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  1. #1
    Senior Member TromboneAl's Avatar
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    Replace Rusted Nipples?

    Almost every nipple on one of my front wheels is rusted. Would this work: Replace each nipple one at a time, truing up the wheel after each, and then taking the wheel in to be professionally trued?
    My Book: Drive, Ride, Repeat: The Mostly-True Account of a Cross-Country Car and Bicycle Adventure

  2. #2
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    Probably not.

    If you have rust at the spoke/nipple interface they are probably seized together and aren't going to disconnect without breaking something. The cost effective solution is to buy a whole new wheel - trust me.

  3. #3
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    Basically, nipples don't rust, they are either brass or aluminum so if they are really rusted, it must be from the spokes. If they themselves are corroded, as RG pointed out, they are probable fused to the spoke threads. In either case the strength of the spokes is compromised and replacing the nipples won't make for a strong wheel. As he further noted, you will be money ahead to replace it with a complete new wheel.

  4. #4
    Senior Member MrCjolsen's Avatar
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    But...

    Can he save the rim and the hub and just use new spokes? (assuming the rim and hub are nice enough to go to the trouble.)

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by MrCjolsen View Post
    But...

    Can he save the rim and the hub and just use new spokes? (assuming the rim and hub are nice enough to go to the trouble.)
    Yes he could if the rim is not badly worn and the hub is a premium component but the cost will still be appreciable to replace all of the spokes and have the wheel professionally trued and tensioned.

  6. #6
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    If the wheel is reasonably true, leave bad enough alone and ride as is. If it requires minor alignment, try putting a drop of liquid wrench or a comparable product on the affected nipples where the spoke enters, then spin the wheel to force it out into the nipples. Wait 24 hours for it to work and try to align the wheel.

    There's nothing to be gained trying to replace rusty nipples. If they turn then they're fine, if they're frozen to the nipple they can't be replaced without the spoke also being replaced. So yes replace a frozen spoke and nipple or two if necessary, otherwise ride as until it's time for a complete rebuild.
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  7. #7
    Senior Member TromboneAl's Avatar
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    OK, thanks guys, I won't try to replace them. The hub and rim aren't that special.
    My Book: Drive, Ride, Repeat: The Mostly-True Account of a Cross-Country Car and Bicycle Adventure

  8. #8
    Senior Member rydabent's Avatar
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    Dont go to so many wet T-shirt contests.






    Sorry couldnt resist.

  9. #9
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    you have to analyze the problem little closer:
    Nipples normally don't rust since they out of brass or aluminum. Spokes can (if not stainless or of poor quality) if the nipples are aluminum there is often contact erosion between them and the spokes. I would just oil the nipple spoke connection to prevent further deterioration - leave the whole thing and ride. If truing is necessary, it often works after letting the oil soak in a little, if a spoke nipple fails during truing you can replace it individually with a brass one, rarely it needs a new single spoke spoke too.
    Contrary to the other commenters before, I would not replace a wheel only because nipples are not perfect turnable - unless I need to turn them and they fail.
    (it seems that Fbin NY has a reasonable approach, which I basically concur with - I saw his comment only after typing mine)

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