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Industrial strength degreaser for a really big mess

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Industrial strength degreaser for a really big mess

Old 04-08-19, 07:54 PM
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Lorig20
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Industrial strength degreaser for a really big mess

So I'm the bike enthusiast in the family. My husband got a bike when I did and he rides about a third of what I ride. We live in the country on a gravel road (before gravel was "cool") and therefore I clean my drivetrain a lot. He on the other hand has only "greased" his chain twice since we got the bikes in 2014. AND he used the same oil you use on chain saws. His drivetrain is so dirty it was driving my crazy, so I finally decided to clean it myself. I spent hours this afternoon scrubbing it and really only got it half clean. There was so much hard greasy buildup on his jockey wheels, it pretty much covered the cogs.I'm not even sure how he's been able to shift.
It's much better, but I really would like to try to get it close to perfect. (as in my standards!) I pretty much used a half of a bottle of Simple Green on it and it just wasn't very effective. Really none of my degreasers did much cause of the think greasy muck covering everything. Any suggestions on something really heavy duty that'll really clean that stuff up? I prefer not to have to pull things off and soak parts. I tinker with my bike, but I'm not a mechanic by any means.
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Old 04-08-19, 08:18 PM
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The right way to do it is disassemble and clean the parts to the extent that it is possible. The chain should come off at a minimum and probably needs to be replaced anyway. Taking it apart is going to be easier, less mess and environmentally safer in the long run.

Oderless Mineral Spirits is is an effective degreaser and dirt cheap. Let it sit after you are done and the grease and dirt will sink to the bottom of the container. The clean spirits can be poured off and reused while the the dirty residue can be recycled. The county dump usually has a place to bring waste.

Used Simple Green contains grease and oil. It should not be poured down the drain but should be disposed of like any other contaminated product. It needs to be treated and/or recycled.

Or just take it to a shop, pay the money and don't even get your hands dirty. Some shops will have a tune up or cleanup special.


-Tim-
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Old 04-08-19, 08:19 PM
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We use Clean Streak (a White Lighting spray solvent) as our work bench solvent for spot cleaning. It's quite effective and doesn't smell too bad. But for really baked on grime soaking and scrubbing are the best way to clean stuff. WD 40 is a good cleaner (and a poor lube) and won't evaporate any where near as quickly as Clean Streak does. I suspect the local auto parts store has other solvent sprays too.

As a general rule I try to mechanically scrape off as much of the build up of grime before using a solvent. A narrow screwdriver or pieces of cardboard can get between the cogs and rings. I'll use a taut edge of a cloth rag as a "shoe shine" device to further clean between the cogs. The real challenge is the chain's insides where scrubbing can't touch. Here's where soaking, agitation/compressed air and flushing action can do far more then what can be done with the chain left on the bike. Kerosene in soda bottles can be used as a cheap solvent "tank". Drop your removed chain in the bottle and shake it up a bunch. Pull the chain out with a coat hanger (or spoke) and repeat with a cleaner bottle. If you let the dirty contents sit for a while the grime settles out and you can pour off most of the now clean kerosene for reuse. Andy
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Old 04-08-19, 08:23 PM
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Originally Posted by TimothyH View Post
The right way to do it is disassemble and clean the parts to the extent that it is possible. The chain should come off at a minimum and probably needs to be replaced anyway. Taking it apart is going to be easier, less mess and environmentally safer in the long run.

Oderless Mineral Spirits is is an effective degreaser and dirt cheap. Let it sit after you are done and the grease and dirt will sink to the bottom of the container. The clean spirits can be poured off and reused while the the dirty residue can be recycled. The county dump usually has a place to bring waste.

Used Simple Green contains grease and oil. It should not be poured down the drain but should be disposed of like any other contaminated product. It needs to be treated and/or recycled.

Or just take it to a shop, pay the money and don't even get your hands dirty. Some shops will have a tune up or cleanup special.


