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Old 10-25-09, 11:54 PM   #1
guygadois 
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Frozen Quill Stem

I am reviving my buddies 1985 Pinarello Montello and having one hell of a time. The previous dude who tuned it up did a number - brake pads reversed, brake cables going to derailleurs, shifter cables going to brakes, insane amount of ooozing red lube coming out everywhere.

Now the current problem. I noticed the 3TTT quill stem has no bolt in it. Also, the quill stem seems to be totally froze to the fork. Looking from the bottom up I can see the nute wedged and stuck. Someone must have tried to unscrew the bolt and the nut dropped and they couldn't get the bolt out and so they leaved it.

So, how can I get this stem out? I have tried putting lots of WD-40 where the quill meets the fork. Nothing. I tried the boiling water method to try to expand it and see if that cracks the seal. Nothing. Any other ideas?

Alternatively, should I just leave it stuck without the bolt and let him ride it that way. It isn't coming loose now. It doesn't need adjustment.

Thanks in advance for your input.

-GG-
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Old 10-26-09, 12:00 AM   #2
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Liquid wrench / PB Blaster / ammonia / prayer

If you have a longer bolt you can insert it to knock the wedge out of the fork (if you can't thread the original bolt in to give it a tap) and drive it out through the bottom of the steerer (remove the brake for this).

It might take a good long soak to break down what is probably galvanic corrosion between the al stem and steel frame.

With access from the bottom of the steerer you can also give the quill a gentle tap from the bottom and once you get it moving you are gonna be golden as then it should not be hard to get it out.

You can't ride the bike like this as the quill may let go and it makes servicing the headset very problematic.
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Old 10-26-09, 02:41 AM   #3
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I'm on my 4th day of trying to get my ITM stem off my Vitus fork. Same problem, totally forzen stem welded on the steerer tube with I suspect corrsion in between. Started with soaking fron the bottom with lubricant, then Liquid Wrench and today, Some PB Blaster that I finally found at the local Home Depot. Even got myself a proper 27 ounce dead blow mallet. The tension bolt is loose and I think the wedge is just dangling because I could not get the tension bolt to stand proud of the top of the stem no matter how many times I turn it counter clockwise. It still does catch and tighten when I go clockwise though. I also got the top headset nut off and now have access to the steering tube/stem seam where I am spraying on some PB blaster.
I've been whacking at the stem from above, below and from the sides hoping that it will break free, but no luck so far. I'm really afraid that I might start to damage the fork by doing so. It's gonna be a long waiting game of soaking and hitting with the mallet, If there is no movement by next week, I'm going for using ammonia on it. I heard that it's so far the most effective stuff you can use to break stuck stems free.
BTW, Many have reported that WD40 will not work to free corroded on stems or seatposts.

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85(?) Vitus Carbone 7 Plus...with the stuck stem...
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Old 10-26-09, 07:06 AM   #4
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Be careful!!!

Trust me when I say that I have tried several different methods for removing stuck seat posts and steering stems. There is one absolutely fool proof way to remove a stuck post or stem without danger to the bicycle. Cut the post or stem out with a hacksaw blade - CAREFULLY!

Simply soaking and twisting or hammering or what ever will risk damaging a frame set and I know this because I found out the hard way on two separate occasions. Once trying to remove the steering stem with the result of twisting the forks out of alignment. And a second time with a stuck seat post. Again, the twisting motion caused damage and the top of the seat stay broke loose from the seat post lug.

These days, I go through the soaking and twisting thing but not as aggressively as I did in days gone bye. If the culprit will not budge, I cut the top off leaving about 1/2" exposed. Then I use a hacksaw blade to slot the post or stem in two spots about 3/8" apart. Then simply remove the slotted out section and collapse the post or stem. No danger to anything except the component which is toast.

When slotting the post/stem you can feel and hear the difference between cutting aluminum and steel. Caution will allow you to complete the task in about two hours.

Anyway, that's the way I do it and I am pretty sure that I will never damage another late sixties Torpado when removing a seat post again...
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Old 10-26-09, 07:33 AM   #5
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Let's not forget the power of prayer here...

