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Tig welding a aluminum motorcycle frame?

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  • waffenampt
    started a topic Tig welding a aluminum motorcycle frame?

    Tig welding a aluminum motorcycle frame?

    I am purchasing a 2001 gsxr 1000 , and it has 2 small hairline cracks in the frame near the steering stem area. I was going to have it welded or I might even try to weld it if I ever get my welding down to a art and am confident enough to weld it. I am just not sure what filler rod would be best on this type of frame. It is a suzuki motorcycle notorious for frame problems. Has anyone had experience in the area of welding this type of aluminum frame before? I have heard about people using 4043 and 5356 fillers but just not sure. Here are a couple pics
    Attached Files

  • BELLBOYMOTORSPORTS
    replied
    bike frame repair (from a rider standpoint )

    It also depends on what you are buying the bike for if you are getting it to use strictly as a stunt bike then by all means get it but if you are looking for a track and road bike then leave it alone. If you are going to stunt the bike you might not ride it faster than 20 m.p.h. I ride and own a gixxer my self, the bike has been abused hard especially if the frame cracked near the neck. So again if you are looking for a bike to ride around the city then DO NOT mess with it but if you are looking for a STUNT bike go for it because you will do alot worse to it like punch holes in the frame.

    Leave a comment:


  • Keith_J
    replied
    Not a good idea to weld an aluminum motorcycle frame unless you have the facility to heat treat the entire frame AND assure alignment. The frame was made of aluminum for weight reasons. The strength to weight ratio is only superior in the treated state, as-welded cuts that ratio by at least 3, more likely 4 or more. So if it were 6061 in the T6 state, the yield strength (stress at which permanent deformation happens) is in the 36,000 PSI range, about the same of A36 structural steel. As-welded, the yield strength is in the 8000 PSI range.

    Contact the manufacturer for proper weld repair.

    Leave a comment:


  • 2T Institute
    replied
    http://www.2t-special.it/forum/viewtopic.php?f=14&t=498

    A quick look here and after seeing Alex's results you will realise anything is possible with machine tools and skill.

    Leave a comment:


  • trailblazer
    replied
    I have done this before exept i had a customer bring me a bike very similar to what your describing and i believe it was a suzuki that had been crashed and the frame was in about three pieces. The frame was originaly cast into halfs and weld down the center so i knew it was a weldable cast alum. I first beveled all the areas removed and stressed or bent areas with the plasma cutter, then cleaned all areas with a stainless wire brush and furthers wiped down with asetone. I then pre heated the joints ,used my syncrowave 250 using 1/8 pure tungsten at 150 to 200 amps (some parts of the weld where thicker and required more heat) then tacked every thing on a nice flat surface while constantly checking my square, and i welded all with 3/32 4043 rods,and had great results. So i would think a small crack just V it out clean it good, preheat, and weld. I hope this was helpful.

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  • cogumelo
    replied
    Aluminium FRAME WELDER

    Hi guys!
    I'm looking to buy a bike with a welded aluminium frame, it has a MSVA Test by VOSA and is ready to road...the bike is a heavy Honda ST1300...
    I would like to know how can I entrust that is well welded and it's completatly safe to ride... or maybe an welded aluminium frame will never be completatly safe to ride? specially on a 350kg bike plus 300kg of passengers and luggage....
    Here a picture of the welded frame...
    Click image for larger version

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    Thank you very much!


    Marco.

    Leave a comment:


  • bluekat600
    replied
    Maybe I'll chime in ... DONT BUY IT! It's a Gixxer thou with a broken neck! The neck integrity and geometry is *crucial* (see here) to handling and braking so it should be written off and scrapped with a (permanent) non-repairable title. Can you imagine what might happen if you're floating along at a buck fifty and need to grab a mitfull of brake and the triple goes forward and the forks snap into the radiator? The neck on your Gixxer (and every other legal street bike) has a serial number on it ... for a reason. The only way to 'fix' the bike is to have the neck cut, buy a new neck ($$) and pay someone who has a frame table to weld the new neck ($$$$) ... then, at best you have a bike you can't legally use on the street (at least where I live) and it's not something the guy who TIG welds bikes for Vicious Cycle here in Edmonton will do (he doesn't have a frame table), even if he could. Way too dangerous. The frame is done. The bike I race, for e.g. has a repairable title (because the subframe was twisted) ... it's off but just outside of factory spec. The neck is fine, but to make it street legal, I'd need to replace the subframe.

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  • lens42
    replied
    I won't chime in on the wisdom of these sorts of repairs, but if bikes are like other wheeled vehicles (I'm more familiar with cars), it is very rare that you get a "deal" buying damaged goods. The buyer almost always underestimates the complexity and cost of the repair. Even worse, the seller usually discounts the price only for the estimated repair cost, with little or nothing thrown in for the "pain in the @ss" factor. Why buy busted goods when a little more looking will likely get you a primo version of what you want at a price difference that'll closely match what you'd spend fixing it? This bike has to be an outright steal to be worth it.

    Leave a comment:


  • bluekat600
    replied
    Thanks!

    I think you're right about not needing any special certification to do the rather simple job I described; it just so happens that the guy who did the welds passed the Alberta Boiler Safety Association's Grade B Pressure Welder test -- he works on pipelines and knows his stuff but doesn't want to get involved in defending himself to non-welders -- he does welding repairs on race bikes on the side, more as a hobby than as a source of income (I was charged only $75 CAD).

    The question the engineer on the committe brought up seems to be baseless theoretical speculation about whether the welds I took pics of may reduce the integrity of the cases (which, as you're correct in thinking, would pose track maintenance issues if they failed during a crash). It would be rare for a bike to highside and land on the track, fracturing a case cover and spewing oil onto the track ... I've never seen it, but I think it's much more likely that a previously "crash rashed" stock cover would scrape right through during a long slide (again, something I've only heard about and never seen at the small track we race on, the longest strech of which is less than half a mile long).

