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post #1 of 40 Old Sep 11th, 2011, 2:01 pm Thread Starter
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Tip over wing frame crack

Am wanting to buy a used K12LT as my wife wants to ride with me again. I have had two GW and a 2000LT in the past. Looked at a used 2002LT with 33k miles. I read and appreciate recent threads re what to look out for. The owner of the bike told me the only thing wrong is that the frame is cracked where the tip over wing brace mounts. He said dealers will not weld it because of liability. Can someone tell me all about this problem and what needs and can be done to rectify it. I saw one thread where bike with this problem was totalled. Otherwise I like the bike and price is(as you can imagine) reasonable. Would appreciate any wisdom here. Thanks--Carl
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post #2 of 40 Old Sep 11th, 2011, 3:05 pm
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Re: Tip over wing frame crack

Is the aluminum frame cracked?

Any way way you can post pictures?

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post #3 of 40 Old Sep 11th, 2011, 3:18 pm
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Re: Tip over wing frame crack

I have heard on this forum, that it cannot be repaired and that similar bikes are totaled, but I don't understand why.

I've had aluminum boats that were welded back together without a problem.

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post #4 of 40 Old Sep 11th, 2011, 3:19 pm
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Re: Tip over wing frame crack

need to find someone with a tig welder.

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post #5 of 40 Old Sep 11th, 2011, 4:31 pm
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Re: Tip over wing frame crack

Just happen to have one of those out in my work shop.

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post #6 of 40 Old Sep 11th, 2011, 4:43 pm
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Re: Tip over wing frame crack

Quote:
Originally Posted by DanDiver
I have heard on this forum, that it cannot be repaired and that similar bikes are totaled, but I don't understand why.

I've had aluminum boats that were welded back together without a problem.
I agree. Most give up way too soon.

If the OP can find an FAA Certified Welder in his area - and it should not be hard to do - they know how to repair just about anything with the correct procedure and materials.

You'll pay a serious premium for an expert welder like this, but you also won't need to worry about a critical weld coming apart down the road... That same welder is highly unlikely to even attempt to repair it if he knows it can't be done safely.


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post #7 of 40 Old Sep 11th, 2011, 5:05 pm
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Re: Tip over wing frame crack

I'm fixing one here for the same problem next month.

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post #8 of 40 Old Sep 11th, 2011, 5:13 pm
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Re: Tip over wing frame crack

Quote:
Originally Posted by carlemd
Am wanting to buy a used K12LT as my wife wants to ride with me again. I have had two GW and a 2000LT in the past. Looked at a used 2002LT with 33k miles. I read and appreciate recent threads re what to look out for. The owner of the bike told me the only thing wrong is that the frame is cracked where the tip over wing brace mounts. He said dealers will not weld it because of liability. Can someone tell me all about this problem and what needs and can be done to rectify it. I saw one thread where bike with this problem was totalled. Otherwise I like the bike and price is(as you can imagine) reasonable. Would appreciate any wisdom here. Thanks--Carl
Unless you get a smoking deal you should probably pass, especially if this failure was reported to the insurance company; this may make the bike un-insurable, and possibly be a salvage title.
Now if everything is under the radar and you can get the bike repaired expertly you should probably delete this post... Just sayin'...

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post #9 of 40 Old Sep 11th, 2011, 8:09 pm Thread Starter
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Re: Tip over wing frame crack

I dont have a picture, nor have I actually seen the problem area. The bike has the tipover wings in place but the one in question is not real stable. Sounds like I best pass on this one. There are several other LTs around. Looking forward to owning one again. Enjoyed my last one but I traded it for a new GL1800 in 2004. My wife soon after decided she didnt want to ride any more, and I have only had sport bikes since then. Only thing I didnt like about my 2000 LT was how the center stand would grind on occasion when hitting a dip with the bike fully loaded. I guess the only way around that would be to remove the center stand. Probably could be jacked up on the skid plate to work on?
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post #10 of 40 Old Sep 11th, 2011, 8:22 pm
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Re: Tip over wing frame crack

