2012 El Mariachi 3 Head tube top bearing problem- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
    wounded knee
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    2012 El Mariachi 3 Head tube top bearing problem

    Having just bought a El Mariachi 3 the first ride I fell in love with the bike, it felt so smooth under me, flats and downhills were so fast, and it climbed like a goat.
    After the first ride the headset was loose, couldn't get the star nut to tighten, took it over the shop and they installed another star nut for me.
    Second ride all was well and had a awesome technical ride.
    Third ride was where it all went wrong!
    About a half hour into the ride the headset was loose again, star nut was tight? We took it apart and found the top bearing was loose out of the cup, and the cup had slid down into the headtube at least 1/2" to 3/4" not good, took it to the shop where they determined the headset was not the correct one, company I bought it from (No names mentioned here)sent me a upgraded headset, thought the problem was solved.
    Bike shop called and said after installing the new headset, the bearing sunk back into the headtube, they called Salsa and Salsa said they were aware of an issue with some of the cups not having a big enough lip to hold the bearing in place.
    Now today the new bike is boxed up and being returned under warranty, and I'll probably be out a new bike for around a Month.
    I just wanted to make people aware that own these bikes to be aware of this issue in case you run into it.
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  2. #2
    rth009
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    Does anyone know if this applies to the new El Mar 2's, too?

  3. #3
    dirtbag
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    headtube outta spec?
    Amolan

  4. #4
    wounded knee
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    Quote Originally Posted by ranier View Post
    headtube outta spec?
    I don't know, Salsa said it was a problem with the bearing cup?

    I'll attach pictures of the difference in the top headset of stock (Left) and the replacement (Right) they sent, the stock one was huge compared to the replacement one??



    New one on top of the stock one.

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  5. #5
    Birthday Collector
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    This sounds like more of a headset problem than a head tube problem - unless the head tube was made too large, and then that never should have made it through QC... And you are showing pictures of top caps? It would seem to me the problem would be with the "cup" that holds the bearing - and the outer lip would be too small and letting the cup get pulled into the frame... Haven't seen any issues with the Mariachi 3 or 2 models we have had go out, nor any head tube issues with any other builds from bare frames. Wonder why they can't just send a different headset after checking it against the frame. FWIW we haven't heard anything from Salsa on this - but maybe they are replacing the frame if the headset was bad, and it may have damaged the head tube? I have a few 3's on the floor, I'll have to check the headsets now... Hope you get yours back fast.
    R.I.P. Corky 10/97-4/09
    Disclaimer: I sell and repair bikes for a living


  6. #6
    wounded knee
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    I'm thinking thats why they are replacing the bike, for fear that the headtube was damaged.
    My local mechanic couldn't understand why they didn't just send him the new parts when he contacted Salsa, they told him to have me contact where I bought it from.
    When I contacted the store I bought it from and told them Salsa said they knew about a problem, they said Salsa never told them about it, and they were going to check all their other bikes.
    I just hope everything works out and I get to ride this great bike again.
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by dirtrider6 View Post
    I'm thinking thats why they are replacing the bike, for fear that the headtube was damaged.
    My local mechanic couldn't understand why they didn't just send him the new parts when he contacted Salsa, they told him to have me contact where I bought it from.
    When I contacted the store I bought it from and told them Salsa said they knew about a problem, they said Salsa never told them about it, and they were going to check all their other bikes.
    I just hope everything works out and I get to ride this great bike again.
    Well dang! I was about to pull the trigger on this same bike. Guess I better wait a while.

  8. #8
    wounded knee
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    Quote Originally Posted by Decatur_Tide View Post
    Well dang! I was about to pull the trigger on this same bike. Guess I better wait a while.
    Please don't let me stop you from buying this bike, thats not why I posted the info, I was unlucky and got a bad one, I so can't wait to get it back and ride it all Summer.
    Just a heads up in case someone else is having a problem, or something to take a look at for preventive maintanence.
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  9. #9
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    I have the same issue with my May 2012 Salsa El Mar 3. The top headset race fell into the frame a 1/4" this morning. I could not get the headset tight and it just kept knocking. I took it all apart and sure enough the damn cheapo Cane Creek "10" headset had slipped down into the tube. I can't believe it. Just curious if Salsa made good on your frame and took care of it. Any advice or information on what you experienced is appreciated!

  10. #10
    wounded knee
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    They replaced the whole bike, HOWEVER that bike also had the same exact problem, I called Salsa and they said the machine that puts in the headset was cracking the cheap plastic part that holds it up.
    They did make good sending me a upgraded headset that I had installed, and have not had an issue since, love the bike.
    Contact Salsa explain your problem, they know about the issue, they will contact whoever you bought the bike from and have them send you a good headset, just make sure you tell them you do not want the crappy stock one that came with the bike.
    Good luck.
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  11. #11
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    Thanks dirtrider6. The headtube is definitely an egg from this mess so hoping they replace the frame. I will also mention an upgraded headset to them. Thanks for the help. Hope to be back on the trails soon.

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