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  1. #1
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    Do you grease your headset cups???

    Im fighting a tick/click/crunch again on the front end of my Flux, i have just had my Crown assembly replaced as they were definatly clicking, but after a few weeks its back.
    The only part i have not cleaned and grease is the cup/headtube interface which i have been told not to do as it can encourage movement and may flare the HT.
    I find it too hard to believe that its the forks again and just want to spare the red face before i take them back again..
    Ta..

  2. #2
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    You mean your cups were pressed in dry?
    Yikes, and double yikes.

    Before you yank the cups though, try a different fork, JIC the crown assy went bad again.
    Faster is better, even when it's not.

  3. #3
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    You mean your cups were pressed in dry?
    Yikes, and double yikes.



    I take it that its a bad thing then,The King website says leave it to the choice of the mechanic.
    The Mech at the shop whom i bought the frame had the cups fitted by says he never ever greases a Ht and Cup.
    A specalized rep told me never grease the cups....

  4. #4
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    Not a bad thing per-se just seems like it'd make them more difficult to press well, and tougher to remove... and then there's the creak factor.

    I'm no expert...not by a longshot... the sources you quote have tons more experience than I. I'm thinking that cups won't creak if they're pressed in properly, even dry. But if they're done dry there's a bigger chance of them getting stuck before they're fully seated if the mech isn't paying attention. Then they could creak.

    In my mind, HS cups are always under compression load so if the fit is correct they're not going to migrate if they're greased.

    Anyway try a different fork before you yank the cups...JIC.
    Faster is better, even when it's not.

  5. #5
    No, that's not phonetic
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    Yeah, definitely grease the cup skirts when you press the HS in.
    My video techniques can be found in this thread.

  6. #6
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    I must admit i just assumed the cups would be greased being metal on metal and i was amazed to be told no.
    I will check the forks first 06 Reba Team U-Turn

  7. #7
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    I've never greased my headset cups. Ideally this is a snug press fit and there shouldn't be any play to allow creaking. I've always been of the belief that creating more mobility via lube lends itself more to ovalizing a headtube. There are plenty of people out there doing it both ways, I think it's more semantic than anything.

    Is your fork a fox by the way?
    STRAVA: Enabling dorks everywhere to get trails shut down........ all for the sake of a race on the internet.

  8. #8
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    Is your fork a fox by the way?[/QUOTE]

    No
    Reba Team U-Turn 06

  9. #9
    Now with flavor!!
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    Quote Originally Posted by CragRat
    Is your fork a fox by the way?
    No
    Reba Team U-Turn 06[/QUOTE]


    Shucks. If it were a fox I'd bet my right arm it was the stanchion/crown interface.



    If it were me I'd do what zilla said and try a different fork and go about making absolutely sure that it's coming from where you thing it's coming from. If it really is the heaset cups creaking then that means there's movement........and you likely have at least a slightly ovalized headtube or an out of spec headset cup.

    I've had creaky headsets be a result of beat bearings too.......just fyi

    Good luck.
    STRAVA: Enabling dorks everywhere to get trails shut down........ all for the sake of a race on the internet.

  10. #10
    Mr.Secret
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    About the only things I don't grease or antisieze when putting together a bike are carbon seatposts, square taper bb spindles and the stem / bar interface.....

  11. #11
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    salute! might i add that i dont lube anything carbon touches, nor do i lube steerer tubes at the stem. i do lube worn square taper b/bkt / crank interfaces to make em last another day or 2 as well as most race face units cuz they tend to creak alot.

    its my professional and personal opinion that all h/s cups should be well lubed prior to install. failure to do so can create damage to the cups and frame as well as creaks. this is a simple and proven way to help eliminate those possibilities. call it safe, smart or both.
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  12. #12
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    I always grease the bar/stem interface...it's one of the primary squeaks I get, second only to the seat clamp/rails/bolts.

    I couldn't wait to switch from standard Thompson to the 4X stem just so I could grease the steerer and clamp! The Elite clamp must not be greased but what a PITA it was keeping it right and tight. Somtimes it was great forever sometimes I'd work loose every couple of rides.

