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I need to install one of those star-fangled nuts, but I don't do this often enough to warrant buying a special tool for it. I usually manage to hammer the thing in eventually but in the past it has taken quite a while to get it in straight and once I even broke the nut.

Is there a reliable DIY solution using cheap bits from the hardware store? I am currently thinking perhaps try some PVC tube and a rubber bung.

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3 Answers

up vote 5 down vote accepted

Agree with ewwhite above, using the right tool will save you a lot of hassles and having to go to the shop with your tail between your legs.

But, as also mentioned, threading the bolt into the star nut and tapping in carefully can work. Watch the alignment since the star nut will tend not to insert evenly. If you have a longer bolt you can insert it through the cap and then into the star nut. Then use the cap to help with keeping the bolt aligned.

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If you do mess it up, you can always drill through the nut to save yourself blushes at the shop. It comes out pretty easily then. –  z7sg Nov 24 '11 at 20:21
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The easiest solution is to use the right tool to make sure the star nut is aligned and set to the right depth in the steerer tube. I'd really recommend taking this to a shop and asking to borrow the proper tool. I own one, even though it only gets used once or twice per year. I've tended to go more towards compression plugs instead of the old star-fangled nut. If you're looking for an alternative to using the proper tool, you can thread a bolt in the nut and tap carefully with a hammer, or perhaps use a dowel or socket of the appropriate diameter instad of a bolt.

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In the end I put the nut bottom-up on an old piece of carpet, held the forks upside down and struck the nut into the steerer tube with medium force. It went in fairly flat. Then I screwed in the bolt and tapped it in carefully. It's actually quite straight.

I don't think I'd recommend this method: I may have just been lucky this time. I do have the forks on now though!

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I did it once or twice, I think it is actually straightforward, not so much luck needed. –  heltonbiker Nov 24 '11 at 21:22
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