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How much can I expect to spend on a frame repair?

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How much can I expect to spend on a frame repair?

Old 09-16-14, 08:49 AM
  #1  
clengman
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How much can I expect to spend on a frame repair?

I have a 1973 Schwinn world voyageur that I've been riding for a couple years now. I like it a lot. It fits me well, the handling is good, the ride is fantastic. It's got the very first Shimano Dura-ace groupset, everything works and I have no problem with 10-speed wide range gearing and downtube friction shifters. Most of my riding is daily commuting, but I just rode my first century this summer and I'd like to get into some long-distance sport touring with the local rando club.

Anyway... I have developed a creaking/cracking that's in time with my pedal stroke. It's worst in dry weather and will sometimes go away altogether on cool humid or rainy days. I just noticed a small crack in the paint on my BB shell and I'm thinking it's likely that the shell itself is cracked and that this is causing the noise. The crack (what's visible at least) is a little less than an inch long and runs circumferential on the BB shell.

So I have a few questions, there's a very good framebuilder in Pittsburgh that I'm sure would be able to make this repair if it is reparable. Before I go talk to him, how would something like this be repaired? Just replace the BB shell? How much should I expect this to cost?

If I decide to give up on this particular frame, I think I might like to buy a new frame and keep my trusty Dura-ace group. The velo-orange passhunter seems like about what I'd like. Does anyone know of another frame - steel, fairly lightweight, touring geometry and plenty of brazeons for a little less money? Should I expect any issues putting my old drivetrain on a new frame?
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Old 09-16-14, 08:57 AM
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Thick Bikes? The repair is going to be costly if the bottom bracket shell has to be replaced and a bit less so if the crack can be brazed and the shell threads chased and cleaned up. In either event, a repaint of the repaired area will be needed and, for appearance, probably the entire frame. So the repair, paint and disassemble/reassembly (unless you can take in the stripped frame) are going to add up to a significant amount.

I'd give Thick a call and explain what you see. He may not be able to give an estimate over the phone and, certainly, neither can anyone here without seeing the bike first hand.
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Old 09-16-14, 09:13 AM
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I was thinking of Maestro Frameworks on the northside. I didn't know Thick did frame repairs. Thanks for the suggestion.
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Old 09-16-14, 10:26 AM
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Originally Posted by clengman View Post
I was thinking of Maestro Frameworks on the northside. I didn't know Thick did frame repairs. Thanks for the suggestion.
I know he used to but I just checked his web site and it says they no longer do frame repairs or customs. Sorry for the bad info. That said, the same caveats apply to Maestro. The extent and cost of the repairs can't be estimated without seeing the bike.
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Old 09-16-14, 11:40 AM
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Well, nevermind all that. I took a minute at lunchtime to look more closely at the crack. Scraped away a little paint around the crack with my pocket knife and it doesn't appear that there's a crack in the metal at all. Now I'm back to not having any idea where the noise is coming from. It's really starting to drive me nuts...
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Old 09-16-14, 12:46 PM
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Do the easy things first and swap out your pedals, preferably with platform pedals to eliminate pedals, clips, cleats and shoes as noise sources; clean and grease the threads and mounting faces and torque them properly. Clean, grease and torque your chain ring bolts. Make sure that your shoe or crank arm is not tapping a cable end. If these fail then you will need to go into troubleshooting mode.
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Old 09-16-14, 02:56 PM
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...and re-grease your seatpost, another common and often overlooked source of creaks.
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Old 09-16-14, 04:51 PM
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BB shell replacement is a big job: four tubes that need to be sweated free and rebrazed, and most likely the chainstay bridge as well. Making sure it's all in alignment. New paint. Unless the bike has some important historic provenance or you're doing the work yourself, it's unlikely to be cost effective.
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Old 09-16-14, 08:49 PM
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Originally Posted by dsbrantjr View Post
Do the easy things first and swap out your pedals, preferably with platform pedals to eliminate pedals, clips, cleats and shoes as noise sources; clean and grease the threads and mounting faces and torque them properly. Clean, grease and torque your chain ring bolts. Make sure that your shoe or crank arm is not tapping a cable end. If these fail then you will need to go into troubleshooting mode.
I've eliminated a few sources already. I've had three different pairs of pedals on the bike since the noise started. I recently6 repacked the BB. Cleaned the spindle and spindle ends really well before reassembling, but really didn't do a heck of a lot to the mating surfaces on the crankarms. Cleaned and greased the threads on the adjustable bB cup, but did not remove the fixed cup. I haven't ever dissassembled the chainset. I did snug down the stack bolts when I had the spider off, but I guess taking it all apart, cleaning and lubing would be another thing to try.

In case it helps diagnosis, I always feel it strongest in my left pedal.

