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Old 06-24-10, 11:14 PM   #1
ClarkinHawaii
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gasoline or diesel fuel?

to soak/rinse dirty chains.

no way gonna pay the price for mineral spirits.

all to be done outdoors.

been a long time, but I seem to remember that diesel always leaves a greasy film, whereas gasoline dries clean.

trudging down to the corner Aloha gas station (catchy name, huh?) in the morning with my new gas can.

Which should I get?
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Old 06-24-10, 11:18 PM   #2
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to soak/rinse dirty chains.

no way gonna pay the price for mineral spirits.

all to be done outdoors.

been a long time, but I seem to remember that diesel always leaves a greasy film, whereas gasoline dries clean.

trudging down to the corner Aloha gas station (catchy name, huh?) in the morning with my new gas can.

Which should I get?
I use this stuff.

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Old 06-24-10, 11:20 PM   #3
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Diesel. The fumes won't catch on fire and it leaves a slightly oily protective film. I've been using it for years it no ill effects.
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Old 06-24-10, 11:39 PM   #4
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Diesel. The fumes won't catch on fire and it leaves a slightly oily protective film. I've been using it for years it no ill effects.
+1... ish. I use kerosene, which is available. I pour some into a plastic jug, drop the chain in, and swish. Hang the chain to air-dry then re-lube. The "used" kerosene is filtered (coffee filters work OK) and saved so you only lose a little bit with each cleaning. A gallon can of kerosene lasts 5 or 6 years, IME.
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Old 06-24-10, 11:40 PM   #5
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I find that the park tool cyclone chain scrubber (or its knockoffs) and a cleaner of your choice will work quite well together in cleaning a dirty chain.

that and gasoline is really dangerous to work with, even if you're outdoors.
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Old 06-24-10, 11:49 PM   #6
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that and gasoline is really dangerous to work with, even if you're outdoors.
The only danger to be aware of is the explosive nature of the fumes, right?
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Old 06-24-10, 11:52 PM   #7
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I use this stuff.

I know, I know. I just can't bring myself to use a water-based cleaner on a chain--I don't care who says it's ok, I just can't do it!

I've got the bar oil and the ms for lubing. Using Mobile1 til it's gone, then try your way.
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Old 06-24-10, 11:54 PM   #8
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I get 9,000 miles out of chains
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Old 06-24-10, 11:54 PM   #9
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+1... ish. I use kerosene, which is available. I pour some into a plastic jug, drop the chain in, and swish. Hang the chain to air-dry then re-lube. The "used" kerosene is filtered (coffee filters work OK) and saved so you only lose a little bit with each cleaning. A gallon can of kerosene lasts 5 or 6 years, IME.
I'm using your method exactly, but gas or diesel
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Old 06-25-10, 12:19 AM   #10
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The only danger to be aware of is the explosive nature of the fumes, right?
That's a pretty big danger. You can get kerosene or diesel fuel relatively cheaply. Maybe twice the price of gasoline. But, you'll be able to work with it with much less worry. Even in a less-ventilated area. You'll be able to do more with it with less risk. Such as filtering it so it can be reused. That, and the fact that it will evaporate less quickly may easily make up for the additional cost.

I do many things to save money that others laugh at. But, I wouldn't use gasoline. Too volatile. I might save money. Or, I might have a $100k medical bill (after all the skin grafts).

Another thing: Gasoline fumes are nearly impossible to get rid of. I know welders who refuse to weld a gas tank even after it's been flushed with water. In your case, the fumes will get into the inner bearing surfaces. That's a lot of surface area to potentially catch fire. That might look cool riding down the street. But, a problem if it happened with the bike parked in the garage late at night.

What I did was buy two half-gallon plastic paint buckets with lids at Ace hardware. Labeled clean and dirty. The dirty bucket does the heavy lifting. The clean bucket is the final rinse. As the dirty gets too dirty (and too full), I pour some out. As the clean bucket isn't as clean as I like, I pour some into the dirty bucket and replenish with fresh kerosene. I use a paper coffee filter to help keep the dirty bucket cleaner longer.

If I used gasoline I'd be nervous about all that handling.
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Old 06-25-10, 03:35 AM   #11
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+1... ish. I use kerosene, which is available. I pour some into a plastic jug, drop the chain in, and swish. Hang the chain to air-dry then re-lube. The "used" kerosene is filtered (coffee filters work OK) and saved so you only lose a little bit with each cleaning. A gallon can of kerosene lasts 5 or 6 years, IME.
I actually do exactly the same thing.
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Old 06-25-10, 03:37 AM   #12
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That's a pretty big danger. You can get kerosene or diesel fuel relatively cheaply. Maybe twice the price of gasoline. But, you'll be able to work with it with much less worry. Even in a less-ventilated area. You'll be able to do more with it with less risk. Such as filtering it so it can be reused. That, and the fact that it will evaporate less quickly may easily make up for the additional cost.

I do many things to save money that others laugh at. But, I wouldn't use gasoline. Too volatile. I might save money. Or, I might have a $100k medical bill (after all the skin grafts).

Another thing: Gasoline fumes are nearly impossible to get rid of. I know welders who refuse to weld a gas tank even after it's been flushed with water. In your case, the fumes will get into the inner bearing surfaces. That's a lot of surface area to potentially catch fire. That might look cool riding down the street. But, a problem if it happened with the bike parked in the garage late at night.

