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Canít get a crown race to set

Old 09-22-20, 12:02 PM
  #1  
Splendidtutiona
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Canít get a crown race to set

I have a 1973 Raleigh Comptition that I am restoring. Came to be from the back of a body shop about 3 years ago for $50. Not bad!

Well, didnít SEEM bad.

as I am attempting to seat the crown race (IRD TechnoGlide 1Ē threaded) and the damn thing wonít set! I have a piece of PVC and have supported the crown with a piece of wood and banged on the PVC with a hammer, I have turned the whole thing upside down and used a bigger hammer, no dice. It seems like the crown seat is not round. As I try to set the race, it can rock side-to-side (see pics) can I just ďsplitĒ the trace with a Dremel? (Sealed bearing headset) Do I absolutely need to find someone in the DC/Baltimore area who can cut this? What the hell is going on!


Rocked one way

And the other way
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Old 09-22-20, 12:11 PM
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The cup is an "interference fit" to the stem shoulder/seat. It has to go on square. If tipped this way or that, it will be tough to fit. It takes patience and practice.

Make sure that the cup and seat are clean. Warm the cup up, in Mom's oven, to about 200 degrees farenheight. Be careful handling it and it should slip right into place. Or...

Measure the inside diameter of the cup and the outside diameter of the shoulder seat and compare the difference. Report that difference here, and we might be able to help a bit more.
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Old 09-22-20, 12:12 PM
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Put the fork in a freezer for a couple of hours. Is your PVC pipe square at the race end, I've installed numerous races this way. I recently installed a Velo Orange sealed bearing headset for a friend and the crown race was split just for info. Don't take that as a reason to split, just saying it apparently is done. I would also examine fork seat area closely and maybe take some measurements if you have a caliper to get a feel for what you have.
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Old 09-22-20, 12:16 PM
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-----

the I.D. of the fork crown race is supposed to be .1mm smaller than the O.D. of the seat so that when it is mounted a very tight fit is achieved

the more common problem on Raleigh bicycle headsets is that the fork crown race is slightly loose

if you have access to a measuring caliper suggest you make measurements prior to doing anything else

if need be you can have the fork crown race seat milled by a bicycle shop or framebuilder

-----
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Old 09-22-20, 12:17 PM
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Do you have the original crown race to compare? In my experience Raleigh had some odd proprietary sizing/threading etc bitd
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Old 09-22-20, 12:18 PM
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Is your headset 26.4 or 27.0 ID? Either the fork is cut for 27.0, or it needs to be cleaned up a bit with a crown race face and chase tool. Either way that's not something that all bike shops have nowadays, so check around. Alternately some more "advanced" framebuilders use a lathe.
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Old 09-22-20, 12:22 PM
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...some sealed bearing headsets are designed to operate with an easily installed spit crown race, and some are not.
I would not assume you can split yours and get your headset to still work well. As suggested above, get a decent caliper and measure what you have.

Sometimes, if the press fit is especially difficult, PVC wont do the job. It flexes too much when you hit it with your hammer / mallet.
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Old 09-22-20, 12:34 PM
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Measurements:



Crown Race

Fork side-to-side


Fork front to back

I know Raleigh was known to do
some crazy stuff, but use a 27mm crown race? Come on... this is a Carlton built Raleigh Competition, not a Nottingham built Sports or something.

the VO (and others) is where the idea to just split it came from. I really don’t want to spend MORE money and have a shop face this thing. I looked for the original crown race and couldn’t find it. Also friend the fork in the freezer/race in boiling water trick to no avail.

also, sorry for the crappy caliper measurements. Digital is needed. I looked at the photos again and it makes it look like the front to back measurement is 26mm and the side to side is 27. But the theoretically round crown race seems "pivot" or "hinge" on the seat at the front and back. If I didn't like old bikes so much, I would hate them so bad...

EDIT: Also, sorry for all the edits. You would think someone at 36 could still work a computer and phone

Last edited by Splendidtutiona; 09-22-20 at 01:04 PM. Reason: wrong photo info
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Old 09-22-20, 03:16 PM
  #9  
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You'll want a metal "hammer" to set the crown race, like this one. No way a makeshift PVC pipe hammer will work with the tight interference fit on some combinations of steerer tube and crown race.

