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Crack at water bottle boss. Please help me assess.

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Crack at water bottle boss. Please help me assess.

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Old 11-13-17, 07:57 AM
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John Nolan 
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Crack at water bottle boss. Please help me assess.

I recently bought a 89 Miyata TripleCross. It had been converted to electric, and a heavy battery pack had been clamped to the frame, using the downtube water bottle bosses as anchor points. :-{

I didn't notice it at first, but while cleaning it up the frame I discovered this crack around the topmost of the downtube bosses. (I know, in the photo it looks obvious, but this _is_ a macro shot) Just to be clear, I'm not planning on putting the battery back on.

What to do?

Thanks in advance.
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Last edited by John Nolan; 11-13-17 at 08:33 AM.
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Old 11-13-17, 08:25 AM
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I would clean up, sand the area and then repaint. If it very comes loose then replace it the crimp on threadsert style. Roger
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Old 11-13-17, 08:29 AM
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Not good and in a thin portion of the tube, if butted tubing - i don't know the Miyata tubesets specifically.

On the plus side it's in a low stress area when not wearing a battery pack.

Personally, I would say the frame is toasted, baring a downtube replacement, which the frame doesn't justify.

Reminded of Dad's old saying = use the right tool for the job!
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Old 11-13-17, 08:34 AM
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Originally Posted by Wildwood View Post
Not good and in a thin portion of the tube, if butted tubing - i don't know the Miyata tubesets specifically.

It's "triple butted splined" (which is why I bought it
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Old 11-13-17, 12:47 PM
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Originally Posted by John Nolan View Post
It's "triple butted splined" (which is why I bought it
So I agree with @rhenning (i was typing while he was submitting), somewhat.
Clean up the area you think is affected. Sand the paint where the cracks appear, but do not repaint yet.
Confirm cracks are in metal, not just surface rust.
If the cracks are just around the one bottle holder mount, then it's possible (maybe) to enlarge the hole to encompass the cracks and a braze in a larger 'plug'.
If the cracks extend beyond the area immediately around the bottle mount, you should consult a framebuilder.

edit: If your downtube is cracked, i would not ride it until the issue is resolved with a framebuilder. Personally, I would try to return it to the seller if possible.

Hope this helps.

Disclaimer: I am not a framebuilder. Suggest you sand the paint and present the picture with your questions in the Framebuilder sub-forum.
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Old 11-13-17, 12:55 PM
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Thanks for that.
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Old 11-13-17, 12:56 PM
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If you wanted to save the frame, and are willing to lose a bit of paint around the boss, you can have a framebuilder braze a reinforcement around the existing boss. It will cover the crack, and take any stresses that might cause the crack to grow. To match, you'll probably want to do one around the lower boss as well. Figure $50-$150 depending on the framebuilder and their workload, plus the cost of repainting at least the area around the bosses. ($5.00->$1,000.00, rattlecan -> full 2k automotive repaint from a pro.)

Short of that, dab some nail polish on there to keep it from rusting, and keep an eye on it. The crack may not grow perceptibly, especially if you're not putting hundreds of thousands of miles on the frame. Even if it does grow, you'll likely have months and months of warning before it gets large enough to compromise the tube.
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Old 11-13-17, 01:25 PM
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Yeah, I can't envision spending too much on this: it was just supposed to be a little winter project.

I'll clean up the area and take another shot for the framebuilders forum as well.

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Old 11-13-17, 03:24 PM
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Here are a couple of shots with a bit of the paint removed.

