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  1. #1
    Senior Member tpelle's Avatar
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    ??? Re: Rustproofing Steel Frame

    I have a new Surly Long Haul Trucker (steel frame, of course), and am mildly concerned about internal frame rust. I say "mildly concerned" because I also have an old Ross 10-speed (at least 30 years old) that is as rusted as an old tramp steamer on the inside, and I don't think its strength is compromised.

    However, being the worry-wart that I am, and wanting to lavish the best of care on my Trucker, I am considering performing some sort of rustproofing treatment on it.

    There seem to be four schools of thought regarding this:

    1. The first school of thought is actually not a school of thought at all, in that the adherents to this theory maintain that the frame won't rust away in your grandchildrens' lifetime, so why sorry?

    2. Strip the frame down (remove seat tube, BB and fork) and treat with Weigle's Frame Saver.

    3. Just hose the insides of the seat tube and stays (through the vent holes) with WD-40, and get on with life.

    4. RTV the vent holes in the chainstays, seatstays, fork, etc., and fill the slot in the seat tube with grease. This keeps 99% of the water out of the frame, and thus inhibits rust formation.

    If I were to buy a can of Weigle's, would I have to strip the frame down, or could I just remove the seat post and hose the seat tube and stays (through the vents) with the stuff? Would it get into and damage the BB otherwise? There would be no way, as far as I can see, to treat the frame head tube, top tube, or downtube this way.

    Actually I read somewhere (maybe Surly's web site?) that BLO (Boiled Linseed Oil), which can be found in the paint department of Lowes, Home Depot, or most any other paint or hardware store, is also good as a frame rustproofer, and can be used in a similar fashion to Weigle's. But this probably involves stripping the BB, fork, etc. too.

    I'm not a big fan of WD-40. The "WD" stands for "Water Displacement", and WD-40 by itself, after it evaporates, pretty much doesn't leave anything behind regarding a lubricant. It's good to get water out of something that has gotten wet, but it's not permanent.

    What do you all think about the technique of RTV-ing the vent holes closed, and plugging the seat tube slot with heavy wheel-bearing grease? This seems like a fairly practical thing to do for a bike owner who is worried about moisture infiltration into the frame, and who doesn't feel competent to tearing his bike down?

    Looking for any and all advise here.

  2. #2
    Your mom
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    You need Weigle's frame-saver.


  3. #3
    Body By Nintendo Psydotek's Avatar
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    I hosed down the inside of every tube on my recent build with T9 Boeshield. If i had Framesaver i would've used that, but i'm cheap and used what i had on hand. It's well known as a rust inhibitor so i'm not too worried.

    Spray, flip frame over afew times, repeat as necessary until you have it dripping out of every vent and tube. Hang frame, let dry/drain overnight, wipe down bottom bracket shell threading (it's going to get greased), shake out excess if possible, and assemble bike.

    Quote Originally Posted by jsharr View Post
    A girl once asked me to give her twelve inches and make it hurt. I had to make love to her 3 times and then punch her in the nose.

  4. #4
    Elitist Troglodyte DMF's Avatar
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    3) won't work. WD-40 isn't a rust preventative and will quickly flash/run off.

    4) won't work either. 1% of the water will still produce rust.
    Stupidity got us into this mess - why can't it get us out?

    - Will Rogers

  5. #5
    Senior Member Old Hammer Boy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Psydotek View Post
    I hosed down the inside of every tube on my recent build with T9 Boeshield. If i had Framesaver i would've used that, but i'm cheap and used what i had on hand. It's well known as a rust inhibitor so i'm not too worried.

    Spray, flip frame over afew times, repeat as necessary until you have it dripping out of every vent and tube. Hang frame, let dry/drain overnight, wipe down bottom bracket shell threading (it's going to get greased), shake out excess if possible, and assemble bike.
    +1. Why take any chances? Last year I built up a LHT and used frame saver. It's worth the few dollars and a little time to do it right. I even did it to my BoB trailer. No regrets.

  6. #6
    I CAN ORDER IT MYSELF! unrooted's Avatar
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    Besides the comfort I ride steel for for durability, not treating it would be rediculous, kinda like paying a crap load of money on a 4130 frame.

  7. #7
    Sometimes knows stuff. rmfnla's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by unrooted View Post
    Besides the comfort I ride steel for for durability, not treating it would be rediculous, kinda like paying a crap load of money on a 4130 frame.
    Nothing wrong with 4130 tubing.

    Look: http://www.henryjames.com/verus.html
    Today, I believe my jurisdiction ends here...

  8. #8
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    Do not seal everything up with RTV, this will guarantee rusting.

    You need to maintain the ventilation holes in all tubing so that moisture can drain or evaporate. The best thing you can do is drill a big hole at the lowest point of your BB to drain the water and condensation that will inevitably get in the tubes.
    Il faut de l'audace, encore de l'audace, toujours de l'audace

    1980 3Rensho-- 1975 Raleigh Sprite 3spd
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  9. #9
    Sometimes knows stuff. rmfnla's Avatar
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    I've heard both sides to this.

    FWIW those holes are not there as drains, thay are there to allow air to escape as it's heated (and expands) during the welding/brazing/soldering process.

    Custom steel frames often come with those holes filled and you have to figure those guys know what they are doing.
    Today, I believe my jurisdiction ends here...

  10. #10
    Senior Member Ziemas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tellyho View Post
    You need Weigle's frame-saver.

    +1

    Don't be a cheapskate and buy the FrameSaver. It'll last you a looong time.

  11. #11
    Cactuar! sneefy's Avatar
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    Fogging oil is a good alternative to Framesaver and Boeshield. It's cheap and easy to come by.

  12. #12
    Senior Member tpelle's Avatar
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    If I were building this bike from parts, I'd use the Weigle's stuff in a heartbeat. The problem is, my bike is already complete - brought home from the LBS where I purchased it as a finished bike.

    The root of my question is this: What can I do to my existing bike without having to disassemble it?

  13. #13
    Senior Member Ziemas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tpelle View Post
    If I were building this bike from parts, I'd use the Weigle's stuff in a heartbeat. The problem is, my bike is already complete - brought home from the LBS where I purchased it as a finished bike.

    The root of my question is this: What can I do to my existing bike without having to disassemble it?
    FrameSaver- The instructions come with the can for both assembled and disassembled bikes.

  14. #14
    I CAN ORDER IT MYSELF! unrooted's Avatar
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    Dude you really don't have the choice, if you want it done properly.

  15. #15
    Senior Member tpelle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ziemas View Post
    FrameSaver- The instructions come with the can for both assembled and disassembled bikes.
    Ahh.....I didn't know that! All of the references to it that I've seen are in regards to treating a frame BEFORE assembly. I'll look into that. Thanks.

  16. #16
    Your mom
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    Truthfully, though, I'm of a similar anal, uber-preventative-maintenace theory. My fixed gear is a 30-year old Trek 400 frame I pulled (frame-only) out of the local rubbish heap. No rust. Plenty of dents.... That says to me that I don't need no stinkin' frame saver.

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