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  1. #1
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    What to do with this kinda rusty Trek Frame- Reynolds 531 (pics!)

    Just picked up this frame for $50-- I jumped on it despite the rust because 1.) it's a trek with nice geometry and good build quality, and it's my size at 23"; 2.) it's reynolds 531 main triangle and cromo stays and fork. It's a model 500 "tri series" from 85, by the way.

    As you can see in the pics below, there's a good bit of frame rust, mainly around the bottom bracket shell, and eating at the top tube cable guides, bubbling the paint around those two areas as well. So first, I'm wondering if this is a safety issue. I looked around on the inside of the seat tube, the steerer, and the bb shell, and there's no rust on the inside except what you can see in the bb shell in the pic.

    And, I'm wondering if anyone has any cheap, preferably diy, ideas for a cosmetic and functional overhaul. I'm not so fond of the red-white paintjob, and I could use a winter commuter as much as a quick and dirty single speed (I really don't need another bike, but this could fill some little "niche" in my commuting) so anything goes. I was considering taking a brass wire brush to the rust just to get it off, and then maybe trying to coat over it. Or stripping the paint off with stripper and then "rust coating it" with saline solution and clear coating over that. Or having it painted, if I can find someone in the Boston area that's cheap enough.

    And finally, I was considering posting this in the frame swap game spreadsheet, but I want to hear what everyone thinks before I relinquish it. I'd want to swap for an 80s mtb frame 21-24", so if you like this frame and have one, at this point I'll consider.

    Thanks!








  2. #2
    Senior Member mudboy's Avatar
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    Doesn't look like anything too serious if you get it taken care of. Get it blasted, primed, and painted, and then ride it.
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  3. #3
    Senior Member Capecodder's Avatar
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    A good OA bath and paint job or powdercoat.......
    Amy, I'll always remember you...... I miss you so much, for you filled my days with so much joy.

  4. #4
    Senior Member miamijim's Avatar
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    Sand blast, OA bath then powder coat.
    WWW.CYCLESPEUGEOT.COM 2005 Pinarello Dogma; 1991 Paramount PDG 70 Mtb; 1976? AD Vent Noir; 1989 LeMond Maillot Juane F&F; 1993? Basso GAP F&F; 1989 Terry Symmetry; 2003 Trek 4700 Mtb; 1983 Vitus 979

  5. #5
    Senior Member mazdaspeed's Avatar
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    Nice frame, and worth fixing up, although you probably won't get your money out of it after buying oxalic acid, powdercoat, framesaver, decals, etc... I'd sell it to someone that wants it! (unless you like it enough to keep it and put the work/money into it)

  6. #6
    Senior Member roadbike68's Avatar
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    Love that seatstay treatment!

  7. #7
    Senior Member rothenfield1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by miamijim View Post
    Sand blast, OA bath then powder coat.
    Wont sand blasting take the rust off alone. I thought it was an either or proposition whether you sand blast and powder coat, or OA. Seems like the cheapest way to go, if you are just trying to get it on the road, is to wire brush the flaky paint away from the rusted areas the best you can to expose the rust, then OA soak to dissolve it, then rattle can paint. I'd probably JP Weigle the interior as well.
    Half of the time I fear I may not know what the hell Iím doing; the other half, Iím sure of it.

  8. #8
    WNG
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    This was a nice frame. To do it on the cheap, it'll be tough, and what you had in mind, to 'Rusty' it and then clear coat, is unthinkable.
    nlerner in Brookline has used a powdercoater in Plymouth who does very good work and is very reasonably priced (<$100).

    In the end, it's going to be cheaper to go this route for the desired results.

    [Edit] Ooops! Don't know why I thought you were in Boston.

    But I still believe getting it powdercoated is your best option, since they'll sandblast it for you first.
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  9. #9
    Senior Member miamijim's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rothenfield1 View Post
    Wont sand blasting take the rust off alone. I thought it was an either or proposition whether you sand blast and powder coat, or OA. Seems like the cheapest way to go, if you are just trying to get it on the road, is to wire brush the flaky paint away from the rusted areas the best you can to expose the rust, then OA soak to dissolve it, then rattle can paint. I'd probably JP Weigle the interior as well.
    I was thinking of sand blasting to remove the paint and external rust and OA baithing to get the internal rust. And powder coating because its inexpensive.
    WWW.CYCLESPEUGEOT.COM 2005 Pinarello Dogma; 1991 Paramount PDG 70 Mtb; 1976? AD Vent Noir; 1989 LeMond Maillot Juane F&F; 1993? Basso GAP F&F; 1989 Terry Symmetry; 2003 Trek 4700 Mtb; 1983 Vitus 979

  10. #10
    Senior Member rothenfield1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by miamijim View Post
    I was thinking of sand blasting to remove the paint and external rust and OA baithing to get the internal rust. And powder coating because its inexpensive.
    Oh, I gotcha. Thanks MJ.
    Half of the time I fear I may not know what the hell Iím doing; the other half, Iím sure of it.

