Seized stem

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  • Hi
    I have a seized quill stem. Looking for access to an old front hub (to brace the forks) a bench vice (to grip the stem) and a long pole (for persuasion). Is anyone able to help - south east London.

  • You will dent and twist the forks doing it that way. I've screwed up a nice set of forks doing exactly that. I would find another way if I were you

  • This is what I do with 99% success, I clamp the Frame to a bench inclucding the forks many towels added to avoid and damage, (two clamps block of wood), then connect a handlebar (straight bar best) to the stem and gently wrestle, the clamps may loosen a little so just tighten up, lots of GT85 or similar beforehand, the longer it soaks the better, good luck and never give up.

  • My LBS managed to get mine loose once with the help of a blow torche. Don't know exactly what he did, but I presume heat up the stem as I told him I didn't need it anymore. Paint (of the frame) was unaffected afterwards.

    Something to do with heating up both the stem and the steerer tube, them both expanding due to the heat and then the stem shrinking more rapidly because of alloy vs steel? Someone with more knowledge/experience should correct me if I'm wrong though.

  • I have done this before without causing any damaging or denting or twisting the forks. The front hub keeps the forks spaced properly, the persuasion bar if wrapped in padding won't do any damage, particularly if done as close to the crown as possible.

  • Thanks for the suggestion

  • Thanks for your reply. The heat theory sounds pretty correct, like sticking alloy parts in a freezer for a bit to ease installation

  • If its an aluminium stem in a steel frame, the heat method won't work. Aluminium expands faster than steel under heat, you will just get it more stuck.
    Last option is to cut through the quill where its vertical so you just have a stump sticking out. You should then be able to remove your headset and take out the forks. Then you can take your time cutting out the stem without a frame hanging off it.

  • @PhilDAS - I was rather hoping to not have to resort to that. Might try a couple of long soaks with some decent penetrating oil first. Anyone have any experience of plusgas? Seems to be the best option from the research I've done.

  • If its an aluminium stem in a steel frame, the heat method won't work. Aluminium expands faster than steel under heat, you will just get it more stuck.

    My case was an aluminium stem in a steel frame. It expands faster, but then it also contracts faster, no? Anyway my LBS got it to work using this method, but I don't have the details.

  • Since the steel is on the outside and hit by the heat first, I think you can get away with it but you have to do it quickly. Unless you can keep the stem cool of course. If the steerer heats enough to expand before the heat has penetrated to stem then I guess it works. Tried it on a seatpost once but it was a no go.

  • If you do go down the chop stem + remove fork route; you can then flip upside down and block the bottom end by tying latex glove, pop in a plastic bucket/containter of some sort and use a funnel to get some caustic soda in the steerer and dissolve what's left of the stem out.

  • If it's not that seized you can clamp the front wheel with you legs and give it some persuasion with the bars. or penetrating fluid, block of wood over the stem and a few blows with a hammer can free it off.

    The one time I ruined the forks, they were super stuck and the bar in the fork legs was a last resort.

  • @lmananimal thanks for the suggestion, likewise @Dogtemple. Maybe I wasn't that clear in my original post, I am pretty familiar with removing seized components and the various ways by which this can be done. What I am actually after is someone who has a vice that I might be able to borrow for a bit!

  • Agree with @PhilDAS about the heat, also not a good idea to heat steel frames unless all else fails and in this case plenty of alternatives,

  • Is it definitely the throat of the stem that's seized? Can you remove the stem bolt ok and is the wedge moving freely? Youve probably tried this, but if it's the wedge that's stuck I've found unscrewing the bolt so it protrudes above the top of the stem but is still screwed into the wedge, then hitting with a plastic hammer freed stuck stems. If it's the former and the alloy stem and steel steerer are actually siezed then the other methods mentioned above sound like your best bet, or there's always this plan of attack!

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Seized stem

Posted by Avatar for ghostface @ghostface