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Old 12-29-07, 03:17 PM   #1
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loose headset fixed cups

I'm converting an old Raleigh grand prix, and I just discovered that the headset fixed cups are loose, as though the headset was adjusted too loose and the bike was ridden hard for many years, which it probably was. The cups just slip in and out of the head tube and even slop around a bit.

This is a budget job on a foul-weather beater, so I'm not expecting the usual tolerances, but I do have certain standards. I don't see any reason why I can't shim the cups to get a better fit, but I'm wondering what would be the best metal for the shims. Both the frame and HS are steel, the latter chromed. I have steel, aluminum and brass shim stock readily available.

Thanks.
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Old 12-29-07, 03:26 PM   #2
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Are they mostly loose front-to-back?

Riding a bike with a too loose headset for too long will ovalize the headtube. That's both common and unfortunate. I guess that you could try to fix it with a shim but, for no more than an old Raleigh Grand Prix is worth, I think that I'd keep looking around for a better frame.
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Old 12-29-07, 03:40 PM   #3
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You should be able to see fairly easely if the headtube is oval....

I know that some older raleigh frames have different headset sizes specific for raleigh bikes.

Maybe that's your case, Are you the first owner of the bike, because maybe someone change the cups for 1'' that are (I think) a bit smaller than the raleigh's....
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Old 12-29-07, 06:06 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Retro Grouch View Post
Are they mostly loose front-to-back?

Riding a bike with a too loose headset for too long will ovalize the headtube. That's both common and unfortunate. I guess that you could try to fix it with a shim but, for no more than an old Raleigh Grand Prix is worth, I think that I'd keep looking around for a better frame.
I guess that's what's happened. What's truly unfortunate is that decent old bikes for a fair price are pretty uncommon in my neck of the woods. I'm going to see if I can make this one work by shimming. Any thoughts on the proper shim material? I know that some metals can interact detrimentally, but I'm thinking that I commonly put an Al seatpost in the steel frame so Al shim stock should be OK, right?
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Old 12-29-07, 07:16 PM   #5
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Maybe the original cups were replaced with JIS cups, which are a couple tenths of a millimeter smaller in diameter than ISO/Raleigh cups?
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Old 12-29-07, 07:34 PM   #6
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I guess that's what's happened. What's truly unfortunate is that decent old bikes for a fair price are pretty uncommon in my neck of the woods. I'm going to see if I can make this one work by shimming. Any thoughts on the proper shim material? I know that some metals can interact detrimentally, but I'm thinking that I commonly put an Al seatpost in the steel frame so Al shim stock should be OK, right?
I always just use a AL beer can as a shim. If hte fit is not REALLY loose, you could try some silver loctite.
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Old 12-29-07, 07:41 PM   #7
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Doesn't Locktite make a press-fit product? Not sure how it works, or how well it works. But I have read about people using it successfully. Also, I guess I am a bit pessimistic that any such product will work with the situation you have.

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Old 12-29-07, 07:52 PM   #8
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Doesn't Locktite make a press-fit product? Not sure how it works, or how well it works.
The Park Tool website recommends Loctite RC609 for headset cups that fit slightly looser than ideal. I think that's the green compound, but I'm not sure. The times I've used loctite on bicycle parts, I've used blue, but that's been on threads, not as a retaining compound like you'd need for a slightly loose headset cup-
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Old 12-29-07, 08:07 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by well biked View Post
The Park Tool website recommends Loctite RC609 for headset cups that fit slightly looser than ideal. I think that's the green compound, but I'm not sure. The times I've used loctite on bicycle parts, I've used blue, but that's been on threads, not as a retaining compound like you'd need for a slightly loose headset cup-
I think you might find it's not so much as a retaining compound as just to fill the gaps. I have used Loctite 242 or 243 for sealed bearings in hubs and it's worked quite well, but I didn't do that much research on it... and the RC609 might be a very effective solution if suggested by Park. Then there is good ol' JB Weld which might be better than trying to shim, especially if ovalisation has occurred.
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Old 12-29-07, 09:50 PM   #10
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........the RC609 might be a very effective solution if suggested by Park.
Actually, after reading the part on the Park site about Loctite RC609, they're talking about using it on less-than-ideal-fit crown races/crown race seats, not cups. I could have sworn I had seen a suggestion there about using it for slightly loose cups, too, but I can't seem to find it now-
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Old 12-30-07, 08:32 PM   #11
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Note that Loctite RC609 will only retain where the gap is no more than .005". I tried it on a crown race where there was a .2 mm gap (.01") and it did nothing. If the cups are loose enough to rattle, I doubt RC609 will work.
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Old 12-31-07, 12:25 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by jbonamici View Post
I'm converting an old Raleigh grand prix, and I just discovered that the headset fixed cups are loose, as though the headset was adjusted too loose and the bike was ridden hard for many years, which it probably was. The cups just slip in and out of the head tube and even slop around a bit.

This is a budget job on a foul-weather beater, so I'm not expecting the usual tolerances, but I do have certain standards. I don't see any reason why I can't shim the cups to get a better fit, but I'm wondering what would be the best metal for the shims. Both the frame and HS are steel, the latter chromed. I have steel, aluminum and brass shim stock readily available.

Thanks.
You really have to measure the I.D. of both ends of the head tube to determine just how oversized and out of round it is.

I've had good luck with the Loctite 660 retaining compound.

http://68.72.74.113/PRODUCTS/660.htm

It will fill gaps up to .5 mm (.0197").
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