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Suddenly play in the headset while touring… how is this possible?

Posted: Mon May 20, 2019 7:28 am
by calpartz
Hi,

before a tour I checked the play in the headset – as always – and it was ok.
Now, after a tour I checked the play again and it was there. How could this happened? I checked the nm of the torques and everything is ok. So I cannot understand this.
And much important: Could the fork now be damaged from this play?!

I hope, you can help me answering the question.

Thanks
C.

Re: Suddenly play in the headset while touring… how is this possible?

Posted: Mon May 20, 2019 8:06 am
by zefs
What bike is it? Maybe the compression plug has gotten loose and needs tightening or maybe the bearings need replacement.
I would take it to a bike shop.

Re: Suddenly play in the headset while touring… how is this possible?

Posted: Mon May 20, 2019 8:06 am
by Weenie

Re: Suddenly play in the headset while touring… how is this possible?

Posted: Mon May 20, 2019 8:15 am
by calpartz
zefs wrote:
Mon May 20, 2019 8:06 am
What bike is it? Maybe the compression plug has gotten loose and needs tightening or maybe the bearrings need replacement.
I would take it to a bike shop.
Thanks for the reply.

It is a Canyon Aeroad (with integrated crown...?).

Re: Suddenly play in the headset while touring… how is this possible?

Posted: Mon May 20, 2019 8:19 am
by mattr
calpartz wrote:
Mon May 20, 2019 7:28 am
So I cannot understand this.
The stem slipped on the steerer, it happens, it probably wasn't tight enough or needs some fibre grip (or less grease). Readjust and carry on.
calpartz wrote:
Mon May 20, 2019 7:28 am
And much important: Could the fork now be damaged from this play?!
No. Unless you had masses of play and rode it for hundreds of miles, you are unlikely to damage the fork or frame. The headset should also be ok (It's a cartridge headset isn't it? Loose bearings may have suffered some reduction in life.) If there were any odd noises (cracking or creaking) i might want to look at the steerer where it joins the crown (depending on model/manufacturing method)
zefs wrote:
Mon May 20, 2019 8:06 am
Maybe the compression plug has gotten loose and needs tightening or maybe the bearrings need replacement.
Compression plug shouldn't make any difference to the headset coming loose, unless something else is wrong. You can remove them with no ill effects. Worn out bearings are more likely to give you an indexed or noisy headset, rather than loose.

Re: Suddenly play in the headset while touring… how is this possible?

Posted: Mon May 20, 2019 8:20 am
by zefs
First you could make sure the compression plug is not loose (usually it's 5nm torque)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aBjJ35B-Og0

Then you can watch this video on how to properly setup the headset:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_cOMlylJOI0

Re: Suddenly play in the headset while touring… how is this possible?

Posted: Mon May 20, 2019 8:21 am
by zefs
mattr wrote:
Mon May 20, 2019 8:19 am
zefs wrote:
Mon May 20, 2019 8:06 am
Maybe the compression plug has gotten loose and needs tightening or maybe the bearrings need replacement.
Compression plug shouldn't make any difference to the headset coming loose, unless something else is wrong. You can remove them with no ill effects. Worn out bearings are more likely to give you an indexed or noisy headset, rather than loose.
Uhh, if it's loose it won't compress the bearings which leads to play.

Re: Suddenly play in the headset while touring… how is this possible?

Posted: Mon May 20, 2019 8:25 am
by mattr
zefs wrote:
Mon May 20, 2019 8:21 am
Uhh, if it's loose it won't compress the bearings which leads to play.
Once the headset is installed and the stem clamp bolts are tight, the compression plug is completely superfluous. It's only there to provide a preload during assembly.

viewtopic.php?f=3&t=153055

Why didn't you (the op) adjust the headset properly last time?

Re: Suddenly play in the headset while touring… how is this possible?

