I need some advice with my headset bearings

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shrimp
Posts: 6
Joined: 12 Sep 2018, 7:26am

I need some advice with my headset bearings

Postby shrimp » 12 Sep 2018, 9:49am

I bought a second hand whistle sauk 1383d so I'm looking for some advice on what's best to do with the headset bearings. When I was checking the bottom headset bearing it felt gritty to turn and very stiff so I removed it from the bike and when I took the bearing apart it looked like treacle was used instead of grease as it was very sticky and this was causing the ball bearings not to move freely. I don't know if I should clean and re-grease the bearings or should I replace them for a better type. If I was to re-grease the bearings what grease is best to use and if I decide to change the bearing what type do I need. The bearings are pressed in to the frame and say cartridge system inside on the spacer/ collar, It also has loose ball bearings inside the bearing.
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Brucey
Posts: 31105
Joined: 4 Jan 2012, 6:25pm

Re: I need some advice with my headset bearings

Postby Brucey » 12 Sep 2018, 11:17am

there are various ways you can address the situation

1) add a little oil to the extant grease, which will 'refresh' it
2) repack the bearings with fresh grease. Something that is suitable for CV joints can be bought in a motor accessories store and will be better than most greases at withstanding the loads in a headset.
3) replace the headset. There are many different patterns; can't be sure but the one in your photo looks like one for a 1-1/8" steerer that uses a 44.0mm fitted diameter in the frame, but there is a fair chance that the steel cups pictured will tolerate a bad fit (in the frame) and the aluminium cups in a 'better' replacement headset won't tolerate the same bad fit, so replacement headsets don't always fit and work as well as they should do.

BTW such headsets usually have external seals. It is very commonly the case that such headsets go draggy because the seal lips have run dry or the seals have been misassembled/overly preloaded; this is much more likely than the headset become draggy through there being sticky grease inside alone.

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

shrimp
Posts: 6
Joined: 12 Sep 2018, 7:26am

Re: I need some advice with my headset bearings

Postby shrimp » 12 Sep 2018, 1:29pm

Brucey wrote:there are various ways you can address the situation

1) add a little oil to the extant grease, which will 'refresh' it
2) repack the bearings with fresh grease. Something that is suitable for CV joints can be bought in a motor accessories store and will be better than most greases at withstanding the loads in a headset.
3) replace the headset. There are many different patterns; can't be sure but the one in your photo looks like one for a 1-1/8" steerer that uses a 44.0mm fitted diameter in the frame, but there is a fair chance that the steel cups pictured will tolerate a bad fit (in the frame) and the aluminium cups in a 'better' replacement headset won't tolerate the same bad fit, so replacement headsets don't always fit and work as well as they should do.

BTW such headsets usually have external seals. It is very commonly the case that such headsets go draggy because the seal lips have run dry or the seals have been misassembled/overly preloaded; this is much more likely than the headset become draggy through there being sticky grease inside alone.

cheers
I have moly grease which I believe they use that on car bearings. I don't know what seal your on about but I do have a hard plastic seal that fits around the crown race and when that was removed it was full of dirt. If you put your fingers in the hole for the steerer and turn the bearing you can fell how stiff it is and gritty.

Brucey
Posts: 31105
Joined: 4 Jan 2012, 6:25pm

Re: I need some advice with my headset bearings

Postby Brucey » 12 Sep 2018, 1:35pm

if it feels gritty then it needs to be taken apart and cleaned. It will likely be full of dirt and/or corroded; hard plastic seals cannot be expected to keep the weather/dirt out entirely. Softer (rubber) seals will do that reasonably well, provided the lips are kept wetted with lubricant.

Obviously if the bearing is too worn/corroded then it will have to be replaced. In the meantime there is no harm in reassembling the bearing with clean grease (and new balls if you have them); it can't be any worse than it was before....

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

shrimp
Posts: 6
Joined: 12 Sep 2018, 7:26am

Re: I need some advice with my headset bearings

Postby shrimp » 12 Sep 2018, 2:25pm

Brucey wrote:if it feels gritty then it needs to be taken apart and cleaned. It will likely be full of dirt and/or corroded; hard plastic seals cannot be expected to keep the weather/dirt out entirely. Softer (rubber) seals will do that reasonably well, provided the lips are kept wetted with lubricant.

Obviously if the bearing is too worn/corroded then it will have to be replaced. In the meantime there is no harm in reassembling the bearing with clean grease (and new balls if you have them); it can't be any worse than it was before....

cheers
If I was to buy new ball bearings is their a certain brand to buy as I need 68 for the two bearings.

