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  1. #1
    imi
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    Cleaning sand out of drive train?

    Inspired by a picture in the "tent and bike" thread, I wonder how you guys get sand out of the drive train?

    A windswept beach or desert blowing sand all night can get a lot of grains in there. I use strips of an old rag to clean. Hoses aren't always available... so, any other tips?

    Cheers!

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    You can usually salvage enough diesel from a gas station or marina pump hose to clean the drivetrain.

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    Senior Member staehpj1's Avatar
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    I have only infrequently needed to do more than relube and wipe off the chain when on tour. In those few cases where there was a lot of sand and more was required I have done one of the following:
    1. Found a hose somewhere to rinse off the drive train.
    2. Found an outdoor water faucet without a hose and awkwardly sprayed off the bike from it. This was a total mess and we sprayed ourselves and our gear while wasting about an hour trying to get the grit out of our drive trains. It involved one person spraying from the faucet by using their thumb while the other moved the parts of the bike into the spray. So much for a wheel dip before crossing the country.
    3. Bought a can of WD40 and used that liberally. This worked pretty well.


    One other thing helps. Use a lube that does not attract or hold sand as much and wipe it off well after applying. Boeshield T-9 is fairly good for this. Other lubes may be better in that regard, but I do not know which ones.
    Last edited by staehpj1; 12-13-11 at 04:51 AM.

  4. #4
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    imi best of luck with this your going to need it, have to say its a right pain in the ass getting sand completely out of every nook and cranny .no help buddy just elbow grease and a lot of patience.

  5. #5
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    imi, There is probably not a really good way to clean the drivetrain of sand while on the road. I'd follow the WD40 suggestion and follow that with a proper chain lube. Damage can be minimalized by using a wax based chain lube, this works well on my mountain bike.

    Brad

  6. #6
    Fraser Valley Dave
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    Quote Originally Posted by bradtx View Post
    imi, There is probably not a really good way to clean the drivetrain of sand while on the road. I'd follow the WD40 suggestion and follow that with a proper chain lube. Damage can be minimalized by using a wax based chain lube, this works well on my mountain bike.

    Brad
    x2....WD40 works well, but I also follow-up with running it through a cloth and then applying a wax-based lub.

  7. #7
    imi
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    Quote Originally Posted by antokelly View Post
    ... no help buddy just elbow grease and a lot of patience.
    Yeah i know. I hang around beaches a lot :/ I've always imagined/believed/known(?) that sand particles grind everything into oblivion this is so, is it not? (compared to regular road and chain grime?)... I was kindof hoping that cyccommute had a home made magical chemical potion that dissolved sand in microseconds!

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    Senior Member bud16415's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by staehpj1 View Post
    [*]Found an outdoor water faucet without a hose and awkwardly sprayed off the bike from it. This was a total mess and we sprayed ourselves and our gear while wasting about an hour trying to get the grit out of our drive trains. It involved one person spraying from the faucet by using their thumb while the other moved the parts of the bike into the spray. So much for a wheel dip before crossing the country.[*]Bought a can of WD40 and used that liberally. This worked pretty well.[/LIST]

    I read on here and tried it out this summer. An old inner tube cut both sides of the valve makes a good 7 ft long hose in a pinch. When not being a hose it’s a pretty nice bungee tie down cord. Plus it’s handy to have a supply of rubber for fixing other things. Rings cut from it make strong rubber bands etc.

    I haven’t tried the inner tube cold shower method yet but I can see how it would work in a pinch.

    WD40 I have used as a flush also and works well.

    MichaelW: Thanks for the free diesel trick as well.
    What's not in your legs needs to be in your gears.

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    Quote Originally Posted by imi View Post
    Yeah i know. I hang around beaches a lot :/ I've always imagined/believed/known(?) that sand particles grind everything into oblivion this is so, is it not? (compared to regular road and chain grime?)... I was kindof hoping that cyccommute had a home made magical chemical potion that dissolved sand in microseconds!
    bet you any money he has a fix for it

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    I dragged my rear derailer through the sand once,packed it with sand.Remove chain,remove derailer,disassemble derailer,clean,reverse order.Took all of a half hour.
    Everything should be as simple as possible...But not more so.---Albert Einstein

  11. #11
    Senior Member Cyclebum's Avatar
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    Spray off chain and derailleur at a car wash. Stay away from hubs. Let dry well if possible and lube chain and derailleur. Wipe clean. This for sand only, and only if the chain can't conveniently be removed for a thorough soaking in a couple of solvent baths, preferably diesel fuel.

    Nothing wrong with the other suggestions. They'd work too.

    Edit: I've come to believe thorough chain cleaning is usually an overdo. Lube regularly, wipe down well, go. No evidence to support this, just anecdotal info from another touring cyclist(Staehpj1) who gets long chain life and apparently never gives his chains a 'thorough' cleaning. He has a theory as to why this is good. His theory is all lazy me needed, especially now that I've got a bent with a 12 foot chain. Fine beach sand, I'd go with the 'thorough' cleaning for piece of mind. Or stay away from beaches.
    Last edited by Cyclebum; 12-13-11 at 05:24 PM.
    The bicycle is one of the great inventions of mankind. Delights children, challenges young men to feats of daring, and turns old men into boys again.--Me

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    +1 On the Diesel. If you can find a can or a glass jar (maybe something salvaged from your last meal) you can put some diesel in it use it as a cleaner. I am not a huge fan of getting diesel on my skin, so I took our chains off of the bikes. Luckily we had SRAM chains with powerlinks.

    I let each chain soak in the diesel for a good while, maybe an hour or something, and then wiped it down and repeated. It was amazing the amount of grit that came out of the chains. This was after riding through a wind swept sand dune area, so the roads were covered in a fine layer of sand, plus it was raining. The sand seemed to just fill the chain completely. When I grabbed the chain with your hand and twisted it sounded terrible! They were packed with sand. No lube would have prevented it, it was forced into the chain.

    Anyway, diesel did the trick after a few rinse and repeats per chain, then a thorough wipe down, and drenching the chain with lube to wash out the diesel and wiping off the excess. Luckily we were at a camp ground, so we just dumped the diesel out some firewood and lit it off. Good way to dispose of the cleaning solution if you ask me!
    Check out our touring blog:

    http://dandgtour.blogspot.com/

  13. #13
    djb
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    i just stay away from beaches....fine sand is such a pain in the keester that Im very leary of being near it wtih my bike.

    and ya, lubing often and good wiping with rags is all Ive ever done, and my drivetrains last a good long time. In warm weather, I use stuff like Phils Tenacious, and when in fall when colder and closer to freezing, I like using the thin ones -triflow type stuff, also if Im in really dusty conditions, less "goobering" that sand and stuff sticks too (but the thin ones to me require putting on more often, but are cleaner, and fast to go on and wipe down)
    If in rain often, Phils stuff stays on better and less chance of rust forming imo.

  14. #14
    Senior Member Aushiker's Avatar
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    G'day

    Interesting thread and thanks for the suggestion of WD40.

    Andrew

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