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Old 08-17-06, 09:22 AM   #1
XC99TF00
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Locked up bolt in the top of the quill stem...

Sorry if my lingo isn't correct, but I've come upon a problem in disassembling my late 70's road bike. It has a Cinelli Quill stem that I'm sure hasn't been removed in ages, and the bolt in the top (name?) is pretty well corroded into place. Now, the stem is aluminum, so it really hasn't correded itself, but the bolt appears to be steel or a steel alloy, and is rusted in place.

I've tried using liquid wrench, and other oxidation solvents to try to get this off, to no avail at this point. I've tried a lot of things, but I don't want to strip or break anything, and I'm even thinking of resorting to taking a wrench with a hex driver attachment to it to try to get some more leverage. I'm doing this so I can take the fork off and finish cleaning up everything on the bike and get it back up and running. Any thoughts on this would be greatly appreciated...

(I apply liquid wrench daily for a couple weeks in the hopes that it would work with time, but still no such luck in helping to loosen the grip of the correded bolt...)
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Old 08-17-06, 10:05 AM   #2
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Sheldon Brown has a good article on unsticking seatposts, and most of it applies equally to unsticking stems: http://sheldonbrown.com/stuck-seatposts.html
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Old 08-17-06, 10:52 AM   #3
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First thing to do is to go to the hardware store and get a can of penetrant called "P.B. Blaster". It's by far the best stuff I've ever used to get recalitrant nuts and bolts to let go of their rusted grip on each other. It's incredible stuff. I've used it to get exhaust manifold nuts to let go of my 58 Triumph TR3 that I know have been on the car for 20+ year. It's that good.

Spray it liberally. I mean COVER the bolt in the stuff.

Then, insert the hex wrench and lightly and rapidly tap it with hammer. You're not trying to beat it into submission, just "rattle" it to help break the rust adhesion and to let the penetrant get deep into the bolt.

Let it sit for a while and repeat.

Then try to loosen the bolt.
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Old 08-17-06, 11:44 AM   #4
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I'll try to find some of this stuff and give it a try. it sounds basically the same as Liquid Wrench, but at this point, I just want to get the damn thing apart. Thanks for the suggestion.

As for the Sheldon brown site, to the poster prior, I looked through, but wouldn't find anything I was looking for. the problem is not with the actual quill stem being stuck (well, not yet discovered if so...) but the actual bolt on top that holds it on, which it turn has thus made it un-removable to this point. Thanks again for the ideas, and any others are still more than welcome.
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Old 08-17-06, 12:05 PM   #5
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PB Blaster may be similar to Liquid Wrench, but the PB Blaster works 100% faster the LW. And it will losen stuff that will just laugh at LW.
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Old 08-17-06, 12:29 PM   #6
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I would also suggest that you turn the bike upside down and apply the PB Blaster liberally to the wedge/bolt interface inside the steerer tube.
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Old 08-17-06, 12:43 PM   #7
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I would also suggest that you turn the bike upside down and apply the PB Blaster liberally to the wedge/bolt interface inside the steerer tube.
+1... great idea!
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Old 08-17-06, 01:56 PM   #8
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I would also suggest that you turn the bike upside down and apply the PB Blaster liberally to the wedge/bolt interface inside the steerer tube.
Ahh, good idea, I like that a lot. Thanks.

(Though I figured it was the adhesion between the aluminum stem and the corroded bolt head, though at this point I'll try about anything...)
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Old 08-17-06, 02:05 PM   #9
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That bolt has to come loose or it gets way more difficult. If the bolt breaks you would have to drill out the bolt where it threads into the expander or the wedge. Hopefully if it does break, the bolt breaks at the threads near the wedge/expander and not at the head. You may want to hacksaw off the stem to get a better view of where to drill. If you do hacksaw you lose a place to get a good grip on the stem. Barring that, if your crown is open at the bottom, you could drill it out from underneath.

Heck, let it sit for 2 weeks with you putting the oil on it. Maybe even some heat and cold applications. Worth taking your time rather than getting into destructive techniques.
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Old 08-17-06, 02:15 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by masiman
Heck, let it sit for 2 weeks with you putting the oil on it. Maybe even some heat and cold applications. Worth taking your time rather than getting into destructive techniques.
That's what I've been aiming to do. The last thing I want to do is damage an old Sachs frame... But as a last resort, I'll keep the hack saw handy.
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Old 08-17-06, 03:37 PM   #11
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Use a hammer impact driver ot impact wrench. If the bolt breaks, which I doubt it will, stick a long bolt into the stem hole and drive out the wedge, then intstall with a new bolt.
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Old 08-17-06, 06:17 PM   #12
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Those were nice frames. I thought it might be just some old beater you were attached to. But you are attached and it is a classic .

Quote:
Originally Posted by San Rensho
Use a hammer impact driver ot impact wrench. If the bolt breaks, which I doubt it will, stick a long bolt into the stem hole and drive out the wedge, then intstall with a new bolt.
That's a better idea than drilling. I very much agree, likely it will not break but if it does, you have two options. Drilling should be last.

Is your stem something like this one?
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Old 08-17-06, 06:52 PM   #13
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You guys are making this harder than it sounds. Make sure your HEX is in good shape, not rounded. Best bet is to get a 3/8" drive hex socket. If you work on bikes you should have a set of these anyway. Blast it from both ends with PB blaster, and then see if you can losen it holding pressure downwards so the hex wrench/socket doesn't try to come up. If you break it loose, unscrew it until most of the head is revealed, then take a block of wood (hardwood prefered) lay that on top the bolt then smack the bolt back down with a hammer. This will drive the wedge down and hopefully the stem will come out at that point. If it doesn't liberally soak it with more pb blaster and wait. If the bolt breaks, all is not lost, and DON'T cut the stem. If it breaks, this now gives you access to use another bolt or punch and slide it down in the hole and smack the wedge down with a hammer. You can salvage the stem, it just takes some patience.
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Old 08-18-06, 07:31 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by masiman
Those were nice frames. I thought it might be just some old beater you were attached to. But you are attached and it is a classic .

Is your stem something like this one?
Yes, the Sachs certainly is a nice frame that I was able to pick up for free courtesy of my uncle. The stem is like that one you have pictured, perhaps not exactly, but very similar. I'd need to take a little better look since I've been so fixated on the bolt as of late and not the stem itself.
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Old 08-18-06, 12:14 PM   #15
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I wouldn't stress too much if you or the shop decides that they can't get it apart without cutting and drilling the stem, there are enough used and NOS of those stems out there that you should not have much trouble, but double check your diameter and scan the current inventory on the internet to make sure. Heck you may even want a new stem given the shape this one sounds like it is in. The Cinelli X/A's came out in the late 70's early 80's but I always thought the hidden bar bolts were a nice clean look. They may have had creaking problems if I remember correctly. If my memory is doing well, then it was the Modolo hidden bolt stem that performed the best. Nitto or 3T later came out with a cheaper for the masses version that was decent. But the Cinelli "C" on the X/A still looks classic bordering on new as indexing was not far behind at that point. It probably will not come down to cutting though. The more important part is not to damage the fork or steerer. You would likely have a very difficult time finding a Sach's fork especially if there is distinctive lugwork. But this you already know.

Post a pic of the bike if you have one. Have you thought about repainting? Stickers always seem to be the hard part about deciding to do that.
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