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Headset adjustment

Old 02-26-24, 11:37 PM
  #26  
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Originally Posted by Duragrouch
...... I think I brinneled the cups. This was not deep into its life, circa '89 Shimano 105 headset. Perhaps it had fretting that only showed up after tightening, but like I said, not that many miles...... Usually, not that easy to damage a bearing, if the race has any reasonable thickness. But if a thin stamped race and balls or needles with small contact area, not that difficult to brinell......
Since you bought it used, you don't actually know how many miles. But think back, and if you remember, did it index straight ahead? I'll bet a night's bar tab it did, and if so what are the odds that it happened while tightening.

In any case, give some credit to the folks who make headsets. The parts aren't stamped. They're either forged or turned from bar stock. The alloys used and heat treatment produce excellent surface hardness and case to core ratios that preclude brinelling this way.

It might be possible to brinnel the lower stack by riding loose long enough that the repeated pounding does it, but it's not likely. In my 50+ years of experience, I have never seen an "index" headset not caused by fretting, and doubt that I ever will.
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Old 02-27-24, 01:48 AM
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Originally Posted by FBinNY
Since you bought it used, you don't actually know how many miles. But think back, and if you remember, did it index straight ahead? I'll bet a night's bar tab it did, and if so what are the odds that it happened while tightening.

In any case, give some credit to the folks who make headsets. The parts aren't stamped. They're either forged or turned from bar stock. The alloys used and heat treatment produce excellent surface hardness and case to core ratios that preclude brinelling this way.

It might be possible to brinnel the lower stack by riding loose long enough that the repeated pounding does it, but it's not likely. In my 50+ years of experience, I have never seen an "index" headset not caused by fretting, and doubt that I ever will.
All good to know, thanks.

Oh no, that was my first ever new, good bike. Prices on amazingly good bikes had dropped enough for me to afford, a year before graduation. In my perception, a bike that could have won the TdF 5-7 years prior, for $700 (1989 dollars). Loved that bike, put a ton of miles on it. Racy, but rode rough, eventually (over 10 years later) I put bigger tires on it and that helped. Knowing what I know now, I would have chosen one of their touring bikes. But back then I was bitten by the racing bike bug, never raced, but I promptly did a 50 mile ride to visit someone, that was a lot for me at the time.

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Old 02-27-24, 08:41 AM
  #28  
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Originally Posted by Duragrouch
Well, before I was much more experienced, with my first good road bike, the headset had a tiny bit of slack, I readjusted it without the cautions I said, and suddenly the steering was notchy, even after backing off slightly, I think I brinneled the cups...But if a thin stamped race and balls or needles with small contact area, not that difficult to brinell.
I highly doubt you brinelled the race with a minor headset adjustment. Even if you could, you would have had to tighten the nut so tightly that the steerer would be immovable. I doubt even the most ham-fisted mechanic would do that.
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Old 02-27-24, 05:35 PM
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Originally Posted by _ForceD_
…there were a couple things I’m concerned about. One was that a few of the balls (two or three) didn’t seem to be freely moving in the cage. The bearing cage looks unblemished, but it seemed to be crimped ever so slightly, and thereby keeping the adjacent ball from moving freely. I separated/pried the part of the cage holding the ball in place just a smidge to loosen the ball.
This seems to have essentially alleviated the problem. The steering is smooth now (while riding), and I can now ride the bike with no hands…I wasn’t able to before. And…my forearms aren’t as tired from steering. However, I think I’m still going to replace the headset because I have a feeling that there are probably flat spots on the ball bearings that were crimped by the cage.

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Old 02-27-24, 06:20 PM
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Originally Posted by _ForceD_
.....However, I think I’m still going to replace the headset because I have a feeling that there are probably flat spots on the ball bearings that were crimped by the cage......
Rest assured, that couldn't happen. The cage is much too soft to do anything to a bearing ball. It'd be like scratching a stainless steel pan with a wooden spoon. Since it's now working, I'd leave it alone until it isn't anymore.
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Old 02-27-24, 07:45 PM
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Originally Posted by FBinNY
Rest assured, that couldn't happen. The cage is much too soft to do anything to a bearing ball. It'd be like scratching a stainless steel pan with a wooden spoon. Since it's now working, I'd leave it alone until it isn't anymore.
Concur. But I meant a flat spot from sliding on the race since it couldn’t roll. — Dan
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Old 02-27-24, 09:21 PM
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Originally Posted by _ForceD_
Concur. But I meant a flat spot from sliding on the race since it couldn’t roll. — Dan
The pressure of the preload is much greater than the hold the retainer would have. Be assured the ball rolled rather than slid.

Feel free to replace the headset if you want, but don't feel that you must.
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