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  1. #1
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    so how hard is it really to put in a headset w/o the tool

    i have to put in a 1.5 headset into an aluminum frame, how badly could i finagle this up?

  2. #2
    DIY all the way
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    It depends how much of a craftsman you are.

    I do it all the time, and have never bothered to make a tool for it.
    On the other hand, you can mess up pretty bad, even bad enough to damage your frame.

    Don't get this wrong, as no offense is intended, but if you have to ask, you should probably have somebody help you who are able, or have it done by your LBS.

    if you'd like a walk-through, drop me a mail, and I'll happily try to help you understand how to.

    Magura

  3. #3
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    it's super easy to make your own headset/bearing press. I just did it on my bike. I am going to put up a post in my blog the next few days with some pics. I'll post again here for your reference.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by coiler_guy
    it's super easy to make your own headset/bearing press. I just did it on my bike. I am going to put up a post in my blog the next few days with some pics. I'll post again here for your reference.
    Make sure you post your link here. Thanks.

    To OP. I have never messed it up, I don't have a tool for it either.
    You can damage the frame or the headset or both if the cup goes in on an angle.
    Which gets damaged depends on which is tougher. XC frame and steel cup....
    DH frame and Alu cup....

    Make sure your headset uses alu cups, then at least you have a good chance of breaking just the headset and not the frame if it goes wrong.

    If your headset is weak alu, and you intend to bash it in with a mallet and piece of wood, then of course you could damage the cup just from bashing.

    So, the press is a good idea. But usually ends up costing to make. However, looks like coiler_guy is about to solve that problem for you. Worth making the press, as you'll use it again.
    If you mess this up, don't keep going in the hope it will be ok. Knock cup back out as soon as it goes off kilter and try again.

    The headset remover tools are cheap. Have one ready. Get one that does 11/8 and 1.5. You can make them work better by shoving a piece of cut steer-tube up inside them as you're using them. This keeps the ends of the arms on rim of the headset cup. Better to hit it a medium number of medium hits than a few big ones. Big hits can make sudden, major chances and those can break stuff if the result is not right.
    You will find that you need to hit things harder than you expect. But, better to build up to that level from below, and learn what it is, than to exceed from the get go.

    Use some good grease to install headset.
    Make sure you cleaned out any overspray inside your head tube first.

  5. #5
    Old Punk
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    5/8 threaded rod longer than your head tube; 2 5/8 nuts and some hard washers . Use the nuts and washers to squeeze the races in. I also ground 2 flats on a 5/8 washer so it fits through the old races, but contacts when laid flat inside the headtube, then pound old races out. Has worked for me several times.
    '09 Specialized Rockhopper expert 29
    Born 26" trials
    '07 Specialized Allez

  6. #6
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    It is not difficult to press a headset, but you can damage the frame. You have to be willing to accept that risk. If not willing, then pay a bike shop to accept the risk.

    I use a threaded-rod setup that I bought from user "mtbtools" on eBay:

    http://cgi.ebay.com/Mountain-Bike-Ro...#ht_500wt_1085

    Maybe I could buy all the same parts at the hardware store, but this guy has everything ready to go, and that's worth something to me. Plus, his aluminum press drivers fit perfectly inside the bearings on Cane Creek S-3 headsets, helping a lot to keep everything lined up.

    Be generous with the grease. Press one headset cup at a time. If a cup begins to go in cockeyed, then use the remover tool to knock it back out so you can try again. However, the cup will not necessarily stay 100% perfectly aligned during the pressing process either.

  7. #7
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    Depends on your skills and how careful you are, some people have installed dozens of headsets with nothing more than a hammer and block of wood and gotten it perfect every time. Others...well, let's just say it ended with a frame & headset write-off. I've installed everything from a $10 used box special to a set of Chris Kings with the hammer & wood block technique, so far, so good. I keep meaning to make a headset tool of some sort but I never get around to it. And yeah, grease is your friends, lube up the frame & cups and everything goes in nicely.

    Find a cheap $10 bike at a garage sale or something, or maybe pick up a free one from the curb on garbage day. Bash out the headset cups with a screwdriver or some other tool then try to put them back in. Do it a few times and if it goes well each time then you should be able to install the headset on your good bike without too much difficulty. If you keep messing up, you know it's best for someone else to do it for you.

  8. #8
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    what kindof grease mates?

  9. #9
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    Yeah you could mess up your frame, but honestly, you'd have to really screw it up. Bang that sucker in with a 2x4. If it starts looking crooked, quit banging!

    Any grease that is slippery. The objective is to just get that thing in place without having to knock the crap out of it.

  10. #10
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    I have pressed all of mine in using my fork. Put the bottom part of the headset on the steerer, put the fork in the frame, put the top stuff in the top. Use stem, spacers, and the topcap ... screw down, repeat adding spacers to get it in there ... almost guaranteed straightness.

    Not sure if it's a great idea, but I've had good luck. I have only used sealed bearing headsets, though, so I am not sure if that matters.

