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So. Calif.
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm assembling my first all-carbon fork, on my 2009 S-Works Tarmac frame.

After measuring 10 times and cutting once, I attempted to insert the expander plug inside the carbon steerer tube.

The plug doesn't want to slide inside the steerer tube, with hand force -- it is exceedingly tight. Advice or tips ?

The current Spec'y plug design is a sharp metal mesh (like a cheese grater) rolled into a cylinder shape. It is separate piece and not part of the top cap.

Maybe I could tap in the plug using a block of wood -- even that seems questionable -- but I fear I'd never get the plug out again.

Other info:
-- lubed up the plug with Finish Line carbon assembly paste -- slippery yet "gritty" -- no help.
-- Cut the steerer a bit long, leaving 10mm spacers above the stem and 30mm below stem.
-- Almost certainly will want to cut fork again, which mandates capability to remove plug.
 

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I, too, am building a S-Works Tarmac SL2 as I believe that you are as well.

The steer tube of the frameset that I purchased already had the expander plug installed.
I have been trying to figure out how to remove the expander plug so that I can cut the steer tube.

I believe this is a picture of the expander plug,

http://www.specialized.com/us/en/bc...MEDIA/equip/2309-0100_l.jpg&equipmodel=Carbon

For my problem of trying to remove the expander plug, I would need to push in the lower black part to release the pressure on the "chesse grater" piece so that it can contract and be removed.

For your problem of trying to insert the expander plug, the bottom and the top black pieces need to be outside the "cheese grater" piece, below and above it. The entire assembly is then inserted and the bolt tightened to bring the two black pieces closer together so that they apply pressure on the "cheese grater" piece to expand against the steer tube.

I hope that helps.

In any event, I am going to my LBS this weekend and I will ask about this.
 

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So. Calif.
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Dave Hickey said:
Are you sure the plug hasn't expanded a little? ...
Not in any obvious way, when I examine it.

Dave Hickey said:
...Most of these plugs are tightened against the steerer tube with an allen key... the plug should expand and contract with an allen key
Yes, That is the design. Plug definitely expands when I tighten its screw ... but in its "relaxed" state, plug doesn't shrink enough to fit inside the steerer.

What I have just realized, is by pushing down on the top end of the plug (see right hand pic at http://www.specialized.com/us/en/bc/SBCEquipPopup.jsp?equipimage=/OA_MEDIA/equip/2309-0100_l.jpg&equipmodel=Carbon ) ,
that makes the mesh plug expand and inhibits sliding in.
D'oh!

Maybe what I need to try , is pushing down on the plug's expander bolt , that threads into the bottom end of plug. That will have the effect of pulling down & stretching the plug , instead of pushing & expanding.

Removing plug could be difficult, as there's no threading on top part of plug to grab a bolt into.
 

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So. Calif.
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
ehkim said:
... For your problem of trying to insert the expander plug, the bottom and the top black pieces need to be outside the "cheese grater" piece, below and above it. The entire assembly is then inserted and the bolt tightened to bring the two black pieces closer together so that they apply pressure on the "cheese grater" piece to expand against the steer tube...
You're absolutely RIGHT ! :thumbsup:
Thank you, Thank you!

My top & bottom end caps were so tightly wedged inside the "cheese grater" cylinder, I thought they were spot-welded together as a single assembly. What Dave suggested above, was indirectly true.

I tapped the caps apart, re-assembled loosely, and now the entire assembly easily slides into the steerer :)

To remove the plug after it's been tightened, maybe what will work is:
-- loosen but don't remove the hollow expander bolt.
-- tap down on expander bolt to dislodge the bottom cap from the "cheese grater" cylinder.
-- pry up on the top cap to loosen it, while keeping expander bolt threaded into bottom cap, so bottom doesn't fall down.
-- somehow, coax all 3 pieces to slide out.
-- holding fork upside down (you have to remove fork to cut it!) may prevent pieces from falling further down.

I suppose this would have taken 3 seconds for the mechanic in the shop, who works on Spec'y bikes all day long. Live & learn.
 

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I've a problem too.

My expander is almost entirely in the fork (with help of my hammer)
But now I think it is stuck, i'm scared to hit it so hard that i can damage it.

ps: i can't pull it out anymore

Maybe the solution is given, but my enlgish isn't that good to understand all of it.
 

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So. Calif.
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2,800 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Method said:
I've a problem too.

My expander is almost entirely in the fork (with help of my hammer)
But now I think it is stuck, i'm scared to hit it so hard that i can damage it.

ps: i can't pull it out anymore ....
Hammer?! I hope this is a metal/alloy steerer tube ... a carbon steerer could have have been damaged and lead to a bad failure while riding.

On the assumption this is a metal steerer & star-nut, see:
http://www.parktool.com/repair/readhowto.asp?id=67

If this is a carbon steerer, you might be better off taking it to a trusted bike shop and have them assess the situation.
 

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tom_h said:
To remove the plug after it's been tightened, maybe what will work is:
-- loosen but don't remove the hollow expander bolt.
-- tap down on expander bolt to dislodge the bottom cap from the "cheese grater" cylinder.
-- pry up on the top cap to loosen it, while keeping expander bolt threaded into bottom cap, so bottom doesn't fall down.
-- somehow, coax all 3 pieces to slide out.
-- holding fork upside down (you have to remove fork to cut it!) may prevent pieces from falling further down.
I removed the plug this morning - it was really easy!

I loosened the expander bolt and then gave it a tap with a mallet.
The expander plug becam loose and dropped into the steer tube.
I reached in and removed it without drauma.
 
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