Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Bicycle Mechanics
Reload this Page >

Too much play in my Stump Jumper Headset

Notices
Bicycle Mechanics Broken bottom bracket? Tacoed wheel? If you're having problems with your bicycle, or just need help fixing a flat, drop in here for the latest on bicycle mechanics & bicycle maintenance.

Too much play in my Stump Jumper Headset

Old 08-31-20, 08:34 PM
  #1  
univega.duder
Newbie
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Aug 2014
Posts: 67
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 30 Post(s)
Liked 11 Times in 6 Posts
Too much play in my 1995 Stump Jumper headset

Dear Bike Forum Mechanics Community,

After purchasing the incredible, 1995 STUMP JUMPER M2 FS Comp in the very sweet "Grunge grape", I have come to the realization there is too much play in the headset. Iíve loosened the stem bolts, and Iíve thoroughly tightened the adjusting bolt. Alas no matter how much I tighten the adjusting bolt, it does not get rid of the play in the headset.

Today I took off the top cap, and admired the rusty star nut, but soon realized I donít know what the next step is. The headset appears to be the original Tange-Seiki S&-3 Aheadset. The fork is a Rockshox Judy. Iím wondering if the headset needs replacement, or is there a repair that can remedy this issue. Can I replace or repair myself? I
don't have any of specific tools for headset repair.

Iím open to any suggestions that gets me jumping stumps again soon.

Grunge grape!





Last edited by univega.duder; 08-31-20 at 09:59 PM. Reason: incorrect year
univega.duder is offline  
Old 08-31-20, 09:42 PM
  #2  
cxwrench
Senior Member
 
cxwrench's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: Nor-Cal
Posts: 3,535

Bikes: lots

Mentioned: 7 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1787 Post(s)
Liked 2,625 Times in 1,358 Posts
Your stem and/or spacers is most likely stuck to your steerer tube. There's plenty of room between the top of it and the top of the stem. Remove the spacers and clean them up then grease them. Make sure the split compression ring is not stuck either. Oh...flip your seatpost q/r so it wraps around the clamp before you skewer the **** out of your leg. It's not supposed to be point back like that.
cxwrench is offline  
Likes For cxwrench:
Old 08-31-20, 10:19 PM
  #3  
Andrew R Stewart 
Senior Member
 
Andrew R Stewart's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Rochester, NY
Posts: 16,607

Bikes: Stewart S&S coupled sport tourer, Stewart Sunday light, Stewart Commuting, Stewart Touring, Co Motion Tandem, Stewart 3-Spd, Stewart Track, Fuji Finest, Mongoose Tomac ATB, GT Bravado ATB, JCP Folder, Srewart 650B ATB

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3585 Post(s)
Liked 2,442 Times in 1,550 Posts
I'll also add that fork slop can mimic headset slop. Andy
__________________
AndrewRStewart
Andrew R Stewart is offline  
Likes For Andrew R Stewart:
Old 09-01-20, 01:55 AM
  #4  
ShannonM
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2020
Location: Humboldt County, CA
Posts: 661
Mentioned: 5 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 304 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 289 Times in 197 Posts
On the headset:
It looks like the star nut has a broken tine. I don't know if this will cause the headset to not hold adjustment, but it very well could... everything all has to work, from steerer tube to star nut to stem to top cap. Which is why I wouldn't ride it as it sits. Removing star nuts from steerer tubes is a pain, because they're engineered to never come out. Unless they break, which this one already has. If the star nut fails completely, the entire front end of the bike falls apart.

Another possibility... bent steerer tube on the fork.

After you've replaced the star nut, take the headset down to the cups, clean, inspect, replace as needed, repack, reassemble. Check the races carefully. If they're pitted or not-quite-round-anymore, replace the headset. If they're good, replace the bearings. If the ball / race interface is wonky, the headset can't stay in adjustment. Also, good headsets aren't expensive... replacing the whole thing isn't a terrible idea.

General-Purpose warning with Specialized M2 frames:

They are quite prone to cracking at or near the welds. The metal-matrix composite tubing that Specialized used on the M2 frames was an aluminum alloy mixed with aluminum dioxide ceramic particles suspended in the metal. The AlO2 ceramic increased the strength of the aluminum tubing quite a bit, so the tubes could be drawn thinner than non-composite aluminum, and thus be much lighter. All in all, a great idea. Except for the fact that, when the stuff was TIG welded into a bicycle frame, the aluminum oxide particles migrated away from the weld zone, leaving un-reinforced aluminum at the joints, which was too thin to take the strain by itself.

