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  1. #1
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    Is this TREK1400 frame toast? Brake bridge pulling away from both seatstays.Warranty?

    Took this 1989 Trek 1400 out of storage for the past 20 years and took it for a ride. When I got back home I noticed a crack wrapping almost completely around where the bridge connects to the seatstay and a hairline crack lengthwise in the seatstay. Put a penlight to the opposite side and saw light shining through both cracks (see pics).




    What was even more surprising, however, is that shining light through the bridge/seatstay joint that's NOT cracked produced the same results, as you could see a gap between the seatstay and the bridge, apparently only covered by paint.

    This bike has no more than 1000 miles on it and I, a mere 140 lb. recreational rider. It has never been wrecked or abused. I do, however, have the original receipt.

    1) What's going on with this frame? A product of early experimentation with aluminum? Was the bridge simply glued and then riveted? Is the frame completely shot?

    2) Is it worth trying for a warranty claim?

    All else failing, I'm wondering If It would be worth ordering a Nashbar road frame as a replacement...

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by dirtyhouse777 View Post
    This bike has no more than 1000 miles on it and I, a mere 140 lb. recreational rider. It has never been wrecked or abused. I do, however, have the original receipt.

    1) What's going on with this frame? A product of early experimentation with aluminum? Was the bridge simply glued and then riveted? Is the frame completely shot?

    2) Is it worth trying for a warranty claim?

    All else failing, I'm wondering If It would be worth ordering a Nashbar road frame as a replacement...
    The original receipt is critical as Trek had a "lifetime" warranty on these frame but only to the original owner and you have to be able to prove you are. Sounds like you meet this requirement.

    1. Yes, these frames were "bonded" (read glued), not welded. I have a 1992 Trek 1420 which uses the same bonded frame and is still in good condition with well over 20,000 miles. It wasn't an experiment as Trek had good success with most of these frames and went to welded Al later as a cost saving measure, not because the bonded frames were trouble prone.

    2. Absolutely. Trek is very good about honoring warranty claims. You won't get a direct replacement but the closest current frame.

  3. #3
    XO1
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    If the frame was riveted there, the paint is essentially cracking due to flex. If you are concerned about it, take it to a Trek Dealer. There is a lifetime warranty on the frame's workman ship.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by XO1 View Post
    If the frame was riveted there, the paint is essentially cracking due to flex. If you are concerned about it, take it to a Trek Dealer. There is a lifetime warranty on the frame's workman ship.
    The crack between the brake bridge and the seat stay isn't a major problem but the crack through the seat stay tubing itself certainly is.

  5. #5
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    Only thing that concerns me about the warranty is the time/effort/cost/possibility of denying my claim. Or receiving a new or discounted frame that doesn't fit the 1980s components (like downtube shifters, which i actually prefer)

    If this is something I can ride safely with no worries, I'll skip the hassle of dismantling/shipping for the warranty claim. So I guess the main question is if the bike is safe? Which leaves me in the hands of the educated guess of my trek dealer i suppose.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by HillRider View Post
    The crack between the brake bridge and the seat stay isn't a major problem but the crack through the seat stay tubing itself certainly is.
    that was my guess. and I doubt a crack in the seatstay tubing is something trek can "fix."

    It's looking like a Nashbar frame may be my best bet, unfortunately.

    EDIT: I just took a bit of sandpaper to the seatstay crack, and the crack sanded right off, which tells me it was just in the paint. You can still see light through it though, just like before.
    Last edited by dirtyhouse777; 06-11-10 at 08:41 AM.

  7. #7
    Bikaholic blamp28's Avatar
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    I have made warranty claims on Trek frames and it was really quite painless. They will back this frame most certainly.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by dirtyhouse777 View Post
    that was my guess. and I doubt a crack in the seatstay tubing is something trek can "fix."

    It's looking like a Nashbar frame may be my best bet, unfortunately.

    EDIT: I just took a bit of sandpaper to the seatstay crack, and the crack sanded right off, which tells me it was just in the paint. You can still see light through it though, just like before.
    If you can see light through the actual seatstay tubing, not just the gap between the tube and the brake bridge, the crack is a lot more than just in the paint. If that's the case, the frame is toast. Period, end of debate.

    As to fitting your '80's parts, almost any newer frame may not either, including the Nashbar. Surly does fit downtube shifter bosses on the Cross check frame but it's steel.

  9. #9
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    Curiosity (or fear) got the best of me and I sanded down to the aluminum on the seatstay to see if in fact there was a crack where the light seemed to shine through the paint.

    There was nothing except solid aluminum.

    Guess it's simply the light somehow refracting though the thinner spots of white paint.

  10. #10
    Senior Member BCRider's Avatar
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    What about the bonded joint of the bridge? Is that OK as well? The cracks in the paint look more like the sort of cracks that would happen more with paint than with metal. But if these are the only cracks then it's likely that something produced the stress on the finish to cause the film delamination. A likely source of that would be the bridge joint on that side cracking loose and flexing. I see that there's a screw into a likely plugg in the stay to hold the joint clamped as part of the bonding. Is that screw now loose and allowed the glue in the joint to pop? You'll want to flex the frame a little to see if this is the case.
    Model airplanes are cool too!.....

  11. #11
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    No, the screw is not loose. I'm a little perplexed by the whole thing but I'm going to keep riding and just not use the rear brake. It's as flat as a pancake around here so the back brake is rarely necessary.

  12. #12
    Senior Member BCRider's Avatar
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    You may just simply be suffering from aluminium's well known difficulty in getting paint to stick to it. Or some past scratch let moisture in and the aluminium corroded enough to snap the bond with the paint over this portion of the area. Add in a bit of flexing while riding and suddenly the stays are shedding paint like a snake's old skin.

    I gather that you sanded the paint off. But if you had stuck a small knife blade into those cracks I'll bet you could have cracked away fairly large chips of the paint where the bond to the stay had given up the ghost. If this is all that it was then your frame is fine other than in the appearance department.
    Model airplanes are cool too!.....

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