I have yet to damage a frame or fork and have had to resort to cutting out seat posts which is not fun at all.
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Old 10-26-09, 07:49 AM   #6
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Tests better than PB Blaster at freeing up stuck parts. Not sure how it does with galvanic corrosion
but it's worth a try, eh?

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Old 10-26-09, 09:58 AM   #7
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65er comment...

I understand Sixty-fiver's comment but expect that he will understand mine when/if that first frame set failure results from the effort of removal. I never even considered the possibility until - snap - and that was that. Busted Torpado but in all fairness, the Torpado had torpedo style seat stay tops and the one I broke might have been flawed to begin with. But I am still wary...
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Old 10-26-09, 10:02 AM   #8
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I am not allowed to break frames...

Seriously...people have brought me a lot of bikes over the years and only one has managed to defeat me.

Nothing would remove the bottom bracket in a Specialized hard tail a lady brought in and I suspect someone used loctite or more likely, jb weld.
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Old 10-26-09, 11:43 AM   #9
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I'd say there is a bit more hope for a stuck stem vs. seatpost. Worse comes to worse you can cut the stem extension, remove the fork from the frame and have a machinist ream the remainder out. Anyway I guess that could be done, no actual experience.

Or you can try popping the the wedge from above by threading a M6 bolt and tapping it. Then tap the stem from below with a 7/8" OD rod, like Chombi did...
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Old 10-26-09, 12:39 PM   #10
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Adding insult to injury, the stem in question is an origial 3TTT Pinarello Panto from the 80s

ugh.
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Old 10-26-09, 01:11 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by guygadois View Post
Adding insult to injury, the stem in question is an origial 3TTT Pinarello Panto from the 80s

ugh.
The quill stem I'm trying to save is an ITM with "Vitus" engraving, OEM to the Vitus Carbone 7 Plus I'm currently restoring........so it MUST be saved!

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Old 10-26-09, 01:28 PM   #12
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I've had good luck using a long steel rod thought the bottom of the steer tube, as Sixty Fiver suggested. I wouldn't recommend using the stem after all that hammering, though.
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Old 10-26-09, 01:33 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tuz View Post
I'd say there is a bit more hope for a stuck stem vs. seatpost. Worse comes to worse you can cut the stem extension, remove the fork from the frame and have a machinist ream the remainder out. Anyway I guess that could be done, no actual experience.

Or you can try popping the the wedge from above by threading a M6 bolt and tapping it. Then tap the stem from below with a 7/8" OD rod, like Chombi did...
Cutting off a rare or expensive stem usually is not an option anyone wants to consider.

Getting the wedge out is key as that allows you to work on things from below and sometimes it takes a great deal of patience before success is achieved.

I just removed the quill stem from a 1954 Raleigh and after prolonged soaking and some heat it still took 3 hours of tapping with a rubber mallet and wood blocks and gentle turning to get it out.

Replacing the stem would be easy enough... the 1954 fork... not so much.
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Old 10-26-09, 01:33 PM   #14
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I used a giant hydraulic press. All of the above didn't work. It was my last and only option.
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Old 10-27-09, 09:01 PM   #15
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The stem was stuck in my '77 Gitane when I got it. I spent a week attacking it with PB Blaster, Liquid Wrench, ammonia, heat, cold, a sledge hammer, a vise and enough force to sprain my elbow. It wouldn't budge, so I decided to just ride it the way it was.

A month or so later, I noticed that the stem wasn't aligned with the wheel anymore. Yahtzee! I loosened the fixing bolt, gave it a whack, and it came loose. I guess all it needed was repeated whacking with a 185 pound hammer.

Given this experience, I don't know if riding it without the bolt is a good idea.
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Old 10-27-09, 09:08 PM   #16
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just a few days ago i had a stuck stem on my gitane, nothing worked(i even soaked it for a few days in pb blaster and every other lubricant) i finally got the rounded off stem bolt out and i had to hammer the old stem out. Of course my stem snapped where the bullbars connect.
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