Head bearings loose in the tube

ExsailorUk

Member
Location
Lockerbie
hi, I’ve a Raleigh race bike, bought 2nd hand, and recently found by bars were loose in the tube. I bought new bearings, top and bottom, cleaned everything out thoroughly, and put back together following all the advise from YouTube, but still had the wobble.
In the end I had to use a shim (I cut a pice from the cup of a tea light) and put this around the top bearing, which has cured the problem.
Does this mean the bike is badly worn in the bearing housing? It doesn’t feel or look worn.
I know I should take it to a bike mechanic to look at it, but I was after advice to see if anyone else had similar problems and how they cured it.
Thank you for your responses in advance.
Paul.
 

Drago

Flouncing Nobber
What sort of headset does the bike have? I'm wondering if the head tube of the frame might have become a little elongated?
 
OP
ExsailorUk

ExsailorUk

Member
Location
Lockerbie
What sort of headset does the bike have? I'm wondering if the head tube of the frame might have become a little elongated?
It seems possible that it has become elongated, it’s got sealed bearings, large one one the bottom sits in nice and tight, as I had to tap the old one out and the new one in. The top one just slopped straight down, and I thought the it would be ok once the cap was tightened in place onto the spacers and the bars tightened , but sadly not.
 
Do you have a photo? Stretched head tubes aren't unheard of (Bromptons suffer from it, as can any lugless frame without reinforcing rings around the top and bottom of the tube) but it's usually just the bottom of the tube that is affected.

If the tube is stretched, a very strong grade of Loctite bearing fit can buy you a few years. Old-fashioned cups can be knurled, but not cartridges.
 
You have a very limited range of torque / pre load on the headset. If you’ve tightened the headset up against the top cap as much as you can, and there’s still play, add a 5 mm spacer on top of the stem / bars and try re torquing. As soon as the play is eliminated, tighten the stem bolts, then you can throw the top cap in the bin if you want.
 
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