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  1. #1
    Commuting Fool
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    Is installing a new headset difficult?

    I'm pretty good at doing most basic bike tinkering-installing cranksets (exo) , changing stems, installing chains, removing cassettes, etc, but I have never installed a headset.

    My 1" threadless Chris King headset is do to arrive to install on an italian steel frame. Is this task a do-it yourself-er if I studiously follow the installation guide or best left done with a LBS mechanic?

  2. #2
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    Its pretty easy if you have the right tools. You can make a home press using bronze bushings and a threaded rod.

    Chris king HS also require special installation cups that go over the hs cups so you are not putting load onto the bearings themselves when you press the hs in.

  3. #3
    hello roadfix's Avatar
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    If you have the proper tool (even home made, threaded rod, nuts, and washers) it's an easy task.

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    hello roadfix's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nitropowered View Post
    Chris king HS also require special installation cups that go over the hs cups so you are not putting load onto the bearings themselves when you press the hs in.
    This I found is not necessary, even with my home made tool w/big a** thick steel washers
    Last edited by roadfix; 03-27-08 at 10:30 AM.

  5. #5
    1 bike 2 many. Butterthebean's Avatar
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    don't forget about the rocket shaped tool for popping out the old headset cups...or is there a way to do it without this?

  6. #6
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    hmm...special tools? This "Home-made Tool" better take this task to a pro!

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Butterthebean View Post
    don't forget about the rocket shaped tool for popping out the old headset cups...or is there a way to do it without this?
    The old cups can be removed by using a punch (preferably brass or Aluminum) and working around the edges of the cups on the inside of the headtube while tapping with a hammer. Done carefully this works ok, particularly on a steel frame. A large screwdriver is sometimes recommended as the punch but the hard steel blade has to be used with extra care.

    A home-made "rocket tool" can be fabricated by taking a length of 3/4" copper pipe, sawing 4 lengthwise slits about 2-3" long from one end at 90 from eachother and flaring the end to be a tight snap fit in the head tube. I've also seen it done with 3/4" PVC pipe but this sometimes isn't strong enough.

    BTW, the CK headset prohibition against pressing on the (non-removable) bearing can be met by using a large diameter washer that rests on the edges of the cup itself.

  8. #8
    hello roadfix's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Autobus View Post
    hmm...special tools? This "Home-made Tool" better take this task to a pro!
    good idea.......unless you do this often.

  9. #9
    my brain hurts! fosmith's Avatar
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    ^^ yep, that's some pretty nice stuff you're working with, i'd just let the LBS do it. better than effing something up.

  10. #10
    1 bike 2 many. Butterthebean's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fosmith View Post
    ^^ i'd just let the LBS do it. better than effing something up.

    But isn't that how we learn???

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Butterthebean View Post
    But isn't that how we learn???

    Uh, this coward doesn't want to burn a $125.00 CK headset- maybe if I would have bought a cheapo FSA pos...

  12. #12
    the actual el guapo atomship47's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by roadfix View Post
    If you have the proper tool (even home made, threaded rod, nuts, and washers) it's an easy task.
    ditto. my home-made headset press cost $3 to make. bought the parts at home depot. same with my race setter...that cost $4.


    spend $89 on a sawzall to cut my steerer tube. damn thing ruined it. had to buy a new fork.






    guess i got what i paid for.
    Compatibility:

    Your exact opposite is the Televangelist.

    Other personalities you would probably get along with are the Capitalist Pig, the Smartass, and the Sociopath.

  13. #13
    hello roadfix's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by atomship47 View Post
    spend $89 on a sawzall to cut my steerer tube. damn thing ruined it. had to buy a new fork.
    If you want power tools, an angle grinder or a chop saw work really well for cutting alloy or carbon tubes.

  14. #14
    the actual el guapo atomship47's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by roadfix View Post
    If you want power tools, an angle grinder or a chop saw work really well for cutting alloy or carbon tubes.
    nah. i paid the $5 to have it cut at performance bike (of all places). the 2nd line of my post was just a joke.
    Compatibility:

    Your exact opposite is the Televangelist.

    Other personalities you would probably get along with are the Capitalist Pig, the Smartass, and the Sociopath.

  15. #15
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    There was a thread several years back that had pictures of a homemade headset tool.