Quote:
Originally Posted by carlemd
I dont have a picture, nor have I actually seen the problem area. The bike has the tipover wings in place but the one in question is not real stable. Sounds like I best pass on this one. There are several other LTs around. Looking forward to owning one again. Enjoyed my last one but I traded it for a new GL1800 in 2004. My wife soon after decided she didnt want to ride any more, and I have only had sport bikes since then. Only thing I didnt like about my 2000 LT was how the center stand would grind on occasion when hitting a dip with the bike fully loaded. I guess the only way around that would be to remove the center stand. Probably could be jacked up on the skid plate to work on?
Cutting down the rubber grommet will give you additional clearance at the center stand. You may also need stiffer springs depending on your physique and load on the bike. Removing the center stand would make it quite a challenge to remove the rear wheel if you have a tire issue while on the road.

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post #11 of 40 Old Sep 11th, 2011, 8:28 pm
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Re: Tip over wing frame crack

Quote:
Originally Posted by saddleman
I'm fixing one here for the same problem next month.
Kewl. If it can be done without pulling any major parts it's probably a no brainer.

All I know is Honda had some major issues with GL1800 frames CRACKING - and they issued a technical service bulletin (TSB) or similar how they could be repaired by laying them over on their sides and welding away.

Man, I love people that can FIX things. What a dying art.


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post #12 of 40 Old Sep 11th, 2011, 8:35 pm
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Re: Tip over wing frame crack

Quote:
Originally Posted by zippy_gg
Cutting down the rubber grommet will give you additional clearance at the center stand. You may also need stiffer springs depending on your physique and load on the bike. Removing the center stand would make it quite a challenge to remove the rear wheel if you have a tire issue while on the road.
Excellent advice, but what else would you expect from a guy with a hot wife?

Hyperpro springs cover a multitude of sins at a bargain price. Besides installing HID on low beam they are by far the best "bang for the buck" mod an LT owner can do.

There is nothing in the world like riding an 800 lb. "sport" bike. Kinda' like the K1600GT!


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post #13 of 40 Old Sep 11th, 2011, 8:40 pm
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Re: Tip over wing frame crack

Quote:
Originally Posted by carlemd
I dont have a picture, nor have I actually seen the problem area. The bike has the tipover wings in place but the one in question is not real stable. Sounds like I best pass on this one. There are several other LTs around. Looking forward to owning one again. Enjoyed my last one but I traded it for a new GL1800 in 2004. My wife soon after decided she didnt want to ride any more, and I have only had sport bikes since then. Only thing I didnt like about my 2000 LT was how the center stand would grind on occasion when hitting a dip with the bike fully loaded. I guess the only way around that would be to remove the center stand. Probably could be jacked up on the skid plate to work on?
If I didn't ride two up frequently I would have a brand spankin' new RT in a heartbeat. Talk about refined... BMW has definitely reached a pinnacle with this bike - and yet - it is SO overlooked with all the hype about the 6.


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post #14 of 40 Old Sep 11th, 2011, 9:11 pm
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Re: Tip over wing frame crack

The part of the frame that breaks on a hard hit to the side is the small "tabs" on the bottom edge of the frame that the tip over brackets fasten to.

It is true that BMW will not allow dealers to repair this, and I had an LT with the broken tab on one side, should have been totaled, but the insurance adjuster told the dealer to replace the frame. along with other parts replace due to the accident, the total the insurance company paid was a little over $16,000!

However, regardless of BMW's stance on this, there would be no reason NOT to weld the tabs back on! They have absolutely NO affect on the frame itself, and do not contribute any strength at all to the frame. The ONLY purpose of the tabs is to support the tip over wings.

If I got hold of an LT with this being the only real problem with it, I would get the tab welded back on with no concern at all.

