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Old 27th July 2016, 23:14   #1
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Default Royal Enfield: Cracked Frame?

Here in the US, there has been several cases of cracked frames on the UCE powered C5 (500cc Classic) and just recently, I found one of the welds on my G5 (500cc Electra) had cracked.

To put this into perspective, my RE is a 2011, 500cc fuel injected Electra (we call it a G5 in the US).
It has a little over 20,000 miles (32,600 km) on it, most of which were ridden on paved roads at an average speed of 45 mph (72.5 kmph).
At least 1500 of those miles (2420 km) were ridden at an average speed of 60 mph (97kmph).

The cracked weld was at the location where the lower right side tube is welded to the lower cross tube that serves as the lower rear engine mount.

I have repaired the weld with a flux core wire welder but this brings up my question, have any of you needed to repair cracked frame tubes or the welds on your UCE powered Royal Enfields?

If so, please tell us about it. Include the year of the motorcycle, the model style and how far it has been ridden.

Thank You.
Jim

Royal Enfield: Cracked Frame?-weldlcrack002web_zpswzst7mha.jpg


PS: Please don't turn this into a RE bashing thread.

Motorcycles from every maker which uses welded frames have developed frame cracks over time. It's just the nature of the beast, so to speak.

Last edited by GTO : 28th July 2016 at 12:51. Reason: Uploading image as attachments
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Old 28th July 2016, 10:23   #2
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Default re: Royal Enfield: Cracked Frame?

I have a 2010, 2014 TB350, a 2014 Standard 500 i use often. All of them have done over 20000km on typical Indian roads that is bad to worse and then no roads at all, plus smooth motorways.

After reading your post went for a look, no cracks as yet. But a few posts of rust at joints on the lower part of the frame, so will keep an eye on those. Sorry of not being much help, but thanks for opening my eyes on that.
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Old 28th July 2016, 10:31   #3
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Default re: Royal Enfield: Cracked Frame?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ArizonaJim View Post
I found one of the welds on my G5 (500cc Electra) had cracked.

The cracked weld was at the location where the lower right side tube is welded to the lower cross tube that serves as the lower rear engine mount.

I have repaired the weld with a flux core wire welder but this brings up my question, have any of you needed to repair cracked frame tubes or the welds on your UCE powered Royal Enfields?

If so, please tell us about it. Include the year of the motorcycle, the model style and how far it has been ridden.
Jim mate I haven't had this issue on any my older RE's among which two are close to 50 years old, third is 20 years old, fourth is 12 years old and the last one(Thunderbird 500 UCE) is close to 2 years old. Although the first four bike I own are not UCE's but I believe they use if not the same but a similar chassis and frame. I will check the spot as mentioned by you on my Tbird500 which has done its fair share of riding on dirt trails as well as tarmac roads. Did you try sending an email to RE customer care regarding this? I am not sure if RE USA has a dedicated customer care, if yes then do let them know as they are very prompt in replying. It would also help them identify this common issue and rectify the same.

Ride Safe.
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Old 28th July 2016, 11:09   #4
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Default re: Royal Enfield: Cracked Frame?

I am riding a 2012 C5 Desert Storm with 40000 clicks on the odo, ridden over the worst of the roads. No cracks/issues with the frame. I have also seen many Enfield's which are over 2 decades old but no issues in the frames of those bikes as well.

Your post is a little concerning to me as being an owner as I often ride my C5 in the most extreme of the places including some serious mud plugging and several rides to the mighty Himalayas.

As navin_v8 suggested, please register this issue with the Customer Care/RE USA. I will be hooked on to this thread for further details as a concerned customer.
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Old 28th July 2016, 16:32   #5
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Default Re: Royal Enfield: Cracked Frame?

I have a 2011 Thunderbird Twinspark (350 UCE), and had a crack at the exact same spot. My mechanic says hes seen similar cracks on other UCE bikes before.

Last edited by GTO : 29th July 2016 at 17:57. Reason: Poorly typed post
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Old 28th July 2016, 16:45   #6
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Default Re: Royal Enfield: Cracked Frame?

