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Bicycle Mechanics Broken bottom bracket? Tacoed wheel? If you're having problems with your bicycle, or just need help fixing a flat, drop in here for the latest on bicycle mechanics & bicycle maintenance.

View Poll Results: Should I rehab this bike?
Yes, It Can Be Saved 10 58.82%
No, Send it to the Scrapyard 7 41.18%
Voters: 17. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 10-02-05, 10:56 PM   #1
enduro_phreak
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Rehabilitating my Steel Frame - RUST!

I'm looking for feedback to determine what to do with a steel frame bike that I have. I'm looking to poll the group wisdom for two things: 1) whether this frame is even worth rehabilitating, and 2) what to do to treat the rust and prevent further rust. But first, a little background on the frame...

I bought this bike in 1991 when I was 16 and it was my first ever bike. It was made by an Italian manufacturer named Atala and was a pretty sweet ride for a number of years. I rode it up until 2003, when I got a new ride. I'm ashamed to say that I did not care for this bike as well as I should have. It developed significant rust in key areas, such as the bottom bracket, the head tube junction and around the seat tube.

This bike has some sentimental value for me, and I'd like to keep it and rehabilitate it if possible. My goal is to turn it into a "fast commuter". When I conceived this goal, I thought I would just strip the existing paint off and repaint it. But the paint stripper revealed a lot more rust than I imagined. So now I am wondering if it's even worth rehabbing. As I mentioned before, this bike has some sentimental value, so I don't mind sinking some time and money into it, if that's what it takes.

Here are some pics of various regions that I took of the bike. I'd appreciate your thoughts as to whether this is a "lost cause". If you think it's worth rehabbing, I'd appreciate suggestions as to what I could do to remove and treat the existing rust. I've been canvassing existing threads and looking at the various rust prevention and treatment methods: Extend, POR-15, Framesaver, etc. I'm most interested in what I could do to remove the existing rust.

Thanks in advance for your advice!
Joe
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Old 10-02-05, 11:18 PM   #2
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naval jelly should take off the rust, but I don't think you should be riding that bike. If it really means a lot to you, clean it up and mount it on the wall

It just doesn't look safe, especially with that bottom bracket.
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Old 10-03-05, 12:38 AM   #3
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It doesn't look like a big deal at all.

Don't mess around with naval jelly or one of the rust treaments, have it sandblasted. It'll take off every bit of rust on the outer surfaces and inside of the BB. The inside of the seat tube will take a some thought though...I'm not sure...Some kind of a rotary sandpaper setup to get most of it off then kill the rest with a rust treatment I think.

The rust doesn't look deep and it looks like a sturdy frame. I think you're ok.

I've de-rusted and repainted one steel frame bike and done quite a lot of car work too, FWIW.

You can prime and paint, or go powdercoat from there. Good luck.

Last edited by Michigan; 10-03-05 at 12:44 AM.
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Old 10-03-05, 03:16 AM   #4
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Not a problem. Naval jelly & sand-blasting as suggested will remove the rust. Be sure to use a fine-grit or glass-beads to blast at a low pressure. You don't need to remove any more metal than have already rusted away. The seat-tube can be bored down with a brake-cylinder hone (3 small stones on expanding tripod on a drill, use extension to reach further down). Use a hard metal block to give a solid backing to 400-grit wet-or-dry sandpaper (wet) to sand those really rusty areas around the top-tube braze-ons. The flat metal ensures that the highest rust-spots are ground down to the same level as the surrounding tubing. Sand down the entire frame with 400-grit wet&dry (wet) sandpaper to get an even surface ready for painting.

Rinse out the frame inside & out with acetone before painting. This will dissolve both water and organic materials like oil, grease and paint-strippers. Then spray the entire frame inside & out with zinc-chromate primer. Then a traditional filler/sandable primer. Sand lightly again with 400-grit wet&dry again to get even surface. Finish off with a couple coats color using a modern polyurethane like Imron or Omni-AU, not too thick. Finish with several layers of clear, the final one being thick and it'll look brand new!

Last edited by DannoXYZ; 10-03-05 at 08:12 PM.
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Old 10-03-05, 05:08 PM   #5
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Also the Eastwood company sells a rust remover that is more effective then Naval Jelly: http://www.eastwoodco.com/jump.jsp?i...rID=198&KICKER

Then if you want to prevent rust from forming after you removed the rust try this: http://www.eastwoodco.com/shopping/p...ProductID=1136
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Old 10-03-05, 06:32 PM   #6
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I remember those; lower-cost Italian production frames, some had really nice paint jobs.

That rust doesn't look too deep. I agree with the sand-blast crowd.

Have you chosen a color yet?
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Old 10-03-05, 09:50 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rmfnla
I remember those; lower-cost Italian production frames, some had really nice paint jobs.

That rust doesn't look too deep. I agree with the sand-blast crowd.

Have you chosen a color yet?
I'm pretty much settled on flat black. In honor of Halloween, I thought I'd put some orange flames running along the down tube too.

Thanks to all for the comments. I'm intrigued by the sandblasting suggestions. What sort of equipment do you need to do this? Air compressor? I'm not quite sure how I would do that.

Alternately, where could I get the sandblasting done? Does anyone know of a place in Seattle that does this?
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Old 10-03-05, 11:05 PM   #8
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Check the yellow pages, body shop might do it, maybe the lbs can hook you up with someone that does steel frame repair.
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Old 10-04-05, 11:29 AM   #9
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Powder coat the bad boy.

http://www.thomasnet.com/washington/...2441357-1.html

Black.
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Old 10-04-05, 06:47 PM   #10
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Get yourself some POR-15. They use it on old Jeeps to seal the frames and prevent future rust. Clean up the rust as well as you can and you can paint right over it with at hat stuff. It's pricey but works well.
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Old 10-07-05, 02:38 PM   #11
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What about chemical dips that are used for car restorations? Nice thing about those is they'd get inside the tubing as well. They usually finish off with a rustproofing dip as well, again getting inside the tubes. I do like the powdercoat idea.
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Old 10-07-05, 06:34 PM   #12
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I've mentioned this in another thread; I used to take steel frames to a radiator shop and have them dip them in their tanks overnight. They would charge me $5 and it would remove everything; dirt, rust, grease, all of it!

I suspect those shops are not using such powerful solvents anymore due to environmental and health regulations, but it's worth a shot.
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Old 10-07-05, 06:57 PM   #13
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It looks like the vote is even at this point, but you couldn't tell that by reading the thread.

I would suggest against the work if you were doing it to make money, but since the frame means something to you for personal reasons, I say go for it!

Of course, I have no information about what the impact of the rust is, so my vote should be weighted as nothing.

Have fun, and good lucK!
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