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Old 12-12-03, 01:08 AM   #1
bigoldbike
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stem seized in steerer tube

Recently, I had to return the bike I've been riding for years to the friend who lent it to me (it's a long story).

Anyway, I'm back to an old bike that's been hanging in the garage and other places for years, neglected. It's a good bike, but the headset bearings are grinding to nothingness and need to be changed. The only problem is the stem is seized/corroded into the steerer tube.

I've taken it to two shops, and they say its pretty much hopeless. But I can't give up, and I want to save the fork.

Any ideas?
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Old 12-12-03, 04:30 AM   #2
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Remove the tightening bolt and spray penetrating oil or WD-40 into it. Then turn it upside down (taking precautions for drips) and spray the bottom of the headset. Let it sit for a day a try to loosen. Repeat for a couple of days. You're probably SOL, but there's nothing to lose by trying.

If that fails, you can probably hacksaw the stem above the headset (you may be able to remove the fork at that point), and use a hacksaw blade to cut through the stem lengthways, and work it out of the steerer tube.
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Old 12-12-03, 06:35 AM   #3
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After removing or loosening the stem bolt, shove a long 2x4 ( 4-5 feet)through the fork legs up under the crown. Now anchor the handlebars - maybe with a couple of friends or something so the bars cannot move. Now twist the 2x4 against the bars. This will do the trick or you will ruin the handlebars or both. But, be sure to keep the 2x4 tight up under the top of the fork. I have had good success with this method.
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Old 12-12-03, 09:48 AM   #4
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I recommend using KROIL it is a better penetrating old
than WD40.

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Old 12-12-03, 12:25 PM   #5
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Use ammonia as it will disolve aluminum oxide. I have used it successfully on seatpost that was corroded into steel frame.
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Old 12-12-03, 05:27 PM   #6
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If you can loosen the stem bolt but the stem won't come out it may be that the wedge at the bottom is corroded to the stem.

1. Use whatever penetrating oil works best
2. Unscrew the stem bolt until there is some clearance between the bolt head and the stem,
3. Put a block of hard wood on top of the bolt and strike down with a hammer to break the wedge free from the stem.

-s
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Old 12-13-03, 12:54 AM   #7
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forgot to mention

Thanks for all the tips so far.

I'm going to try the ammonia (and every other solvent I can get my hands on), and then heave on the fork with a 2x4. I'd rather replace the bars than the fork, so I hope they go first, if anything does.

I didn't mention in my original post that the bolt and wedge have already been hammered out, shattered, by the second bike shop that tried freeing the thing--I've been riding like that for six months now (I know it's not a good idea). They're a good shop, but they didn't mention most of the things listed in these responses so far.

Thanks again--I'll let ya'll know what transpires.
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Old 12-13-03, 07:30 PM   #8
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Extreme ideas:

Saw the stem, drop the fork, and put some heat and a hammer to it, then replace stem?

I assume you have access to the bottom of the stem from where the bolt came out. Sick a long screwdriver (or a long rod) in there and whack it.
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Old 12-14-03, 09:11 PM   #9
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This will ruin the stem bolt and potentially the stem but I've used it before and was able to save the forks. Here's how to do it:

If the stem bolt isn't frozen unloosen such that it's above the stem about 1/4". Place the fork ends on the ground on something that will absorb the impact but not damage the ends (e.g. chunk of pine 3/4" thick) and take a hammer to the stem bolt.
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Old 12-15-03, 08:21 PM   #10
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what slider said!

if the wedge isn't already out, knock it out.
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Old 12-17-03, 06:00 PM   #11
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Follow roadbuzz's instructions if the 2X4 trick doesnt work. Be carefull with the 2X4...you can bend your fork.

The hacksaw technique works....partially saw lengthwise without scoring the steel fork. Squeeze the stem to 'collapse it' inwards...
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