Bicycle Mechanics - Newb mech - trashed bike - first step?
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01-30-07, 09:03 PM
I'm new, I mean really new. But I have this bike I want to salvage. Granted, it was me who left it out in the elements for so long, so I don't even want other people to see it, much less fix it for me. It's pretty wrecked though. The casing on the shift cables is split and broken off, every exposed bolt and nut is covered with rust, and the chain is probably a complete writeoff. The frame is steel, and it's got rust spots showing through the paint. The inner tubes are useless, and the tires themselves are pretty badly cracked and damaged.
Still, if I want a hopeless case to hack with, this is the one, considering I've got another bike to ride for now. I'd like to get my salvage cycle up to a 7 mile commute, or at least strip it down and reassemble it to learn the basics.
So my question is, what do I do first? My first instinct is to completely disassemble it; but considering how trashed some of the components are, reassembling "as is" isn't really an option. Still, taking the cassette apart and cleaning it, hell any of the parts I can clean up will be educational, right?
As for the bike itself, it looks to me to be a hybrid, as it's not quite mountain, but definitely not road. It's a Schwinn Woodlands, and I think it's maybe a mid-90's bike.
If there is any kind of starting-out advice you good folks can bestow upon me, I'd take it as a kindness. I realize y'all probably take much better care of your rides than I have in the past, but is there something one can use to do basic rust cleanup? Or is it as simple as CLR?
Thanks in advance!
01-30-07, 09:08 PM
Can you post pics?
I'd be concerned with the rust coming through the paint on the frame, they may be indicating some serious frame weakening from rust. Otherwise, pick one system at a time, say brakes then gears or hubs and go at it. You've got nothing to lose.
If I were working on such a bike, I'd probably start with new tubes, tires, and cables. Then I'd ride it a while and re-evaluate the situation.
01-30-07, 09:18 PM
Yours is a common story. This is pretty much what you need to do:
1. Replace the tires and tubes. Rotted rubber can cause a serious accident. Don't fool with this.
2. Replace the brake and shifter cables. You can get the cables and housings pretty cheap if you look around.
3. New chain. Trying to salvage a rusted chain is a waste of time.
4. Attack the chainrings and cassette cogs with a good rust remover (Naval jelly, coke, or whatever) and a wire bristle brush. Cassette innards can survive a lot of neglect. If it's toast, get a new one for $25-30.
5. Headset, bottom bracket, and hub bearings all need to be checked and serviced as necessary.
6. New brake pads. The old ones are usually rotted and junk.
7. Remove (if you can) and grease the seat post.
That's pretty much the minimum. If you need specifics on how to do the individual tasks, visit:
Almost all the overhaul proceedures you need can be found there.
P.S. Get some PB Blaster. You're going to need it ;-)
01-30-07, 09:23 PM
I was kind of in the same boat and for my own education, I have torn everything off, thrown away the rusted stuff, sanded primed and painted the frame, now i am buying pieces to put it back together...its a great experience and feeling knowing you are doing it yourself
01-30-07, 09:31 PM
Here's one, if the html holds out, of the whole bike.
Here's a closeup of the rear assembly:
If one can ignore the gawdawful carpet, the bike is in pretty bad shape. The rear wheel held air for a bit, but I could feel it rushing out not far from the valve.
There's a few more shots at my gallery, but it's just more sprung cable casing and weather damage: http://gallery.filefront.com/thrownaway/75420/
Looking at the pics, I agree with what Cascade said. Take it slow, do one task at a time. As your first project don't take it all apart, throwing the bits in a coffee can. If you are unsure, take pictures as you disassemble for ref when you reassemble. Use the existing cables & casings and their routing as templates when you replace the cable.
Most of all, enjoy the experience. :)
Squirt everything you can with RP7 or some other spray can lubricant (not WD40). Get some air in the tyres, then ride it. Hell, you might decide you loath the thing. Then start replacing bits that NEED it, one at a time. Determine 'need' based on 'it don't work no more', not on 'it looks horrible'. This is the cheapest way of getting it to the point where you can make a real decision about how much you want to spend on it.
