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Old 05-13-12, 12:58 PM   #1
Scarlight
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Frozen quill stem; bolt and expander cone not present

Hello forum

I have an old 70s bike with a threaded fork and a quill stem (of the expander type).

The stem was completely frozen and even the bolt didn't move one bit. After turning the bike upside down and soaking the stem in WD40 and the like, the bolt finally moved; however, the hammer trick for making the stem to move as well did not work. After messing with the bike some more, I'm now in a situation where I have both the long bolt and the expander cone out, but the stem is still stuck.

I've soaked it in WD40 again, and the oil is yet to come out of the other side (it's only been one hour though).

I would appreciate any advice on what to do next.

Thanks!
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Old 05-13-12, 02:45 PM   #2
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Assuming the wedge is free, your best bet may be to hold the fork in a vice by the crown. Protect it with a wood sandwich to avoid marring it. Now you can apply serious torque to the stem with a large adjustable up at the top, a pipe wrench, or with a long bar through the handlebar hole.

Clamping by the crown protects the fork blades from getting twisted in the process, and allows serious torque limited only by how long a lever bar you have (and the breaking strength of the stem).

BTW- ammonia is usually the better answer for freeing frozen aluminum parts, but IME works best if tried first, since the oil can prevent it from wicking in as effectively.
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Old 05-13-12, 03:40 PM   #3
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WD40 isn't all that great. You can also try PB Blaster instead of ammonia.
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Old 05-13-12, 04:11 PM   #4
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PB Blaster is good but Kroil is the best of the lot. Use lots of it and give it plenty of time to creep into the tiny spaces. Leaving the bike out in the sun or in a hot attic or vehicle will also help. Put the bolt or something similar into the stem hole and hit it HARD occasionally with a metal hammer (3 pound hand sledge is my personal weapon of choice) to shake things up. Support the fork crown solidly from below so that the force of your blows is concentrated at the stuck area. You want good solid hits, repeated light blows will be ineffectual.
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Old 05-13-12, 09:57 PM   #5
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+1 WD40 is crap for this task. +1 Kroil is pretty good (that's what I use), ATF/Acetone mix has some good reports as well.

Search is your friend, hundreds of discussions on stuck stems. Use google to search this forum.
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Old 05-18-12, 01:13 AM   #6
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Thanks everyone. A quick update for future readers:

I kind of ended up doing what dsbrantjr suggested. I screwed the bolt into the wedge while they were out. I then inserted them into the crown, with the bolt head facing the fork and the wedge facing the stem. With the bike upside down, I slammed the bolt repeatably with a hammer. After about 20 minutes of gradual progress, the stem was out.

I should probably mention that I ended up using only WD40, which definitely helped the stem slide. I just couldn't find PB Blaster, Liquid Wrench or Kroil in my area, and I preferred not to deal with ammonia in my apartment.
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Old 05-22-12, 11:50 AM   #7
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i have a frozen pinarello stem in a bianchi....

no real reason to get it out other than greasing it to prevent this again in the future, but i'd really know what kroil is!!??
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Old 05-22-12, 11:57 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by trueno92 View Post
i have a frozen pinarello stem in a bianchi....

no real reason to get it out other than greasing it to prevent this again in the future, but i'd really know what kroil is!!??
http://www.kanolabs.com/
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Old 05-22-12, 12:12 PM   #9
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PB Blaster and Kroil are both excellent. I have gone back and forth in my opinion of which is better for automotive wrenching. A few years back Popular Mechanics did a little test and good old (and often forgotten) Liquid Wrench came out on, or close to, the top.

In a pinch ATF (Automatic Transmission Fluid) and acetone mixed 50/50 also is a good penetrating lube, but it is of course highly flammable.

For the OP, glad to hear you got the stem removed!
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Old 05-22-12, 12:20 PM   #10
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PB Blaster and Kroil are both excellent. I have gone back and forth in my opinion of which is better for automotive wrenching. A few years back Popular Mechanics did a little test and good old (and often forgotten) Liquid Wrench came out on, or close to, the top.

In a pinch ATF (Automatic Transmission Fluid) and acetone mixed 50/50 also is a good penetrating lube, but it is of course highly flammable.

For the OP, glad to hear you got the stem removed!
i've sprayed the stem with loads of PB blaster and have loosened the binder bolt in hopes it will creep..

PB blaster doesn't seem to be in canada, so I picked it up cross boarder.

I will try attacking it with a heat-gun and see if everything expands and then let it cool and see if it breaks anything free.


(ref: automotive wrenching, this totally reminds me of caliper slider pins.. ugh)
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