'''96 Litespeed Catalyst, '05 Litespeed Firenze, '06 Litespeed Tuscany, '12 Surly Pacer, All are 3x8,9 or 10. It is hilly around here!
What type of stem? For some brands you can thread the handlebar fixing bolt in backwards and put a penny in the slot. Then you tighten the bolt to spread the slot. Also, as you thread the bars into the stem, be sure the slot always faces the inside of the curve.
Finally, the best scratch preventative is a removable faceplate stem.