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Old 10-07-09, 12:35 AM   #1
lhbernhardt
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Uprooting a stem

I decided to swap out the fork last night. I had a traditional threaded fork and expander-plug stem on the bike I'm currently using, and I wnated to replace the fork with an all-carbon threadless unit. Anyway, I've got everything finished, but it took me at least three hours to get the stem out of the old fork steerer tube. I had to really reef on the bars side to side, and spray most of a can of penetrating oil into the base of the stem. It was coming out millimeter by millimeter. I would have to stop every now and then to cool off and rest, or check my email, make dinner, have a drink, etc. Anyway, I couldn't believe how long it took before the stem finally came out of the steerer.

I had never liked threadless forks, but I am changing my opinion. It's sure much easier to get the handlebar/stem assembly off a threadless steerer after a winter of bike commuting than off a traditional threaded unit. I never want to deal with traditional expander-bolt stems anymore. Now if they could only figure out a better way to do seatposts...

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Old 10-07-09, 06:29 AM   #2
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Now if they could only figure out a better way to do seatposts...
My thoughts exactly.

I currently have two road bikes with threaded stems, and swapping out bars is no bargain either. Despite all of that, when I look at any one of my newer steeds and the thread-less setups and then look at the graceful sweeping shape of my Cinelli stem, the Cinelli wins hands down on aesthetics.
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Old 10-07-09, 06:56 AM   #3
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1. When you put it in place, use Phil's waterproof grease on the stem, liberally below the top headset bearing.

2. Use a rubber mallet or dead blow hammer (no bounce) to tap the stem up from the bottom while holding down on the bike.

3. Reverse of 2, use a piece of PVC pipe with a slot cutout, put it around the stem, and tap down on the headtube/headset while holding the stem/bars. Pad it with cloth if you need.

Oh yeah, unscrew the expander plug bolt until it extends above the headset. Then tap it down to be sure the expander is loose from the steerer before you try to get the stem out.
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Old 10-07-09, 08:01 AM   #4
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Oh yeah, unscrew the expander plug bolt until it extends above the headset. Then tap it down to be sure the expander is loose from the steerer before you try to get the stem out.
That almost always works for me. The only exceptions have been old bikes that had been in storage for several years.
Seat posts are another story.
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Old 10-07-09, 09:38 AM   #5
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. Now if they could only figure out a better way to do seatposts...

Anti-seize is your friend.
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Old 10-07-09, 09:48 AM   #6
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C.F.Seatposts never stick.

But as a warning- Ti and aluminium will bond better than a weld- unless you use an anti seize agent between them.
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Old 10-07-09, 04:43 PM   #7
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I did use an anti-seize compound, applied liberally. But here in British Columbia, you're dealing with salted roads and wet conditions just about every day between late November and mid-March. I think the anti-seize just gets leeched out of the frame...

And I did have the carbon post stick to the steel frame, but it was easier to get out anyway than the aluminum stem. The disadvantage with carbon is that if it does get stuck, you don't want to apply heat to the tubing! I apply the carbon paste liberally.

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Old 10-09-09, 05:19 AM   #8
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As I know only too well, this is a maintenance problem. When I started cycling nearly 40 years ago, the old-school shop owner who sold me my first Peugeot warned me to pull, grease and replace the seat post and quill stem once a year Of course I ignored him for three or four years, and since I lived near the ocean, things were wet and salty a lot. When I finally wanted to change stems, it was a long, tedious task.
FWIW, most lubricants and penetrating oils aren't very effective on steel/aluminum bonds. Ammonia trickled into the joint is supposed to dissolve them. Never tried it, but I've read that it works.
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