How to remove a handlebar stem?

General cycling advice ( NOT technical ! )
Fishplate42
Posts: 12
Joined: 9 Jul 2019, 8:12am

How to remove a handlebar stem?

Postby Fishplate42 » 31 Jul 2019, 11:29pm

My rebuild project has stalled as I can't get the stem out of the forks. I have released the fixing by loosening the bolt and tapped the 'wedge' (if that is the correct term) down to release it. However, although the wedge has released, the stem is still stuck fast. It appears to be rusted in. I have soaked it with penetrating oil but it is still stuck fast. I am a bit nervous of being too brutal with it and I don't want to mark the surface, if I can help it. The clamp for the handlebar is missing so I can't use that as leverage.

Any suggestions as to what to do next?

Ralph.

Brucey
Posts: 34868
Joined: 4 Jan 2012, 6:25pm

Re: How to remove a handlebar stem?

Postby Brucey » 31 Jul 2019, 11:33pm

more info would be useful; steel or alloy stem/fork? Are you happy to sacrifice the stem?

cheers
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~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Brucey~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Fishplate42
Posts: 12
Joined: 9 Jul 2019, 8:12am

Re: How to remove a handlebar stem?

Postby Fishplate42 » 31 Jul 2019, 11:35pm

I forgot to say the bike is a Mongose 350 Crossway. It is the one at the back of this picture

Image

Ralph.

Fishplate42
Posts: 12
Joined: 9 Jul 2019, 8:12am

Re: How to remove a handlebar stem?

Postby Fishplate42 » 31 Jul 2019, 11:38pm

Brucey wrote:more info would be useful; steel or alloy stem/fork? Are you happy to sacrifice the stem?

cheers


The problem is I have not got the front of the clamp, I was hoping to take it out and see if I can find a clamp to fit it. But if sacrificing the stem is the only way to get it out, so be it. It is an alloy stem bit whatever it is fitted to is steel, I think...

Ralph

bagpussctc
Posts: 137
Joined: 27 Oct 2009, 6:45pm

Re: How to remove a handlebar stem?

Postby bagpussctc » 1 Aug 2019, 8:57am

Sounds like the alloy stem and the steel forks have bonded together . This is due to a lack of copper or silver slip or even plain grease to stop the chemical recation between the two different metals .
The only way to break the bond is heat or cutting the stem out.

mattsccm
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Joined: 28 Nov 2009, 9:44pm

Re: How to remove a handlebar stem?

Postby mattsccm » 1 Aug 2019, 9:02am

You don''t have all the stem so its scrap anyway. So cheap as not to be worth looking for the front. Clamp it in the vice if you need to. As Brucey says although it doesn't sound like it has had much of a chance with the oil. Give it a few weeks.If it was mine I would smack the top to break and corrosion seal. Maybe then beat it out from below.

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Mick F
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Location: Tamar Valley, Cornwall

Re: How to remove a handlebar stem?

Postby Mick F » 1 Aug 2019, 9:21am

I reckon that you could cut off the top of the stem and remove the headset and take the forks out of the frame. Put the stump in a vice forks upwards. More penetrating oil and let it soak using gravity to let it get in.

Give it a day or two, and twist the forks. It should shift.
Mick F. Cornwall

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NATURAL ANKLING
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Joined: 24 Oct 2012, 10:43pm
Location: English Riviera

Re: How to remove a handlebar stem?

Postby NATURAL ANKLING » 1 Aug 2019, 10:10am

Hi,
I got a bit brutal with the forks on a bike I was breaking up.
I ended up twisting the forks.
I would cut the Stem off above the head set.
Remove forks.
Problem now is that you cannot drift the stem out from underneath because the wedge is in the way.
531Colin had an idea that he have used With a sharpened Wood bit(Flat type)To machine out the remaining stem with a drill?
Or pick up another set of forks if you don't feel like Tackling the job.
If You Don't Try You Don't Do.....Don't Do You Don't Get...I'm Still Trying....Well Very..
You'll Find Me At The Top Of A Hill...............Somewhere...After Dark..

bagpussctc
Posts: 137
Joined: 27 Oct 2009, 6:45pm

Re: How to remove a handlebar stem?

