Getting a stem out

Just picked up a new frame and started to strip it for a clean.

I got to the stem and I am stumped. It’s a 1" threaded and it won’t move up or down.

The expander isn’t stuck in the bottom because it is bouncing around inside the steerer tube. The way the fork is made it’s not going to fall out the bottom either.

The stem will move side to side with very little resistance, it just won’t move up or down.

It is currently soaking in penetrating oil.

Any other ideas?

Have you undone the headset?
I’ve found some wacky grub screws on some older headsets that cause grief.

I have had some luck giving some short sharp taps to the head stem.

Yeah I had the top of the headset off - one of those stronglight ones with the roller bearings.

I also wacked it all over the place with a hammer.

I will try both again after the soak.

Can you get a long rod in through the bottom of the fork crown? Maybe try giving it a tap from the bottom? Weird that it would rotate but not move vertically?

Is the fork crown sitting on anything solid when you are tapping the stem? A <1m length of 3 or 4x2 with a rag on top works well under the fork crown so the blades are not absorbing all your force with the hammer. IME this makes a fair difference, but your problem sounds a little bizarre. The steerer tube could be all mashed up inside and the stem simply wont go any further down. As Mr Antmandan said, hammer and punch work from the underside may be an option.

I tried the hammer with a piece of dowel from underneath, but because the expander bolt was in there all I did was push it back into the bottom of the stem.

Looks like a bit more time and hulk action needed on my part.

I’ve heard boiling water can release a stuck stem(turn upside down and pour down the steerer). But I imagine if you can turn the stem left/right with little resistence there’s more to it…

Got the stem out after letting it soak.

It has a few deep rings cut into the stem (probably from my efforts yesterday). I stuck my finger into the steerer tube but I couldn’t feel exactly what was holding it in place.

Totally weird.