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  1. #1
    Novice Bike Builder s14pat's Avatar
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    NEED HELP!! fork pipe is "rust-bonded" to stem

    i was taking apart my KHS gransport and discovered the fork piping is rusted onto the stem piping. i unscrewed the stem bolt and its broke on me a little below the threading. i put the bolt back in a hammered the wedge down thinking it should release it. the wedge went down completely and i still can't pull the stem off the fork. i figure its pretty rusted on considering i got it from friends backyard having been sitting through rain and sun for years and years.

    i tried all i could.. twisting and pulling to get it loose.. usually works with the other bikes i worked on (feet on the handlebars and twisting the fork with my hands.. haha!) .. using WD40 and hammering it loose, even took it to a bike shop and they couldn't even get it loose.. clamps and all.. it never budged.

    now im gonna try some PB spray ("Blaster" PB penetrating catalyst) its for rusted nuts, bolts, pipe threads, etc. not sure if its really gonna work.

    do you guys have any opinions on what i should do or try?

  2. #2
    Vello Kombi, baby Poguemahone's Avatar
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    1) Soak it with PB blaster. Do it from the top, and as well, turn the bike over and spray down into the fork steerer tube.

    2) Attempt to move it. If it moves, as soon as it moves, soak it again. Wait fifteen minutes.

    3) Repeat steps one and two until it really comes free.

    Failing that, here's the drastic method:

    1) Take hacksaw. Saw off stem as close to the top as you can.

    2) Get what is called a "drop" hacksaw. This is a blade on a handle; you can place the blade inside the stem.

    3) Saw three grooves down the inside of stem. Take care not to saw into the fork steerer; you don't want to cut all the way thru the wall of the stem.

    4) Take a hammer and punch. Place the punch on the outside of the stem, about where the middle of the three cuts inside the stem is. Strike punch with hammer. Stem should collapse and you can pick out the bits.

    Obviously this method destroys the stem.

    Some report success using ammonia. Some also use heat. Though not together, I think.
    Last edited by Poguemahone; 05-29-08 at 04:51 PM. Reason: clarity
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  3. #3
    Novice Bike Builder s14pat's Avatar
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    yah i think im gonna have to cut the stem. this whole projects been bugging me. ive never ran into this type of situation before. i did the PB stuff and that didn't work.. so i guess cutting the stem is my next move.

  4. #4
    Senior Member BigPolishJimmy's Avatar
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    I have the same problem with an old Trek, I'm using penetrating oil and patience. Sometimes it takes a while (days) for penetrating oil to penetrate.

    It make take repeated application and moderate trying to remove the stem over several weeks but I really want to save everything I can. So far it's been 2 days and I'm realizing this will be a test of patience because I really want to ride this 531 frame.

  5. #5
    Novice Bike Builder s14pat's Avatar
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    nice.. im looking for a reynolds 531 frame myself. about the frame, i thinking im giving up on the stem and saw it off. then soaking it in lye to dissolve the stem itself for the frame.

  6. #6
    Tilting with windmills txvintage's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Poguemahone View Post
    1)Some report success using ammonia. Some also use heat. Though not together, I think.
    Don't use ammonia and heat together, ever. Heck, I wouldn't recommend using ammonia under any circumstance if it was beyond regular household off the grocery store shelf strength. If you must, at least do it out doors and with someone around who can call for help if the fumes get you.

    Another option besides PB Blaster is vinegar. I don't know if you want to save the paint or not, but vinegar will use it's acidic value to eat away rust and oxidation. Just flush well with water to neutralize it afterward. Vinegar is also a nice economical alternative for soaking your fasteners and other rusted metal parts in to clean them. Use a closed container, and let set overnight, and rinse with water afterward. It's a lot cheaper than Evapo-Rust.

    PB Blaster actually works rather well for stuck stuff. In my vintage motorcycle restorations, I have used it on many items that seemed bonded for life. It can take several days to do it's thing though.

    Some classic car restorers I know also swear by the "used" brake fluid approach. They claim that dropping a few drops of used break fluid onto the threads of a rusted fastener/bolt/whatever will free it up over time. They claim it somehow follows the rust down the threads somehow. I don't know if it works, but I've heard it several times from several different sources.

  7. #7
    Seņor Member USAZorro's Avatar
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    I recommend a slight variation of this. It worked on my Raleigh Professional.

    1.) Cut leaving about 2" of stem sticking out.

    2.) as explained

    3.) as explained

    4.) squish the exposed stem with vise grips. This will open a space between the stem ad steerer near the top. Perhaps it can twist out at this point. If not...

    5.) apply penetrant (PB Blaster, liquid wrench or whatever). Wait a day, and try to remove again with vise grips.



    Quote Originally Posted by Poguemahone View Post
    1) ...
    Failing that, here's the drastic method:

    1) Take hacksaw. Saw off stem as close to the top as you can.

    2) Get what is called a "drop" hacksaw. This is a blade on a handle; you can place the blade inside the stem.

    3) Saw three grooves down the inside of stem. Take care not to saw into the fork steerer; you don't want to cut all the way thru the wall of the stem.

    4) Take a hammer and punch. Place the punch on the outside of the stem, about where the middle of the three cuts inside the stem is. Strike punch with hammer. Stem should collapse and you can pick out the bits.

    Obviously this method destroys the stem.

    Some report success using ammonia. Some also use heat. Though not together, I think.
    The search for inner peace continues...

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