When I worked at an ex-Specialized shop in the early 2000s, I saw a bunch of cracked M2s. If memory serves, most broke at the seat stay / seat tube junction, followed by the chainstay / bottom bracket. All of the failures that I saw were ridden broken and didn't cause a crash, (they were all brought in for tune-ups, and "inspect every weld" was SOP for any M2 frame,) but that was 10 years after the bikes were made, and 15 years ago now.

I'm not saying, or even implying, that your bike is unsafe. But it's a thing that you need to be aware of, and be regularly checking for.

Really, the whole story is a total bummer. Metallic composites have enormous potential as a bicycle material, and almost entirely because Specialized didn't understand them and used the wrong one, the M2 fiasco killed them off so thoroughly that, even 25 years later, nobody in the industry has ever even experimented with them again.

--Shannon
ShannonM is offline  
Likes For ShannonM:
Old 09-01-20, 04:26 AM
  #5  
dsaul
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: South Jersey
Posts: 2,127
Mentioned: 18 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 658 Post(s)
Liked 631 Times in 394 Posts
It looks like the star nut is not set deep enough in the steerer tube. The top cap could be hitting the top of the star nut and not allowing you to preload the bearings. It could also be that the lower bearings are bad on a bike of that age, but I'd try setting the star nut a bit deeper first.
dsaul is offline  
Likes For dsaul:
Old 09-01-20, 05:22 AM
  #6  
dedhed
SE Wis
 
dedhed's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Milwaukee, WI
Posts: 9,213

Bikes: '68 Raleigh Sprite, '02 Raleigh C500, '84 Raleigh Gran Prix, '91 Trek 400, 2013 Novara Randonee, 1990 Trek 970

Mentioned: 34 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2213 Post(s)
Liked 2,289 Times in 1,415 Posts
Originally Posted by ShannonM View Post
Unless they break, which this one already has. If the star nut fails completely, the entire front end of the bike falls apart..
Once the stem is tightened, the star nut does absolutely nothing, and you could remove the top cap if you so desired.
dedhed is offline  
Old 09-01-20, 06:52 AM
  #7  
Bike Gremlin
Mostly harmless ô
 
Bike Gremlin's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Novi Sad
Posts: 4,263

Bikes: Custom made on Scott Speedster frame, Custom made on a 1996. steel MTB frame (all but frame changed at least once in the past 20 years).

Mentioned: 19 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1021 Post(s)
Liked 103 Times in 68 Posts
Some stupid questions, but at least I would check and confirm that:

Is the play you can sense coming from the steerer tube (bearings not being pre-loaded properly), or from the fork "legs", i.e. stanchions to lowers (slides) connection having play?

If it's the headset, it seems rather rusty, so I'd first remove the fork, check on the bearings. Clean and lubricate (or replace the headset bearings) as needed. Just to confirm that, when tightening the top cap, the preload is being put on the headset bearings, not just against the (stuck) spacers.

Also, as someone noted, check if the top cap bottoms out against the star nut inside. You can easily test that by removing the stem, then tightening the star nut to see if it can go all the way to the fork. If there's some room, and that's more than your fork is beneath the top of the stem (when the stem is in play), it means your top cap is not able to provide the required headset bearing preload when you mount it all. In that case, think it's easiest to just knock the old star-nut deeper inside, then install a new one - at the optimal depth.

No other ideas.