Brucey
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Joined: 4 Jan 2012, 6:25pm

Re: I need some advice with my headset bearings

Postby Brucey » 12 Sep 2018, 7:14pm

bike shops sell so called 'cycle quality' bearings (eg from weldtite) which are roughly Gr500. In a headset with pressed steel raceways, that is slightly worn already, I'd happily use those because they are available and cost-effective. However if the raceways are more rigid and the parts are unworn/precision made to start with, there is something to be said for spending more on ball bearings.

Do check, but IIRC the balls in that headset are liable to be 1/8" ones. A skinflint's method of obtaining enough 1/8" balls is to get hold of a worn (but not corroded) freewheel and to open that up; lots of balls inside....

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

shrimp
Posts: 6
Joined: 12 Sep 2018, 7:26am

Re: I need some advice with my headset bearings

Postby shrimp » 12 Sep 2018, 7:41pm

Brucey wrote:bike shops sell so called 'cycle quality' bearings (eg from weldtite) which are roughly Gr500. In a headset with pressed steel raceways, that is slightly worn already, I'd happily use those because they are available and cost-effective. However if the raceways are more rigid and the parts are unworn/precision made to start with, there is something to be said for spending more on ball bearings.

Do check, but IIRC the balls in that headset are liable to be 1/8" ones. A skinflint's method of obtaining enough 1/8" balls is to get hold of a worn (but not corroded) freewheel and to open that up; lots of balls inside....

cheers
I bought bearings on ebay before which should of been weldtite but they came in a resealable bag and they looked very poor quality so I'm put off buying weldtite again. I've measured the bearings and they are about 3.16mm.

Brucey
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Re: I need some advice with my headset bearings

Postby Brucey » 12 Sep 2018, 11:00pm

your bearings are 1/8". You should be put off buying on ebay, not a specific product if it turns up and it is the wrong thing, surely...?

Having said that weldtite sell balls in large containers and the ones you bought may simply have been repackaged in smaller quantities by the vendor. Provided they are clean, even weldtite balls look like shiny things, you need very good measuring equipment to tell that they are a few microns different in size to one another. If the balls turned up with a little preserving fluid on them, they could look terrible. To clean greasy balls up, spray them with a little GT85 and if necessary roll them around on a folded tissue and spray them again.

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

shrimp
Posts: 6
Joined: 12 Sep 2018, 7:26am

Re: I need some advice with my headset bearings

Postby shrimp » 14 Sep 2018, 9:39am

Brucey wrote:your bearings are 1/8". You should be put off buying on ebay, not a specific product if it turns up and it is the wrong thing, surely...?

Having said that weldtite sell balls in large containers and the ones you bought may simply have been repackaged in smaller quantities by the vendor. Provided they are clean, even weldtite balls look like shiny things, you need very good measuring equipment to tell that they are a few microns different in size to one another. If the balls turned up with a little preserving fluid on them, they could look terrible. To clean greasy balls up, spray them with a little GT85 and if necessary roll them around on a folded tissue and spray them again.

cheers
If I was to change the headset bearing can I get one where I haven't got to press out the bearing everytime. Where I live we don't have any bike shops so my only option is to buy online. The bearings I bought in the past from ebay had grease on them and the seller said they came straight from the supplier like that so I'm thinking they must of been seconds.

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meic
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Re: I need some advice with my headset bearings

Postby meic » 14 Sep 2018, 9:59am

These people are reasonably popular with forum users.

Obviously the price for smaller quantities will be relatively higher as no postage charges are made.

https://simplybearings.co.uk/shop/
Yma o Hyd

Brucey
Posts: 31105
Joined: 4 Jan 2012, 6:25pm

Re: I need some advice with my headset bearings

Postby Brucey » 14 Sep 2018, 10:23am

if that is a 44.0mm OD headset you can buy headsets that have a cartridge bearing in them that is meant to be a sliding fit in an aluminium cup, so that the cartridge can be removed and overhauled/replaced without having to beat the cup out of the frame.

However if the frame isn't well prepared, the aluminium cup distorts when it is fitted, such that the cartridge bearing won't come out of the cup, so such headset such as that isn't always as easy to overhaul as it could be. BTW driving aluminium cups in and out of frames is a good deal less forgiving than working with similar steel ones; the aluminium ones are easily damaged.

Perhaps the simplest solution in your case is to leave the circlip off the lower assembly; this will make the thing liable to fall apart as you reassemble the bike, but this isn't an insurmountable problem. It will however mean that you can overhaul the headset without a lot of effort in future.

BTW you can buy a pot of 1/8" weldtite balls for about £5. It will contain about 1000 balls (of 'adequate' quality for the type of bearing you are rebuilding) and (IME) the balls come clean and shiny inside the container. They don't stay that way for ever unless some kind of preserving fluid is added to them.

cheers
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Sweep
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Re: I need some advice with my headset bearings

Postby Sweep » 14 Sep 2018, 3:10pm

Thanks for the encouragement on Weldtite bearings being fine for this application Brucey - I get the impression (correct me if I am wrong) that they are fine for all bike applications.

