Old 05-02-18, 07:29 PM
Andrew R Stewart 
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Location: Rochester, NY
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Bikes: Stewart S&S coupled sport tourer, Stewart Sunday light, Stewart Commuting, Stewart Touring, Co Motion Tandem, Stewart 3-Spd, Stewart Track, Fuji Finest, Raleigh Pro, Trek Cycle Cross, Mongoose tomac ATB, GT Bravado ATB, JCP Folder

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So the consensus seems to be that whatever solvent (polar or non polar in basic understandings) be it needs to be removed form inside the chain or nasty things can happen (like rust or lack of lube getting inside the bushings/side plates). So how to do this solvent removal? Mechanical methods like whacking the wet chain against a bike box, blasting with compressed air or draining with gravity/absorbent wraps certainly reduce the amount of solvent inside but don't do a complete job. My experience suggests that evaporation is the only complete method. This takes time, reduced by both heat and air flow. But with water based solvents (soaps, citrus solvents and even water based "industrial" ones) time and heat equals the chance of rust forming quicker and deeper. I see this as the main reason to avoid water based solvents for items like chains that have their working surfaces hidden from the outside.

I'll add more reasons that I don't like water based solvents, at least in an "industrial" type setting. In a soak tank, often with a pumped/flow through a brush, that has water based solvents the oils removed from your parts tend to float on top of the surface of the solvent. When the part is removed from the tank this skim redeposits onto the surfaces you thought you were cleaning. So more wiping off/cleaning is needed once out of the tank. The two shop soak tanks I've used with water based solutions were very time consuming to actually get the part clean to standards that shops (and therefore their customers) have been use to for decades. The other issue is what to do with the used/contaminated solvent. It is marketed so strongly that a water based solvent is agreeable to just flush down the drains. And when the solvent (water based) is clean and has no dissolved oils I will agree. But once actually used that solvent is now containing what most every municipal water system will say is off limits, oils and greases. This irony I find especially sweet. Andy
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