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Old 05-23-07, 01:02 PM   #1
Rutnick
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help with stuck quill stem

I have a 1980s Lotus Touring bike I'm trying to get back on the road and the quill stem is stuck. I've soaked it and tried to pry it looks but it isn't budging. I was thinking of cutting the stem just below the handlebars, removing the fork from the frame and torching out the rest of the stem. The fork is of course a steel steerer tube. Any other way?

This seems the quickest route.
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Old 05-23-07, 01:06 PM   #2
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Have you tried hitting the stem from the side as well as pulling on it? Is the wedge stuck? If so, back out on the bolt and give it a good whack with the hammer. Just not sure what you've tried yet except soaking.
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Old 05-23-07, 01:09 PM   #3
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+1 to the sharp force. Whack from side to side, and use a board on top to whack directly down. You could also clamp 2 boards across the fork blades right below the crown, for additional leverage.

I've heard people talk about ammonia dissolving the corrosion bond between aluminum and steel, but have not heard of anyone who's said it worked.
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Old 05-23-07, 01:11 PM   #4
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The wedge will drop and I can take the bolt out. I had a bikeshop look at it and they basically told me they could spend hours at $40/hour trying to get it unstuck. Being a country boy, myself and some friends were thinking beer, dremel and a torch.

Yes, I've hit the stem with a hammer.


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Originally Posted by vpiuva
Have you tried hitting the stem from the side as well as pulling on it? Is the wedge stuck? If so, back out on the bolt and give it a good whack with the hammer. Just not sure what you've tried yet except soaking.
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Old 05-23-07, 02:17 PM   #5
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It sounds like you've got one that's badly stuck. I've had success using a 5/8" oak dowel driven from the bottom side of the steerer tube with a hammer. Beat the heck out of the dowel, it might break the stem loose. Since you say the wedge has come loose, though, what you're dealing with is an aluminum stem that's "fused" with a steel steerer tube, i.e. galvanic corrosion, not just a "rust bond" from the steel wedge to the steel steerer tube. You might try soaking it with ammonia. That will probably damage the aluminum stem, but it should eat the galvanic corrosion some. Good luck-
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Old 05-23-07, 10:51 PM   #6
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this is how I removed my stuck quill stem.
cut the stem below the bars, remove the forks, wrap the forks in a towel and put them in a vise. Get a friend to heat the steerer tube around the stem while you pull and rotate the stem with a pair of multigrips. If the steerer tube is bonded to the forks keep the towel wet. You may have to remove the crown race before putting the forks in the vise. When the stem has been removed let the steerer tube air cool (dont dunk it in water). Clean with a wire brush.
Make sure you thoroughly grease the new stem and do it a couple of times a year
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Old 05-23-07, 11:38 PM   #7
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I have removed lots of stuck stem and seatposts and before you enter the destructive methods try liquid wrench. no other penetrating oil or what have you works as well. If you have time let it sit upside down with for a weak. Give it a could whacks every day. I like to hold the handlebars and put a good hickory shovel or something between the fork blades at the crown. two people can twist opposite ways. If you haven't tried liquid wrench... you haven't exhausted your options.
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Old 05-24-07, 12:42 PM   #8
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I had a stuck quill stem on an old Motobecane.
Liquid Wrench soaked in over night did the trick.
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Old 05-24-07, 12:51 PM   #9
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Dry-ICE , just a theory,it works well for cylinder sleeves. Aluminum cunducts heat/cold better than steel. I suppose if you can contain the cold treatment to the stem,it may work. I DO know that aluminum anything can bind. I've seen aluminum lugs "burst" when tinkered with so...?...? Drilling away may be required, I've done that on engines as well. I suppose you've tried the over-night/Liq.Wrench treatment, the first resort I'd say.
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Old 05-24-07, 03:18 PM   #10
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"Dry-ICE , just a theory,it works well for cylinder sleeves."
Maybe a CO2 fire extinguisher?
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Old 05-24-07, 07:59 PM   #11
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I have had great success using ammonia on stuck seatposts - I cant remember doing a stem but it should work. On the seatposts I didnt have to soak overnight, it worked in a few minutes so corrosion of the stem shouldnt be a problem. Do it in the fresh air as the ammonia fumes are awful.
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