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  1. #1
    Senior Member Chombi's Avatar
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    So where can I buy full stregnth ammonia to unschtuck my schtem??!

    Well, I'm still trying to take of my stuck stem from my new acquisition that I'm trying to restore. Tried the following so far:
    1) LPS penetrant oil. = fail
    2) Liquid Wrench = fail, so far
    3) PB Blaster = fail, so far
    4) Freeze off = fail, so far
    5) A lot of whacking on the stem with a dead blow hammer = fail, so far

    So, I'm down to one of the last magic potions mentioned out there, Ammonia with maybe some ATF mixed in with it. Problem is, no one seems to sell the full strength stuff, only the Janitor grade 10% cleaning solution Tried all the big and small hardware stores = fail
    Tried the drug stores = fail

    I need help to find ammonia or the hacksaw might be used on the lovely pantograph stem on the bike which I would not want to do. Any suggestions on where I should check next??

    In the meantime I will persevere and keep blasting it with penetrants and the Freeze-off and whack at it once in a while....

    TIA!

    Chombi
    84 Peugeot PSV
    85(?) Vitus Carbone 7 Plus

  2. #2
    Senior Member
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    I'm not sure what "full strength" is, maybe 30%? Anyway, did you try the 10% solution?

  3. #3
    Senior Member CrankyFranky's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve530 View Post
    I'm not sure what "full strength" is, maybe 30%? Anyway, did you try the 10% solution?
    I seem to recall that the max you can normally obtain is 34% from chem suppliers. Very very nasty stuff - would only work with it in a fume hood or with a respirator. Call me sensitive - don't want to die just yet.
    69 Raleigh Sports, '7 Atala Record, '82 Stan Pike

  4. #4
    working on progress treebound's Avatar
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    Wear splashproof goggles.

  5. #5
    sultan of schwinn EjustE's Avatar
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    ok...

    I assume the following is in place:

    -saddle is off
    -stem is on (duh) and sticking a bit above the TT
    -the thing is dry

    If you tried all of these, ammonia will not help. All I would suggest is the following (assuming that you don't care about the stem and it is not a rare pantographed example costing more that the bike) :

    -Get a hacksaw and cut the top of the stem until you get a clear hollow tube
    -WD40 the hey out of it and let it be overnight
    -clamp the stem
    -clamp the seat tube (low, like a bit on top of the FD clamp)
    -do a Levi Stauss old school commercial experiment (horses pulling jeans apart) by hooking the clamped stem to something and the clamped frame to something else and using a force to pull them apart. For example, you could hook the clamped stem to a tree, the clamped tube to the back of your vehicle and drive (sloooooowey).

    It will happen. And without fumes.
    -E

    still stuck in the '80s; '70s were good as well, but i severely dislike tubulars.
    I tri...

  6. #6
    Senior Member Chicago Al's Avatar
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    If you can find a blueprinting company you should be able to get some from them; ammonia is used in the process. But be EXTREMELY careful with ammonia. You need a proper respirator, not a little particulate dust mask, and vapor-proof goggles, the kind with glass lenses and rubber gaskets that fit snugly against your skin.

    I am a n00b to wrenching but I dealt a bit with ammonia in another connection and would suggest you use it only if you've exhausted every other option.

  7. #7
    Fuji Fan beech333's Avatar
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    You don't want to be messing with more concentrated ammonia. I'd be a bit disappointed if you could even find it for sale anywhere.

  8. #8
    26 tpi nut. sailorbenjamin's Avatar
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    Have you tried heat?
    I have spoken.

  9. #9
    DRF aka Thrifty Bill wrk101's Avatar
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    10% is the strongest you are going to find, which is also much stronger than the household ammonia you can find at Walmart/etc.

    29.4% is the strongest made in liquid solution, and I doubt you will be able to buy it. Concentrations above that are anhydrous (gas). You do not want to mess around with that. I doubt you would want to mess around with 29% either. Be very careful.

    I just bought some 10% myself to work on a pesky seat post.

  10. #10
    Randomhead
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    Quote Originally Posted by sailorbenjamin View Post
    Have you tried heat?
    I was going to ask that myself. The crud that forms between steel and aluminum seems to loosen up nicely with heat. Works with rust too.
    Heat the stem. The expansion doesn't hurt you. At least I can say that it works with seatposts.



    I should rig up a way to machine out stems on my lathe. It wouldn't be that hard to do.

  11. #11
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    I had a wedge stuck in my steerer.
    I was beating the hell out of it with a hammer.

    I then soaked the fork & stem & headtube in oxalic acid over night & it came out with a light tap of the hammer.

  12. #12
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    how long have you been at it? the last 2 bikes i have been working on, a '73 schwinn continental, and a '74 schwinn speedster both took over a week of being hosed down with PB Blaster 4 or 5 times a day (i work from home), and whacked with a rubber mallet after every spraying.

    the conti's stem wouldn't come loose until i propped it up in the bike stand in such a way that i could put a 2x4 under the fork (and under the headtube), placed another piece of 2x4 over the stem bolt, and then beat the crap out of it (the wood) with a hammer. doing that in place of the rubber mallet eventually worked. again, it definitely took over a week.

