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Servicing headset questions.

Old 01-13-21, 09:19 AM
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Wattsup
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Servicing headset questions.

I have a Cane Creek 40 on my Salsa Vaya Ti. From my reading, I understand it's important to remove the cups every couple of years and regrease before reinserting, so that the things don't seize in the bike permanently by way of galvanic corrosion at the titanium/aluminum interface. Here are my questions. The cups have sealed bearings. I know I should throw a little grease around the edges to prevent them from seizing in the cups, but should I slather grease on top of the bearings in the upper cup to help prevent water ingress? Also, the Cane Creek instructions indicate ( a dumb photo) to grease down by the crown race, but no explanation how. I saw no grease on the metal steerer when I pulled out the fork. Also, I don't have another crown race, but the one on the fork now (carbon fork, metal steerer) looks intact. It has that rubber gasket underneath...I think it's one piece with the metal race, but I don't want to pry it off if I don't have to. I assume I should clean that area with nothing but a clean rag, no solvent, and the solvent might creep. Correct? Thanks...
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Old 01-13-21, 02:51 PM
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From my reading, I understand it's important to remove the cups every couple of years and regrease
Is this really a thing? Where are you reading that?
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Old 01-13-21, 03:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Wattsup View Post
I have a Cane Creek 40 on my Salsa Vaya Ti. From my reading, I understand it's important to remove the cups every couple of years and regrease before reinserting, so that the things don't seize in the bike permanently by way of galvanic corrosion at the titanium/aluminum interface. Here are my questions. The cups have sealed bearings. I know I should throw a little grease around the edges to prevent them from seizing in the cups, but should I slather grease on top of the bearings in the upper cup to help prevent water ingress? Also, the Cane Creek instructions indicate ( a dumb photo) to grease down by the crown race, but no explanation how. I saw no grease on the metal steerer when I pulled out the fork. Also, I don't have another crown race, but the one on the fork now (carbon fork, metal steerer) looks intact. It has that rubber gasket underneath...I think it's one piece with the metal race, but I don't want to pry it off if I don't have to. I assume I should clean that area with nothing but a clean rag, no solvent, and the solvent might creep. Correct? Thanks...
They have a video and it shows where to grease.

But since your bike is carbon, the big thing to look into is to make sure you are using a grease that's safe for Carbon.
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Old 01-13-21, 03:58 PM
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Originally Posted by icemilkcoffee View Post
Is this really a thing? Where are you reading that?
It's a thing. I started a thread on it a year or so ago. I think with anything threaded it's even more important to inspect and regrease (or use antiseize.) If you're in a wet, damp environment, especially salt water, it's more likely. It's not the titanium that corrodes. It's the "less noble element" that corrodes. Google "noble metal spectrum." The further away the two metals are on the spectrum, the greater the chance for corrosion. You'd think that if the aluminum is anodized, it would be less likely, but I read that if the anodized part gets scratched down to bare metal, the corrosion process is actually accelerated on the scratched area. How often does it happen? I don't know, but I read enough bad bike stories to take it seriously. I ride in the mud alot.

I'll probably check every two years. I checked the bottom bracket last year, regreased well, so I might that let slide this year. I'm in the process of removing and regreasing every single metal part that comes in contact with the titanium frame.
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Old 01-13-21, 04:01 PM
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Originally Posted by cbrstar View Post
They have a video and it shows where to grease. https://youtu.be/lUy_tpAi0Xk

But since your bike is carbon, the big thing to look into is to make sure you are using a grease that's safe for Carbon.
Thanks, yes, I have. I guess you don't want your plastique fork delaminating Could make a ride exciting!
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Old 01-13-21, 10:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Wattsup View Post
I have a Cane Creek 40 on my Salsa Vaya Ti. From my reading, I understand it's important to remove the cups every couple of years and regrease before reinserting, so that the things don't seize in the bike permanently by way of galvanic corrosion at the titanium/aluminum interface.
I've never heard or read that from anyone anywhere. Yes, bearings should be cleaned and regreased. Loose bearings need that routinely and it's useful for cartridge bearings to keep dirt and water away from them. That said, I have never heard a recommendation to press out the cups until the headset has to be replaced completely.

I have had aluminum, steel and three Ti framed bikes and have NEVER removed headset cups as a maintenance procedure. The only time they were removed was to install a new headset after 10s of thousands of miles and, when the replacement time came, the cups (both steel and aluminum) came out with no problems at all.

