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Drill holes in bike frame?

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
On Fri, 24 Sep 2004 10:06:50 -0500, Pat <Pat@dailynews.com> wrote:

> I was advised recently that I should treat the inside of my steel bike
> with
> some kind of spray to prohibit rust. Then, he said I should remove the
> bottom bracket's cylinder and drill a hole in the bottom bracket so as to
> let water escape. Then, he recommended other holes at various places for
> the same reason.
>
> Has anyone done this? Is this really a recommended procedure?
>
> Pat in TX
>
>


My LeMond has a hole there. Supposedly, there's a lot of debate about
this.

--
Bob in CT
Remove ".x" to reply
post #2 of 10

Re: Drill holes in bike frame?

The manual that comes with this years Campy Record bottom bracket
recommends a hole.

However, I have three old bikes without holes (Reynolds 531 tubing) from
the 70's which I just rebuilt with new components and there was no rust
inside the bottom brackets nor inside the down tubes as far as I could
see up them. One of these, a Paramount, had a Campy bottom bracket, but
the shell has no hole -- there is a hole near the end of the rear
dropout on the chain stay. They have all been ridden in the rain and
stored in an area in which other things, like lawnmower blades, have rusted.

It may be that the modern bottom bracket fittings are not as watertight
as the old ones, although this is not apparent visually.

Bob in CT wrote:
> On Fri, 24 Sep 2004 10:06:50 -0500, Pat <Pat@dailynews.com> wrote:
>
>> I was advised recently that I should treat the inside of my steel bike
>> with
>> some kind of spray to prohibit rust. Then, he said I should remove the
>> bottom bracket's cylinder and drill a hole in the bottom bracket so as to
>> let water escape. Then, he recommended other holes at various places for
>> the same reason.
>>
>> Has anyone done this? Is this really a recommended procedure?
>>
>> Pat in TX
>>
>>

>
> My LeMond has a hole there. Supposedly, there's a lot of debate about
> this.
>



--
Bob Wheeler --- http://www.bobwheeler.com/
ECHIP, Inc. ---
Randomness comes in bunches.
post #3 of 10

Re: Drill holes in bike frame?

On Fri, 24 Sep 2004 10:06:50 -0500, Pat wrote:

> I was advised recently that I should treat the inside of my steel bike
> with some kind of spray to prohibit rust. Then, he said I should remove
> the bottom bracket's cylinder and drill a hole in the bottom bracket so as
> to let water escape. Then, he recommended other holes at various places
> for the same reason.


This "advice" extends the usual folklore to new depths. Are you supposed
to drill a hole in the fork blades?  Please say no. Some of this
nonsense comes from the fact that a lot of steel bikes have holes in
various places, and people don't know why they are there. They are there
to let hot air escape during brazing/welding, not to let water in or out.

Putting a hole in your bottom bracket to let water out is like putting a
hole in the bottom of a boat to let the water out.

The major source of water inside the frame is the seat tube/seatpost
junction. I've heard tales of lots of water getting in that way. But I
have never had a problem, and I do ride in the rain when I can't avoid it.
Be sure to put a lot of grease on the seatpost before you slide it in the
frame, and it should take care of that.

You do not need to spray the inside of your frame with goop to prevent
rust. This is a cure for a problem that does not exist. I still ride a
30-year-old bike, and there is no significant rust inside. Sure, there is
a coating, but it's not eating away at the frame.

Jobst once suggested an absolute rust-preventer. Make sure your frame is
clean on the inside, and fill up all the tubes with molten lead.


--

David L. Johnson

__o | Accept risk. Accept responsibility. Put a lawyer out of
_`\(,_ | business.
(_)/ (_) |
post #4 of 10

Re: Drill holes in bike frame?

David L. Johnson <david.johnson@lehigh.edu> writes:

>> I was advised recently that I should treat the inside of my steel
>> bike with some kind of spray to prohibit rust. Then, he said I
>> should remove the bottom bracket's cylinder and drill a hole in the
>> bottom bracket so as to let water escape. Then, he recommended
>> other holes at various places for the same reason.


> This "advice" extends the usual folklore to new depths. Are you
> supposed to drill a hole in the fork blades?? Please say no. Some
> of this nonsense comes from the fact that a lot of steel bikes have
> holes in various places, and people don't know why they are there.
> They are there to let hot air escape during brazing/welding, not to
> let water in or out.


> Putting a hole in your bottom bracket to let water out is like
> putting a hole in the bottom of a boat to let the water out.


> The major source of water inside the frame is the seat tube/seatpost
> junction. I've heard tales of lots of water getting in that way. But I
> have never had a problem, and I do ride in the rain when I can't avoid it.
> Be sure to put a lot of grease on the seatpost before you slide it in the
> frame, and it should take care of that.


