Indexed headset - repair or replace?

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  • My headset has become indexed. The steering falls into a forward position very easily when held off the ground. I can feel in when I am riding too.

    I read the Sheldon page on the subject but am not clear if I can fix it or not. Do I need to buy a whole new headset or can I just get bearings? How did it happen, was it my fault? Should I feel this sad?

    So many questions...

    It's a Shimano Pro like this, but silver:

  • This normally happens if the headset is loose - when you go over a bump this makes the ball-bearings knock against the bearing races, which eventually hammers little depressions into it (the engineering term is brinelling, I think).

    Take the headset apart and look for damage in the bearing races. If the races look okay then replace the bearings. If the races are damaged then you'll need a new headset as the races can't be replaced separately (or at least, I'm not aware of any models with separate races).

    If it has cartridge bearings instead of loose ball-bearings then I don't think there's any chance of permanent damage, as the knocking action will damage the sides of the cartridge rather than the headset itself. A cartridge bearing looks like this.

    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/co­mmons/thumb/f/f0/Bicycle_headset_(thread­less)_exploded_view-en.png/250px-Bicycle­_headset_(threadless)_exploded_view-en.p­ng

  • This normally happens if the headset is loose - when you go over a bump this makes the ball-bearings knock against the bearing races, which eventually hammers little depressions into it (the engineering term is brinelling, I think)

    Here's a beautiful illustration of what you are describing... Tandem headset bottom race... The rest is not as bad, and the "brinelling" mainly happened to the front, I have re-installed it with the depressions to the back, it works a bit better until I have a chance to change the races/cups/bearings etc...

  • check the crown race on the fork for any damage too.

  • Brinelling is a great word.

  • check the crown race on the fork for any damage too.

    Pictured was actually the crown race. It is the most damaged of all. Re-assembled all with plenty of grease, it will be OK for a while... We'll see next ride how is goes, but it's already better than it was.

    Found replacement cups and races here:
    [SIZE=2]http://www.tandem-club.org.uk/_clubshop.­htm
    [/SIZE]
    I will also have to use shims, the crown race does not fit tight to the steerer, there's too much play to my taste here, should I glue it or something?

    Loic

  • Brinelling is a great word.

    True that

  • Another fix is to take out the old bearings and the race that holds them all together and reassemble with one more bearing, this alters the spacing of the balls. and allows them to run on the unbrinelled part of the bearing surfaces. It is a bit fiddly to assemble them, but it is a cheap fix.
    And it means I can use unbrinelled, which is another great word.

  • Another fix is to take out the old bearings and the race that holds them all together and reassemble with one more bearing, this alters the spacing of the balls. and allows them to run on the unbrinelled part of the bearing surfaces. It is a bit fiddly to assemble them, but it is a cheap fix.
    And it means I can use unbrinelled, which is another great word.

    Do you suggest using smaller ball bearings then? Currently there is not space for more balls of a similar diameter.

    Do I understand right what you say?

  • Brinelling
    Brinelling
    Brinelling
    Brinelling
    Brinelling

  • AutoCRAD FTW

    Brinelling FTW

  • no, same size balls, but without the cage that normally holds them all in place, that allows (usually) one more bearing, and the altered spacing (they are of course closer together) means they sit away from the brinells (!) one or two my drop into them, but the remainder stay on the flats, so the headset works perfectly
    I wish I could auto cad to draw my own unbrinelling theory

  • no, same size balls, but without the cage that normally holds them all in place, that allows (usually) one more bearing, and the altered spacing (they are of course closer together) means they sit away from the brinells (!) one or two my drop into them, but the remainder stay on the flats, so the headset works perfectly
    I wish I could auto cad to draw my own unbrinelling theory

    No cages here. I have never seen cages holding bearings on old bikes (pre-75) actually. Is it a coincidence or the way it was.
    Fitting ball bearings without cage is easy, the grease holds them. More tricky not to loose balls when you take it appart and all the grease is gone /dry...

    I realise that what I show above (the smaller ball trick) could not work...

    Au diable le brinelling, soit maudit!

    L

  • Oh, I have actually found the proper Sheldon page http://sheldonbrown.com/headsets.html

  • Does not result from headset that's too loose, it's from (quoting Sheldon who's quoting Brandt)

    Some folks assume that the dents in headset races also result from impact, but actually that is not commonly the case. Instead, it has to do with lubricant breakdown. Jobst Brandt has an article on this site describing the process in detail.

    This has the same level of unimpeachable superduper correctness as if it were Chomsky quoting Einstein.

    DoctorBike

  • /\/\/\ Hehe!!

    Can we re-name that thread "Indexed headset due to Brinelling"?

    We have to...

    L

  • This has the same level of unimpeachable superduper correctness as if it were Chomsky quoting Einstein.

    Brilliant, I knew it wasn't loose.

  • OK, finally got around to dis-assembling my headset.

    Cartridge bearing in the bottom looks fine, maybe a bit wobbly.

    The cartridge bearing in the top came apart in my hands. It seems to have failed. I have all the balls and the cage separated in my hands. Is this unusual?

    So I need a replacement cartridge set for a Shimano Pro RM-01. They are stamped Tange Seki. Any ideas where to find such a thing for sale?

  • Do the cartridges have some numbers stamped on them? e.g. bore x diameter x width (in mm).

    Somewhere like http://simplybearings.co.uk/shop/ may be useful.

  • ^not for headsets as far as i can see. http://www.lfgss.com/post2721635-25854.h­tml and http://www.lfgss.com/post2721564-25849.h­tml may be more help.

  • Thanks Moth and Cupcakes. The cartridge has Tange Seki written on it. Condor have suggested bringing one in to match it.

    Part of the bearing that fell apart is jammed in the top race. What a pain. Barley lasted 3 years, knew I should have got a Chris King.

  • OK, finally got around to dis-assembling my headset.

    Cartridge bearing in the bottom looks fine, maybe a bit wobbly.

    The cartridge bearing in the top came apart in my hands. It seems to have failed. I have all the balls and the cage separated in my hands. Is this unusual?

    So I need a replacement cartridge set for a Shimano Pro RM-01. They are stamped Tange Seki. Any ideas where to find such a thing for sale?

    Yes, very unusual. Normally when headsets fail, all the balls fall out and roll underneath the sofa. You've done well to capture them early...

  • Ah, well, I started off on the decking outside in the sun, noticing all the gaps in the boards I thought - this could end badly, and moved inside.

  • Today's task is to try and get the bottom half of a sealed bearing seperated from my upper head-tube race. How did it jammed in there and how am I going to get it out? I don't want to damage the race by getting heavy with a screw driver. Hmmmmm.

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Indexed headset - repair or replace?

Posted by Avatar for pipwish @pipwish

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