Keeps life simple.

I bought a pot of Weldtite bearings a fair while ago on ebay - definitely genuine - came in a labelled pot - seem to work well when I took an old headset apart and replaced the "captive" balls with loose bearings. And smothered the lot in good grease.
Sweep

Brucey
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Joined: 4 Jan 2012, 6:25pm

Re: I need some advice with my headset bearings

Postby Brucey » 14 Sep 2018, 4:09pm

in fairness I would say that such ball bearings ought not to be used in ball races that

a) are expensive
b) are precision machined
c) have rigid (rather than flexible) raceways and/or
d) only work well by sharing the load between many balls.

The reason being that buying expensive balls for (say) a cheap headset often amounts to a comparable cost vs a new headset. Better tolerances don't buy you that much if the raceways are cheaply made, because the balls won't share the load anyway, or will perhaps share the load regardless because the raceways are slightly flexible.

In traditionally designed hubs the load is shared between just two or three balls anyway, so whilst a hub with poorly toleranced balls might not be a smooth as you would want and will wear slightly more quickly than one without, there may not be as much difference as you might expect.

Of traditionally designed parts, pedals are one where the ability of the balls to share the load is perhaps most important; a case in point being that years ago I was daft/unlucky enough to get winter weather inside my cherished Campag Nuovo Record pedals. A stripdown duly revealed that the balls were no longer shiny, but the raceways fortunately had yet to start pitting. I rebuilt the pedals with cheap ball bearings (all the LBS had) and it soon became clear to me that the pedal bearings were now pretty rough, worse than they had been before I'd started.

A little careful investigation revealed that only three balls were ever touching both raceways, and the other balls were merely along for the ride, pushing against one another and just scuffing their way around. I refitted the old balls and all was well once more: In this case imperfect campagnolo balls were infinitely superior to brand new balls from the LBS! If the cheap balls had been fitted in a cheaper/already damaged pedal I perhaps wouldn't have noticed, and it may have made less difference too.

NB in cartridge bearings that are designed to see their full service load and/or rotate at high speeds, they will only work if all the balls are touching/loaded against both raceways all the time (i.e. there is some preload rather than none) and they can share the load. If there is no preload, the balls scuff at high speed and the bearing smashes itself to pieces. At low speed the bearing just wears much faster than normal and the clip may well be the first thing to fail. If the balls are not able to share the load the maximum load that the bearing can sustain is dramatically reduced. Add in a little contamination and/or water and that caps it off nicely; you might start with a bearing that ought to take ten times the service load for the equivalent of 100000 miles and you end up with something that will last six months if you are lucky.

So anyway I would say that with a typical medium quality part (like say a shimano hub which has Gr25 balls in to start with, c.f. the Gr500 of weldtite balls..... :shock: )

a) don't bother to replace the balls (esp with cheap ones) unless the old ones are actually quite badly damaged
b) ask yourself if the raceways are already damaged or not
c) perhaps only bother to fit the best quality balls to undamaged raceways

Arguably if the raceways are already damaged you may as well fit cheap balls since they are likely to need replacing sooner rather than later anyway, or indeed you may be eking out the last fraction of the component's life. If the bearings wear slightly faster than normal in the meantime, this might (if you use the right lubricant) actually improve the surface condition of the raceways. It isn't possible to know for sure what will happen but some bearings 'run in' again rather than 'run out' once they are rebuilt from a slightly damaged condition.

So in my spares stash I have pots of cheap balls but I don't use them in very many parts that I expect/hope will have a long service life ahead of them.

cheers
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Sweep
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Re: I need some advice with my headset bearings

Postby Sweep » 14 Sep 2018, 4:30pm

Ta Brucey though your knowledge has complicated things somewhat :)

My bike bits are of the ilk of:

standard Shiman stuff

Some old bikes with 1 inch headsets of the ilk of Tange copies of venerable Campag stuff.

Assuming all in decent shape are you saying that Grade 25 is the thing to go for?

On the basis that this is what Mr Shimano uses as original bits?

Please remember I'm looking for a simple answer ;)
Sweep

Brucey
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Joined: 4 Jan 2012, 6:25pm

Re: I need some advice with my headset bearings

Postby Brucey » 14 Sep 2018, 4:54pm

"yes"....

.... but if the raceways are in good shape and you want the longest service life possible, better quality balls will help.

Campagnolo hubs and pedals are/were fitted with balls that they claim are toleranced to better than one micron. Most balls that you can buy are a step down from that.

cheers
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