FSA Headset Bearing

Folks, Just took the headset on the winter bike apart after noticing a rusty water marks around the lower bearings. Other than that the steerer was turning perfectly and smoothly with nothing else wrong. On taking it apart the bearings and races were foul, sludgy and full of gunk which I cleaned thoroughly before putting it all back together. How it got in this state is beyond me as I clean my bike after most outings but it was bad. :blush:

Now here's my questions. After putting it all back together ( correctly ) the steering is now what I would call grindy. There is definitely a slight grind as though the bearings are rubbing on something. I took everything apart again and re-cleaned them, re-greased the bearings but it is still there. Is it possible that bearings which were sitting in crap will run smoother than bearings which have been thoroughly cleaned and greased.:tired:

Finally I think that I am gonna have try replacing the bearings but these are caged and are priced at 7.95 each which means that it will be 15.90 for the pair. Too expensive.Can I just fit 5/32'' loose bearings instead of the caged. You advice is appreciated.
 

raleighnut

Legendary Member
Location
On 3 Wheels
Loose bearings are more reliable, just more of a PITB
 

Andy_R

Hard of hearing..I said Herd of Herring..oh FFS..
Location
County Durham
Which FSA headset is it? If it's a FSA Pig they use over-sized bearings and you'll have to order the FSA ones
 

Andy_R

Hard of hearing..I said Herd of Herring..oh FFS..
Location
County Durham
Yes, FSA 10 headsets use 5/32 bearings. Dont buy the cage, pop down to your LBS and get a handfull of 5/32 bearings and pack as many in as you can. When greasing add a thick bed of grease before installing the bearings, add the bearings, and add more grease. The right amount of grease is generally too much grease. If you think you've added enough grease then you are half way there.
 
Yes, FSA 10 headsets use 5/32 bearings. Dont buy the cage, pop down to your LBS and get a handfull of 5/32 bearings and pack as many in as you can. When greasing add a thick bed of grease before installing the bearings, add the bearings, and add more grease. The right amount of grease is generally too much grease. If you think you've added enough grease then you are half way there.
Thanks all. Just can't understand how it was smooth when gunked up but when cleaned became gritty. Very strange.. Will get new bearings tomorrow morning
 

Andy_R

Hard of hearing..I said Herd of Herring..oh FFS..
Location
County Durham
it may be that the bearings were suitably greased but sitting in their own mess and when you've cleaned it you didnt add enough grease. Also, make sure you aren't over tightening the headset, which will cause a grinding feeling.

Another thing to consider is that if the existing bearings were in a cage, the cage may have caused corrosion where it has been resting. Check all the races, and make sure they are all clear and smooth
 

Svendo

Guru
Location
Walsden
Also consider just replacing the bearings, particularly the bottom one. As it is exposed to all the road spray driven into it from the front wheel it is more vulnerable, and once the bearing gets a bit dry the rubber seal is less effective and you just end up chasing your tail. If it runs out of grease the seal is no longer lubricated and will not form a seal as the rubber is worn away and a rebuild will last less and less time. You can try relatively cheap hybrid ceramic bearings off of ebay if you know what type/size you need and they have them.
 
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