Weld A Steer Tube?
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  1. #1
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    Weld A Steer Tube?

    Opinions, please:
    I bought a frame and fork off of ebay a couple of years ago and the aluminum steer tube had been cut too short for me. I have been putting up with it, but the saddle-to-bar height differential is just too much, so want to make the fit right. I know about stem alternatives, but in order to keep my current stem...

    I am thinking about MIG welding a piece of aluminum tube I cut from a previous steer tube onto this one. What do you think?
    Thanks!

  2. #2
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    I think it's a bad idea for two reasons: 1, it will warp, and 2, the metal in the heat-affected zone around the weld joint will be much weaker than the (presumably) heat-treated steerer tube.

    Can't one buy steer-tube extenders?

    Asad

  3. #3
    Rub it............
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    Do it the proper and SAFE way. Get a new fork and cut to the length that YOU need.
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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by asad137
    I think it's a bad idea for two reasons: 1, it will warp, and 2, the metal in the heat-affected zone around the weld joint will be much weaker than the (presumably) heat-treated steerer tube.

    Can't one buy steer-tube extenders?

    Asad
    Thanks. Can I get around the weakness problem with PWHT, or not?

  5. #5
    RoadBikeRider
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    Sounds scarey to me! I would be thinking about it constantly...esp on fast descents.

  6. #6
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    My friend had the threaded portion of a steel fork welded onto another fork by a professional. It was steel, though. And it came out immaculate.

    Unless you're really good at welding and comfortable with the job you do, I'd get another fork.

  7. #7
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    If you want to it's perfectly OK for your own bike, but I wouldn't ride it.

    A steerer can be extended, but needs to be internally buttressed so it doesn't depend on the weld alone. It's a job that needs to be done right because steerer failures are very unforgiving.

    Given that forks can be had at reasonable cost vs. the cost of a well executed steerer extension, I'd reserve it for only unique vintage bikes.

    In any case this doesn't apply to you. You're planning to extend the steerer a distance over the upper bearing of the headset, which is bad practice even it it were the original continuous tube. Most steerers were designed with the expectation that they'd only be extended about one inch over the top of the upper bearing (not counting the stem), and as you go beyond that the risk of failure goes up.

    You're far better off buying a stem with more rise, or if not commercially available, having one made for you. Many frame builders can make these probably for about what the steerer extension would cost.
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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill70J
    Thanks. Can I get around the weakness problem with PWHT, or not?
    If it's an all-aluminum fork, yes, but you introduce the possibility for even more warping during the quench phase of the heat treatment process.

    Asad

  9. #9
    Cumudgitude
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    Can you do this? Sure. Is it possible to do it without causing warping? Absolutely. Would I trust your project idea with my teeth? No way.

    If you're experienced welding aluminum you may feel comfortable with this project. The thermal expansion and contraction aluminum undergoes in welding is enough to give me pause. Also, before doing anything, make sure that steerer tube is actually aluminum. Sometimes they're steel mated to carbon or aluminum blades.

    As you may know a properly done MIG weld is supposed to be stronger than the parent materials when untempered. Similarly, concerns about the weld not penetrating are null if the weld is done correctly (a proper weld penetrates the full dimension of the material). But I'd be really surprised if a hand done weld could match up to a machined tube! Keep in mind that even welders who assemble nuclear reactors for submarines have a working tolerance of +/- 1mm. That much difference is enough to make this addition fail.

    For my money, I'd get a new stem.

  10. #10
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    A new fork is cheaper than facial reconstruction. Just sayin'...

  11. #11
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    Question: Is the fork all aluminum or is it carbon with aluminum steerer?

    It doesn't really matter either way because what you are proposing to do doesn't make sense from a safety point of view. The cost of buying a new, no name brand fork is relatively inexpensive & would be a lot less work involved than what you are proposing.

    The reason is that if it is an all aluminum fork or even a carbon/aluminum one, they are usually bonded together. Depending on where you cut your steerer, the heat affected zone could possibly damage or weaken the epoxy bond.

  12. #12
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    Deda makes a stem riser just for what you are trying to do. Cheaper and safer than welding on an extension.

    http://www.nashbar.com/bikes/Product..._200276_200460

  13. #13
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    Last year I contacted several well known custom builders requesting the same thing.
    My fork is full steel and all thought it was a bad idea and declined.

    I was lucky enough to find a replacement fork.

  14. #14
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    new stem with more rise

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill70J
    Opinions, please:
    I bought a frame and fork off of ebay a couple of years ago and the aluminum steer tube had been cut too short for me. I have been putting up with it, but the saddle-to-bar height differential is just too much, so want to make the fit right. I know about stem alternatives, but in order to keep my current stem...

    I am thinking about MIG welding a piece of aluminum tube I cut from a previous steer tube onto this one. What do you think?
    Thanks!
    This sounds scary to me. Do you already have a stem with some rise? That would seem to be the simplest option to raise your bars without comprosing strength and risking steerer failure. Do a search for a stem with more rise.

  15. #15
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    From a guy who's steel steerer tube snapped, I'd say NO!!
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    Last edited by rubbersoul; 09-10-2011 at 09:12 AM.

  16. #16
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    Thanks

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill70J
    Opinions, please:
    I bought a frame and fork off of ebay a couple of years ago and the aluminum steer tube had been cut too short for me. I have been putting up with it, but the saddle-to-bar height differential is just too much, so want to make the fit right. I know about stem alternatives, but in order to keep my current stem...

    I am thinking about MIG welding a piece of aluminum tube I cut from a previous steer tube onto this one. What do you think?
    Thanks!
    Thanks everyone for your input. Very helpful.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by rubbersoul
    From a guy who's steel steerer tube snapped, I'd say NO!!
    I am surprised to hear that a steel steerer snapped.
    Do you care to elaborate?

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