Removing a 60 year old stuck handlebar stem

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mrned
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Removing a 60 year old stuck handlebar stem

Postby mrned » Tue Feb 06, 2018 8:39 pm

Hi all, finally getting around to bring my 50's Healing back to life (assuming 50's as it had a 54 Sturmey hub). Hvar out the wheels through an oxalic kiddy pool and they came up a treat and got respoked at Abbotsford Cycles.

Now ready to put the frame in for a swim but the darn handlebar stem won't come out. I've loosened the bolt, had about 1/2 a can of WD40 go in there over the last fortnight and can't get it to budge. I've unscrewed the bolt about 10mm and tapped it with the mallet and it moves back down and up freely so it mustn't be the wedge.

Do I have to loosen that locknut looking thing above the headset? When the stem bolt is loosened I can only get the handlebars to move side to side free of the forks about 5mm, barely anything at all.

I haven't found much on stuck stems with old bikes like this so is there much different to a more modern one? Assuming both are steel and not got that alloy/steel combo corrosion.

Any tips greatly appreciated!

Cheers

Ned

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P!N20
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Re: Removing a 60 year old stuck handlebar stem

Postby P!N20 » Wed Feb 07, 2018 9:43 am

User Uart has a hammer you can use...

It's not my era, but the headset lock ring shouldn't be impeding it, that said, you may as well remove everything you possibly can to give it the best chance of coming out.

So the stem rotates a little bit in the steerer tube? That sounds promising - probably just needs some gentle persuasion.

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Derny Driver
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Re: Removing a 60 year old stuck handlebar stem

Postby Derny Driver » Wed Feb 07, 2018 9:52 am

Ive got a stuck one as well.
Have a look on youtube, there are a few methods, none of which Ive been game to try yet.
They don't come out easily. Might take months.

bicyclepassion
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Re: Removing a 60 year old stuck handlebar stem

Postby bicyclepassion » Wed Feb 07, 2018 7:39 pm

Take it to Jesse at Bike Bar in Fitzroy, he has a special jig/machine set up to remove stuck stems and seat posts. This is the scientific approach, well worth witnessing in action. I won't try and describe it, but it is the best method I have ever seen, and I've been dealing with stuck stems for 40 years now.

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mrned
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Re: Removing a 60 year old stuck handlebar stem

Postby mrned » Wed Feb 07, 2018 10:12 pm

bicyclepassion wrote:Take it to Jesse at Bike Bar in Fitzroy, he has a special jig/machine set up to remove stuck stems and seat posts. This is the scientific approach, well worth witnessing in action. I won't try and describe it, but it is the best method I have ever seen, and I've been dealing with stuck stems for 40 years now.


Well that's got me mighty intrigued. I'm just next door to Fitzroy in Brunswick so I might pop in after work the next few days. I've been at this for almost 2 weeks to the point that almost all the water in my oxalic kiddy pool has evaporated, lucky the Diggers comes in such a big bottle!
Cheers!

zedries
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Re: Removing a 60 year old stuck handlebar stem

Postby zedries » Mon Feb 12, 2018 5:46 pm

Please take a picture of such a wonderous machine if you can. I am also struggling with almost exactly the same issue with my stem as you mrned.

my old frame smells of a mixture of CRC, WD40 and warm vinegar in my attempts to remove my stuck stem.. a solid 38 years of rust build up may see me cutting it off!

twowheels
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Re: Removing a 60 year old stuck handlebar stem

Postby twowheels » Mon Feb 12, 2018 7:14 pm

Rather than crc, wd40 etc mix auto trans fluid and kero 50/50. Works much better as a penetrating oil. Apparently ATF and acetone 50/50 even better, but I've not tried yet. Penetrene very good if you want a ready made penetrating oil.

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AUbicycles
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Re: Removing a 60 year old stuck handlebar stem

Postby AUbicycles » Tue Feb 13, 2018 9:26 am

Would also love to hear about the machine... and get photos and a description.

Beyond pure leverage and using pipe wrenches - after penetrating from the top and underneath with oils - I would be curious about using heat and cold. Warming the frame while freezing the stem. For this it would be hot sun (or a hot torch... even basic... a flame) on the frame combined with ice-packs on the stem followed by more leverage.

uart
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Re: Removing a 60 year old stuck handlebar stem

Postby uart » Tue Feb 13, 2018 11:35 am

mrned wrote: I've been at this for almost 2 weeks to the point that almost all the water in my oxalic kiddy pool has evaporated, lucky the Diggers comes in such a big bottle!


Have you tried turning the bike upside down and pouring the products straight down into the steerer tube.. You should be able to fill the steerer tube like this and just let it sit for days or weeks like that. Try the oxalic acid and then the penetrating lube. Yes a mix of acetone and ATF is very good.

zedries
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Re: Removing a 60 year old stuck handlebar stem

Postby zedries » Tue Feb 13, 2018 4:21 pm

I have tried the upside down steerer tube trick and let it sit for a couple of weeks. i'll try the ATF/Acetone mix next time for good measure.

Didn't mean to highjack your thread mrned

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mrned
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Re: Removing a 60 year old stuck handlebar stem

Postby mrned » Tue Feb 27, 2018 6:11 pm

So it took me a few weeks to find the time to visit Jesse at the Bike Bar in Fitzroy but I finally managed to get there this arvo. Bloody hell what a marvellous workshop, I just stood there in awe of all the amazing machinery and beautiful bicycles everywhere.

Jesse's "instrument" as he calls it has a bit of a vice thingy which grips the forks and then a rope that wraps around you handlebars. The rope is connected to a handle he twists which slowly pulls the stem up. I was lucky that mine wasn't too stuck and came out relatively easily. He said he's had some doozeys that have taken a lot more time and effort!

Bad news was that the stem was broken on the inside so I'm going to have to find a similar replacement. Forks are in the oxalic bath now and the frame will go in later this week!

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mrned
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Re: Removing a 60 year old stuck handlebar stem

Postby mrned » Tue Feb 27, 2018 6:19 pm

Blergh forgot how to hotlink the photo in the above post

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