    So ... I'd like to post something on the EMRA technical forum before the committee meeting that's coming up (without pointing a finger at one of the chief tech inspectors) and I'm wondering what a knowledgable welder would include in a post regarding the likelihood of harming the integrity of stock case covers after they were welded for the purpose of reducing the possibility of scraping through the pot stock aluminum ...

    Thank you for taking the time to read and reply to my question. It's much appreciated!

    Aiden.

    Leave a comment:


  • walker
    replied
    I am not a bike guy, that said, those engine case covers appear to be cast aluminum, nothing special. There should be very little pressure on them, so I don't see why a welder would need a pressure certification to weld them. The reinforcement seems to be there just in the event the bike hits the ground to keep the oil in the case. Any tech guy who gives you fits for welding on that has no idea what he is talking about.

    Leave a comment:


  • bluekat600
    replied
    ^
    Thanks Denny,

    According to the 2010 Edmonton Motorcycle Roadracing Association Rulebook:

    Engine case covers must be suitably reinforced, or be of heavy duty type specifically intended for racing use.
    Alternate suitable protection for engine cases, such as frame mounted sliders, may be permitted (subject to suitability
    and at the discretion of the Chief Technical Inspector) where suitable aftermarket reinforcement or race specific
    covers are not commercially available.
    So my inquiry has to do with the basis upon which the technical committee may deem TIG welding to weaken stock sportbike aluminum covers.

    The welder is b-pressure certified and uses a Dynasty 350DX TIG Runner.

    I searched for an hour trying to find what kind of aluminum alloy was used to form the cast OEM case covers. Unfortunately I wasn't able to find out that info, but for argument's sake, let's say it's 5052.

    I took some pics of the completed job (I low-sided the bike during the last race weekend, hence the rash on the magneto case cover).
    Attached Files

    Leave a comment:


  • yorkiepap
    replied
    Hey bluecat,
    Your query lacks much information regarding the alteration you need to do.
    1) Are you inquiring about the possibility of weakening the present cover with welding it?
    2) Are you indicating you have to change the present alum. covers with steel ones?
    3) Are you experienced with TIG welding? Do you have an adequate TIG unit to accomplish this project?
    4) What are the qualification parameters set by the regulating agency that allows said usage of your bike?

    You have to understand that knowing the cover metal grade will dictate welding process & possible damage from heating/cooling. Aluminum is the most finicky regarding cleanliness & since the cover has been immersed in oil or other lubricating fluid, your success ratio has been significantly reduced with contamination unless you can have it chemically cleaned to virtually "germ-free". Any welding produces a HAZ(HeatAffectedZone) that surrounds the weld joint & will alter the metallic properties & possibly induce cracking. If you have to change from alum. to steel, the regulating agency would have to indicate acceptable grades of steel & process/certification engaged. An example would be such as Nascar/Oval/Drag/IHRA ruling that TIG only or TIG & MIG is acceptable. The ruling bodies set the parameters & are strictly enforced.

    Post your intentions as detailed as possible. Pics will be the best way to view your project and will allow other members to offer a suggestion or comment.

    Denny

    Leave a comment:


  • bluekat600
    replied
    TIG welding aluminum to beef up case covers?

    Not to jack the thread, but I'm new to the site and can't send a PM:

    Yorkiepap,

    I'm looking for some facts on whether TIG welding stock aluminum case covers on my 2000 R6 could actually weaken it ...

    For this year, stock aluminum case covers aren't allowed so some guys (including me) whose bikes are too old for Woodcrafts (and can't find NRC covers for their bike) were advised to have their magneto- and impulse generator covers TIG welded (by a reputable b-pressure certified welder) to build them up bar steel to pass tech ... BUT one of the guys on the tech committee is an engineer (not a materials engineer) "speculates" that the cooling after the welding might weaken the covers. He doesn't know for sure, so now there's a chance they won't pass tech. Since a lot of guys with older bikes have already taken this option, it's going to be discussed by the tech committee (which comprises said engineer, a firefighter, and a couple other racers, none of whom are welders). Anyway, I need to do some homework and wanted direction on how to get facts, not conjecture. What's your take?

    I'd appreciate any advice because I want to be able to race round 2 and I can't see any other options if the committee decides the work I had done on the covers was for naut!__________________
    Last edited by bluekat600; 05-25-2010, 04:52 AM. Reason: Added more info

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  • Aerometalworker
    replied
    Not knowing the condition of the alloy ( heat treatment ), not knowing the base alloy, and having a "tenderfoot" do the work..........yikes. This is a no-brainer........either find out EXACTLY what your working on, or DONT DO IT. Of course there is probably some "buddy" of yours that will weld it up for you.....there always is. If a couple of us seem harsh, thick of it as a warning shot for your own safety to "engage brain before performing work" , and if the task is too difficult, find someone qualified to make the determination for you. And please for the love of God, dont ask an internet forum what the alloy of your frame is and if its heat treated.

    Leave a comment:


  • BMFwelder
    replied
    my 2 cents

    I worked for one of the largest motorcycle, dirtbike, 4wheeler, ect (cant say who because of confidentiality agreements) repairing rejected frames including aluminum dirtbike frames which believe it or not were designed to take much more abuse than their aluminum street bike frame. If this happened in house I would have repaired it and customers would never have known. I have actually seen one that I repaired at a local dealership. This is all I will say about it, I cant afford a law suit or 12 year prison sentence

    Leave a comment:

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