Postby bagpussctc » 1 Aug 2019, 11:03am


Brucey
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Joined: 4 Jan 2012, 6:25pm

Re: How to remove a handlebar stem?

Postby Brucey » 1 Aug 2019, 11:04am

FWIW if you have a good quality bench vice (steel not iron) of about 3-4-5" size then (depending on how the forks are built and the exact size of the vice) you can usually hold the fork crown in the bench vice directly, (i.e. with one fork blade either side of the throat) using pieces of wood as packing. This is possible even if the forks are still in the frame, provided the vice is mounted at the edge of the workbench like it should be.

Anyway this allows you to 'swing like a chimp' on the stem. Normally you need to use a lever that is much longer than a mere set of handlebars, and arranging this is usually difficult to do. Heat helps of course. But in the OPs case I fancy a scaffold pole (or similar) will slip over the end of the stem and allow mighty force to be applied. The stem of course is usually ruined, but stems are not difficult to come by and stems without a face plate are nigh-on useless anyway.

cheers
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~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Brucey~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Stradageek
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Joined: 17 Jan 2011, 1:07pm

Re: How to remove a handlebar stem?

Postby Stradageek » 1 Aug 2019, 1:34pm

I removed the mother of all stuck stems thus:

Cut off the stem so that the forks can be removed
Drill a 5 to 6mm hole in the stem and insert a good solid metal rod (I used an old Allen key) in the hole
Find a bench with a good solid bench vice
Apply heat and penetrating oil liberally
Sitting under the bench vice, with the vice opened wide enough to accept the fork steerer but not the metal rod, lift the fork and then yank down hard so that the rod thumps against the jaws of the bench vice
Lift and repeat until it starts to shift

I had tried all the other techniques before resorting to this method and it took some serious yanking to get it to move.

DO TAKE CARE when yanking down to ensure that the steerer thread doesn't get damaged by the vice jaws

Enjoy

gazza_d
Posts: 75
Joined: 30 Oct 2016, 8:20am

Re: How to remove a handlebar stem?

Postby gazza_d » 1 Aug 2019, 2:26pm

I removed a stuck stem eventually by sawing it off just below the bend , then hacksawing a slot down with either side.
Once almost through I was able to crush the stem on and remove with a pipe wrench although a good vice would also work. Took a good couple of hours
I tried boiling water and freeze spray as well as penetrating oils and nothing touched it

Gaz

bagpussctc
Posts: 137
Joined: 27 Oct 2009, 6:45pm

Re: How to remove a handlebar stem?

Postby bagpussctc » 1 Aug 2019, 3:45pm

gazza_d wrote:I removed a stuck stem eventually by sawing it off just below the bend , then hacksawing a slot down with either side.
Once almost through I was able to crush the stem on and remove with a pipe wrench although a good vice would also work. Took a good couple of hours
I
Gaz


+1 That is the way a bike shop would have done it ......Now try and find a good local bike shop .

The same method is used for removing frozen alloy seat posts in a steel frame twisted: :evil:

9494arnold
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Joined: 21 Jan 2007, 3:13pm

Re: How to remove a handlebar stem?

Postby 9494arnold » 1 Aug 2019, 4:12pm

Suspension forks do I spy? That will probably make the whole job more difficult I am afraid.
I'd suggest put a bolt or similar where front hub would be, and trap that in the vice.
Get a large spanner/ pipe wrench on what's left of the stem and try and turn it in the fork column. If you succeed you will have broken the grip where it has corroded. There is The danger if twisting the forks and nadgering them as has already been highlighted.
If that doesn't work some careful hacksawing will follow . Be patient.

Fishplate42
Posts: 12
Joined: 9 Jul 2019, 8:12am

Re: How to remove a handlebar stem?

Postby Fishplate42 » 1 Aug 2019, 6:25pm

Lots to think about here - Thanks!

I had already come to the conclusion that it would probably be easier to sacrifice the stem, rather than try and find a face plate for it, however, I had not thought of having to destroy it to remove it. I have loosened the wedge, I can feel it moving but that has made no difference, it is still stuck fast. If I can't release it by tomorrow, it will be out with the hacksaw...

I will let you know how I get on, thanks for all the help so far.

Ralph.