-Tim-
This goes for any biodegradable cleaner too. No one talks about the elephant in the solvent room. Andy
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Old 04-08-19, 08:25 PM
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Diesel fuel. Nothing better. That's it. That's all. Done deal.
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Old 04-09-19, 01:20 AM
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I buy Diggers degreaser in 4 litre bottles - red stuff, and use a chain cleaner if i don't want to dismantle parts, pour it to the level and crank up the chain
If the chain has a master link easier to take it off and soak it, after blow it with compressed air, scrub the RD & chain ring with a small brush and use a pocket knife to remove grit from the jockey wheels. flush it off with water

doesn't take long
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Old 04-09-19, 01:41 AM
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Interesting your OH uses chainsaw oil, i use whatever motoring oil i got laying around to top up my oil cans
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Old 04-09-19, 06:10 AM
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Originally Posted by ramzilla View Post
Diesel fuel. Nothing better. That's it. That's all. Done deal.
I came here to post this as well, but was beaten to the punch. Diesel is great stuff, cheap, easy to find, easy to work with, smells good, and leaves behind clean shiny parts, that are pre-coated with a thin film of oil. What's not to love?
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Old 04-09-19, 06:52 AM
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Mechanical debridement of encrusted grease/dirt is the only effective method of cleaning the RD jockeys and cage and the cassette in the OP scenario.
Once you have debulked the accretions then you can use solvents to remove the residual crud. Diesel fuel may be effective but I
consider it a stinky mess and would use OMS by preference but it is 3-4x more costly. Gasoline is effective as well but too hazardous
from a vapor explosion hazard POV to even consider. Simple green works well in a chain cleaner (eg Park type) and 3-4 repeated
run-throughs for me will get 98% of visible crud off chains, but then I clean my chains 2-3x/yr. I scrape off the crud with a thin bladed knife
and then get the rest off the jockeys with a paper towel. When cassettes are too cruded for scraping in situ they get pulled off the hub and
scraped, wiped and reassembled. For the assiduous nothing beats a heated ultrasonic cleaner for this type of work. These can be
6-10 liter in size for $75-150.
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Old 04-09-19, 08:50 AM
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Another vote for OMS. Can be used on almost everything on a bike without harming paint or most plastics. Leaves no oily residues which may not play well with your lube of choice, removes adhesive residues from handlebar tape and decals and Re-Usable.
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Old 04-09-19, 09:19 AM
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IDK where OP is , here the chainsaw bar oil is reusing the last oil change from the car/truck engine..

The store bought stuff is a bit clingy , Phil Tenacious is a thicker sticky oil ..


Industrial degreaser is a service , there is a sink with a recirculation pump and a flex hose directing the stream where you wish

need: rubber gloves , & decent ventilation..

Harbor freight can sell you the pump / sink part , ...




....
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Old 04-09-19, 10:34 AM
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Yeah, if its oil, dump all the parts in a tub of OMS and let it soak for 10 minutes. Then you can easily brush all of the oil off with an old paint brush. The chain can effectively be cleaned in a pickle jar with a lid, vigorously shaking it in OMS as well.

Last edited by Racing Dan; 04-11-19 at 02:40 AM.
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Old 04-09-19, 01:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Lemond1985 View Post
I came here to post this as well, but was beaten to the punch. Diesel is great stuff, cheap, easy to find, easy to work with, smells good, and leaves behind clean shiny parts, that are pre-coated with a thin film of oil. What's not to love?

I know. It's like a miracle cleaner or something. I learned about it from an old Russian guy I met once. He told me about how he used to make extra money restoring old rifles. He would take old rusted guns & firearms and, soak them in diesel fuel. After they cleaned up all nice, he would sell them. So, I figured I'd try it on old corroded bike components. Wow! Amazing results. Never bother with anything else now.
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Old 04-09-19, 01:18 PM
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OMS user, for chains I remove the chain(quick links are great) and shake in in a plastic bottle with enough OMS to cover it. Then I blow it of with compressed air. For cassettes, I'll give them a soak in a pan of OMS, scrub them with a cleaning brush and/or use some twine to clean between the cogs. Wipe every thing off with a rag or two. For other parts, like jockey wheels, scrape off the crusted on crud, then wipe with a rag dampened in OMS. Then wipe with a clean(er) dry rag.
Then lube every thing with (your lube of choice).