Posted: Mon May 20, 2019 8:29 am
by calpartz
mattr wrote:
Mon May 20, 2019 8:25 am
zefs wrote:
Mon May 20, 2019 8:21 am
Uhh, if it's loose it won't compress the bearings which leads to play.
Once the headset is installed and the stem clamp bolts are tight, the compression plug is completely superfluous. It's only there to provide a preload during assembly.

viewtopic.php?f=3&t=153055

Why didn't you (the op) adjust the headset properly last time?
The headset was abjusted before the tour. I check this extra every time (!) that I want to ride. After the ride I noticed that it had some play.

So, according to you the fork and the frame should be ok and I can ride without risk... right?
Sorry for my paranoia.

Re: Suddenly play in the headset while touring… how is this possible?

Posted: Mon May 20, 2019 8:31 am
by alcatraz
What kind of compression plug are you using?

Are you using carbon paste and torquing the stem bolts properly?

Re: Suddenly play in the headset while touring… how is this possible?

Posted: Mon May 20, 2019 8:31 am
by zefs
What I am saying is, if the plug is installed loosely in the first place, even if you tighten the top cap and stem bolts there will still be play because of the plug not compressing the bearings. Atleast that's how I remember from when I was having issues with the headset. Either way if it's loose and you end up tightening the stem and riding like that I guess it will damage the bearings at some point since they will be loose.

Re: Suddenly play in the headset while touring… how is this possible?

Posted: Mon May 20, 2019 8:36 am
by calpartz
alcatraz wrote:
Mon May 20, 2019 8:31 am
What kind of compression plug are you using?

Are you using carbon paste and torquing the stem bolts properly?
Don’t know, I have a Canyon Aeroad...

Yes, carbon paste and the stem bolts were properly torqued.

I fixed the play and checked again everything. After the next ride I will see again.

But again: the fork and frame should be ok, right?


Thanks to everyone for the answers so far!

Re: Suddenly play in the headset while touring… how is this possible?

Posted: Mon May 20, 2019 8:37 am
by zefs
Check the videos I posted to do it properly in case you are doing it wrong. I had an issue with my bike because it needed an extra spacer on the top for the top cap to not make the compression plug come loose (which is also stated on the gcn video). Also, if the top bearing cap can be rotated by hand the headset is probably coming loose.

Re: Suddenly play in the headset while touring… how is this possible?

Posted: Mon May 20, 2019 8:44 am
by mattr
zefs wrote:
Mon May 20, 2019 8:31 am
What I am saying is, if the plug is installed loosely
You'll never be able to adjust the headset in the first place.

Christ, you can get enough end load by pressing down on the stem with your hand if you are stuck.

Re: Suddenly play in the headset while touring… how is this possible?

Posted: Mon May 20, 2019 10:22 am
by alcatraz
I don't think a little play is going to damage anything. However it shouldn't develop during normal riding.

Are you sure you are tightening the headset in the right order? Some bolts need do be loose and others tight in a specific order.

When you take off the top cap, is the fork tube at least 3-5mm below the stem or top most spacer?

Is your compression plug original?

Re: Suddenly play in the headset while touring… how is this possible?

Posted: Mon May 20, 2019 10:36 am
by Karvalo
zefs wrote:
Mon May 20, 2019 8:31 am
What I am saying is, if the plug is installed loosely in the first place, even if you tighten the top cap and stem bolts there will still be play because of the plug not compressing the bearings.
Read the question properly. The OP said the headset was properly adjusted with no play before riding, after riding there was play. Hence the compression plug is almost certainly not the issue.

Anyway, headset preload can creep over time. Maybe you hit a big enough bump to shift the stem a fraction, maybe the bearings settled inside the cartridge, maybe there's an imperfection in the frame race, or dirt/grit inbetween cartridge and frame that allows the headset to shift slightly after it's been set.

Re: Suddenly play in the headset while touring… how is this possible?

Posted: Mon May 20, 2019 10:36 am
by Weenie