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opinions: 2003 cracked frame repair or...

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My trusty 03 and I have finally reached a crossroads it seems. I found a crack in the frame two days ago as I was prepping for my weekend riding.

pics:

IMG_20111023_152848.jpg

IMG_20111023_152923.jpg

I've had the bike for 5 years and it has been excellent. I've maintained the filters and oil and only had to do the routine stuff like tires, chain, sprocket, brakes, chain slider and guide replacements, it has been a solid, reliable bike.

I ride mx 2 or 3 times a month and have done so since I bought it in 2005. So that means its got a lot of hours. My conservative guess is around 250, likely more.

I love the bike and am pretty happy with it. Like anyone, I would like something newer but I like having money in my account too.

But with that many hours should i fix it or what?

And how do you fix? Welding repair or ebay frame?

Edited by indy16

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Wow never have seen a crack in that area. I have a good spare used 03 frame that would get you back on track. No charge. The tank lanyard clip that's tack welded to the top shock mount was broken off during shipping. This clip or a suitable spacer must be installed in this location. Pm if interested.

################### just realized Im in the wrong thread I thought I was still in the 2t forum. My frame is 250r. Sorry for the mixup.

Edited by pieplatesnductape

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Um Aluminum is not very difficult to weld!! But you will have a more bittle spot in that area and may cause another crack down the road etc. I would look for a good used one or its time for an upgrade.

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Sell it for parts. Its very difficult to weld aluminum and in this case, it just isnt worth it!

it's not difficult to weld it, it is a skill that must be practiced, and lots of shops can do it, high end shops can xray it to make sure it's really fixed right

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I know an aerospace welder that could fix that with no problem. He does contract work for many Dallas area Honda dealerships when welding is required for Gold Wing frame reinforcement.

I'd suggest that you contact your local Honda dealership to find out who has been doing their Gold Wing frame welding. He should be able to handle that job.

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I feel for ya, indy16. I have an '04 R that had a crack in the EXACT same spot. I mean identical! I took the bike, (halfway disassembled for ease of access to the area needing repaired) to a local "welder" who looked at it and said, "Oh yeah, that's no problem to fix!"

Well, for a competent TIG operator it might not have been a problem, but for this retard, it must have been impossible, because he ended up destroying the frame...I could have choked him, right then and there. But I calmly told him I wasn't paying him $100 for ruining a frame, loaded the bike up, suggested that he re-assess his skills, and went home.

I ended up buying another frame from a guy here on TT. Bolted everything on to it and haven't looked back...

Moral of the story: make sure the guy taking a welder to your bike knows what he's doing, or buy a good replacement. Sorry to hear about it either way, though.

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I think part of the problem is that the guys overestimate the thickness of the material, they don't realize how thin it really is. Another issue a buddy had was that the internal volume had no vent, so the welder couldn't finish the weld without it blowing out. They ended up drilling a small pilot elsewhere, so the air could escape, then just put a little dab of silicone over it.

I'd buy a frame on TT or eBay and swap everything over. I'd also look into having the frame repaired so that it's ready to go, should there be another issue. As much as I'd like a new bike sometimes, this problem wouldn't be a deal breaker if it happened to my '04.

Speaking of that, gotta go inspect the bike now!

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i used to weld alot of aluminum back in the day and if it was my bike, i would just replace the frame. there are lots of frames on ebay, especially for an 03. if you had a welder fix it, you might have trouble selling it down the road. i am sure a good tig welder can fix it, but the area it cracked in would probably break again over time. you would have strip the bike anyway to have it welded properly so why not just do a frame swap.

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Thanks for the input guys.

The frame swap seems to be the way to go especially with the prices on ebay.

Just to be sure, the 02-04 frames are identical?

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As far as I know, yes, 02-04 frames are compatible. The frame swap is easy; Honda does a great job making this things easy to work on. Took me a long afternoon, pulling motor, forks, swingarm, and bodywork, etc. and mounting it on the new frame. for what it's worth, a frame swap is the better route, in my opinion.

And if you can't get the title with the frame, if and when you decide to sell it, providing a bill of sale with reason for VIN differences, should be good enough for anybody interested in purchasing it.

Good luck man!

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Thanks for the assurance Hodgey, your first post in this thread def. got my attention.

In spite of the crack in the frame, my confidence in Honda is still pretty high and gives me hope that everything should line up from one frame to another.

Hope it only takes me a day to do the "transplant"

Now what do you do with the old frame??

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You should hang onto it because you'll need to show it to the DMV if you want to fix your paperwork. If you decide not to correct your paperwork, you'll want to give it to the new owner (when you sell it someday) to prove that it isn't stolen.

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You should hang onto it because you'll need to show it to the DMV if you want to fix your paperwork. If you decide not to correct your paperwork, you'll want to give it to the new owner (when you sell it someday) to prove that it isn't stolen.

that's the best option right there. My old frame is sitting in the basement. that's the only reason i'm hanging on to it. :thumbsup:

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So I got an 04 frame off of eBay for $80 today, hopefully it will be here next week.

Looking at the transplant project and wondering where to start.

I searched and there was not any info on how to approach this. Can anyone offer any tips on doing a swap like this?

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I recommend a shop manual, digital camera, well-lit, clean workspace, and a LOT of zip-loc bags.

As far as disassembly, I started by pulling the tank, shrouds, subframe.

From there it was the swingarm/rear suspension,

motor and carb, coolant lines and wiring,

front suspension,

then all the little bits and pieces. You can leave your front suspension (forks, triple clamps and handlebars) as one unit for ease of reassembly.

I would focus on pulling the bodywork first, after you get that and the subframe off, it's pretty easy to see what has to come off or apart. Take your time, think it through, and you'll be good to go. If you get stuck, just ask on here:thumbsup:

One note: If you decide to pull the motor completely assembled, (i did) there's a bit of a trick to getting it out of the frame: tough to describe, but basically, you have to lift it straight up, then rotate the bottom end to the side to get the top end clear of the upper frame rails. Sorry if that's not much help. It's not hard to get the motor out, just a little tricky. Make sure your shifter is off, and the rear brake pedal is out of the way.

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Thanks. Except for the engine, I think I've pretty much had everything off the bike at one time or another so Ill figure it out.

Good tip on removing the engine.

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