Note, that Cane Creek video covers initial installation of a new headset. It has nothing to do with routine maintenance.
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Old 01-13-21, 11:57 PM
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Originally Posted by HillRider View Post
I've never heard or read that from anyone anywhere. Yes, bearings should be cleaned and regreased. Loose bearings need that routinely and it's useful for cartridge bearings to keep dirt and water away from them. That said, I have never heard a recommendation to press out the cups until the headset has to be replaced completely.

I have had aluminum, steel and three Ti framed bikes and have NEVER removed headset cups as a maintenance procedure. The only time they were removed was to install a new headset after 10s of thousands of miles and, when the replacement time came, the cups (both steel and aluminum) came out with no problems at all.

Note, that Cane Creek video covers initial installation of a new headset. It has nothing to do with routine maintenance.
I read it here:
https://www.slowtwitch.com/Tech/Head...rt_1_3127.html

"I did apply anti-seize to the headset cups when I first installed them, but that was well over a year ago. My rule of thumb is to remove each of these parts, wipe them down, apply new anti-seize, and re-install them at least every two years on a ti frame. On aluminum or carbon frames (which use standard grease or carbon paste), you can probably stretch it another year if you really want, but it is still good practice to periodically remove, clean, grease, and reinstall your headsets, seatposts, and bottom brackets. If you sweat a lot or live in a humid/coastal region, you will likely have to perform this service at more frequent intervals."
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Old 01-14-21, 01:09 AM
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Originally Posted by Wattsup View Post
"... but it is still good practice to periodically remove, clean, grease, and reinstall your headsets, seatposts, and bottom brackets. "
Is it really good practice to keep removing and replacing parts that should remain snug in place? OK, I can understand it if you plan to use a frame intensely for, say, five years - but if your bike should be good for 20-30 years then how good will those seats be after repeated removal? Or am I missing something?
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Old 01-14-21, 01:23 AM
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Originally Posted by Geepig View Post
Is it really good practice to keep removing and replacing parts that should remain snug in place? OK, I can understand it if you plan to use a frame intensely for, say, five years - but if your bike should be good for 20-30 years then how good will those seats be after repeated removal? Or am I missing something?
Dunno. Could be a good "thread."
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Old 01-14-21, 07:11 AM
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Seat posts..... yes, definitely.

BBs.... might be a good idea.

Headset.... waste of time. Leave it be.
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Old 01-14-21, 08:34 AM
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Just MHO, I can't see much benefit to routinely removing press-fit bearings, especially in OP's situation. Repeated removal and reinstallation is going to ruin the close tolerances.

From a chemical standpoint, the electronegativity of Al and Ti are pretty close, indicating there won't be much corrosion between them. You might get a bit more between Al and the iron in the bearings; however, if the bearings were properly greased during assembly, there won't be much of a path for moisture or oxygen, so it should be good for a long time.

Now if OP lives or rides near salt water, I'd suggest talking to the mechanics at the LBS to see what they see and do. Leave the bike outside on the beach for months at a time? a. don't do that. b. it might cause problems.
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Old 01-14-21, 09:22 AM
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I prefer using anti-seize, to grease - for preventing things from seizing over time. This goes for cups, and crown race. Haven't had problems with things getting stuck even after several winters of riding. At least with steel and aluminium, but I don't think titanium is too magically different.

For bearings - I don't see much benefit from overdoing with grease (water and dirt entry prevention). There shouldn't be too little, but overdoing doesn't help nearly as much as regular (yearly) cleaning and re-lubing does.
Having said that - any excess grease gets squeezed out, so does no harm (except for the looks, until you wipe it off).
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Old 01-14-21, 11:20 AM
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Cane Creek 40 means it's good for forty years. Ya, I would take it apart and clean it now and then, but remove the cups? No. I always have a pro setup that and install the first time. I don't have the tools.. and I don't like seeing or hearing about people banging the cups in themselves without measuring and cutting.
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Old 01-14-21, 11:30 AM
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Originally Posted by Wattsup View Post
I read it here:
https://www.slowtwitch.com/Tech/Head...rt_1_3127.html

