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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I noticed a hairline crack in the steering head of my 2000 small block. It is about 1/4" in front of the weld between the crash bar and the steering head on the right side. I though it was just the powdercoat at first but put a mirror under the head and can see it on the underside of the neck brace going up to but not involving the weld underneath.
I put touch up paint over the crack so I could tell if there is any movement which would crack the paint but there seems to be none. Do I need to disassemble and reinforce or just watch it and see?
Anyone else had this problem? I wonder if this isn't why they went to a one piece cast unit on the later models.
Joe
 

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Joe, I was just talking with Levi on thursday about having them send me the " reinforcement" pieces for the frame, if you want to call them by that.
Carb Mikes's frame cracked in that area and he had these pieces welded in, that they made for this problem.
They faxed me the "hold harmless" agreement that I have to sign and return to the factory. There is no charge for the pieces( I think four) that will needed to be welded in.
I wanted to do this only as a precaution. But with this terrible news of your frame, I will certainly add these to mine while its apart.
Mike can tell you what all he had to do , and perhaps still has pictures of his repair. Jeff
 

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Joe,

From what I have heard, this is a fairly common problem. Mike Croffut, a member, had his crack and he had it welded, and then it cracked again, and he had it re-welded and gussetted. Then it cracked again and he did it all over again. Fix it as soon as possible. If I were you, I wouldn't ride it anymore until it is fixed so that it doesn't get worse.

On Mike's bike, his front engine brackets were broken and he didn't know about it. This caused the extra stress on the neck.

I just ordered steel brackets from Levi, cost $40, but he gave them to me for $30. I presently have aluminum.

The best fix for this (and the most expensive) is to have the factory give you a new front frame half. You have to send them both sides of your frame in order for them to do this. I think that you have to get the new forks too, if you don't already have them, in order to do this fix.

Call around. All the dealers know about it. I talked to Siron and they told me quite a bit.


Hossman
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I knew it...you guys are the best. Will call the factory tomorrow and either get a new fromt half or the weld in pieces.
Thanks all.
Joe
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Hossman
I replaced my broken aluminum upper engine mounts with steel ones two years ago. Checked the steering neck at that time and it was not cracked ...in fact I just noticed it two days ago.
Joe
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Jeff...I don't think the "sleeve" reinforcements the factory offers will do the trick since my crack is in the gusset and not in the weld. I'm neurotic (especially at 100+ MPH and will want the new cast head whatever it takes to get it.
Joe
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Rad at the factory told me I can send them my naked frame and they would install the late model "beasty" neck and repowdercoat the frame for $700. Of course, that is the least of it. The bike has to be totally disassembled, the frame shipped and returned and then reassembled which I cannot do myself. I think it will be a $2000 job altogether. I know I'll also see all kinds of **** that should be replaced in the process...$3000.
Understand this is REALLY a hairline crack which involves no welds and I've had advice going all the way from doing nothing but drilling a small hole at the top of the crack to stop it's advancement and watching it to TIG welding it or going the whole route with the new head...which is my inclination. A very heavy, fast motorcycle with a marginal steering head gusset does not make me warm and fuzzy. I can't see myself ruminating over this at 120 MPH.
BTY...for those of you who haven't had the pleasure of speaking with Rad directly..he is a real gentleman!
Input...please! What would you all do?
Joe
 

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Cracked Frame

Joe,
I had my original 1996 frame crack on me. It was far more than a hairline crack though. It damn near broke off!! The bike started to handle funny and I thought I was seeing the top tree move on certain bumps. I put my hand down near the neck while I was riding and my finger got pinched in the crack as I went over a bump!! Scared the hell out of me as the day before I had been running down the highway at 110 mph!! I called the factory and they sent me a new frame as mine was less than 1 year old. This was back in 1997 and they told me that they could not match up a new front half to my rear half so they had to replace the whole thing. This was because they cut the lower splice by hand after the frame was built and no two were cut exactly alike. I hope they do things differently today! They told me that things that can cause the frame to break are the top mounts coming loose and the front tire being cupped and or out of balance. This all makes for extra vibration that can crack the frame. My top mounts HAD come loose to the point where coolant was leaking from the bolts that go into the manifold and my front tire (original Conti) was cupped and out of balance. This made me paranoid for a long time but I got over it. I still check that area every time I clean the bike. The tinyest crack in the paint is telling you something. I have two tiny cracks right now. They are less than 1/4" long and everything under the gussets still looks OK so I am not going to worry about it. Right now I keep telling myself that it is just the paint but I know better!! When mine gets to the point where I feel I have to do something about it, I will have it mig welded. I really don't want to take the whole thing apart again and color match the frame again. Damn, this bike has already been too damn much work to keep in one piece!!!!!!!!

Rick
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Rick...You are confirming my worst fears. I don't want the head getting sloppy at 110 mph! The fact that you welded it and have had more cracking later is exactly my concern and is why I've decided to go with the whole teardown deal and get the new assembly. Like you..I intend to keep this bike a long time and want the peace of mind. Don't forget I take long trips every season and don't want even the thought of a seriously cracked head or gusset 50 miles outside of Elko, Nevada!
My thought is that if just welding up the existing early model heads and gussets would do the trick, the factory wouldn't have invested in a whole new design.
Thanks for the input. Hope we can meet again sometime before the season is over....Joe
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Rick...just realized you said you got a new frame from the factory and didn't weld it but someone here posted about someone who had to do it several times. As you said, you are constantly feeling you have to check the area and I just don't want the nagging constant worry....Joe
 

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Joe,
I also had a crack. The factory has pieces that they "plate" and weld over the tubes. I also added the diagnal braces to give extra support. Rick is correct regarding the front tire being a culpret and the alu. engine mounts being a problem. I continue to run mine and I have put on at least 50K miles since mine cracked. Just make sure you have a top notch welder do the work for you if you go that route. Good luck.
Glenn
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Glenn..I changed my broken aluminum engine mounts to the steel ones two years ago and the gusset just cracked anyway recently. I'm sure the weld up would do the trick but am going for the new neck unit. Will be an enormous pain in the ass to fully disassemble but peace of mind....you know?
Glenn...Debbie at Stamford Boss told me the engine and trans can be removed as a unit. I don't quite understand how but maybe you or someone here can tell me if possible. Also not sure if this really helps any because only the bellhousing bolt up would be eliminated I think.
Joe
 

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Hi Joe,
Real sorry to read about your trouble. :roll:
Are you planning to do the repair now, or keep an eye on it and do it when the season is finished?
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Don...Will do the "dirty" and send the nude frame back to the factory when the season is over to have the newer unit install. What an incredible pain in the ass! Will take the opportunity for new paint or maybe just have mine re-clearcoated because I love my paint scheme. I think I'll also go for new belt and both pulleys as well as the new water pump.
Joe
 

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Joe

I started to change the rear half so my new sheet metal would fit. The factory wouldn't sell me the back half because each frame is cut in different places but they said they would sell me the complete frame for $2400. I started to do that but they wouldn't let me keep my old one so I said no way. I would change out the frame complete because you have the front end and would only need to buy 200 bucks of sheet metal.

Adrian
 

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Over the years I have seen hair line cracks in welds on all types of equipment including motorcycle frames that never got any worse . If you look at the neck on the Boss , it is welded in several places and depending on how big the hair line crack is , it may not be anything to worry about . Of course if it is a open crack or if it keeps getting larger you have to do someting but I guess what I'm saying is that hair line crack may never get any worse . I know if I discovered a small hair line crack in mine and I do mean small , I wouldn't panic unless it got worse then I would definitely fix it right away .
 
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