Got by with a Rubber Mallet.
Just last night, I messed around with the washers, nuts, and threaded bar for about 30 minutes. Didn't get anywhere. Rod kept creeping and scratching the inside and top of the headset.
Grabbed the rubber mallet.
Just 4-5 whacks and it was done. The sound changed in pitch when the cups were seated.
Your results may vary. I can't recommend it - I can just give witness that it worked.
EDIT: It's worth noting that I wasn't doing this on a chi-chi carbon frame with a Chris King headset.
I just press the cup in a little with my finger and then grab the frame by the rear triangle and beat the head tube against a sidewalk. Works every time!
same here, but i did a bit of overkill: I cut out some half inch plate and drilled it, then added washer and bolts. cost me zero, i got all the materials at my old job.
Originally Posted by suprcivic
but yeah make sure the rod is parallel to the HT.
I've always installed headset cups by bashing them in with a hammer & block of wood. I've done it dozens of times with everything from cheap aluminum frames and $10 headsets to high end steel frames with Chris King headsets. So far, so good. I keep thinking about making a DIY headset press but I never get around to it, maybe next time.
Ive tried the washers/rod thing but its a real PITA to keep everything straight and parallel to the headtube. Since then Ive just carefully banged them in with a hammer, never had a problem. My removal tool is a hammer and a 8" socket extension, jusy bang it out carefully in alternating spots so it comes out straight. but since your results may vary, my official recommendation is a press.
'14 rocky mountain altitude, rally edition
'11 transition blindside, 650b converted
support your local bike coop. a few bucks and you can use their headset press. and you help people who ride bikes.