The chain can be left soaking in a pan of kerosene overnight, then oiled and you might be surprised at how well it works. My Dad still recommends soaking in engine oil, but that advice stems from the fifties. Similarly, some light oil inside the cable outers may negate the need to replace them. The plastic on the cable outers covers a wire, spring like tube that does the real work - provided that tube isn't corroded, you don't need to change it. Brake pads - get new ones. Tyres - if the side walls are horrible, get new ones, but the tubes are probably okay.
My son's BMX spent three years out in the weather. Air in the tyres, oil on the chain and RP7 on the brakes (not the rubber bits, the mechanical bits) and he chased his mate down to the local BMX track. Mind you, half an hour later, he'd torn about 60 square metres of skin off his right leg and arm (maybe I exagerate), but that wasn't the bike's fault.
These bikes are pretty rugged beasties and can work quite acceptably even when ignored and abused. True, they prefer decent maintenance, but if it ain't broke, don't fix it ... unless you really want to.
I've seen worse....;)
From the scans, the frame is the least of your worries. IIWM, I'd replace the cables and housing, try to salvage the chain, pump up the tires, oil the snot out of everything on piviots, and see how it rides. Also see if you can remove the seatpost and stem and grease them.
Next would be brake pads (if needed), BB and hub service, and replace the tires and tubes if needed.
Your bike is really in better shape than most of the scrap iron that follows me hone from the dump.:D
01-31-07, 07:33 AM
It doesn't look too bad.
Like others have said-the tires,tubes,cables,casing need to be replaced. The chain is salvageable, but chains are so cheap the only reason to do it is the practice.
You can get some citric acid on ebay-toss the cassette in it-~5%(1 lb in 20 lbs water 2.5 gallons)-toss the chain, derailleurs and anything else with steel in it for 12-24 hours.After removing from the citric acid,soak it in dilute soap/detergent and water then hose it off. Let it dry them spray liberally with whatever oily lube you like.Let it soak in-spin it etc, then wipe the excess off.Work the frozen parts to get them to move freely.You might have to give cassettes/freewheels a sharp rap to free them up.
If the wheel bearings are sealed, they will be fine.If they aren't sealed, they will probably be ok.
Bikes of all brands/materials are amazingly resistant to the weather and neglect.The main reason bikes aren't rehabilitated is that they have become so cheap($60 for a new bike) that there isn't any economic reason to rehab them.
01-31-07, 07:44 AM
The bike is not a very good quality one to begin with. By the time you get new tires, chain, FW/cassette, cables etc., you are probably over $100.
You can probably go on Craigslist and get a better quality used bike, in much better shape than yours is, for the amount you will pay for parts to repair the bike you have.
01-31-07, 10:35 AM
What are you trying to accomplish?
I agree with San Rensho. If your goal is to but the bike back on the road economically, it's not going to happen.
If your goal is to learn the mechanics of working on bikes, then the economics are only a secondary consideration. Think of the money that you spend as tuition in the school of bike wrenching.
Take everything off of the frame. Use plastic sandwich bags to hold things like the headset so you don't get the bearings and such mixed up. Then take each part individually and decide to replace it, repaint it, or just clean it up and put the whole bike back together again.
Have fun and good luck!
throw away the shifty bits and convert to a fixed gear!
Following on what Retro Grouch said, let's talk strategy for a second.
The bike *might* be worth salvaging, but let's assume that your primary goal is to use it as a learning device. Okay, then, there are three strategic goals within that:
Acquire the information you need to proceed
Acquire the tools necessary to the tasks
Develop the skills to accomplish the tasks.
Goal 1 involves the development of resources. You've already started by coming here (good move). Now you need to identify each component on the bike and find the information you need to a) make a decision what to do with it - repair, replace, upgrade - and b) how to do that. Where you go to get that info depends on the components, so start with an inventory.
