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Singlespeed & Fixed Gear "I still feel that variable gears are only for people over forty-five. Isn't it better to triumph by the strength of your muscles than by the artifice of a derailer? We are getting soft...As for me, give me a fixed gear!"-- Henri Desgrange (31 January 1865 - 16 August 1940)

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Old 07-08-04, 06:42 AM   #1
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headset install...

the front end of my bike is creaking like crazy everytime i hit a damn bump...driving me nuts... I'm gonna take a guess and replace the headset... I know there are special tools to remove/install the headset....but are these absolutely necessary? or can I use a hammer and a screwdriver or something
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Old 07-08-04, 06:52 AM   #2
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you could use a hammer and a screwdriver, but only if you want a useless mess afterwards. there's a damn good reason why there's a fancy, expensive tool to press headset cups.

before you replace the entire headset, you might want to consider just pulling it apart, replacing the bearings and re-packing it. You don't need to replace it unless the bearing races are really pitted. and, since you don't need to remove the cups to do this, no expensive tools are needed.

then, when you put it back together, make sure that it's tightened properly (that is, enough, but not too much).
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Old 07-08-04, 07:10 AM   #3
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You can press in a headset using a long threaded rod, washers (mix steel and nylon, with nylon on the races), and bolts. Works as well as the fancy tool, just go slow and make sure the cups are going into the headtube straight. To get the fork crown race on, you can cut a length of PVC pipe to use as a slide hammer. The PVC pipe should be just large enough to fit over the steerer tube. Grease the inside of the fork race, slide it on, and bang it into place.

I've pressed in headsets using the above method, using the proper tool, and using a block of wood and a hammer. All three methods work; the key is to make sure the cups are going in straight. You can screw up using the right tools if you don't watch this. That said, I have a headset press now that I've gotten semi-wealthy and prefer it to the other methods. Short of that, go with the threaded rod; the entire set up is 3-5$ at a good hardware store.

For removal, I do recommend the Park Headset Rocket tool for the cups; it beats a screwdriver big, big time. The fork crown race can be taken off using a bench vise and a hammer; just put the fork in the vise so the bottom of the race is on the vise surface and bang on the top of the steerer tube.

I would try a repack first, as SVWagner suggests. Also, creaking noises can be a number of different things; it is usually a process of elimination finding them. Headset replacement is fairly extreme, and thus down the list. Check your bars and stem, the front wheel, look at the fork for cracks, etc. The creak may not be the headset at all.
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Old 07-08-04, 07:15 AM   #4
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Common tools are fine if used with care.

Removal: Straight blade screwdriver with a fat blade. The more blunt, the better. Use a rubber mallet (the light one's, not the pellet filled type) and gently tap the cups out from the inside.

Install: Couple ways 1) robber mallet and section of wood. Again lightly tap so that it gets seated straight. Or. 2) section of allthread with two large washers, enough smaller washers that fit inside the cups, and two nuts. The washers will press against the cups and the nuts seat the whole affair.

Aside from this, take it to the local LBS and they may (if you have an inside line) install it for free.

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Old 07-08-04, 07:25 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marked001
the front end of my bike is creaking like crazy everytime i hit a damn bump...driving me nuts... I'm gonna take a guess and replace the headset... I know there are special tools to remove/install the headset....but are these absolutely necessary? or can I use a hammer and a screwdriver or something
you sure it's the headset and not the stem?
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Old 07-08-04, 07:33 AM   #6
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thanks for the help guys... yeah, I guess it could be any number of things... I"m obviously not the greatest bike mechanic...so I'm obviously probably a pretty poor diagnoser I should really just bring it to the lbs and see what they have to say..then I'll know for next time...
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Old 07-08-04, 08:33 AM   #7
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its all about grease...
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Old 07-08-04, 08:38 AM   #8
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yeah..that was the first thing I did.. b/c I'll admit.. it was pretty dry for awhile haha.. but I tried repacking the bearings...after I picked up all the balls off the floor gonna check the stem next I guess since it seems like they creak alot.
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Old 07-08-04, 01:41 PM   #9
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Replace the old balls with new ones. Makes the overhauled headset less prone to come out of adjustment. Diagnosis of these noises is always a process of elimination, so try the simple fixes first. Small amounts of grease on threaded surfaces helps.
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Old 07-08-04, 03:48 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Poguemahone
You can press in a headset using a long threaded rod, washers (mix steel and nylon, with nylon on the races), and bolts. Works as well as the fancy tool, just go slow and make sure the cups are going into the headtube straight. To get the fork crown race on, you can cut a length of PVC pipe to use as a slide hammer. The PVC pipe should be just large enough to fit over the steerer tube. Grease the inside of the fork race, slide it on, and bang it into place.

I've pressed in headsets using the above method, using the proper tool, and using a block of wood and a hammer. All three methods work; the key is to make sure the cups are going in straight. You can screw up using the right tools if you don't watch this. That said, I have a headset press now that I've gotten semi-wealthy and prefer it to the other methods. Short of that, go with the threaded rod; the entire set up is 3-5$ at a good hardware store.

For removal, I do recommend the Park Headset Rocket tool for the cups; it beats a screwdriver big, big time. The fork crown race can be taken off using a bench vise and a hammer; just put the fork in the vise so the bottom of the race is on the vise surface and bang on the top of the steerer tube.

I would try a repack first, as SVWagner suggests. Also, creaking noises can be a number of different things; it is usually a process of elimination finding them. Headset replacement is fairly extreme, and thus down the list. Check your bars and stem, the front wheel, look at the fork for cracks, etc. The creak may not be the headset at all.
Wow, learned so much. When I installed the cups on the head tube I used a big C-clamp and two wooden blocks (all from home depot). Worked fine.
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Old 07-08-04, 04:21 PM   #11
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see here too:
http://www.mindspring.com/~d.g1/headset.html
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Old 07-08-04, 04:41 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marked001
the front end of my bike is creaking like crazy everytime i hit a damn bump...driving me nuts... I'm gonna take a guess and replace the headset... I know there are special tools to remove/install the headset....but are these absolutely necessary? or can I use a hammer and a screwdriver or something
A creak sounds more like a stem than a headset. If do rebuild the headset, if the bearing races aren't pitted theres no real need to replace the headset. (I remove mine using a big brass carriage bolt and tap it out. Doesn't damage the race that way. ) As Pogue said, you should replace the BB's. They're generally 5/32". Put enough in to fill the space minus one (don't completely fill the space available.
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Old 07-10-04, 12:24 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by [165]
Thats the site I used to make mine. Works well, easy to make.
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Old 07-13-04, 07:16 AM   #14
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so you guys are going to laugh...but I dont think the 'creak' was coming from the front end afterall.. I figured it was b/c when I was seated on the bike and pushed on the bars..it creaked...anyway, this morning on my way in..I think I've figured out that its actually coming from the seat/seat post!
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