Relja
Bike Gremlin is offline  
Likes For Bike Gremlin:
Old 09-01-20, 08:16 AM
  #8  
cyccommute 
Mad bike riding scientist
 
cyccommute's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Denver, CO
Posts: 25,482

Bikes: Some silver ones, a red one, a black and orange one, and a few titanium ones

Mentioned: 138 Post(s)
Tagged: 1 Thread(s)
Quoted: 5001 Post(s)
Liked 2,584 Times in 1,524 Posts
Originally Posted by Andrew R Stewart View Post
I'll also add that fork slop can mimic headset slop. Andy
+1. An improperly adjusted hub bearing can also feel like a loose headset as can a sloppy brake arm. I isolate the fork by grabbing the wheel and/or the fork bridge while rocking the bike to feel if the headset is loose.
__________________
Stuart Black
Gold Fever Three days of dirt in Colorado
Pokin' around the Poconos A cold ride around Lake Erie
Dinosaurs in Colorado A mountain bike guide to the Purgatory Canyon dinosaur trackway
Solo Without Pie. The search for pie in the Midwest.
Picking the Scablands. Washington and Oregon, 2005. Pie and spiders on the Columbia River!
Days of Wineless Roads. Bed and Breakfasting along the KATY
Twisting Down the Alley. Misadventures in tornado alley.
cyccommute is online now  
Likes For cyccommute:
Old 09-01-20, 10:27 AM
  #9  
70sSanO
Senior Member
 
70sSanO's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2015
Location: Mission Viejo
Posts: 5,217

Bikes: 1986 Cannondale SR400 (Flat bar commuter), 1988 Cannondale Criterium XTR, 1992 Serotta T-Max, 1995 Trek 970

Mentioned: 19 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1715 Post(s)
Liked 1,795 Times in 1,113 Posts
If the spacers don’t easily slide up the steerer, it is the rust on the steerer tube as already noted in a previous post.

Remove the spacers. You may have to spray some WD40 or liquid wrench and then tap the top steerer tube to get them to move. This isn’t that much different than a stuck seatpost, except you could cut the spacers off if needed. Clean them up, grease the steerer tube and re-assemble.

Your star nut has pulled to the top and should be replaced. Just pounding it back down won’t keep it in place.

John

Last edited by 70sSanO; 09-01-20 at 10:31 AM.
70sSanO is online now  
Likes For 70sSanO:
Old 09-03-20, 09:50 PM
  #10  
univega.duder
Newbie
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Aug 2014
Posts: 67
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 30 Post(s)
Liked 11 Times in 6 Posts
Hi everyone - I can't thank you enough for all the excellent suggestions! The spacers were indeed stuck to the fork steerer tube. I was able to unstick them with some WD40 and vise grips. I also realized the plastic top cap seemed to be bottoming out on the star nut and had become a bit mangled. When I replaced the top cap I used a slightly shorter top cap allowing the bolt to better tighten into the star nut. At least that's what I think happened. In any case I'm happy to say the play is gone from headset!

Originally Posted by cxwrench View Post
Your stem and/or spacers is most likely stuck to your steerer tube. There's plenty of room between the top of it and the top of the stem. Remove the spacers and clean them up then grease them. Make sure the split compression ring is not stuck either. Oh...flip your seatpost q/r so it wraps around the clamp before you skewer the **** out of your leg. It's not supposed to be point back like that.
Thanks cxwrench You were correct my spacers were indeed stuck. I also fixed the seatpost q/r so I can hopefully avoid any skewering of my legs!

Originally Posted by ShannonM View Post
On the headset:

General-Purpose warning with Specialized M2 frames:

They are quite prone to cracking at or near the welds. The metal-matrix composite tubing that Specialized used on the M2 frames was an aluminum alloy mixed with aluminum dioxide ceramic particles suspended in the metal. The AlO2 ceramic increased the strength of the aluminum tubing quite a bit, so the tubes could be drawn thinner than non-composite aluminum, and thus be much lighter. All in all, a great idea. Except for the fact that, when the stuff was TIG welded into a bicycle frame, the aluminum oxide particles migrated away from the weld zone, leaving un-reinforced aluminum at the joints, which was too thin to take the strain by itself.

When I worked at an ex-Specialized shop in the early 2000s, I saw a bunch of cracked M2s. If memory serves, most broke at the seat stay / seat tube junction, followed by the chainstay / bottom bracket. All of the failures that I saw were ridden broken and didn't cause a crash, (they were all brought in for tune-ups, and "inspect every weld" was SOP for any M2 frame,) but that was 10 years after the bikes were made, and 15 years ago now.
Thanks ShannonM Woah I had no idea about the frames being prone to cracking. I haven't noticed any cracks but I'm going to look in more detail at the areas you mentioned.

