Author Topic: Headset spacer stuck  (Read 3224 times)

philb0412

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Headset spacer stuck
« on: July 12, 2019, 05:59:14 AM »
Hello. I am in the process of tinkering and revamping my Raven Tour ready for a ride home from China.

I went to install the Thorn T-bar today and found that a large (last) headset spacer seems to have corroded to the steerer tube. That is unless I am missing something? This isn't a model of headset that I have misunderstood is it? I haven't touched the star fangled nut either.

I have tried putting some oil into it, giving the spacer a tap with a spanner (the closest I have to hammer), hitting the steerer tube with a spanner (not too hard yet).

What do you think is the best way to proceed? Buy a better gripping tool, like a pipe grip or something? Heatiing the spacer? Buying a rubber mallet and hitting it harder? Using a chisel to either hit in the gap between them (I dont want to damage the headset though). Or will I have to cut it off?

Thanks in advance. Phil


martinf

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Re: Headset spacer stuck
« Reply #1 on: July 12, 2019, 07:39:47 AM »
For that kind of headset, at this stage normally the fork would come out.

So I would try:

First try some proper penetrating oil, and leave it overnight. If you can't get hold of that easily something like WD40 might work better than ordinary oil.

Then borrow a large hammer. For this job I would use a mason's hammer or a large claw hammer, a sledgehammer is too big.

Support the bicycle so that the front wheel is a few cms off the ground (or get someone to hold it like that).

Get a thick piece of wood to protect the end of the steerer tube.

Whack the piece of wood really hard with a large hammer.

But perhaps first wait to see if someone else has a less brutal proposal.

________________

When reassembling, use some kind of antiseize grease. I reckon ordinary grease is much better than nothing if you don't have the proper stuff.

I think Thorn use something like Copperslip, it is sort of rust coloured. I have a small pot of silvery stuff that I have had for many years.

I use this on seatposts, stems, steerer tubes, eccentric, etc.

It has worked for me even when neglecting Thorn's advice to do an annual dissassembly of seatpost/headset - on one bike I left the headset for 5 years without any problems.

geocycle

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Re: Headset spacer stuck
« Reply #2 on: July 12, 2019, 08:46:24 AM »
I agree with Martin's approach.  Basically the steerer will have developed surface rust that's seized the spacer.  As well as penetrating oil and bashing the head of the steerer you could try heating the spacer as Al expands more than steel.
 

PH

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Re: Headset spacer stuck
« Reply #3 on: July 12, 2019, 11:56:15 AM »
It's not uncommon on a bike where it hasn't been removed for some time, yours looks pretty clean compared to some I've seen.  My preferred method is to remove the wheels and anything else that's loose, get a bit of wood, turn the bike upside down tap the top of the steerer on the wood.  It hasn't failed yet, though some have required more of a tap than others.

mickeg

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Re: Headset spacer stuck
« Reply #4 on: July 12, 2019, 08:47:25 PM »
If the large block of wood and mallet method does not work, surgery is next option.

The spacer is probably much softer metal than the steerer tube.  If you are extremely careful with a hack saw blade, with a bit of effort you might be able to cut the spacer off without removing very much metal on the steerer tube.

If it was me doing the work, I would be tempted to simply try to cut a bit off the spacer without the saw blade touching the steerer tube, essentially you would be putting a flat side on the spacer.  Then once that is cut, carefully removing more spacer metal with a big file.  A large solid vice would help a lot.  If that does not do it and if it is still stuck on, a chisel to peel it off of the steerer.

Perhaps use all new spacers on re-assembly, ones that are painted when reassembling.  The paint to avoid dissimilar metal corrosion.

PH

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Re: Headset spacer stuck
« Reply #5 on: July 13, 2019, 09:55:54 AM »
Perhaps use all new spacers on re-assembly, ones that are painted when reassembling.  The paint to avoid dissimilar metal corrosion.
Or a different material, I have interlocking plastic ones on the Mercury, a nice matt black finish to match the other components with the added benefits of lightweight (Joking) and also keeping the weather out.  Carbon ones are also available and not expensive.

philb0412

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Re: Headset spacer stuck
« Reply #6 on: July 17, 2019, 05:05:50 AM »
Thank you for all the great advice. I have ordered some WD40. I will let you know when that has arrived and I have given it a bash (literally).

Dave Whittle Thorn Workshop

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Re: Headset spacer stuck
« Reply #7 on: July 26, 2019, 08:54:24 AM »
This happens every now again, just get a blow torch and glow the spacer up and it will let go.