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  1. #1
    vintage motor kroozer's Avatar
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    Should I drill my seat stays?

    A few months ago I broke down my 1967 Atala Record to treat it with Framesaver, but discovered there is no access to the top tube-- it's closed off at both ends. Likewise, the seat stays have no air holes. Is this common? Seemed weird to me. It wouldn't bother me much, but I do remember hearing some light tinkly noise inside the stay or stays, which I suspect may be rust, when I moved the frame around. The frame had been repainted before I bought it, so I really don't know what the rust condition was, although the chrome is good. I'd really like to get in there and apply some Framesaver, but I hesitate to drill holes in the stays.
    Opinions? Thanks.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Chombi's Avatar
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    One could never really suggest to drill anywhere in a frame unless one has the engineering knowledge to be sure that you might not be causing irreperable damage to it. I'm sure that all frames have some sort of tolerance built into it for such modifications, but I woould not take anyone's word unless the person you are asking is at least a frame builder......
    From a mere C&V mortal like me:....default CYA anwer = don't mess with it!

    Chombi
    BTW, I noticed that you are from Mexico. Desert or troplcal area? If you live in the desert areas, far from the ocean, you shouldn't worry too much about your frame rusting. Just igmore the tinkling sounds, it could be just a little bit of loose brazing material that fell off inside the seat stay tube during production.
    Last edited by Chombi; 09-29-11 at 06:15 PM.

  3. #3
    Senior Member zonatandem's Avatar
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    After drilling the holes you'll need more than FrameSaver to save the frame!
    However did know a guy that had a Sears/Roebuck steel bike back in the 70s that drilled 108 holes in the frame to lighten it up. Bad idea!

  4. #4
    vjp
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    More than likely the "tinkling" sound you hear is a bit of flux, braze or metal filing. Don't drill.

  5. #5
    likes to ride an old bike
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    My 1971 competitzione is about the same frame as yours but without the chrome seat lug.

    My seat tube was drilled to allow access inside the top tube, but my seat stays were totally capped off with brass like yours. (I had mine totally stripped of paint and could see where the vent holes were brazed over.)

    I just FrameSaver'd everything I could access and didn't worry about the seat stays. I recommend the same course of action to you.

  6. #6
    As found... devinfan's Avatar
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    But the drill down. Now back slowly away from the bike, avoiding sudden movements...
    My bike is cooler than me.

  7. #7
    P_M
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    I might sound naive, but if there are no holes, would there be much chance of contaminants making Framesaver necessary?

  8. #8
    Senior Member mudboy's Avatar
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    I've built 3 frames, all have "sealed" top tubes, seatstays, and fork blades.
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  9. #9
    Senior Member randyjawa's Avatar
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    Without knowing what you are doing, and I mean knowing in the mechanical engineering sense, do not resort to drilling any holes in tubing. One hole, improperly placed, will dramatically reduce the strength of the offended tube.

    It can be done, but done only with trained knowledge. For example, if you drill a hole, in a tube near its fulcrum, and then apply pressure to the mechanical advantage side of the lever, which is the tube you just drilled, you will snap the tube. If, on the other hand, you drill a hole where you grip that same tube, nothing will happen - probably.
    Learn how to find, restore and maintain vintage road bicycles at... MY "TEN SPEEDS"

  10. #10
    Senior Member GrayJay's Avatar
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    Rusting is a chemical reaction between iron and oxygen, aided by the presence of moisture. If the tube is sealed, moisture and additional oxyegen cannot get inside to continue the the reaction. Without a pathway to enter, it will not rust out from the inside, leave it alone.

  11. #11
    Senior Member Grand Bois's Avatar
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    Exactly.

  12. #12
    vintage motor kroozer's Avatar
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    Thanks for the replies y'all. I really didn't want to drill it (and won't), but on the other hand I didn't want the frame to rust out from under me. I'll call it flux/braze/metal filings and forget about it.
    Chombi, I live close to the Pacific coast but about 20 miles inland in the mountains, so salt is not an issue. My town sits in a valley between two big volcanoes. Altitude is 3300 feet, so the climate is pretty moderate all year. It's a desert during 8 months, with practically no rainfall. Then in the summer and early fall it's a jungle, with 60 inches of rain in 4 months. A bike will definitely rust if you leave it outside!

  13. #13
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    Is this common? <-- yes and no, some master builders drill the holes and then close them, other ones like one guy i know in south america he never drilled holes or anything so his bikes are fully sealed like the one u have.

    From what he told me years ago he said that when you are brazing the heat of the torch will evaporate any moisture inside of the tube, other scholars say that u can't braze w/o venting holes because the bronze cant penetrate. But since this guy family has been building since back in the 20s and he has been doing it like for more than 50 years and based in the fact that I have seen him brazing maybe 100 frames since I know him pretty much I have to agree with what he told me, drill the holes is not necessary.

    U have a nice bike from way before mass production that pretty much started around 78 maybe. Would you post a picture?

  14. #14
    Senior Member rootboy's Avatar
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    My 60's Frejus has sealed stays, all four, and sealed head tube. I had wondered about this myself. Not drilling, but the rationale behind this building detail.

  15. #15
    vintage motor kroozer's Avatar
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  16. #16
    vjp
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    The "holes" are to relieve pressure while brazing so that brass doesn't void. After brazing it is not uncommon to fill the holes if the frame is to be plated as the acids involved in plating can be very corrosive and the stays/forks are are hard to flush.

  17. #17
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    Man you got a classy one, congrats

  18. #18
    vintage motor kroozer's Avatar
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    So can these sealed tubes rust from within? I'm still paranoid.

  19. #19
    Senior Member Creme Brulee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vjp View Post
    More than likely the "tinkling" sound you hear is a bit of flux, braze or metal filing. Don't drill.
    +1. don't drill

    is there any paint bubbling or any sign of rust on the exterior of the stays?

  20. #20
    vintage motor kroozer's Avatar
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    No, no signs of rust on the outside, just some small particles of something loose on the inside. I would figure that being sealed, there's wouldn't be any way for it to rust from the inside. But I have read statements that sealed tubes can indeed rust, and someone even said they are actually more prone to rust than tubes with holes. How, I have no idea, I just assumed they knew what they were talking about.

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