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Can this crack be fixed?

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Can this crack be fixed?

Old 05-22-22, 09:02 AM
  #1  
pennpaul
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Can this crack be fixed?

I was washing my bike after a dirty ride yesterday and found this crack near my rear dropout which wraps nearly 3/4 of the way around. On closer inspection, the crack doesn't even look new.

It's an aluminum frame. Yeah.

If this is even fixable, what am I looking for in a "fixer"? Start at a local bike shop or just go straight to finding a welder?

The bike is nearing 20 years old and sadly probably less than 5k miles. It was less than $1500 new and the components (Ultegra) are all good. If the cost of the repair is too much (how much?) and leaves too many unknowns, then I am fine to find a new frame and build that up.

Thanks for your advice.
Paul

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Old 05-22-22, 09:13 AM
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unterhausen
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It's possible, and also likely to be uneconomic.

It really depends on the aluminum alloy. Some don't need post weld heat treating, others do but you can just let the weld age. Do you know what kind of aluminum it was made from?

There are plenty of good welders out there, but the ones that can do this either work on bicycles (not that many) or are doing something else and aren't available to you. It would take a lot of luck to find a local welder that could do this right.
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Old 05-22-22, 10:32 AM
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Originally Posted by unterhausen View Post
It's possible, and also likely to be uneconomic.

It really depends on the aluminum alloy. Some don't need post weld heat treating, others do but you can just let the weld age. Do you know what kind of aluminum it was made from?

There are plenty of good welders out there, but the ones that can do this either work on bicycles (not that many) or are doing something else and aren't available to you. It would take a lot of luck to find a local welder that could do this right.
The alloy is called "x-fusion quaternary aluminum". It's a 2003 Fuji Team Road. Someone in an old thread in Bike Forums said it could be "a mixture of aluminum, magnesium, silicon, and copper," but that's one mention on the internet so who knows.

Last edited by pennpaul; 05-22-22 at 01:53 PM.
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Old 05-22-22, 03:39 PM
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I don't know if you are the original owner, but it might be a warrantee issue. You might contact a Fuji dealer and see what they say. If the warrantee is a no go, I would strip the paint back and grind a v-groove around it and weld it.
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Old 05-22-22, 04:08 PM
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Originally Posted by headwind15 View Post
I don't know if you are the original owner, but it might be a warrantee issue. You might contact a Fuji dealer and see what they say. If the warrantee is a no go, I would strip the paint back and grind a v-groove around it and weld it.
Yes, I am considering the warranty route. I am the original owner. I bought (and financed--0%) through Performance Bike in 2003 or 2004, but I think they're gone and if I do have the paperwork, it'll be in storage which I won't see until the fall. Anyway, I'm patient and have another bike.
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Old 05-22-22, 08:00 PM
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IIRC Fuji has changed owners over the years. Let us know how it goes if you do ask for a warranty coverage.

I do agree with the mentioned issues with a repair. There's a reason why many Al frames offered only a limited frame coverage (5 years was once a common period). Andy.
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Old 05-22-22, 10:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Andrew R Stewart View Post
IIRC Fuji has changed owners over the years. Let us know how it goes if you do ask for a warranty coverage.
I don't have high hopes. They're owned by PGWbikes and I need to register the bike first. I don't even remember when or how much I bought it for which is on the registration form. I just know it wasn't MSRP.

We'll see.
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Old 05-24-22, 05:30 PM
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Not entirely sure what alloy "x-fusion quaternary aluminum" actually is, but I did see that some other alu fuji bikes from that era listed as 7005 series which can be TIG welded without needling full heat treatment like is required for 6061. Fuji also had frames of "x-fusion quaternary aluminum" mated together with carbon rear triangle tubes which I would think would be more difficult to fabricate if the aluminum used had required full T6 heat treatment. (Heat treating the combine aluminum + carbon together would likely not work).

If you do try a TIG repair, it might be advisable to fabricate a solid aluminum internal plug, spread the break enough to tightly insert the plug into the dropout end of the broken tube, and then fit it back together with the plug protruding and spanning the break in the tube. Then, TIG weld the plug and broken tube ends back together with the internal plug providing further support for this weak area? Weight gain from aluminum plug would be negligible but it could increase chances of a successful repair.
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Old 05-25-22, 04:07 AM
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Amazon has some aluminum brazes tested in this YouTube video: Alu brazing
Cut the crack with a grinder, clean and braze with propane or MAP gas ; fill completely.

Wiel
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Old 05-25-22, 05:39 AM
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Originally Posted by Wiel View Post
Amazon has some aluminum brazes tested in this YouTube video: Alu brazing
Cut the crack with a grinder, clean and braze with propane or MAP gas ; fill completely.

Wiel
I'm not sure that kind of aluminium brazing has much strength. It really needs a TIG weld.
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Old 05-25-22, 06:22 AM
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Yes, aluminum braze is mostly cosmetic, for very low-stress applications.