Whoa...am surprised to see this crack in the welding. From the onset it looks like a weak welding given way as I do see the joint giving way.
Yes there have been instances in the past of this particular joint along with its other part giving way. Will be following this thread for further progress, hopefully they get the frame replaced but the question is, Will they do it under warranty or as a good will gesture?
Did you get to hear anything from RE on this?

What are your next steps? if there is no support from RE, are you contemplating replacing the frame or stripping the vehicle to bare minimals to get this corrected?
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Old 28th July 2016, 18:26   #7
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Default Re: Royal Enfield: Cracked Frame?

In my opinion based on your photo and others posts here, I think that the crack is a fatigue failure caused by vibration and not from impacts on rough roads. I think that only the UCE engine models might be affected since the various engine configurations on the bullets all have different vibration behaviour.

Rewelding the joint will not bring back the original strength so I recommend that gussets connecting all 3 pieces be added to strengthen the joint.

Last edited by Motard_Blr : 28th July 2016 at 18:28.
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Old 28th July 2016, 18:31   #8
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Default Re: Royal Enfield: Cracked Frame?

Known issue already identified by RE(provided this is not caused by an accident by the owner). Should be covered in warranty irrespective of years completed.
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Old 28th July 2016, 18:55   #9
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Default Re: Royal Enfield: Cracked Frame?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ArizonaJim View Post
If so, please tell us about it. Include the year of the motorcycle, the model style and how far it has been ridden.
OMG. Just now, I checked my son's Classic 500 [March 2012, 31 k km]. No crack on any visible weld anywhere. My Thunderbird 500 [April 2013, 20 k km] is 350 km away at Chennai. I will check it thoroughly, when I meet my bird. Hope, Royal Enfield does the needful on goodwill gesture, if not under warranty.
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Old 28th July 2016, 23:29   #10
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Default Re: Royal Enfield: Cracked Frame?

I thank you all for the replies and the thoughtful suggestions.

To answer the question about notifying Royal Enfield about my problem the answer is, no.
I am sure Royal Enfield in India would not be able to do anything for me here in the United States and the warranty that came with the motorcycle has expired years ago.

Finding a replacement frame here is also bordering on the impossible.
The few frames that might be found would have been involved in accidents and most likely would be in much worse condition than my frame was before I repaired the break.

Thanks again for your suggestions.

Last edited by ArizonaJim : 28th July 2016 at 23:52.
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Old 29th July 2016, 11:08   #11
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Default Re: Royal Enfield: Cracked Frame?

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Originally Posted by ArizonaJim View Post
To answer the question about notifying Royal Enfield about my problem the answer is, no.
I am sure Royal Enfield in India would not be able to do anything for me here in the United States and the warranty that came with the motorcycle has expired years ago.
Mate I would request you to at least give it a shot even though your G5 is out of guarantee. RE is very serious about their export market and what market is bigger than the USA itself. If this has been a common issue with other RE motorcycles then you should surely raise a concern. It is like a customer giving feedback about the product. RE in India off lately pays close attention to what the owners say and also makes a note of it while implementing the same.

Although this real life example is different but it will give you some idea about companies going the mile to delight their customer. A close friend of mine who is a photographer and a camera enthusiast once shared his story with me. He had an old Olympus DSLR camera whose lenses was damaged during one of his photography sessions. As Olympus is not a very popular brand in India he wasn't able to find the correct lenses in spite of scouting for it like crazy(those days Ebay and Amazon were unheard of). He started using his spare DSLR camera from another popular brand. Many months passed by and one day he decided to write an email(just for the heck of it) to Olympus Japan where he mentioned about the Model No., Lenses, etc. To his surprise Olympus Japan customer care replied on his email and asked him to ship the damaged Lenses(the camera was out of warranty way back) back to Olympus Japan for which they would bear the shipping costs. He shipped the lenses and after a few days received an email from Olympus customer care about sending him new replacement lenses wherein he just has to bear the cost of the lenses and shipping will be paid by them as a goodwill gesture for his customer loyalty. He got the lenses and uses his Olympus DSLR to this very day.

