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Newbie here: Please help me decide

Old 05-05-13, 07:37 PM
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Newbie here: Please help me decide

Hi,

This is my 1st post and I thought I'd ask knowledgeable people to help me solve a dilemma.

I need a good bike for this summer on which I'll be able to install a baby seat and possibly some bags. (I'm sorry if I don't have the proper terms: English is not my 1st language...)

I already have a bike that's served me well for a few years, a Favorit from the 80's, but that now needs a lot of love. Basically, everything but the frame, the front wheel and fork needs to be changed: dérailleur, pedals and case, brakes, cables... everything. So I've been looking at used bikes to see if I can find another one or if I should refit the one I have.
So far, I've found two that would fit my needs : a Fuji series III at 235$CAD and a Peugeot at 175$CAD (see ads below).

I'm not very knowledgeable in bikes and I'm just trying to figure out the best deal for me. The Fuji seems like a very good touring bike that would certainly handle the baby's weight plus whatever else I'd carry. The owner didn't know the frame's size, but he said he measures 5'8' and that the bike is slightly too high for him. I'm 6'1", so it could possibly be a good match. The Peugeot, I don't know much about. At 24" it would be slightly big for me. As for my Favorit, I don't know if it's worth having it put back into running condition in the price range that I could buy the other ones for.

Can anyone offer any advice? Thanks in advance.

The ads:
https://montreal.kijiji.ca/c-acheter-...AdIdZ479571610
https://montreal.kijiji.ca/c-acheter-...AdIdZ479273471

Last edited by Angkor; 05-06-13 at 08:13 AM. Reason: typo in the title
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Old 05-05-13, 08:40 PM
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Tu parles francais? J'ai tres bon anglais, mais mon francais n'est pas. Votre anglais est tres bon aussi, et l'internet est un excellente (place) commencer.

How was that? If you even do speak french...

If you really love your 80s frame, then I'd suggest to keep it and fix what need to be fixed. You could probably spend just as much to buy a new bike as you could to replace the parts but the fit will be the same.

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Old 05-05-13, 09:57 PM
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As I recall Favorit was eastern European, Czech?

Better to go to a Bike Shop and get a bike that fits you, as you will have to cope with the pain of a poor fit and setup
more for weeks on a Bike tour. Wouldnt leave town on a poor fit.

cant help sight unseen , you ask too much from the internet. neither say the frame size..
at least trying bikes in the bike shop you can ask a few better informed questions, later..

Best to bring a friend who knows bikes , to do a personal condition inspection, on those old bikes.. .

good luck

Last edited by fietsbob; 05-05-13 at 10:04 PM.
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Old 05-06-13, 12:19 AM
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Thanks jowilson and fietsbob for the answers.

I see you both advise that I refit my old Czech bike rather than buy a new one, am I right?
And are you not at all excited about the Fuji bike ? (Some people on the Internet really are.)

[Jowilson, votre français est impeccable. Continuez de pratiquer et vous deviendrez parfait !]
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Old 05-06-13, 05:31 AM
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Angkor, for a baby seat and bags I suggest the bicycle with longest chainstays and a low top tube for ease of dismounting with baby on back. Long being 18" or more. If you can find a bike with a normal bottom bracket height that would be nice but not necessary.

the Fuji appears to be a better choice but the weight of a baby seat makes for a wiggly ride. If those were your only choices the Fuji but be prepared to replace the rear wheel someday.

A baby carrier can be a utilitarian bike. I made mine out of a 25yrold Schwinn Varsity with upright bars and 700x35mm tires.

Last edited by LeeG; 05-06-13 at 05:45 AM.
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Old 05-06-13, 08:11 AM
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I just re-read fietsbob post and see that I'd probably misunderstood the 1st time.
I'd definitely go to a shop and buy a new bike that fits me perfectly if I could afford it, but I'm between contracts this summer so I'll have to go with whatever is best in a 200$ price range. (At least, my family decided to pool in to buy the baby seat and his helmet!)

