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Mak0

Soldering on the aluminum frame

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Hello VFRD,

 

I am the proud owner of a 8th gen VFR 800 from 2014. I am not experienced in doing maintenance work beyond changing oil, brake pads and brake fluids. Changing the air filter didn't seem like a complicated process according to the maintenance manual, but a stuck bolt made it a bit more complicated than expected.

 

I didn't manage to cleanly remove this stuck bolt attaching the side covers to the frame (maintenance manual, page 2-4). I followed instructions I found on various websites and youtube videos using first a torx key, and later on a bolt extractor. As the situation was getting worse, a friend of mine jumped in to help as I was not getting anywhere, and he eventually broke the little piece of the frame containing the threaded hole in which the stuck bolt ([1] below) was screwed into.

 

image.png.109009da7563546c0805e519288451d8.png

 

This part is not critical for the bike, but I would like to fix it to keep the side cover secured by 2 bolts instead of 1.

 

I went to a soldering shop not specialized in automotive repairs to ask if they could fix it. 2 main concerns were raised:

  • The people I talked to were concerned by the proximity of the gas tank and would be more comfortable having it removed from the bike before doing the repair
  • There is a hose a few cm behind the now missing piece, which I believe is connected to the coolant. To protect it, the mechanics proposed to put one of their insulating gloves just behind the aluminum piece to reattach.

 

If the soldering poses significant risks to the rest of the motorcycle (and the people doing the job!), I would rather leave things as they are.

 

  1. Is there a better approach to solve this ordeal?
  2. Is it recommended to remove the tank for this repair? Wouldn't removing the tank expose more fumes?
  3. If the tank doesn't need to be removed, would it be better to have it as empty as possible, or full (less fumes)?

 

Thanks a lot for your help and guidance.

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I would not weld on or near a gas tank full or empty if it could be avoided it.

 

If you have broken an aluminium tab from the frame, TIG welding is likely the most appropriate process to re attach it and its going to make some heat and take some skill to do a nice job on the repair.

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I can remove the tank, i'm just wary of potential left over gas / fumes which could come from the fuel lines feeding the engine. Do you think this is a valid concern?

 

Removing more than the tank (e.g. removing throttle body or the engine) is not really feasible I'm afraid.

 

It is indeed TIG wielding. The person told me the result would not be very pretty, but  it should not matter since the piece is very small (size of a small cherry) and hidden behind the side cover.

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I imagine the concern is for the worst case scenario... It isn't likely that anything will catch fire, but if the worst happens, you don't want 5 extra gallons of fuel right in the middle of it while you're reaching for the fire extinguisher. 

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FYI I was informed when I had some aluminum welding done on my 1986 VFR750F was to disconnect the rectifier or it would be fried.

 

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How about firstly try just fitting the cover bolt with an M5 nut and washer behind it, then just use the other good one for the mounting of the cover. It's not going to go anywhere due to the two forward lock in tabs, and it will give the appearance of the two bolts installed.

 

Otherwise if you have the broken piece and you can drill and tap the piece to an M6 size thread. I would have a go at using a good metal two part epoxy to fit the piece back on the bike. You could then find an M6 size bolt the same style as the original.

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Taking off the tank is mostly about not making an accidental air fuel bomb out of it. A fire blanket around everything else should prevent an accidental fire. There should be no spatter etc, just the radiant heat from the spark and the work.

 

Reg/rec and engine management unit may both be susceptable to HF AC used when TIGing Al. So disconnect them.

 

A competant operator should be able to do a visually acceptable repair.

 

Aluminium reinforced epoxy may do the job just as well without all the heat and fuss. Devcon is a good product for this. Clean and key the surfaces well before use.

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