What I did was buy two half-gallon plastic paint buckets with lids at Ace hardware. Labeled clean and dirty. The dirty bucket does the heavy lifting. The clean bucket is the final rinse. As the dirty gets too dirty (and too full), I pour some out. As the clean bucket isn't as clean as I like, I pour some into the dirty bucket and replenish with fresh kerosene. I use a paper coffee filter to help keep the dirty bucket cleaner longer.

If I used gasoline I'd be nervous about all that handling.
True. One of my neighbors (yes, he's an idiot) was working on his car in the garage with a halogen lamp and burnt half his house down due to the gas fumes catching fire.
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Old 06-25-10, 05:33 AM   #13
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I use Simple Green and water in a 1 to 1 mix.
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Old 06-25-10, 06:13 AM   #14
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With the understanding that you're working outdoors only, and exercising reasonable precautions, and have a place to properly store gasoline, then it'll be no more dangerous than hundreds of things you do every day, including riding a bike.

Gasoline is a stronger faster working solvent and dries 100% dry, diesel fuel (or #2 heating oil) works a bit slower, and won't evaporate completely, so gasoline is a better choice as pure solvent, and will allow you to almost immediately apply your preferred chain lube without contamination.

Gasoline itself isn't as dangerous as people make it out to be, but it does have a low flash point, and accumulated vapors are explosive, so it should be both used and stored outdoors, or if stored in a garage needs to be in a cool place in a proper can.
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Old 06-25-10, 06:20 AM   #15
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True. One of my neighbors (yes, he's an idiot) was working on his car in the garage with a halogen lamp and burnt half his house down due to the gas fumes catching fire.
I knew a guy that was burned to death doing almost the same thing, he was in his garage working underneath his car doing something with the fuel tank and gas spilled out onto a hot work lamp it went up and he was trapped, he had fuel on his clothes.


I use gas myself in a open glass jar to clean bearings,races and chains and then rinse with carb cleaner and then blow off with air, but I have been doing it for years ( small engine mechanic for 30+ years) and as long as there is no open flame I don't worry about it. I have had my fair share of gasoline fires through the years due to leaks,backfires and electrical shorts and have always been able to extinguish it fast. The problem with people when they have a vapor fire that I have seen is they drop what they are doing and run away screaming FIRE! instead of keeping their cool and doing something about ( I am talking a small flash fire).
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Old 06-25-10, 06:53 AM   #16
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no way gonna pay the price for mineral spirits.
I'm pretty sure the odor-less gallon jug of mineral spirits I bought at Lowes cost all of ~$6. At ~$3 for a gallon of gas and all the related hassles of working with it, the mineral spirits are a pretty good deal.

With that said, if you want the ultimate chain cleaner, use some carb cleaner. It's as close to an instant chain cleaning as you can get. It is quite expensive though and more flammable than gasoline.
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Old 06-25-10, 06:55 AM   #17
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I knew a guy that was burned to death doing almost the same thing, he was in his garage working underneath his car doing something with the fuel tank and gas spilled out onto a hot work lamp it went up and he was trapped, he had fuel on his clothes.
As someone who often works on cars and has done a lot of fuel-related work, that is such an awful thought. I stick to flash lights and fluorescent bulb lights when dealing with gasoline.
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Old 06-25-10, 07:20 AM   #18
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Gasoline is fast and cheap, but one must exercise extreme caution. Work only in well-ventilated area. Stay at least 50 ft away from open flame, spark, or hot object. Avoid the use of a large bucket. A small glass jar with a metal cap is preferred.
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Old 06-25-10, 07:23 AM   #19
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For how long a gallon of mineral spirits will last, the price is justified.

How many over-priced carbon goodies have you added to your bike? Expensive cycling clothing? Pricy beer after a ride? lol Just saying here...

I clean my chain in mineral spirits now, because then when it dries I dont need to worry because mineral spirits will keep it safe for a few days, unlike water based cleaners. It is cheap and you can reuse it. I think even at the local hardware, where things are more than walmart or lowes, a gallon will still be less than $10. Cheaper than one 16oz bottle of Pedro's Orange Peel degreaser...
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Old 06-25-10, 07:42 AM   #20
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a can of brake clean for cars, works great and evaporates
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Old 06-25-10, 08:00 AM   #21
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I use what I have.. like I still have a full tank stored in cans of gasoline mixed with diesel (never borrow the car to a women) so that is what I use.

At a barbecue on the mountain I use diesel to light the wood/coal (because that's what my car is running and can easily be drowned out the tank by using the purging valve in the engine compartment).
Diesel is cheaper then gasoline (here) but not by much (1.5$ the liter of gasoline, and 1.2$ liter of diesel)

Just as a solvent, gasoline works best. (and a bit of scrubbing the chain with a plastic brush or even wire brush helps a lot)
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Old 06-25-10, 09:19 AM   #22
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I've been working from the same 1gal can of mineral spirits I bought for $7.00 over 18 months ago. I think the price is well justified.
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Old 06-25-10, 09:22 AM   #23
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Gasoline - outside - small container.
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Old 06-25-10, 09:28 AM   #24
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As someone who often works on cars and has done a lot of fuel-related work, that is such an awful thought. I stick to flash lights and fluorescent bulb lights when dealing with gasoline.
Yeah me to, I won't even use a drop light when working on fuel systems under the hood of a car. I prefer day light and to be outside when messing with that anyway
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Old 06-25-10, 09:28 AM   #25
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ISTR someone on this board, a long time ago, discovering that an ultrasonic jewelry cleaner was the ultimate chain cleaner. No volatile liquids required. Admittedly more expensive. Haven't tried it myself.
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