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How to take apart this 90s threaded headset?

Old 04-06-22, 12:38 PM
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Totte86
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How to take apart this 90s threaded headset?

Hello!

Im working on a 90s giant x1000 hybrid bike. I need to get the bearings for the headset out to service them as well as I can as this is a budget build. But I dont know how to get them out. There seem to be some plastic retainer that is holding the cartridge? inside and I dont know how to take it out without breaking it. The plastic retainer is held in by what feels like a lip at the edge of the headset cup.







Ive only worked on loose/caged ball bearing threaded headsets before so I dont know if this is normal or some weird 90s giant proprietary headset.

Thank you for any help!
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Old 04-06-22, 01:07 PM
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SurferRosa
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Originally Posted by Totte86 View Post
I assume this dark colored race revolves. Is that correct? Is it gritty? Personally, if this is a budget build, I would leave it in place under the assumption that I could push some grease under there and make it spin smoothly.
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Old 04-06-22, 01:16 PM
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Totte86
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Originally Posted by SurferRosa View Post
I assume this dark colored race revolves. Is that correct? Is it gritty? Personally, if this is a budget build, I would leave it in place under the assumption that I could push some grease under there and make it spin smoothly.
Yes the dark race revolves. The upper bearing is decent, the lower one is super gritty so needs a good clean before any new grease.
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Old 04-06-22, 01:47 PM
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SurferRosa
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Originally Posted by Totte86 View Post
the lower one is super gritty, so needs a good clean before any new grease.
If you can't remove it, I wouldn't spray any oil in there, like WD-40. It would then become very difficult for grease to stay in place.
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Old 04-06-22, 02:53 PM
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That white plastic ring is probably just a seal that can be carefully pried off with a thin blade. Once you remove it, you'll see the bearing balls which can be flushed out with WD-40 or some solvent. Dry off the solvent and pack some grease in there, replace the seal and test for smoothness.
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Old 04-07-22, 04:29 AM
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Totte86
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Originally Posted by SurferRosa View Post
If you can't remove it, I wouldn't spray any oil in there, like WD-40. It would then become very difficult for grease to stay in place.
Originally Posted by Crankycrank View Post
That white plastic ring is probably just a seal that can be carefully pried off with a thin blade. Once you remove it, you'll see the bearing balls which can be flushed out with WD-40 or some solvent. Dry off the solvent and pack some grease in there, replace the seal and test for smoothness.
I realized, with further inspection ^^, after knocking the cups out that the retaining rings are actually metal. Trying to force them out would just result in them getting destroyed and using the headset without them would just be more inviting for further water and dirt ingress. I ended up cleaning them out with an old toothbrush in consecutive baths of mineral spirits, and then when the mineral spirits were no longer changing color, blew them out with compressed air. Stupid design by whom I can assume is Giant. Cups with integrated bearings designed to be disposable, use until thrashed and then throw away and if not replaced then throw away the whole bike. Very non-user-friendly and fiddly to "service".
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Old 04-07-22, 05:07 AM
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Excellent pics, Totte86!
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Old 04-07-22, 06:57 AM
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Originally Posted by SurferRosa View Post
Excellent pics, Totte86!
Yes, for sure! Made it easy to see what is going on!

If you plan to keep the bike, and I'm not sure why not, decent conventional headsets are not a bad investment. You don't have to go all the way to Chris King, but Tange probably has something in its catalog which is durable and servicable. I'd hate to have that one and have to go through this over and over.
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Old 04-07-22, 08:04 AM
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Those are replaceable bearings, I would have no qualms popping those seals out for service or replacement. I have serviced that type with solvent and mushing grease into.

You are probably better off with a new bearing set for the lower cup.
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Old 04-07-22, 09:07 AM
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As long as you have the cups out of the frame you might as start with a completely new headset. If the bike has a 1" steerer, Velo Orange sells a 1" threaded headset with excellent cartridge bearings and a split crown race that installs with no tools.

If it's a 1-1/8" steerer, threaded headsets are less common but available.
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Old 04-07-22, 10:44 AM
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I probably would have pried out the steel retainers, or at least see how they react when prying. They don't really serve a function during operation of the headset beyond holding things in during assembly. Wouldn't need to be perfect for re installation.
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Old 04-07-22, 11:43 AM
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Originally Posted by Road Fan View Post
Tange probably has something in its catalog which is durable and servicable
I really like some of Tange Seiki's stuff. My '95 Trek Multitrack 730 needs a fairly low-stack-height headset, and their Levin CDS does the job.

Your tip to use their catalog is a good one. I always found their web site to be tedious to navigate when trying to compare products, and recently, it doesn't even seem to be working correctly (like, diagrams showing dimensions seem to be missing).

I downloaded a PDF version of their 2017 catalog, and that really helps.
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Old 04-07-22, 07:23 PM
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Maybe send pics to a Giant dealer and see what they say. Might be surprised.
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Old 04-07-22, 09:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Totte86 View Post
I rStupid design by whom I can assume is Giant. Cups with integrated bearings designed to be disposable, use until thrashed and then throw away and if not replaced then throw away the whole bike. Very non-user-friendly and fiddly to "service".
First off, nice job on your documentation. Normally we get an out of focus, poorly lit shot that only peripherally show the components in question.

I get the want to be able to rebuild and reuse a thing indefinitely, but what you’ve got is a 30-year old, recreational-grade hybrid bike; it has far outlived its expected design parameters.

Like posted above, you can probably get that retainer out, or flush and smoosh some new grease in there, but failing that, a new headset is a small price to pay for being that far out on the durability bell curve.
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Old 04-17-22, 07:23 AM
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A lightly used Shimano 600/Ultegra sealed bearing headset can be had for $50 or so on eBay if you have a 1" threaded steerer. I have this headset on all 5 of my 1" threaded steerer bikes, two of them were installed new in the 90's and just cleaned and lubed every few years. I have a Chris King on my one threadless steerer bike. Both types of headsets are bulletproof and can/should last the life of the bike with only occasional cleaning/re-greasing servicing.
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