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Stuck stem Help!

Old 04-22-19, 02:58 PM
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Stuck stem Help!

I have stem stuck in a titanium frame (litespeed) and cannot get it out. I have been spraying wd40 and liquid wrench in it and hammering the stem bolt pretty hard and no movement up or down or sideways. I don't care about the stem and so I am thinking about sawing off enough so I can remove the whole fork/ stem assembly from the frame and then try and remove the stem from the fork. That way I don't risk damaging the titanium frame.Any suggestions are greatly appreciated. The fork is carbon.
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Old 04-22-19, 03:23 PM
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Can't tell from the picture if the stem bolt is still in there.

But, I'm assuming from what you said that you loosened the stem bolt and tapped on it with a hammer to try and knock the wedge nut loose. Correct? Did you ever feel the wedge nut release? If not, that's what I'd keep trying to do. Might permanently damage the nut or the bolt, but less chance of further damage to any other part of the steerer tube. Might need to loosen the bolt a turn or so every time you hit it until the wedge gets pushed far enough to loosen. Might need to use a drift, punch or something between the hammer and bolt if the bolts head is too recesssed in the stem.

But if you are trashing the fork for a new fork, you can just cut the stem off right above the headset nut.

Last edited by Iride01; 04-22-19 at 03:27 PM.
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Old 04-22-19, 03:47 PM
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I did try hammering the stem bolt and no luck. I was hoping to save the fork but don't care about the stem. That is I wondered if I cut the side arm of the stem off enough to slide the whole stem through the head tube out the bottom. It might be easier to separate if it is off the frame
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Old 04-22-19, 04:00 PM
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Removing the fork with the cut off stem still in will leave you with something that will be difficult to hold securely and be able to hammer and do all the other things you need to do to try and loosen the wedge nut or corrosion that is holding your stem fast to the steerer tube.

Perhaps you could cut off the tube above that big head set nut after removing the stem bolt. Don't cut the stem bolt because you might still need something that long to bang on the wedge with. Maybe after cutting the stem you could see down in there and determine if the wedge nuts been knocked free and it is corrosion that is causing you grief.

I'm still betting that the wedge nut hasn't come loose yet.
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Old 04-23-19, 03:52 AM
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I don't think the wedge is loose yet. I did damage the head of the stem bolt a little by using the wrong punch. Anyone ever try applying dry ice to a stem to freeze it to get it out ?
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Old 04-23-19, 06:43 AM
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See if you can access the bottom of the wedge, up through the crown of the fork. The worst one I've ever seen had a ridge of rust preventing the wedge from knocking down. I was able to get a drift punch from below and knock it out the top.
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Old 04-23-19, 06:56 AM
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If the bolt has been loosened, you should be able to whack the underside of the stem with a bfh and maybe break the corrosion, since the stem is sacrificial. Sometimes brute force is just the thing.
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Old 04-23-19, 07:45 AM
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What type of hammer did you use? A rubber mallet, dead blow, or a plastic hammer may not be enough. Try hitting the stem with a big ball peen hammer, steel on steel.
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Old 04-23-19, 09:51 AM
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You may have expanded the wedge right against the butting, where the steerer tube's inside diameter
is drastically smaller..

At least as a painted stem the corrosion and rust, that so often locks 2 dissimilar metals together,
is perhaps less if a issue, ... you did grease the inside of the fork before inserting the stem .. Right?
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Old 04-23-19, 02:01 PM
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Ammonia

can be your friend, if what you have is an aluminum stem bonded within a steel steerer tube. If this isn't the case, it won't likely help.

Invert the bike and plug the top opening of the stem bolt with duct tape or somesuch. Pour ammonia into the bottom opening of the steerer at the crown. Wait a few days. Try to move the stem again. Repeat, waiting another few days. This will dissolve the galvanic bond.
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Old 04-23-19, 02:44 PM
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If you can get the main part of the stem out, the wedge nut is pretty easy. Take the wheel off, put a long 2x4 between the fork blades right below the crown to resist twisting, and try twisting the stem to get it free. Pull up while twisting if you can and use the handlebars as leverage.

Once that is out, make a tool that our local coop calls the "Quillbilly". It is essentially a stem nut and several kickstand plates that serve as a stack of large washers (you can also just use a large stack of washers). Thread the stem nut into the wedge bolt and make sure that the bolt head bottoms out on the washer stack before you run out of thread at the wedge bolt. Turn the stem bolt until the wedge bolt cries uncle.

I have never seen a wedge bolt that can't be removed by this method.
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Old 04-23-19, 02:49 PM
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Originally Posted by aggiegrads
If you can get the main part of the stem out, the wedge nut is pretty easy. Take the wheel off, put a long 2x4 between the fork blades right below the crown to resist twisting, and try twisting the stem to get it free. Pull up while twisting if you can and use the handlebars as leverage.

