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Penetrating oil

Old 12-07-17, 09:01 AM
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Ol Danl
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Penetrating oil

Liquid Wrench, PB Blaster, other penetrating oils -- for many years I have been using them with the assumption that they have some acidic, or otherwise corrosive component, that breaks down corrosion. Not sure how I arrived at this idea, no doubt someone else told me. And I've never thought they should be left as a final lubricant, or that not applying some other lube would leave ferrous metal in jeopardy of some long term damage from them. Is there any truth to this, or am I just wrong (again), and these penetrating oils work through some other action?
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Old 12-07-17, 09:20 AM
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Never heard anything about acids. But your hands have acids on them and some claim that enough to damage bearings if you don't wash your hands before handling them. I don't keep up with it now, but when I was young, that was a common position in the aircraft mechanic conversations and racing circles. This was before the days of computer bulletin boards and forums.

Since you are asking about all, then I won't say for certain, but I doubt most use acids. They just have a particular formula of oils and modifiers that help the oil penetrate and spread instead of staying in a blob.

But since they are so light, obviously their lubricating properties may not be adequate for the part you put them on. Then the question becomes is there enough of the thinner penetrating oil left to dilute the other lubricant significantly or will the coating of penetrating oil prevent the grease from clinging to the bearing surface and doing what it is supposed to do.

Most of the website for those penetrating oils have a good write up about them. sometime you have to dig a little and even look at the MSDS data or such.

And don't forget about Kroil. Sometimes it works when the others fail.
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Old 12-07-17, 09:22 AM
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Originally Posted by Ol Danl View Post
Liquid Wrench, PB Blaster, other penetrating oils -- for many years I have been using them with the assumption that they have some acidic, or otherwise corrosive component, that breaks down corrosion. Not sure how I arrived at this idea, no doubt someone else told me. And I've never thought they should be left as a final lubricant, or that not applying some other lube would leave ferrous metal in jeopardy of some long term damage from them. Is there any truth to this, or am I just wrong (again), and these penetrating oils work through some other action?
Penetrating oils are just a low viscosity oils. Nothing corrosive in them. Most rust and corrosion has a lower density than the metal it forms from so the oil penetrates into the threads and lubricates them. This allows the parts to be separated because they can now slide past each other.

Iron oxidation (aka "rust") has a very porous nature so the oil can penetrate into it better than other kinds of oxidation. Rust is also softer than the metal it is formed from so it tends to break when force is put on it. If the iron parts can slide past each other, they can come apart easier.

Aluminum oxidation products, for example, are extremely hard and many even be nonporous. Think anodized aluminum. The aluminum oxide is also much harder than the underlying metal so it doesn't break and slide as easily. Penetration oils often don't work on aluminum parts for this reason.