I'll also post in the framebuilders area.
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Old 11-13-17, 03:32 PM
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Is it cracked on the other side of the boss too? The first picture shows something like it might be.
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Old 11-13-17, 03:56 PM
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Just asking, but can it be mounted with band clamps? I don't think we have seen the battery pack attached.
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Old 11-13-17, 04:01 PM
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There does seem to be a _bit_ of a crack on the other side.
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Old 11-13-17, 04:02 PM
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Originally Posted by dweenk View Post
Just asking, but can it be mounted with band clamps? I don't think we have seen the battrey pack attached.
I'm not going to remount the battery. I'm only going to use it as a "regular" bike.
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Old 11-13-17, 07:25 PM
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My only opinion is if this were a rider quality bike of mine, I would clean, re-braze, rattle can best match, and observe. Probably for years.
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Old 11-14-17, 06:15 AM
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Originally Posted by FBOATSB View Post
My only opinion is if this were a rider quality bike of mine, I would clean, re-braze, rattle can best match, and observe. Probably for years.
It's the re-brazing that's got me stumped.
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Old 11-14-17, 07:46 AM
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Rebrazing is basically heating the brass to the point it melts back together. Not hard to do but you need to find a welding shop/welder that will do it. You will not do it without a good torch. Your propane torch used for plumbing is not hot enough for the job. The heating will damage the paint in the area and will require repainting of some kind. Roger
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Old 11-14-17, 07:57 AM
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Right. I meant, I can't do it!
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Old 11-14-17, 08:22 AM
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Correct. Any competent welder, plumber, or shop could braze that with the right torch, flux and filler. Even a custom frame builder with a huge backlog of work could do it for exponently more money and time :-)
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Old 11-14-17, 11:40 AM
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I would recommend taking it to someone experienced with bikes and brazing. True, most welding shops, or even plumbers will have the appropriate torches, but brazing isn't the widely known skill it used to be, and there are dozens of fluxes available, some wildly inappropriate for brass brazing thin steel. You really only get one shot at brazing. If everything is clean, and you use the right flux, and are careful with the heat, it's easy. Screw any of that up, or just take too long and it turns into a real cluster &#+_+. A framebuilder would also have the required reinforcement bosses, or could make some easily from tube scraps. With the rust and junk inside those cracks, I wouldn't count on being able to flow brass into them, and make a lasting repair.
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Old 11-14-17, 01:08 PM
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My 2 cents:

1. That might just be a bad braze. It's easy for beginners to confuse full filler penetration (brass or silver) with dried flux. It may have only partially penetrated, which would create a stress riser right where the braze ends. You can paint over it and won't know the difference, and the braze can fail slowly over time.

2. There's a good chance that the braze material is silver rather than brass. It's hard to tell from a picture on a computer monitor, but the filler material looks like silver to me. If so, MAPP gas can heat it up to melting point.

3. If my guess is correct, remove the screw and put a long M5 one in it's place, then put heat directly on just the boss. You can grab the screw with pliers and pull it out right when the silver liquifies

4. Let it cool of, and sand around the area to see if the frame is truly cracked. If it isn't, the hole will probably be rusted a bit. The rust around the hole will need to be cleaned out. I'd use successively larger drill bits until I see clean metal all around. If the hole isn't enlarged much, braze a new boss right in. If it's too big, you can use one of those star shaped reinforcements first.

BTW, this isn't a big job. I'd guess less than $50.

I'd be more aggressive on the sanding and remove more paint until you can see the entire crack.

I'd bet that boss is repairable. An automotive paint shop can get you a close match in color for under $20US.
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Old 11-14-17, 01:21 PM
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Looks like the tube itself is cracked. Don't know if simple brazing will fix it.

MAAP gas get hot enough to melt brazing material.
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Old 11-14-17, 05:00 PM
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Further sanding makes me think it's just the brazing that's stressed, and, yes gugie, some of the "fault" might have been just a rough joint in the first place. I'm thinking I'm mark the edges of the fault, build it up, and keep an eye on it.

Or, I might try touching it with a MAPP torch and see if a little silver solder would do.
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Old 11-14-17, 07:13 PM
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I'd sand it back and watch for it to spread before I'd burn the paint off with MAAP gas. If you think its just the boss grind it or file it off and use an insert.
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Old 11-14-17, 08:39 PM
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Originally Posted by John Nolan View Post
Further sanding makes me think it's just the brazing that's stressed, and, yes gugie, some of the "fault" might have been just a rough joint in the first place. I'm thinking I'm mark the edges of the fault, build it up, and keep an eye on it.

Or, I might try touching it with a MAPP torch and see if a little silver solder would do.
Make sure you flux it first. Use the right flux with the right solder. Any little bit of rust will keep it from sticking.
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Old 11-14-17, 09:33 PM
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If it were mine, I would file off the head of the boss, after locating new bosses with the four "pointed" reinforcements and silver in those new fittings. Silver melting below brass will leave the brass untouched and the reinforcements will do their job. Paint of course will be toast.
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