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  1. #1
    Senior Member ZiP0082's Avatar
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    threadless headset tightening

    So, this seems like a ridiculously simple thing, but I feel like I'm not doing something quite right. I removed the stem, and have put it back on the steerer, then followed these instructions:

    1 - tighten top cap via bolt
    2 - tighten stem bolts

    But, it feels like the headset isn't as tight as when I got my LBS to do it the other week. It just doesn't feel like the rubber gaskets around the headset are super tight or anything.

    I mean, bike maintenence doesn't get much more simple than this, does anyone have a tip? Thanks!


  2. #2
    thread derailleur erichsia's Avatar
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    +1 on this.
    I have the sane problem. I took off my stem, then picked up the front end. The bottom crown came off a little, and I think the bearing came out little too. the gasket down there also loosened up. I put everything back together, and tightned it up as much I thought it should be, but I feel slightly uneasy.

  3. #3
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    Sounds like you just need to loosen up the stem, tighten the top cap a little, then tighten the stem again. Don't over do it, just do the fork doesn't rock.. the top caps aren't very strong.

  4. #4
    Senior Member ZiP0082's Avatar
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    Thanks, Matt. The bolt seems as tight as possible, from trying that twice. From doing a few searches on the forums, I'm starting to think that the fact that i don't have a gap at all between the top of the steerer and the top of the stem may be a big problem, in terms of getting things snug. I just wonder how the LBS was able to do it the other week...

    update:

    It doesn't quite look like this photo, but instead even with the top of the stem it looks like i'll either have to add another very thin spacer to make it a perfect fit. i feel like i've gotten it a little tighter at the moment, but I'm concerned about the integrity.

    Last edited by ZiP0082; 08-13-08 at 06:54 PM.

  5. #5
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    ah yeah, that's your problem. I'm pretty sure you need at least 1/8" gap between top of the tube and top of the stem. But not too much.. 1/4" is too much.

  6. #6
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    ps, your ourys are on backwards.[justkidding]

  7. #7
    Senior Member ZiP0082's Avatar
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    cool -- it seems like i need to get a 5mm spacer (.19 in). thanks!

  8. #8
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    why do you need a spacer if the LBS had the headset adjusted correctly before you dissembled it? did you cut the steer tube or something?

  9. #9
    Ride for Life wearyourtruth's Avatar
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    you are right that you need that gap. i'd also say that i've found it's much easier to get it right with the bike on the ground. i don't know if you are using a stand, but it's tougher on a stand because the fork keeps wanting to slip down
    before posting, a "noob" should always ask themselves "could this have been answered by first visiting Sheldon Brown

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  10. #10
    dmg
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    Beautiful Member dmg's Avatar
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    Check your star fangled nut. With the stem bolts totally loose, you should be able to tighten the top cap to the point where it's not able to turn (gently, obviously). The gap between the stem and the tube shouldn't matter as long as the bolt is threading into the star nut and the star isn't moving around.... Other than that, I don't know what could be going wrong.

  11. #11
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    if you have no gap, you can't tighten it as tight as you need to.

    And doing it with the bike upside down is a good way to utilize gravity.

  12. #12
    Senior Member ZiP0082's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bionnaki View Post
    why do you need a spacer if the LBS had the headset adjusted correctly before you dissembled it? did you cut the steer tube or something?
    I think they may have been able to barely tighten it enough, given the circumstances. I had cut the steerer tube prior to having them tighten it down (initially I think I may have been tightening the stem down before tightening the top cap.

    if you have no gap, you can't tighten it as tight as you need to.

    And doing it with the bike upside down is a good way to utilize gravity.
    ah, hadn't thought about trying upside down, though i don't currently own a stand.

  13. #13
    Senior Member ZiP0082's Avatar
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    success! thanks for the super helpful PMs about tightening.


  14. #14
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    you got it working. what did you do?

  15. #15
    freelance gangster
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    i had this same problem yesterday and it was driving me nuts. I don't know how or why this worked, but I spun the stem/fork clockwise (w/both the top cap and stem tight on the steerer tube) and it started tightening. I was confused about why it worked, but it did.

  16. #16
    McNightrider
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    Quote Originally Posted by bionnaki View Post
    you got it working. what did you do?
    I think he changed the stem and spacer...

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