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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey guys-

Couple headset questions hoping to be answered!

1) What happens if you over tighten the headset (stem bolt)? I tried over tightening it and it got a little tighter but it never got so tight that the handlebars didn't turn or things wouldn't rotate. Normal?

2) What's the consensus for how much steerer tube should be in the stem? I hear 5mm below the top of the stem or at least so the top of the steerer is level or higher than the top stem bolt. Mine meets the latter requirement and is level but is more than 5mm. Anyways, my LBS said it was fine as is but just seeing what others say

3) Was wondering what the proper orientation of this washer is in the stack. There is a little groove or channel on one side of the washer (shown in pic attached). Does this groove face down or up when being installed in the headset over the open bearings? Product Circle Synthetic rubber Lens Transparent material
 

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So this is an open bearing, not a cartridge bearing?

If yes, I’m guessing the metal would go against the balls and rubber side would be up.


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1) you can damage the bearing races by pitting them, but this will hardly occur because the start nut will start creeping up the steer tube before you can actually damage anything, but you shouldn't over tight anything.

2) the top of the steer tube should always be above the top bolt, slightly lower than the top of the stem with enough room to preload the headset without the top cap touch the top of the steer tube is also commonly accepted. Personally I like to have at least a 2.5mm spacer above the stem.

3) does that seal have a metallic ring, on the photo it seems to have one. If so, the exposed side of the metallic ring normally face the inside, meaning that if the seal is of the top assembly that seal is turned down (the opposite of the photo).
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Ok thanks guys... i did install that ring so its "hitting" the open bearings which sounds right. My steerer is right at the height of the top stem bolt... and since it wasn't a clean cut some of the steerer is slightly higher. But I get the point that it definitely shouldn't be lower than it.

One more question... the actual open bearings... should they be facing up or down in the headset assembly? I could swear I remember taking them off that they were facing up.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
1) you can damage the bearing races by pitting them, but this will hardly occur because the start nut will start creeping up the steer tube before you can actually damage anything, but you shouldn't over tight anything.
OK so then it will never actually tighten to the point where you can't turn the bars when over tightening it a lot? But it could damage things.
 

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Hey guys-

Couple headset questions hoping to be answered!

1) What happens if you over tighten the headset (stem bolt)? I tried over tightening it and it got a little tighter but it never got so tight that the handlebars didn't turn or things wouldn't rotate. Normal?

2) What's the consensus for how much steerer tube should be in the stem? I hear 5mm below the top of the stem or at least so the top of the steerer is level or higher than the top stem bolt. Mine meets the latter requirement and is level but is more than 5mm. Anyways, my LBS said it was fine as is but just seeing what others say

3) Was wondering what the proper orientation of this washer is in the stack. There is a little groove or channel on one side of the washer (shown in pic attached). Does this groove face down or up when being installed in the headset over the open bearings? View attachment 1248659
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
1. Stem bolt too tight will either crack the stem or crush the steerer tube if the fork. Headset topcap bolt preloads the headset bearings to correct torque. If you load it too much you can crush bearings, damage races and worst case damage the frame.

2. Yes, I'd agree with that.

3. I think the groove goes onto the bearing side, it's a dust cover.
Thanks. For number 1, if you kept tightening it... you'd still be able to turn the bars... but it would also crush and damage other things as you say?
 

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There will come a point where steering gets stiffer and then starts to bind, if you keep going it will eventually stop moving but by that point it's going to f' things up. My bikes not in fount of me but I'm pretty sure the top cap has a torque spec on it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Yeah it does, 4nm. The reason I'm asking, is because I tried tightening it up more (not crazy or anything) and it didn't seem to start binding or having trouble turning. But it did tighten a tad more. So not sure if thats a sign of anything or not.
 

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Yeah it does, 4nm. The reason I'm asking, is because I tried tightening it up more (not crazy or anything) and it didn't seem to start binding or having trouble turning. But it did tighten a tad more. So not sure if thats a sign of anything or not.
It's not a sign of anything being too loose. It should never "stop", if you get to that point it's way too tight.

Take the bolt to 4nm and then tighten the stem bolts to their torque specs and go take it for a ride.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Bump. In looking at the diagram above that I posted, does anyone know if the open bearings (5 in the diagram) are pointed up or down? I think up but just double checking
 
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