I just noticed the OP's location. I'm not sure what to say about finding a welder that could do this properly, a bike shop might know or a frame builder if there are any nearby. There are a lot of welders near me, but I'm not sure any of them can do this. It's not horribly difficult as aluminum welds go, I don't think. Maybe if I found one of the old cannondale welders, they probably live within an hour's drive
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Old 05-25-22, 01:52 PM
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Originally Posted by unterhausen View Post
I just noticed the OP's location. I'm not sure what to say about finding a welder that could do this properly, a bike shop might know or a frame builder if there are any nearby.
I asked my local bike buddies but they couldn't think of anyone to do it (and didn't think it would be a good idea anyway).

We leave back to the US in a couple months. This bike will rejoin me in the fall and then I'll explore the warranty route first. If that doesn't pan out, the idea is to move the components over to a new Waltly Ti frame but build it more for touring. There are no rack mounts on this broken frame. It's a 9-speed bike but has good components, and until last weekend, was an overall good bike to ride. Until then I have my gravel bike to ride.
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Old 06-20-22, 06:53 AM
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Originally Posted by pennpaul View Post
Yes, I am considering the warranty route. I am the original owner. I bought (and financed--0%) through Performance Bike in 2003 or 2004, but I think they're gone and if I do have the paperwork, it'll be in storage which I won't see until the fall. Anyway, I'm patient and have another bike.
So you bought an aluminum frame in 2004 and it cracked 20 years later and you're gonna file a warranty claim from Central America?
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Old 06-20-22, 11:29 AM
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Trek would warranty it if it was one of theirs. Not sure if anyone else would though.
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Old 06-20-22, 12:14 PM
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Interesting, thanks. Aren't those warranties usually restricted to US and maybe Canada?
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Old 06-20-22, 08:10 PM
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There's a big area between what a warranty says in print and what a company might offer. A lot of this depends on the approach of the claim and who is backing it (like a long time Fuji dealer with some relationship with the company's "in house" staff). Andy
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Old 06-21-22, 03:25 AM
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Originally Posted by JISO View Post
Interesting, thanks. Aren't those warranties usually restricted to US and maybe Canada?
I'm in UK and Trek replaced a failed frame for me under the lifetime warranty with no quibbles. The warranty only applies to the first owner (and I've now ebayed that frame since making my own replacement
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Old 06-23-22, 06:49 AM
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Originally Posted by JISO View Post
So you bought an aluminum frame in 2004 and it cracked 20 years later and you're gonna file a warranty claim from Central America?
No to the last part.

The bike is already packed and I move back to the US this summer. When the bike (and the rest of my stuff) is delivered to our house, I'm going to try to file the claim (after I try to find my receipt). I'm also going to contact Performance Bike to see if they have my information saved. I bought it as a club member back then.

Originally Posted by JISO View Post
Interesting, thanks. Aren't those warranties usually restricted to US and maybe Canada?
I don't see that restriction in their warranty. Anyway, won't hurt to ask.

https://www.pgwbike.com/docs/warranti...anty_U.S.A.pdf
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Old 06-23-22, 07:33 AM
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re. warranties only valid in certain regions, this is not how I understand it. The company likely doesn't care where you are, just where you bought the bike. If you bought the bike from their authorized dealer network (as opposed to an online reseller or other 'non-authorized' source, I am sure Performance Bike was an authorized dealer) then you would be responsible for getting the broken frame shipped to someone of the company's choosing for inspection (likely an authorized dealer or their corporate offices), but they don't give two craps where you lived when the bike broke. That's all IF it's still under warranty and the most recent owners of the Fuji company and name are willing to honour warranty on products bought from previous owners, if that is the case here.
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Old 06-23-22, 09:32 AM
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Originally Posted by ClydeClydeson View Post
re. warranties only valid in certain regions, this is not how I understand it. The company likely doesn't care where you are, just where you bought the bike.
Agreed, and I can also see a company weaseling out of fulfilling a warranty if there's an exotic destination address
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Old 06-23-22, 09:52 AM
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Definitely a job for a Frame Builder... Spotting this crack very well may have saved your life. Get it FIXED for sure.

In the 70s when I was learning how to Road Bike with the old guys in Italy I remember them going over thier bikes from Stem to Stern looking for things like this. Now I am the Geezer going over his bike Stem to Stern looking for things like this...

Edit: The Franken side of my brain has been thinking of a DIY repair. I would consider cleaning out the crack with an acid wash, then using Alumiweld to fill. I would then as an extra measure fit an aluminum sleeve over the joint section, compress it to fit closely over the joint, and Alumiweld that in place too... Still... Its a job for a frame builder...
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Old 06-23-22, 11:36 AM
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We previously discussed products like alumiweld in this thread. It's mostly cosmetic in this application.
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