Here is a picture of the replaced frame, with the broken tabs marked. You can see that the small tabs could easily be welded back on without affecting the really thick frame section at all.
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post #15 of 40 Old Sep 11th, 2011, 9:49 pm Thread Starter
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Re: Tip over wing frame crack

Excellent, dshealey. Your reply is most helpful. Now I know that it is not a significant structural problem. Could be a big time bargaining chip, no?
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post #16 of 40 Old Sep 11th, 2011, 9:53 pm Thread Starter
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Re: Tip over wing frame crack

Thinking about that picture-those "tabs" would seem like a pretty flimsy support for something that must protect a 850lb monster in event of a tipover, no?
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post #17 of 40 Old Sep 11th, 2011, 10:20 pm
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Re: Tip over wing frame crack

Quote:
Originally Posted by dshealey
The part of the frame that breaks on a hard hit to the side is the small "tabs" on the bottom edge of the frame that the tip over brackets fasten to.

It is true that BMW will not allow dealers to repair this, and I had an LT with the broken tab on one side, should have been totaled, but the insurance adjuster told the dealer to replace the frame. along with other parts replace due to the accident, the total the insurance company paid was a little over $16,000!

However, regardless of BMW's stance on this, there would be no reason NOT to weld the tabs back on! They have absolutely NO affect on the frame itself, and do not contribute any strength at all to the frame. The ONLY purpose of the tabs is to support the tip over wings.

If I got hold of an LT with this being the only real problem with it, I would get the tab welded back on with no concern at all.

Logic??
Let me see if I got this right. BMW designs a bike with tip over wings (i.e. engine guards) basically to protect your investment. And the dealer makes that quite clear by not attempting any fixes and insurances for the most part totals the machine.
But you maintain if a weld is all it needs you would get it. Devil's advocate : accident or bike falls over and rider or bike suffers damages caused by the welds failing and the insurance declines coverage/reimbursement where does that leave the rider. Keep in mind the first time broken serial number and policy info are recorded. If it was me I would shop around for another bike.
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post #18 of 40 Old Sep 12th, 2011, 3:17 am
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Re: Tip over wing frame crack

The one I'm welding fell over on the right side while on the side stand. The rider had parked it with the J-Pegs in the out position & wind blew the bike over.

Just to be on the safe side I remove the computer & unhook all the sensors & batt. before any welding is done. I won't take any chances on someone else's bike.

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post #19 of 40 Old Sep 12th, 2011, 5:41 am
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Re: Tip over wing frame crack

Does anyone have a picture of the frame with the tabs in place?

This is the first time I have seen what so many talk about and I'm finally understanding what the so called tabs are all about. Nice to see what all of the talk was about.


Thanks Dave.

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post #20 of 40 Old Sep 12th, 2011, 6:21 am
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Re: Tip over wing frame crack

Quote:
Originally Posted by saddleman
......Just to be on the safe side I remove the computer & unhook all the sensors & batt. before any welding is done.....
I've been following this thread with interest. Not having understood exactly what was broken, David S's picture make it clear to me that welding this is perfectly safe to do.

I'd have it welded by an experienced weldor, if not a weldor certified in TIG welding aluminum, not just someone with a TIG welder. That sort of repair could also be done with a stick welder if using the right polarity, current, and rod. TIG is a little easier and cleaner but it can be done with "stick" welding. Aluminum arc rod # is 4043, DC reverse polarity. What ever method used, a knowledgeable weldor is a good idea. From the picture of the broken frame it is evident that there is plenty of thickness to the frame in the area of what would be a small weld, however damage to the base material resulting in weakening of the frame if done by an inept weldor.

And Dave's (aka saddleman) comment about isolating all the bike's electronic before applying the welding current is excellent advice. I would be quite possible to have those tabs nicely welded on, and a bike with a bunch of very expensive fried electronics.
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post #21 of 40 Old Sep 12th, 2011, 7:58 am
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Re: Tip over wing frame crack

I have to wonder, if a guy didn't want to weld on is bike. Couldn't he make up a new bracket, then drill & thread the frame & bolt it on.

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post #22 of 40 Old Sep 12th, 2011, 8:34 am Thread Starter
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Re: Tip over wing frame crack

Saddleman-Do you have to remove a lot of tupperware to do the job? Is it hard to weld so that the fit is perfect enough that the wing fits perfectly? Re drilling new holes in the frame--doesnt sound like that would be a good idea. I wouldnt want to mess with the integrity of the main part of the frame.
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post #23 of 40 Old Sep 12th, 2011, 8:44 am
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Re: Tip over wing frame crack

Quote:
Originally Posted by DanDiver
Does anyone have a picture of the frame with the tabs in place?