Originally Posted by dsaul View Post
It looks like the star nut is not set deep enough in the steerer tube. The top cap could be hitting the top of the star nut and not allowing you to preload the bearings. It could also be that the lower bearings are bad on a bike of that age, but I'd try setting the star nut a bit deeper first.
Thanks dsaul The top cap was indeed hitting the start nut. I switched to a shorter top cap which didn't extend so far into the steerer tube and that seems to have allowed me to preload the bearings properly.

Originally Posted by 70sSanO View Post
If the spacers donít easily slide up the steerer, it is the rust on the steerer tube as already noted in a previous post.

Remove the spacers. You may have to spray some WD40 or liquid wrench and then tap the top steerer tube to get them to move. This isnít that much different than a stuck seatpost, except you could cut the spacers off if needed. Clean them up, grease the steerer tube and re-assemble.

Your star nut has pulled to the top and should be replaced. Just pounding it back down wonít keep it in place.

John
70sSanO Thanks John! Great suggestions.
univega.duder is offline  
Old 09-04-20, 07:57 AM
  #11  
cyccommute 
Mad bike riding scientist
 
cyccommute's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Denver, CO
Posts: 25,482

Bikes: Some silver ones, a red one, a black and orange one, and a few titanium ones

Mentioned: 138 Post(s)
Tagged: 1 Thread(s)
Quoted: 5001 Post(s)
Liked 2,584 Times in 1,524 Posts
Originally Posted by univega.duder View Post
Hi everyone - I can't thank you enough for all the excellent suggestions! The spacers were indeed stuck to the fork steerer tube. I was able to unstick them with some WD40 and vise grips. I also realized the plastic top cap seemed to be bottoming out on the star nut and had become a bit mangled. When I replaced the top cap I used a slightly shorter top cap allowing the bolt to better tighten into the star nut. At least that's what I think happened. In any case I'm happy to say the play is gone from headset!
Do yourself a favor and replace the spacers with plastic ones. While you are at it, grease the steer tube to avoid corrosion.


Thanks ShannonM Woah I had no idea about the frames being prone to cracking. I haven't noticed any cracks but I'm going to look in more detail at the areas you mentioned.
The M2 Metal Matrix frames cracked at the chainstay welds. But I seem to recall that Specialized used the M2 designation on other frames that didnít use the metal matrix allow.

Thanks dsaul The top cap was indeed hitting the start nut. I switched to a shorter top cap which didn't extend so far into the steerer tube and that seems to have allowed me to preload the bearings properly.
Thatís only a bandaid approach. You need to replace the star nut. Itís not difficult. In your case, you may be able to remove the threaded nut and just use a screw driver to bend the star part of the nut out of the steer tube. If you canít do that, just use a long punch (or screwdriver) to drive the star nut down into the steer tube and then install a new star nut.
__________________
Stuart Black
Gold Fever Three days of dirt in Colorado
Pokin' around the Poconos A cold ride around Lake Erie
Dinosaurs in Colorado A mountain bike guide to the Purgatory Canyon dinosaur trackway
Solo Without Pie. The search for pie in the Midwest.
Picking the Scablands. Washington and Oregon, 2005. Pie and spiders on the Columbia River!
Days of Wineless Roads. Bed and Breakfasting along the KATY
Twisting Down the Alley. Misadventures in tornado alley.
cyccommute is online now  
Old 09-13-20, 06:37 PM
  #12  
univega.duder
Newbie
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Aug 2014
Posts: 67
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 30 Post(s)
Liked 11 Times in 6 Posts
Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
Do yourself a favor and replace the spacers with plastic ones. While you are at it, grease the steer tube to avoid corrosion.




The M2 Metal Matrix frames cracked at the chainstay welds. But I seem to recall that Specialized used the M2 designation on other frames that didnít use the metal matrix allow.



Thatís only a bandaid approach. You need to replace the star nut. Itís not difficult. In your case, you may be able to remove the threaded nut and just use a screw driver to bend the star part of the nut out of the steer tube. If you canít do that, just use a long punch (or screwdriver) to drive the star nut down into the steer tube and then install a new star nut.
Thanks cyccommute I'm going to try and replace the star nut. I appreciate all the suggestions!
univega.duder is offline  

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information -

Copyright © 2021 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.