Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Techie Tuesday: Pt I - Headset R&R on Specialized '06 Roubaix Elite

This is part 1 of a 2-part series. Part II can be found here

I knew I was a little over-due pulling the fork off and inspecting, and maybe packing the headset, but WOW, I never expected to find it packed with mud and growing mold. It's probably been 3 yrs since I pulled the fork, but I do look at the headset every time I have the spacer stack off, or mount new bars.

The headset came out in pieces, although the stock FSA headset is a total POS, there are no replaceable parts, and repacking didn't seem to help at all, so if you have an early Roubaix, or some of the mid-2000 Specialized MTBs, just expect this is what you'll find, and have the parts there to do the R-n-R.

I was lucky, AFAICT, there is no permanent damage, but there might have been. The upper bearing cap seal on the FSA was just shot. Leaking like a sieve, and I never ride in rain intentionally.

Surprisingly, there weren't any good pics of the Cane Creek bearings out there on the web, so I took some. More Google hits for me. This is not actually the headset I will be using, because this is a Campy-style IS42, which is the size my last mechanic said I needed back in '09. Wrong again. I needed an IS41, just like Cane Creek's headset finder program said I needed. Other than the OD of the bearings, the IS41, and IS42 are identical.

Park Tools head cup remover - the RT-1
With the addition of the required 2.5mm finishing spacer between the top of the bearing cap and the bottom of the stem, the 15mm stack height of the high model was too much, so I changed my order to a short, 9mm stack. That opened the door to upgrade to the Cane Cane Creek 110 series, garanteed for 110 years. In the words of Danny DiVito, "Now THAT oughta do it!". Twice the price, but stainless steel and supposedly, bullet-proof, and I NEVER want to find this surprise again.

The removal of the press-in bearing cups - YES, they DO come out, and as one unit - was done by my go-to mechanic at MadCat Bikes on Marconi, Eddy. While I would suggest using the Park Tool fluted headset tool  to knock out the old press-in FSA headset, Eddy used a lot of patience and a screwdriver.

I think this was primarily because neither of us knew if the press-in was supposed to come out, or whether it was bonded into the headtube, or if the upper cup came out and was just butted against the lower press-in, or whether they were all one assembly (bingo).

You can see that at some point in time someone tried to separate the top and bottom part of the press-in with a screwdriver or ice-pick. It's all one assembly buddy. No upper and lower parts to the press-in. Perhaps Calistoga Bike Shop was bending the truth a little selling me the bike as NIB.


Rusty cups. Not a horse race for chestnut bays, just thoroughly shot races.

The FSA press-ins, showing the tapered leading edge and compression holes - or whatever those holes are supposed to do.

Eddy left a few tool marks on the upper, leading edge, but you really have to look to see them. The ratty pry marks happended while my bike was supposedly NIB up at Calistoga Bike Shop

As you can see, the relief groove is desceptive, but NO, this is all one piece, not a seperate upper cup and supporting press-in

A doom with a view

The two press-in cups sitting on a mirror for optimal lighting. It doesn't get worse than this and still turn.

My lower headset as a garden

Potatoes anyone?

Lower headset growing mold. Yeah, I'm just loving this R&R

OK, they're a bit rough, but hey, what's not to like?

The solution. Unfortunately I got the the wrong size, and it's too tall too.

Upside down view of a Cane Creek 40 Series IS42 carbon tall

Upside down, so that's the crown race you're looking at on top in brass. Gotta love those beautiful lip seals Cane Creek uses.

Trial assembly on a chunk of CroMo steering tube from my mtb. Note the male bottomed, flush topped, 2.5mm  finishing spacer that mates with the InterLok machining in the top of the upper bearing cap. They come in 5 colors. None in the package from Universal cycles though, but Cane Creek sent me one for free in the mail and even paid the postage. Now THAT's customer service.

InterLok machining detail showing top of carbon bearing cap, and 2.5 mm alloy finishing spacer

The 2.5mm finishing spacer is turned upside down to show how its machined surface mates with the top of the bearing cap.  A nce view of the O-ring weather seal in light blue here. Just my opinion, but EVERY single spacer in a stack should have such an O-ring. Water running down into bearings is nothing but BAD.

Bottom and top bearing are identical, except for being flipped over so the two 45 degree angles face each other

Close-up of the top cap, its O-ring seal, lip seal, and brass shim. I ordered a pack of 10 .25mm shims which are needed to get the lip seal perfectly positioned to seal onto the face of the headtube. I might have to reface the headtube though, as it is somehow a bit chewed. I will try polishing it with 600 -> 1,500 wet or dry sandpaper.
Close-up of crown race and bottom end of the headset assembly
 Eddy told me his first taps with the screwdriver were meant to turn the press-in to break it loose, and I asked him to support the face of the headtube with a wooden block to prevent the bonded aluminum sub-assembly the press-ins press into from separating, or delaminating from the carbon part of the headtube.

I still need to clean the inside of the headtube a little better, and then do some trial fitting when the new parts arrive from Universal Cycles. Right now I am waiting for them to issue a return authorization, and still have both headsets on my charge card until I get it. Not my fav situation to be in, but I want to get this thing done.

I also ordered a new BB for my FSA Gossomer crank, now that I know what stellar quality seals FSA has. More blog fodder to add to this PART A installment of remove and replace an FSA mindset headset. It also just made sense because I got $10 off the shipping of a $42 part by including it this order.

Bottom line, Universal Bikes is either going to get glowing reviews or a battery acid spew. Fingers crossed, I look forward to a glowing review.

No comments: