How to remove play in the steering column of a bicycle

Getting started with your bike

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Now you are the happy owner of a new iron friend. a bicycle. With active use, the bike must be serviced and monitored for its technical condition. As in ancient times, a warrior returning from a campaign, first of all, fed, watered and cleaned a horse, so a cyclist must constantly maintain a good technical form of his iron stallion. And you need to understand that this will guarantee your own safety and may even be more in a critical situation. Quite simply, it’s nice to ride a well-adjusted, well-groomed bike

How to fix wheel play on a bike

  • Factors leading to the origin of wheel runout
  • Eliminate front wheel runout
  • We remove the backlash of the rear wheel

During operation, the wheel fastening is loosened and play appears. Untimely elimination of the indicated malfunction can lead to the failure of the bike at the most inopportune moment.

Factors leading to the origin of wheel runout

The main reasons for the appearance of backlash can be considered:

  • high wear of the installed sleeve;
  • damage to the radius nuts that appeared on the ball raceways.
  • Wear of special notches with a high relief, which are applied in the factory to locknuts and contribute to a closer contact of this product with the radius nut. The increased adhesion of the surface of the nuts reduces the possibility of loosening. Similar notches should be present on the main nuts that secure the wheel to the bike.In this situation, it is recommended to replace the nuts with new products.
  • The compression between the radius and the lock nut is relaxed. Need to quickly tighten.
  • When the wheel was installed on a bicycle between the rear stays and the locknut (colloquially called “trousers”), a deserted place was left that promotes beating. It is recommended to install a washer to me, which will select a vacuum.

Remove the front wheel. We disassemble it. We wipe and remove old grease from the raceways of balls and bushings.

We put a new grease and fix 9 balls in it (if they are in bulk) or 7 cage bearings.

Tech Tuesday #10: Troubleshooting the Headset

Then we screw the radius nut onto the axle, after which we install the axle in the bushing, screw the radius nut from the opposite side. After that we smooth out the finishes of the threaded axle remaining on both sides (they should be uniform).

We screw on the locknuts, expanding them with a notch to the radius nuts. After that, using the keys, we press them very tightly. Along with this, it is fundamentally important not to forget to set the required tension of the bearings (balls) correctly.

They should never be squeezed, on the one hand, and such an extreme as the remaining wobble of the wheel, on the other, should not be allowed.

When assembling the front wheel, the radius and locknuts are first of all pressed from the side of the disc brake. Since from this side it is uncomfortable to do it. The nuts are tightened with two keys. It is most ergonomic to use a Swedish key for the indicated purposes and a special narrow open-end wrench designed to perform just such operations. It’s easy to get them.

We pass to the other side of the wheel. In addition, we set the tension of the balls and tighten the nuts. When the lock nut is properly tightened, the radius nut begins to rotate with it.

But from time to time, the situation appears, at a time when the nuts are tightened. In this case, they need to be easily loosened. To do this, turn the radius nut counterclockwise (use a narrow open-end wrench).

At the end of the setting of the required tension, a control check is performed and the radius and lock nut are pressed.

We control the free movement of the axis. The void gap formed between the “locknut” and the pants is filled by installing a washer of the required thickness, or one of the locknuts is changed (on each side there are two of them, of different thickness). Replace the thick and narrow nuts.

We put the assembled wheel in place and fix it with union nuts. Controlling the roll.

On the rear wheel, there is a bushing for a ratchet much more often, much less often for a cassette. Based on this, we will consider the first option.

The wheel is removed, disassembled, wiped, lubricated. Balls or bearings are installed. The axle is put in place with pre-screwed radius and locknuts.

The ratchet is removed. On the side where it is installed, the radius and locknut are tightened first. On the disc brake side. second.

Do not forget to preset the tension of the bearings or balls.

When assembling, a situation often appears, at a time when, when tightening the second pair of nuts, the balls relax. An assistant is required (“third hand”). If it is not there, it is possible to use such a bicycle frame.

