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Is this dropout toast?

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Is this dropout toast?

Old 06-10-20, 08:48 PM
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Is this dropout toast?

...and if so, how do I go about finding someone to replace it?

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Old 06-10-20, 08:57 PM
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Oof. Did the spokes eat the derailleur?

Caveat emptor, I know very little about metallurgy or frame repair, but I've seen some folks on here say that you can heat up dropouts and bend them back into place. It's possible they may crack. If the thought of that makes you queasy you could take it to a framebuilder and have them attempt the repair.

Pinging folks that know better. The first that come to mind are:
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Old 06-10-20, 08:58 PM
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That looks bad. It is forged steel so, my thinking, and I am not an expert, is that apply some heat and bend it back. In fact, even hardened steel can be bent successfully this way. Since there is chrome plating on the drop out, I would only use propane or Mapp gas. You might be just cool enough to preserve the chrome.

Perhaps we have someone here that is more expert than I am. We have a diverse group, I'm sure someone more expert can weigh in.
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Old 06-10-20, 09:09 PM
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There's a good chance you can bend it back. Heat it up with a propane torch and use a wrench or vise grips to bend it into place. Follow up with dropout alignment tool. Check for cracks. If not you're good to go.

Otherwise your closest framebuilder should be able to do it for a reasonable price. Or replace it.
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Old 06-10-20, 09:36 PM
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I think that will bend back just fine.
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Old 06-10-20, 09:41 PM
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you can certainly try to bend it back, but I would talk to someone who actually has metal working knowledge and experience.
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Old 06-10-20, 09:52 PM
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This is a Forged and hardened Craftsman wrench that my friend heated until red with an oxy acetylene torch and bent to the new shape. It bent easily once hot. There are no cracks. This was done to access carburetor nuts.

Mechanics regularly modify tools in this way to fit special situations.

You will notice that the chrome is discolored from the intense heat. It hasn't rusted in over 20 years though.

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Old 06-10-20, 10:00 PM
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The torque applied to the modified wrench is much less than it would be if the wrench were straight. A good test would be to bend it back to see if it can still handle the torque it was designed for.

The OP could bend the dropout back to its original postion, but will it be as strong as it was before the damage occurred?
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Old 06-11-20, 12:45 AM
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Have a search around this subforum - there was a similar discussion, with pictures and solutions a few months ago. Pretty sure the repair on that one, which was severe enough, was effected without heat.

But I agree with most others who believe it can be saved.

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Old 06-11-20, 06:06 AM
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This part of the DO doesn't really require a great deal of strength. It has to support the RD. It also provides a surface for the QR. When assembled with a wheel in place, the assembly provides more "strength" through the clamping of the QR. Where the strength is needed is on the other surface and even that is mostly compression to support the weight of the bike and rider. The stays provide the lateral forces along with supported distribution through the axle. Since the curved portion of the DO provides a link between the upper and lower sections, it is of concern if a crack develops behind the axle and QR clamp area.
The risk of bending it back is has a back up of replacement . Replacement will destroy the chrome plating, also with a solution.

I 'd do it, with care.
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Old 06-11-20, 06:44 AM
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Originally Posted by SJX426 View Post
This part of the DO doesn't really require a great deal of strength. It has to support the RD. It also provides a surface for the QR. When assembled with a wheel in place, the assembly provides more "strength" through the clamping of the QR. Where the strength is needed is on the other surface and even that is mostly compression to support the weight of the bike and rider. The stays provide the lateral forces along with supported distribution through the axle. Since the curved portion of the DO provides a link between the upper and lower sections, it is of concern if a crack develops behind the axle and QR clamp area.
The risk of bending it back is has a back up of replacement . Replacement will destroy the chrome plating, also with a solution.

I 'd do it, with care.
I agree. I wouldn't heat it up any either (and I have awesome oxyacetylene and oxypropane torches and know exactly how to use them including what temperature range to shot for based on the color of the metal). What I would do before bending is take out the adjustable screw and put in an axle all the way back in the slot (or unscrew it just far enough that the axle still fits all the way back). This will prevent the dropout from likely bending in the area where the screw was located. That allows the bend back to happen where the problem is located. I'd probably use a closed wrench that has an opening just big enough to slip over the bottom of the dropout. In my career I've bent back some pretty badly bent dropouts that have since worked fine.
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Old 06-11-20, 06:52 AM
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+1 That is the voice of experience above. I am in favor of keeping the adjustable screw engaged in the dropout. Helps to keep the threaded hole round, rather than oval.
Good Luck.
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Old 06-11-20, 07:37 AM
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Originally Posted by SJX426 View Post
This part of the DO doesn't really require a great deal of strength. It has to support the RD. It also provides a surface for the QR.
Those dropouts were forged from fairly mild steel, so they would stay malleable and allow for bending for alignment. The concern for the type of damage the OP shows is that bending it back risks cracking at the adjuster bolt hole. That said, there's little to lose by attempting to bend it back into shape. If it doesn't crack, you win. If it does crack, well, you were probably looking at a dropout replacement anyway.

It's almost inevitable that the chrome will crack when bending it back, so you need to inspect carefully to distinguish between a cosmetic crack in the chrome and a structural crack in the dropout.
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Old 06-11-20, 10:19 AM
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And things were going so well (warning graphic images)

With the disclaimer that I have not actually put this bike back together yet, I say go for it. I used copper wire and wet rags as a heat sink, and got the drop out as red hot as I felt comfortable with and let it air cool before every time I manipulated the metal, besides the original tweeking to get the derailleur off.

