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Old 07-02-11, 05:13 AM   #1
Gerry Hull
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Alt. Solutions for creaky internal headsets

Have internal headset (slip fit bearings) with tapered steerer, 1 1/8 top, 1 1/4 bottom bearings, which is getting to be a more popular setup these days. Occasional creaking.

The bearing faces are clean, well machined, and in good alignment.

I dislike internal headsets on principle but am stuck with it. Usual solutions of slathering grease or anti-seize compound works for a while, but I am experimenting with more permanent solutions that would actually hold up until the bearings truly need to be service or replaced (which, given that you have to torque these things down so much to keep them from moving, shouldn't be that long)

I dont want the bearing just to not creak; i want it to not move, period. And without having to overtighten the top cap.

The first I tried was to use black RTV silicone, coating the bearing insert with it and tightening down the steerer before it set. This has worked well. Last week I disassembled it because something began to creak again, but it turned out to be the qrs, not the headset. The siliconed bearing had held up fine without creaking, and wasn't all that difficult to remove.

I was thinking of doing that again, but I also though that teflon pipe sealant, the type that never gets completely hard, might also work well.

The third solution, which I have ended up doing, is to shim the bearing housing by supergluing a .0025 strip of aluminum around its circumference, transforming a slip fit into an interference fit. Its fairly easy to press the bearing into the headtube with my palm; I don't want it to be impossible to get out. I would call it a 'light inteference' fit.
I used the ultra shock-resistant superglue, by the way; it gives an excellent bond between two pieces of aluminum so long as they are clean and scored with sandpaper. If the bearing still creaks after a time, i will redo it using the silicone again.

Any thoughts from persons of experience?

Last edited by Gerry Hull; 07-02-11 at 05:27 AM. Reason: None
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Old 07-02-11, 07:13 AM   #2
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If the RTV silicone seal worked and allowed easy removal afterward, why not just do it again? What's to be gained by more complex methods?
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Old 07-02-11, 08:59 AM   #3
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grease the seats/tapers. sounds like you need more preload if its creaking. if its creaking then its moving
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Old 07-02-11, 09:38 AM   #4
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I use QBP's Locking spacer 1st thing above the headset top race, to maintain the adjustment.

particularly when fussing with a bunch of spacers and stem swaps and packing for travel.

fork stays in the bike..
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