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Quill stems installation marks

Old 04-07-21, 05:55 PM
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Gods lonely man
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Quill stems installation marks

Almost every quill stem that I have bought/installed had this typical marks, same scratches you see on the handlebars after forcing the stem into them. My guess is the ones with a lot of marks were harder to get off the steering tube, or maybe the rider played a lot with the height...
is there any tip to avoid those, apart from using grease and the correct size components?


Like this.
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Old 04-07-21, 06:28 PM
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Hone the tube.
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Old 04-07-21, 06:55 PM
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And chamfer the top.
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Old 04-07-21, 07:12 PM
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Originally Posted by merziac View Post
And chamfer the top.
Just to add a bit to what merziac said, it is the corners and edges that cause the scratches. I'm a frame builder so it is not effort for me to take one of my fine toothed files and put a slight chamfer on every edge. Aluminum is soft so one has to do this carefully so not to take too much. When handlebars have been clamped they don't necessary spring back to their original size. I use a large flat tool (like a Campy 15mm crank tool) to spread the stem head apart while wrestling the handlebars onto the stem.
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Old 04-07-21, 07:15 PM
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Take a small and a small to meduim ball peen hammer and just tap tap on the gouges on the post until they start to fill in...move the metal by tap tap tapping it. Youíll see whatís happening eventually...use both sides of the hammer...starting with the peen, the rounded side...then tap tap the little round indents with the flat side...in the end use med steel wool...aggressively...then work forwards fine steel wool until the gouges just disappear...

Last edited by billnuke1; 04-07-21 at 07:21 PM. Reason: Words..
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Old 04-07-21, 07:57 PM
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Originally Posted by billnuke1 View Post
Take a small and a small to meduim ball peen hammer and just tap tap on the gouges on the post until they start to fill in...move the metal by tap tap tapping it. Youíll see whatís happening eventually...use both sides of the hammer...starting with the peen, the rounded side...then tap tap the little round indents with the flat side...in the end use med steel wool...aggressively...then work forwards fine steel wool until the gouges just disappear...
I don't know if I have the skills to do that, I will practice with the cheap ones first.
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Old 04-08-21, 07:18 AM
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Another advantage of threadless headset systems.
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Old 04-08-21, 07:58 AM
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Originally Posted by jiangshi View Post
Hone the tube.
I have had to take a bastard file to the inside of a steerer on a Confente no less decades ago where the other mechanic did over-hone the steerer. Too much of a good thing.
the chamfer or at least emery cloth dressing of the end of the steerer is usually enough.
that and feel the entrance of the steerer after the headset is installed to know if there is a hitch.

most frequent I have found is a stem gets slammed just beyond the round region and the top nut leaves a mark.
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Old 04-08-21, 10:05 AM
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Originally Posted by T-Mar View Post
Another advantage of threadless headset systems.
I love the look of quill stems, some are a work of art, but the system itself, and all the sizing/compatibility issues are a pain in the ass.
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Old 04-08-21, 10:16 AM
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Polish it to a mirror finish.
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Old 04-08-21, 10:31 AM
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I think the older style ones like this is a bit difficult because the cone/wedge spreads the stem itself making contact with the fork tubing. Like a stuck seat post it's going to scrape against any corrosion or dirt in there when removing it. If I knew it was this type of stem before hand I would soak it with a really good penetrating oil for a while to reduce the scraping. But to be honest my experience with these stems is a bit limited and the few I dealt with came out easy.
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Old 04-08-21, 12:20 PM
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I believe some of you might be wrong or at least barking up the wrong tree. I understand this could come cross as pompous but please hear me out.

Have any one of you had problems installing a quill stem? Has it snagged and/or scorched (please take into account I am not English speaking) when installing it? This is an important question for what is following. Please think about it and be honest. Have any of you actually had problems installing a quill stem because of tight tolerances?

I have just short of 40 years of experience of quill stems and to my knowledge I have never ever had a problem installing one. OK - there are some different standards but if you are within a specific standard there is no problem. Some grease and then it slides in. I hope all of you grease up the stem and wedge/wedged ring before installing stems?

So... my dear fellow C&V enthusiasts... Why would it suddenly become a problem when you want to remove the stem and causing all these grinding marks on stems?

It is not like with the seatpost where you in 99% of the cases have a variable size hole (a slot with a bolt changing the size - clamping down on the seatpost). In 90% of the cases you do have a problem installing the seatpost. In that case there is cause to use a reamer or a honing device - or simply de-burr the slot with a file. Often this has to be done because of the slot having irregularities, the lug has been brazed and lost its roundness, etc. I correct this using appropriate measures depending on graveness.

But - the fork tube...!? OK - there might in some unusual cases be a need to use a file because someone has hacksawed off the tube but that is very uncommon. I believe I have used a file once in almost 40 years.

