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I can't seem to find in my park tool book how tight this should be. I checked upon removal with a torque wrench, it was at 75 inch lbs. (threadless headset).

looking at the park tool web site, it says gentle tighten until resistance is felt, then check for play. If play, tighten 1'8th turn. repeat until no play... I tried this and the play never went away. I then put the torque wrench on, set it at 75 inches and the bolt never got to that level. In fact, it never got tight. Is it possible the star nut is turning?

Is there always play at the bottom? when does a head set need replacing?

any others methods to determine how tight the top cap bolt should be?

thanks in advance,
Charlie
 

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The star nut won't turn, but it's quite easy to start pulling it up the steerer if you wind on the wrench too hard.

I see you've got 2 how tight threads going now. I'd suggest you find a local shop that's got an after hours maintence clinic and start there. In the mean time you may have to swallow your pride and ask the guys at the shop why the headset won't adjust now.
 

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Well some folks would rather do anything then ask someone in the shop. Then they roll a shopping cart of twisted metal in the door, and try to act casual, "I don't know how it happened".

Books are great to refer too, but for hands on shop class style stuff you can't beat having someone nearby as you're doing the repair. Most shops respond very well to beer or donuts after hours and bench racing tales while you're figuring out what the headset is doing.
 

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King recommends "Tighten approx. 4-10 in.-lb. (Max. 15 in. lb.)"

75in/lb is way too much. If your headset needs that much torque to hold it together something is wrong.
 

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What you are doing is just taking the play out of the assembly..essentially finger tight is all that it needs..lift the front ent of the bike, and if there is any notchiness to the beaings when turning the bars, the bearings are TOO tight....now the bigger question..what is going on??
The play you are feeling could be your fork (bushings), and not the headset.

Why did you take the headset apart? That will most likely be the root of the problem. New fork? did you reinstall the crown race? did you put everything back in the correct way?

New stem? is it the same stack height as the old, or do yo now need mroe spacers to make up the difference? Did you indeed replace all of the spacers?

Is the top cap hitting the top of the steer tube (this is my guess)??
 

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You can not use a torque wrench to loosen a screw, and "measure" how tight it was. Torque wrenches are designed to TIGHTEN only, and should never be used to loosen any screw/nut/bolt. At worst it will damage the wrench, or at least knock it out of calibration
 
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