Rusty 531 frame

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Garry Booth
Posts: 231
Joined: 12 Jan 2010, 11:22am

Rusty 531 frame

Postby Garry Booth » 29 Jun 2020, 11:43am

A cautionary tale: my son bought a nice veteran touring bike (a well respected northern frame/bike make) a couple of years ago which he has had good use out of. Just recently he removed the bottle cage to see why it was rattling and discovered the frame had rusted thru around one of the two fittings. Before he'd got round to fixing that, the bike's forks collapsed under him having rusted through imperceptibly around their respective lugs!
It goes to show that even an early Eighties 531 frame from a good maker is not immune to catastrophic rust.

amediasatex
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Joined: 2 Nov 2015, 12:51pm
Location: Sunny Devon! just East of the Moor

Re: Rusty 531 frame

Postby amediasatex » 29 Jun 2020, 12:22pm

Rust cares not for who built a frame, but only who looks after it.

If your son only bought it a couple of years ago then most of the damage was probably accumulated (unseen) under the previous owner.

Des49
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Joined: 2 Dec 2014, 11:45am

Re: Rusty 531 frame

Postby Des49 » 29 Jun 2020, 12:35pm

Agreed the damage was probably accumulating from a long time ago, water gets into frames and the conditions the bike is stored in matter a lot. The fork failure is especially concerning.

A frame is fairly easy to protect internally with a spray treatment, but forks are inaccessible to apply anything internally.

Do you have any pictures of the fork failure? I would be interested to see as it may help to know what to look out for on some of our frames which are getting on too.

whoof
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Joined: 29 Apr 2014, 2:13pm

Re: Rusty 531 frame

Postby whoof » 29 Jun 2020, 12:39pm

I knew someone with an Italian frame, Columbus Aelle tubing. After 18 months from new the paint started to bubble. Took it back to the shop who said they would take a look at it and had it sand blasted and the frame was like a pepper pot and wasn't good for anything but scrap.

Des49
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Joined: 2 Dec 2014, 11:45am

Re: Rusty 531 frame

Postby Des49 » 29 Jun 2020, 12:48pm

whoof wrote:I knew someone with an Italian frame, Columbus Aelle tubing. After 18 months from new the paint started to bubble. Took it back to the shop who said they would take a look at it and had it sand blasted and the frame was like a pepper pot and wasn't good for anything but scrap.


Was this around the time of the Alfa Romeo steel scandal? Think this was late 70s or early 80s. One of my uncles brought a brand new Alfa, within 2 months you could put your fingers through holes in the wings! Wasn't there a lot of cheap steel used with too high a percentage of scrap reused in it around at the time in Italy? At least I think that's what got the blame.

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simonineaston
Posts: 2975
Joined: 9 May 2007, 1:06pm
Location: Live & work in Briz'l

Re: Rusty 531 frame

Postby simonineaston » 29 Jun 2020, 12:48pm

I remember being quite taken aback when learning of the thickness (or otherwise...) of the tube stock used by frame-makers when they choose 531... I'm not implying any mal-practice - 531's supposed to be thin! Of course, I can't recall much detail and certainly can't recall if butting is relevant to forks.
ttfn, Simon in Easton
(currently enjoying a Moulton TSR & a nano Brompton...)

Garry Booth
Posts: 231
Joined: 12 Jan 2010, 11:22am

Re: Rusty 531 frame

Postby Garry Booth » 29 Jun 2020, 12:53pm

Des 49, I'll ask him for a pic. G

Des49
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Joined: 2 Dec 2014, 11:45am

Re: Rusty 531 frame

Postby Des49 » 29 Jun 2020, 1:02pm

Garry Booth wrote:Des 49, I'll ask him for a pic. G


Thanks!

I ride a 30 yr old seel frame most days, plus will rebuild an older racing frame for my wife sometime. It is the latter that suffered most when hanging in a shed unused for years, it has been resprayed and is ready for when I find time to rebuild it. There is a small hole at the end of the chainstay at the dropout, the frame builder through which the respray was done said this wasn't structural - I will do a post on this when I eventually manage to work on the bike.

whoof
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Joined: 29 Apr 2014, 2:13pm

Re: Rusty 531 frame

Postby whoof » 29 Jun 2020, 1:08pm

Des49 wrote:
whoof wrote:I knew someone with an Italian frame, Columbus Aelle tubing. After 18 months from new the paint started to bubble. Took it back to the shop who said they would take a look at it and had it sand blasted and the frame was like a pepper pot and wasn't good for anything but scrap.


Was this around the time of the Alfa Romeo steel scandal? Think this was late 70s or early 80s. One of my uncles brought a brand new Alfa, within 2 months you could put your fingers through holes in the wings! Wasn't there a lot of cheap steel used with too high a percentage of scrap reused in it around at the time in Italy? At least I think that's what got the blame.


No this would have been 1994 +/- one year. I saw an identical frame, manufacturer, model and colour for sale on here a year or two ago.

bgnukem
Posts: 354
Joined: 20 Dec 2010, 5:21pm

Re: Rusty 531 frame

Postby bgnukem » 29 Jun 2020, 1:16pm

Aelle was pretty thick-walled, basic steel tubing too!

531C is 0.5mm thick in the butted areas I believe.

Still riding my '94 Dawes made from 531ST (0.7mm thick), owned since new, but I flooded the tubes with waxoyl years ago. It gets ridden as a winter bike so has been through many floods and wet, salty rides etc. but is always dried after a ride and dry stored. Never allowed any external rust to develop either.

gxaustin
Posts: 571
Joined: 23 Sep 2015, 12:07pm

Re: Rusty 531 frame

Postby gxaustin » 29 Jun 2020, 4:23pm

Was this around the time of the Alfa Romeo steel scandal? Think this was late 70s or early 80s. One of my uncles brought a brand new Alfa, within 2 months you could put your fingers through holes in the wings! Wasn't there a lot of cheap steel used with too high a percentage of scrap reused in it around at the time in Italy? At least I think that's what got the blame.


Fiat built the Lada factory to make the lada version of the Fiat 124. I believe they were paid in Russian steel. All Fiat group cars in UK suffered apalling rust especially Alfasud (made fairly close to the sea near Naples) and Lancia.

As for steel frames: I have the tube offcuts from my 853 frame. Bear in mind these are the thicker parts of the butted tubes and they are thinner in the middle. The main tubes and forks measure at 0.75mm. I believe they are 0.6mm at their thinnest. The oval chain stays are Columbus and are 1.0mm.