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Need help on aluminum wheel repair situation

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  • Need help on aluminum wheel repair situation

    Hello everyone. My first post I am here for advice found this site via a google search about aluminum wheel repair. I did some reading and saw one "Bob" that goes by the handle "AAMetalMaster" that seems to have great knowledge in this area. I tried to private message Bob without success so apparently I'm locked out via registration or whatever. Maybe with some luck he'll come across my post????

    I've got an aluminum motorcycle rear wheel that somehow developed a crack at one of the 10 spoke interfaces to the flat inside wheel area. It may have been overzealous use of the tire iron during a tire replacement as I do not recall hitting a serious bump. It amounts to a crack possibly an inch long at the spoke wheel interface in a longitudinal wheel travel direction. I am trying to figure out what to do as this is an expensive forged MC wheel. I am not excited about welding it fearing annealing the base material and losing strength. Also considered aluminum soldering but same concerns. Was considering Miller-Stephenson Epoxy 907 but not sure if that would hold up. Similar to JB Weld but better with tensile strength is 3100psi under ideal conditions on etched aluminum, obviously I would have to machine out the crack probably not too wide at the inside and outside to form a plug of sorts. Probably have to drill out the ends of the crack to stop it too and was considering running a mini hacksaw blade through from one end to the other to open it up just so much for epoxy penetration in the middle(relatively thin wheel fwiw) and would consider extending the epoxy repair across the inner and outer flat surface to maximize adhesion and tensile strength possibly?. The big concern is aluminum oxide formation and removal before repairing and I'm not sure I have the expertise to properly manage that. Considered alumiprep 33 and alodine prior to epoxy application??
    Wondered your thoughts on all this. You seem to know aluminum welding and aluminum wheel repair. I have been using the wheel for several thousand miles with a large tire type rubber patch contact cemented inside the wheel over the minute crack that actually got through the inside. Problem arose as a slow leak and I figured I had another nail situation you know? Couldn't find the nail and investigated further.... Nothing. Finally upon more careful inspection found the crack at the spoke. It amounted to a slow leaker before I patched it. Interested in your thoughts and experience seeing as you mentioned great amounts of wheel repair experience in several posts you made.... I'm in Hamburg/Buffalo NY and you seem not to far away. Could you weld it for me? Several MC wheel repair places claim they can fix it no problem using TIG welding. Thanks for your considerations.

  • #2


    • #3
      I would replace the wheel .....

      Don' be pennywise... pound foolish.....

      WHEN.... it lets go... the roadrash might be deadly...........
      Last edited by H80N; 10-28-2016, 01:15 PM.

      The more you know, The better you know, How little you know

      “The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten”

      Buy the best tools you can afford.. Learn to use them to the best of your ability.. and take care of them...

      My Blue Stuff:
      Dynasty 350DX Tigrunner
      Dynasty 200DX
      Millermatic 350P w/25ft Alumapro & 30A
      Millermatic 200

      TONS of Non-Blue Equip, plus CNC Mill, Lathes & a Plasmacam w/ PowerMax-1000


      • #4
        Don't feel too bad I can't PM either and I have been here a long time. Looks like one I fixed a few months ago. The guy was still riding it. Don't use epoxy by any name it won't work. Its a crack that needs fixed right. I would MIG weld it with Hobart 4943 wire and be done with it but that's how I do it. I am about 200 miles west of you. Just head west on RT 62 and you will be here. Send me an email...Bob [email protected]
        Bob Wright


        • #5
          I was at a place that had been in business for years. The most they were permitted to do was the Rim, and nowhere beyond that. My advice is what
          H80N said.

          If aametalmaster is nearby and willing to try then he knows best what is legally permitted for him in your area.

          At worst it will crack again in that area and you'll have a single spoke failure or it will split straight through.

          Trading in the front, and the rear for scrap, is safer; perhaps he has a used set to offer.


          • #6
            I gave up on glues and epoxys a long time ago when it comes to metal, the only thing that really fixes it if anything will, is welding.

            Don't have much experience with rims and wheels though, I know Bob knows his stuff and will do whats right but unless you know your stuff and how to do it right, I would not "fix it"
            if there's a welder, there's a way


            • #7
              I been thinking about your cracked rim quit a bit and I have fixed a lot automotive and motorcycle parts over the years. I have had some repairs fail and at the worst possible time (nobody died). Having the crack at the spoke, if the repair weld gets to hot the HAZ zone could be big and weaken the whole area around the spoke to rim connection. That could be a really bad going into a corner hard. My advise is get a new rim.