We put the ratchet in place. We control how easily it rotates. We fix in place with a clamping nut.

We do the assembly like the front wheel.

The need for the necessary removal of the ratchet is due to the fact that without this it is unrealistic to service the bushing. Since in another case it is unrealistic to tighten the nuts located just under it with the required hardening and remove the radius nuts.

The voids when installing the wheel in place (in the “pants”) are also selected by installing a thick washer.

The installed wheel is pressed against the bicycle blade by a clamping nut (from the side of the ratchet) and is compressed very strongly. Only at the end of this operation does it become possible, without assistance, to set the correct tension of the balls and how to tighten the radius and locknut both from the side of the brake disc and from the side of the ratchet.

Then the wheel is fixed to the frame feather with two nuts, after which it is checked for ease of the absence and rotation of the backlash.

Factors leading to wheel runout

The main reasons for the appearance of backlash can be considered:

  • significant wear of the installed sleeve;
  • Damage to radius nuts on the ball raceways.
  • Wear of special notches with a sufficiently high relief, which are applied to the locknuts at the factory and contribute to a tighter contact of this product with the radius nut. The increased adhesion of the surface of the nuts reduces the chance of loosening. Similar notches should be found on the main nuts that secure the wheel to the bike. In this situation, it is recommended to replace the nuts with new products.
  • The compression between the radius and the lock nut is relaxed. It is necessary to promptly tighten.
  • When installing a wheel on a bicycle between the locknut and the rear stays (colloquially called “pants”), there is an empty space left for beating. It is recommended to install a washer here, which will select the void.

How to remove play in a bicycle suspension fork

Hello, Andrey and my Orbea bike with SR Santour XCM V3 fork, which we will be repairing today.

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Sadly, but over time, the parts of our beloved bicycles wear out, play appears regardless of the degree of maintenance and respect for the details, on which only the service life depends.

But signs of wear don’t always mean that parts should be replaced! Today we will try to eliminate the backlash in the fork, the brand of which is given above, using only foil and glue.

And so, let’s get started. First, let’s put the bike upside down.

Next, we need to remove everything that will interfere with the implementation of the assigned goal. The first step is to remove the wheel.

Now the next step is the brake. I recommend that you first loosen both bolts, and then unscrew them one by one.

Now nothing prevents us from going directly to the disassembly of the plug.

In order for the fork cylinders to freely “peel off” from the rods, we need to unscrew the nuts that you can see on the ends of the cylinders. These nuts hold the stem, which prevents the cylinders from flying out with the wheel during, for example, a jump. It limits the reverse travel of the fork and, in fact, is a long bolt that is fastened with the same nuts from the ends of the cylinders.

I recommend not unscrewing the nuts completely at first, but unscrew them so much that the bolt thread is completely hidden in the nut, as indicated in the following photo.

I do this so that at the moment when I knock out the bolt inward, the thread of the bolt is not damaged.

There is no need to be very strong, since the bolt sits there with a slight interference. After you feel that the bolts have gone down, you can completely unscrew the nuts and proceed to removing the fork cylinders.

It happens that the cylinders go quite tight, so you have to resort to an additional tool.

The cylinders were removed. Before you will open here such a picture smeared with oil.

Go ahead, oil seals are installed on top of the cylinders, as you can see above and in the next photo, in which I remove one of the oil seals with a thin screwdriver, and then the other.

During any disassembly, it is advisable to clean all parts, rinse with a solvent, kerosene or gasoline.

Such an oil seal has an additional reverse “skirt”, which should not allow the oil to come out, but the old oil seals “grow thin” over time, coarse, and wear out. One and there is a solution.

The ring itself after fitting and giving it a slightly triangular, in section, shape.

After all the fitting procedures, you will get the following picture.

Well, now we will go directly to the part, the wear of which forms the very unloved backlash. If you look at the end of the fork cylinders, you will see a detail called bushing. It forms a seal between the cylinder and the fork rod rubbing against it.

