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Singlespeed & Fixed Gear "I still feel that variable gears are only for people over forty-five. Isn't it better to triumph by the strength of your muscles than by the artifice of a derailer? We are getting soft...As for me, give me a fixed gear!"-- Henri Desgrange (31 January 1865 - 16 August 1940)

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Old 12-30-09, 12:19 PM   #1
RigHty
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Top Tube Dent Repair

a few months ago i fell off my bike and my bull horns gave the top tube a 1 - 2 punch. so now both sides of the top tube has a dent.... then i remembered there was a way to fix pipes with the freeze method. where you fill the pipe up with water and cap off the ends. i dont have a giant freezer so i waited till temps outside reached below freezing and now was the perfect time. last night i stripped everything off my frame and gave it a shot. surprisingly, it did work. it didnt push it out completely yet, but it takes a few times to full push out the dent. this will be the 3rd time im freezing it.

if anyone wants to try this be careful! dont just fill it with water and leave it for a long period of time. it will bust the tube. only freeze it for a few hours at a time. let the ice melt so it has another starting point to expand.

ill post pictures when im finished.

Last edited by Little Darwin; 12-30-09 at 01:18 PM. Reason: Fixed Title
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Old 12-30-09, 12:32 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by RigHty View Post
a few months ago i fell off my bike and my bull horns gave the top tube a 1 - 2 punch. so now both sides of the top tube has a dent.... then i remembered there was a way to fix pipes with the freeze method. where you fill the pipe up with water and cap off the ends. i dont have a giant freezer so i waited till temps outside reached below freezing and now was the perfect time. last night i stripped everything off my frame and gave it a shot. surprisingly, it did work. it didnt push it out completely yet, but it takes a few times to full push out the dent. this will be the 3rd time im freezing it.

if anyone wants to try this be careful! dont just fill it with water and leave it for a long period of time. it will bust the tube. only freeze it for a few hours at a time. let the ice melt so it has another starting point to expand.

ill post pictures when im finished.

Sounds like a recipe for disaster.

Why not spend a little $$$ and have it done professionally. The amount of force that freezing water can produce is more than enough to compromise <1mm tubing.

If it is lugged, you can have a tube replaced for a pretty decent price.

Last edited by ianjk; 12-30-09 at 12:35 PM.
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Old 12-30-09, 12:43 PM   #3
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Will this work on aluminum frames too?

Just kidding. This is an interesting approach. I'd like to formally request before, during, and after pictures.
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Old 12-30-09, 01:30 PM   #4
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Yea seems a little risky, but hell, I priced out a tube replacement on one of my bikes and it was around $100. Furthermore, they couldn't match the rest of my Ishiwata 019 tubeset, AND, it required a repaint.

If it's not a terribly expensive frame, this sounds like a good plan. How do you keep the water isolated in that one tube? What are you using to plug them up with?
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Old 12-30-09, 01:33 PM   #5
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Will this work on aluminum frames too?

Just kidding. This is an interesting approach. I'd like to formally request before, during, and after pictures.
im not sure if it will work on aluminum, but i dont see why it wouldnt. im no engineer so don take my word for it. i tried to take some pictures, but it was hard since it is matte black.

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Sounds like a recipe for disaster.

Why not spend a little $$$ and have it done professionally. The amount of force that freezing water can produce is more than enough to compromise <1mm tubing.

If it is lugged, you can have a tube replaced for a pretty decent price.
well lets put it this way. if it bust, then im goin to have it repaired anyway. freezing the top tube is free. so far its working out quite nicely. if you dont want it to burst the pipe, you have to redo it after a few hours.
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Old 12-30-09, 01:34 PM   #6
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Yea seems a little risky, but hell, I priced out a tube replacement on one of my bikes and it was around $100. Furthermore, they couldn't match the rest of my Ishiwata 019 tubeset, AND, it required a repaint.

If it's not a terribly expensive frame, this sounds like a good plan. How do you keep the water isolated in that one tube? What are you using to plug them up with?
i used a tube patch and rubber cement. haha working quite nicely. the frame is a jamis sputnik
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Old 12-30-09, 01:41 PM   #7
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Well the sputnik is SST steel... I guess it is worth a try after all if your frame cracks due to the pressure created by the expansion of water freezing you might as well have it repaired while you're replacing the top tube.

