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Old 11-13-17, 03:31 PM   #1
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Crack at water bottle boss. Please help me assess.(cross post with CV forum)

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

What do people think? This was supposed to be a little winter project: I can't see spending too much money on it, so, I guess I'm asking if this rideable as is?

The CV forum suggested I ask here.

I uploaded a couple of shots taken before I sanded down a bit of the area, and a couple after.

Thanks in advance.
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File Type: jpg triplecross_crack3.jpg (783.5 KB, 133 views)
File Type: jpg triplecross_crack4.jpg (624.4 KB, 133 views)
File Type: jpg triplecross_crack.jpg (823.0 KB, 130 views)
File Type: jpg triplecross_crack2.jpg (909.7 KB, 132 views)
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Old 11-13-17, 10:24 PM   #2
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The failure mode of steel gives you a lot of fore warning. Consider this the knock on that door before it opens


Looks to be bronze filler. If there hadn't been a load on the boss that far exceeds what a full bottle could produce for a while I'd say the clean up (filing) had likely been a bit too aggressing and the DT wall was thinner then ideal. But with the battery I think it just exceeded the designed capacity and finally broke after many cycles.


This is very patchable (and of course the tube is also replaceable). If left as is the cracks will grow and in time the repair options will be replacement tube only. I am not too concerned about a sudden failure but do understand that there's no guaranty and the clock is running. Andy
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Old 11-13-17, 11:52 PM   #3
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Old 11-14-17, 06:20 AM   #4
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This is very patchable (and of course the tube is also replaceable). If left as is the cracks will grow and in time the repair options will be replacement tube only.

I don't have torches myself, and as far as I can tell there are no frame builders working in Ottawa (where I live), so unless I could patch this with a mapp gas torch, I think I'll have to give up on it.
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Old 11-14-17, 11:05 AM   #5
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John- Don't toss the frame if you have the space to store it. It will make an interesting repair project for someone you don't yet know. Andy
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Old 11-14-17, 01:09 PM   #6
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Ride it.
IMO, it won't get worse, because the cause of the stress has been removed, and it's not a highly stressed area now.
But do keep an eye on it.
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Old 11-14-17, 01:18 PM   #7
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IMO this crack is non structural, and is probably the result of a combination of bad roads, heavy battery, and some corrosion.

I'd simply clean it up and seal it with paint and/or epoxy to prevent any more corrosion, and ride the bike.

The only caveats are no use of that bottle mount, not even for water bottles, and keeping a weather eye on the area for signs that the crack is growing. Though, IMO it would have to grow a lot before being a concern.

FAIR WARNING to anyone who sees this. Bottle bosses are engineered around the weight of a typical water bottle. The weight and inertia of a battery, especially on bad roads will exceed the design loads and cause damage of this kind. It's comparable to hanging a 60# mirror on a picture hook rated for 10#s.

This is especially true with lighter frames with thin wall tubing, that simply cannot handle local stresses.
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Old 11-14-17, 02:01 PM   #8
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Thanks for all the opinions. There seems to be general agreement, at least, that a sudden failure is unlikely.

I think i will probalbly build it up, ride it and keep an eye on it. I've got everything I need in the basement to get it on the road, so I won't be spending any (more) money on it.

I should have checked more closely when I bought the thing, but I didn't even know how the battery was attached when I bought it. I thought it was a sort of pipe clamp affair. It does seem foolish to use the water bottle bosses for that kind of thing.
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Old 11-14-17, 04:14 PM   #9
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You could replace the boss and use one of the little diamond shaped reinforcements. That would probably be large enough to completely cover the failure. If put in with silver, Mapp gas would be adequate for such a small repair.
bottle boss.jpg

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Old 11-14-17, 04:24 PM   #10
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If you choose to do nothing, mark the ends of the crack, perhaps with bits of tape or a light scratch in the paint. Now you can see if the crack is growing. If no, don't sweat it. If the bike will see rain, seal the crack (with silicone, marine grease or some good durable tape). Some might suggest drilling small holes at the crack ends to keep them from growing.