I need to adjust my seat height a little. I'll definitely pull the seatpost and lube it while I'm at it. Thanks for the suggestions.
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Old 09-16-14, 09:01 PM
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Originally Posted by JohnDThompson View Post
BB shell replacement is a big job: four tubes that need to be sweated free and rebrazed, and most likely the chainstay bridge as well. Making sure it's all in alignment. New paint. Unless the bike has some important historic provenance or you're doing the work yourself, it's unlikely to be cost effective.
I see. When I wrote "just replace the BB shell" I didn't mean that I thought it would be a trivial repair. I meant "just" as in that is the only way to repair it. I'm hoping that that's not the problem, but I guess if it is I'll be shopping for a new frame/bike.
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Old 09-16-14, 09:07 PM
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I can't imagine replacing a bb shell unless it's on something pretty special. I suppose you can cut it to pieces first and then remove the remnants. In cases like this I usually give an estimate where I think a craftsman would be subsidizing your repair, I figure at anything less than $300 or so the framebuilder is doing it as a favor. Those frames are plentiful, if it really is cracked I would look for another.
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Old 09-16-14, 09:31 PM
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This may be redundant, but can you elicit the creak when riding out of the saddle, or by riding hard with a very light grip on the handlebars?
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Old 09-16-14, 10:15 PM
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Originally Posted by ThermionicScott View Post
This may be redundant, but can you elicit the creak when riding out of the saddle, or by riding hard with a very light grip on the handlebars?
In general, increasing pedal force increases the noise. The amplitude of individual pings increases and additional pops become noticeable. There are anywhere from 1 to around 4 or 5 distinct cracks that repeat with each pedal stroke, depending on how hard I'm pedaling. Most of these occur when my left foot (my weaker leg) is near the top of the stroke, and like I said earlier, I really feel it strongest in my left foot.

I do notice the noise if I'm climbing out of the saddle. I also notice the noise in a "TT" type of effort - on the level, in the saddle, spinning hard in a high gear without a lot of force on the handlebar.
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Old 09-16-14, 10:18 PM
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Originally Posted by clengman View Post
In general, increasing pedal force increases the noise. The amplitude of individual pings increases and additional pops become noticeable. There are anywhere from 1 to around 4 or 5 distinct cracks that repeat with each pedal stroke, depending on how hard I'm pedaling. Most of these occur when my left foot (my weaker leg) is near the top of the stroke, and like I said earlier, I really feel it strongest in my left foot.

I do notice the noise if I'm climbing out of the saddle. I also notice the noise in a "TT" type of effort - on the level, in the saddle, spinning hard in a high gear without a lot of force on the handlebar.
Gotcha. So we can eliminate seatpost, saddle rails, stem, handlebars. More than once, I've thought I had a bottom bracket creak, only to realize it was my saddle or handlebars.
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Old 09-17-14, 07:40 AM
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Originally Posted by ThermionicScott View Post
Gotcha. So we can eliminate seatpost, saddle rails, stem, handlebars. More than once, I've thought I had a bottom bracket creak, only to realize it was my saddle or handlebars.
When it first started, before I had done much reading about the topic, I had a hard time imagining what it could be other than the BB. Then I completely cleaned and relubed the BB and was baffled when I still had exactly the same noise going on. Now I realize there are myriad possible sources of noises like this and it's not unusual for noises originating elsewhere on the bike to be transmitted through the frame and felt in the pedals. If anyone has any suggestions that seem the least bit plausible, I'm not going to dismiss them out of hand. I guess next I'll disassemble the crankset and clean everything well and reassemble.

So in the event that this is a frame crack or loose joint somewhere, what's a likely failure mode? Do I have to worry about a catastrophic failure or will it just gradually get worse and worse until a) It's obvious where the damage is or b) I can no longer stand to ride it for the noise?
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Old 09-17-14, 10:51 PM
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If you are looking for a new frame... how about this Raleigh International frameset... (not mine)

Early 1970's Raleigh International Campagnolo Reynolds 531 Touring Frame Set | eBay


or buy a complete one.. they sell on ebay from $450 to $850 depending on how original they are.
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Old 09-18-14, 07:57 AM
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Originally Posted by Frenchosa View Post
If you are looking for a new frame... how about this Raleigh International frameset... (not mine)

Early 1970's Raleigh International Campagnolo Reynolds 531 Touring Frame Set | eBay


or buy a complete one.. they sell on ebay from $450 to $850 depending on how original they are.
Wow. That's gorgeous. I don't know if I can buy an old bike like that sight unseen, though. Makes me uneasy.
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Old 09-18-14, 08:08 AM
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Originally Posted by clengman View Post
Wow. That's gorgeous. I don't know if I can buy an old bike like that sight unseen, though. Makes me uneasy.
Being a Raleigh from that period it is likely to have Raleigh's proprietary bottom bracket and steerer threading and finding appropriate parts will be difficult and expensive. This is for someone who is big into older Raleighs, not for the usual rider.
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Old 09-18-14, 05:27 PM
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Originally Posted by HillRider View Post
Being a Raleigh from that period it is likely to have Raleigh's proprietary bottom bracket and steerer threading and finding appropriate parts will be difficult and expensive. This is for someone who is big into older Raleighs, not for the usual rider.
The high end Raleighs had normal English threading... Raleigh Internationals had mostly Campagnolo Nuevo Record including bottom bracket and headset. One issue could be the rear spacing.. like most old ten speeds that era, early Raleigh Internationals had 120 mm spacing.
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