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Can't tighten - can't raise?
#1
Hello all - This is my first posting at this (or any other forum) and I apologize for being so dumb - but Ive looked all around and can't find or figure out what to do.

I have a way sweet brand new/used old Schwinn Sierra from the late 1980s and everything is like new - but - when i went to raise the handlebar stem - I found that not only was the hex bolt just a-spinning when I tried to loosen (or tighten it) - but even though I can swing it from side to side - I cant seem to raise it.

I truly have no idea whats going on.

I assume the quill's expander is whacked and the stem is greaseless...

Do I just yank that sucker up somehow?

Signed - new and confused Smile

Tim
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#2
Just unscrew 3-4 turns on your hex bolt (on the top of the stem), then strike it with a rubber mallet, or with a piece of wood and hammer

You should be able to twist it up... put some lubricant or penetrant before and after twisting, this should help...

Good luck!
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#3
(11-29-2012, 01:26 AM)bobtravers Wrote:  Just unscrew 3-4 turns on your hex bolt (on the top of the stem), then strike it with a rubber mallet, or with a piece of wood and hammer

You should be able to twist it up... put some lubricant or penetrant before and after twisting, this should help...

Good luck!

THANKS FOR THE RESPONSE!

Turning the hes bolt is no problem. I could turn it a million times. Its just spinning. Tis not stuck - but it doesnt come up when i go counter- clockwise either. Just spins.

aND THOUGH i CAN MOVE THE BARS WITH STEM FROM SIDE TO SIDE - i CANT SEEM TO RAISE THEM UP.

yikes.
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#4
Sounds like the "wedge nut" is rusted to the shaft of the fork tube. Look at the bottom of the fork and see if there is a hole, most forks in that era has one. If there is you can spray some Penetrator oil like WD-40 or Master Blaster down the hole. Don't be sparing with it soak it up good. Leave it over night. Then the next day find a blunt piece of rod that will fit down that hole but enough to take a steel hammer to hit it with a few soft blows. Then get a rubber mallet and start tapping at the top where the hex bolt is. Repeat process once more, then if it doesn't work spray again leave overnight and do it again the next day. If that don't work come back here .

EDIT: IS THE HANDLE BARS STEEL OR ALUMINUM? DON'T DO THE ABOVE PROCESS UNTIL YOU ANSWER THIS PLEASE.
Good maintenance to your Bike, can make it like the wheels are, true and smooth!
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#5
Thanks. I shall try your suggestion! Smile
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#6
+1 to what Bill said only turn bike upside down to soak the stem in penetrating oil and let it sit overnight with some rags under the head.
Than you should be able using the bars to twist it back and forth wiile pulling up. If not try the rod and hammer method.
No idea what bar material has to do with this. Enlighten me Bill.......
Never Give Up!!!
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#7
Well some materials require different types of, let's say penetrating oil because per say if it was umm aluminum then more then likely the type of corrosion would be different. Ugh I know what I am trying to say but the wording just is not there today. There was a thread on here that nigel was or someone was talking about. I think it is anodizing or something like that. For each type of corrosion there is a different method of breaking it up.
Good maintenance to your Bike, can make it like the wheels are, true and smooth!
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#8
I see , I think you are thinking of galvanic corrosion of the stem ( aluminum to steel) not the handlebars. In either case a penetrating oil is the best option, unless in large scale industrial applications using electric charges, or heat. I am not aware of specific penetrating oils for different metals.
Never Give Up!!!
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#9
hiya folks - ok I flipped the sucker over and yes there was said whole in the forks. So I took off the wheel and since i didnt have (or couldnt find0 any penetrating wheel I sprayed down some wd40 and started monkying around and found something out...

I could see down thru the whole and see the expamding wedge with the bolt in it. Funny thing is though when I started to turn the hex bolt at the top of the stem - which spun freely - I couldnt see the bolt move at all.

Wouldnt that mean that the previous owner overtightened said bolt until it snapped? (I did that on the same size and kind of bolt while "fixing" the outboard on my sailboat and learned it doesnt take much)

Looking down the tube I didnt see any corrosion at all.

I can turn the handlebars left and right with a lil force but I could not raise the bars one bit even with quite an effort.

I will get some penetrating oil, but heres my big question -should - can I - just put a big ol rod down in that hole in the fork and whack that sucker until it gives? Or do I risk damaging the head tube by doin so? (Or even tightening the stuckishness of the wedge itself?)

In truth I started to do that - but when the rod went deeper and it still didnt move the stem up - I stopped in abject fear.

Thanks for your suggestions folks - they are greatly appreciated.
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#10
Hmmm...... the plot thickens BTW WD-40 is OK to use if you do not have Liquid Wrench or some other penetrating oil.

As per the bolt spinning freely on top but not seeing it turn on bottom, try to grab the bolt and pull it up, if broken it should come out. That is an unlikely scenario look again with a flashlight carefully. You say you can move the bars side to side but cannot get upward movement , That's unusual. If the bolt broke off it could be that the wedge is in open position but the bars would be free than as the wedge and bolt hold the bars.

IMO keep soaking first try to see if you can get the bolt out, that will be a clue. If not Continue soaking and pulling up on the handlebars. You can stick a bar in at the hole push it in as far as it goes and give a few sharp taps to see if that loosens things up, Do not force anything, yet. Get back to us.

