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  1. #1
    unofficial roadie DirtPedalerB's Avatar
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    semi-cartridge bearings.. rebuld or replace

    After a muddy ride and a washing I now have the sound of sand grinding in my headset My bike is a 2006 trek fuel EX7 with a aheadset model vp-a76c, looks to be common on many trek fisher models.

    I removed the fork and was expecting a cup and cone headset, which I know how to rebuild or relube, but instead I find what they call a semi-cartridge bearing. So I was trying to figure out how to remove the bearings from this thing and didn't want to damage it, so I just packed some grease in there and let it go. It seems to be ok for now.

    I'd really like to degrease the bearings, but I am too lazy to undo the cabling to separate the fork and bars from the frame and it is cumbersome with a loose fork and bars with no stand.. This is the reason I would like to remove them to degrease.

    questions..

    can you remove the bearings from this thing? if so is there a trick to it?

    assuming you can get them out are you supposed to just replace them or would cleaning them be ok.

    Thanks in advance for your help.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Deanster04's Avatar
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    You should be able to remove the bearings and clean them out by removing the grease and repacking them. It is a little bit of effort but worth it. If you heard grinding the probability is that the grit is still in the headset and eventually will require replacing.

  3. #3
    unofficial roadie DirtPedalerB's Avatar
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    so is there a ring that you remove or something? do you just force this out.. it's not apparent on how to get the bearings out from behind the sleeve. or how to remove the sleeve..

    your right there is grit in the headset.. I didn't have time to degrease as I couldn't get the bearings from the headtube. I just put in a bunch of grease and tried to work it in..

    on a side note how much would a shop charge me to install a headset? installing a headset or BB is about the only reason I'd drag my bike to a shop.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Deanster04's Avatar
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    Probably not more than $25. Are you going to change out the whole BB including different cups? I just replaced a couple of bearings in an old threaded headset. 30 minute job. Got the bearings from a company called quality bearing. Is the one you have a threaded headset?
    If you take the fork out you can get the bearings out quite easily and should be able to remove the grease. WD-40 is great for the job and in an aerosol can can blow out the grease. There are some automotive degreasers in aerosol cans designed for the job. Good luck.

  5. #5
    unofficial roadie DirtPedalerB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Deanster04 View Post
    If you take the fork out you can get the bearings out quite easily and should be able to remove the grease.
    Well explain this step as I have had the fork out and the bearings are behind a sleeve that I can't figure out how to remove this sleeve. This is my problem.

    The sleeve is locked in and I am wondering how to get it out.. I guess there is a retaining ring or something holding it, or maybe they are not removable. The sleeve will not go past the lip of the headset cup. This is not a cup and cone headset it is a "semi cartridge" what ever that means.. If it was a cup and cone it'd be fixed correctly already. I should just replace it with a standard headset, I don't see the advantage of this design other than being difficult for folks to work on.
    Last edited by DirtPedalerB; 12-25-07 at 12:00 AM.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Deanster04's Avatar
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    Best thing to do would be to take it to a good wrench, if there is one where you live, and ask him (or her) for help. They may be able to fix it while you wait and can show you how to do it for the next time you need to do it. Without pictures I can only imagine the assembly issue. Sorry.

  7. #7
    unofficial roadie DirtPedalerB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Deanster04 View Post
    Best thing to do would be to take it to a good wrench, if there is one where you live, and ask him (or her) for help. They may be able to fix it while you wait and can show you how to do it for the next time you need to do it. Without pictures I can only imagine the assembly issue. Sorry.
    I don't forsee it going to a shop.. Maybe someone will read this that has worked with one of these before, a ton of the trek/ fishers made lately have one of these.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by DirtPedalerB View Post
    on a side note how much would a shop charge me to install a headset? installing a headset or BB is about the only reason I'd drag my bike to a shop.
    Some shops will install the headset for you for free if you buy it from them. Could be cheaper than buying a HS online and paying them to install it

  9. #9
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    Almost all of the cartridge headsets I've worked on (Shimano, FSA, Nashbar's house brand, etc.) have bearing cartridges that simple popped out of the "races" for cleaning or replacement.

    The only exception I've come across is Chris King headsets where the bearing cartridges are held permanantly in place by turned over edges on the cups. The Kings have removable bearing seals so they can be cleaned and relubed in place.

  10. #10
    unofficial roadie DirtPedalerB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HillRider View Post
    The only exception I've come across is Chris King headsets where the bearing cartridges are held permanantly in place by turned over edges on the cups. The Kings have removable bearing seals so they can be cleaned and relubed in place.
    while I don't have a chris king .. this seems to be the issue with mine. I think it's pretty bad of them to have junk like this on a relatively nice bike.. The "semi-cartridge" is a joke as you can see the ball bearings if you look inside the headset. Relatively Unsealed.

    If anyone has any info on this headset please let me know... as of right now I'm just going to let it grind and then when it gets on my nerves too bad, take it to a shop...

  11. #11
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    I recommend you contact Trek directly to find out what you can do to clean or replace this headset. It certainly sounds different from all of the other cartridge headsets I've worked on except the King.

    Unsealed cartridges won't last as long as better sealed ones but replacement is easier since you don't have to replace the cups and crown race IF you can remove the cartridges.

  12. #12
    unofficial roadie DirtPedalerB's Avatar
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    Thanks I'll give it another try on taking it apart at a later date. you say the cartridges practically fall out like the loose tye bearings? This is a common headset on all trek and fishers so I doubt it's an oddball. I'm not sure if the bearings will fall out loose or if they will stay with the race. As stated it says "semi-cartridge" I'm not sure how this is different from a regular cartridge.

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