Stem rotates in steerer tube despite tightening

Discussion in 'Bicycle Repair' started by PabstBlueRibbonrulz!, May 2, 2009.

  1. I recently bought a Schwinn point beach. I' ve assembled it myself. The problem is that when I turn the handlebars the wheel will turn but the handlebars (and logically, the stem too) will turn. It is secure vertically, but not side to side. tightening the lock nut either. Any tighter will strip it and the wedge as well.

    I tryed to wrap the wedge w/ duck tape to add resistance but no luck. I don't want to resort to roughing up the stem w/sandpaper, but thats a last resort.

    Does it sound fixable, or is it a manufacturer's defect?
    Last edited: May 2, 2009

  2. bluegoatwoods

    bluegoatwoods Well-Known Member

    Sounds like a defect. At first, I wondered if the wedge was missing, but you've covered that.

    If you are tightening it so hard that you're afraid of stripping, then you can't go further.

    Maybe the bolt is already stripped so that it slips just a bit and then it's loose enough to allow slippage. Considering the shoddy assembly that you get at wal-mart it wouldn't seem unlikely.
  3. I did in fact check to see if the bolt is stripped; it not and the wedge looks OK. This is agonizingly disappointing becuase I get the motor in a week, which will do me no good if the handle bars keep flopping around.

    Are American bicycles these days (i.e. American designed at best, actually pumped out of china) just lousy? I have an ancient huffy in the garage with a similar threaded stem setup that is on tight as a drum. (too small to fit an engine though).

    How exactly is the wedge held into the tube, what does it "grab" on to?
  4. biken stins

    biken stins Member

  5. fetor56

    fetor56 Guest

    Is the wedge the right way around.
  6. Mountainman

    Mountainman Active Member

    load that bicycle thing up and take it to a bicycle shop
    show them what you have going on

    I owned a shop years ago -- many many years ago
    saw a lot of things go wrong with bikes -- but -- I just don't remember someTHING like this

    but note -- a super simple fix for any rated ((fair)) bicycle shop

    one more note -- ((((( please )))))
    no duct tape to be used in that area -- handlebars
    we don't play games with something that can kill use if malfunctioning

    ride that THING sideways
    Last edited: May 3, 2009
  7. HoughMade

    HoughMade Guest

    Take the stem out. Get rid of the duct tape. Make sure the inside of the tube and the stem are completely cleaned of everything- absolutely no lubrication on the stem, wedge or inside the tube of any kind. Maybe some anti-sieze carefullt placed on the threads of the bolt only. Try tightening it up again and see what happens.
  8. I called pacific bicycle today and was able to squeeze a new stem, including stem bolt and wedge, out of them. If I am lucky this will fix it. If not I will need to buy a stem shim from a bike store (a real one, not one made out of duck tape):grin5:.

    Let's hope engine installation is a little easier.
  9. Junster

    Junster Member

    I'm just curious. Is the bolt that threads into the wedge running out of threads and hitting the bolt shank before the wedge gets tight in the fork tube? I had one once I had to put a couple extra washers on top get it to tighten up right. Oh and how it grabs is, as the bolt pulls the wedge up the angle on the bottom of the stem it shifts it out out line with the stem and it gets "fatter" inside the fork tube.
    Last edited: May 5, 2009
  10. Turtle Tedd

    Turtle Tedd Member

    Had the same problem with the same bike ...they are all undersize , or at least that production run...threw mine out got a new one from the bike shop tightened right up.