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Old 06-11-20, 11:34 AM
  #15  
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I echo what others have already said. I do think I'd heat it up and have a go. The worst that can happen is it'll be messed up, and it's already messed up.

I do wonder if I can see a crack at the most-bent part in your photo, but it's not high enough resolution to see. As others have said, it could just be the chrome. Usually if chrome is cracked, you can flake it off more with a sharp screwdriver. I would inspect it before you start, just so you know what you're in for. Even if it's cracked, the worst you can do is crack it more.

Probably remove the dropout adjuster screw and spring, and then insert just the screw backwards, just until it's through, so it's not poking in the dropout where you're going to be putting fire, and you won't anneal the spring. This way the screw will force the hole to keep its shape, at least somewhat. You can put some wet rags around the upper portion of the dropout and secure them with wire, as others have done. Then heat it up as much as you can with whatever you have. Closer to red will be easier to bend. And when it is hot, go for it, nice and easy, but not slowly enough to lose your heat!

Optionally, also, if you can set this up, you could put the back end of the dropout in a vise and clamp it down hard from the sides. This would act as a heat sink and give you something to bend against, possibly isolating the bending.

I have cold-bent dropouts back, but I suggest heat in this case mostly because I think it'll help the dropout bend more in the correct spot. But you could try a little bit cold and see how it goes, and then continue if results look promising.
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Old 06-11-20, 12:29 PM
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I worked metal for many years as an Industrial Mechanic. I believe, absolutely, that the drop has bent enough to compromise the structural integrity of the metal. Put another way, I am almost certain that cracks, however small at the moment, have developed. Remember, that drop was cold bent, not heated and bent like the wrench above. Were it me, I would not trust that drop for a single ride.

It has been suggested to give it a try, asking what have you got to loose? Think about that wrench failing at 1 or 2 rpms. Now think about a bike that crashes at thirty miles an hour, thanks to the failed drop.

Just an old man's opinion but, once again, pass the peanut butter - that drop is toast.
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Old 06-11-20, 12:50 PM
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Would it matter if the dropout were stamped rather than forged? I had the exact same thing happen to me last week. On my Supercourse that I've only had for a few months but I really like it. I just bent it back with pliers and an adjustable wrench.
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Old 06-11-20, 01:14 PM
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To address safety concerns, I believe this sort of bend-it-back repair is generally regarded as safe in dropouts where only half the dropout has bent. This is because the axle only really *needs* to be clamped to the top of the dropout. For example, I'm pretty confident I could saw a dropout in half at the rear where the adjuster screw is, and then clamp it in the quick release, and the wheel would derive enough support from the top half, the bottom half only working as a spacer in the quick release to keep everything parallel. I feel like I saw such a dropout cracked at the adjuster screw and everything was fine, but I can't recall where exactly I saw it.

A stamped dropout should be easier to work with than a forged one. I use an old Peugeot rear triangle with stamped drops as a truing stand, and I bend it all over without ill effect.
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Old 06-11-20, 04:31 PM
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Originally Posted by rgvg View Post
Would it matter if the dropout were stamped rather than forged? I had the exact same thing happen to me last week. On my Supercourse that I've only had for a few months but I really like it. I just bent it back with pliers and an adjustable wrench.
Stamped dropouts are also generally malleable mild steel. They have an advantage in lacking the stress riser of an adjuster bolt hole. They have a disadvantage of being thinner.
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Old 06-11-20, 06:00 PM
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Alternative; replacing the dropout is made very difficult because it got chromed, and burning chromium is Toxic , Big Time. .
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Old 06-13-20, 01:28 PM
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Thanks, everybody. Any recommendations for a framebuilder? I live in eastern North Carolina. PM me, if you'd feel more comfortable making a recommendation that way.
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Old 06-14-20, 10:46 AM
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Originally Posted by SJX426 View Post
This part of the DO doesn't really require a great deal of strength. It has to support the RD. It also provides a surface for the QR. When assembled with a wheel in place, the assembly provides more "strength" through the clamping of the QR. Where the strength is needed is on the other surface and even that is mostly compression to support the weight of the bike and rider. The stays provide the lateral forces along with supported distribution through the axle. Since the curved portion of the DO provides a link between the upper and lower sections, it is of concern if a crack develops behind the axle and QR clamp area.
The risk of bending it back is has a back up of replacement . Replacement will destroy the chrome plating, also with a solution.

I 'd do it, with care.
Agreed.
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Old 06-14-20, 10:46 AM
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Originally Posted by brianinc-ville View Post
Thanks, everybody. Any recommendations for a framebuilder? I live in eastern North Carolina. PM me, if you'd feel more comfortable making a recommendation that way.
A competent bike shop could do it, and then check dropout alignment.
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Old 06-14-20, 11:33 AM
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Originally Posted by brianinc-ville View Post
Thanks, everybody. Any recommendations for a framebuilder? I live in eastern North Carolina. PM me, if you'd feel more comfortable making a recommendation that way.
Please let us know how it all goes
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Old 06-14-20, 12:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Homebrew01 View Post
A competent bike shop could do it, and then check dropout alignment.
How would the OP know if the shop was competent? Of course there are shops somewhere that have an employee experienced in aligning dropouts but I would bet they are kind of rare. I would go to someone I know is experienced and that would be an actual frame builder because that is their job they do all the time. I would also bet the hourly charge at a bike store is higher than a frame builder's too. And it will be an even rarer bike shop that can accurately check the rest of the frame for alignment while they are at it. It is almost a sure thing something else is off too.
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