To get it out, we’ll have to grease our fingers a little. The bashing is removed by a slight rotation around its axis, which will release it from engaging in the groove made in the cylinder, and after that it should freely come out.

Let’s move on to cleaning and degreasing the bushing surfaces. I took a solvent like in the photo.

He poured a little into the cut of the bottle and began to rinse the bashing in this makeshift container.

This is how my bashings looked after thorough rinsing and wiping with a clean cloth.

Next, we need foil and glue, which I trust.

I cut out the desired piece of foil, smeared its surface and the bushing surface with a thin layer of glue, waited for about a minute and glued the surfaces, after which I cut off unnecessary pieces of foil. I ended up with the following:

This procedure will eliminate the backlash of the fork, depending on its strength, you can glue the foil in several layers until it is completely eliminated and you can also glue it on the upper part of the bushing.

The assembly procedure is completely reverse to disassembly. The only difference is that I added Azmol SHRUS-3 oils. this is a graphite grease, which I chose because of its composition, the main ingredient is worn graphite, which has high sliding properties even if there is no lubricating fluid.

It clogs into scratches and crevices, thereby improving the sliding properties of rubbing parts. I really do not recommend using lithium-containing lubricants in those places where there is aluminum, such lubricants include grease, lithol and, in my opinion, cyatim. There are also greases that contain lithium, so before using any grease, I recommend that you study its composition.

What could be the problem with these lubricants when used in aluminum parts? The answer is that lithium under certain conditions, especially when exposed to moisture, actively oxidizes aluminum. The graphite grease I used is lithium-free and fully usable.

You can use any automobile, liquid lubricant, but with it there are more problems with sealing. it flows from all the cracks, if not immediately, then gradually.

Hope this article was helpful. Ride with pleasure, sincerely Andrey!

Bicycle Repair: How to Eliminate Backlash in the Steering Column

Have you noticed any slight, strange wobbling of the steering wheel during braking? Perhaps some new extraneous sounds were added when leaving obstacles or the steering wheel began to turn tightly? This happens when the bolts on the stem or the steering column cover loosen or the steering bearings become unusable. Now we will tell you how to quickly and efficiently eliminate backlashes and carry out a service.

First of all, we need a tool. Usually you can get by with the following devices:

  • Hexagon set;
  • Rags to remove the remnants of old grease;
  • Grease lubrication.
  • Of course, a simple tightening of the bolts could be dispensed with, but it would be much better (and safer) to fully inspect the insides of the steering column so that in the future you will not be caught off guard by an unsuccessful collapsed bearing or even worse.