I know this is totally different from your context but still I would ask you to give it a try by contacting your local RE dealer and relaying this message across to RE. This way RE can diagnose the issue at their factory and rectify it which will also be good for the benefit of future buyers as well as present owners.

One more thing I noticed was UCE bikes before 2012-13 has this issue as posted by users on this thread. RE had built a new plant in Oragadam in between 2012-13 post which they were rolling out 500cc domestic and Export models from there. Primarily CL500(Desert Storm), Tbird500, CGT and other Export Models were built in Oragadam. Could this be the case where models rolled out of the new Oragadam Plant had this issue rectified? I am not very sure.

Last edited by navin_v8 : 29th July 2016 at 11:12.
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Old 29th July 2016, 20:42   #12
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Default Re: Royal Enfield: Cracked Frame?

Fatigue failure.
But what I would be more worried about is the very clean break, as seen in the picture. It suggests that the two components to be welded were not abutting each other, and the weld was basically a 'coverup'. Not even a filler.

Maybe a radiograph of the weld on the other side?

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Old 29th July 2016, 23:53   #13
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Default Re: Royal Enfield: Cracked Frame?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sutripta View Post
Fatigue failure.
But what I would be more worried about is the very clean break, as seen in the picture. It suggests that the two components to be welded were not abutting each other, and the weld was basically a 'coverup'. Not even a filler.

Maybe a radiograph of the weld on the other side?

Regards
Sutripta
I agree with you.

The break shows clearly there was no weld penetration into the parent metal.
This is why the cleanly cut end of the tube under the weld still looks cleanly cut.

For those who don't know, a good arc weld melts a considerable amount of the parts being welded, while adding additional molten filler from the welding rod or wire to the overall weld.
On solidifying, the entire area becomes one solid mass of steel.

This melting of the original pieces is known as weld penetration.

In this particular case, either the weld was done too rapidly or without enough amperage to create the needed melting of the parent material to form a good weld joint.

It reminds me of my days at the University when I was in a arc welding class.

I welded two pieces of steel plate together at a 90 angle to one another and when I had finished, the weld was beautiful. It had the right amount of height and the small ripples a good weld should have.

I called the professior over to look at it and he basically said, "Very nice."
Then he took a small hammer and gave one of the pieces of metal a solid whack.
Much to my horror, the weld broke and the piece snapped off like a piece of cookie and flew across the shop.
He then added, "Try again.", so I did. My next attempt made a weld that was not as beautiful but it was as solid as a rock.

As for radio-graphic testing, the only sources would be the speciality companies in the area who have the needed powerful X-Ray equipment.
I can't afford to pay them the amount of money it would cost to have this done.

Last edited by ArizonaJim : 29th July 2016 at 23:57.
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Old 30th July 2016, 19:33   #14
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Default Re: Royal Enfield: Cracked Frame?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ArizonaJim View Post
As for radio-graphic testing, the only sources would be the speciality companies in the area who have the needed powerful X-Ray equipment.
I can't afford to pay them the amount of money it would cost to have this done.
Well, it's your butt on the line!

Things might be different in the US, but here getting a XRay test done is not too difficult, or expensive.

Here XRay equipment, and operators have to be certified and licensed. With periodic inspections. Not wanting to deal with the hassle of an inspector coming over, most fabrication shops, including medium sized ones, outsource the radiography part. Where ever there is a collection of fabrication shops (doing quality work), one will find a couple of outfits providing radiography services. With portable machines. If you can take the work to them, don't want a certificate, and are prepared to work to their timings, it is pretty reasonable.

Suggest you check around in your area. Might not be as expensive as you think it will be.

Regards
Sutripta
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Old 30th July 2016, 21:06   #15
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Default Re: Royal Enfield: Cracked Frame?

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.

Cheers

Ride Safe.
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