LeeG,
Thanks for the tips. I've never carried a baby on a bike and I can foresee that I'll have to mind such details. Indeed, one of the reasons why I'm not sure that I want to refit my Favorit is I find it a bit short: It's alright for height, but I've always found that I was a bit cramped and that my centre of gravity was a bit too much forward towards the handle bars. (I guess my upper body is relatively longer than my legs.) Even when riding unencumbered and fast, I feel like I have to be careful not to lean over and veer to abruptly lest I fly over the handle bars. I don't expect to be riding too fast with the baby on of course, but I suspect that this could prove problematic in terms of balance and control...

I was thinking a baby seat that attaches between the rider and handle bars would be a better choice for this reason. But as it is, all the bikes that I'm looking at have the "speed changers" (I don't know the proper English term) located on the down tube... I've limited my choice on such bikes because I won't be carrying the baby at all times and I'd still like a bike that can do long distances comfortably and at a reasonable speed. But maybe I should look at hybrids with upright bars instead...

Last edited by Angkor; 05-06-13 at 10:14 AM.
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Old 05-06-13, 09:57 AM
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Originally Posted by Angkor
. I've limited my choice on such bikes because I won't be carrying the baby at all times and I'd still like a bike that can do long distances comfortably and at a reasonable speed. But maybe I should look at hybrids with upright bars instead...
Yeah. Hybrids. And/or a trailer for the baby maybe.
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Old 05-06-13, 11:02 AM
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It was a good idea to post here before making a decision. It made me rethink my whole approach to this. (I'm a bit impulsive when I decide that I need something...)

I will admit that I'm very tempted by the Fuji as, according to what I read on the net, it seems like a very reliable and sturdy bike. They may be biased of course, but the people who own that bike seem to be in love with it. Oh well...

What I'm thinking now is I could simply find a cheaper second-hand hybrid that would serve only to carry the kid around, while I'd keep the Favorit frame and refit it slowly. Originally, I was trying to combine both uses in one bike but, the more I think about it now, the more it would seem logical to dedicate a cheaper bike to family purposes while keeping a more performance oriented one for pleasure. Hey, I could use the opportunity to make the Favorit more to my taste: For one thing, less gears as I usually only shift down going up steeper slopes. Whereas, of course, I'd want more speeds on a bike that carries a 30lbs baby.
Does that seem a more reasonable approach?

Thanks all for the suggestions. And please keep them coming if you think of other aspects that I might have missed while I continue shopping around.
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Old 05-06-13, 11:39 AM
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Originally Posted by Angkor
I just re-read fietsbob post and see that I'd probably misunderstood the 1st time.
Give yourself a pat on the back if you understood it after only the second time.
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Old 05-06-13, 04:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Angkor

[Jowilson, votre français est impeccable. Continuez de pratiquer et vous deviendrez parfait !]
Merci merci! J'ai pratique mon francais avec mes cousines qui habitent a Paris. Ils me corrigent de temps en temps mais je suis vais mieux. Peut etre je peux pratique avec toi?

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Old 05-06-13, 05:14 PM
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If the Fuji fits, I would go with that. It is are very good bike that would meet your needs. However, the price would depend on the components, condition of the bike, etc. For that price I would expect the bike to not need much work. I may be biased because I own a couple of Fuji touring series bikes, but if the bike is in good condition, everything on it works well, and it fits you, I would buy it. One thing to consider is that the Fuji may have 27" wheels rather than 700C, which is standard today for road bikes. I generally like older bikes and consider them a good value even if I have to put some money into them relative to the cost of new bikes. Others here will surely disagree.
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Old 05-06-13, 05:21 PM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz
Give yourself a pat on the back if you understood it after only the second time.
Maybe the beers I'd had before helped too!

Originally Posted by jowilson
Merci merci! J'ai pratique mon francais avec mes cousines qui habitent a Paris. Ils me corrigent de temps en temps mais je suis vais mieux. Peut etre je peux pratique avec toi?
Bien sûr, quand tu veux! (Je suis professeur de français : j'enseigne à des élèves anglophones à Montréal. )
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Old 05-06-13, 05:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Ciufalon
If the Fuji fits, I would go with that. It is are very good bike that would meet your needs. However, the price would depend on the components, condition of the bike, etc. For that price I would expect the bike to not need much work. I may be biased because I own a couple of Fuji touring series bikes, but if the bike is in good condition, everything on it works well, and it fits you, I would buy it. One thing to consider is that the Fuji may have 27" wheels rather than 700C, which is standard today for road bikes. I generally like older bikes and consider them a good value even if I have to put some money into them relative to the cost of new bikes. Others here will surely disagree.
Yeah, I'm a bit torn. I just called the owner to tell him I wouldn't take it after all.
It does seem like a good bike...

