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Old 31st July 2016, 21:06   #16
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Default Re: Royal Enfield: Cracked Frame?

No. XRay, not DP.

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Old 1st August 2016, 00:13   #17
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Default Re: Royal Enfield: Cracked Frame?

Originally Posted by gthang View Post
Wouldn't you have to strip the paint of the area that you are testing?

Dunno about expense, but stripping paint and repainting the frame does not seem like an easy thing to do unless you are doing that already to fix your broken weld.


Ride Safe.
X-Raying doesn't need to have the paint removed.
It is just like the X-Ray's people get but the kind needed for seeing thru steel parts is MUCH more powerful than the ones made for use on people.
A photo is taken of the area using the X-Rays as the energy and if there are any flaws in the material it looks different in the picture.
It takes a lot of training to learn how to analyze an X-Ray photo because often the flaw will just appear as a smudge or difference in brightness.

While I'm talking, there are other types of Non Destructive Testing (NDT) that perhaps your familiar with.

The easiest kind of these is Fluorescent Penetrant Inspection (FPI).
This kind is a dye that can creep into the smallest of cracks.

After it is applied and given a chance to soak in, the excess is washed off of the surface. This does not remove the dye that has soaked into any cracks.

A "black light" (ultra-violet) will cause the dye to glow brightly so any cracks on the surface will stand out and easily be seen.

This kind of NDT does require all surface coatings like paint to be removed.

It will work on steel, aluminum, titanium and every other metal you can think of.
It's weakness is it cannot detect cracks or flaws that are below the surface unless they actually reach the surface.

Because FPI works on all metals, it is used extensively in the aircraft industry.

There are some inexpensive Penatrant inspection fluids that don't need the black light to work.

These usually have some sort of bright dye in them, often red in color. They also can have a white material that covers the surface and allows the red to show up better.
These types of Penatrant are not as accurate as a true Fluorescent Penetrant inspection but they do have their place if their shortcomings are recognized.

The other common NDT is Magnetic Particle Inspection (MPI).

It uses a fluid that contains a dye and very fine particles of steel.
This is applied to the surface of the part and while it is still wet, the part is subjected to a very powerful magnetic field.

If there are any cracks on the surface or totally buried below the surface, the ends of the cracks become tiny, individual magnets.
These tiny magnets cause the steel particles in the fluid to move into lines that follow the flaw magnetic field.

This allows the inspector to "see" below the surface to detect cracks or other non-magnetic things that may be buried there.
Because it shows non-metallic things and most common steel has some of this in it, it takes a trained technician to analyze what he's looking at.

MPI is often used in good Auto Repair/Engine Rebuilding shops to determine if the crankshaft, cam shaft or (iron) engine block has internal damage.

The biggest problem with MPI is it only works on steel or iron parts.

Now, you know more than you ever wanted to know.

Last edited by ArizonaJim : 1st August 2016 at 00:25.
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Old 31st March 2017, 16:14   #18
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Default Re: Royal Enfield: Cracked Frame?

I was sitting today with the owner of one of the more prominent tour companies up here in Manali, who owns some dozens of bikes. Granted his bikes would be subjected to some of the worst roads in India time and again (Spiti Valley, various parts of Ladakh, etc) - but he's seen numerous cases of frame (chassis) breakage on the UCE's - and this is on nearly new bikes (he only bought into UCE's beginning last year). I was told of another company that had six Desert Storms out on their first Ladakh tour that came back with breaks. Location is mainly said to be under the engine, but in two of the aforementioned cases it was actually the upper main tube beneath the petrol tank. He is not liking UCE's much, to say the least. In the past he was running AVL's in which he never saw a single case of this.

On old CI Bullets I'd seen a couple breaks in the front downtube over the years, but I think it was a pretty rare occurrence. I'd have assumed the UCE's were using a near-identical chassis as what's been there half a century, so I don't know if it's a difference in the steel thickness/material (or weld filler?) now being used, or a different vibration characteristic of the UCE engines, or the more concentrated weight of the UCE vs. the CI/AVL's (which had the divorced, more rearward gearboxes and I suppose would have spread it out a bit more). Being that the original poster's bike was used pretty lightly on good roads, I'm going to guess the unique vibes must be one factor among others (older engines had heavier cranks and more stabilizing flywheel effect, I suppose). Depending on location of the break, as mentioned below weld quality could be an issue as well.

I'd gone to look at a 2014 500UCE today and was thinking of buying it till on my way home I met the one expert local welder who's been doing the chassis repairs on these, and then the tour operator. I didn't know when I inspected the bike to check for this, but I did notice one of the rear seat supporting "arches" had been welded where broken. This is allegedly a 13,000km bike. Didn't remember seeing that break on older Bullets, either.


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Old 1st April 2017, 11:35   #19
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Default Re: Royal Enfield: Cracked Frame?

Oh, and I just remembered that last year the UCE rental we'd lined up for a friend had to be cancelled because the frame got cracked while on tour and it was in the repair shop. In this region / on these roads, this doesn't seem an uncommon issue at all. Whether it was a particular batch / year of bikes that was problematic and/or whether RE has resolved it meanwhile is not known.

Anyone with more info out there? I'm trying to decide between the UCE500 (carb) or an older AVL Machismo 500. Former is lower maintenance and higher FE (and enhanced emissions controls), but from what I'm hearing the AVL-era bikes are more robust and superior in terms of outright longevity of mechanicals (and the frames don't break).


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