I just went through this with my early 1990s Trek 5900. I need to send the original Chris King headset off for servicing. Meanwhile I'm temporarily using an inexpensive but functional Origin8 headset. The crown races and bearing angles weren't compatible, otherwise I'd have left the original crown race in place. But the fit was so incredibly tight I couldn't budge the CK crown race with any makeshift removal method, so I took it to the LBS where they used the very elaborate, pricey and effective Park tool. They got it off in less than a minute.

I knew the PVC pipe trick wouldn't work so I bought the most affordable setter/hammer I could find online. There are a few similar designs. This one uses separate piece with bevels to match most common crown races. Others with similar designs use grub screws to fasten the two pieces together. The separate design seems simpler.

It looks and feels kinda crude, with a coarse "blued" finish to minimize rusting, but it's heavy, solid, not cheap pot metal and does the job. I've heard complaints about other similar hammers claiming they were pot metal. This one rings like steel when smacked so it's probably durable enough for repeated use.

Even as heavy as this thing is, it took about 30 smacks to fully set the crown race, using the safer method of handholding the fork without allowing the fork ends/dropouts to touch anything. Some folks will set the fork ends against a block of wood or something similar but I didn't want to risk that. The air-hold method will take a little longer and more strikes, but is less likely to damage anything. I wore work gloves while doing this. The only danger is pinching the web of your hand between thumb and forefinger in the process. And wear safety glasses and hearing protection, of course.


"CyclingDeal" crown race setting hammer on Amazon. There are others with similar designs.
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Old 09-22-20, 03:43 PM
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I use a length of heavy steel pipe as a crown race setter, at least for steel races on steel forks (but not for CF forks!). I essentially use it as a slide hammer, and it delivers lots of force. Only once did a crown race brake in half as a result, so be careful out there!
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Old 09-22-20, 03:50 PM
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I just had a Stronglight race I could not set with even my press I use to assemble and disassemble SAAB transmissions. It was on a chromed fork (chromed from factory, which had a steel race happily on it before). I think the copper/nickel/chrome process added a couple thou and the Stronglight race was on the very tight side of the tolerance window, with no chamfers to help it go on, and made of soft aluminum. I ended up reaming the inside of the race with my Chadwick adjustable reamer. Just a tiny bit! Popped right on with a tight but manageable fit, using my standard hammer-and-pipe approach.

I'm wishing I'd done the same with my Trek. That one, I used an arbor press and I'm not confident I wouldn't destroy the race if I ever need to get it off!
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Old 09-22-20, 04:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Splendidtutiona View Post
Measurements:



Crown Race

Fork side-to-side


Fork front to back

I know Raleigh was known to do
some crazy stuff, but use a 27mm crown race? Come on... this is a Carlton built Raleigh Competition, not a Nottingham built Sports or something.

the VO (and others) is where the idea to just split it came from. I really donít want to spend MORE money and have a shop face this thing. I looked for the original crown race and couldnít find it. Also friend the fork in the freezer/race in boiling water trick to no avail.

also, sorry for the crappy caliper measurements. Digital is needed. I looked at the photos again and it makes it look like the front to back measurement is 26mm and the side to side is 27. But the theoretically round crown race seems "pivot" or "hinge" on the seat at the front and back. If I didn't like old bikes so much, I would hate them so bad...

EDIT: Also, sorry for all the edits. You would think someone at 36 could still work a computer and phone
No worries, C+V encompasses many things. I will put this out, the Strawberry had a very tight fit, didn't think it would go on finally did but is so tight the war stories about Campy races splitting are haunting me.

The rocking means there is a high spot, looks like a repair or some such was done, I would try and carefully smooth that out, it can spit a race even if you get it on.

I have the Park setter and its not the best but does the job if you bring your A game, took a lot of force. The frame builder said he makes them tight so they stay that way.

I would encourage you to get a proper tool, chamfer the race and use plenty of regular thick axle grease with the hot and cold parts method.