The thing is, the baby seat goes in the front, which is incompatible with the speed levers being located on the drop bar. At first, I thought I'd exchange it for a seat that goes on the rear, but everybody seems to agree that having it on the front is more stable and safe. And my kid is on the heavy side -- 30lbs at just 20 months --, so I can expect him to throw the balance off quite a bit whenever he swings himself around to look at stuff. Also, being in the front, he will be able to see where we're going instead of just watching my sweaty back all the time...
Hence my thinking that I'd buy a cheap hybrid for him and refit my old Favorit for myself instead. I figure I can do both for the price of the Fuji.

But yeah, again, I've read nothing but positive comments on that Fuji.

(-Just a question though: I read somewhere that parts for the Fuji could sometimes be hard to find. Is that you experience?)

Last edited by Angkor; 05-06-13 at 08:09 PM.
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Old 05-06-13, 09:42 PM
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Finding parts for the Fuji is no different than any other bike. No problem at all. One of my Fuji's came with down tube shifter and I just switched them out for bar end shifters. Very easy to change to whatever kind of shifters you prefer or want for a specific purpose. If you prefer to buy a hybrid and refit your Favorit, there is nothing wrong with doing that. I just wanted to confirm the quality of Fuji's. A touring bike has a long wheelbase and a lower bottom bracket to create more stability. The Fuji's also have very durable paint. Many hybrids also have a long wheelbase.

Last edited by Ciufalon; 05-06-13 at 09:49 PM.
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Old 05-07-13, 05:22 AM
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Originally Posted by Ciufalon
Finding parts for the Fuji is no different than any other bike. No problem at all. One of my Fuji's came with down tube shifter and I just switched them out for bar end shifters. Very easy to change to whatever kind of shifters you prefer or want for a specific purpose. If you prefer to buy a hybrid and refit your Favorit, there is nothing wrong with doing that. I just wanted to confirm the quality of Fuji's. A touring bike has a long wheelbase and a lower bottom bracket to create more stability. The Fuji's also have very durable paint. Many hybrids also have a long wheelbase.
I didn't even know about bar end shifters. I wonder how much it would cost to have it converted...
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Old 05-07-13, 06:23 AM
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Another question about the Fuji: How's the weight?
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Old 05-07-13, 12:43 PM
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Bar end shifters can be installed quite easily and I have always done it myself. The shifters themselves can generally be purchased on Ebay for around $50 or less. They can also be bought from many other sources. I would estimate the touring bike itself will probably weigh in the mid-twenty pound range; about 10-11 Kg. Touring bikes are not light weight road bikes. They have stronger frames for carrying loads. Do some searches on these topics in this forum and you will find there is a lot of information to be found.
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Old 05-07-13, 06:47 PM
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Hi Ciufalon,

Apparently I'm not allowed to send private messages yet.

So I did buy the Fuji. I just came back from the seller's place. He lowered his price to 200$.

The bike is surprisingly light I thought. I expected it to be heavier anyway.
It needs some work as it's spent a few years unprotected on the guy's balcony. But nothing major. For example, I couldn't for the life of me get the seat to move from its socket when I attempted to raise it just now. It seems soldered in place... I'll have to go to a shop. Otherwise, it just needs a good tune-up and some lube.
The frame is a bit short for me: 21" instead of 22.5", which would be my ideal size. But I'm kind of used to that since I've only owned second-hand bikes in the last decades and I'm taller than average I guess. But once the seat and handle bars have been adjusted it should be fine.

So far it does seem good.

As for the baby seat, I'll simply find one that goes on the back. Much less trouble. I will nevertheless look into the bar end shifters that you suggested. I like the idea.

Thanks!

