Seized: the death knell of a frame?

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horizon
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Seized: the death knell of a frame?

Postby horizon » 16 Nov 2020, 1:31am

Having just read nirakaro's post about his stuck seatposts, I'm reminded not only of two stuck BBs that I have yet to resolve but also of the long threads on here about the problem of seized seatposts, BBs and threaded stems. AIUI, It is one of these three items that will cause the end of a frame - everything else can be removed and is expendable, bar a few items in braze-ons and maybe head bearings?

Although I've had reasonable success over the years with various stuck components, I've started to come to the conclusion that a stuck seatpost or BB means the end of the frame. Even if attempts to remove them don't damage the frame or destroy tools, the end doesn't really seem to justify the faff. It's not all bad news as it probably means the frame has had a long life and the value has been gained from it. It might be that the item can stay in place if still functioning but that begs the question as to why an attempt was made to remove it. If all the components have been successfully removed then it won't even mean the cost of a new bike.

I wondered whether people felt that this is too gloomy an outlook and that with effort a successful outcome is the norm or even that a local bike shop or garage will see it right if all else fails.
When the pestilence strikes from the East, go far and breathe the cold air deeply. Ignore the sage, stay not indoors. Ho Ri Zon 12th Century Chinese philosopher

cyclop
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Re: Seized: the death knell of a frame?

Postby cyclop » 16 Nov 2020, 7:58am

My experience,though limited to a seatpost and a bb has been as follows;for the seatpost,aluminium in steel mercian,this needed a hacksaw blade sandwiched between two thin laths of wood which worked v.well.The bb,a shimano sqr taper stuck in an aluminium specialized stumpjumper needed to go along to my lbs who had to apply a tool so long,he thought he might damage the frame.Nonetheless,he managed and my stumpy(25yrs old?) is a valued,dry conditions mtb.The Mercian frame is hanging up,waiting for whatever but hey,it,s a mercian,why wouldn,t you faff on?
In conclusion,yes,well worthwhile if you,re extending the life of valued,old or useful frames.

pwa
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Re: Seized: the death knell of a frame?

Postby pwa » 16 Nov 2020, 8:07am

If you are willing to put in the work, the hacksaw technique works on a stuck seatpost. I've done it a few times. Obviously the seatpost is sacrificed.

hamster
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Re: Seized: the death knell of a frame?

Postby hamster » 16 Nov 2020, 8:48am

This service claim almost 100% success with a stuck seatpost - and they don't do it with a hacksaw.
https://theseatpostman.com/

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Mick F
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Re: Seized: the death knell of a frame?

Postby Mick F » 16 Nov 2020, 8:53am

I've read many a thread on here alluding to what Horizon has raised. Horror stories abound.

Going back to my cycling days in the early/mid 1960s, I've always been tinkering with the bikes ....... and there's been a few of them.
Never ever ever had anything stuck, so I have no personal experience of this subject at all.

I wish everyone were like me, someone who pulls things apart and cleans and greases them. How people can even NOT do that, is beyond me.
Mick F. Cornwall

pwa
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Re: Seized: the death knell of a frame?

Postby pwa » 16 Nov 2020, 8:58am

Mick F wrote:I've read many a thread on here alluding to what Horizon has raised. Horror stories abound.

Going back to my cycling days in the early/mid 1960s, I've always been tinkering with the bikes ....... and there's been a few of them.
Never ever ever had anything stuck, so I have no personal experience of this subject at all.

I wish everyone were like me, someone who pulls things apart and cleans and greases them. How people can even NOT do that, is beyond me.

Everyone's different. Some people don't get the pleasure from it that you do.

Incidentally, I recently removed a carbon post from a titanium frame. It had been put in with the usual sandy gel stuff, with low torque, never slipped, and came out perfectly after a good few years of not being touched. It has now been put back in perfectly. If it had been alloy in steel the story would have been less cheerful.
Last edited by pwa on 16 Nov 2020, 9:02am, edited 1 time in total.

drossall
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Re: Seized: the death knell of a frame?

Postby drossall » 16 Nov 2020, 9:00am

A stuck seatpost was one of my first experiences of cycle maintenance as a teenager. It wasn't mine and I was more observer than do-oer - one of the friends I started riding with had a stuck steel post in a steel frame. In the end he cut it off and beat it down with a hammer into the frame, which shifted it. He never got the stump out, just left it down inside the frame. But he got some more years out of that frame as a result.

tatanab
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Re: Seized: the death knell of a frame?

Postby tatanab » 16 Nov 2020, 9:05am

Mick F wrote:I wish everyone were like me, someone who pulls things apart and cleans and greases them. How people can even NOT do that, is beyond me.
I think the difference is that when we were young all of our bearings were cup and cone type and so we would strip and regrease annually. This meant that the handlebar stem and just about everything else had to be removed. These days it seems to be a crime if bearings are not "sealed" and everything is virtually maintenance free. I think the only stem and saddle pillars (a few) that I've had to cut out have been on second hand frames.

pwa
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Re: Seized: the death knell of a frame?

Postby pwa » 16 Nov 2020, 9:14am

I had a quill stem that got stuck and I cut it out. Initially I had greased it, but no amount of tightening would secure it, so I wiped off most of the grease and got it so only a good slam would make the stem rotate in the steerer. But that turned out to be too little grease to prevent seizure over the course of a winter's commuting. It is a crude, rubbish system and I was glad to leave it behind.

Brucey
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Re: Seized: the death knell of a frame?

Postby Brucey » 16 Nov 2020, 9:55am

pwa wrote:I had a quill stem that got stuck and I cut it out. Initially I had greased it, but no amount of tightening would secure it, so I wiped off most of the grease and got it so only a good slam would make the stem rotate in the steerer. But that turned out to be too little grease to prevent seizure over the course of a winter's commuting. It is a crude, rubbish system and I was glad to leave it behind.


I read the last sentence and I didn't suppose for a moment that you could possibly be referring to a quill stem. It is a system that has worked very well for at least a hundred years. Parts that don't tighten are simply faulty (or misassembled) and it is not at all difficult to keep the weather out.

'crude rubbish system' is more or less how I think of the currently popular arrangement. Considering this design appears to 'need' headsets that are much larger diameter, the bearings clap out with monotonous regularity, and they are not designed to be properly weatherproof. I've lost count of the number of broken stems I have seen, usually with cracks near the pinch bolts.

I have a bike to fix right now that is only about three years old; the tapered collar at the top of the headset is going to have to be cut off, because it is perfectly seized onto the steerer, which has rusted because it is in no way either waterproofed or designed with any hint of wetness in mind. This is not at all unusual.

Imagine if seat pins were made like threadless steerers; you would have to cut the seat pin to about the right length, then adjust the saddle height with spacers, then throw half the bike away should you need a major change in height. In the meantime the arrangement would be 'scientifically designed' to funnel water into the bottom bracket bearings and the hardware that would keep the saddle in position would be prone to breaking for no good reason. Yeah, that'd be great. About as great as threadless bloomin' steerers are.... :roll:

cheers
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Brucey~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

pwa
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Re: Seized: the death knell of a frame?

Postby pwa » 16 Nov 2020, 10:04am

Brucey wrote:
pwa wrote:I had a quill stem that got stuck and I cut it out. Initially I had greased it, but no amount of tightening would secure it, so I wiped off most of the grease and got it so only a good slam would make the stem rotate in the steerer. But that turned out to be too little grease to prevent seizure over the course of a winter's commuting. It is a crude, rubbish system and I was glad to leave it behind.


I read the last sentence and I didn't suppose for a moment that you could possibly be referring to a quill stem. It is a system that has worked very well for at least a hundred years. Parts that don't tighten are simply faulty (or misassembled) and it is not at all difficult to keep the weather out.

