rust in the frame

TheHatter Posts: 122
edited January 2009 in Road general
I'm pretty new to old frames. I've just purchased an 88 Colnago and when I invert it you can hear what sound like a dozen or so specs of something moving inside the seat stays. The frame has no visible rust though there are plenty of areas touched up with paint but only consistent with the age and normal use. The seat stays are sealed where they meet the seat tube so theres no way of getting the bits out.
So is that sound sinister?
I'm probably going to get the frame resprayed outlaying about £150 so I don't want to do this if the frame is about to fall apart - will the people re-spraying the frame be able to tell anything when the frame is stripped of paint?
any advice gratefully received.


  • meagain
    meagain Posts: 2,331
    Are there no heat escape holes near to the rear drop out end of the seat stays? There must I think have been some when frame built, but I suppose might have been sealed. Stripping it MIGHT give a clue as to any structural corrosion. Apart from the "rattle" does the rest of the frame sound "dull" if you hang it and ding it (a bit like playing a triangle!)? Can you feel inside the chain stays where they meet the b/b shell - usually worst place for rust?
    Without being able to flush the tubes/stays out, difficult to assess internal condition IMO/E.
    I have come across one or two frames that had been expensively re-finished but were in fact fit only for scrap. I cut 'em up before skipping to stop any further use!
    Just have to make best assessment that you can - without cutting out and replacing the stays only to find that the rest is as bad!
    It might OTOH be fine!!
    Thoughts only you understand.
    "Cancel my subscription to the resurrection."
  • TheHatter
    TheHatter Posts: 122
    Thanks for the information Meagain. The frame does have the heat holes you mentioned but they are very small and probably not big enough to release whatevers inside (though whats inside sounds only about 1mm square. The frame sounds okay when I ping it and feeling inside the stays as you suggested all seems smooth and fine.
    I'm probably worrying over nothing but I'm just tossing up whether to do a crude touch up paint job or splash the cash and make this a bike I'll have as best for the next 10 or more years.
  • ride_whenever
    ride_whenever Posts: 13,279
    Strip the frame down, wd-40 into the heat holes, and see what comes out at the bb shell... then you can waxoyl which'll stop too much further rusting.

    Steel frames last fine from the 50's so it should be fine.
  • TheHatter
    TheHatter Posts: 122
    Thanks ride whenever - that was my attitude when I bought this. I wanted to get a frame that I'd be happy with for years to come rather than lusting after the next new thing and this will be beatiful if restored. This picture from a brochure in black is the exact paint job it has now whilst I was thinking of getting it resprayed to look as close as possible to the white/red frame - obviously this will cost so i want to have reasonable faith the frame is sound.