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Cracked BB shell

Old 08-13-20, 04:50 PM
  #1  
countalmaviva 
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Cracked BB shell

Folks,

Wiping down my 1986 Schwinn Cimarron today after a modest 70 mile loaded tour I noticed this:



Another clue: I've owed the bike since spring and sprayed Fluid Film inside. I began to notice the Fluid Film leaking and collecting at this spot. Along with this visible line, I'm pretty sure this must be a crack.

I don't notice any change in the performance yet. Any advice? Should I stop riding this bike? Ride with careful monitoring?

What's the likelihood of a viable repair?

Thanks,
Oliver H.
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Old 08-13-20, 06:13 PM
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unterhausen
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The crack goes along the shoreline of the bb shell to the right of your picture. You should look for the other end of the crack. It might be behind the crank, seat tubes usually break near the centerline along the side of the tube. The crack didn't originate on the shell. Given that it has propagated onto the shell, I imagine the back side of the seat tube doesn't look that great. Take the drive side crankarm off and take some more pictures. Kudos for cleaning your bike.

I don't think I would ride a loaded tour with your bike, but otherwise it doesn't seem like it would fail in a particularly dangerous way. I have experience with this sort of cracking due to my Teledyne titan. I regret wearing out a front derailleur before i noticed the crack.

Last edited by unterhausen; 08-13-20 at 06:17 PM.
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Old 08-13-20, 09:00 PM
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Agreed that the prognosis isn't good. A BB shell replacement is not an easy repair. One I would not consider. There are far more tour worthy bikes out there then tis one. And most are not broken. Andy
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Old 08-13-20, 09:02 PM
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Additional photos

unterhausen , thanks for responding. I'm afraid you're right. It looks like there is a crack in the paint over most of the circumference of the ST where it enters the BB shell. I assume this would occur from the tube moving independently of the shell...?


NDS from rear

DS from rear

DS straight on

What would be the next step here? What would a framebuilder do to confirm damage? Removing the cartridge for an inside look seems like a smart idea. What about removing paint from the area?

I'm struggling to understand what is happening. Is it the case that the ST is still intact but just sliding within the BB shell? Or is the ST itself cracked?

Thanks,
Oliver H.

Last edited by countalmaviva; 08-13-20 at 10:04 PM. Reason: In last sentence, I wrote "DT" but meant "ST"
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Old 08-14-20, 04:31 AM
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Replacing a BB shell wasn't a big deal to Jack Trumbull of Franklin Frame in Ohio. He replaced this one and charged less than a hundred bucks labor.





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Old 08-14-20, 05:57 AM
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I had a previous year Cimarron that cracked in a similar fashion. That's a repair I wouldn't even attempt. But then again I don't build with lugs.
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Old 08-14-20, 07:42 AM
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It looks like a faulty braze, and when it finally found a spot with decent brazing, the crack went into the bb shell. It's not long for this world.

The tube itself might be okay, hard to tell from here. Not sure that bike is worth the cost of a repair + powder.
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Old 08-15-20, 08:10 PM
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Times best spent looking for another frame without issues.
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Old 08-16-20, 10:20 AM
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Franklin Frames FTW!

nomadmax , thanks for the suggestion! I called Jack on Thursday, and, after sending photos, he's happy to do the repair. Interesting fact: he built frames for Steven Bilenky in the 80s! He echoed what Steven said to me once: younger framebuilders often are scared to do repairs. He gets a LOT of folks referring business to him. And I can understand the reluctance. Most of the time, anyone getting a frame repaired is sentimentally attached to the frame, so the stakes are higher. It costs your reputation. If you destroy a frame the customer hasn't even seen yet, well, it just costs money and time.

Thanks to all,
Oliver H.
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Old 08-16-20, 01:50 PM
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This repair doesn't seem so bad. The problem with the repairs I have seen is that the builder screwed something up that I'm not going to be able to fix. Like the cracked head tube where the miters were clocked. Or the Waterford where they put the seat post slot too close to the seat stays. And they used silver, so it's a real pain to fix it right. There are tons of those bikes out there with cracks, just waiting for the owner to notice. So in that case, I would recommend someone else do it so I don't have to worry about it cracking again. If I had to do it, I would replace the seat stays entirely.
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Old 08-16-20, 02:09 PM
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Originally Posted by unterhausen View Post
This repair doesn't seem so bad. The problem with the repairs I have seen is that the builder screwed something up that I'm not going to be able to fix. Like the cracked head tube where the miters were clocked. Or the Waterford where they put the seat post slot too close to the seat stays. And they used silver, so it's a real pain to fix it right. There are tons of those bikes out there with cracks, just waiting for the owner to notice. So in that case, I would recommend someone else do it so I don't have to worry about it cracking again. If I had to do it, I would replace the seat stays entirely.
Thanks, unterhausen . I'm going to move ahead with the repair. This frame ticks all the boxes for me, and it was a long search to find it. Plus, after parting it out, I only have $75 in it. It's worth another few hundred bucks.

Cheers,
Oliver H.
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Old 09-15-20, 06:29 AM
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omg - this looks very interesting - thanks for sharing this with us all
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