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  1. #1
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    titanium frame repair crack southern california

    Does anyone know a place to repair a titanium frame in Los Angeles or nearby?
    The frame is an airborne (less expensive chinese-made) which sprung a several-inch-long lengthwise crack in a seatstay.

    The other question is, if I find a competent welder willing to do it, is there a danger of the heat of the weld deforming the geometry of the frame without having a bike-specific rack during the weld?

    thanks

  2. #2
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    They make rocket ships and missiles there , certainly a TIG welder can be found , ask at Cal Tech.

  3. #3
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    Even with a welding gig the stay will try to pull in the direction of the weld. You need a new stay and a Ti weldor. It is not difficult to weld, but the shield gas has to be on the weld until it cools below 850.

  4. #4
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    I just had a customers Ti frame replaced after it broke. If your the original owner I would try warranty.

  5. #5
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    The frame is out of warranty. The seat stay is arced. Does that mean the frame is scrap metal because filling the crack with a weld will deform the alignment?

  6. #6
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    Off the top of my head I would think the repair would cost more than the frame is worth.

  7. #7
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    Welding Ti is very specialized. You not only have to flood the outside of the tube being welded with inert gas but the inside too. Not everyone who can weld Ti knows how to weld Ti bicycle tubes.

    Even out of warranty, I'd contact the importer to see what a repair would cost or if they have a reduced cost replacement policy. This is not a trivial repair.

  8. #8
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    ... which sprung a several-inch-long lengthwise crack in a seatstay.
    ... sounds like a tube seam gave out .. Material flaw..
    Campaign for a replacement..

  9. #9
    biked well well biked's Avatar
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    Sometimes you just have to accept the fact that you're in the market for a new frame. I think this is one of those times.

  10. #10
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    I would just try to fill the crack with JB Weld.
    i won't deny it i'm a straight ridah

  11. #11
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    Welding a lengthwise split in a thin tube ain't easy regardless of the material. Your real choices boil don to three.

    1- scrap the frame, or see if you can get some kind of warranty compromise trade in discount.
    2- replace the stay, which won't be cheap, and may be hard to match thereby requiring replacing both stays.
    3- doing some kind of jury rigged repair to mild another season out of the bike without spending any real dough.

    In your shoes, I'd pass on option 2 and work on number one or three or both.

    You might buy some life out of by making a steel or Ti patch or splint wrapped partly around the stay, and bonded in place. You could hus hose clamps to get the needed pressure while the bond cooled, or could use the very crude "good enough for government work" approach and keep the splint and clamps in until something else goes.

    Many years ago I repaired a lengthwise seatstay crack by wrapping stainless steel wire around in a tight spiral (like how fishing rod loops are attached) tying it off with a bit of solder then coating the job in a thin layer of resin to keep it in place. The job looked OK and the frame was ridden for many years afterward until it was retired.

    Realistically you want to replace it, but a creative DIY repair can put that off for a while. And if you spend little or no dough won't be throwing good money after bad.
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    “Never argue with an idiot. He will only bring you down to his level and beat you with experience.”, George Carlin

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  12. #12
    Senior Member skilsaw's Avatar
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    Years ago I burned out the motor on a 7.5" circular saw. Since the warranty period was over and the saw was useless, I took a gamble and mailed the saw to the manufacturer with a polite letter saying the motor was burned out. I didn't tell them I abused the saw, or that the warranty period was finished. I kissed the saw goodbye when I mailed it, expecting to never hear about it again. Eight months later I received a brand new saw from them and the invoice said "Warranty Replacement"!

    Who knows? You might find similar success in mailing off the bike frame to the national distributor. Be polite, and let go of it because the frame is destined for the landfill anyway.
    The one who has the most bikes wins.

  13. #13
    Senior Member Looigi's Avatar
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    You could try putting a bandage on the boo boo. Stop drill the crack at each end then wrap it tightly in carbon tape and epoxy resin.

  14. #14
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    Thanks for the advice. If I had the space, I would try the JB weld epoxy and keep it as a town bike. However, I need to reduce stuff so I think I am going to strip it for parts and scrap the frame if I can not find someone who wants it.

    Some background on the bike: I got it when I wanted to get back into road biking. It is not too light but the price was good and it was a joy to ride, silky smooth with lateral stiffness ... until it got over a certain speed down hills when the slight springiness turned into a terrifying floaty feeling. I don't think this issue had to do with the crack which developed after a few years. I eventually got a Look 585 which I love and thereafter discovered the crack. At the time, three years ago, Airborne had gone out of business. There is an incarnation of it that sells the same (or similar) bikes in Europe under a different name called Van Nicolas. They told me that the warranty was of no use because the bike had been bought in the US. However they offered me a 35% discount on a Van Nicholas.

  15. #15
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    Just a (late) follow up:
    About two years ago, I ground the crack into a "V" with a grinding drill bit and put down a bead of JB weld epoxy. After successfully using the bike for some months for commuting, I spotted another crack nearby and did the same thing. Since then the repairs have remained intact without further issues. The JB weld color matches the titanium well.

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