  • Let’s start to make sure that something is really wrong with your helmsman, with one hand squeeze the front brake, and with the other hand the steering column between the stem and the head tube. Rock the bike back and forth and if there is any play, then you will definitely feel it.
  • Now, to get to the bearings and check them, use a suitable hexagon (in my case, it is 5mm) unscrew the cap of your steering wheel. The bolt may be hidden behind the rubber plug, but it can be easily removed with a small flat screwdriver. Be careful, there may be a small lantern piece under your cover. Don’t lose it!
  • Loosen the stem bolts and, holding the fork by the crown, turn the stem on the fork stem “right-left” and pull it up, so it will be easier to remove. It is imperative to hold the fork if you are using a bike stand and do not want the bearings and head parts to scatter on the floor.
  • The steering wheel can be left to dangle on the cables and hoses, just make sure there are no strong bends, this can damage them.
  • Grasping the crown, gently lower the fork down, and if you are doing service without a bike rack, hold the fork and pull the frame up by the upper tube. Be careful, as soon as the stem is immersed in the head tube, the spacer rings, the top cap and the head boot can quickly retract.
  • If you have a headset with loose bearings, then you have to sweat so as not to lose them. Steering wheels with cartridge and sealed bearings are free from this sore. You can place a large bucket under the fork so that the bearing balls fall directly into it.
  • Remember the location of the steering parts and remove them from the steering column, and the fork can be placed next to.
  • Use a rag to remove all residual dirt and old grease from the steering column parts, do not forget about the fork stem. Wipe the bearing seats and inspect for damage or wear. The bearings themselves also need to be inspected. If you have sealed bearings, just twist them with your fingers, they should rotate without wedging. In case of wedging or visual damage, the bearings must be replaced.
  • If you do not observe traces of wear on the steering parts and bearings, then now it is worth starting with abundant lubrication and assembly. This is where a good grease comes in handy. For owners of steering wheels with loose bearings, we recommend liberally lubricating the upper bearing seat in the steering and the lower one on the fork rod, and then install the bearing balls there one by one. The grease will prevent the balls from “scattering” and will help to avoid headaches with the installation.
  • If you have cartridge bearings, do not forget to lubricate the outside and inside of them.
  • Make sure all of your cables and hoses are in the correct position and insert the lower bearing yoke into the steering column and then install the upper bearing. Remember to install the lantern piece and the head cap on the top. If the bearings do not snap into place, then slightly wiggle the fork back and forth, this should help.
  • Install your spacer rings and stem in the same order as they were originally. And then install the steering cap and tighten the steering column bolt.
  • Do not over-tighten the steering bolt. Using the 1-step method, rock the bike back and forth and tighten the bolt until the play is gone. If the bolt is already tightened, but there is still play, check if there is a distance between the head cover and your stem or the upper lantern ring to the end of the fork stem. If not, you need to add another lantern piece.
  • Align the stem and tighten its bolts.
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    Timely service and elimination of backlash in the steering column do not take much time and do not require any hidden knowledge or huge financial costs, however, they prevent malfunctions and detect a damaged bearing in time. It is much cheaper to change it than to buy a steering wheel, and in especially neglected cases, a frame.

    How to fix wheel play on a bike

    Eliminate the front wheel runout

    Remove the front wheel. We disassemble it. Wipe and remove old grease from the raceways of balls and bushings.

    We put new grease and fix 9 balls in it (if they are in bulk) or 7 cage bearings.

    Next, we screw the radius nut onto the axle, after which we install the axle into the bushing, screw the radius nut from the opposite side. Then we align the ends of the threaded axle, remaining on both sides (they should be the same).

    We screw on the locknuts, expanding them with a notch to the radius nuts. Then, using the keys, we press them tightly. It is important not to forget to set the correct tension of the bearings (balls) correctly. In no case should they be squeezed, on the one hand, and such an extreme as the remaining wobble of the wheel, on the other, should not be allowed.

    When assembling the front wheel, the radius and locknuts are first pressed from the side of the disc brake. Since it is inconvenient to do it from this side. The nuts are tightened with two keys.

    It is most convenient to use a Swedish key and a special thin open-end wrench designed to perform just such operations for these purposes. It’s easy to buy them.

    But get the maximum possible pull-up.

    We pass to the other side of the wheel. We also set the tension of the balls and tighten the nuts. With a properly tightened locknut, the radius nut begins to rotate with it.

    But sometimes situations arise when the nuts are overtightened. In this case, they need to be slightly loosened. To do this, turn the radius nut counterclockwise (use a thin open-end wrench). After setting the required tension, a control check is performed and the radius and lock nut are pressed.

    Check the axle free play. The void gap formed between the “pants” and the locknut is filled by installing a washer of the required thickness, or one of the locknuts is changed (there are two of them on each side, of different thickness). Change the places of the thick and thin nuts. We put the assembled wheel in place and fix it with union nuts. Checking the roll forward.

    Adjusting the bushings or how to overcome the “backlash

    When there are already many kilometers behind, then any technique needs maintenance and adjustment.