To give an idea how bad the seat post leak is, one need only to hear
from frame builders who repair frames where newspaper was left in the
seat tube by the frame painter only to soak up water and rust through
the tube.

> You do not need to spray the inside of your frame with goop to prevent
> rust. This is a cure for a problem that does not exist. I still ride a
> 30-year-old bike, and there is no significant rust inside. Sure, there is
> a coating, but it's not eating away at the frame.


> Jobst once suggested an absolute rust-preventer. Make sure your frame is
> clean on the inside, and fill up all the tubes with molten lead.


I don't recall that quip but vent holes in my bicycle frame are brazed
shut. You can solicit testimonials from people who have ridding many
miles over many years with no internal rust problems on their ancient
frames. This sort of fear sells useless ointments and gives bike
owners (not to be confused with riders) something to do and fret over.

Jobst Brandt
jobst.brandt@stanfordalumni.org
post #5 of 10

Re: Drill holes in bike frame?

"David L. Johnson" <david.johnson@lehigh.edu> wrote in message
newsan.2004.09.24.18.13.25.179498@lehigh.edu...
>
> Jobst once suggested an absolute rust-preventer. Make sure your frame is
> clean on the inside, and fill up all the tubes with molten lead.
>

This might explain all the Schwinn Varsities still in running condition
around here. Heavy, but indestructible.
post #6 of 10

Re: Drill holes in bike frame?

<jobst.brandt@stanfordalumni.org> wrote
>
> I don't recall that quip but vent holes in my bicycle frame are brazed
> shut. You can solicit testimonials from people who have ridding [sic]

many
> miles over many years with no internal rust problems on their ancient
> frames. This sort of fear sells useless ointments and gives bike
> owners (not to be confused with riders) something to do and fret over.


On the other hand, I have seen a few frames that have rusted through to
failure. These were all at the chainstay, a more vulnerable location than
the bottom bracket. One of these frames was stored in a warm, seaside area,
the others were ridden in New England winters. Salts used to treat roads
here can be very corrosive, much worse than simple riding in the rain. Most
riders don't ride in these briny conditions, and many of those who do use
"beater" bikes, but it can be a problem. If you ride a good bike in these
conditions, it's probably worth the $10 to buy a can of the stuff that's
made to solve the problem.
post #7 of 10

Re: Drill holes in bike frame?

On Sat, 25 Sep 2004 17:18:01 +0000, Peter Cole wrote:

> On the other hand, I have seen a few frames that have rusted through to
> failure. These were all at the chainstay, a more vulnerable location than
> the bottom bracket.


Well, most of the treatment schemes won't get any goop inside the
chainstays unless the bottom bracket has holes at the chainstays. Old
bikes do, but I doubt that most new ones would.

> One of these frames was stored in a warm, seaside
> area, the others were ridden in New England winters. Salts used to treat
> roads here can be very corrosive, much worse than simple riding in the
> rain. Most riders don't ride in these briny conditions, and many of
> those who do use "beater" bikes, but it can be a problem. If you ride a
> good bike in these conditions, it's probably worth the $10 to buy a can
> of the stuff that's made to solve the problem.


If you drill a hole in the bottom bracket, and if it has holes at the
chainstays, you are setting it up to repeatedly get road brine in there.

Did these rust out from the inside, or in from the outside? How would you
be able to tell?

--

David L. Johnson

__o | The lottery is a tax on those who fail to understand
_`\(,_ | mathematics.
(_)/ (_) |
post #8 of 10

Re: Drill holes in bike frame?

"David L. Johnson" <david.johnson@lehigh.edu> wrote in message
newsan.2004.09.26.00.12.12.825386@lehigh.edu...
> On Sat, 25 Sep 2004 17:18:01 +0000, Peter Cole wrote:
>
> > On the other hand, I have seen a few frames that have rusted through to
> > failure. These were all at the chainstay, a more vulnerable location

than
> > the bottom bracket.

>
> Well, most of the treatment schemes won't get any goop inside the
> chainstays unless the bottom bracket has holes at the chainstays. Old
> bikes do, but I doubt that most new ones would.


Don't know, the only frame I ever treated had holes so the chainstays could
be reached.

> > One of these frames was stored in a warm, seaside
> > area, the others were ridden in New England winters. Salts used to

treat
> > roads here can be very corrosive, much worse than simple riding in the
> > rain. Most riders don't ride in these briny conditions, and many of
> > those who do use "beater" bikes, but it can be a problem. If you ride a
> > good bike in these conditions, it's probably worth the $10 to buy a can
> > of the stuff that's made to solve the problem.

>
> If you drill a hole in the bottom bracket, and if it has holes at the
> chainstays, you are setting it up to repeatedly get road brine in there.