Last edited by Angkor; 05-07-13 at 06:49 PM. Reason: typo
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Old 05-07-13, 09:52 PM
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Hopefully that seat post is not stuck too badly. That is something to check when buying bikes that have been out in the weather, which takes a severe toll on bikes. It can be a real nightmare to remove some stuck seat posts. If you get the seat post out and are happy with the fit though it is a bit small, then I think you will love the bike. However, the top tube length is really important for getting a good fit. It can be adjusted with longer or shorter stems and moving the seat forward or back, but top tube length is considered critical for good fit and comfort, so keep that in mind. You may need a long stem or high rise type of stem if you want to raise the handlebars. I use one on mine as the frames are 55 cm and I generally ride 57 cm and I like the handlebars even with the seat height.

I am not sure what components are on the Fuji you bought, so I cannot speak of them, but should you decide it is not what you wanted due to fit or for some other reason, you should be able to to get your money back out of it (without a stuck seat post). But I would suggest determining if it can be a good fit and comfortable before putting money into it. If so, it should be a great bike. Definitely go through it and grease everything (hubs, bottom bracket, headset, seat post, probably replace the brake cables, brake pads if they need it, etc. That sort of thing is a given with vintage bikes and of course, I did it with mine and they function silent and flawlessly. Also, once the seat post is out, I would clean any rust or corrosion out of the seat tube. You can find out a lot about this stuff in the "classic and Vintage" forum.
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Old 05-07-13, 10:08 PM
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Angkor, The first rule of carrying a child on the back of the bike is to not kick them in the head when you mount up. Helmet is second,

The Peugeot looks good, I am 6' and ride a 23" touring bike. Prime concern is that the bicycle fits you comfortably and properly. There are many online fitment guides to help.

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Old 05-07-13, 11:19 PM
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Ciufalon,

I didn't know about the seat stem issue at all: It's just something that I've never encountered before. Ironically, when I went to the owner's place to check the bike out, I brought an adjustable spanner expecting I'd want to raise the seat; but I didn't know I'd need an Allen key instead... So I only realized that it was stuck when I got back home.
I know a couple reliable bike shops where I can ask for help with this. Hopefully, they'll be able to fix it. (Your comments on this are making me a bit worried.)

I don't intend to put any serious money on it right now. I'll test-drive it for sure this summer before I think about customizing it. For the time being, I'll simply adjust the seat and bars, and then a normal tune-up plus a break cable girdle that needs replacing. I'll change the break handles to ones that can also be used from the top of the handle bars. I also believe the bottom bracket is loose. And of course, I'll take care of that rust.

In short, my first impression is this bike needs a bit of love. I'm not a very experienced biker (nor bike mechanic). But my impression riding it back from the previous owner's place was that, even when counting its problems. rust and size especially, and considering that the seat was way too low to pedal comfortably (stuck against the frame), it still felt like a bike that could handle itself well and that was willing to give itself a new life.

The old owner let it go with a little note of sorrow. He told me about buying it when he was in his fifties, to go on a tour around Lac St-Jean with his son. And then bringing the bike along on camper trips, but not using it as much as time passed on. Watching me saddle it after paying him, he said: «Many good memories with this bike... But that's life

Last edited by Angkor; 05-07-13 at 11:29 PM.
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Old 05-07-13, 11:43 PM
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Originally Posted by bradtx
Angkor, The first rule of carrying a child on the back of the bike is to not kick them in the head when you mount up. Helmet is second
Not kicking my kid on the head has been one of the three general rules I've applied the most consistently through my fatherhood so far. Yet, a helmet might prove useful when he houdinies himself out of the seat without my noticing or when I start to swerve frantically in the traffic, which is what his mother envisions when she thinks of me biking the kid around. As for myself, I'd simply have him straddle the top tube. Maybe wrap a towel around it for comfort. And maybe a second towel as his helmet.

Last edited by Angkor; 05-08-13 at 05:54 AM. Reason: correct wrong tense
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Old 05-08-13, 01:40 AM
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Yes, it definitely needs some TLC. It also looks bigger than a 21" frame. How did you measure it? Should measure from the center of the cranks/bottom bracket up the seat tube to the center or the top of the top tube. Looks more like a 58 cm frame to me. Put some time into cleaning that bike up, removing rust, touching up paint where you remove any rust on the frame, lubing/tuning it up, and it should come back to life. I'd also remove rusty bolts, clean the area of rust and replace with new bolts - that sort of thing. Bikes are not that difficult to work on. Working on your own bike(s) and making improvements to it can get addictive though. Just check out the C&V forum for a while. Glad to hear it rides well. Once it is all cleaned up and has a new lease on life I will be interested to hear what you think of it. Fuji got the geometry on their old touring bikes pretty darn good. Here's a link to a site with the old Fuji catalogs.
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Old 05-08-13, 07:47 PM
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(Sorry for the long post. I'm venting.)