This is the first time I have seen what so many talk about and I'm finally understanding what the so called tabs are all about. Nice to see what all of the talk was about.


Thanks Dave.
You can see in the picture that one of the tabs is still in place, three of the four broken off.

If I remember correctly, the two slightly larger tabs toward the front of the bike are for the tip over wings, the two to the rear are fairing attachment points.

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post #24 of 40 Old Sep 12th, 2011, 9:43 am
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Re: Tip over wing frame crack

I'll throw my .02 cents in.
Welding these tabs back on would be a simple and cost effective job. These frames are of the 3006 grade of casting. When you weld in an area anywhere on these frames you weaken the area with heat dissipation called the heat affected zone, still no big deal. When welding with TIG the heat affected zone is quite sizable, using 5356 filler rod would give adequate strength to the area once tensile strength is brought back up to T6. This would be achieve quite easily by putting entire frame in an oven at 375 degrees for 23 hours and then cooled to ambient. I do things of this nature quite often so this is no big deal.
There are quite a few shops with ovens large enough to accomodate this requirement for a very reasonable price.
I would not even get close to any motorcycle frame with a stick rod. Heli-arc is the only way to repair anything on these bikes. The heat affected area is smaller with Heli-arc and a lot cleaner. Not to mention more appealing to the eyes.
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post #25 of 40 Old Sep 12th, 2011, 9:48 am
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Re: Tip over wing frame crack

Not knowing what the part cost or what is involved in replacing it, why not just remove and replace?

It's hard to believe that just a broken tab would make the bike a total! There must be more to it than that.

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post #26 of 40 Old Sep 12th, 2011, 9:57 am
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Re: Tip over wing frame crack

Part of the trick to welding the frame would be stripping the electronics off the bike to protect them. If you've watched the Long Way Around, they had to deal with a cracked frame on the cameraman's bike (GS). They found a welder easily enough but, after making the repair, the ABS computer was kaput.

Replacing the frame is labor intensive. Consider all the parts and components that have to be transferred to the new frame and all the labor-hours required. At $75-$100+ per hour, it's easy to see how that can easily overcome the value of the bike.

A friend of mine ended up needing to replace the frame on his FLH because the mounting tab for the engine guard was bent (!). It was quite the ordeal with H-D and the dealer shop. In addition to the labor, there is all the legal tracking of transferring the VIN to deal with.

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post #27 of 40 Old Sep 12th, 2011, 10:25 am
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Re: Tip over wing frame crack

Quote:
Originally Posted by 1dbweldor
I'll throw my .02 cents in.
Welding these tabs back on would be a simple and cost effective job. These frames are of the 3006 grade of casting. When you weld in an area anywhere on these frames you weaken the area with heat dissipation called the heat affected zone, still no big deal. When welding with TIG the heat affected zone is quite sizable, using 5356 filler rod would give adequate strength to the area once tensile strength is brought back up to T6. This would be achieve quite easily by putting entire frame in an oven at 375 degrees for 23 hours and then cooled to ambient. I do things of this nature quite often so this is no big deal.
There are quite a few shops with ovens large enough to accomodate this requirement for a very reasonable price.
I would not even get close to any motorcycle frame with a stick rod. Heli-arc is the only way to repair anything on these bikes. The heat affected area is smaller with Heli-arc and a lot cleaner. Not to mention more appealing to the eyes.
Thank you for this post. Given your online moniker I thought of you when reading this thread. I didn't know the correct terminology, e.g. "heat affected zone", etc.
The problem with pre-heating the frame is that the whole bike has to be taken apart to put the frame in an oven. Much more tempting to do an on the bike repair after isolating the electronics.
I wonder what your thoughts are on doing an on the bike repair. Weld strong enough to protect the bike in case of tipover without risk of a break at a weak repair, but no too big of an heat affected zone so the structural integrity of the frame isn't compromised.


