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Scott Gambler/Fox 40 cracking sound

ebarker9

Monkey
Oct 2, 2007
579
68
The bike: 2017 Scott Gambler with Fox 40. DT 350 front hub. If I lift up on the bars and drop the front tire down, I get a slight "crack" noise. I've tried doing this while holding the front brake hose, taking the chain off, etc to reduce the number of variables. The headset bearings aren't perfect so I've ordered new ones but they don't seem bad enough to cause that sound. Reassembled and carefully greased the headset a few times. Fork was just rebuilt (full service) over the offseason and I'm running the air spring. It's fairly annoying while riding.

Things that I haven't ruled out: headset cups moving in frame, fork steerer/crown interface, lower crown race?. One thing that seems odd to me is that the upper crown has always been a really tight fit to where I need to use a deadblow mallet to remove and install. Previous Fox 40 did not have such a tight fit on the upper crown. I also put a headset press on the cups just to ensure that they were fully seated and they didn't move.

I've ridden for a couple of seasons and I've always been chasing creaks. I did buy it used so no real telling what kind of abuse it saw.

Any other troubleshooting? Anything jump out?
 

ebarker9

Monkey
Oct 2, 2007
579
68
Any suggestions for a new headset? I can't find 45x45/41x30.15 replacement bearings anywhere.
 

buckoW

Turbo Monkey
Mar 1, 2007
2,175
1,376
Champery, Switzerland
Any suggestions for a new headset? I can't find 45x45/41x30.15 replacement bearings anywhere.
FSA Orbit z 1.5 is the lightest one and the Cane Creek are the most durable. The Syncros is in the middle. Any zs49 headset should work.

It’s usually the lower race that wears first.
 

HardtailHack

used an iron once
Jan 20, 2009
3,165
913
I hate Cane Creek headsets, the ones I have had don't have interference fit bearings and when removed you can see that the bearing has been moving in the cups.

Acros FTW!

I've whinged about this before, but I'm old so it's okay.
 

ebarker9

Monkey
Oct 2, 2007
579
68
$50 on a headset and $150 worth of tools later and we'll see...hoping this resolves it. Appreciate the suggestions.
 

buckoW

Turbo Monkey
Mar 1, 2007
2,175
1,376
Champery, Switzerland
I hate Cane Creek headsets, the ones I have had don't have interference fit bearings and when removed you can see that the bearing has been moving in the cups.

Acros FTW!

I've whinged about this before, but I'm old so it's okay.
Acros are definitely nice ones! I have one of those in my Raaw and Ransom currently.
 

ebarker9

Monkey
Oct 2, 2007
579
68
Replaced with Cane Creek 40 series, mostly because it was the easiest to obtain and it definitely seems to have cured the noise. Thank god, that was driving me insane.

Top crown is still a reaaaallly tight fit, requiring a dead blow mallet to install and remove. It seems like it's mostly the steerer tube that's tight and I don't see any real alignment issues with the stanchions, no obvious burrs, etc. On my last Fox 40 the top crown just slid on and off by hand so this seems really weird.
 

6thElement

Schrodinger's Immigrant
Jul 29, 2008
9,091
5,939
Replaced with Cane Creek 40 series, mostly because it was the easiest to obtain and it definitely seems to have cured the noise. Thank god, that was driving me insane.

Top crown is still a reaaaallly tight fit, requiring a dead blow mallet to install and remove. It seems like it's mostly the steerer tube that's tight and I don't see any real alignment issues with the stanchions, no obvious burrs, etc. On my last Fox 40 the top crown just slid on and off by hand so this seems really weird.
I've had a Boxxer like that before, needed the rubber mallet to persuade it in to place.