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  1. #1
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    Fork purchased steerer length short - advice on headset bearing seal to fix?

    According to this picture

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Bi...ed_view-en.png

    the headset seal on my Bianchi SOK 29er could be replaced with something shorter and that would resolve my issue.

    Issue? I just purchased a Rock Shox Reba SL fork and the steertube is a tad short. It will fit through the headtube and it will fit through my RaceFace Deus XC stem, but it comes shy of the top fixing bolt by about 2 mm. I noticed, however, that the headset seal on my FSA ZS-4D integrated headset is really large. It's height is around 12-15mm.

    Is it possible to just replace this seal with something not quite as tall? Or possibly even just shave my current headset seal by couple mm's to bring the steertube to a more appropriate fitment with my stem?

    thoughts? I'm actually amazed as to why FSA made this particular headset with such a tall seal, though I can tell by looking at it that the engineers must have assumed that since the seal's purpose is to more evenly distribute torque/tightness across all the bearings a tall tapered seal combined with the compression ring would better accomplish this task but there are definitely more headset seals out there that are actually flat.

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by aa240sx View Post
    According to this picture

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Bi...ed_view-en.png

    the headset seal on my Bianchi SOK 29er could be replaced with something shorter and that would resolve my issue.

    Issue? I just purchased a Rock Shox Reba SL fork and the steertube is a tad short. It will fit through the headtube and it will fit through my RaceFace Deus XC stem, but it comes shy of the top fixing bolt by about 2 mm. I noticed, however, that the headset seal on my FSA ZS-4D integrated headset is really large. It's height is around 12-15mm.

    Is it possible to just replace this seal with something not quite as tall? Or possibly even just shave my current headset seal by couple mm's to bring the steertube to a more appropriate fitment with my stem?

    thoughts? I'm actually amazed as to why FSA made this particular headset with such a tall seal, though I can tell by looking at it that the engineers must have assumed that since the seal's purpose is to more evenly distribute torque/tightness across all the bearings a tall tapered seal combined with the compression ring would better accomplish this task but there are definitely more headset seals out there that are actually flat.
    1) You're right... it's kinda funny to have a "zero stack" headset with so much stack height. It seems like most FSA ZS headsets are that way.
    2) are you saying you can't get to the star nut with the top cap bolt or that the steer tube doesn't protrude into the stem as far as it should (to ~1-2 mm from the top)?
    3) i think the best solution would be to get another ZS headset that doesn't have so much stack height. i don't think shaving the seal is a good plan, but it might work fine, i guess i'd have to see the thing.
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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by meltingfeather View Post
    1) You're right... it's kinda funny to have a "zero stack" headset with so much stack height. It seems like most FSA ZS headsets are that way.
    2) are you saying you can't get to the star nut with the top cap bolt or that the steer tube doesn't protrude into the stem as far as it should (to ~1-2 mm from the top)?
    3) i think the best solution would be to get another ZS headset that doesn't have so much stack height. i don't think shaving the seal is a good plan, but it might work fine, i guess i'd have to see the thing.
    I'll take a picture and post it to this thread. Actually, the top cap bolt fits into the starnut within the fork's steertube just fine. In fact, I'm probably closer to 3-4 mm from the top tube, so I'm super close to making this work by just leaving things alone.the top fixing bolt on the stem seems to clamp on the steertube just fine, but as you said, I really want to be 1-2mm from the top.

    I'm with ya on getting another headset if I can't just replace the headset seal with something smaller in height.

  4. #4
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    @ 2mm, you still might be okay, the steertube can be recessed into the stem safely to 3-4mm depending on your stem stack height. Some headset top caps even require this in order for it to seat properly on the stem. Just make sure you can still get a super thin headset washer inbetween the stem and the seal.

    There are two options that you may consider:

    -Replace the headset with one that has a lower stack height. Cane Creek is very good with supplying options like this.
    -Replace the Raceface Deus stem with one that has a shorter stack height. I know the Deus stems aren't very tall to start with.
    -I do not suggest getting a "steertube extender". They fix the problem but pray it doesn't spin or slip when you are riding. Clever idea, poorly executed.
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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by dubdryver View Post
    @ 2mm, you still might be okay, the steertube can be recessed into the stem safely to 3-4mm depending on your stem stack height. Just make sure you can still get a super thin headset washer inbetween the stem and the seal.