  11. #11
    Riding like its 1990 thenomad's Avatar
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    Looks bad but will clean up fine I bet.
    Is the stem stuck? That may be a tough one. Looks like it spent many hard years on a trainer getting bathed in sweat by a triathlete.
    My blog about rides, bikes and builds: ridesgoneby.blogspot.com

  12. #12
    King of the Obscure Frogbutter's Avatar
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    Nice!
    A good walnut shell blast, primer and paint and it will be a nice ride.
    No 80's Mt Bike frames but I do have a '95 Trek 930 Bare/repainted frame. It's been sitting here for a long time doing nothing. Box of parts some place also....
    1995 Specialized Allez Sport - 1988 Eddy Merckx Corsa-Extra Team Hitachi - 1988 Pinarello Catena Lusso - 1988 Schwinn Ontare - 1987 Battaglin - 1986 Specialized ďAllez SEĒ Jim Merz Edition - 1984 Masi Gran Criterium - 198? BMZ Biemmezeta Mod. Gimondi - 197? Libertas - 1974 Falcon Olympic Model 78 - 1974 Bottecchia Special SN:334863 - 1972 Bottecchia Professional - 1962 Legnano Roma Olimplade SN: FA9376

  13. #13
    Senior Member rothenfield1's Avatar
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    I've seen some people file down the cable guides that were toasted and replace with clamp-on type.
    Half of the time I fear I may not know what the hell Iím doing; the other half, Iím sure of it.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by WNG View Post
    This was a nice frame. To do it on the cheap, it'll be tough, and what you had in mind, to 'Rusty' it and then clear coat, is unthinkable.
    nlerner in Brookline has used a powdercoater in Plymouth who does very good work and is very reasonably priced (<$100).

    In the end, it's going to be cheaper to go this route for the desired results.

    [Edit] Ooops! Don't know why I thought you were in Boston.

    But I still believe getting it powdercoated is your best option, since they'll sandblast it for you first.
    I am in Boston! I think my profile still says Chicago, but I put in the post that I'm in Boston, so that's where you got it...

    Brookline is right around the corner from me, and if it's $100 for a good blasting plus powder, I'll probably do it in a couple months. The one bike I got powdercoated cost me twice that... For now, should I do anything? Is there any danger the rust would spread, or should I just leave it well alone?

    Thanks all.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by rothenfield1 View Post
    I've seen some people file down the cable guides that were toasted and replace with clamp-on type.
    Yeah, I was thinking about doing that, too, but having on-frame cable guides is just way more convenient than having to fuss with the clamp-on ones every time you re-cable... It might be necessary that they come off either way, since they look near-death with the rust...

    Oh, and the stem is not seized. I just put it in there cause I had it lying around.

  16. #16
    Senior Member southpawboston's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tmoneygetpaid View Post
    I am in Boston! I think my profile still says Chicago, but I put in the post that I'm in Boston, so that's where you got it...

    Brookline is right around the corner from me, and if it's $100 for a good blasting plus powder, I'll probably do it in a couple months. The one bike I got powdercoated cost me twice that... For now, should I do anything? Is there any danger the rust would spread, or should I just leave it well alone?

    Thanks all.
    The powder coater mentioned earlier is in Plymouth. Both nlerner and I have had bikes PC'd by this guy. Feel free to PM me for details. I now have my bikes powder coated by Sugarcoat in Allston (The PC'ing side business of Geekhouse Bikes).

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by WNG View Post
    nlerner in Brookline has used a powdercoater in Plymouth who does very good work and is very reasonably priced (<$100).
    It's been a couple of years since I used that pc-er in Plymouth, MA, and at least one other local was having trouble with how long it was taking to get his work done, but if you want to check it, go to http://www.lbcustomfab.com/.

    Neal

  18. #18
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    Well, looked around a bit, and sugar coat is way expensive for me, and even that place in plymouth wants $125, which out of my price range.

    This may sound heretical, but I'm thinking of stripping the paint off, doing an OA bath, cleaning the frame thoroughly, sanding to get the metal "sticky," and then quickly priming and clear coating over the bare steel. There have been countless threads about getting a diy bare steel look with rattle can primer and finish, but there doesn't seem to be consensus about whether priming and then clear coating/ finishing over the primer would work well, or whether there'd be inevitable rust under the sprays. Everyone agrees that without primer, ie with just clear coat/ finish, it'll rust under the finish, but I haven't seen any comments about primer then finish.

    Before you suggest it, I did price out sand blasting and clear powder coat over the bare frame, and it's still way over my budget ($95 is the cheapest quote I got, even if I strip the paint myself).

    Thoughts?

    And how many coats of primer and clear should I do?
    Last edited by tmoneygetpaid; 02-05-11 at 12:34 PM.

  19. #19
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    I have read of brush painting with "1 Shot" sign paint. I'd like to see pix if anyone has tried this. They have some nice stock colors.

