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  1. #1
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    Water in tubes - what to do?

    While overhauling a 1991 Santana Sovereign (steel), I noticed a sloshing sound when I turned the bare frame in the work stand. Sounds like a liquid in the frame. But, the tubes are sealed - no holes in the bottom brackets, head tube or even the water bottle bosses.

    So now I have a problem. Leave as is or drill some holes to let the liquid out. Spoke with Santana and they were puzzled but eventually said the a frame builder around the time (1991) liked to seal the tubes completely to avoid water and corrosion. Apparently the water part did not work.

    What do you think - leave it or let it out?

  2. #2
    Hey let's ride. pathdoc's Avatar
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    If its steel that H2O has to go.

  3. #3
    pan y agua merlinextraligh's Avatar
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    Take out the seat posts. that's the easiest. If that doesn't get it all, you could also take off the fork and headset but that would be a much bigger bother. Removing the eccentric, and or the stoker's bb would be another opening.

    Once you've got it drained, put JP Weigle Frame Saver in it before you reassemble it.
    You could fall off a cliff and die.
    You could get lost and die.
    You could hit a tree and die.
    OR YOU COULD STAY HOME AND FALL OFF THE COUCH AND DIE.

  4. #4
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    If a tube has water bottle bosses take out both screws and use an air compressor to blow air in one hole. Moist air will come out the other hole.

    I have a '95 Ibis frame that I retired because the sealed tubes had water in them for an unknown time and I was concerned about rust.

  5. #5
    Primate Metzinger's Avatar
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    I remember people around that time using silicone to seal up frame holes.
    People were listening to Bryan Adams and Paula Abdul.
    Good times.

  6. #6
    hors category TandemGeek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cooper34 View Post
    What do you think - leave it or let it out?
    Interesting, but not without precedent...

    Follow-up questions:
    1. Have you figured out into which tube the water has collected?
    2. Is there a vent hole for the top tubes in the seat tubes?
    3. Just how much water do you think is in the frame? Enough to fill a tablespoon, a shot glass or a juice glass?


    My inclination here is to recommend one of a couple solutions, somewhat dependent on how much water is in the frame.

    - If it's a small amount, you can probably lay the frame out in the sun for a full day or two and most of it will evaporate and vent out from whence it came.

    - If it's a larger amount and you can conclusively determine which tube it's in, a machine shop or frame builder should be able to add a vent hole in the bottom brackets and/or head tube to allow the water to flow out of the frame. Again, you'd want to let the frame sit out in the sun so that the residual moisture can evaporate before you start to put it back together. If you're pretty handy with machine tools you might be able to create a vent hole in the front eccentric bottom bracket, but the rear bottom bracket and head tube cavities would be a bit more problematic for the average home wrench with typical home shop tools.

    After that, so long as the frame still sounds solid I wouldn't worry about it unless there were other signs of frame weakness or decay at the welds or along the tubes. I also wouldn't bother putting any frame saver / varnishes / Boeshield in the frame. Even if that stuff did work -- which is not really clear -- it wouldn't do much for your frame at this point. On the bright side, a Sovereign of that vintage has pretty robust steel tubing.

  7. #7
    sch
    sch is offline
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    Based on our experience with a Burley, frame should be disassembled, ie BBs, eccentric, seat posts, head set and fork removed. Turn frame every which way and see if
    water can be drained. Drill holes in bottom of BB shells, and if no hole in bottoms of downtubes visible with BB removed, get drill bit long enough to go through
    BB hole you just made and into the down tube bottoms. Owner of the Burley had ounces of water pour out the seat tubes one day when he inverted for some
    reason. Mistake was to not go further. Many months later when Burley was loaned out it was found that the stoker seat post was frozen. Required several hours
    per nite for most of a week to hack saw through the post vertically and pound the remnants out. Faster way to dry it out is to dump 4-8oz of isopropyl (rubbing)
    alcohol down the tubes and slosh around then dump out. Good bake in the sun for several days and then Frame Saver.

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    Thanks for all of your ideas. To reiterate, the tubes that appear to contain liquid are completely sealed - even the water bottle bosses are sealed. Also, the frame is stripped of all parts.

    I did open up one tube - the front down tube - using a dremel tool through the captain's BB shell. About a tablespoon of water came out. The kicker is that it was completely clear. No evidence of rust at all. Now I am wondering whether rust can form in such a closed environment.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Soma Roark's Avatar
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    2Fe(s) + 2H2O(l) + O2(g) ==> 2Fe2+(aq) + 4OH-(aq) perhaps in a sealed environment the oxidation process is minimalized...

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by cooper34 View Post
    Now I am wondering whether rust can form in such a closed environment.
    It can NOW that there is air AND moisture.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by dvs cycles View Post
    It can NOW that there is air AND moisture.
    Thanks -I feel so much better now

  12. #12
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    For those with S&S bikes, they have a short discussion about "Water inside a steel frame" at http://www.sandsmachine.com/guide_w.htm

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by cooper34 View Post
    Thanks -I feel so much better now
    Easy fix just get some frame saver in there and WD-40 will help until then.

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