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Old 01-04-05, 01:47 AM   #1
Jed19 
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Degreasing The Drivetrain

Hello Guys,

I am interested in asking you all about using automobile grade degreasers in degreasing bicycle chain before lubing with bike-specific lubricants like Finish Line Teflon-Plus.

I am concerned that bike-specific degreasers are ridiculously priced, while not different in what they do when compared to auto degreasers. There are many more companies that make degreasers for automobiles than there are specific bicycle drive-chain degreaser manufacturers, hence less opportunity for the auto degreaser manufacturers to stick it to customers price-wise. I do not mind paying for something, but price-gouging irritates me.

I use automobile lube grease in lubing my seat post and also my clipless pedals, and they work just great.

Any harm being done or about to be done with the seat-post lube or the auto degreasers?

Over to you wise-people.

Regards, Lucas
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Old 01-04-05, 01:53 AM   #2
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I've been known to use Brake Parts Cleaner to degrease. Its the same stuff as Clean Streak and costs $2.99 a can vs. 9.99 a can.
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Old 01-04-05, 02:07 AM   #3
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Hello Seely,

Could you identify the specific brake parts cleaner you use as your degreaser?

Thanks for your reply.
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Old 01-04-05, 05:22 AM   #4
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It really doesnt matter, these things are straight forward. I use automotive degreasers (usuually brake cleaner). It works well, smells, but works well.
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Old 01-04-05, 08:02 AM   #5
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Automotive products like degreasers and lubricants work fine for bicycles. Some products, like brake clearner, may damage paint so it's always a good idea to read the label before using.
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Old 01-04-05, 08:09 AM   #6
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I use Greased Lightning and Simple Green all the time. Carb cleaner would work well too.
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Old 01-04-05, 10:19 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LUCAS
Hello Guys,

I am interested in asking you all about using automobile grade degreasers in degreasing bicycle chain...Any harm being done or about to be done with the seat-post lube or the auto degreasers?

Regards, Lucas
In general, you can use automotive degreasers on bicycle mechanical parts. As you found out, they're less expensive, and readily available. As supcom said, those chemicals may also damage bike paint or finishses. Likewise, auto grease works too. Some say half the bicycle specific grease is just repackaged marine grade grease, with a huge markup.

Instead of auto degreasers, Simple Green (and other more environmentally friendly degreasers) work very well. For example, to clean the chain, I remove the chain, soak/scrub in a Simple Green, rinse with hot tap water and it's clean. And Simple Green smells better than petroleum solvents. And Simple Green is cheaper and really readily available.
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Old 01-04-05, 11:43 AM   #8
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Simple Green is good stuff. Home Depot sells it in a gallon jug for $8 or so. Use it full strength for chains, cogs, chainrings, and dilluted for the rest of the bike.
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Old 01-04-05, 05:38 PM   #9
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Yep i use the simple green in the gatorade bottle method. It works well, it doesnt leave an impression on your paint and it doesnt smell as much as most actual degreasers.
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Old 01-05-05, 02:28 AM   #10
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Phantomcow2,

I suppose you are talking about the regular Simple Green Degreaser?

I also suppose you remove your chain and put it into an old Gatorade bottle, add some (undiluted Simple Green)?, close the lid and shake the whole thing vigorously until all grime comes loose. Then you fish the chain out and rinse in water. or should the Simple Green be diluted?

What do you think about using gasoline as a chain cleaner? One has to be careful not to use same in an indoor environment and to be careful to make sure there are no possibility of an open fire or sparks around, but I am intrigued by the possibility of the gasoline just evaporating off the chain after cleaning.

What do you think?

Cheers.
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Old 01-05-05, 02:43 AM   #11
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Guys, I find that the best thing to do is clean the chain when you clean the whole bike.

1. Take both wheels out.
2. Get one of those funky chain cleaning devices and fill with enviro friendly degreaser (I like the stuff that smells like oranges - find it works best, and that I prefer to get high via other methods than sniffing solvents anyway). Finish line is good stuff, but costs the earth. If anyone can tell me of a cheaper alternative, I am listening.

3. Clean chain using this device

4. Use a 1 inch wide paint brush (frequently dipped in the same degreaser above) to clean all greasy parts (amazing what gunk can be removed from the chainrings and cogs using this stuff - will look like new).