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post #28 of 40 Old Sep 12th, 2011, 10:43 am
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Re: Tip over wing frame crack

Quote:
Originally Posted by DanDiver
Not knowing what the part cost or what is involved in replacing it, why not just remove and replace?

It's hard to believe that just a broken tab would make the bike a total! There must be more to it than that.
When they replaced mine, the frame itself was around $2,000, and replacing it involves basically dissembling the bike.

Here is what it looked like on the dealer lift for frame replacement.

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post #29 of 40 Old Sep 12th, 2011, 10:55 am
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Re: Tip over wing frame crack

Let me add that if you think these tip-over wings will protect you in a crash you may be mistaken. If the tabs break off falling over in the driveway imagine what they will do with some real energy applied to them. I understand the argument about the insurance company looking for an excuse not to pay (imagine that!) but if I found a nice bike that simply needed a tab reattached I would grab it right up and head to the machine shop.


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post #30 of 40 Old Sep 12th, 2011, 10:55 am
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Re: Tip over wing frame crack

I don't understand how the strength of the frame would be compromised by such a tiny surface weld on such an incredibly thick chunk of metal. Put the frame in an oven?

That area underneath and surrounding the tabs is the equivalent of a monster heat sink. If it is an issue why couldn't you just run a trickle of water from a hose around the affected area or wrap a wet towel around it?

I've seen in-place repairs done on structural aircraft tubing using this method - which is VERY thin wall.

An experienced heli-arc welder could make the repaired area look like it came that way from the factory, and it would be just as strong and most likely stronger than the cast protrusion with the additional "buttressing" (for lack of a better word) on both sides of the weld.


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post #31 of 40 Old Sep 12th, 2011, 11:55 am
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Re: Tip over wing frame crack

Charlie the question is not strong enough to hold but weakening the rest of the frame. The grounding is one of the things to look at. When grounding in one area and then welding in another you would pass electrons through the frame between these two areas which in turn would realign the molecules in such a way as to weaken the frame. Thus one of the reasons to heat treat the rest of the frame as well as the heat affected zone.
I am very well aware of stripping the frame to repair a small area might not be cost effective to someone that is not capable of wrenching on it themselves. To someone that is capable of wrenching themselves they can strip the frame down, have the repairs made, and reassemble the bike as well as whatever maintenance while disassembled for reasonable monies.
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post #32 of 40 Old Sep 12th, 2011, 12:02 pm
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Re: Tip over wing frame crack

WOW ! This thread has been an education and a lot of my questions have been answered. Even questions I forgot to ask.

Over the past 8 years or so, since I owned my K1200LT, I've heard a lot about the broken tabs and what to look out for, but I didn't really know what was being discussed.

Dave, thanks for the pictures and everyone else, thanks for the welding information. Is there any way to inspect a bike without removing any of the plastic? I'm now trying to figure out where exactly these are on the bike. Does the K1600GTL have them?

Dano
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post #33 of 40 Old Sep 12th, 2011, 12:33 pm
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Re: Tip over wing frame crack

Ron
The heat affected area on say 6061 .035 tubing will be considerably less than on 6061 .250 tubing for as simply as the heat does not travel near as far on the thinner than the thicker. It takes considerably more heat for the thicker expotentionally than the thin as the electrons have so much more travel on the thicker than the thin. The thicker will(WICK) the heat from the work area more than it will on the thinner.
On aircraft if you have a high stress area you will have considerably more mass to deal with if the part is aluminum. If the stresses are so much that it is not feasible to use aluminum (strength to weight ratio) they will use magnesium, chromoly, or even titanium. Also on using aluminum the higher stress components will have a TIME life. As aluminum ages constantly and becomes brittle with age it will have to be replaced.
When you heat treat these frames after welding you are realigning the molecules to a T6 if done right, eliminating the heat affected zone of the repair, and relieving any undo stresses in the frame. Now for the rest of the story as we ride these bikes and move them down the road we are weakening these frames when we pass electrical wires, go under or through bridges, pass by electrical sub stations just about any metal object stationary we are embrittling all the aluminum parts. As minute as it may be we are still doing this. Thus for aircraft parts is the TIME life.
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post #34 of 40 Old Sep 12th, 2011, 12:42 pm
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Re: Tip over wing frame crack

