DB Silver Streak

Sep 13, 2006
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Never really was big into BMX as a kid, though I was the right age when the current Old School stuff was the new thing. I had friends with bikes like Mongoose, Supergoose, Redline, Hutch, Skyway, PK Ripper, all the others. My brother had an '83 Schwinn Predator that he swapped out every part on with his paper route money. So I have at least a passing knowledge. Now, in my circle of bike friends, there are a few who are big into old school, so I am learning more about them and even built up an old Scrambler frame I found on Craigslist into a decent rider.

Jump to last week, when I acquired this from someone who was gonna throw it out:
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I'm pretty stoked. Our group's resident vintage BMX expert told me it looks mostly original and probably a pretty easy cleanup. This project is gonna be pretty much a straight clean, polish, and rebuild, adding a few bits it needs to be as close to original as I can get it without breaking the bank. The day I brought it home I was already on Porkchop BMX ordering incidentals. A couple things I still want to find are a seatpost similar to the original fluted alloy one, and replacement stickers for the down tube and fork ends. I've been on a couple of big BMX group rides lately with the Scrambler and it's a lot of fun. Looking forward to getting this one in shape for those rides.
 
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Jul 10, 2018
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NY
Killer OG you got there! Are you going to replace the spokes? Noticed it's a 4 cross pattern from the head clearance. Wish I still had my looptail Mongoose California. Pop's got rid of it. Said I told him I didn't want it. Got that feeling when you reach for your phone and it's not in your pocket. Seems like I'm not alone. The Tuff Neck stem alone is small fortune. Had original GT frame standers, MX 1000's front and back, MX clamp...can't go on:20::cry:

Going to look sharp after brightening :cool2:
 
Sep 13, 2006
1,000
2,225
51
southern PA
Killer OG you got there! Are you going to replace the spokes? Noticed it's a 4 cross pattern from the head clearance. Wish I still had my looptail Mongoose California. Pop's got rid of it. Said I told him I didn't want it. Got that feeling when you reach for your phone and it's not in your pocket. Seems like I'm not alone. The Tuff Neck stem alone is small fortune. Had original GT frame standers, MX 1000's front and back, MX clamp...can't go on:20::cry:

Going to look sharp after brightening :cool2:
Haven't decided on the spokes. The friend who knows about this stuff mentioned it too; we will see how much the wheels clean up without taking them apart.
 
Sep 13, 2006
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southern PA
dumb stuff impeding my progress...

so first of all the front wheel bearings are toast.
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I am told that most hubs like this take 3/16 loose ball bearings, 10 on each side. Going to check the LBS for them tomorrow, try to buy 24 or so just to have a couple extras in case of the inevitable escape artists.

The bigger, more insurmountable problem: this sucker ain't budging.
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Normally, when I'm working with an old Schwinn Collegiate or some other random dime-a-dozen beater, I whack and pry the snot out of things until they come apart or break. I am quite good at cosmetically damaging stuff in the interest of moving forward. Problem is, this time, I don't want to ding the aluminum part of the stem up whacking it with a hammer; don't want to bend the forks putting a cheater bar on them; don't want to scratch up the steel part of the stem with a pipe wrench. Everything I have read on this topic, including much of it read right here on RRB, implies that the most important tool in getting stuff like this loose is patience. Hose it down with PB or Kroil or the homebrew of your choice, give it a couple good whacks with a hammer, and walk away for a day or two. THIS KILLS ME. I want it apart NOW.

I am actually trying something I discovered here in the How-To forum just because it seems so crazy. It's in this thread, specifically this post. Plain old WATER. If that doesn't do it, I am thinking of trying the 50/50 ATF/acetone that a bunch of folks mentioned...
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Any and all advice/suggestions/anecdotes/heckling is appreciated...
 
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Jul 10, 2018
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Forgive my suggestion if it's something you're well aware of. Have you backed out the stem bolt a bit and then try to strike the top of the bolt with heavy hammer?
 
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Captain Awesome

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Forgive my suggestion if it's something you're well aware of. Have you backed out the stem bolt a bit and then try to strike the top of the bolt with heavy hammer?
Same suggestion. Whack from the top. Possibly jolt it loose
 
Jul 10, 2018
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Water would seem to take longer than penetrating fluid. Patience and whacks from both sides. The wedge may not be able to go down and further. Access to impact tools will get the job done.
 
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Sep 14, 2013
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Bradley Illinoiz
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Same threaded rod from the bottom, pull the bolt out thread the rod in from the bottom. Beat on it like a dent puller but it only needs to budge a bit to loosen the top half. Kroil is the best I've ever used and I've tried them all. Alternating heat and a co2 fire extinguisher breaks rust but would probably kill the aluminum... Getting the stem to turn just a bit might help too, all the tiny movements give a place for the Kroil (or PBlaster) to work into. Good luck brother.

Carl.
 
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Sep 13, 2006
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ok so removing the stem has NOT gone well.

Tried PB Blaster, Liquid Wrench, BFHs, drift punch, heat, breaker bars, big old bench vise. Twisting the aluminum head of the stem got us this (unfortunately):
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The key holding the aluminum block to the steel shaft sheared off. We figured that'd at least move us forward, even though it cost me a DK stem; now the headset comes apart, the fork comes out, and we can get serious with heat on the steerer tube.

