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  1. #1
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    Rust Worries - Overrated? Prevention?

    I purchased a new CroMo steel frame, MTB style and have been riding it for about a year. It's already had the paint chipped off in a few places due to accidents / clumsiness (the LBS guy has chipped the paint 3 times - each with a "Whoops!" and a quick apology - he's never ridden steel as its quite rare here in Taiwan, so I sense it may just be a lack of understanding there).

    Anyway, I usually put some clear nail polish over the spots and keep riding. Not sure how long it lasts. Is there anything else recommended? I've seen a little bit of rust in the mid-fork braze-ons after removing a front hub, and I used some frame saver spray there. Many of the exterior nuts and bolts have rusted somewhat, but I know these are replaceable. Is there any way to prevent rust on places like those (for instance, the rear rack mounting screws are looking pretty shoddy) or should I just replace them continuously.

    Am I worrying to much? I want this frame to last, as well as the parts, but I don't want to get so involved in care that I can't ride it in piece of mind. How much rust would it honestly take to put this frame in bad shape?

  2. #2
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    It is best to use stainless steel allen bolts (mostly M5 thread with some M4) of the correct length. You can get these at good hardwear stores as well as your LBS.
    You can coat the bolts and the frame using a car wacks (spelling: this keyboard is missing the vital letter )
    If you take precaustions, rust is not a problem.

  3. #3
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    I'd drill a hole in the bottom bracket shell so that the water that gets in (and water will get in) can get out. While you have the bike disassembled, spray inside the tubes with LPS3 or Weigle FrameSaver.
    Either of these will coat the inside of the tubes and hold rust at bay. The idea to use stainless bolts where they directly thread into the frame is good also.

  4. #4
    Faster but still slow slowandsteady's Avatar
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    I would be pretty mad at the LBS for scratching my bike regardless of what it was made of.
    "Ride lots." -- Eddy Merckx

  5. #5
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    I'll probably go back to the LBS and ask for a nice supply of stainless steel bolts. Each time he scratched the frame I've been pretty pissed, but he's the only gig in town as far as English speaking goes, so I have to put up with it. In general, its a pain to go to any store here. They refuse to get paid for service (REFUSE) so the service you get is absolute crap.

    I had some problems with the bike when I first got it, and I asked him to take a look at it. He took it apart, but very begrudgingly and ended up saying I was too picky. I think I'll just buy all the tools and other things and take care of it myself, as its been a real hassle.

    Not about to drill a hole in the BB, as I don't have the tools or the experience. Any other recommendations?

    Thanks for the replies so far.

  6. #6
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    Have a 10 year old Kona that is lacking paint in many places as I abuse it offroad. After each ride, or most of them, it is a wash down and dry for a while before I spray with a water displacement oil (WD 40 or the like). The whole of the frame gets sprayed and a couple of hours- or days - later-, I rub the frame down to polish the oil into the frame. Considering how old the frame is, and how many scratches- there is remarkably little rust on it.
    How long was I in the army? Five foot seven.


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  7. #7
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    I store my bikes in the house & have had no rust, aside from a spot of surface rust under the bottom bracket on my old "wet weather"Puch where the paint was worn off long ago. I sanded it down & touched it up. I use enamel to touch up any dings.
    The chance of a frame rusting out from the inside is remote unless you park/ride it in a wet climate a lot.

    If wet the bikes dry out very fast in the house & no rust results.
    Where have you been all your life?

  8. #8
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    The high quality cro-mo steel typically used in today's bikes is remarkably resistant to rust damage. If you scrap off the paint, it will form a protective coat of surface rust that protects against deeper rusting that pits or scars the steel. I just cover those sorts of scrapes with clear nail polish, and forget about them.

    Houston is the "rust capital" of America, due to the mixture of salty breezes off the Gulf of Mexico and the toxic chemical filled air from the petro-chemical complexes in east and south Houston. Yet, even in the worst air in America, I never see a twenty or thirty year old cro-mo frame here in Houston that has more than that very light surface rust, included bikes that are stored outdoors.

    I saw a 1942 Schwinn that had been stored outside for decades. The top tube had some dime-sized rust that went all the way through the tube. It was ridden by a bike shop tech who said the frame was still plenty strong, even after sixty years of abuse.

    The only steel frame I might worry about are some of the super-light frames currently being made that are almost as light as carbon. Portions of their walls are paper-thin. If that sort of frame was left outdoors for sixty years, the owner might have cause for worry.

  9. #9
    Caustic Soccer Mom apclassic9's Avatar
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    You could also remove any rust, lightly sand the chipped area with, say 800 grit sandpaper, and apply some car touch-up paint - the stuff that comes in little bottles.

    Sounds like you ought to invest in a good repair manual & some tools.......
    As with mud, life, too, slides by.

  10. #10
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    I have heard that steel bikes will rust from the inside out. Linseed or flaxssed oil is supposed to be good for coating the inside of the frame with as it will eventually dry somewhat and adhere to the metal making less prone to rusing.

  11. #11
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    As discussed above, there's little real danger of rustout from inside the tubes. It's true however that boiled linseed oil makes a good dry metal protectant once it sets up. It was used for this in the days before petroleum. Just brush it on & hang item up. Takes 24 hrs or so to polymerize to where it can be handled. Longer in a damp climate.
    Where have you been all your life?

  12. #12
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    I hosed down the insides of the tubes with Boeshield T9, which is pretty fantastic stuff, so I'm not really too worried there, but I'll keep the linseed oil thing in mind if my bottle ever runs out (had to a have a friend bring it over from the states when they visited).

    AlanBike, it sounds like I'm probably ok with my current method, though I will look for a bottle of car touch-up paint, just to be safe. Going to the LBS this weekend to buy some tools and stainless steel M4 and M5 fasteners and such.

    Yeah, and talk about rust capital - same thing here in Taiwan. I've seen fasteners start rusting after a week. Every point is within 50 miles of the ocean, it rains for half the year solid and the air is filthy from refineries and coal fired power plants.

    Thanks for all the help and recommendations.
    Last edited by meteparozzi; 02-07-07 at 09:09 PM.

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