You could leave the oil in place as it will still lubricate but the oil is so low a viscosity that it will eventually flow away or evaporate. Putting something like grease on the threads after you've gotten them apart will go a lot further towards keeping the parts from welding back together.
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Old 12-07-17, 09:28 AM
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I have a 70s British sports car with chrome and stainless wire wheels. Every year before winter storage, I coat the wheels liberally with WD-40, and leave it so all winter. I bought those wheels in 1995, they still look new. Never heard of any instance of WD-40 actually harming metal surfaces. Not sure on PB Blaster, my first choice on seized hardware.
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Old 12-07-17, 09:35 AM
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There are "penetrating oils" that are more than low viscosity oil. "Ed's Red" was developed as a target rifle bore cleaner but has a great reputation as a penetrating oil. It's an equal volume mix of Kerosine (or OMS), Dexron ATF and Acetone. However, as noted above, no acids of any kind.
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Old 12-07-17, 09:35 AM
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Cyccommute's answer is way better then mine. I'd go with that. Tim
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Old 12-07-17, 09:47 AM
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Originally Posted by Iride01 View Post
And don't forget about Kroil. Sometimes it works when the others fail.
Kroil is my first choice, I don't even bother with the others.
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Old 12-07-17, 10:06 AM
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Sometimes I have come up with these ideas, and hold on to them forever, and have no idea how I got them. Sounds like this one is wrong. It's good to know -- I may have avoided using penetrating oil for this reason, and didn't need to. Thanks, folks.
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Old 12-07-17, 03:14 PM
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i use a light coating of PB to remove/reduce Aluminum oxide on parts all the time... no ill effects, and the parts look MUCH BETTER!
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Old 12-07-17, 03:23 PM
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Try getting the Product Safety Manual print out for them , it should list whats in it.
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Old 12-07-17, 04:21 PM
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Thanks again -- looked up the MSDS for Liquid Wrench, PB Blaster, and Aero Kroil. Under ph, for each of them, it said N/A -- so, obviously not an issue.
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Old 12-07-17, 04:22 PM
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Not exactly sure what you are asking, but from my experience, penetrating oil do nothing to "break free" seized bolts, seat posts, ... but once free, the oil helps lubricating the parts, for easier disassembly.
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Old 12-07-17, 05:32 PM
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Originally Posted by Ol Danl View Post
Thanks again -- looked up the MSDS for Liquid Wrench, PB Blaster, and Aero Kroil. Under ph, for each of them, it said N/A -- so, obviously not an issue.
In these cases, I sure that the NA means "not applicable" rather than "not available". They would have no pH since they are neither acidic nor basic nor can even ionize.
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Old 12-08-17, 10:17 PM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
Penetrating oils are just a low viscosity oils. Nothing corrosive in them. Most rust and corrosion has a lower density than the metal it forms from so the oil penetrates into the threads and lubricates them. This allows the parts to be separated because they can now slide past each other.

Iron oxidation (aka "rust") has a very porous nature so the oil can penetrate into it better than other kinds of oxidation. Rust is also softer than the metal it is formed from so it tends to break when force is put on it. If the iron parts can slide past each other, they can come apart easier.

Aluminum oxidation products, for example, are extremely hard and many even be nonporous. Think anodized aluminum. The aluminum oxide is also much harder than the underlying metal so it doesn't break and slide as easily. Penetration oils often don't work on aluminum parts for this reason.

You could leave the oil in place as it will still lubricate but the oil is so low a viscosity that it will eventually flow away or evaporate. Putting something like grease on the threads after you've gotten them apart will go a lot further towards keeping the parts from welding back together.
I noticed over many threads your answers are always very thorough, scientific and spot-on. Sounds you have a good engineering and science background. I sometimes find myself scrolling through a thread to your reply because it usually resolves the whole problem.
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Old 12-08-17, 11:28 PM
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Originally Posted by Ol Danl View Post
Thanks again -- looked up the MSDS for Liquid Wrench, PB Blaster, and Aero Kroil. Under ph, for each of them, it said N/A -- so, obviously not an issue.
PH is based on water. Since the lubes have no water (thus anhydrous) , there is no pH.
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Old 12-09-17, 10:35 AM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
Aluminum oxidation products, for example, are extremely hard and many even be nonporous. Think anodized aluminum. The aluminum oxide is also much harder than the underlying metal so it doesn't break and slide as easily.
Agree. A class of Al2O3 is called corundum. And beryls, rubies, and sapphires are all in the corundum class. Also, the grit on most sandpaper is corundum.

BTW, in at least one test (and I don't think its apochryfal), a 50:50 mix of ATF and acetone worked better than any pre-made product. But the acetone will strip your paint. I think a product called Kroil was the best commercial penetrating oil.
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Old 12-09-17, 04:26 PM
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Originally Posted by tkamd73 View Post
I have a 70s British sports car with chrome and stainless wire wheels. Every year before winter storage, I coat the wheels liberally with WD-40, and leave it so all winter. I bought those wheels in 1995, they still look new. Never heard of any instance of WD-40 actually harming metal surfaces. Not sure on PB Blaster, my first choice on seized hardware.
Tim

The WD in WD-40 stands for "water displacing formulation #40" It was specifically developed to get and keep moisture out of equipment. It's fairly ineffective as a penetrating oil except in relatively undemanding circumstances.

