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Loose headset / fork / bearings? (it's a threadless)

I got a bike from a friend for free, and I've restored it pretty good so far. Wink

But I'm a bit reluctant to go ride it because the headset is loose. I can tighten the top fork-nut all the way with force, but this does'nt remove the play as it should..

So the way I'm achieving minimal play/looseness, is to press the bike forward and downward hard, and then tightening first the top nut and then side nuts.

But this can't be a solid or good solution. I'm guessing it could be the star fangled nut not being positioned right. Or messed up bearings/cup/cone.
Any ideas or advice.. Can I fix this myself? (without buying expensive tools)
Hope someone can help. Thank you.

Wow this is a good one I am interested in this as I have a bike that was donated to me that has this type of setup. Later today I will jump into mine and see if I can assist ya on this, it will be later today before I reply. I'm sure someone here will have the answer before then.

Good maintenance to your Bike, can make it like the wheels are, true and smooth!
Your first photo shows the star nut with the adjusting screw in.
This screw should go through the top cap first, then into the star nut.
Remove the screw completely.
Put the screw through the top cap and then place cap on and tighten down.
The rest is as you explain.
Loosen the 2 side bolts on the stem.
Tighten the star screw to take up the slop in the headset bearings but not too tight that the steering is stiff.
Now finaly tighten the 2 side screws making sure the stem is aligned to the front wheel.

[font=Trebuchet MS]Ride hard or ride home alone![/font]
Ah ok. The plastic-cap got loose on the way and the top bolt now goes through the hole. This cap is important as a spacer? I just thought "nevermind.. a bike can't rely on plastic" Smile

Most caps are metal (Aluminium). The star nut grips the inside of the steerer tube and relies on the top cap to do the initial tension to the bearings.
When the 2 side screws are done up then the star screw isn't needed until the next time an adjustment is required.
You could use a large washer (with a small hole) to replace the top cap temporarily. It is important that you maintain a small amount of clearance between the top of the stem and the steerer tube. (which you have in the photo).

[font=Trebuchet MS]Ride hard or ride home alone![/font]
Thank you


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