And yes, you gotta get a digital caliper, that one has more deviation than the amount we're trying to look at.
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Old 09-22-20, 04:18 PM
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I hate digital calipers because the batteries are always going dead on me. And my mind always plays trix on me with those verniers, although they are good for making noobs feel like rubes. But there are plenty of good analog dial calipers available. I use this one, which does metric and inch at the same time, and is available for around $36:
Anytime Tools metric-inch dial caliper

If you take care of it, it's as good as a Brown & Sharpe. If you're interested in upping your caliper game...
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Old 09-22-20, 06:40 PM
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Originally Posted by Splendidtutiona View Post
I looked at the photos again and it makes it look like the front to back measurement is 26mm and the side to side is 27.
Hmm, looks to me like both crown measurements are about the same, and both about 27.4. I don't necessarily believe that; I think more likely the calipers are whack.

Don't get hung up on the rocking, it doesn't mean anything important. I think this is a simple case of crown race too small for the fork. If you don't want to mill or lathe-turn the fork, get a larger crown race.

@scarlson, interesting dial caliper you linked to. I have always preferred digital for the instant inch - mm conversion at the press of a button, but yours does the same thing in analog – cool! Maybe my next calipers will be that type.

I will say, my Mitutoyo digital doesn't go through batteries near as fast as cheap calipers do. I think there must be some drain or inefficiency in the cheap ones. One problem with Mitutoyo is all the cheap fakes out there. I've found it fairly safe to buy old used ones that were owned by machinists or engineers – less likely to be fakes.

For installing, I have a Campy that you hammer on with a hammer (because it came with my Campy toolkit), but I never use it. I have a Var slide-hammer, and that is very satisfying to use. Usually about 3-4 whams to set the race, and the last one has a distinctly different sound, so you know when it's "home". Wear ear protection, it's very loud.

Mark B in Seattle
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Old 09-22-20, 06:59 PM
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Thanks guys. I found the old crown race, and the measurement looks just like the new one, between 26 and 27mm, so I am assuming 26.4mm, not 27. I know the measurements on the fork look like 27 and that is what was messing with my mind. The crown "race" for the new headset is steel (thank god, i have been whacking at that thing all kinds of ways) so no worries there. Looks like I will be investing in one of these slide hammers I keep hearing so much about. Oh, and the fork will get a few hours in the freezer to go with it.

Thanks again.
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Old 09-22-20, 07:10 PM
  #16  
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bulgie

I don't want to question your wisdom but does it not look like a high spot where it is shiny with less paint in both pics and what looks to be a blob of braze just above it that should lessened a bit?
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Old 09-22-20, 07:41 PM
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Good ideas about heating and cooling! I've been working on a 1972 Raleigh Competition, and just set the crown race with a section of pipe. Fortunately I had the original headset and it wasn't giving me major trouble. FWIW, I "hammered" by sliding the steerer tube down into the pipe with the dropouts in the air and the pipe on the floor, rather than hammering while supporting on the dropouts, to avoid pressure on the fork tubes.


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Old 09-22-20, 08:00 PM
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Originally Posted by scarlson View Post
I hate digital calipers because the batteries are always going dead on me.
I hate vernier calipers because they remind me I'm too old to read them anymore without grabbing reading glasses.
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Old 09-22-20, 10:16 PM
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Originally Posted by bulgie View Post
@scarlson, interesting dial caliper you linked to. I have always preferred digital for the instant inch - mm conversion at the press of a button, but yours does the same thing in analog Ė cool! Maybe my next calipers will be that type.
I'm pretty happy with mine, and I've had them for about a year now. I bring them with me to the university machine shop because the common-use equipment isn't treated so well, so even though it's all Brown & Sharpe or Mitutoyo I don't trust it. The craziest thing about these calipers is that both inch and metric needles are driven from the same rack and pinion. So somewhere inside the dial is a 127 tooth gear, to convert between the two. I don't dare take them apart.

I will say, my Mitutoyo digital doesn't go through batteries near as fast as cheap calipers do. I think there must be some drain or inefficiency in the cheap ones. One problem with Mitutoyo is all the cheap fakes out there. I've found it fairly safe to buy old used ones that were owned by machinists or engineers Ė less likely to be fakes.
I saw a youtube video a while back in which someone put an ammeter on the Mitutoyo and on the cheapo calipers and found a significant drain when the cheap ones are turned off, and a much smaller drain on the Mitutoyo. I guess it's so that they remember where zero is and turn on when you start moving them, but the Mitutoyos do it more efficiently.