You an find info on Schwinn here.

http://www.trfindley.com/pg_schwinn_cats.htm

BTW I respectfully suggest you use spell check, it would make your post easier to read. Google Chrome is a good browser with spell check.
Never Give Up!!!
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#11
(11-30-2012, 12:51 AM)GeorgeET Wrote:  Hmmm...... the plot thickens BTW WD-40 is OK to use if you do not have Liquid Wrench or some other penetrating oil.

As per the bolt spinning freely on top but not seeing it turn on bottom, try to grab the bolt and pull it up, if broken it should come out. That is an unlikely scenario look again with a flashlight carefully. You say you can move the bars side to side but cannot get upward movement , That's unusual. If the bolt broke off it could be that the wedge is in open position but the bars would be free than as the wedge and bolt hold the bars.

IMO keep soaking first try to see if you can get the bolt out, that will be a clue. If not Continue soaking and pulling up on the handlebars. You can stick a bar in at the hole push it in as far as it goes and give a few sharp taps to see if that loosens things up, Do not force anything, yet. Get back to us.

You an find info on Schwinn here.

http://www.trfindley.com/pg_schwinn_cats.htm

BTW I respectfully suggest you use spell check, it would make your post easier to read. Google Chrome is a good browser with spell check.
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#12
Thanks for your response.

Well, again the bolt turns at the top and not at the bottom so id have to guess its broken somewhere in the middle. I cant see any other explanation to that phenomena.

This bike got hung up decades ago inside the previous owner's house and maybe its grease has gone hard and just seized up. (with the expanded wedge holding it a bit)

I have stuck a bar up in it and gave it more than a few sharp taps and got no upward movement. But again - with some force - I can move the bars from side to side.

Now back to the whacking it. Is there anything inside the head tube that could be damaged if I took said bar and simply smacked it repeatedly until it loosened it up. (Im wondering if that might spread the wedge even tighter)
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#13
That is indeed strange, hopefully someone else has some ideas. RobAR? PK?

Here is some info on stems and steering heads, scroll down to wedge.

http://sheldonbrown.com/gloss_w.html#wedgebolt

Most likely you have the wedge if the bolt broke off you should be able to pull it out from top. There would be nothing but friction holding things in place. Keep soaking and keep trying.

Maybe try to get the steering head nut/collar loose and try pulling from the fork end while a friend pulls and twists the bars. Catch loose ball bearings but do not worry they are cheap and should be replaced anyway and greased with marine waterproof bearing grease

Some photos may help.

Where are you? Any bike shops or DIY places near you?
Never Give Up!!!
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#14
(11-30-2012, 04:37 AM)GeorgeET Wrote:  That is indeed strange, hopefully someone else has some ideas. RobAR? PK?

Here is some info on stems and steering heads, scroll down to wedge.

http://sheldonbrown.com/gloss_w.html#wedgebolt

Most likely you have the wedge if the bolt broke off you should be able to pull it out from top. There would be nothing but friction holding things in place. Keep soaking and keep trying.

Maybe try to get the steering head nut/collar loose and try pulling from the fork end while a friend pulls and twists the bars. Catch loose ball bearings but do not worry they are cheap and should be replaced anyway and greased with marine waterproof bearing grease

Some photos may help.

Where are you? Any bike shops or DIY places near you?

Im in Annapolis. Sure theres a bike shop - but Im a DIY guy.

Ive read all I can find on these things and have loosened the collar - but its still stuck.

No one around to pull on the other end - and I cant come up with a idea of how to secure and hold the fork down while I muscle it even more - so I really am simply wondering what would be the negatives to - after soaking - taking said bar - putting it in hole in the lower end of the fork and hammering at it to push the wedge and the stem upward?

The head is fundamentally just a tube right ?
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#15
by the way i was at that page you sent and from what I can see inside the fork - the schwinn used an expander - not a wedge - which isnt good
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#16
If its an expander pounding from below would just wedge it tighter. Your best bet is to pull it from top. Try to get the bolt out and use a rod to pound the expander down. If you cant get help pulling in both directions. Open the head nut so you can see the fork tube , turn bike upside down, stand on bars and pull and twist on forks. Maybe that will help. I am stymied.

You could use heat maybe a hair dryer so that paint wont burn on the steering head that may help too.
Never Give Up!!!
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#17
Ok if it is an expander find a piece of rod that will fit the hole where the stem bolt goes. Got that? Now at an angle hold it flush against the expander smack it once and put it to a different angle and smack again. Doing this at different angles will eventually push the expander away from the stem tube where the flages are. After a few times wiggle the heck out of the handle bars to see if they will go 360 degrees, as you are wiggle them try to pull upwards. Remember to spray it again from the top and bottom. Hope this helps.
Good maintenance to your Bike, can make it like the wheels are, true and smooth!
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#18
(11-30-2012, 11:48 PM)Bill Wrote:  Ok if it is an expander find a piece of rod that will fit the hole where the stem bolt goes. Got that? Now at an angle hold it flush against the expander smack it once and put it to a different angle and smack again. Doing this at different angles will eventually push the expander away from the stem tube where the flages are. After a few times wiggle the heck out of the handle bars to see if they will go 360 degrees, as you are wiggle them try to pull upwards. Remember to spray it again from the top and bottom. Hope this helps.
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#19
Please let us know if this works for you .
Good maintenance to your Bike, can make it like the wheels are, true and smooth!
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#20
Thanks for confirming my suggestion, Bill. I sure cant think of anything else.
Never Give Up!!!
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