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Old 06-18-09, 12:59 AM   #1
jpwillia
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dirty chain

I have an vintage "oro" brand chain. its a sturdy chain for fixed gear riding without being 3/8ths witch is what i use it for. problem is it was packaged with this horrid, sticky mess for lubrication. im not sure it it was just factory lube that thickened with time, or if that was common back in the day, but this stuff was on there thick. and it wont come off. literally i have tried everything from traditional bike solvents to vinagar, and dishsoap. the only thing that seems to get it off is rubbing it off on other things, ie my hands. any suggestions?
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Old 06-18-09, 01:20 AM   #2
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soak the chain in el duke degreaser for a day.
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Old 06-18-09, 06:37 AM   #3
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Place the chain in an old water bottle filled about half full of mineral spirits (oil base paint thinner), naptha or diesel fuel (the cheapest). Any of those will take the stuff off in less than a minute if you shake the bottle vigorously.

Solvents of this type can be reused many times. I store used solvent in an old water bottle, to let the dirt settle to the bottom. Pour the clean solvent off the top anytime you need some.

Never use gasoline - its much more hazardous.
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Old 06-18-09, 08:37 AM   #4
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I'm surprised nobody has mentioned this yet.

The relevant section:

Factory Lube

New chains come pre-lubricated with a grease-type lubricant which has been installed at the factory. This is an excellent lubricant, and has been made to permeate all of the internal interstices in the chain.

This factory lube is superior to any lube that you can apply after the fact.

Some people make the bad mistake of deliberately removing this superior lubricant. Don't do this!

The factory lubricant all by itself is usually good for several hundred miles of service if the bike is not ridden in wet or dusty conditions. It is best not to apply any sort of lube to a new chain until it is clearly needed, because any wet lube you can apply will dilute the factory lube.
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Old 06-18-09, 09:45 AM   #5
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why not just pedal it through a rag to remove the external stuff?
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Old 06-18-09, 10:44 AM   #6
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Yes, the factory stuff is good for several hundred miles, just like Sheldon said. I rode mine for about 500 before the chain started to get noisy.

I did initially lightly wipe the chain with a rag and paint thinner, to remove that sticky gunk from the outside where it lubricates nothing and draws lots of dirt.
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Old 06-18-09, 02:09 PM   #7
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if it were a modern chain or a new chain, i would agree with you as i have read that section. the problem is, this stuff isn't a nice, dry modern lube. its sticky as hell and actually feels thick on the chain, like its slowing it down more than anything. also its a chain ive used for a while on another bike so the sticky gunk has got a bunch of grit in it and its noisy as hell. its a strong chain so i want to keep using it, but first i want to get this gunk off so i can lube it properly, not just add more dirt catching goop to the mix.
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Old 06-18-09, 02:18 PM   #8
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i used the mineral spirits and it worked great. only thing is once it was clean i noticed a bunch of rust on the inside of the outer plates. it it dead at this point?
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Old 06-18-09, 03:46 PM   #9
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why use an old, rusty chain? why bother?
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Old 06-18-09, 04:04 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by psirue View Post
why use an old, rusty chain? why bother?
Did he say it was rusty??

Sounds, to me, like it's NOS.

I'd clean it up and ride it!

[EDIT: WHOOPS! I missed his last post. Apologies!]
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Old 06-18-09, 09:37 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jpwillia View Post
if it were a modern chain or a new chain, i would agree with you as i have read that section. the problem is, this stuff isn't a nice, dry modern lube. its sticky as hell and actually feels thick on the chain, like its slowing it down more than anything. also its a chain ive used for a while on another bike so the sticky gunk has got a bunch of grit in it and its noisy as hell. its a strong chain so i want to keep using it, but first i want to get this gunk off so i can lube it properly, not just add more dirt catching goop to the mix.
No, that's the way they came and if the chain hasn't been used the lube is just as good as when it was first made. Now that you say the chain has been used and the lube contaminated you may s well use some mineral spirits to clean it off and start fresh.
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Old 06-18-09, 10:14 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jpwillia View Post
I have an vintage "oro" brand chain. its a sturdy chain for fixed gear riding without being 3/8ths witch is what i use it for. problem is it was packaged with this horrid, sticky mess for lubrication. im not sure it it was just factory lube that thickened with time, or if that was common back in the day, but this stuff was on there thick. and it wont come off. literally i have tried everything from traditional bike solvents to vinagar, and dishsoap. the only thing that seems to get it off is rubbing it off on other things, ie my hands. any suggestions?
Could very well be "cosmoline" which comes off best through heating in boiling water or by using a portable steamer.
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