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Old 11-17-07, 07:04 PM   #1
thedon
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Chain maintanence strategy

I have never been sure about how to keep my chain clean and long-lasting. My current strategy is to relube about every 100-200 miles.

I do this by using Pedro's degreaser, wiping off as much black gunk as I can with paper towels, and reapplying a drop of T9 lube to every link.

I can never seem to get all the black gunk off by simply using paper towels and it seems to return within 20 miles. How can I keep it cleaner? Anything else I can do to increase longevity and decrease friction? Should I be lubing anything other than the chain?
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Old 11-17-07, 07:45 PM   #2
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By my standards you are way over-maintaining your chain. I just wipe mine off every 300-400 miles (or after being caught in the rain) with a dry rag and lube with ProLink by running the chain under the bottle nozzle. I certainly don't go through the agony of doing each pin individually and don't expect the chain to be spotless.

Chains don't last forever even if you do super careful cleaning after each ride so don't over think this.
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Old 11-17-07, 08:25 PM   #3
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Every one has thieri own ideas on this. I like to keep mine fairly clean, I if run my finger along it and feel grit, I clean it. Grit works like sandpaper on your parts. I've tried lotsa ways: wiping down and re-lubing lberally and wiping off excess, ( the following are folllowed by relubing as well), spraying on lots of wd40, to the hand held "brush boxes" w/orange oil solution, to gun cleaner, to brushing on lots of deisel oil, to taking it off and soaking in 3X containers of deisel, each one cleaner than the last and sometimes washing/scrubbing with a brush in with hot water and detergent, then rinsing w Wd40 to remove the water, (THAT'S WHAT WD40 WAS DESIGNED FOR, BY A CONTRACTOR FOR NASA TO REDUCE TAKE OFF WEIGHT BY REOVING ICE AND CONDENSATION) . I used to use kerosene till I found out it interferes with lubricants, and deisel leaves a lubricating film. During races the pros clean lube and wash every day. I don't think you can clean and lube too much. All techniques have their + and -. The boxes can leave water too, the dwd40 may leave grit on the inner parts, the spray on gun cleaner works great as it penetrates but is expensive. The deisel soak/scrub works best but is time consuming. ( I've developed a way to re-use the deisel) How you do it is entirely up to you. How I do it depends on my mood, time available and laziness

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Last edited by pat5319; 11-17-07 at 08:25 PM. Reason: s
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Old 11-17-07, 09:30 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by thedon View Post
I have never been sure about how to keep my chain clean and long-lasting. My current strategy is to relube about every 100-200 miles.

I do this by using Pedro's degreaser, wiping off as much black gunk as I can with paper towels, and reapplying a drop of T9 lube to every link.

I can never seem to get all the black gunk off by simply using paper towels and it seems to return within 20 miles. How can I keep it cleaner? Anything else I can do to increase longevity and decrease friction? Should I be lubing anything other than the chain?
I think you are doing just fine.

You should also occasionally lube pivot points on the derailleurs and brakes, and also drop a little lube into the pulley and jockey wheels every month or so (the little wheels on the rear derailleur).
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Old 11-18-07, 11:17 AM   #5
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Heres what I do about every other time I ride.

Clean-Grab the chain with a rag in my left hand, backpedal the cranks with my right.
Oil-As I backpedal, I hold the nozzle of an oil can directly on the inside lower rung of the chain and pull the lever once, slowly, which applies about 1 tspn of oil evenly over the entire chain.

Before the next ride, I repeat the clean above to wipe off the excess.

Takes less than 1 minute to complete.
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Old 11-18-07, 12:26 PM   #6
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Costco has white, nappy, shop towels that do a great job of getting the chain clean. I also use a pipe cleaner, folded in half, to clean between the links. If you clean the chain often, soaking a 3 inch diameter spot on the towel with degreasser is all you need, then run the chain through it several times, and a few times on dry towel. A towel will clean the chain 2-3 times before it needs to be washed. bk
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Old 11-18-07, 12:52 PM   #7
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My strategy:

After every ride: wipe surface dirt and black residue off with a shop towel.

Every 200 miles, or if it rains: take chain off bike, soak in mineral spirits, acetone, kerosene, gasoline, or whatever solvent you prefer or have handy. Use air compressor at 100psi to blow chain dry, ridding it of solvent, dirt, and metal particles. Wipe off cogs, chainwheels, and derailleur cogs. Re-install chain and re-lube.

The air compressor is the key to it all. If you don't have one, you'll spend more time at it and get more dirty than if you do.
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Old 11-18-07, 04:22 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by change View Post
My strategy:

After every ride: wipe surface dirt and black residue off with a shop towel.

Every 200 miles, or if it rains: take chain off bike, soak in mineral spirits, acetone, kerosene, gasoline, or whatever solvent you prefer or have handy. Use air compressor at 100psi to blow chain dry, ridding it of solvent, dirt, and metal particles. Wipe off cogs, chainwheels, and derailleur cogs. Re-install chain and re-lube.

The air compressor is the key to it all. If you don't have one, you'll spend more time at it and get more dirty than if you do.
+1 This is exactly what I do too.
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Old 11-18-07, 04:40 PM   #9
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The best rags for chain cleaning are terrycloth (towels).
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Old 11-18-07, 07:25 PM   #10
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I clean when I notice it's pretty grimy; wipe external dirt off plates and rollers, relube. Wipe off excess lube. As chains are a disposable drivetrain item, I see little point in spending significant time cleaning them.
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Old 11-19-07, 11:57 AM   #11
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I try to clean my chain two ways, one way every few rides, and the other one a month or so.

The first way is the finish line chain cleaner with degreaser, with chain still on bike. Run it once, empty, and repeat.

The other, I do the above, but then take the chain off, and place in a Welsh's Cranberry Juice bottle (I like the shape and it feels stronger than a soda bottle) with some paint thinner and go to town. Drain, rinse chain under some water, and repeat. Then shake with some (hot) water and drain, and then repeat. Turn oven to 200* and place chain in there for a few minutes to get it dry. Take out, hang up, and lube it up.
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Old 11-19-07, 01:11 PM   #12
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I clean and degrease every 100 or so Km, and relube with this stuff.
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