Anyway sorry for the thread hijack!
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Old 09-23-20, 05:29 AM
  #20  
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Originally Posted by merziac View Post

I don't want to question your wisdom but does it not look like a high spot where it is shiny with less paint in both pics and what looks to be a blob of braze just above it that should lessened a bit?
I was thinking about this. I have been (very lightly) getting at that area with a file and sandpaper. I may be doing to too lightly it do anything, but i also don't want to mangle the race seat area of the fork.

I tried the "upside-down" thing, but I only have a PVC. I think I am going to get one of the hammers that CancleCat mentioned and try that. This one has been an adventure for sure!
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Old 09-23-20, 06:28 AM
  #21  
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PVC is never going to work. Get a piece of heavy steel pipe with the right ID.

The last time I had to do this I took it to the LBS for installation, because, even though I was a pro mechanic and have installed hundreds if not thousands of headsets, they have a crown race facing tool and I don't. (nor did I care to buy one) Not all LBS have the tool or skill to do this anymore. You have to ask.

However, if your fork crown already had a headset installed and is properly faced, you should be able to do it at home. This assumes you have the right size crown race. If it's 27.0, get a 27.0 headset. If you can't tell, get better calipers.
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Old 09-23-20, 11:01 AM
  #22  
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Originally Posted by Splendidtutiona View Post
I was thinking about this. I have been (very lightly) getting at that area with a file and sandpaper. I may be doing to too lightly it do anything, but i also don't want to mangle the race seat area of the fork.

I tried the "upside-down" thing, but I only have a PVC. I think I am going to get one of the hammers that CancleCat mentioned and try that. This one has been an adventure for sure!
Well it looked like that to me, especially with the rocking at that spot, you should be able to smooth it if you're careful.

Sandpaper won't do it so the file is what you should use.

Is there a fill or repair and is that braze and from it?
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Old 09-23-20, 11:19 AM
  #23  
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Originally Posted by Splendidtutiona View Post
Measurements:

I know Raleigh was known to do
some crazy stuff, but use a 27mm crown race? Come on... this is a Carlton built Raleigh Competition, not a Nottingham built Sports or something.

the VO (and others) is where the idea to just split it came from. I really donít want to spend MORE money and have a shop face this thing. I looked for the original crown race and couldnít find it. Also friend the fork in the freezer/race in boiling water trick to no avail.

also, sorry for the crappy caliper measurements. Digital is needed. I looked at the photos again and it makes it look like the front to back measurement is 26mm and the side to side is 27. But the theoretically round crown race seems "pivot" or "hinge" on the seat at the front and back. If I didn't like old bikes so much, I would hate them so bad...

EDIT: Also, sorry for all the edits. You would think someone at 36 could still work a computer and phone

My 75' Carlton built Raleigh Gran Sport has a 27mm crown race. I don't have the original head set, so I've been looking for one that'll fit.
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Old 09-23-20, 12:16 PM
  #24  
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Originally Posted by merziac View Post
Well it looked like that to me, especially with the rocking at that spot, you should be able to smooth it if you're careful.

Sandpaper won't do it so the file is what you should use.

Is there a fill or repair and is that braze and from it?
I'm pretty sure no one has been into the depths of this bike since it was new. The front and rear derailleurs and seat were not original, but given their fragility (Huret Jubilee) and need for maintenance (Brooks saddle) that doesn't surprise me. The original TA cranks were probably never serviced (the cups are rough, so not sure what I am going to do there, I guess replace with cheap ones) and the hubs are original a maybe for having been serviced. It had a non-original 6-speed Regina freewheel that started shedding bearings (it rattles, which is odd). I just say all that to because someone turned it into a commuter, but I would be shocked if someone took the care to actually replace the headset or repair the fork at any point, and yet keep the original bars and stem. The removed headset looks original and that crown race measures the smae as the new one. Maybe someone squeezed a loose 26.4mm race onto a small 27mm seat? Who knows back then. I'll keep going with the file and see what happens.

I'm also investing in a proper tool. A place called MTB Tools seems to have one for like $10, so I sent them an email and we'll see what they come back with.
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Old 09-23-20, 12:32 PM
  #25  
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Campy SR crown races are the ones that split. Try finding a good one! I couldn't.
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