'02 Cervelo Prodigy, '97 Olmo Gara Pista track, '03 Redline Conquest Pro
Perserving a corroding steel frame
My beater fixed gear bike, an older Olmo Gara Pista, has a serious corrosion problem. When I bought the frame used I knew there was some corrosion occuring, and I know that once corrosion starts on a steel frame it's generally a losing battle. At the time, I figured that for $100, if it rusts out in five years, so be it, but now five years has past and I'm attached. When I pulled the bottom bracket for an overhaul today I shook out a good handful of rust flecks. So the clock is no doubt ticking on my frameset, but does anyone have a good technique for preserving a corroding steel frame? This frame has served me well for years, I'd like to get a few more yet out of it (if I can). Any advice would be much appreciated.
Dismantle it to the bare frame, then give the frame a good cleaning. Get out all the dust, dirt, and rust out from inside the tubes. Maybe use a thin nylon brush with a very long, skinny handle. Next inspect the frame carefully for obvious cracks or holes in the tubes or welds. This is also a good time to double-check and be certain that your bottom bracket has a drain hole to let water out. Any spots that don't have paint on them should be touched up with good paint. At least a good automotive/metal primer if you can't get matching touch-up paint. Get a can of JP Wiegle's FrameSaver and apply a generous coat to the the INSIDE of the frame. Finish off by applying some car wax to the painted parts of the frame to keep it looking nice and protect it from salt on winter roads. Lastly, rebuild the bike by replacing the fork, seatpost, cranks, etc...
Everything that SAB said is good. If you use Frame Saver (or Amsoil's Heavy Duty Metal Protectant, available at auto shops - basically the same stuff, easier to find and cheaper) rusting out shouldn't be a losing battle.