              • #8
                [ATTACH=CONFIG]n579580[/ATTACH] [ATTACH=CONFIG]n579581[/ATTACH] I'm still in this dilemma. Procrastination took over. Life has continued, as you all know that it does, and my various troubles have consumed me. Anyway... The wheel is now off the bike and the tire removed. It seems to me that to do anything with it that it needs to be dremeled out regardless. My idea would be to put a dark colored die of some sort through there to chase/mark the crack. Allowing me to concentrate dremeling on the actual crack vs just removing mad material(like typical weld prep V ing out etc sort of thing). In my dreams, the resulting gap would be say 2mm or so. It would seem that I could then apply 24hr metal JB Weld. I have to admit I'm consumed with curiosity.... That repIr would be backed with a large tire patch inside on the flat center area of the wheel. Ride it and observe.... if the epoxy fails I would see it. If it fails I could then start over dremel that out and it seems to me little would be lost but time and effort and I'd be a smarter guy! (Sarcasm much?). I'm also highly curious about aluminum soldering and whether that would accomplish the needed repair with lower heat and less likelihood of weakening the wheel.
                The more I think about this the more uncertain I am about attempting to repair it myself although ... I could only destroy what's already damaged ... Columbus sails on confidently.... ER not so much but there's wind in the sails!
                Last edited by curvecrazy; 03-07-2017, 10:30 AM.


                • #9
                  The forum keeps resizing my photos such that the end result doesn't show what I'm trying to show. First photo sort of shows the crack at the rounded base of the spoke. Second photo shows the outline of the crack on the inside of the wheel but it appears best viewed in the small format without clicking on it and you can barely see the curved crack at the upper left quadrant 10-11 o'clock position. It's very faint. Yes the crack has extended on the outside and on the inside with use. It used to be almost indiscernible on the inside now it's a gentle "bell curve" like appearance.
                  I think I'll email the photos to Bob AAMetalMaster. I'm not against welding it. Just concerned about metal fatigue and final strength I guess and I know little about "that" but I've read it's a concern. And I know he knows what he's doing based on references here and it would be best for him to look at it.... I'd have to send it out USPS and that whole process would hassle him as he'd then have to also do the send it back thing.
                  OK... I'm going to email him the good pictures and see what he says based on looking at it. He may say NO WAY in which case that would be that.


                  • #10
                    As always.... opinions on this whole "fiasco" welcomed........


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by curvecrazy View Post
                      The forum keeps resizing my photos such that the end result doesn't show what I'm trying to show.
                      That is why I show my pics using [img+] url link to photo with "?dl=1" [/img+]

                      Remove the "+" symbols from within the [ ]

                      Not much point in having to make your picture so small that people cannot see what your trying to show.


                      • #12
                        Please don't use a Dremel and JB Weld. Whiz wheel and cut a ditch like in all gone, and fill it with weld...Bob
                        Bob Wright


                        • #13
                          Yeah, nothing good ever came out of filling a crack with adhesives.

                          I would recommend welding it as well, regardless of the HAZ, it will be better than an adhesive.

                          AND once you pour some adhesive in there, good luck ever welding it. I hate when people use adhesive to try and fix something AND THEN bring it to me when it breaks but they don't tell me about the adhesive, they just let me figure it out and clean it up..... grinds my gears.
                          if there's a welder, there's a way


                          • #14
                            I spoke to two local welding shops about this.
                            First shop is a somewhat large shop that fabricates trailers and whatnot. That was months ago. Nice middle aged gentleman looked at the wheel on the bike and said he'd be concerned with weakening the wheel by welding it and said, between you and me, I'd try epoxy... that stuff is amazing and you don't have to worry about the heat aspects of welding causing brittleness etc. and so it is with my curiosity about epoxying the wheel.
                            Second shop, another amiable, but older gentleman, said sure he could do it. When I asked if he'd use TIG, he looked at me kind of funny as if it was a **** test and said "Yes, of course!" He then went on to tell me that doing so would ruin the anodized finish on the wheel in an area he indicated with his finger would be say nearly baseball size surrounding the repair. When questioned about epoxy or aluminum soldering he stated flatly that that wouldn't work that that was cracked because it had been under stress, that only welding would be strong enough to hold it. Questioned further he claimed that the welded area would be stronger than the rest of the wheel! But again stating that I'd have to deal with the anodized finish being destroyed. Questioned about welding aluminum he said he welds "everything"....that he's been welding since he was 14 yrs old and he's now 65 yrs old. He runs a small business with a shop. Obviously a handy guy and working away on another project when I walked up. Said it would take about an hour and a half.....
                            So there's two local shops input. . Confused much?


                            • #15
                              Please be patient with me guys... I'm not meaning to be difficult. Really. >>>> But if you're going to "V" it out on inside and outside to fill it with Weld then my tiny sliver of "miracle adhesive" (humor intended please laugh with me at this juncture) would thus be excavated anyway along with the rest to prepare for a proper Weld wouldn't it?
                              Would it be brittle after welding hence a candidate for future failure? Or no?