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  1. #1
    Mettle to the Pedals Dewbert's Avatar
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    What to use for a grease solvent in a pinch?

    Hi folks--
    I'm at home with my wife over the weekend while she recovers from sinus surgery (yep, she's pretty miserable about now).
    I thought about spending some of my time tearing down my hybrid and cleaning it up. My LBS is an hour away and I need something to soak my chain and other greasy components in. I'm thinking kerosene is probably my best option, but wondered if anyone had suggestions on a good solvent that I can pick up at a local store. We have a couple of gas stations, a grocery store, a CVS pharmacy, an autozone and a Do-it-best Hardware in our lovely little town.

    Suggestions on a good solvent that I can pick up at one of these places?
    Thanks in advance.
    Dewbert
    2008 Giant FCR3 (kitted up for touring)
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    2005 Fuji MTB (for the snowy and muddy days)
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  2. #2
    just 5 more miles 5 more's Avatar
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    Wd-40.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Nessism's Avatar
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    Mineral Spirits (paint thinner). Not too harsh and won't hurt most rubber parts. The odorless stuff is only a couple bucks more per gallon and smells way better.
    Becareful buying/selling bike parts on-line. I learned the hard way. :(

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  4. #4
    Senior Member MudPie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dewbert
    Hi folks--
    I'm at home with my wife over the weekend while she recovers from sinus surgery (yep, she's pretty miserable about now).
    I thought about spending some of my time tearing down my hybrid and cleaning it up. My LBS is an hour away and I need something to soak my chain and other greasy components in. I'm thinking kerosene is probably my best option, but wondered if anyone had suggestions on a good solvent that I can pick up at a local store. We have a couple of gas stations, a grocery store, a CVS pharmacy, an autozone and a Do-it-best Hardware in our lovely little town.

    Suggestions on a good solvent that I can pick up at one of these places?
    Thanks in advance.
    Dewbert

    I suggest Simple Green or a citrus based degreaser. These are water based, but do the job just fine! And it's relatively low cost, smells decent, can be used for general house cleaning, available at most places described above.

  5. #5
    Slow ride, take it easy - Frankenbiker's Avatar
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    I have used Krud Kutter before on my bike's rear derailer. I got it from Ace Hardware. It isn't spectacular, but it seems to work. No glowing testimonial, but it would probably work in a pinch.

  6. #6
    Call me The Breeze I_bRAD's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nessism
    The odorless stuff is only a couple bucks more per gallon and smells way better.
    So does it smell better or not at all?

  7. #7
    Has opinion, will express
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    Quote Originally Posted by I_bRAD
    So does it smell better or not at all?
    Very clever and very astute
    Dream. Dare. Do.

  8. #8
    Gone, but not forgotten Sheldon Brown's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dewbert
    Hi folks--
    I'm at home with my wife over the weekend while she recovers from sinus surgery (yep, she's pretty miserable about now).
    I thought about spending some of my time tearing down my hybrid and cleaning it up. My LBS is an hour away and I need something to soak my chain and other greasy components in. I'm thinking kerosene is probably my best option, but wondered if anyone had suggestions on a good solvent that I can pick up at a local store. We have a couple of gas stations, a grocery store, a CVS pharmacy, an autozone and a Do-it-best Hardware in our lovely little town.
    Rubbing (isopropyl) alcohol.

    Sheldon "Don't Drink It" Brown
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  9. #9
    Senior Member Sci-Fi's Avatar
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    Prepsol, if they have it. Will remove grease, oil, wax, and any silicone based lubes (the hardest to remove). Naptha is another good choice and you can pour a pint of it in your gas tank to clean the injectors (main ingredient in many fuel injector cleaners). Acetone, MEK, or Alcohol (as mentioned by Sheldon Brown) also works. Just be careful with many of these solvents..the fumes and volatility (flammable).