5. Use a hose to spray off loose dirt, etc.

6. Use a sponge or long bristle brush and hot water with lots of detergent in it to clean the rest of the bike. I like to use a floor scrubbing brush on the rims/tyres - gets all thes hit off.

7. Use hose to wash rest off.

8. Put bike back together, bounce up and down to get much water off. Leave in sun to dry for an hour.

9. Lube it to within an inch of it's life.

I do my commuter like this every couple of weeks, and my MTBs about every 15 - 20 hours of use. Road bikes after about 50 hours or so.

After a wash like the above, they really look like new, and work as well also.

It only takes about 20 mins to do, and will save you a heap in the long run (the best maintenance for a bike is to keep it clean!).
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Old 01-05-05, 06:39 AM   #12
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Before using Finish Line Teflon Plus, I soaked my road bike chain in Mineral Spirits, then used Gunk Engine degreaser with a final water rinse. I blow dry the chain to mitigate rust and speed things up.

With the Teflon plus, I do the mineral Spirits followed by brake cleaner. That Teflon Plus is very tenacious. I have to use the brake cleaner two or three times before the stuff comes out of the chain looking relatively clean. I still use the old procedure on my mountain bike chain where a wax-based lube is used.

Years ago I tried one of those on-bike chain cleaners. They don't clean well enough; especially the internal workings of the chain where the serious, chain "stretching" wear occurs. I always use a removable link anyhow and removing the chain makes it easier/quicker to clean the cogs/rings.

Al
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Old 01-05-05, 07:49 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LUCAS
Phantomcow2,

I suppose you are talking about the regular Simple Green Degreaser?

I also suppose you remove your chain and put it into an old Gatorade bottle, add some (undiluted Simple Green)?, close the lid and shake the whole thing vigorously until all grime comes loose. Then you fish the chain out and rinse in water. or should the Simple Green be diluted?

What do you think about using gasoline as a chain cleaner? One has to be careful not to use same in an indoor environment and to be careful to make sure there are no possibility of an open fire or sparks around, but I am intrigued by the possibility of the gasoline just evaporating off the chain after cleaning.

What do you think?

Cheers.
Gasoline should NEVER be used for cleaning parts. Gasoline is extremely flammable and it only takes a single spark to ignite. Static electricity from your clothes rubbing together can cause that spark, especially in cold dry air. Use something like mineral spirits if you want a solvent. Although still flammable, it's much safer than gasoline.
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Old 01-05-05, 11:53 AM   #14
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Okay, I would not even think of using gasoline. What is mineral spirits, if you do not mind my asking?

Thanks.
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Old 01-05-05, 01:13 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by LUCAS
Okay, I would not even think of using gasoline. What is mineral spirits, if you do not mind my asking?
Paint thinner. It is also flammable.

Use Simple green, citrus cleaner, or Formula 409. I used to work on shipboard elevators where things were VERY greasy. We tried all kinds of industrial degreasers. The best thing we found......Formula 409, available at the grocery store.

I use Simple Green on my bike with a Park chain cleaner. It works great.
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Old 01-05-05, 02:43 PM   #16
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Yea gasoline well it works, works well but is it worth it? NO! I use simple green diluted, i get it for 3.99 at Shop n save, i fill the gatorade bottle to just over 1/2 full. THen i pour or spray simple green in to about 3/4 full. Then you can re use the mixture
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Old 01-06-05, 04:01 AM   #17
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Try kerosine, not as volatile as petrol (never ever use petrol if you value your health) and is kind on mineral lubricants. I use it for everything now, its easy.
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Old 01-06-05, 06:45 PM   #18
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Simple Green is not strong enough to work on much. It certainly doesn't clean my chains. I got a whole quart I don't know what to do with.

Mineral spirits is flammable, but it takes a lot to ignite it. It's very safe and you can buy the deodorized version. It's also a thinner and brush cleaner for those of us who use oil-based paints. I've been using it for over 50 years.

Al
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Old 01-07-05, 12:26 AM   #19
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Simple Green is not strong enough to work on much. It certainly doesn't clean my chains.
What in the heck are you lubing your chain with?
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