Saw a post the other day about a guy that bent his fork.That's why the suggestion for a helper.One to hold the frame, the other to pull and twist.

  13. #13
    Just ride. roadbuzz's Avatar
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    It makes perfect sense. Once you've ruined the fork in the vise, there's no reason not to use the hacksaw.

  14. #14
    Just ride. roadbuzz's Avatar
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    Operation complete, and ultimately an unqualified success! Thank you all for your assistance.

    A 24 hr soak with WD-40, followed by a liberal application of Tri-flow this evening turned the trick. When I tried it this evening the stem was considerably looser, whereas yesterday I was afraid of pringleing the wheel, the bars were so hard to turn. I was able to remove the stem after 2 rounds of twisting and Tri-flow.

    Post mortem: inadequate grease. The stem came out with roughly a 2" wide ring of rust. I buffed off the rust with emery cloth, regreased the stem, and it now fits smoothly down into the steerer. After this episode, it seems like a good idea to pull the thing out and regrease it at least once a year.

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