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Shimano 600 headset bearings

Old 06-26-22, 09:09 AM
  #1  
wontons
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Shimano 600 headset bearings

Hey!
I took apart Shimano 600 headset and assumed it has caged bearings. But it had loose bearings and I dropped a few and now I'm not sure how many there were. I understand you can fit as many as you can or leave one out if its a precise fit. One thing is weird, it has 3,9mm loose bearings. I thought shimano 600 had 3/16" or 4,8mm bearings? I ordered new 4,8mm and just now realised the old ones are not even close to 4,8mm! Wrong bearings or different setup?
Thanks for your help!​​​
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Old 06-26-22, 09:22 AM
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If you are talking about the 6400 headset, it should definitely have caged ball bearings.
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Old 06-26-22, 09:34 AM
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It looks like a 6400 headset I'll post pictures. They go to my album if someone wants to take a look!
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Old 06-26-22, 11:08 AM
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https://si.shimano.com/pdfs/ev/EV-HP-6400-0819D.pdf
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Old 06-26-22, 11:12 AM
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I have never seen a Shimano 600 headset w/o a caged bearing as assembly would be too time consuming. The HP-6400 which is the 600 Ultegra did have caged bearings and if memory serves they are 5/32"
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Old 06-26-22, 11:23 AM
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Yes. 5/32" bearings are the correct size. I just remembered wrong and assumed they were 3/16 never trust your memory. Maybe it has been serviced at some point and the mechanic didn't have caged bearings..
Edit: should I change into a cage or does it matter?

Last edited by wontons; 06-26-22 at 01:00 PM.
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Old 06-26-22, 04:43 PM
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Originally Posted by wontons View Post
Yes. 5/32" bearings are the correct size. I just remembered wrong and assumed they were 3/16 never trust your memory. Maybe it has been serviced at some point and the mechanic didn't have caged bearings..
Edit: should I change into a cage or does it matter?
I prefer loose bearings, one less than will fit in the cup, the additional bearing(s) can only help take the load. You can find engineers (and I are one) that will say caged are better but I believe this is only the case for polymer cages you are unlikely to find for a bike headset that might minimize metal to metal contact, retain grease better, better high speed performance (not cycling speeds), etc.
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Old 06-28-22, 08:51 AM
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There have been several iterations of the "600" hedset, some using 20 3/16" balls in each race and others using 25 5/32" balls in each race. Still others use cartridge bearings. If your version had 5/32" balls originally, that what you should use when you replace the balls.
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Old 06-28-22, 09:05 AM
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Thanks for the help all! I replaced the bearings with 25 5/32" bearings and all is working smoothly
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