I haven't drilled my BB's, although I've thought about it. I have tried
sealing all brazing holes and other entry points and still get water in my
frames sometimes.

> Did these rust out from the inside, or in from the outside? How would

you
> be able to tell?


There was no evidence of corrosion until pinholes appeared, rust was from
the inside out, as is so common with car body panels around here.
post #9 of 10

Re: Drill holes in bike frame?

Peter Cole writes:

>> I don't recall that quip but vent holes in my bicycle frame are
>> brazed shut. You can solicit testimonials from people who have
>> ridden many miles over many years with no internal rust problems on
>> their ancient frames. This sort of fear sells useless ointments
>> and gives bike owners (not to be confused with riders) something to
>> do and fret over.


> On the other hand, I have seen a few frames that have rusted through
> to failure. These were all at the chainstay, a more vulnerable
> location than the bottom bracket. One of these frames was stored in
> a warm, seaside area, the others were ridden in New England winters.
> Salts used to treat roads here can be very corrosive, much worse
> than simple riding in the rain.


I assume you mean the chainstays rusted from the inside. How did the
water get in there and if that was obvious, why was it allowed to get
in there? You imply that the external atmosphere caused internal rust.
That sounds like the sales pitch of a frame elixir. In contrast,
bicycles ridden in snowy areas with salt on the roads don't fail
regularly but their rims don't hold a shine.

> Most riders don't ride in these briny conditions, and many of those
> who do use "beater" bikes, but it can be a problem. If you ride a
> good bike in these conditions, it's probably worth the $10 to buy a
> can of the stuff that's made to solve the problem.


Why are "beater bikes" less susceptible to internal rust than more
expensive ones? Thanks for the $10 pitch. I'll have to consider that
with the many miles I have ridden with the same bicycle. Just think
how many products you could buy and add to your bicycle under the
motto better safe than sorry. There's a large market for that today.

Jobst Brandt
jobst.brandt@stanfordalumni.org
post #10 of 10

Re: Drill holes in bike frame?

<jobst.brandt@stanfordalumni.org> wrote in message
news:M426d.15352$54.235146@typhoon.sonic.net...
> Peter Cole writes:
>
> >> I don't recall that quip but vent holes in my bicycle frame are
> >> brazed shut. You can solicit testimonials from people who have
> >> ridden many miles over many years with no internal rust problems on
> >> their ancient frames. This sort of fear sells useless ointments
> >> and gives bike owners (not to be confused with riders) something to
> >> do and fret over.

>
> > On the other hand, I have seen a few frames that have rusted through
> > to failure. These were all at the chainstay, a more vulnerable
> > location than the bottom bracket. One of these frames was stored in
> > a warm, seaside area, the others were ridden in New England winters.
> > Salts used to treat roads here can be very corrosive, much worse
> > than simple riding in the rain.

>
> I assume you mean the chainstays rusted from the inside. How did the
> water get in there and if that was obvious, why was it allowed to get
> in there?


I have no idea, perhaps vent holes, perhaps at the seattube, I don't know.
I've tried to seal my bikes up as well as I can, but still find water in
the frame sometimes.

> You imply that the external atmosphere caused internal rust.
> That sounds like the sales pitch of a frame elixir.


This was one frame I saw at the frame builder's, it was his explanation.
Having relatives who have lived in homes that were on the beach, I recall
that corrosion was a problem. The fact that chainstays rusted through from
the inside, and since chainstays slope downward to the BB, it would seem
that it wasn't standing water that caused the problem, but for all I know,
the owner rode it in the surf (which I doubt, since it was a high-end
Italian frame).


> In contrast,
> bicycles ridden in snowy areas with salt on the roads don't fail
> regularly but their rims don't hold a shine.


My rims don't look too bad except for a bit of corrosion around the
eyelets.

> > Most riders don't ride in these briny conditions, and many of those
> > who do use "beater" bikes, but it can be a problem. If you ride a
> > good bike in these conditions, it's probably worth the $10 to buy a
> > can of the stuff that's made to solve the problem.

>
> Why are "beater bikes" less susceptible to internal rust than more
> expensive ones?


They're not, people just consider them more expendable.

> Thanks for the $10 pitch. I'll have to consider that
> with the many miles I have ridden with the same bicycle. Just think
> how many products you could buy and add to your bicycle under the
> motto better safe than sorry. There's a large market for that today.


I'm not selling anything. I did treat one of my frames that way as it
occurred to me that the investment was trivial, the frame was valuable, and
the conditions I ride in were pretty corrosive. BTW, the only other "safe
than sorry" products I know of in that price range are LED blinkers,
reflective decals and KoolStop pads, all of which I think are pretty good.
I don't see the bike market as crowded with "safe than sorry" products,
unless that's code for helmets -- and I'm not going there....
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