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View Full Version : Cannot screw pinch bolt back in after greasing (threadless headset)



KLizotte
06-18-2014, 11:07 PM
To solve a mysterious noise, the mechanic at Spokes suggested that I grease the handlebar faceplate bolts and headset pinch bolts by greasing and reinstalling one at a time. The former was easy, and I was almost done with the latter till I ran into the problem of not being able to screw in the final pinch bolt. It seems like the the two pieces are not lining up perfectly therefore I am unable to grab the thread and finish installing the bolt even though the top pinch bolt is fully secure. Visually it looks fine but I spent over an hour trying to get that bolt in. I even took out the other bolt fully and loosened and tightened the top cap screw and tried again. I can get one bolt in but not the other.

Has anyone else ever experienced this? What am I doing wrong? I looked at a bunch of YouTube videos and installing a threadless headset seems ridiculously easy and no one in video land seems to have trouble screwing the pinch bolts into place.

Am most annoyed and cannot ride till this is fixed. I may have to go back to the LBS with my head hung in shame to get this fixed....

Thanks for any advice!

6017

Jason B
06-19-2014, 12:19 AM
Zonks, what a late night PITA! Maybe remove the stem completely and slightly start each pinch bolt before placing the stem back on. It may be the top screw is adding some pressure that is misaligning them. Sorry that is all I can think of as I watch the cool lightning storm.

n18
06-19-2014, 02:18 AM
There is always a learning curve with new problems, and "wasted" time when that happens. Few days ago it took me 2 hours to change a light bulb-I mean changing a dimmer. Here are some links that you might find helpful:

http://www.performancebike.com/bikes/Content_10052_10551_-1_AdjustThreadlessHeadset
http://www.parktool.com/blog/repair-help/threadless-headset-service

Amalitza
06-19-2014, 05:50 AM
Have you tried getting the both bolts started w/ the stem off? Remove top cap, slide stem off, screw both bolts in just far enough to be secure but not too tight to get stem back on. Slide stem back on, tighten, reinstall top cap.

Edit: never mind Jason already suggested just that

peterw_diy
06-19-2014, 08:18 AM
Zonks, what a late night PITA! Maybe remove the stem completely and slightly start each pinch bolt before placing the stem back on

+1 This is basic mechanical advice, something my dad showed me when changing a (car) tire. Anytime you have multiple bolts working together as on a stem or external BB crank, get all "started" by hand before tightening with tools, and tighten evenly (don't crank one down and then move to another).

Steve O
06-19-2014, 08:48 AM
Few days ago it took me 2 hours to change a light bulb...

How many bike forum members does it take to change a light bulb?

Geoff
06-19-2014, 08:56 AM
If it doesn't work, get a bigger hammer.

It's what we used to tell each other in my incarnation as a park ranger.

KLizotte
06-19-2014, 09:00 AM
+1 This is basic mechanical advice, something my dad showed me when changing a (car) tire. Anytime you have multiple bolts working together as on a stem or external BB crank, get all "started" by hand before tightening with tools, and tighten evenly (don't crank one down and then move to another).

This was a mistake I made :mad:

KLizotte
06-19-2014, 01:38 PM
Well, all of you were correct in how to fix the problem under *normal* circumstances. Unfortunately, my circumstances were not normal.

Long story short, I still could not screw in the bolt even after disassembling the headset and the bolt itself looked funny. I finally gave up and took the bike to a mechanic who also could not get the bolt in. He noticed long curls of metal around the head of the bolt. Turns out the threading in the headset was messed up leading to the metal peeling off the screw (presumably when it was first installed under pressure). He cleaned out the gunk, re-threaded the headset, cleaned off the bolt, and reassembled the unit. The whole process took about 30 minutes.

Hopefully that is the cause, and the solution, to my creaking problem. Haven't had a chance to try out the bike yet so fingers crossed.

Many thanks for your help! ;)

P.S. to Specialized bike company. Please employ better quality control in your factories! Thank you.

baiskeli
06-19-2014, 01:51 PM
I finally gave up and took the bike to a mechanic who also could not get the bolt in. He noticed long curls of metal around the head of the bolt. Turns out the threading in the headset was messed up leading to the metal peeling off the screw (presumably when it was first installed under pressure).

Glad it worked out.

I hate to say this, but it might have been your attempts to screw the bolt in that shredded the threads. Please don't hate me.

KLizotte
06-19-2014, 02:15 PM
That is what I initially thought but the mechanic pointed out that the stripped out part was near the bolt's head not it's tip and I would have only been able to strip the latter with what I was doing. I was also very conscious of not causing damage so didn't apply much force. Who knows. I just hope the problems are fixed!!!


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baiskeli
06-19-2014, 02:35 PM
That is what I initially thought but the mechanic pointed out that the stripped out part was near the bolt's head not it's tip and I would have only been able to strip the latter with what I was doing. I was also very conscious of not causing damage so didn't apply much force. Who knows. I just hope the problems are fixed!!!

So you don't hate me?

Also, did you solve your initial problem with the strange noise?

KLizotte
06-19-2014, 02:40 PM
So you don't hate me?

Also, did you solve your initial problem with the strange noise?

Course I don't hate you. If I screwed up, I want to know (pun intended).

Haven't had a chance to ride the bike yet so don't know if the mysterious noise is gone yet. Lordy, I hope so.

baiskeli
06-20-2014, 10:48 AM
Course I don't hate you. If I screwed up, I want to know (pun intended).

That's a relief.

I've obviously been married way too long.

KLizotte
06-20-2014, 10:55 AM
That's a relief.

I've obviously been married way too long.

Hahaha. I have no pride when it comes to bike maintenance. I once broke a shifter cable from over tightening it among other things. Opps. I'm very handy around the house; bikes, not so much but I am learning thru trial and error. :p

Thus far, the mysterious creak is gone. Yippee! The big test will be after it has been sitting in the sun for a few hours on a hot day (metal expansion issues).