View Full Version : Headset install
January 2nd, 2003, 11:45 AM
I suppose I may become McAskalot 2. :)
Advice on installing and removing?
I have read "use a rubber hammer or make a press, or bring to bike shop"
How do you guys handle your headset?
January 2nd, 2003, 12:52 PM
Headsets are designed to be press-fit and should NEVER be hammered into place.
If you can't afford to buy one you can make one:
1. Large bolt long enough to fit your headtube and then some.
2. Large nut to fit above bolt.
3. Large washers that are slightly larger in diameter than the headset.
Take bolt. Put 2 washers against bolt head. Put on top cup with press side down(grease face slightly). Put into frame with top cup press side resting on top of headtube face and rest of bolt sticking out bottom. Put on bottom cup with press side up(grease face slightly). Put on 2 washers. Put on big nut. Tighten everything up slowly until press sides line-up in frame and start to suck into frame slightly. With a wrench to hold top of bolt start to tighten bottom nut with another wrench. Go slowly to make sure everything is still lined up well. Tighten until both cups are snug in frame and level with the face of the headtube. That should cover installation. For removal it is worth while to just buy a remover. It looks like and exploded cartoon gunbarrell, the four tongues on the end splay outward. When you insert it through the center of the headset it springs itself outward toward the headtude walls and buts up to the bottom of the cup face. When struck with a hammer it pushes all around the cup and pushes it straight out without rocking it side to side and destroying the headtube walls.
Provided your top headtube face is milled parrallel to the bottom you should be good to go.
If your headset binds in part of it's radius or gets that tight than loose feeling when steering it may be that your headtube faces need to be remilled.
January 2nd, 2003, 01:32 PM
I'm going to contradict the previous poster; "hammering" a headset into place works just fine, as long as you are careful to make it go in straight. Just use a block of wood between the headset cup and the hammer, and take it slow and even. Supporting the frame so the headtube is vertical helps a lot, and you'll also want to make sure the other end of the headtube is on something firm -- like another block of wood. Most importantly, make sure there is a slight chamfer on the inside of the headtube before starting the process; if not, the sharp edge may dig into the aluminum headset cup. And use some grease there too.
It's possible to screw up the installation using either a homemade or professional press, or the hammer and block approach. I've installed 3 headsets over the past year with my hammer and block, with no problems.
January 2nd, 2003, 02:00 PM
Hey Tim, how do you true your wheels...... with a hammer ;)
Just messing with you.
I'll agree with Tim and Gungy. I have in the past hammered a headset in place successfully but it is a disaster waiting to happen. I have since made a cup press (I posted a picture of it about 100 posts ago), and yes you can "f" it up with a cup press if you dont pay attention. i think that the harder thing to do correctly without the proper tools is remove the cups and seat the bearing race on the crown of the fork. I bought a Campy cup remover and a Park race setting kit and wouldnt go back to makeshit tools after using the real deal.
SloMoJo, if you have any reservations about doing it yourself head over to your LBS and have them do it, better safe than sorry.
January 2nd, 2003, 02:45 PM
I think that the harder thing to do correctly without the proper tools is remove the cups and seat the bearing race on the crown of the fork. I bought a Campy cup remover and a Park race setting kit and wouldnt go back to makeshit tools after using the real deal.
Actually you can make a bearing crown race installer VERY easy. I have even worked in shops that emply this method. Take an old race and turn it over and drop it down upsidedown on the race you are trying to install. Next take a lenght of tub or pipe that has an I.D. slightly greater than the steerer tube (mine is an old Gary Fisher Cromo downtube) and slide it up and down the steerer to hammer the race on. The old race will match up with top of the new race and the bottom of the old race provides the surface to hammer against. Since you have 360° of contact with the race it should go straight on. Just go slow at first to make sure it is going on square.
Note: There is a bit of variety in the cut of different brands bearing races. You may need to try a couple to get one that works with the race you are installing. Also, I would not use this method to install a King, use the King tool that is ct to exactly fit the race(which is somewhat different than conventional races). With the King race adapter in place however I still use the frame tube method to seat the race.
January 2nd, 2003, 07:00 PM
I tried the threaded rod / washers method installing a headset - it worked, but I had trouble keeping the bolt centered. Next time I think I'd buy the shop tool.
Races can be removed by careful tapping with a long flat faced punch. Same works for installing the race on the steerer tube. You have to be gentle and patient and work around the circumfrence bit by bit to keep the piece from cocking..
January 2nd, 2003, 09:02 PM
A very well known and respected fellow mountain bike advocate who shall remain nameless has advised me that I can install headset cups by putting them in the freezer for several hours. The thermal contraction is just enough to make them slide easily into place. He suggests that the same principle applies to bearing races. This would seem counterintuitive because you want the cup to shrink and the race to expand but I do not doubt him for he is after all king. Opps did I give it away? Perhaps my understanding of thermal dynamics is way too elementary. Maybe the inside of a ring gets larger when then metal contracts. Maybe the shop will just press the cups and race on for me for and not charge too much.
January 2nd, 2003, 09:16 PM
Thanks to all.
I made the Home depot trip for the $4 press kit Grumpy suggested. It worked real well.
Top went in like a glove, the bottom took a few tries to get it straight. Problem was my washers are same size of cup lip. Need slightly bigger washers next time. Lesson learned.
January 3rd, 2003, 11:35 AM
Oops little late here's a pic of my $6 headset press
January 3rd, 2003, 11:35 AM
Oops little late here's a pic of my $6 headset press
January 3rd, 2003, 11:38 AM
do one side at a time and it works like a charm.
this is the "puller" it's 1" dia pvc pipe split into quarters bend out the quarters insert into hole tap with rubber mallot
January 3rd, 2003, 11:39 AM
What do you guys use to take em out?
January 3rd, 2003, 11:41 AM
You posted as I was asking the question.
Now that's service!
January 4th, 2003, 08:08 AM
I would strongly discourage you from using any homemade headset press.... First off, Headtubes need to be machined square and true so the cups will be installed to the correct depth and not sit crooked even as much as a millimeter. Also, the cups must be installed straight vertically to insure no ovalizing of the headtube will happen.
Some headsets such as Chris King (THE FINEST AVAIL) ;D require special tools for the cups and fork crown race.
Use extreme caution installing any headset with Homemade tools.....Just my thought on the topic
If the cups are not installed fully and correctly you will not get the correct bearing preload.
In addition for threadless headsets the star nuts in your steerer tube need to be a certain depth and installed perfectly staight vertically.
January 5th, 2003, 10:08 AM
Good to get the shop mechanic's perspective as well.
The cups are in, so I hope I did alright.
I now appreciate what you mean on the star nut. I went to the local bike shop (LBS) to get a metal top for my new headset. It came with plastic for some reason. When we started tightening it, the start nut just traveled up the fork. So we put a new one in (as I should have anyway) and the floor guy tried tapping it in with the bolt in place. That's really hard to do and impossible to get perfectly vertical and right depth. Just as you are saying.
Then the shop mechanic brought out the simple star nut tool, making the job easy and setting the nut just right. I think I will make that among the few "go to the LBS" tasks.
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