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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.

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Old 08-24-08, 03:18 PM   #1
parker63
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Is CLR strong enough for REALLY rusty components?

I've searched and read several threads regarding rust and how to deal with it. We had some CLR in the garage already, so I thought I would give it a shot, but I wonder if it's strong enough to do the job in this case.

My parents picked up a free bike over the weekend, but the owner lived right next to the ocean. And they left the bike outside. So as you could probably guess, they have a little bit of a rust problem. They gave me a call and asked if I had any ideas. I didn't think it could be fixed at all at first. The following pic should give you an idea of what I saw:





Yikes.

So I took the bike home and removed some of the components, and tried putting them in a bath solution of CLR and hot water.

Here's what what those cantilever brake parts (and some other bolts and such) look like after a little bit of wire brush scrubbing, and at the two and a half hour mark of the CLR soak:






My question is for those of you who are really experienced with this: After almost three hours of letting it set, is this about the best that I should expect from CLR? It had been bubbling quite a bit at first, but now the bubbles seem to have stopped. Should I just leave these parts in here as is soaking for a few more days for better results? Is this stuff still working? Or do I need to go out and grab some wood bleach and some safety goggles to get the job done?

Appreciate any advice you have.

BTW: Yeah, the chain was really rusted too, but I was able to get it to turn using some liquid wrench and working it a bit with some pliers. It's a cheap a** bike, so I don't want to put a lot of money into it, just clean it up a bit and get it rolling.
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Old 08-24-08, 04:39 PM   #2
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Wouldn't hurt to start with CLR as it works great for lime and calcium deposits. You may need to scrub with the rough side of kitchen sponge on the rust spots. If those aren't all gone, use Naval Jelly on the rest of the rust. It works better than other rust treatments because it stops once the rust is gone.
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Old 08-25-08, 09:29 AM   #3
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Once the Naval Jelly® has done its thing there will be a some black deposits and pits in the chrome. Use fine steel wool - Brillo® pads are too coarse - to polish out the chrome. If the plating is good you'll be amazed at how it comes back (though the pits won't). I've brought old Schwinn chrome back to like-new after that level of corrosion. (Bike was stored in a shed next to some chemical fertilizer; about 1/4 of the spokes were rotted through.)
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Old 08-26-08, 09:49 PM   #4
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If I were to try and buy two sets of the part in the picture below, do you know what it's called? As you can see from the shot, the chrome appears just to have flaked off, and I'm left with what you see in the pic. This is after using fine steel wool to buff out to the best of my ability.

Now, if Naval Jelly can fix this, I can go grab some and try it. But if you notice in the pic, some of the chrome flakes appear on the towel, and a close up of the part looks like the chrome is just flaking off of it...I think it's pretty much gone.



I can't seem to find this part anywhere online, but then again, I probably can't find it because I don't know the proper name for it. Looks like it would be cheap enough to replace, but what do I know? I took a shot of the top and bottom of this part if that helps at all.

Thanks guys. I'm just in learning mode right now, and appreciate your insight, and your patience!
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Old 08-26-08, 09:57 PM   #5
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You just need a new pair of cantilever brakes. They're not too expensive.
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Old 08-27-08, 12:16 AM   #6
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Yeah, you can pick up another bike for parts at a garage-sale for $10. Certainly less time, effort and money. If you enjoy restoring though, go for it. Once you get the rest of the rust off with Naval Jelly, you'll need to prime and paint those steel parts or else they'll start rusting again.
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Old 08-27-08, 06:53 AM   #7
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Those parts are ruined. If you insist on using them, take the Dremel tool to them with the wire brush attachment.
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Old 08-27-08, 07:04 AM   #8
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I am a big advocate of fixing old parts rather than buying new, but within reason - the brakes you have there are stamped-steel cantis off a very basic bike. It is possible to get a set of better aluminum canitlever brakes that will work much better than those did when they were new for about $15 per wheel.

Or you can do like somene else said - get a garage sale bike for parts.

Good luck
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Old 08-27-08, 07:08 AM   #9
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Thanks guys. Appreciate it.
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Old 08-27-08, 12:18 PM   #10
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Maybe my standards are just appallingly low, but if the issue is simply one of cosmetics on a $10 bike, why not just put them back together and ride it?
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Old 08-27-08, 02:17 PM   #11
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+1

They're ugly, but they still work. Clean any gunk out of the bushing before installing.
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