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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a 565 frameset (2006 model, NOS purchased in Feb 2008), standard FSA integrated headset, HSC 5 SL fork, Deda Zero 100 stem, FSA Compressor Top Cap. I have a 10mm and 5 mm spacer under the stem, no spacers on top of the stem. I seem to be developing some play in the HS that I can't figure out. I have tried setting the compressor plug high and low in the steerer, but that doesn't seem to make much difference. I've made adjustments in the standard fashion: loosen the 2 stem bolts, tighten the expander bolt on the compressor plug as much as possible, tighten down the top cap until all is snug with no play and no binding, tighten the stem bolts (haven't used a torque wrench but have tightened with a regular 4mm hex wrench to moderate pressure), finish by making sure the top cap is very tight. All is good for a while, but eventually I'll become aware of looseness setting in. The time before it gets loose seems to vary quite a bit, it can be 100 miles or 400 miles, but I don't think I've gone more than a month or so without having to re-tighten. Most recently the loosening was noticed after a ride with several hard sprint and climb efforts (hands on hoods), though it could just be coincidence.

Am I missing something with the adjustment procedure? Is the FSA Compressor plug the culprit? Anyone else experienced this problem and, if so, did you solve it? The bike is absolutely fantastic, so if this is the only problem I have, I'll just start carrying 3 hex wrenches with me.
 

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It's not the compressor plug..All the plug does is set the tension...The stem holds it all in place... My guess is your stem is slipping...

If it's the stem slipping, either gently rough up the steerer tube with some sandpaper or spray the steerer with extra hold hairspray( this works with slipping carbon seatposts too).....

just to verify, you have a gap between the bottom of the top cap and the top of the steerer tube correct?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for the reply, Dave. Yep, gap is 2-3 mm.

I had also concluded that the compressor should benign to this problem, but didn't want to rule-out anything. The hair spray is a good idea; I'll give it a try.

Now that I think about it, the slippery stem theory makes even more sense. I had been experiencing irritating creaks that caused me to pull the fork and HS and grease the upper and lower bearings and internal cups. This solved the creaking (yahoo!), but I may have left a film of grease on the steerer. I'll pull the stem, clean and rough up the steerer, and give it a shot of hair spray. Hopefully they'll sell the stuff to a bald guy!
 

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Wipe off the steerer tube, inside of the stem, etc. Mine was caked in salt and after I adjusted things and tried to retighten the headset, it had play in it no matter what. The salt kept it from tightening down completely. After wipping everything down it was fine.
 

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how to adjust...

When adjusting the bearings, tighten the top cap until you feel some additional drag/minor binding as the fork is turned. Then loosen the top cap bolt only 1/8-1/4 turn - just enough to eliminate the drag. It's common for the bearing to never really be adjusted tight enough.

Of course, be sure to adequately tighten the stem bolts. I would recomend a product like Tacx assembly paste, rather than hair spray to help hold the stem in place, although I've never found either necessary.
 

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Slightly different problem, but thought this would be the place for it. My FSA headset seemed like it was loosening on my HSC6, and I loosened the stem to try and snug it up. Now it seems like no matter what I do I can't get it tightened so there's no play in the headset when I give it the old "front brake test." The compression plug is merely there to prevent damaging the steering tube when tightening the stem... am I right? Logically it would seem the stem keeps the whole thing in place and tight, I just can't get mine snug enough. Thanks in advance for the help.
 

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Figured it out!! Did some more research, went back and looked it over again, and realized the compression cap has two (2) parts to it... one secures inside the steerer and the other pulls against it. Nice little device! Thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Update: I used a combination of the suggestions from Dave Hickey and C-40 a couple of weeks ago. I've done >300 mi. since then and everything is still tight. I think the problem may be solved. Thanks, guys!
 
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