Dart stems can become loose after regular play and will occur more often as your darts age.
A loose dart stem results from the barrel and shaft grinding away at each other over time. You’ll find this mainly occurs when using aluminum dart stems due to the metal-on-metal contact.
So, how do you fix a loose dart stem?
One tool you can use is called an O-ring. These fit onto your dart shaft to prevent the metal-on-metal contact between the shaft and barrel.
To fit the o-ring onto your dart shaft, firstly attach the applicator tool to your shaft and roll the o-ring down it onto the thread.
However, there’s an easier way. Screw the stem onto your barrel, get the rubber o-ring, and put it over the end of the stem. Then, roll it down and tighten both ends around the o-ring.
You’ll find that this makes the fitting much tighter now, so it shouldn’t come loose.
Tightening Without O-rings
If you don’t have any o-rings, there’s also a cheap alternative. You can use a plumber’s tape (PTFE) instead.
I recommend using scissors to do to cut it to size. That’s if you want to make sure the tape isn’t visible once the shaft and barrel are screwed back together.
Once it’s cut to size, apply the tape to the screw thread of the dart stem, and wrap it around. The good thing about this tape is that it’s thin, so it’ll mold into the shape of the thread once you screw each end together again.
If you haven’t got plumbers tape, an alternative is to use cling film, which I found more effective than tape.
Although, as I mentioned, it’s a little more fiddly as it doesn’t stick as well as the tape does.
Once you’ve managed to wrap the plastic around the thread, screw the barrel onto the end. You’ll likely see some excess hanging over the side, but you can rip that off.
So basically, all we’re trying to do here is fill in the gap between the barrel and shaft to prevent that metal-on-metal contact.
So there you have it, a quick guide on how to fix your loose darts stem.