"I did apply anti-seize to the headset cups when I first installed them, but that was well over a year ago. My rule of thumb is to remove each of these parts, wipe them down, apply new anti-seize, and re-install them at least every two years on a ti frame. On aluminum or carbon frames (which use standard grease or carbon paste), you can probably stretch it another year if you really want, but it is still good practice to periodically remove, clean, grease, and reinstall your headsets, seatposts, and bottom brackets. If you sweat a lot or live in a humid/coastal region, you will likely have to perform this service at more frequent intervals."
This is excellent advice for seatposts but lousy advice for headset cups. As to experience, I mentioned above I have three Ti frames, one is 25 years old and the other two are 15 years old. Their first headsets were replaced after 10 or more years of nearly daily use in all kinds of weather including snow and salt. In no case was removing the original headset difficult or were the cups corroded. As others have noted, repetitively removing and replacing a firm press-fit component is a poor idea.
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Old 01-14-21, 11:45 AM
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I probably wouldn't worry about it for a while. I certainly don't. So long as you used anti-seize and installed correctly you should be just fine for a long time. Certainly if in very corrosive conditions or humid conditions you might check it once and a while but that would be a pretty damn rare thing. With a headset cup it isn't threaded into the frame so it should be pretty easy to remove or at least has the option of bigger hammers to "knock it out the paaaahk" The one time I removed a headset was so I could replace it because the bearings got crushed.

If you didn't install it correctly then I would potentially worry but you probably would have had some issues by now. Now removing other things like seatposts and bottom brackets and such like that isn't a bad idea but headset cups unlikely and say they did get seized just make sure you can get the bearings for it and you are fine and dandy unless the cups have gotten ovalized or something odd like that. However that is all theoretical and probably unlikely to happen.

Ti is fly!
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Old 01-18-21, 02:57 PM
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Originally Posted by veganbikes View Post
I probably wouldn't worry about it for a while. I certainly don't. So long as you used anti-seize and installed correctly you should be just fine for a long time. Certainly if in very corrosive conditions or humid conditions you might check it once and a while but that would be a pretty damn rare thing. With a headset cup it isn't threaded into the frame so it should be pretty easy to remove or at least has the option of bigger hammers to "knock it out the paaaahk" The one time I removed a headset was so I could replace it because the bearings got crushed.

If you didn't install it correctly then I would potentially worry but you probably would have had some issues by now. Now removing other things like seatposts and bottom brackets and such like that isn't a bad idea but headset cups unlikely and say they did get seized just make sure you can get the bearings for it and you are fine and dandy unless the cups have gotten ovalized or something odd like that. However that is all theoretical and probably unlikely to happen.

Ti is fly!
Seems reasonable. I'm just going to install it with some good waterproof grease, and maybe check it in a couple of years. I don't like anti-seize. The stuff gets everywhere. Messy. I'd at least see *some* corrosion before the thing would seize. If I see no corrosion at all, then I could extend the service interval. I bought this Vaya from a guy who did a custom build, so I didn't know whether he had greased the thing or not. I don't see any corrosion on the cups, and I've done quite a bit of riding in mud, and some rain. The crown race is the one that seemed to get more exposure to mud and water. I could remove it for inspection, and I do have a new one I could install, but I don't want to mess it up and then have to buy another one. I want to get back on the gravel!
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Old 01-18-21, 03:32 PM
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Originally Posted by HillRider View Post
As others have noted, repetitively removing and replacing a firm press-fit component is a poor idea.
I'm the "why" camp. Headsets generally don't require frequent servicing anyway, so I don't see the point or the logic of pounding out the cups. Unless the races are pitted or there is evidence of corrosion, the races can easily be inspected and the bearings re-greased without pounding out and repressing the cups.
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Old 01-18-21, 05:20 PM
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Originally Posted by Wattsup View Post
Seems reasonable. I'm just going to install it with some good waterproof grease, and maybe check it in a couple of years. I don't like anti-seize. The stuff gets everywhere. Messy. I'd at least see *some* corrosion before the thing would seize. If I see no corrosion at all, then I could extend the service interval. I bought this Vaya from a guy who did a custom build, so I didn't know whether he had greased the thing or not. I don't see any corrosion on the cups, and I've done quite a bit of riding in mud, and some rain. The crown race is the one that seemed to get more exposure to mud and water. I could remove it for inspection, and I do have a new one I could install, but I don't want to mess it up and then have to buy another one. I want to get back on the gravel!
If you are checking things regularly then using grease is OK but anti-seize isn't so bad, I just use my tube of Park Anti-Seize and if I need to spread it use a glove or a piece of paper towel or something. I so rarely need to take apart or put together my bikes so using anti-seize isn't bad. If I was doing production work on ti bikes then yes it might be a bit different but occasional use isn't so much of a pain.
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