I belive the problem with scorched stems stem (pun not intended - but...) from two things (in order and often in combination):
1. Mainly - when installing a quill stem you should absolutely not adjust the headset until after the stem is properly fastened. And of course you should not try to remove the stem until you have unscrewed the headset lock nut and washer being lose.
2. You did not grease the stem when installing it (or more likely the schmuck that did it did not) and when many years later you need to get it out - to get it moving you are not able to use upward force without "wiggling" it.

OK - lash out. I can take it.

Last edited by styggno1; 04-08-21 at 01:47 PM. Reason: Got problems with spelling measures.,..
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Old 04-08-21, 12:50 PM
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Originally Posted by styggno1 View Post
I believe some of you might be wrong or at least barking up the wrong tree. I understand this could come cross as pompous but please hear me out.

Have any one of you had problems installing a quill stem? Has it snagged and/or scorched (please take into account I am not English speaking) when installing it? This is an important question for what is following. Please think about it and be honest. Have any of you actually had problems installing a quill stem because of tight tolerances?

I have just short of 40 years of experience of quill stems and to my knowledge I have never ever had a problem installing one. OK - there are some different standards but if you are within a specific standard there is no problem. Some grease and then it slides in. I hope all of you grease up the stem and wedge/wedged ring before installing stems?

So... my dear fellow C&V enthusiasts... Why would it suddenly become a problem when you want to remove the stem and causing all these grinding marks on stems?

It is not like with the seatpost where you in 99% of the cases have a variable size hole (a slot with a bolt changing the size - clamping down on the seatpost). In 90% of the cases you do have a problem installing the seatpost. In that case there is cause to use a reamer or a honing device - or simply de-burr the slot with a file. Often this has to be done because of the slot having irregularities, the lug has been brazed and lost its roundness, etc. I correct this using appropriate mesaures depending on graveness.

But - the fork tube...!? OK - there might in some unusual cases be a need to use a file because someone has hacksawed off the tube but that is very uncommon. I believe I have used a file once in almost 40 years.

I belive the problem with scorched stems stem (pun not intended - but...) from two things (in order and often in combination):
1. Mainly - when installing a quill stem you should absolutely not adjust the headset until after the stem is properly fastened. And of course you should not try to remove the stem until you have unscrewed the headset lock nut and washer being lose.
2. You did not grease the stem when installing it (or more likely the schmuck that did it did not) and when many years later you need to get it out - to get it moving you are not able to use upward force without "wiggling" it.

OK - lash out. I can take it.
Your answer is here:
Originally Posted by jiangshi View Post
Hone the tube.
Originally Posted by merziac View Post
And chamfer the top.
99% of your issues are solved by chamfering the top. On an older bike, the inner surface of the tubing may have been dinged from a poor installation of a stem. Expander wedges are often steel, sometimes they're over tightened.

If when building up a frame I notice that the stem isn't going in smoothly, I'll back out and chamfer the top. I've never honed a steerer, but realize it might have to be done.
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Old 04-08-21, 01:09 PM
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Originally Posted by gugie View Post

...Snip...

I've never honed a steerer, but realize it might have to be done.
And I believe this (above) is exactly my point.

Edit + I have never had a quill stem come up with more marks than when it went in... ;-)
Edit II, Gugie - how would a over tightened steel wedge scar the stem. It is at the bottom...? It comes up still at the bottom. ;-)

Last edited by styggno1; 04-08-21 at 01:52 PM.
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Old 04-08-21, 02:15 PM
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Most of the time, these zig zag scratches on stems and seatlosts are caused by people that are impatient and tried to twist off the stem or sestpost from the bike, before the stem quill or sest lug seatpost clamp is adequately loosened. I always cringe when I see people do this in videos of people working on their bikes.
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Old 04-08-21, 03:26 PM
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Originally Posted by styggno1 View Post
Have any one of you had problems installing a quill stem? Has it snagged and/or scorched (please take into account I am not English speaking) when installing it?
Yep, right now, it's the first time I have a problem getting in a quill stem, is always the other way around, the stem I am installing has already some little zig zag marks from the previous owner, and it doesn't slide all the way down like it should, so I want to be very cautious, it's in great shape for his age (50s-60s) and leaving some nasty marks would ruin it, even though I am going to slam it all the way down.
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Old 04-08-21, 08:26 PM
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I do this to all my stems but I find it happens coming out not going in. The trick is to pull it straight out not rock it around.
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Old 04-09-21, 06:45 AM
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styggno1 I agree- Iíve never had that result on a stem, but several times on seatposts. I think you looked perfectly at some of the reasons why.
Apparently this can happen on this kind of expander-plug stem too!
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Old 04-09-21, 08:14 AM
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I do have one bike that has a steer tube that needs the headset locknut needs a hone. I could not put the stem on when the headset was at correct install.
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Old 04-09-21, 08:46 AM
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Originally Posted by merziac View Post
And chamfer the top.
chamfer? i hardly know her!
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