Goal 2 will follow directly from Goal 1. You need specialized tools to do more than simple tweaks on a bike. But there are umpteen different tools, so find out what you need before buying. (Unless you don't mind spending on a tool set that might contain tools you don't need.)
Goal 3 is by far the most fun. Unwrap those tools and dig in, following the instructions you've obtained. Strip it down to the frame and take all the components apart. Most steps will be easy, but expect to have problems (corrosion will drive you nuts). Ask questions if a procedure doesn't seem to be working. Don't force anything!
01-31-07, 11:26 AM
Well I'm kinda' jealous.
Here you are at the threshold of a new learning experience. Ok, so it isn't among the Great Issues of Our Times, but you're gonna' get a kick out of this. Great advice here. I really like the ideas Platy and 'Cascade kicked off, taking on sub-systems one-by-one in logical order and doing "shakedowns" as you conquer each in turn.
As usual there's a downside, so beware. You'll end up liking this stuff so much that it'll take over your every waking moment. Bikes will procreate like rabbits in May, you'll get the "It's them or me!" threat before long, and you'll be astride carbon fiber in three years.
01-31-07, 11:58 AM
This is a perfect bike for changing out a few things and getting it on a safe path for the fun of it. Change out the rubber, maybe the cables will still work. Oil the snot out of the whole rig and get on it. Once you put a mile or two on it, you will be able to decide what needs to change first. There you go. As above, take a LOT of pictures of things as you take it apart...use the pics as a log for 2 reasons. "Where did this thingy go?" and "Look what I STARTED with!" Everybody will be impressed, and YOU will be motivated to continue if the spirit is lagging.
7 mile commute? Not for a while, honestly. You might even decide it just doesn't feel right for that sort of ride.
01-31-07, 12:38 PM
you might want to look into getting a general 'wrenching guide'. I got Park's "Big Blue Book" back when i got started with playing around with bikes i found at the dump and it was/is a great reference. The blue book's chapters are broken out by "sub-system" like other people have mentioned so you can go one chapter at a time.
Coyote is right though...be careful it is defenitely addicting. many times i leave the dump with more stuff than i brought to drop off.
01-31-07, 01:42 PM
Thanks, folks, so much great advice! I've got a book, the Bicycling Guide to complete bicycle maintenance & repair (5th edition) by Todd Downs. I imagine I'll be scrapping the chain as it's so rusty it doesn't bend all the way around, but for the rest I'll be hosing it down with something to strip off as much rust as possible.
Once I get to Home Depot, I'll be getting supplies for a homemade repair rack I found plans for, then I can start tinkering. I may be posting pics and questions as I go.
One more quick one, though. Is the LBS the best place to get tools, or are they available elsewhere?
01-31-07, 03:03 PM
When you get a chain, get a SRAM one with a removable connecting link. Dont get Shimano which have special connecting pins that have to be pushed in with the tool. However you will need the chain breaker tool to remove your existing chain. The best value in tools are the sets for about $40 from Performance or Nashbar. It will include several tools you never use, but will include half a dozen tools that will cost from $5 to $15 at the LBS, that you will be sure to use. The rust on the cogs wont do any harm, so clean an lubricate sparingly.
01-31-07, 04:34 PM
The best value in tools are the sets for about $40 from Performance or Nashbar. It will include several tools you never use, but will include half a dozen tools that will cost from $5 to $15 at the LBS, that you will be sure to use. The rust on the cogs wont do any harm, so clean an lubricate sparingly.
While you're at Home Depot get yourself a set of metric allen wrenches. Don't be afraid to spend a little more to get good ones. You'll be surprised at how much bike work you can do with just them.
If you plan to get a set (Performance or Nashbar), it will have metric Allen wrenches in it.
Just about everything on a bike nowadays is metric.
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