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do I need to loosen a locknut to remove a quill stem?

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do I need to loosen a locknut to remove a quill stem?

Old 06-19-10, 07:05 PM
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westBrooklyn
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do I need to loosen a locknut to remove a quill stem?

Sorry for the stupid beginner question, but I haven't been able to find the answer in the archives. They all deal will frozen stems.

Do I need to loosen the locknut in order to remove a quill stem?

Also, when removing the quill stem bolt, I think I went too far and lost the nut (or whatever the thing is that the bolt connects to). How do I find that peice?

Really confused to how these quill stems work. Sheldon Brown's page is too complex for me. I am not a very handy or mechanically inclined person.

Thanks for the help!
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Old 06-19-10, 07:42 PM
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Q1: No.

Q2: Remove the front wheel, turn the bike upside down, and look up through the fork. Use a long socket extension or similar, and tap it out (it will come out the top of the bike, where the stem came out). Do not tap it down further!

Or better yet, based on your last sentence "I am no very handy or mechanically inclined", I would just take it to a bicycle shop.

You should never remove the quill stem bolt. You just need to loosen it. If the wedge sticks, then you just tap on the bolt to loosen the wedge. If you are lacking tools, you might want to reinstall the quill stem, see if you can get the bolt restarted. If so, tighten it a couple of turns, then tap on the bolt. Once the head of the bolt is flush with the top of the stem, pull out the stem/bolt/wedge assembly.
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Old 06-19-10, 07:58 PM
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thanks.

So If my quill stem bolt is removed, but the stem will not come out of the frame, that means I have a frozen stem?
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Old 06-19-10, 08:36 PM
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Originally Posted by westBrooklyn View Post
thanks.

So If my quill stem bolt is removed, but the stem will not come out of the frame, that means I have a frozen stem?
No, it just means the wedge is so tight it will not loosen just by releasing bolt tension. That is is normal, especially if the stem hasn't been removed in a few years.

Screw the bolt about a dozen turns back into the wedge, give the bolt head a couple of whacks with a soft-headed mallet (or place a block of wood over the bolt head and use a steel-headed hammer). The stem should come loose and the wedge should be conveniently screwed into the end of the bolt.
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Old 06-19-10, 09:13 PM
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So I put the bolt back in the stem, and I screwed it at least 100 times, and it doesn't catch anything and doesn't tighten. What does that mean?

Sorry for the noob questions, I'm new at this. Trying to install a front bike basket that attaches to the stem.
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Old 06-19-10, 09:44 PM
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it means when you removed your stem bolt the wedge fell down into the open tube beneath your stem. take the same approach with removing the stem, tap it lightly with a mallet and it should come out, even when you get the two metals seizing together you can usually free it like this, then follow the earlier poster's advice of turning the bike over and using a long thin socket driver or something to tap the wedge back out the top of the steerer column.

You may also want to take the advice about an LBS, or alternatively refer to Park Tools' website or a bound repair manual to get a better understanding of how bikes are put together. I too tend to be one of those people who take things apart before understanding how they work or how to put them back together so I am not trying to look down on your for the questions, these resources are just an excellent aid to beginning mechanics like you and me.
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Old 06-19-10, 11:13 PM
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when I tap it lightly with a mallet, what part of the stem do I tap? I tap it to send it up (out) as opposed to tapping it back in just to loosen it up? Do you turn the bike upside down? If I want to use liquid wrench or another lubricant, where do I apply it?

I'm all for going to the LBS, but the ones around my area are always busy and they usually can't take care of the issue when I bring it in. They also don't do stuff like this for free, and end up charging at least $20. I don't mind learning how to do it.

I was able to re-connect the quill stem bolt to the wedge by flipping the bike upside down and then screwing the bolt a bunch of times.

Could somebody explain to me how the expander wedge works? How does it hold the stem in place? And why do you only need to loosen it up a little bit in order to remove the stem from the headset?

Also, when I loosen the stem bolt, it does not stay up, it stays settled down in the stem. I keep reading that you should loosen the stem bolt and then bang the bolt with a hammer when it is about a half inch high, and that will loosen the wedge. But I don't need to bang it with a hammer, as it falls on its own.

Does that mean that my stem is frozen/seized with the fork?

Last edited by westBrooklyn; 06-19-10 at 11:46 PM.
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Old 06-19-10, 11:50 PM
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Originally Posted by westBrooklyn View Post
So I put the bolt back in the stem, and I screwed it at least 100 times, and it doesn't catch anything and doesn't tighten. What does that mean?
If you put the stem wedge bolt back, try to turn it, and it is flush into the stem and doesn't catch on any threads, then
  1. Your wedge was loose and fallen deep enough into the steerer for the stem wedge bolt to not able to reach it.
  2. Your stem is stuck.

Spray some penetrant around the stem/steerer junction and then try again after letting that soak for a bit. If it still doesn't bulge, then you'll want to take it to a shop to see if they can do anything else.
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Old 06-19-10, 11:54 PM
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I was able to "re-catch" the stem bolt to the wedge, and tighted it.

So I guess that means my stem is stuck, as the wedge bolt was loose enough to fall.

So how do I actually go about applying the penetrant (liquid wrench?)? Turn the bike upside down and pour it into the hole in the fork?
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Old 06-20-10, 08:01 AM
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Originally Posted by westBrooklyn View Post
I was able to "re-catch" the stem bolt to the wedge, and tighted it.

So I guess that means my stem is stuck, as the wedge bolt was loose enough to fall.

So how do I actually go about applying the penetrant (liquid wrench?)? Turn the bike upside down and pour it into the hole in the fork?
We still don't know if you've done the right procedure. You say you tightened the bolt and the wedge was loose enough to fall, but it could have been still on the stem all the time, just not aligned right to catch the threads. Did you tap the bolt after threading it a few turns into the wedge, and did it then drop in further? if so and the stem is still tight then yes, turn the fork upside down an put penetrant in the hole, aiming for the sides of the column. Tap the stem (not too hard) while upside down a few times to help work the penetrant in and try to work the stem loose. If still stuck take it to a shop. Yes there are other things that can be done, but I would not recommend you do them.
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Old 06-20-10, 08:14 AM
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OP, go read up here and maybe the stem design will make more sense: http://www.sheldonbrown.com/gloss_w.html#wedgebolt

The best way to get penetrating fluid (use something like PB Blaster or Liquid Wrench, NOT WD-40), is to spray it from underneath. Leave the bike flipped over so that the penetrant sits on the affected area. After it's sat for an hour or a day, you can try holding the wheel between your legs and twisting the stem back and forth. If the stem twists easily, it should come right out with a little back and forth motion. If you can't twist it at all, you may need some help.
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