    As for the HSs, like I said I think there's a better chance of not fully seating a dry pressing and getting creaking and micro ovalization than by movement caused by a more mobility from greasing it on insertion.

    Seeing how there has always been two camps on this, I suppose the answer isn't particularly as black and white as either camp explains....I'm for greasing it though. (after you check everything else.)
    Faster is better, even when it's not.

  13. #13
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    To grease, or not to grease, that is the question!

    Hey, thought I would throw my experience in here...........Owned a bike shop for 10 years and installed countless headsets. Some slipped in easliy, some hard as hell. I believe it is dependent on the strenght of material the head tube is made from. No matter the grease always helped and hurt nothing.

    Now to my experience building up my Spot. Bought a headset from a very well known shop and asked them to press it in with their sweet Park tools. While my head was turned scoping out some new tires the guy started it in without grease! By the time I got back to the shop area there where three mechanics horsing it in. Count them 3! One to turn the cheater bar and two holding the frame on the Park stand! Oh, the pain!

    Once started that far in there is no way to backup. I just hope I NEVER need to get it out. The second cup, the one with grease went in very tightly with only one man turning the setter with alot of arm still! My advice: USE THE GREASE, OR DON'T WATCH!

  14. #14
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    I don't think anybody here would claim more experience or attention to detail than John Barnett. He says never ever grease a press fit. This includes headset cups and square taper spindles.

    Bike manla is correct that some slip in easily and some do not. Grease is NOT the answer. Simply greasing a poor press fit is asking for trouble, typically in the form of a cracked something but sometimes in far less apparent forms that are nonetheless bad.

    That shop with the sweet park tools that all shops should have in some form or another should also have a head tube mill or facing tool. I will use these terms interchangably with the understanding that Milling is the proper term and Facing is not.

    Milling is also the only correct way to fix an over tight fit between HT and headset cup.

    Back to the original reason for the thread. If the creak caused by a slopy fit then the options are considerably less favorable. the first thing to try would be a gap filling product from the likes of LocTite. If that doesn't workthe only option short of replacing the frame is to try to find a headset with a slightly larger outside diameter or possibly to have a shop knurl the contact surface of the headset cup which can increase the effective outside diameter of the mating surfaces.

    having said all that. Another problem that I have occasionally seen with a cartridge headset is movement between the cartridges and the cups which usually isn't a press fit and usually isn't treated with any lubricant.

    In summary; make sure your cups fit the frame before you try to press them, Don't grease them and if you're worried use a product that does lubricate the instalation, doesn't promote movement and does inhibit galvanic corosion i.e. LocTite 242.
    Off season? What off season?

  15. #15
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    mr moment. i whole heartedly agree that john is thee man and i follow his lead 99% of the time. but not on this one. not sure about ellworths as ive not owned one but turners are faced and milled at the factory. i cant remember the spec off hand though. never hurts to break out the micrometer and check the cups and head tube as ya said.

    and whats up with yer one fork thing? ya lost me there.
    No, I'm NOT back!

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by cactuscorn
    mr moment. i whole heartedly agree that john is thee man and i follow his lead 99% of the time. but not on this one.
    Ditto.

    My philosophy has always been to grease all metal to metal interfaces except square taper bb to crank (N/A anymore), steerer tubes, handlebars and anything that gets locktite.

    It hasn't failed me yet.

  17. #17
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    I guess I'll post here 'cause I can't post on cactuscorns poll thread; it's too restrictive but as a machinist, I've been pressing things together for 27 years now. Most issues I've seen with press fits gone bad is too much interference in the press fit; poor initial alignement of the two elements, and morons doing the pressing.
    I have NEVER used any lubricant for any press jobs, and that has NEVER come back to bite me in the butt.
    my two cents.
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  18. #18
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    Cactus I will agree that big John isn't the final word 100% of the time. Close, but not quite. On this one I maintain that properly sized and as renegade pointed out that *should* be obvious properly aligned a press fit should never need lubricant. The old wisdom about greasing any place one chunk of metal touches another is to prevent friction and/or galvanic corosion and if LocTite can do the job, potentially improve the fit and prevent corosion then why would you grease a headset? It's an honest question.