[EDIT] I'm reading the mechanics part of the forum and there are several suggestions offered there. At the worst it seems I'll spend a lot of time and energy on this, maybe money, and I'll scrap the seat post. But it looks like it's doable...

Original rant: [/EDIT]
...

Well, the seat situation does seem bad... I tried again today and I can't move it at all. I then went to the closest bike shop, thinking they'd have the tools, but the repair guy had a look at it and basically said: «No way, I'm not giving myself a heart attack trying to move this»... He then advised I put WD-40 on it regularly for a few days and try over and over again, and that "maybe" I had a chance. He said he'd got some to move that way, but not all.

Damn! I guess I'm as inexperienced in bike mechanics as I am in buying stuff.
The worst, as I said above, is I'd brought a spanner along when I went to see it at the seller's place, specifically to adjust the seat, not knowing I'd need an Allen key instead. I could have known there and then about the situation before buying it.

Now, I just called the ex-owner to explain the situation. I told him that I'd do my best to make it work, but if it proved impossible I would consider that he sold me an unusable bike. The old retiree seemed like an honest guy when I met him... But of course, how he responded was by bracing himself and telling me that I'd bought it "as is", knowing full well its state. He even pleaded that it was in mint condition for someone the right size (!!!). (It's not in any way in mint condition: There's a fair bit of rust all over the frame and parts and the pedalboard is a bit bent...) He added that, in fact, I'd made a great deal as the bike was worth 500$. And if I wasn't happy I only had to resell it...
The bastard!

At this stage, I don't even think he knew about the seat. He didn't seem to know anything about bikes really. He's done a few tours with this one years ago and he probably still believes that it's a little jewel, even though he let it on his balcony for years. He's bought it new, never adjusted the seat himself since it was his size (or never adjusted anything at all except change flat tires). Then he stopped biking and let it rust.
(Or maybe he did know and he's a con artist: But I couldn't find any trace of other ads by him. Plus I don't think he'd have asked me to go to his home to do the deal: He'd have offered to bring it here so I wouldn't know where to find him.)

I know that, if it comes to this, I do have the law on my side. New or used, with or without an explicit guarantee, the law says that any good that is sold must be usable by the buyer for the expected use. Being able to ride seems very much like an expected use of the bike. This said, if we get there, what will happen is I'll sue him (no lawyer needed for such amounts), I'll probably win and he simply won't pay. End of story. (Maybe I'll just stress him enough to lower his remaining days by a few months.)

Anyways. I've not yet lost hope that I'll be able yank that seat out of there. (I'm just extremely pis**d about the guy's lack of honesty.)
I guess what I have to do now is head over to the mechanics part of the forum, as well as contact other shops that might be more experienced with that kind of situation. (I was thinking a shop that would have the equipment to heat the frame in order for it to expand and slide the seat out, for example.)

Last edited by Angkor; 05-08-13 at 10:22 PM.
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Old 05-11-13, 08:23 PM
  #25  
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(I'd be surprised that this thread interests anybody at this point, but I just received a private message and can't answer it as I don't have 50 posts yet, so I'm doing it here.)

After talking to a few people, I think I'll go the blow-torch route. One bike shop here in Montreal is specialized in this type of work and they were referred to me by others. (They also mentioned using different acids, but they didn't think that it'd be as effective.) I'll try to take the bike there tomorrow. In any case, they'll have a look at it first and won't do anything if they believe that they can't make it work. (Their website is very encouraging: It's all about «We're in the business of fixing bikes that everybody thought were dead!»)
At this point, I'd rather have it looked at by professionals or I'd be afraid to make more damage. Plus I don't have that many tools, and especially no vise, so I'm quite limited in the types of interventions that I can try.

Thanks again for the advice.
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