    Personally, I'm not a fan of citrus or alkaline cleaners, water based or not, since many of them are either acidic or high-alkaline. Simple Green has a warning about using their product on aluminium and recommends min exposure, no longer than 10 min exposure time, and "extremely thorough" rinsing of any SG residue. Here's an old VeloNews article...just read the reply by SG marketing rep...recommends using their "Extreme Simple Green Aircraft & Precision Cleaner" formula over their other SG products for bicycle chain cleaning (don't forget to read the label instructions and recommendations): http://www.velonews.com/tech/report/...es/9216.0.html
    Anybody ever see Extreme Simple Green Aircraft & Precision Cleaner stocked at a local store or hardware store?

  10. #10
    Coyote!
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    Old Spice

  11. #11
    Dog is my co-pilot 2manybikes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Coyote!
    Old Spice

    Beer.
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

  12. #12
    Senior Member Nessism's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by I_bRAD
    So does it smell better or not at all?


    The label on the can will say "Odorless" however it will still smell somewhat.
    Becareful buying/selling bike parts on-line. I learned the hard way. :(

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  13. #13
    My bikes became Vintage OLDYELLR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sheldon Brown
    Rubbing (isopropyl) alcohol.
    Hey, Sheldon, while it may clear her sinuses, alcohol is not a good solvent for petroleum based grease products. My choice would be plain old paint thinner, or "Varsol" as we know it in Canada. Doesn't everybody have a jug of that in the basement or garage? If not, gasoline works even better and it's something I've always used because I'm not a nicotine addict. Just don't do it in the basement if you have a gas or oil furnace. It also stinks up the house (but Dewbert will know if her sinuses are working).
    Last edited by OLDYELLR; 12-30-06 at 02:35 PM.
    1981 Nishiki Ultimate
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  14. #14
    Senior Member RockyMtnMerlin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 2manybikes
    Beer.
    Best suggestion in the thread. Won't work but after you discover that, you can get on with the drinking of it.

  15. #15
    Senior Member Ray Dockrey's Avatar
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    I have had good luck with mineral spirits. It is cheap and I have yet to find something it won't clean. The odorless still smells but not near as bad as the regular stuff. I soak my chain in the stuff for about thirty minutes and it is spotless.

  16. #16
    Dog is my co-pilot 2manybikes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RockyMtnMerlin
    Best suggestion in the thread. Won't work but after you discover that, you can get on with the drinking of it.
    If you just skip the bike cleaning part, it works better.
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

  17. #17
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    I needed to clean my chain and the only stuff I had was Coleman fuel. It did a remarkable job on it. By the way, I had tried the water based clearner I got at Performance, diluted it 5-1 as per instructions for chain cleaning, soaked overnight and it did very little. This chain had a 30 year build up on it, however. After the Performance de-greaser stuff I just went with the Coleman fuel and it was dynomyte! Probably very flamable, however, and not very good for the hands.

  18. #18
    Scott n4zou's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mirkee
    I needed to clean my chain and the only stuff I had was Coleman fuel. It did a remarkable job on it.
    This stuff is remarkably flammable as well. You bet it does a good job, as it's a very high grade of unleaded gasoline. If you do this again be sure and have your cleaning station setup away from everything and have someone standing by with a fire extinguisher to put you out if the worst happens.

    Quote Originally Posted by mirkee
    I had tried the water-based clearer I got at Performance, diluted it 5-1 as per instructions for chain cleaning, soaked overnight and it did very little.
    The only water-based cleaner I have found that sort of works is that orange smelling citreous cleaner. Not all the citreous cleaners are created equal, some work and some don’t and you can't go by price as to how well it performs. Never dilute it even if the package tells you too. That part of the directions is just to make you think it will go a long way and is a better deal.

    My personal favorite is mineral sprits. It will not damage rubber so you can wipe down your rims where the brake pads contact them so as to remove built up crud and improve brake performance without taking the tire off the rim. Soaking a chain or anything else in mineral sprits will dissolve the crud making final cleaning with citreous cleaner easy. I clean the chain on the bike by taking a big fuzzy pipe cleaner bent in the middle to make it double width dipped in mineral sprits and pushed through each link and a rag to clean the outer surfaces while the chain is still wet with mineral sprits. A final wash with "good quality" citrus cleaner and stream of water will have your chain clean of all collected crud and looking like new.

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