  20. #20
    Senior Member Lenton58's Avatar
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    Nice frame. I hope you will save it or find it a good home. You could strip it yourself — lots of work. (The best tool I found are a plastic coke bottles carved into various shapes with a box cutter knife). Then you need to sand blast it, but that seems outside your budget. I think that you can be sure to come in on your budget by skipping the sand blasting, but you'll be days removing the rust yourself. You may have to do bit of file work. And you will eat up a pile of emery cloth. You MUST get the BB shell refaced.

    Then you can hand brush it over a rattle can primer. You will need at least three coats with rubs in between. On your budget, you are going to have to work very hard.

    As for internal rust — cheapest way. Tape off, block off or seal as much of the frame orifices as you can. Buy a gallon of the cheapest vinegar. Pour it down the seat tube. Let it sit. Flush with hot water. No — it isn't perfect, but it sort of works — gets the slag out. I've done it in the bath tub. Next, get some some of the heaviest, nastiest grease you and find and stuff it down there with a rug using a steel coat hanger — like cleaning a *** bore. Then spray a load of silicon grease in there and slosh it about.

    I am not talking off the top my head. I've done this stuff, but just not all of it one one project. And BTW, they were Trek frames. One had rust under the paint like yours.
    Me: I've learned a lot about cycling by my mistakes, and I can repeat them perfectly! My Bikes: Vitus-979, Simplon-4-Star, Gazelle-AB, Woodrup

  21. #21
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    you could just give it to me

    Sanding can be a pita if you don't have the right tools though. I've always used a dremel for the hard to reach places (on my car and my old bikes).

    Just remember, when painting, many light layers are better than one thick jacket

  22. #22
    FBoD Member at Large khatfull's Avatar
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    If you try to rattle can it you'll spend as much in primer, paint and clear...plus sandpaper, some solvents, OA, naval jelly whatever. Plus the mess, plus your time.

    A $125 powdercoat could be cheaper, faster, and protect the frame better.

    I'd ditch the cable guides at the same time....how often do you think you'll recable the bike?? $10 for a set of new Dia-Compe clamp on guides would be elegant on the frame.

    That frame is too nice to do anything less than a powdercoat too.

  23. #23
    )) <> (( illwafer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by khatfull View Post
    If you try to rattle can it you'll spend as much in primer, paint and clear...plus sandpaper, some solvents, OA, naval jelly whatever. Plus the mess, plus your time.

    A $125 powdercoat could be cheaper, faster, and protect the frame better.

    I'd ditch the cable guides at the same time....how often do you think you'll recable the bike?? $10 for a set of new Dia-Compe clamp on guides would be elegant on the frame.

    That frame is too nice to do anything less than a powdercoat too.
    i disagree with all this.

    everyone has some sandpaper, green scotchbrite, etc. laying around. a couple brass/steel brushes will get the rust off in the hard to reach places.

    keep the guides! they aren't that bad, plus they uhhh have a purpose!

    you can get white rustoleum epoxy paint for like $4/can at home depot. you don't have to primer and you don't have to clear (unless you want). you could use 2 cans, and it would be great! or you can can use 3 cans, sand/wetsand, and 1 can of clear and it'll be even more awesomer. for $16.

    im just not sure how great a "tri" bike will be for a commuter in boston, but the OP knows better than me. you can probably only fit 700x25s in there.

  24. #24
    No, your OTHER left!! bikenut2011's Avatar
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    The bike i am working on right now, i did this: (all duplicolor paint) 1 can self etch primer, 1 can primer/fill, 2 cans GM bright red (could have got by with one), 2 sanding blocks (1 MEDIUM GRIT AND 1 FINE 320 GRIT) and some ultra fine steel wool...that's a grand total of $30 plus my time which i dont count b/c i enjoy doing this type of thing... for $6 more i could have thrown on a clearcoat, but i stopped while i was ahead. Finish looks very good and will look better after polishing. Its acrylic lacquer paint which dries very quickly and can be recoated anytime... i have used acrylic enamel on other projects but i prefer this.

    andy

    Last edited by bikenut2011; 02-05-11 at 07:18 PM.
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  25. #25
    No, your OTHER left!! bikenut2011's Avatar
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    btw, to the OP: a small wire wheel or a couple on a portable drill will take care of all the rust on that frame. WEAR SAFETY GLASSES!!

    Good Luck with it!!

    andy
    Last edited by bikenut2011; 02-05-11 at 07:17 PM.
    Bike Hoarder in Training :)

    1988 Schwinn Circuit (Red, White, 'n' Chrome... American made Hot Rod! )
    1986 Schwinn Prelude now a 14 spd (survivor bike, almost mint)
    2009 Motobecane 27 spd Flat bar (too small for me, now wifey's ride)
    2011 Motobecane 18 spd Cross Bike turned road bike (my "modern" ride)
    1973 Schwinn Continental... 36 pounds and yellow (for my son) :)

    My C&V pics here
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