Rode my bike thru some of this. I thought it was from a freak cloudburst of freshwater rain, turns out it was saltwater. Nothing like riding a hi-ten bike in the Atlantic ocean ? Adjusting the bottom bracket this AM, still had a couple of drips. The rims being aluminum, there was sand and salt that weeped out of the spoke holes and valve holes. Might be a better idea to thoroughly break the bike down, rinse, clean and grease/oil it ?
I think I'm pretty safe with the rinse and cleaning of everything above the wheel hubs and bottom bracket that I've already done without taking those apart. I rode thru a single side street that had about 50 feet or so of flooding. It never was more than 4-5 inches deep and I rode slowly, but still, it was deep enough to splash those items and since the rims and tires were immersed, The brakes calipers, head tube and fork would've gotten splashed too. Splashing is a lot different from the immersion that the wheels. bottom bracket and freewheel got from the brief ride. The chain & freewheel need to be cleaned and lubricated too.
Wanted to see how much H2O gets into the rims, so I filled up a tub of fresh H2O. Simulated riding thru it with each wheel for a few minutes, even stopping for an extended period of time in water a few inches deep. Amazing, after drying off the wheels and letting it stand in one spot, the tires have a small puddle where the tire contacts the floor. The water goes in everywhere, the spoke holes, valve holes, sides of the rim, and I'd be inclined to say it goes in where the weld of the rim is if it's not completely welded, from rim side to side. No wonder there are tiny holes drilled to allow for drainage.
Wheels still have a little water in them, but it's slowly evaporating. The freshwater bath I gave it has pretty much diluted and or replaced the salt water. No salty residue from any drying out that's occurred over the past 24 hours, which is really how I realized that it was salt water in the first place a few days ago. I don't think I'll tear these wheels down, maybe just squirt some oil into the rim at the valve stem hole to coat and resist corrosion ?
I figure if the water went in that easily, the freshwater bath I gave it, whatever was in there was rinsed out. I spun the wheels and the even let them soak in the fresh water. Already dried out by spinning the wheels, even rode it, also sprayed WD-40 into the wheels and spun that around to coat the inside. The bottom bracket isn't a sealed system so that's been repacked. I don't hear any sloshing in the wheels or grinding for the wheel axles, steering tube or bottom bracket. So there's no beach sand in those parts. The brake calipers sprayed with WD-40 too and then wiped dry so that the pads grab. As the salt water puddle was as deep as it was, I really went thru very slowly, I was wearing shoes and the toes hardly got wet. I doubt the head tube got any water in it.
I'll take my chances at this point, wth, it's only a Vilano anyway. Oh, the chain and freewheel were lubricated as well. No grinding and as smooth as it ever was before the ride thru the water. Actually rides like a brand new bike again after a quick ride around the neighborhood. I bought it the first week of June 2010, so it's going on 4 1/2 months as the daily beater. I'm pleased with the clean & lube.