    How To Repair Loose Threaded Headset/Fork Play

    You are already accustomed to the sounds that your bike makes when riding, but if you take it by the frame and again abruptly lower it to the ground, but you hear not only the usual tinkling of the chain, but also a dull thumping is not clear from where, then it’s time to check the bike for backlash! It is not at all difficult to detect backlash. It can appear in the steering column, bottom bracket or wheel hubs. With one hand we will hold the bike by the frame, and with the other hand we will try to swing the wheel from the side.

    If the wheel rim wiggles in the frame or fork from side to side and there is a tapping noise in the hub, then the cones need to be adjusted. Most bicycles have loose bearings. This means that there is a track in the sleeve, into which balls are poured and pressed by a cone. The compression of these cones will just need to be adjusted.

    To adjust the cones, it is recommended to stock up on special adjusting keys. They differ from ordinary keys in their thickness.

    Adjustment of the front and rear wheels is carried out in the same way (the front is a little easier to adjust due to the lack of a cassette with stars). First you need to remove the wheel from the bike.

    Open the eccentric lever and loosen the nut on the opposite side.

    Then completely pull the eccentric clamp out of the sleeve. The main thing here is not to lose the small springs that make it easier to install the wheel in the frame.

    Now you need to remove the rubber anthers from the bushing (from the front, we remove both anthers at once, and from the back the one on the left) Do this carefully so that the anthers remain intact.

    If the boot sits tightly, then you can pry it off with a thin, not pointed object.

    Now take the keys and open the cone. To do this, rotate the lock nut counterclockwise, holding the cone with the second wrench. Start with the cone located on the left in the direction of travel (this does not apply to the front rim brake hub, as it is symmetrical).

    When the locknut is turned out almost to the end, we unscrew the cone after it.

    Now we push the axle to the right side of the hub so that there is access to the right cone and locknut (in the case of the front wheel, this is not required, since the cones on both sides can be adjusted simply by removing the anthers).

    It is necessary to counter the right cone just in case. After all, it is possible that backlashes appeared precisely because of this cone. To do this, holding the cone with one key, turn the lock nut clockwise with the second key.

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    Pull the left cone and locknut back to the bushing by hand. Now let’s use one little trick. We take an eccentric with a nut, but without springs, and insert it into the bushing so that the eccentric lever is on the side of the cassette.

    Then we pull the wheel to the frame as shown in the photo and begin to tighten the cone with a wrench, immediately checking how the wheel is spinning. When the wheel rotates freely and without play, we begin to tighten the locknut, again holding the cone from rotation.

    With this method of adjustment, it is important not to apply excessive force, otherwise there is a risk of spoiling the eccentric. But on the other hand, this way you can adjust the cones even alone, being away from home and workshop.

    If, after adjustment, the bearings are overtightened and the wheel moves in jerks, then this means that the cone should be loosened by loosening the locknut again and unscrewing the cone by half a turn.

    Achieve smooth rotation and after tuning, remember to counter the taper!

    Now we put the wheel in place, not forgetting to install the rubber boots and give the eccentric its usual position. when the lever is to the left of the bike. And the most important thing is the springs! If they are still not lost, install them before tightening the eccentric. Now your bike will once again delight you with quiet operation and good handling.

    Steering link

    The radius of the trajectory of the machine when turning depends on the angle of rotation of the wheels. Since the outer wheel has a larger radius than the inner one, in order to avoid slipping of the latter and deteriorating grip with the road surface, the front wheels should deflect at different angles.

    For this, the steering linkage is used. During the maneuver, the lateral thrust of the mechanism is shifted under the influence of the bipod. Thanks to the pendulum arm, it pushes and pulls the side rods. Since skewing occurs, the effect on the ends of the steering rods is different, which leads to the rotation of the wheels at different angles. The ends of the trapezium with rods are connected by means of adjusting couplings that allow you to change the angles of rotation of the wheels. The parts of the trapezium are connected to each other by the same ball joints. This design contributes to the normal operation of the unit, even when driving on poor roads.