    My Ellsworths, as with all boutique bikes I've worked on(Santa Cruz, Litespeed, Merlin, Intense, Ellsworth, Titus, Salsa, Yeti, etc..) came with milled contact surfaces. The question is not IF yours was milled but HOW it was milled. Head tube ID is a standard but one with a tolerance that can vary >.5mm and considering the ideal head tube ID is .2-.3mm smaller than the headset it doesn't take a math whiz to see how it adds up to things not always fitting very well. However, None of the boutique frames or headsets in my expierence have presented a problem or needed to be milled. Older/mass production frames and cheap headsets are subject to other standards and are a completely different can of worms.

    I just don't see a good reason to grease something that's not supposed and isn't even threaded when LocTite has all the benefits and none of the risks.

    Renegade, anything to add about LocTite? Have you used it on a press fit?
    Off season? What off season?

  19. #19
    MK_
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    The press fit is so tight that whatever grease you put on the skirts of the cup will most likely get left outside the frame as the headset slides into the head tube. I still grease it up, my reasoning is that if there are any imperfections in the cups or head tube, the grease will get lodged in them and take up the space, preveting moisture from accumulating there. Probably moot, but I have not had any problems in the few years I've been wrenching bikes.

    As to the source of your creak, CraigRat, I have a suggestion. Remove the stem and all spacers and the upper bearing race of your headset. Clean, throughly all your spacers, the top of the bearing race and the bottom of the stem. Then wipe down your steerer and the inside of the stem, then reassemble. Lighly grease in between the spacers, too. I've had some amazingly loud and annoying creaks and after weeks of research the spacers were to blame.

    _MK
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    "No man goes before his time -- unless the boss leaves early."
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  20. #20
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    i figured e's were still milled but ya never know till yer told. not sure i see advantages of loctite in a press fit unless theres a weak tolerance issue but ive not tried it. the more i learn about anti sieze the more i wanna experiment with it. up to now a good qual grease serves me well. not sure what yer gettin at with the "LocTite has all the benefits and none of the risks." statement. splain to me how it differs? im always up for a lesson.

    ive had to press in a few cheap ass h/sets into good frames or good h/sets into crap frames resultin in a loose fit and for now ive not experinced a major issue. in my motorsports past, i never lubed a press fit as per renne's plan but found a few too many squeeks with bikes that as a general rule are quieted with grease. does every h/set install creak witout this step? doubtfull as hell but as i said before, its a safer bet to use it than not if ya have enough talent not to hose the job up.

    one thing i like about grease is it dissapates and lessens the heat from the friction caused durrin install. this can only be kind to the parts involved and would greatly reduce the chance of any negitive effects. can ya imagine the temp of rats bits with 3 guys and a cheater bar? enought to mess with the alloys? id guess maybe so and it sounds like this wasnt their 1st time doin it this way. anyway, not sayin yer all wrong, i just have a diff point of view.

    and ya still gotta tell me what the fork quote is all about.
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  21. #21
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    this spacer thing is a good call mk. wheres that squeeky creaky fix list i made awhile back?
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  22. #22
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    The advantage of loctite at instalation is that it does provide some lubrication, as I understand it that lubricating quality is to allow threaded parts to take an accurate torque before the stuff cures. the advantage when cured is that it provides protection against corosion.

    The disadvantage(risk) of grease is that it reduces friction, the one thing that holds a press fit together.

    The fork thing is just a pet peve of mine. People often refer to a single fork in a plural context. "a pair of forks", "some new forks". Please excuse the punctuation, spelling and grammar.
    Last edited by OnTheMoment; 08-18-2006 at 05:04 PM.
    Off season? What off season?

  23. #23
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    cool. i follow ya now and i see yer point about its ability to hold a part in place. however im not sure i see a real benifit as ive not seen a h/set come out unless asked to or under terrible durress. but in the end yer absolutly right.

    i feel the same way about folks refering to triple crown forks. ive yet to find the elusive 3rd crown. any ideas where theyre hidin it?
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  24. #24
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    In motorcycling we call them a triple clamp or dual triple clamp..kelly

  25. #25
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    yer right, i said crown, didnt i? and its the dual or double triple clamp that gets me the most. no offence kelly. i just dont get it.
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