  16. #16
    hello roadfix's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by oilman_15106 View Post
    There was a thread several years back that had pictures of a homemade headset tool.
    Here, I've posted my home made tool here about 10,000 times....
    Attached Images Attached Images

  17. #17
    Senior Member BCRider's Avatar
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    Well, it's always a good idea not to press on the bearings themselves. But are the cartridge bearings in a CK headset not removable so you can just press in the cups themselves?

    My own homemade press is much like roadfix's shown above but mine is from 1/2 inch threaded rod with some plastic pipe sections for bushings so the rod stays centered.
    Model airplanes are cool too!.....

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by BCRider View Post
    But are the cartridge bearings in a CK headset not removable so you can just press in the cups themselves?
    Correct.

  19. #19
    Senior Member BCRider's Avatar
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    Ah, I see.

    In that case no, you don't want to push on the inner races directly if the cups will need a lot of force to seat them.

    There IS hope however. What you need is to get some rings or some sort of material that will sit on the outer area of the cups so the pressure does not bear on the inner races. This can be short sections of plastic tubing, large ratchet drive sockets or any number of solutions to act as packing so the force is applied to where it is safe. And since this can be a paint to set up and hold in place I'd suggest doing one cup at a time. For the second cup try holding the packing ring in place with masking tape or some other method so you can concentrate on the cup that needs to go in. At times like this an extra helper with a second set of hands and eyes can be pretty handy.

    Before I went to all that trouble though I'd try it with just the flat washers. If the cups go in with relatively light pressure then you're fine. After all, these bearings withstand lots of pressure and mallet like blows during normal service thanks to the weight of the rider and the shocks from bad roads. If they go in by using a wrench with your hands only a few inches from the bolt and the wrench is not leaving dimples in your fingers or palms then the torque won't be the sort of load that will damage them.

    I know this is a "feel" thing. If you can understand my description of the torque "limit" then great. If you're thinking I'm on drugs then that's fine too and you should either make up the packing rings or take it to a shop that has the right tools.
    Model airplanes are cool too!.....

  20. #20
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    When I did my CK using threaded rod and washers, the washers weren't pressing on the bearings at all - so I don't see how this would cause a problem. I did have issues with the whole assembly "cocking" to one side or the other and not driving the cup straight in. I was able to get it to work, but I think a larger diameter threaded rod would help this.

    On mine, the baseplate (aka crown race in a conventional headset) went on crazy tight to the steerer. With PVC pipe, there was absolutely no way I could get it to seat. When I took it to my LBS, then pounded it on with a metal on metal tool with a couple whacks. The right tools always help.

    - Mark

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by BCRider View Post
    Ah, I see.

    In that case no, you don't want to push on the inner races directly if the cups will need a lot of force to seat them.

    There IS hope however. What you need is to get some rings or some sort of material that will sit on the outer area of the cups so the pressure does not bear on the inner races. This can be short sections of plastic tubing, large ratchet drive sockets or any number of solutions to act as packing so the force is applied to where it is safe. And since this can be a paint to set up and hold in place I'd suggest doing one cup at a time. For the second cup try holding the packing ring in place with masking tape or some other method so you can concentrate on the cup that needs to go in. At times like this an extra helper with a second set of hands and eyes can be pretty handy.

    Before I went to all that trouble though I'd try it with just the flat washers. If the cups go in with relatively light pressure then you're fine. After all, these bearings withstand lots of pressure and mallet like blows during normal service thanks to the weight of the rider and the shocks from bad roads. If they go in by using a wrench with your hands only a few inches from the bolt and the wrench is not leaving dimples in your fingers or palms then the torque won't be the sort of load that will damage them.

    I know this is a "feel" thing. If you can understand my description of the torque "limit" then great. If you're thinking I'm on drugs then that's fine too and you should either make up the packing rings or take it to a shop that has the right tools.
    "home-made tools"

    "rings of some sort"

    "make up the packing rings"

    "masking tape"

    "extra helper"

    "plastic tubing to act as packing"

    Not for nothing, guys, but rather than pretending to be McGuyver, I really think that using the proper tool for the job is the right answer. Not the cheapest answer. Just the right answer.

    Bob
    Be the Bike

  22. #22
    biked well well biked's Avatar
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    FWIW, the only Chris King headset I've ever installed went on perfectly with a homeade press, mine is exactly like Roadfix's. I also used PVC pipe to set the base plate; no problems there, either.

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