'crude rubbish system' is more or less how I think of the currently popular arrangement. Considering this design appears to 'need' headsets that are much larger diameter, the bearings clap out with monotonous regularity, and they are not designed to be properly weatherproof. I've lost count of the number of broken stems I have seen, usually with cracks near the pinch bolts.

I have a bike to fix right now that is only about three years old; the tapered collar at the top of the headset is going to have to be cut off, because it is perfectly seized onto the steerer, which has rusted because it is in no way either waterproofed or designed with any hint of wetness in mind. This is not at all unusual.

Imagine if seat pins were made like threadless steerers; you would have to cut the seat pin to about the right length, then adjust the saddle height with spacers, then throw half the bike away should you need a major change in height. In the meantime the arrangement would be 'scientifically designed' to funnel water into the bottom bracket bearings and the hardware that would keep the saddle in position would be prone to breaking for no good reason. Yeah, that'd be great. About as great as threadless bloomin' steerers are.... :roll:

cheers

I only say these provocative things to give you something to work with, Brucey.

One big plus for the threadless system that prevails at the moment is that if something goes wrong it is nearly all external and accessible, not hidden half way down a narrow tube. So if you do have to cut something off you can see what you are doing.

Now on the subject of cracking stems, yes I think there is a problem there, but it is one caused by stems being underbuilt at the clamp. A few grams of extra material in the right places could fix that.

robc02
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Re: Seized: the death knell of a frame?

Postby robc02 » 16 Nov 2020, 10:22am

I have yet to be beaten by a stuck stem or seatpost (EDIT: or Bottom Bracket cup)! I hasten to add that they are usually stuck when I obtain the frame, so due to someone else's neglect, not mine (though there have been a couple of occasions when I have been caught out, the most recent when a carbon seatpost stuck in an aluminium frame - after a fairly short time, on a bike that had been cosseted and kept in doors).

I normally start with the gentler methods, but if necessary will use cutting and heating to get the job done. In extremis I have welded a thick tab to a BB cup, gripped it in a vice and turned the frame around the cup. Its very satisfying when it releases! Whether it is worth it depends on the value you place on the frame, of course. My view has been that a couple of hours of my time costs much less than even a second hand frame (which often arrive with a stuck seatpost or bottom bracket, or worse...........)

Jamesh
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Re: Seized: the death knell of a frame?

Postby Jamesh » 16 Nov 2020, 10:52am

My Cannondale has a stick seat post.

Think it happened during lejog.

It's at about the right height for comfortable touring so no problem

My focus is a little higher tbh which I tend to ride full gas.....

Sure Colin will stone me if we ever bump into each other in the dales!!!

Cheers James

Jodel
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Re: Seized: the death knell of a frame?

Postby Jodel » 16 Nov 2020, 11:42am

The best results I've had when trying to release seized components on bicycles, or anything else for that matter, has been with an air hammer / chisel or an air impact wrench. For seat posts, I've managed to free them off by bolting a solid piece of steel to the top then working away with the air hammer (at low power) - the vibration usually does the trick after a bit of time.

The air impact wrench has yet to be defeated by a stuck BB. Since you are not applying massive lever force directly to the frame, I think this a much better method than using a huge great spanner or a 'cheater' bar. I'm sure Shimano's BB tool is not rated for use with impact tools, but I've not had any problems (yet).

robc02
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Re: Seized: the death knell of a frame?

Postby robc02 » 16 Nov 2020, 3:05pm

Jodel wrote:The best results I've had when trying to release seized components on bicycles, or anything else for that matter, has been with an air hammer / chisel or an air impact wrench. For seat posts, I've managed to free them off by bolting a solid piece of steel to the top then working away with the air hammer (at low power) - the vibration usually does the trick after a bit of time.

The air impact wrench has yet to be defeated by a stuck BB. Since you are not applying massive lever force directly to the frame, I think this a much better method than using a huge great spanner or a 'cheater' bar. I'm sure Shimano's BB tool is not rated for use with impact tools, but I've not had any problems (yet).


That's a good idea. I've got an air hammer tucked away somewhere but never thought of using it for this purpose.