It's also great as a cutting lubricant /coolant when drilling, taping and machining aluminum. (just don't make the mistake of using it on steel particularly with a tap!)

BITD I ran a ceramics plant. We had lots of water around machinery so used a lot of it. I had to keep it locked up because it kept disappearing. Turned out some of the older women on the lines though it was good as an arthritis treatment.

They'd heard it fixed squeaking joints.

Best penetrating oil I ever got my hands on was some sort of aircraft hydraulic fluid that was repackaged and sold as penetrating oil. That stuff was like magic so of course you can't get it anymore.

Liquid wrench seems to be about as good as there is out there now. Also works as a tapping fluid for steel and stainless steel. Not as good as the old Carbon Tet based fluids though.

Last edited by TGT1; 12-09-17 at 04:31 PM.
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Old 12-09-17, 04:30 PM
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Originally Posted by dsbrantjr View Post
Kroil is my first choice, I don't even bother with the others.
Introduced to Kroil a couple of years ago. THE BEST - darn thing is it's been around forever
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Old 12-09-17, 04:44 PM
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Originally Posted by dsbrantjr View Post
Kroil is my first choice, I don't even bother with the others.

And of course, the VERY best penetrating oil by far, a mixture of 50% ATF & 50% Acetone.


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Old 12-09-17, 04:50 PM
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Originally Posted by dsbrantjr View Post
Kroil is my first choice, I don't even bother with the others.

And of course, the VERY best penetrating oil by far, a mixture of 50% ATF & 50% Acetone.


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Old 12-09-17, 04:54 PM
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+1 for Kano's Kroil. The best there is. Is also the best gun bore solvent made. Lifts lead and copper residue off of a gun barrel in one swipe by breaking the bond from the metal of the gun barrel. It is not an acidic chemical.

Kroil also works well on spoke nipples that are stuck or cotter pins on cottered cranks, stuck nuts, etc.
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Old 12-09-17, 10:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Racing Dan View Post
Not exactly sure what you are asking, but from my experience, penetrating oil do nothing to "break free" seized bolts, seat posts, ... but once free, the oil helps lubricating the parts, for easier disassembly.

Patience, Dan... Patience...... and there's a point of no return for rusted stuff...

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Old 03-24-19, 02:42 AM
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Originally Posted by HillRider View Post
There are "penetrating oils" that are more than low viscosity oil. "Ed's Red" was developed as a target rifle bore cleaner but has a great reputation. It's an equal volume mix of Kerosine (or OMS), Dexron ATF and Acetone. However, as noted above, no acids of any kind.
I have a 70s British sports car with chrome and stainless wire wheels. Every year before winter storage, I coat the wheels liberally with WD-40, and leave it so all winter. I bought those wheels in 1995, they still look new. Never heard of any instance of WD-40 actually harming metal surfaces. Not sure on PB Blaster, my first choice on seized hardware.
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Old 03-24-19, 10:29 AM
  #24  
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Originally Posted by Binky View Post
And of course, the VERY best penetrating oil by far, a mixture of 50% ATF & 50% Acetone.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CESDxCloCoQ

I haven't had much joy with that far as seized stems go
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Old 03-24-19, 11:18 AM
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Originally Posted by le mans View Post
I haven't had much joy with that far as seized stems go
So far I have been lucky but on the rare occasion that penetrants have not worked, I have always had success with carefully thinning the wall of the stem with a drill and PATIENTLY using a hacksaw blade to further weaken the walls of the stem until it comes free.
Works with alloy stems and with alloy seat posts..... but i have never had to try it on steel.

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