    There are two options that you may consider:

    -Replace the headset with one that has a lower stack height. Cane Creek is very good with supplying options like this.
    -Replace the Raceface Deus stem with one that has a shorter stack height. I know the Deus stems aren't very tall to start with.
    -I do not suggest getting a "steertube extender". They fix the problem but pray it doesn't spin or slip when you are riding. Clever idea, poorly executed.
    Thanks - That second option is something I'm considering too. I know that if I got a stem that only uses one fixing bolt that would solve the issue altogether since that fixing bolt would be smack dab in the middle of the part of the stem that goes over the steertube and thus would mate up perfectly with the steertube when clamped, or as you stated just get a stem with a smaller stack height.

  6. #6
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    Just replace the top headset assembly. If you go with a cheaper Cane Creek, or the likes, it might cost $30-$40? It'd be easier than shaving/grinding and cheaper than a new stem. Actually, get to grinding and if it doesn't work out, THEN get the $30 new top assembly or stem

  7. #7
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    seriously? who sells just the top assembly of a headset though? you're talking about simply replacing the entire headset right?

    I thought about this one too if anyone had an extra or spare bearing cap/headset seal that had like zero height in it. I really don't want to shave/grind my existing top bearing cap.

  8. #8
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    I had a problem with a headset recently (ends up put the bottom the bearing in upside down whilst tinkering with the fork and it fell out and rolled away (yeah Cane Creek headset)) but while looking at the CaneCreek website I saw that you can completely remove the seal of that type of headset and just run a small spacer or even your stem against it as long as it doesn't bind against the headset race or cup.

    As long as it has the compression ring you are good. If it is like the chris king model that uses the shield as a compression piece you would have to have it shaved down at a machine shop.

    edit: evidently this was open a lot longer than I thought and many answers were set forth...Ah late to the party, well what I said still stands.
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by rockcrusher View Post
    I had a problem with a headset recently (ends up put the bottom the bearing in upside down whilst tinkering with the fork and it fell out and rolled away (yeah Cane Creek headset)) but while looking at the CaneCreek website I saw that you can completely remove the seal of that type of headset and just run a small spacer or even your stem against it as long as it doesn't bind against the headset race or cup.

    As long as it has the compression ring you are good. If it is like the chris king model that uses the shield as a compression piece you would have to have it shaved down at a machine shop.

    edit: evidently this was open a lot longer than I thought and many answers were set forth...Ah late to the party, well what I said still stands.
    Indeed it does. Man, I love these forums quick and very salient responses. I never thought about completely eliminating the bearing cap altogether, but I'll try that out too. The headset does use a compression ring, so maybe I could use a spare headset spacer in place of it. This may not work though since I believe this bearing cap does also act as a bearing seal.

    thanks!

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by aa240sx View Post
    seriously? who sells just the top assembly of a headset though? you're talking about simply replacing the entire headset right?

    I thought about this one too if anyone had an extra or spare bearing cap/headset seal that had like zero height in it. I really don't want to shave/grind my existing top bearing cap.
    Yes, you can buy JUST the top assembly by itself

    http://www.canecreek.com/component-h...btmProduct=off

  11. #11
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    Update!

    Photobucket

    This is the piece that's been causing me grief with getting a good clamp with my stem over the steertube. As you can see it measures about 13mm in height. I considered simply shaving material off the seal to lower the stack height but inside this seal is a rubber O ring which I assume allows it to better seat against the seat tube. If I shaved anything off, it would basically remove this feature of the seal and besides that it was easier to just ditch it and replace it with headset spacers, which is what I did.

    Photobucket

    The original seal also contains a 'dust cap' rubbery device that fits over a notched part of the seal and protects the bearing, but I can honestly say that any standard headset spacer in place of this OEM part will work. You can also see in the picture that I have temporarily placed this rubber ring around the headset spacers to cover the bearing temporarily for now. Essentially, all the headset spacer does is compress on the compression ring which effectively seats the top headset bearing.

    You can see the notch of the seal in the very crappy cell phone pic below. It's really just this part of the seal that performs the job of seating the compression ring. The extra material on the FSA seal is really just to cover the rest of the headtube and effectively the bearings.

    Photobucket

    Now that I can run it this way, I plan to get some Lizard Skin headseat seals to protect the bearings and best part of all is I now have plenty of space to properly fit the stem over the seat tube.

    Down the road, I'll find a suitable replacement for the OEM FSA seal that has a very low stack height.
    Last edited by aa240sx; 05-27-2011 at 08:41 AM.

  12. #12
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    stem

    Most Race face stems have a stack height of 40mm as to most stems in general.
    but fsa does make stems with a stack height of 35mm, this would give you plenty of wiggle room.

    you can also buy top or bottom headset assemblies from cane creek.

  13. #13
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    stem

    Most Race face stems have a stack height of 40mm as to most stems in general.
    but fsa does make stems with a stack height of 35mm, this would give you plenty of wiggle room.

    you can also buy top or bottom headset assemblies from cane creek.

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