How to fix a dent in a titanium Header?

Discussion in 'GS Boxers' started by bigbadandugly, May 5, 2013.

  1. bigbadandugly

    bigbadandugly Been here awhile

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    I had an incident with my GS today - nailed a big rock that put a nasty dent in my ultra expensive titanium header. Luckily it wasn't punctured. Is there any way to repair the dent in the header, or do I just leave it as a battle scar?


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    #1
  2. Loutre

    Loutre Cosmopolitan Adv

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    :eek1 what kinda rock was this or at what speed are you riding :lol3 good thing you had a bashplate :lol2. I think it'll end up as a battlescar
    #2
  3. advmgm

    advmgm Long timer

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    Oh man, that is a bad one.
    Not sure if/how that can be fixed.

    One of our FJR owners had a dent like that and it caused that cylinder to run hot which lead to engine problems later.

    FJR Pilot, CBR 954RR Boy Racer, WR250R Adventurer
    #3
  4. Beezer

    Beezer Long timer

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    wow.... got a pretty good run at it dinn ya.

    to repair you could cut out the dent and TIG a patch over it.

    looks kind restrictive.... to test, maybe find somebody with the same bike & ride around & measure cylinder head temperatures
    #4
  5. Britome

    Britome Get Free

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    Keep as battle badge of honor.
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  6. i_isntreal

    i_isntreal Been here awhile

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    Applied heat and pressure is your only hope. Cap the openings and have one of the pluags tapped to connect to your shop air line. Pressure it up to 120psi or so and break out the oxy-acetylene torch. Disclaimer: I haven't yet done this, only heard about it from many experienced mechanics. My SS header has a similar war wound which I plan on fixing soon.

    Give it a shot, but fair warning that it may be a tough fix as titanium work hardens much worse than stainless.
    #6
  7. JustKip

    JustKip Long timer

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    There's no chance you're going to get that dent out without cutting it.
    Looks like Beezer has a good plan, but you might get away with a small cut and patch, along with some straightening.

    Yeah, "chicks dig scars"...
    ... but I agree with the comments below. You don't buy an expensive header and allow one of the cylinders to be restricted, or your "upgrade" could lead to engine problems.

    #7
  8. Lensgrinder

    Lensgrinder Long timer

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    If it were me, I would find a good welder.
    Fortunatly it is at the cross tube, so you can hide it pretty well.

    I would cut it at the cross tube and either push something to reform it or find a small section of titanium tube and splice it in, then reweld the cross tube back on.

    You can probably find some titanium tubing at Mc Master Carr.

    It's either that or replace the header pipe all together.
    I would not leave it, as it interupts exhaust gasses and sonic exhaust as well.

    Some may disagree, but that's ok, just keep it civil.

    http://titanium-tubing.com/Titanium-tubing.html

    The OEM tube is 45mm OD.
    You will want to find out what grade of titanium is used in your after market header.

    The manufacturer may even help you out, it never hurts to ask.
    Good luck Cory, I hope you can get it repaired.
    Richard
    #8
  9. bigbadandugly

    bigbadandugly Been here awhile

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    I was riding down a slightly rocky single track trail that got more steeper and the rocks got larger as I progressed. It got so steep that I couldn't scrub off sufficient speed to maintain total control. Last I remember was I tried to dodge a big rock but was forced to turn into a drainage track which dropped the ground clearance of the GS down.

    Next thing I know I was flying over the handle bars and the bike did a full gainer, landing on the headlight assembly. The Givi windscreen is toast, a bracket on my AltRider headlight protector is bent (but recoverable), and the headlight support bracket was damaged. I was fortunate that once the bike landed on its face it flipped sideways and landed in the bushes, saving the bike from some serious rock damageSome minor paint scrapes which is no biggie. I was surprised that given all the damage to the front that the headlight assembly wasn't damaged. The AltRider headlight guard was worth every penny I paid for it and more and the bracket took the brunt of the impact.

    What I find really bewildering is the impact on the headlight assembly tore the right support right out of the headlight support bracket (you can see it in the picture below - the semi-circle opening just above the windscreen bracket is where a bolt goes through to attache the headlight assembly to the frame. It ripped the bolt right out of the metal. That whole assembly costs $314 to replace! Does anyone know any good BMW motorcycle salvage places? The headlight support bracket is the same part 2005 through to 2012 models.

    Bottom like is that I should never have ventured where I did with a GS. It would have been a tough ride on a much smaller dirt bike. My riding buddies stayed on the road, but I was sick of getting dust in the face so I took a little side trail to let them get some distance ahead of me. My gut told me to turn around but I did not. Fortunately as I was coming down the hill there was four ATVers at the bottom watching my spectacular endo. I certainly needed their help in righting the bike!

    Here's the picture of the upper damage - notice the bent AltRider bracket:

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    #9
  10. bemiiten

    bemiiten League of Adventures

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    No comprehensive insurance?
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  11. larryboy

    larryboy Chopper Rider

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    Water, put the mangled section at the bottom, fill header with water and freeze it, don't cap the ends, most of the dent will come out.


    Took this guy three treatments:

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    #11
  12. bigbadandugly

    bigbadandugly Been here awhile

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    Cool. I think I will try that. It doesn't have to be a perfect repair - just to remove most of the restriction caused by the damage. I suspect welding in a piece might not be cost effective given it's titanium.

    I might also check in with Akro to see what a replacement header pipe would cost.

    Note to self: A GS with knobbies is not a dirt bike.

    BB&U
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  13. hillbillypolack

    hillbillypolack Grumpy Old Goat

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    Probably my recommendation as well.

    I think you could check with Akra if un-popping the dent doesn't work. You may also have good luck with a reputable aero welder if you didn't move the header backward when you did the damage. He'd probably cut the area, replace with a tube section and weld it in with minimal effects. I couldn't tell if that's better or worse than getting a new header (esp in Ti) but it's one of a few options.
    #13
  14. GrouchyGeezer

    GrouchyGeezer Not a Long Timer

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    Is that a seam for the cross pipe I see in your photo? You may be able to go in through there with a round-nosed drift a tap out a majority of the dent. Be careful, it's real easy to get carried away and punch a hole. I don't know how badly titanium will work harden in this situation.

    I do like the freezing suggestion. Easy to try. What have you got to lose?

    :eek1
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  15. JustKip

    JustKip Long timer

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    I've heard good things about freezing in round tubes, but never seen it done. I like the results!
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  16. WindSailor

    WindSailor Been here awhile

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    The only hard part about welding that is having a trailing shield that will work in your case. Titanium really should be shielded when welded or the weld turns all kinds of colors - which isn't good. Or he could do a single tack at a time which will take awhile. Around 5 years ago I ran into a guy that would weld titanium for $40 / hour. Problem is finding those people.

    Freezing... interesting.

    It does make the question if that exhaust is tuned, would a repair bring it back close enough to stock?
    #16
  17. def

    def Ginger th wonder dog

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  18. def

    def Ginger th wonder dog

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    ????!!!! :huh

    Come on!
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  19. JimVonBaden

    JimVonBaden "Cool" Aid!

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    I don't think it is tuned to any significant degree. There are plenty of people with dented exhausts out there that have noticed any difference in performance.

    Jim :brow
    #19
  20. DevDel

    DevDel Been here awhile

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    #20