I wouldn't try this method with aluminum though as aluminium cracks easilier... well aside if it was a leader as those are dirt cheap and expandable.

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Old 12-30-09, 08:25 PM   #8
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Why not just beat the rest of the frame with a hammer and make it a theme bike.
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Old 12-30-09, 09:15 PM   #9
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Why not just beat the rest of the frame with a hammer and make it a theme bike.
because i dont want a beat up bike like yours....
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Old 12-31-09, 02:38 PM   #10
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here are some before and after pics. its only been frozen 1 time. since the weather got warm again, i dont know when i can freeze it again...
the before pics didnt come out so well, but still gives a idea of the size.



before

after


before

after
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Old 12-31-09, 06:59 PM   #11
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Wow, thought it was going to be much worse than that. You could have had that taken care professionally of for well under $40.
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Old 12-31-09, 07:26 PM   #12
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It's good to learn stuff by experimenting and doing it yourself.
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Old 12-31-09, 07:32 PM   #13
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Impressive!

I demand pics after your second freezing!
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Old 12-31-09, 08:37 PM   #14
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It's good to learn stuff by experimenting and doing it yourself.
that is true. i always give it a shot first. whether it be a car, computer, bike, etc. just have to do some research and patience.

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Impressive!

I demand pics after your second freezing!
i dont know when i can freeze it again because the temps went back up in new york. its gonna be above freezing for the next 10 days....
ill try and find someone who will let me use their freezer. lol im already happy that it worked. i hope the 2nd freeze will make it hardly noticeable.
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Old 12-31-09, 09:28 PM   #15
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It's good to learn stuff by experimenting and doing it yourself.
Have you ever had a pipe freeze and burst in your home? Or a cast iron engine block break due to ice?

I don't see how doing the same thing to a bike can be a good idea.
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Old 12-31-09, 09:35 PM   #16
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well water will freeze, expand, and put pressure on the area that gives easiest. the dent will puch out far easier than the tube will burst. So as he said, as long as he is careful not to let it freeze for too long, he should be fine.
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Old 12-31-09, 11:00 PM   #17
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You got a pic of how you're keeping the ends of the tube plugged?

I don't understand how your plug method is able to contain the freezing water and not give out before it expands in the tube.
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Old 12-31-09, 11:02 PM   #18
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did you even read my post? did you not read how im doing this? pipes burst because its frozen for a LONG PERIOD OF TIME.
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Old 12-31-09, 11:06 PM   #19
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just patch the hole like a tube. the patch can expand a little. i dont have a picture of it. unfortunately, i already took the patch off. i only patch the head tube end. then hang it by the track ends. as long as you have enough water in the tube so it is past the dent. it will expand enough to push it out.
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Old 12-31-09, 11:11 PM   #20
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Don't forget to post pics of the tube patches too after the next freeze too
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Old 12-31-09, 11:21 PM   #21
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Don't forget to post pics of the tube patches too after the next freeze too
roger. i hope everyone is getting some useful info from this. i dont want to be the only one freezing frames haha
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Old 01-01-10, 12:53 AM   #22
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Did some more research, some people swear by this method for dented headers on motorcycles, others ripped them wide open...

Seems hit-or miss, just really, really, really go over your top tube after this is done, catastrophic failure sucks.
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Old 01-01-10, 07:13 AM   #23
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I gotta admit, when I first read this thread I was expecting a catastrophe but after seeing the pics I'm thoroughly impressed. I don't think I'd do this myself, but I have to give you props for doing it. Thanks for the pics BTW.
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Old 01-01-10, 07:58 AM   #24
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A small dent like that won't weaken the tube enough to be a concern. Actually, pushing the dent out will weaken it, again,
not much of a concern. Just do what car guys do. Fill in the hole with a dab of bondo, sand it down, paint it.
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Old 01-01-10, 08:34 AM   #25
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A small dent like that won't weaken the tube enough to be a concern. Actually, pushing the dent out will weaken it, again,
not much of a concern. Just do what car guys do. Fill in the hole with a dab of bondo, sand it down, paint it.
yea i know what you mean, but i always wondered how well this method works.
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