Results 1 to 11 of 11
  1. #1
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Posts
    169

    Riding with damaged headset bearings

    Ok so I installed my headset (didn't get the headtube faced or reamed but I didn't think it was necessary for the steelhead...) and screwed up. The top cup went in fine, the bottom went in a little harder (after the top cup was fully seated) except now the bottom bearings feel like they have sand in them when I press hard and turn them. I'm almost positive I damaged them during installation. I didn't have access to those flat plates that you're supposed to use for headsets if the thing on the headset press contacts the bearings and not the cup itself.

    Is it ok to just ride it until the bearings start presenting a real problem, and then replace them, or do I risk further damage/injury if I don't get it fixed right away? The headset is an fsa pig dh pro, I'm looking online to see if I can find a bearing instead of the entire headset but so far nothing. When installing the headset to get the bottom cup in I had to hold the top handle of the press and use a wrench about a foot long on the bottom part and turn it pretty hard. Not enormous effort but it was significant. That is vague as hell but I don't know how else to describe it...I'm just trying to see if I need to get the headtube reamed or not. I ordered a bike repair book so I won't have to ask these questions much longer, but once again help is appreciated.

  2. #2
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Posts
    459
    so wait did you damage the cups themselves or the berings?

  3. #3
    tuck-n-roll master
    Reputation: pavement_hurts's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    636
    Maybe you just overtightened the stem bolt. Throw a little grease on the bearings and don't torque down on the stem bolt so much. Ya gotta try something. Oh yeah, don't always trust the repair manuals. Except for one line of REALLY expensive repair manuals whose name escapes me, I've noticed that they don't always have the solution you need. Many are just installation guides and just offer stupid tips like, "Don't forget to air up your tires." I like sticking to forums, chances are that someone has asked the same question before and there is always someone out there who knows exactly what you are talking about.

  4. #4
    Meh.
    Reputation: XSL_WiLL's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Posts
    17,516
    If you don't have sealed cartridge bearings, it's quite possible that you put too much preload on the bearings. This would cause the binding and gritty feel. Make it just tight enough so that there's no play. People seem to think the tighter, the better, not true.

  5. #5
    I post too much.
    Reputation: snaky69's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Posts
    6,448
    Loosen your stem bolts, then loosen the starnut a bit, once that's done, retighten the stem bolts. Torque them until they are snug, then give them an extra quarter or half turn as a good rule of thumb.

  6. #6
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Posts
    169
    Quote Originally Posted by pavement_hurts
    Maybe you just overtightened the stem bolt. Throw a little grease on the bearings and don't torque down on the stem bolt so much. Ya gotta try something. Oh yeah, don't always trust the repair manuals. Except for one line of REALLY expensive repair manuals whose name escapes me, I've noticed that they don't always have the solution you need. Many are just installation guides and just offer stupid tips like, "Don't forget to air up your tires." I like sticking to forums, chances are that someone has asked the same question before and there is always someone out there who knows exactly what you are talking about.
    The fork isn't even on there, just the headset. The bearings are in there but nothing is touching them, they're basically hanging there. Only the headset is installed. So I am pretty sure it's the bearings, especially since they were perfectly smooth before installation. My question isn't so much whether or not I damaged them (I'm pretty sure I did) but if riding with damaged headset bearings (bottom cup) will be bad for anything. I don't like asking too many questions on the forums but for now if it'll get my bike built right I figure it's worth it.

  7. #7
    Meh.
    Reputation: XSL_WiLL's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Posts
    17,516
    Bearings are cheap... Just replace them. FSA Pig DH Pros are also cheap, if you deformed the cup, cough up 30 bucks for a bombproof headset. Then let somebody else install it for you.

  8. #8
    JMH
    JMH is offline
    Sugary Exoskeleton
    Reputation: JMH's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Posts
    4,709

    Go man, go.

    Ride the hell out of it. You're in no danger, you probably won't even notice. I keep all my good bikes dialed, but I have ridden absolute shyte headsets on grocery bikes etc. with zero problems. (other than noise!)

    BTW: lots of medium to low-grade headsets feel rough out of the box anyway.

    JMH


    Quote Originally Posted by sovietspyguy
    Is it ok to just ride it until the bearings start presenting a real problem, and then replace them, or do I risk further damage/injury if I don't get it fixed right away?

  9. #9
    eminence front
    Reputation: xray's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Posts
    367
    Similar situation here, I've been riding (a POS) an old cup & cone bearing style headset for months now, its missing 4 of the balls from the bottom cup bearing. So, about 1/4 of the bearing is gone.

    Been riding it for months, no problems.

  10. #10
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Posts
    169
    Quote Originally Posted by JMH
    Ride the hell out of it. You're in no danger, you probably won't even notice. I keep all my good bikes dialed, but I have ridden absolute shyte headsets on grocery bikes etc. with zero problems. (other than noise!)

    BTW: lots of medium to low-grade headsets feel rough out of the box anyway.

    JMH
    All I needed to know, thanks!

  11. #11
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Posts
    412
    ok really go buy a fsa pig headset, they are SO cheap and never wear out. $20 is all they cost. i have this headset on all 3 of my bikes(trials, xc, dj) and it has never failed me yet. not the bling bling that a chris king has but F $130 when the fsa works to nice..its butter

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •