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Old 11-10-17, 12:42 AM   #1
samkl
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Used frame getting me down... cut losses?

I bought a 2004 Trek 520 frame on eBay for $275 to build into my new touring bike. It looked like it was in great shape from the pictures. But so far it's been one problem after another.

The guy did such a poor job of shipping the thing that the rear dropouts were sticking out of the cardboard box when it arrived. They got a little misaligned, so I complained and got $75 compensation from the seller. I was placated for the time being.

Then tonight I began working on the bike. New problems. I noticed that the mid-fork rack eyelets are completely stripped. They have only the barest remnants of threading, and I can easily push a bolt straight through (i.e. no twisting). Same with the fender mounts on the brake bridge and between the chainstays. Completely stripped, and the one between the chainstays is also rusted enough that the paint around there is starting to bubble. I think the threading on the brake bridge and chainstay mounts isn't all that important to mounting fenders, but I definitely need working mid-fork eyelets.

The rust issue is also getting me down. So far I haven't been able to determine the severity, but the interior of the seat tube had a light coating of rust throughout. Some of it vanished with a spray of WD-40. It's the bit by the chainstays that has me concerned, though.

Compounding my stress is that I've bought hundreds of dollars worth of parts to build this thing up--parts that I chose because I thought they'd work well and look good with the frame. A Brooks saddle in a discontinued color. A $400 hand built wheelset that I can't return--both of which were big splurges for me. Many other less expensive parts, too. I'm regretting not just spending another $100-200 to buy a brand new frame that wouldn't have had these issues.

My question is if it's worth it to keep on this track or if I should cut my losses. I don't know how much it costs to reface eyelets and possibly re-align dropouts, but is it worth doing all this just to end up with a well-worn frame with possible rust issues? (Any advice on dealing with that, by the way?)

How long can I even expect this thing to last after I build it up? Do I stick it out or get a new frame?
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Old 11-10-17, 12:58 AM   #2
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Pics.
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Old 11-10-17, 03:06 AM   #3
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Got a Dremel? If you don't, don't spend another day without one; one of the most useful told you can own. Dremel out the old rivnuts. You can get M5 rivnuts on eBay, and you don't need to buy a tool to fit them - just use a QR skewer and an axle.
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Old 11-10-17, 03:50 AM   #4
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The guy did such a poor job of shipping the thing that the rear dropouts were sticking out of the cardboard box when it arrived. They got a little misaligned, so I complained and got $75 compensation from the seller. I was placated for the time being.

That would have been the time to reject it, how long are you into the ebay re-fund window? as you have multiple issues, would reject if still in time.
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Old 11-10-17, 09:26 AM   #5
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That would have been the time to reject it, how long are you into the ebay re-fund window? as you have multiple issues, would reject if still in time.
It came last Thursday, so 8 days ago. Can't find anything about the return window.
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Old 11-10-17, 09:32 AM   #6
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I'd be tempted to tap the threads on the stripped bosses out to m6 threading, next bolt size up from original, but they you might run into issues with accessories needed to have eyelets embiggened to fit. Otherwise, considering the time and issues involved, consider a different or new frame. I'd be looking at Surly, Soma, etc...
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Old 11-10-17, 09:39 AM   #7
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...I had to Google your bike, because you are getting some very confusing advice here.

If you are talking about the steel framed, Cromoly Trek 520 that came up in my search, none of those issues sound like deal breakers to me, although I doubt I'd have paid the price you did on e-bay for just the frame. Regardless, if you wish to continue, aligning the frame rear, paralleling the dropouts, rethreading the eyelets one size bigger to M6 (if they are stripped, as opposed to they have just never been threaded), and spraying some sort of anti-corrosion oil product into the interior of the frame .....those are all pretty minor jobs that are commonly encountered in working on older steel frames.

Were I as heavily invested as you appear to be at this point, I would certainly continue. If you need help with the alignment check (which needs to be done, or you risk building up a bike that will never ride well and feel good to you), find someone knowledgeable or Google up some of the voluminous information available on BF and the internet in general.

You can buy a metric threading set at Home Depot that has both M5 and M6 taps, (and some others) for less than 20 bucks. It's a useful thing to have if you expect to do more of this stuff. While there, pick up a can of this:



You spay it into all the frame tubes and stays while the frame is bare and you can get in through the BB shell. There are usually brazing holes you can use to access the seat stays and the top tube will be open on one end or both with the headset and seat post out.


And don't buy any more bikes or frames on E-bay.
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Old 11-10-17, 09:45 AM   #8
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Pics.
Well, I took photos this morning and the problems don't really show up all that well on camera. Partly this is because I cleaned the frame up a bit, and partly this might be an indication that I'm overreacting (hopefully the latter).

In any case BikeForums isn't letting me upload anything at the moment so I'll have to try again later.
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Old 11-10-17, 09:47 AM   #9
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And don't buy any more bikes or frames on E-bay.
Yeah, trust me... Never again.

And yes, this is a cromoly 520 frame. Thanks for the advice.

EDIT: Also, yes I certainly overpaid, but the deal also included a seatpost, BB, and Shimano 105 front derailleur. Still not worth it but a little better than just the frame.
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Old 11-10-17, 10:22 AM   #10
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...BTW, you ought to quickly check the fork for proper width and alignment of the fork ends, too. The fork on that is of the sort that are difficult to bend, but once the wheels come out and the guy who ships it to you neglects to put a hub or axle in there for reinforcement, it's not impossible that something will get a little off. Again, this is just standard practice for a steel frame with an undocumented history, before you spend a lot of time and money turning it back into a bicycle.
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Old 11-10-17, 10:27 AM   #11
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...BTW, you ought to quickly check the fork for proper width and alignment of the fork ends, too. The fork on that is of the sort that are difficult to bend, but once the wheels come out and the guy who ships it to you neglects to put a hub or axle in there for reinforcement, it's not impossible that something will get a little off. Again, this is just standard practice for a steel frame with an undocumented history, before you spend a lot of time and money turning it back into a bicycle.
Thanks, will definitely do that when I get home.
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Old 11-10-17, 11:18 AM   #12
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frankly, you got burned... that model, as a complete bike, should sell for LESS THAN you paid for just the frame... including your partial refund.
the light rust is to be expected, and won't hurt a thing.
the stripped holes can be repaired with heli-coil inserts.
the tweaked dropouts/stays can and should be easily remedied.
whether you continue on with this build is up to you... you'll end with a $400 bike that you spent over $1000 on.... but getting a comparable bike new would cost more, so....
you could possibly write off the loss as education, if the new tax mess doesn't remove that deduction as planned...

how's the paint job on it?

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Old 11-10-17, 11:33 AM   #13
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frankly, you got burned... that frame, as a complete bike, should sell for what you paid for just the frame...
the light rust is to be expected, and won't hurt a thing.
the stripped holes can be repaired with heli-coil inserts.
the tweaked dropouts/stays can and should be easily remedied.
whether you continue on with this build is up to you... you'll end with a $400 bike that you spent over $1000 on.
you could possibly write off the loss as education, if the new tax mess doesn't remove that deduction as planned...

how's the paint job on it?
The paint job is pretty good.

That hurts to hear, and there's truth in what you're saying. But I gotta say, $200 would be pretty cheap for a complete Trek 520.

Luckily my biggest costs, the wheel set and the saddle, are things I will keep for the long-term and won't sell with the bike. Most of the other parts are being swapped in from another bike.
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Old 11-10-17, 12:05 PM   #14
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It came last Thursday, so 8 days ago. Can't find anything about the return window.

Read the ebay policies, your item is not as described from the sound of it

https://ocsnext.ebay.com/ocs/sr?query=1437
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Old 11-10-17, 12:42 PM   #15
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I disagree that $200 is a good price for a 2004 Trek 520. Especially for just a frame. Unless you are the seller.

I don't think any bike more than 4 years old is worth more than $200. Many less than four years old are not worth 200
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Old 11-10-17, 12:43 PM   #16
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If you don't mind having mixed fasteners, you could try running a 12-24 or 12-28 tap through those 5mm stripped holes. They are slightly larger than the 5mm thread.
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Old 11-10-17, 12:53 PM   #17
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I don't think any bike more than 4 years old is worth more than $200.

Huh, interesting theory.
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Old 11-10-17, 01:43 PM   #18
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The paint job is pretty good.

That hurts to hear, and there's truth in what you're saying. But I gotta say, $200 would be pretty cheap for a complete Trek 520.

Luckily my biggest costs, the wheel set and the saddle, are things I will keep for the long-term and won't sell with the bike. Most of the other parts are being swapped in from another bike.
regional variations occur... in Portland, as a rideable, complete bike, with a recent tune up, it would bring 175-250... depending on condition/accessories...
your new parts would bring the sale price up, but as us builders know, you never get full retail on replacement parts installed on a flipper... that's why we shop for closeouts and panic sales...

https://www.bicyclebluebook.com/sear....aspx?id=31168

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Old 11-10-17, 01:57 PM   #19
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Fixing the stripped threads I'd try this. Mix up a little JB Weld. Lightly wax the threads of a 5 x .8 screw that is supposed to fit the threaded portion and then dab some JB Weld onto the threads, then insert into the frame. The JB Weld will set up on the clean threads of the frame but not cling to the waxed threads of the bolt, letting you remove it later once the goop has cured and giving you good threads in the frame.
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Old 11-10-17, 03:27 PM   #20
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...I end up replacing a lot of stuff to get the bike I want, even when I buy a complete bike.
I presume you're planning on keeping it and riding it for a while, so I would not get too upset about any valuations you get here.

Most of the people who post here regularly are notorious cheapskates, anyway.

If you end up with what you want, and ride a lot of miles on it, all this will just be a memory anyway. Stay positive.

I don't know any one who has ever tried to helicoil a 5M threaded hole. I'm sure you could do it, but it's much cheaper and easier to simply retap them larger for a repair like this one.
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Old 11-10-17, 03:36 PM   #21
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I would agree with 3alarmer, and all the skills you learn are very useful things to know in life. I think it's hard to do this sort of rebuild without garnering some metalworking skills along the way. Thumpisms idea sounds pretty good as well, in some applications, I have never tried that one. But a bike like this has the potential to be a lifelong touring companion, just take your time and do it right.
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Old 11-10-17, 03:37 PM   #22
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...I end up replacing a lot of stuff to get the bike I want, even when I buy a complete bike.
I presume you're planning on keeping it and riding it for a while, so I would not get too upset about any valuations you get here.

Most of the people who post here regularly are notorious cheapskates, anyway.

If you end up with what you want, and ride a lot of miles on it, all this will just be a memory anyway. Stay positive.

I don't know any one who has ever tried to helicoil a 5M threaded hole. I'm sure you could do it, but it's much cheaper and easier to simply retap them larger for a repair like this one.
Thanks, 3alarmer. Those are wise words and I agree with you completely. It doesn't bother me if I overpaid a hundred bucks for a frame. My goal is to use the bike, not to re-sell it, and the pleasures of using it are worth more to me than $100. My concern was only whether this frame will be able to reliably do that, and I hope the answer is yes.

I'll check the alignment with the string method tonight, and if it's not too bad I think I'll keep it (barring any further issues).
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Old 11-10-17, 04:49 PM   #23
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Hang in there, spend the time and you’ll get that bike up and running. Good advice above regarding your frame specifically.

I will disagree with a couple of opinions above. I’ve bought many really good bikes at very good prices on eBay. You just have to spend a little more time with old bikes and know what your’e looking for and hold out for the right price. I would also much more gladly pay $500 for the right 20 year old steel frame than many 2 year old plastic frames. This 28 year old one for example:
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Old 11-10-17, 05:28 PM   #24
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...when you live near the San Francisco Bay area, you don't need E-bay. This place is like the elephant's graveyard of legend for all things classic bicycle. If I lived in someplace like Central Virginia, I'd probably be cruising the Bay and getting into trouble too.
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Old 11-10-17, 05:40 PM   #25
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...when you live near the San Francisco Bay area, you don't need E-bay. This place is like the elephant's graveyard of legend for all things classic bicycle. If I lived in someplace like Central Virginia, I'd probably be cruising the Bay and getting into trouble too.
Yessir you are correct!
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