    How to detect play in steering

    In order to check the car for problems with steering, namely the presence of backlash, the following operations must be performed. First of all, it is necessary to switch the engine to a special mode of operation when the vehicle is stationary. idle. After that, you should start turning the steering wheel and monitor the response time of the wheels to these commands. It is this distance that shows the amount of backlash.

    To date, for the convenience and accuracy of measuring the backlash, there is a special device. a backlash meter. It helps to measure and control the total backlash.

    Reasons and ways to eliminate backlash in steering

    Diagnostics

    Steering play is especially noticeable when driving straight ahead at high speeds. A knock at a rather sharp turn may indicate a malfunction, and a gradually increasing knock when driving on uneven terrain is a sign of a faulty condition of the steering tips and rods. Failure of the steering rack is confirmed by the recoil steering wheel. When the steering wheel “beats” in motion, we can talk about the breakage of the steering or ball ends, malfunctions of the crosspiece, bearing or bushing. Unusual noises when turning the steering wheel should be a reason to check for sufficient fluid level. When the steering wheel is straight and the driving direction is changed, camber should be checked. wheel alignment, the balance of which is disturbed. Abrupt turning of the steering wheel can be the result of a jammed steering bar, and large efforts when turning it require checking the operation of the amplifier. To identify problems with the steering, a number of simple steps should be taken:

    • Start the engine and ensure that it runs at idle speed;
    • Check the performance of the power steering;
    • Install the front wheels of the car parallel to the longitudinal axis of the car;
    • When turning the steering wheel in different directions, determine the moment when the wheels begin to move. Backlash in this situation is the interval of the rudder travel before the wheels begin to move.

    To detect the presence of backlash, there is also a device called a backlash meter. It makes it much easier to measure free travel.

    Tight steering wheel

    Sometimes it happens that to turn the steering wheel, you need to make much more effort than usual. There are several reasons for this malfunction:

    • incorrect installation of wheel alignment;
    • breakage of one of the elements in the steering mechanism;
    • the gap between the worm and the roller is broken;
    • pendulum axle fasteners are tightly tightened.

    How To Remove Stuck Handlebar Quill Stem. Worst Case Scenario!

    The concept and reasons for the appearance of backlash in the steering mechanism

    The steering structure itself is not complicated. It contains a special rod that does not fit snugly against the car parts. It must have a small gap so that the parts do not wear out in case of friction. However, if the total backlash reaches a fairly large figure, this can cause serious malfunctions, which can lead to accidents on the road. The allowable norm is considered to be a backlash of 10 °.

    It is important to remember that a small backlash can develop into a large one, and therefore you should carefully consider this issue if there are obvious signs of a malfunction in the steering. These signs can be knocking, squeaking, vibration, or the need to turn the steering wheel hard to the left or right, even on a flat road. In this case, the steering wheel ceases to “obey” the driver or performs actions with some delay.

    There are several reasons for the appearance of backlash, and they all lie in the very design of the steering system. One of the first reasons may be that the tip or bearing has failed due to wear.

    The second reason may be the recent repair of the car, namely the fact that sometimes the center hub nut is not secured enough. This is where the backlash appears. Also, free wheeling of the steering wheel can signal that the hydraulic oil is becoming unusable and needs to be replaced.

    In general, in order to find the true cause of technical problems, the driver is obliged to check every detail of the entire steering system, since all parts and mechanisms are interconnected.

    Steering VAZ 2107

    The steering gear of the VAZ “seven” consists of several units connected together by means of fasteners. These units and their constituent elements, like any other part of the car, wear out and become unusable over time. The purpose, design, repair and maintenance of the VAZ 2107 steering system should be discussed in more detail.

    Steering play

    One of the reasons for the appearance of free play in the steering mechanism is the wear of the shaft crosspieces. In addition to them, backlash appears in the gearbox itself. If the unit has a high mileage, then it is advisable to disassemble it, inspect what condition all the elements are in, replace parts with great wear, and then adjust.