    Oh ya, if the frame is new, you might want to consider having the headtube faced.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by ettore
    I have pressed all of mine in using my fork. Put the bottom part of the headset on the steerer, put the fork in the frame, put the top stuff in the top. Use stem, spacers, and the topcap ... screw down, repeat adding spacers to get it in there ... almost guaranteed straightness.
    That's an interesting technique. I wouldn't have thought of doing that. It's a clever hack though. I like it.

  12. #12
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    As promised here is my headset press. It is very similar to the threaded rod style with a few mods that I think make it work better. Those mods would include using 2 wood blocks and keeping on of the blocks stationary. this method works great and there is very little risk of damaging anything IMO. take it slowly at first and make sure the cup is going in straight and you're good to go.

    here is a pic of the completed tool.

    You can see a complete write up here:
    http://bikelife365.blogspot.com/

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by hahdtail
    what kindof grease mates?
    Valvoline syn power synthetic automotive grease has been my favorite flavor, but any grease will work. It's not a good idea to mix, so clean everything and use the same grease that you pack your bearings in.
    '09 Specialized Rockhopper expert 29
    Born 26" trials
    '07 Specialized Allez

  14. #14
    DIY all the way
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    Quote Originally Posted by curtboroff
    Valvoline syn power synthetic automotive grease has been my favorite flavor, but any grease will work. It's not a good idea to mix, so clean everything and use the same grease that you pack your bearings in.

    True, just about any kind of grease will work.

    The important part is that the grease must be SUPER CLEAN! As in no contamination of any kind.
    Keep grease in a gun or similar, use clean rubber gloves, and keep your workspace ultra clean when working on any kind of bearings.
    The usual bucket of grease with a paint brush standing in a corner of the bench, is a sure way to keep things at their worst. I know that is frequently seen at the LBS, but it is a sure no-go.


    Magura

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by ettore
    I have pressed all of mine in using my fork. Put the bottom part of the headset on the steerer, put the fork in the frame, put the top stuff in the top. Use stem, spacers, and the topcap ... screw down, repeat adding spacers to get it in there ... almost guaranteed straightness.
    I'd recommend against it. When you assemble the headset first like that, you're actually pressing it in via the bearings, which isn't a great idea. Also, if it's a difficult press (longer skirts or tight interference), then it's hard to get enough torque to completely press the cups in.

  16. #16
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    i took it to the lbs. $15. why not

  17. #17
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    Because you can do it just as well yourself, for less than $15 worth of parts, and end up with experience and a new tool.

  18. #18
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    i'll most likely be giving the ghetto method a try when I get a new fork. I like the idea of the threaded bolt and washers for the cups, some cut piping to remove the old cups and a pipe to install the crown race.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by dundundata
    i'll most likely be giving the ghetto method a try when I get a new fork. I like the idea of the threaded bolt and washers for the cups, some cut piping to remove the old cups and a pipe to install the crown race.
    I tried to upload some pics, but they are too large, 488mb only, c'mon mtbr! My threaded rod idea also removes the old races. A 5/8 washer just catches the races and clears the i.d. of the headtube. Grind 2 flat sides opposite each other on the washer and it will slide in vertically but lays flat on the races inside the tube. Put a nut on the 5/8 threaded rod, then insert the nut/rod into said ground washer and pound the race out. Comes out straight and clean every time.
    '09 Specialized Rockhopper expert 29
    Born 26" trials
    '07 Specialized Allez

  20. #20
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    ^^^^ Oops, that's for a 1 1/8 headset. 5/8 washer won't work on a 1 1/2. Duhh.... Maby 3/4 will.
    '09 Specialized Rockhopper expert 29
    Born 26" trials
    '07 Specialized Allez

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by curtboroff
    I tried to upload some pics, but they are too large, 488mb only, c'mon mtbr!
    There are lots of ways to compress pictures, but one way that might work for you in windows is to right click the picture or group of pictures you have selected, and go
    send to > email recipient. there will be an option to make pictures smaller or keep them the same. choose smaller, and it will give you some size options and then attach them to an email ready to send. You can then save the smaller attached pictures.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by curtboroff
    I tried to upload some pics, but they are too large, 488mb.
    488 is HUGE

    google something called jpeg re-sizer. on the net i upload files that are around 50k

  23. #23
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    As low as $47 for the right tool:

    http://www.google.com/products/catal...=1137&bih=690#

    But if you have to ask, just go to a bike shop.
    Don't you hate it when a sentence doesn't end the way you think it octopus?

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by zebrahum
    And that "right tool" is essentially a threaded rod with some large washers.

    I actually like the one I bought on eBay better. That one has a machined part that fits perfectly inside a Cane Creek S-3 bearing. So I press my cups with the bearings in place, the wide part of the fitting applies all the pressure to the cup, and the narrow part of the fitting fits inside the bearing to help hold the alignment.

    The same guy machines some fittings for 1.5" headsets. Those fittings are on my "to buy" list. I am likely going to be getting a frame soon with a tapered head tube.

  25. #25
    Takw/agranofsalt
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    If you are careful you can use a bench vise in a pinch. I use the home made threaded rod and washers myself.

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