Gentlemen
I don't mean to come across as a Know it all or long winded. I know everybody has there way of fixing things and I have mine. If my wife is going to ride something for enjoyment I don't take any chances on things going wrong. I would assume others on this forum would be of the same frame of mind. It is much easier for me to fix it right and not worry when she is riding if I should have things differently. I do like the Piece of mind.
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post #35 of 40 Old Sep 12th, 2011, 2:35 pm
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Re: Tip over wing frame crack

I've learned a lot here, although I'll likely never be able to apply it in the real world.
So, having thought about the intensity of the work involved, I think I might go to the guy selling it, advise him on the cost involved, buy it cheap as hell, and leave the bike as is. Then just hope you don't tip it over
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post #36 of 40 Old Sep 12th, 2011, 6:47 pm
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Re: Tip over wing frame crack

I am thinking that maybe the insurance adjuster already knows how much a repair like that would cost, thus their choice to Total. I mean Look at the challenges involved: strip down to frame, time, AAA weldor, and paper work. What if a reoccurrence do they start over or do what should have been done the first time Total. After all it may be cheaper to replace with an upgrade model and they auction off the carcass. Just sayin'
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post #37 of 40 Old Sep 12th, 2011, 7:19 pm
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Re: Tip over wing frame crack

Quote:
Originally Posted by 1dbweldor
Gentlemen
I don't mean to come across as a Know it all or long winded. I know everybody has there way of fixing things and I have mine. If my wife is going to ride something for enjoyment I don't take any chances on things going wrong. I would assume others on this forum would be of the same frame of mind. It is much easier for me to fix it right and not worry when she is riding if I should have things differently. I do like the Piece of mind.
Don,

Thanks very much for taking the time in your posts.
Sometimes I'll make a decision make a repair that is "good enough", but I know isn't done right. I know enough about welding to be dangerous. I suspect that an "on the bike" repair of these tabs could be good enough. However, that frame is a major structure central to the bike's integrity, I'd hate to think of a catastrophic frame failure at speed. That's why I queried about the potential for altering the strength of the frame as a result of welding.

If it were my bike I'd probably just stick weld it myself (I have a TIG but it is a cheap chinese unit and doesn't have the AC for aluminum) and take my chances. However, in the interest of information exchange I thought anyone considering buying a bike needing such repair should have an idea of what might be involved. Your posts are obviously a valuable contribution. Thanks.
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post #38 of 40 Old Sep 12th, 2011, 8:55 pm
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Re: Tip over wing frame crack

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Originally Posted by carlemd
Saddleman-Do you have to remove a lot of tupperware to do the job? Is it hard to weld so that the fit is perfect enough that the wing fits perfectly? Re drilling new holes in the frame--doesnt sound like that would be a good idea. I wouldnt want to mess with the integrity of the main part of the frame.
It will take about 4 hours of prep work before welding & about the same amount of time after to put it back together. I'll have Matt from the race shop do the welding. He welds our cast aluminum race heads all day long with out the need for heat treat afterwards.

I'll post pic's afterwards on Oct. 15th. This isn't the first frame I've had fixed. I just never bothered to post anything about it.

Dave Selvig
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post #39 of 40 Old Sep 12th, 2011, 9:09 pm
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Re: Tip over wing frame crack

Dave: Be interested in the details, what filler rod, etc. Some folks got the touch, especially if they weld every day.

B D R
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post #40 of 40 Old Sep 12th, 2011, 9:38 pm
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Re: Tip over wing frame crack

Quote:
Originally Posted by deanwoolsey
Let me add that if you think these tip-over wings will protect you in a crash you may be mistaken. If the tabs break off falling over in the driveway imagine what they will do with some real energy applied to them.
I have to argue this point. Having seen what the tipover wings do to a car when they go through the grille, they hold up pretty well. The frame bent slightly, but the tab didn't break. Kept me from losing a leg just below the knee.

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