  13. #13
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    I cna only offer this idea. They sell concentrated ammonia solutions for cleaning the copper fouling out of *** barrels. Go to <gasp!> a *** shop and ask for "Shooter's Choice Copper Remover" or "Sweet's Copper Cleaner". These are not the "regular" bore cleaners. They are copper solvents and both will smell very strongly of ammonia. Use only in a well ventilated area. They will not harm the steel frame but keep them off teh painted finish. Read the directions before purchasing and/or using.

    http://www.brownells.com/.aspx/pid=1...COPPER_REMOVER



    How about liquid notrogen. Aluminum contracts MUCH more than steel. Once cold (-196 C, -320 F) it should be totally loose.
    Last edited by Mike Mills; 11-03-09 at 12:14 AM.

  14. #14
    . bbattle's Avatar
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    If the seatpost is aluminum then lye will work wonders on it. If you mix lye with isopropanol you get a very strong alkali solution that'll eat glass, aluminum and your hands.

    I'd give the oxalic solution a try, see if you can't solvate those rust ions in there. Trouble is, water has a high surface tension so you might put a bit of alcohol in the solution to drop it down. Or some Dawn soap. Just a drop in a quart is plenty.

    They use a very large "vibrator" to get the air bubbles out of a concrete pour. If you had something like that to attach to the seatpost, it would go a long way towards getting that seatpost unstuck. Or if you were lucky enough to have access to a large ultrasonic bath big enough to immmerse the whole frame.

  15. #15
    Senior Member Chombi's Avatar
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    Thank you very much for all the suggestions so far!
    I'll go ahead and try the 10% Janitorial stregnth Ammonia cleaner from ACE hardware, as some seem to have success with the stuff tht I though was just fancy Windex. I'll also go ahead and try careful applicaition of a little bit of heat and Freeze-off on the steering tube and stem this weekend. My brother who's a *** collector did mention some wonder chemical/penetrant that supposedly is very potent and he guarantees will free my seatpost.
    I McGuyvered myself out of the most stubborn, most complicated mechanical challenges through the years with all my vehicles and this bit of aluminum/steel corrosion WILL NOT BEAT ME!!....IT'S WAR!!
    It's the turkey's neck that's getting cut by this Thanksgiving, and not my now stuck ITM/Vitus engraved stem!!

    Chombi
    83 Peugeot PSV
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  16. #16
    DRF aka Thrifty Bill wrk101's Avatar
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    One problem with lye is that will ruin your paint.

    Let us know how the 10% works!

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chombi View Post
    My brother who's a *** collector did mention some wonder chemical/penetrant that supposedly is very potent and he guarantees will free my seatpost.
    KROIL is probably the material he is referring to. It is a penetrating oil, like Liquid Wrench, only better.

  18. #18
    Senior Member sonatageek's Avatar
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    Lube it well, take seat off, clamp seat tube in BIG vise, get a burly friend to help and use leverage on the frame to work it back and forth until it moves, more lube, more twisting, repeat until it is out.

    Watch out for how hot the post will be when it comes out.

  19. #19
    working on progress treebound's Avatar
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    Is this about a handlebar stem or a seat post?????

  20. #20
    Senior Member sonatageek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by treebound View Post
    Is this about a handlebar stem or a seat post?????
    Stem -- my mistake for not reading carefully.

  21. #21
    working on progress treebound's Avatar
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    Do we know what style of stem clamping this stem uses? The wedge on a bevel? The tapered plug pulling into a split recess? Something else?

    And can the OP get a view from the bottom end of the steering tube?

    And ultimately what is of more value to the OP, the stem or the fork assembly. This last point only needs to be addressed if more drastic measures come into play. I guess you could also factor in the value of the frame itself in case the stem and fork are more valuable than the frame.

    And I think some pics are past due ....

  22. #22
    Curmudgeon in Training 20grit's Avatar
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    Ballistol is a wonder oil. Not sure it'll work for this, but it might. It's also great for cleaning guns and any lubrication purposes. it's also biodegradable and non-toxic. You can cook with the stuff.

  23. #23
    Senior Member Chombi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 20grit View Post
    Ballistol is a wonder oil. Not sure it'll work for this, but it might. It's also great for cleaning guns and any lubrication purposes. it's also biodegradable and non-toxic. You can cook with the stuff.
    That's the stuff my *** collecting brother mentioned!
    I guess it's nothing really special then, in terms of breaking up or dissolving corrosion on aluminum or steel then?

    Chombi
    Last edited by Chombi; 11-03-09 at 11:50 PM.

  24. #24
    Senior Member WJV's Avatar
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    If you're set on ammonia, head to your local universitie's chem department an coerce a grad to let you do it in their lab. I doubt they'll give you any but maybe could do it on the spot. Most inorganic labs should have it.
    WjV

  25. #25
    Senior Member Iowegian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sailorbenjamin View Post
    Have you tried heat?
    Quote Originally Posted by unterhausen View Post
    I was going to ask that myself. The crud that forms between steel and aluminum seems to loosen up nicely with heat. Works with rust too.
    Heat the stem. The expansion doesn't hurt you. At least I can say that it works with seatposts.
    +1. This has always worked for me. Just go ahead and heat the stem with a propane torch. It's not a question of mechanical expansion of the parts. The heat softens the 'crud' or rust that is gluing the stem to the tube. Unless the head tube is damaged it should break free once the corrosion is softened up.

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