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Old 11-14-17, 04:52 PM   #11
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I'm thinking I might use a little silver solder on the area. In any case, marking the ends is a good idea.
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Old 11-14-17, 04:54 PM   #12
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I'm thinking I might use a little silver solder on the area. In any case, marking the ends is a good idea.
IMO it's not worth burning paint over. Use some epoxy resin to close it and touch it up to match as well as possible.
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Old 11-14-17, 05:02 PM   #13
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IMO it's not worth burning paint over. Use some epoxy resin to close it and touch it up to match as well as possible.
I like the sound of that even better.
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Old 11-14-17, 07:58 PM   #14
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Get some of that carbon repair tape and wrap a wad around there.
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Old 11-15-17, 09:29 AM   #15
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How about drilling very small holes(diameter a bit larger the crack) at both ends of the crack to keep the crack from growing. Same idea as the hole at the base of a seat post slit, acts as a point of stress relief. Then fill with resin or similar material. I think you're fine riding it, especially since its easily observable.

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Old 11-15-17, 11:52 AM   #16
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I am curious about the lines I see extending from the cracks. Maybe they are just in the paint. I would worry about this tube opening up like a zipper. It's your bike and your teeth, but I wouldn't ride it with some hack repair.

And brazing a crack does essentially nothing.
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Old 11-15-17, 10:54 PM   #17
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Simple repairs are not necessarily quick, small or of minimal effort. If one to patch this the offending area would need a lot of prep. The boss would have to be either removed or the raised portion ground down flush with the rest of the tube, that because of the cracks isn't a nice straight 2 dimensional surface any longer. Additionally the second boss should be considered. A truly effective and long lasting patch would encompass this boss too. The patch would wrap around much of the tube, perhaps all and become a sleeve of sorts (splitting it to install of course). Only after a real paint removal and very careful judgment would I want to be more specific.


A patch is so simple that to do it well is not as easy as some would think.


I am not advocating to repair but if that path were chosen it's not unreasonable with good methods. Much of what I've read here isn't quite to that level yet. Andy
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Old 11-15-17, 11:47 PM   #18
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the reason I am concerned about the lines I see is that they are just wider than the width of the boss. The battery was obviously swinging back and forth there twisting the tube in a way that isn't natural. It very well could open up like a zipper and then fail catastrophically. Really, the only legit repair is a tube replacement. Anything else is really problematic.

Any holes you drill in this case are going to make tube failure much more likely. Stop drill holes are deprecated, although still used in aviation because they don't want to spend the money to re-skin. The best you can say about stop drills is that you know where the crack is.
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Old 11-16-17, 12:00 AM   #19
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Eric- I don't doubt the chance of a tube replacement being the best solution. I earlier this year did one on a bike that had major radiating cracks in this same area of a DT, the frame had been built before the brazed in bosses were the norm (40+ years ago). In this case the cracks were focused on the butt transition, I believe. As you can see in the photo the cracks already extended a fair way around the tube. I offered a patch which would have been far more like a splint/sleeve but the rider really wanted a better look. I was happy to do the better and nicer looking tube replacement. Andy
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Old 11-16-17, 09:31 AM   #20
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Any holes you drill in this case are going to make tube failure much more likely. Stop drill holes are deprecated, although still used in aviation because they don't want to spend the money to re-skin. The best you can say about stop drills is that you know where the crack is.
Thats good to know, thanks. Why are holes drilled at the end of the seat post binder slit?

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Old 11-16-17, 11:37 PM   #21
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I've read a few posts that suggest that stopping a crack with a drilled hole is far less likely to work then many think. Something about actually drilling at the crack's root which is not always visible, what you see is only the point that the crack is wide enough to see.


Binder slots that have a relief hole at their base benefit because there is no crack yet when the hole is formed. So the hole IS AT the crack's (if you must insist that a binder slot is also a crack) start. Not that there still can't be future issues involving cracks there sometime in the future.


Binder slot base holes are to prevent a crack from happening. Drilling a crack's sort of end but not really maybe, to stop a crack from continuing...is something different. Andy
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Old 11-18-17, 06:56 AM   #22
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Thats good to know, thanks. Why are holes drilled at the end of the seat post binder slit?
Interesting question. That is to remove a couple of areas of high stress concentration. Stop drilling is totally different, there is a crack in existence that isn't going to go away just because of a drilled hole. The force is still there, the structure has been weakened, so the crack will continue.

I know they stop drill private aviation airplanes. There are applications where this probably works. Plus it gives them a convenient way to see where the end of a crack is, so inspections are easier. In the Air Force, we were taught not to stop drill. One difference is probably the thickness of the skin. The material behind the crack tip is actually holding the crack tip in compression. If you remove that material, but don't remove the crack tip, crack growth will accelerate.

In the case of the bike in the OP, stop drilling will increase the size of the damaged area. That will allow more deflection, which is going to accelerate crack growth. I doubt that aircraft technicians are taught to stop drill cracks in an application like this.
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