Hard to tighten top cap

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11/17/2019 5:33 PM

Is it bad for the fork threads? I notice my top cap has damaged threads but my worry is the fork. I can screw on the top cap with a Allen key but it’s too hard to tighten just by hand

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11/17/2019 10:28 PM

You can damage the thread. Is it hard to turn the whole way? Have you tried cleaning it and adding a bit of grease?

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11/18/2019 4:23 AM

.pegless. wrote:

You can damage the thread. Is it hard to turn the whole way? Have you tried cleaning it and adding a bit of grease?

It’s hard to tighten by hand but not too hard with a tool I have tried to clean it up and added some grease

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11/18/2019 4:30 AM

As long as you can tighten your headset I wouldn’t worry too much

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11/18/2019 4:42 AM

Keep in mind, the top cap isn't meant to be "load-bearing". Meaning, you aren't supposed to crank it tight. It's meant for bearing adjustments and your stem is what holds that adjustment. So you snug up the top cap, then tighten the stem to hold it in place.

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11/18/2019 5:47 AM
Edited Date/Time: 11/18/2019 7:29 AM

My question, is the top cap an all aluminum single piece design or is it an aluminum cap with a machine screw/bolt through the middle. If its aluminum, then no, dont worry about your fork. If its a steel screw and you are using too much force, you can damage the fork threads. Depending on the design of the fork, you can possibly pop a new star wedge thing in the fork steerer if you are working with a compression fit. If its welded in you might have a bit easier time buying a new fork if you can no longer tighten up your headset.

One thing I see a TON of riders do is:
1. Tighten top cap too tight
2. Tighten the clamping screws on the stem
3. Tighten the top cap more

Instead they should:
1. Tighten the top cap just enough to remove play
2. Tighten the clamping screws on the stem

Not only will you round your top cap/screw out, you will be putting too much load on your headset bearings and reducing your bars ability to turn quickly and effortlessly.

If you are doing the top, that is a reason you are having problems. Also, as others are saying, use grease. You are able to get things tighter with less stress to your tools and hardware using grease. Oil can be used too but it will not stay in place like grease will.

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11/18/2019 6:14 AM

Bulletpup wrote:

My question, is the top cap an all aluminum single piece design or is it an aluminum cap with a machine screw/bolt through the middle. If its aluminum, then no, dont worry about your fork. If its a steel screw and you are using too much force, you can damage the fork threads. Depending on the design of the fork, you can possibly pop a new star wedge thing in the fork steerer if you are working with a compression fit. If its welded in you might have a bit easier time buying a new fork if you can no longer tighten up your headset.

One thing I see a TON of riders do is:
1. Tighten top cap too tight
2. Tighten the clamping screws on the stem
3. Tighten the top cap more

Instead they should:
1. Tighten the top cap just enough to remove play
2. Tighten the clamping screws on the stem

Not only will you round your top cap/screw out, you will be putting too much load on your headset bearings and reducing your bars ability to turn quickly and effortlessly.

If you are doing the top, that is a reason you are having problems. Also, as others are saying, use grease. You are able to get things tighter with less stress to your tools and hardware using grease. Oil can be used too but it will not stay in place like grease will.

It’s the odyssey R32 fork so I’m not sure if the top Can is aluminum or steel but i would say it’s aluminium since the after market top cap you can buy is made out of aluminum. And I was honestly shocked that it was hard to screw. I always un tighten the stem bolts and only tighten the top cap enough to the point where there is no play and I can spin the bars easily. I did find some small pebbles in the stem and fork but the cap is the only one with slightly damaged threads as far as I can tell

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11/18/2019 7:27 AM

Bulletpup wrote:

My question, is the top cap an all aluminum single piece design or is it an aluminum cap with a machine screw/bolt through the middle. If its aluminum, then no, dont worry about your fork. If its a steel screw and you are using too much force, you can damage the fork threads. Depending on the design of the fork, you can possibly pop a new star wedge thing in the fork steerer if you are working with a compression fit. If its welded in you might have a bit easier time buying a new fork if you can no longer tighten up your headset.

One thing I see a TON of riders do is:
1. Tighten top cap too tight
2. Tighten the clamping screws on the stem
3. Tighten the top cap more

Instead they should:
1. Tighten the top cap just enough to remove play
2. Tighten the clamping screws on the stem

Not only will you round your top cap/screw out, you will be putting too much load on your headset bearings and reducing your bars ability to turn quickly and effortlessly.

If you are doing the top, that is a reason you are having problems. Also, as others are saying, use grease. You are able to get things tighter with less stress to your tools and hardware using grease. Oil can be used too but it will not stay in place like grease will.

_bmxican_ wrote:

It’s the odyssey R32 fork so I’m not sure if the top Can is aluminum or steel but i would say it’s aluminium since the after market top cap you can buy is made out of aluminum. And I was honestly shocked that it was hard to screw. I always un tighten the stem bolts and only tighten the top cap enough to the point where there is no play and I can spin the bars easily. I did find some small pebbles in the stem and fork but the cap is the only one with slightly damaged threads as far as I can tell

You are correct, that particular fork will indeed have an aluminum top cap.

Sometimes dirt and other debris make its way up the steerer tube from your front tire. Especially if you ride dirt or crash in dirt often.

You can try plugging up the bottom of the steerer tube with something so not as much junk makes its way up there. Some people do that anyway because they like to wear floppy shoes that can get sucked up in the wheel while doing footjams.

As long as your stem/spacer combo isnt too high above the top of the fork steerer tube, there should be more than enough undamaged threads engaging with the top cap. The more you screw and unscrew the cap after the damage, the more it will feel normal again since the threads will re-align, albeit a bit weaker overall.

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