No such luck.

Both the stem shaft AND the wedge are still in the fork. Torch couldn't touch it. Hammering, cutting, drilling on the inside of the stem have not weakened it at all. There is a Plan B; another friend says he knows someone who can drill what's left out of the fork. I'd really like to save this fork, as it is original to the bike. I'm sad about losing the stem, but at least it wasn't the original DB stem. Also, I suppose if I knew the right people, I could have the aluminum part of the stem pressed onto a new steel shaft, but that's not in the budget.

One of the guys pointed out that the DK stem has an unfinished tool steel shaft in that dull black, and that possibly contributed to getting it stuck as bad as it is.

The good news is that I took what's left and added some stuff I had laying around and cleaned it up for a BMX ride in Pittsburgh this weekend.
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Kills me to have that junk fork on it, but it's only temporary... I'm hoping the original can be saved and if not, I'm already scoping out replacements.
 
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Captain Awesome

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Pics of the fork as it sits now? How much of the stem is protruding and is the wedge right up against the shaft or is it distanced at all?
 
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Bradley Illinoiz
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I think if you have a stem shaft (piece of pipe) that fits that aluminum block you can rebuild that stem. Cut you a little keyway and all. Angle cut the other end and add a pinch bolt. a little JB Weld and it's back on your bike. After you get that fork tube glowing red with a torch a couple times and free the guts up... Worst case scenario, you cut the fork tube just below the blockage and have a piece from a donor fork welded back on. Easy Peasey.

Don't shoot me, I'm just the guitar player...
 
Sep 13, 2006
1,000
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southern PA
I think if you have a stem shaft (piece of pipe) that fits that aluminum block you can rebuild that stem. Cut you a little keyway and all. Angle cut the other end and add a pinch bolt. a little JB Weld and it's back on your bike. After you get that fork tube glowing red with a torch a couple times and free the guts up... Worst case scenario, you cut the fork tube just below the blockage and have a piece from a donor fork welded back on. Easy Peasey.

Don't shoot me, I'm just the guitar player...
I am actually hoping for something like that. The aluminum part of the stem is intact; if it was pressed on with a key before, and if I can find someone with a press, it can be done again. And I am still hopeful that the fork can be saved like you said, either by finally getting free what's left of the old stem or by cutting off/welding on a new steerer tube... but again, I do not possess the tools for that. Will be doing some networking at this evening's ride.

Speaking of the ride, the guy who organizes it is our resident old school guru, and he's pretty ticked at me right now. I wasn't actually the one holding the die grinder, but he clearly feels that by being present at the time, I am complicit in the commission of heinous crimes against rare old school equipment. I guess he has a point. He knows a machinist who he thinks can save it; I'm crossing my fingers.

In other news, I replaced the borked front axle and bearings with the guts out of a castoff BMX front wheel I had around here, replaced the bottom headset bearings and retainer with a good set, and rebuilt the brake and replaced the cable. Observations after a couple of shakedown laps around the block:

It's VERY light.
It's deceptively fast.
The brakes don't actually brake much; the brake lever is more like a security blanket you grab to make you feel better when you're in over your head.
The seat is a torture device.
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Overall I'm digging it.

Edit: Dang that fork is ugly.
 
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Sep 14, 2013
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Bradley Illinoiz
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Hehe... my brakes will send you over the bars. That bike stops right now and you better hang on. While you're on the subject of hacking things up. I wonder if a guy added about 8 inches or so to the stays and ran a super aggressive rear tire... would it have the look of a hillclimb motorcycle? Or with the right tire a mud bogger? I've yet to see a flappy mudbog bicycle tire...

Guitarl.
 
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Sep 13, 2006
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all dressed up for Sunday!
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Now, all this is subject to change. The seat is more comfortable than the plastic AERO one, and I will probably switch back and forth between them for show/riding. Also, a bunch of parts here are borrowed... specifically the forks, stem, and pads. A friend offered this stuff to me to have the bike together for a BMX ride we are doing in Pittsburgh this weekend.
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We slapped it together before yesterday evening's ride, in addition to installing a new chain and a used freewheel he had around.
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This is the wrong fork. Not only do the stickers not match, but this is regular steel, where the one I am hoping to get fixed is chromoly, stamped TANGE on the steer tube. This fork is off a Viper, whereas this bike is a Silver Streak. But it still looks a lot better than the cheese-dog black one I had on there.
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I also BIN'd a more period-correct SR MX550 stem on Fleabay this morning, though it doesn't have the DIAMOND BACK script on it like this one.
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Shakedown cruise went well.
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The front hub was a mess... the axle and cones were chewed on pretty bad.
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This random BMX wheel I had around donated its guts.
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The freewheel thing was weird. I originally bought a 1/8" chain for it, figuring y'know, single-speed chain. Then before I even got it out of the package, my more knowledgable friends pointed out to me that BMX bikes like these generally ran 3/32 chains, so I bought one of them too. When I went to put it on, it fit fine on the Sugino chainring, but the teeth of the SunTour freewheel were too wide. The same guy who loaned me the other parts dug out a used freewheel and we were in business. He was as surprised as me that the original freewheel was too wide.
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having fun with this, even if it is a ridiculous little 20-inch kids' bike...
 
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