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  1. #1
    Senior Member peripatetic's Avatar
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    mid-80s Centurion headset service

    In stripping and servicing an early/mid-80s Centurion Elite (Tange CrMo frame), I undid the fork and headset cups. The lower, crown cup had a broken rubber o-ring for which I found an acceptable replacement. I re-greased and put the bearings back in, but I realized as I did so that both the crown race cup and the headset cup came out of the frame easily. There was some pitting on the outsides of the cups, but nothing inside. I was able to just slide the cups back in. This bike was not well-cared for, and there is some rust on many of the small parts, but the paint on the frame is in good condition.

    My question for youse is whether I should worry about the fact that the cups for the headset and crown race just slide back into the frame, without requiring any headset press? It's my understanding that there should be some force required to push them in. Also, when tightening the adjusting washers/nuts, I've found that the races themselves turn and slide within the frame, rather than remaining in place.

    Should I be replacing this headset? Or can I get by with just tightening the headset enough for the cups not to slide about?

  2. #2
    me have long head tube TallRider's Avatar
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    The mid-80's Centurions used JIS-standard headset, so it's possible that the headtube was widened by someone trying to press in ISO-standard headset cups, although I think that's unlikely. The main guesses are just corrosion, or a poorly adjusted headset that allowed a lot of play and thus messed up the frame a bit.

    There are some versions of loctite for holding metal-to-metal contact points and might work to hold the headset cups and crown race in place. Also, if the cups and crown race fit onto their respective parts of the bike without play, a well-adjusted headset should run fine without messing up the frame.
    If the bearing-races are in very good shape on this headset and the frame ain't in great shape, you could also use JB Weld to permanently lock them in place. You'd need to be very careful to make sure that the cups and crown race seated at a correct angle. But I think this would be going overboard.

  3. #3
    Senior Member peripatetic's Avatar
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    Thanks. I think this was the original headset, but it's certainly a not-well-cared-for bike. I think I'll just try adjusting the bearings sufficiently and see if that won't be enough. Just wanted to avoid having the cups turning in the headtube, rather than the bearings turning in the cups.

  4. #4
    me have long head tube TallRider's Avatar
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    So long as the cups and crown race fit onto the frame without play, they won't turn instead of the bearings. Properly-lubed and adjusted bearings have way less friction than headset cups and/or crown-race turning on the frame fitting, even if those did have play.
    I would recomend looking into loctite for this situtaion, though.

  5. #5
    Senior Member peripatetic's Avatar
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    Okay, thanks for the tip, timcupery. I'll look into lock-tite, but maybe ride it around with this and see how it goes first. (Just b/c I'm moving and don't want to add one more can of mystery chemical to my big supply).

  6. #6
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    The headset was the first thing I upgraded on my 1980 centurion super elite, it was crap. So my $.02 is to just replace it.

  7. #7
    me have long head tube TallRider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by leob1
    The headset was the first thing I upgraded on my 1980 centurion super elite, it was crap. So my $.02 is to just replace it.
    Yeah, but his is a mid-80's Centurion Elite. You should pay attention to the model. My 1987 Centurion Elite has a very nice Shimano 105 headset, alloy cups, etc.
    Also, it's difficult to find good JIS-standard headsets nowadays. Most are cheaper all-steel replacements.

  8. #8
    biked well well biked's Avatar
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    I'm currently working on an '83 Centurion Pro Tour, and it's got an ISO headset, and I've also got an '85 Centurion Accordo that I believe has an ISO headset, but I'd have to double check that one. But anyway, it could be that peripatetic's headset problem is the result of JIS cups being installed on a frame intended for ISO cups. I'd find some cups that you know to be ISO (30.2mm OD on the surface that presses into the headtube) and see if they just slip in or can be pressed. Otherwise, the locktite as Tim suggests sounds like a good idea-

  9. #9
    Senior Member peripatetic's Avatar
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    Thanks for the tips, all. I do have a no-name but decent hs lying around, I'll see if the thing fits in. Otherwise, can anyone recommend a fairly inexpensive but durable replacement for such a frame? I think my frame's an '84 or '85, Elite GS (dia-compe cantilever brakes, Suntour Mountech triple gruppo).

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