Once that is out, make a tool that our local coop calls the "Quillbilly". It is essentially a stem nut and several kickstand plates that serve as a stack of large washers (you can also just use a large stack of washers). Thread the stem nut into the wedge bolt and make sure that the bolt head bottoms out on the washer stack before you run out of thread at the wedge bolt. Turn the stem bolt until the wedge bolt cries uncle.

I have never seen a wedge bolt that can't be removed by this method.
Quillbilly...Now that is some serious bike toolage right there.

I like it.
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Old 04-23-19, 04:29 PM
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Originally Posted by andrewclaus
See if you can access the bottom of the wedge, up through the crown of the fork. The worst one I've ever seen had a ridge of rust preventing the wedge from knocking down. I was able to get a drift punch from below and knock it out the top.
Unfortunatly there is no access from the bottom. It is a carbon fork with no hole at the crown
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Old 04-23-19, 04:32 PM
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Originally Posted by leob1
What type of hammer did you use? A rubber mallet, dead blow, or a plastic hammer may not be enough. Try hitting the stem with a big ball peen hammer, steel on steel.
I used a regular steel hammer hit it about 20 times , I did not have a steel punch so Iused a bolt to hit the stem bolt
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Old 04-23-19, 04:39 PM
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Originally Posted by andrewclaus
See if you can access the bottom of the wedge, up through the crown of the fork. The worst one I've ever seen had a ridge of rust preventing the wedge from knocking down. I was able to get a drift punch from below and knock it out the top.
There is no hole at the bottom. The fork is carbon with no hole at the crown
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Old 04-23-19, 04:45 PM
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Originally Posted by Phil_gretz
can be your friend, if what you have is an aluminum stem bonded within a steel steerer tube. If this isn't the case, it won't likely help.

Invert the bike and plug the top opening of the stem bolt with duct tape or somesuch. Pour ammonia into the bottom opening of the steerer at the crown. Wait a few days. Try to move the stem again. Repeat, waiting another few days. This will dissolve the galvanic bond.
Not sure about ammonia with titanium.
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Old 04-23-19, 04:49 PM
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Originally Posted by aggiegrads
If you can get the main part of the stem out, the wedge nut is pretty easy. Take the wheel off, put a long 2x4 between the fork blades right below the crown to resist twisting, and try twisting the stem to get it free. Pull up while twisting if you can and use the handlebars as leverage.

Once that is out, make a tool that our local coop calls the "Quillbilly". It is essentially a stem nut and several kickstand plates that serve as a stack of large washers (you can also just use a large stack of washers). Thread the stem nut into the wedge bolt and make sure that the bolt head bottoms out on the washer stack before you run out of thread at the wedge bolt. Turn the stem bolt until the wedge bolt cries uncle.

I have never seen a wedge bolt that can't be removed by this method.
Interesting idea. I just have to get the dam stem out first. I keep going back to cutting it out with hack saw
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Old 04-23-19, 05:27 PM
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Old 04-24-19, 05:33 AM
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Originally Posted by Kars
Not sure about ammonia with titanium.
Who said that the steerer tube is titanium? They do make carbon forks with Ti steerers, though. Pretty blingy stuff. Only the OP can confirm that.
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Old 04-24-19, 03:27 PM
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That is a good reference source. I' ve been reading through it for information. Thanks to all for the advice/suggestions. I am moving forward slow and methodically to avoid doing anything stupid
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Old 04-26-19, 09:11 AM
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I had this issue once. I couldn't get it to budge. Neither could my LBS. Had to decapitate the stem, remove the upper headset race, and drop the fork out before it could be dealt with. The solution might involve a hammer drill.
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Old 04-26-19, 07:46 PM
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Originally Posted by BobFishell
I had this issue once. I couldn't get it to budge. Neither could my LBS. Had to decapitate the stem, remove the upper headset race, and drop the fork out before it could be dealt with. The solution might involve a hammer drill.
I have been thinking about doing something similar , because with all the hammering and pounding I am afraid I will damage the frame at some point. So if I can remove the fork / stem from the the frame I can deal with it separately and not risk damaging the frame.
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Old 04-26-19, 07:48 PM
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Originally Posted by base2
Quillbilly...Now that is some serious bike toolage right there.

I like it.
Any risk of damaging the fork if I put too much force on the 2x4?
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Old 04-26-19, 08:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Kars
Any risk of damaging the fork if I put too much force on the 2x4?
I'm not the one that mentioned the quillbilly. But I think the 2x4 is just there to resist the torque from spinning the bolt that goes to the stuck wedge. I would think the 2x4 up high against the crown could probably take a lot more force with a lot less risk than if the wheel was in the drop outs & used for the same purpose.

You'd probably strip out the threads or break the bolt before the fork bent if the board was up high. I'd grease the threads in any case.
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Old 04-26-19, 09:45 PM
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Stems and seatposts sometimes you gotta get creative.

The 1mm-oversized REALLY stuck seatpost, in COLOR!
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