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  1. #1
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    What is the most effective way to clean oily brake pads?

    Hi,

    Anyone know what is the best way to clean the oil from disc brake rotor and pads?
    I tried hot water, burning it out going down hill, and alcohol and the only method that came close was braking full force going down a big hill, but this only worked for some time. I think when the brake cools it becomes less effective again.

  2. #2
    cab horn
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    Rubbing alcohol for the rotor. Pads no idea. I'm a disc brake nubtart.
    Mes compaingnons cui j'amoie et cui j'aim,... Me di, chanson.

  3. #3
    Senior Member ErnieAZ's Avatar
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    Suggest product called 'Brakleen', automotive department or auto parts store. Stuff is vile until it evaporates, use outdoors. Spray brake cleaner.

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    I have some "bike cleaner" that's essentially automotive brake cleaner minus a few of the less bike-friendly solvents.

    Alternately, remove pads and give a spritz with vastly cheaper automotive brake cleaner.

  5. #5
    Senior Member johnknappcc's Avatar
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    Brake Cleaner, Cheap and you can get it at any auto parts store. Make sure there are no people, buildings, wildlife, pets, grass, and a whole list of things nearby. Use it outdoors. That s**t will eat through anything. However, like Operator says, I've used rubbing alcohol on car disk brakes and it works, just not as well as brake cleaner.

  6. #6
    Senior Member DannoXYZ's Avatar
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    Yeah, alcohol is a polar solvent and won't dissolve oil & grease. Brake Cleaner typically has a combination of non-polar aromatic compounds that do a very good job on removing oil & grease from brake parts.

  7. #7
    Pwnerer Wordbiker's Avatar
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    Best way?

    New pads.
    Quote Originally Posted by ahsposo View Post
    Ski, bike and wish I was gay.

  8. #8
    Great State of Varmint Panthers007's Avatar
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    If someone would read and type the contents of a can - or three if three of you do - of their favorite brake-cleaner, I, as an organic chemist (which DannoXYZ also seems to have a good knowledge of) could suggest what to buy at a hardware-store for much less than the stuff that's sold specifically for brakes in the automotive section.

    My current guess is Xylene - aka Xylol. But that's a guess - before you run off to TruValue.
    How do you keep an idiot in suspense?

  9. #9
    I have senior moments... bikinfool's Avatar
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    Mostly your pads are done when contaminated. You might be able to bake off the contaminant with high heat, but depends on pad compound and your method. Best is to not contaminate your disc brakes in the first place, ever. Rotors can be cleaned/sanded. Replace the pads.
    suum quique
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Panthers007 View Post
    If someone would read and type the contents of a can - or three if three of you do - of their favorite brake-cleaner, I, as an organic chemist (which DannoXYZ also seems to have a good knowledge of) could suggest what to buy at a hardware-store for much less than the stuff that's sold specifically for brakes in the automotive section.
    $2.35 at Farm Fleet for a windex-esque spray bottle. It don't get much cheaper than that.

  11. #11
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    On cars, when brake pads are contaminated with oil, we replace them.

  12. #12
    motovation frankenmike's Avatar
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    Once you factor in the: a.) time it takes to "clean" the pads and the b.) questionable results of the whole process; getting new pads right away(before trying to clean the old pads) is the cheapest route IME.

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    Dish detergent is a great grease and oil cutter and won't react with the brake pad material. But I'm with the replacement guys. Just make sure the braking surfaces on your wheels are squeeky clean.

  14. #14
    Elitist Troglodyte DMF's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wordbiker View Post
    Best way?

    New pads.
    +1. Pads are kinda like sponges. And unlike auto pads, they'll never get hot enough to burn it out.
    Stupidity got us into this mess - why can't it get us out?

    - Will Rogers

  15. #15
    Elitist Troglodyte DMF's Avatar
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    Albany Brake Parts Cleaner - "Contains Toluene and other petroleum distillates."

    Advanced Auto Parts BPC mentions Tetrachloroethylene, Carbon Dioxide (!), and the possibility of death or worse.
    Stupidity got us into this mess - why can't it get us out?

    - Will Rogers

  16. #16
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    Get new pads and clean the rotors.

    I have never had luck getting contaminated pads back to life.

  17. #17
    Senior Member coldfeet's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bikinfool View Post
    Mostly your pads are done when contaminated. You might be able to bake off the contaminant with high heat, but depends on pad compound and your method. Best is to not contaminate your disc brakes in the first place, ever. Rotors can be cleaned/sanded. Replace the pads.
    +1000 your life can depend on these.

  18. #18
    Senior Member DannoXYZ's Avatar
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    Here's some active ingredients of common brake-cleaners found at auto-parts stores:

    Champion 4126P Brake Parts Cleaner
    90-94% PERCHOLETHYLENE cas=127-18-4
    3-7% XYLENE cas=1330-20-7

    Pyroil Brake Parts Cleaner
    90-100% TETRACHLOROETHENE

    Brakleen Brake Parts Cleaner
    45-55% ACETONE
    22-32% TOLUENE
    15-25% METHANOL

    3M 08880 High Power Brake Cleaner
    10-30% 3-METHYLHEXANE
    10-30% HEPTANE
    10-30% PROPANE
    10-30% XYLENE
    7-13% METHYL ALCOHOL
    5-10% 2-METHYLHEXANE
    3-7% ETHYLBENZENE
    1-5% 2,3-DIMETHYLPENTANE
    1-5% 3-ETHYLPENTANE.
    1-5% DIMETHYLCYCLOPENTANE
    1-5% METHYLCYCLOHEXANE
    <0.3% TOLUENE

  19. #19
    I have senior moments... bikinfool's Avatar
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    Horrible stuff...do you actually use that on bicycle pads? What's your success rate?
    suum quique
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  20. #20
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    The traditional way for automobile brake shoes (this pre-dates disc brakes) was to soak them in gasoline, place them somewhere safe (like on a concrete driveway), and light them on fire. I have no idea if the adhesive used on bike pads would hold up to this abuse.

  21. #21
    Map maker cbchess's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wordbiker View Post
    best way?

    New pads.
    +1 !

  22. #22
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    I use a file or sandpaper. I rub the brake pads on a medium or fine file to remove some of the old brake pad materials. Sometimes I use sandpaper on a flat metal surface such as a table saw and rub the brake pads on the sandpaper.

  23. #23
    motovation frankenmike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lawrence08648 View Post
    I use a file or sandpaper. I rub the brake pads on a medium or fine file to remove some of the old brake pad materials. Sometimes I use sandpaper on a flat metal surface such as a table saw and rub the brake pads on the sandpaper.
    Won't do much good on disc brake pads- they soak up the oil like a sponge all the way through.

  24. #24
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    white lightning makes a product called Clean Streak. great stuff

  25. #25
    Banned Omni.Potent's Avatar
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    I've gone thru litteraly hundreds of cans of Berryman Brake cleaner, specifically the non-flamable formula.

    http://www.berrymanproducts.com/Default.aspx?tabid=138 Look at part number 1420 LA

    It will not eat up your paint and leaves no residue. I gar-ro-tee it will clean the oil off a brake pad.

    The engine degreaser works great for the drive train too.
    Figures don't lie, but liars figure.
    Quote Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest View Post
    I think you don't become a saint through the sins of your peers.

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