Don't use a glass jar to shake your chain, if it breaks you have a big mess to clean up.
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Old 04-09-19, 02:12 PM
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Originally Posted by ramzilla View Post
I know. It's like a miracle cleaner or something. I learned about it from an old Russian guy I met once. He told me about how he used to make extra money restoring old rifles. He would take old rusted guns & firearms and, soak them in diesel fuel. After they cleaned up all nice, he would sell them. So, I figured I'd try it on old corroded bike components. Wow! Amazing results. Never bother with anything else now.
Does diesel actually remove rust like Evapo rust? A fella i got a heap of bikes off, retired tinkering with them, suggested to soak rusty chains in diesel..i'm yet to trial it
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Old 04-09-19, 02:23 PM
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It will definitely stop rust in its tracks. To the point where you can just wipe it off down to the bare metal. I guess that would be considered "removing rust" but obviously, it's not gonna restore any metal that has corroded away.
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Old 04-09-19, 02:44 PM
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Originally Posted by sch View Post
Mechanical debridement of encrusted grease/dirt is the only effective method of cleaning the RD jockeys and cage and the cassette in the OP scenario.
A wire wheel mounted in a bench grinder works well for this. Wear eye protection, as the gunk the wheel pulls off flies everywhere. It even removes the crusty residue OMS leaves behind:

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Old 04-09-19, 02:48 PM
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Originally Posted by leob1 View Post
Don't use a glass jar to shake your chain, if it breaks you have a big mess to clean up.
Us old guys have a ready supply of appropriate containers:

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Old 04-09-19, 04:10 PM
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Originally Posted by le mans View Post
Does diesel actually remove rust like Evapo rust? A fella i got a heap of bikes off, retired tinkering with them, suggested to soak rusty chains in diesel..i'm yet to trial it
Diesel will take rust off tool steel and cro-moly bike frames pretty good. You still need to dress up bad spots with steel wool or a wire brush. Leaves a very nice residue too. I put drops of diesel fuel on spoke nipples that need adjustment.
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Old 04-09-19, 10:04 PM
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I used chainsaw oil...once. I think it's got a lot of additives to keep it stuck to a high-speed chainsaw chain, something that's not needed on a bicycle drivetrain.

As above, I'd remove the chain and disassemble the rear derailleur to remove the gunk. I've used kerosene in a plastic bottle to clean the chain- drop the chain in, shake, let sit, pour out, filter gunk out of kerosene, lather, rinse, repeat. When the chain is completely clean inside and out, reinstall and relube with a minimum of bicycle chain lube. I bet even your husband will notice the difference.
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Old 04-10-19, 08:13 AM
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I have 3 jars of kerosene.
I swish chains in one for a bit before moving it to the next one and repeat. By the time it comes out of the last one it is pretty clean.
I then put the chain into a cake pan and use a paint brush and kerosene to clean off any residual contaminants.
I then blow it out with compressed air before rinsing it in acetone or similar.
I do the same with the rest of the drivetrain components.
When it is all back together, I douse it with dry chain lube a couple of times to ensure that it has gotten inside of the links.

Dry lube doesn't pick up gunk like the wet lube does. On my bikepacking bikes, I use wet lube and I can attest that after several days on Canadian and Montana forest roads, it will be an absolute mess.
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Old 04-10-19, 08:33 AM
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Gasoline. Very quick and very effective. Don't ask any questions.

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Old 04-10-19, 08:39 AM
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mineral spirits
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Old 04-10-19, 09:47 AM
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I use brake parts cleaner on the really stuck-on stuff.
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Old 04-10-19, 09:52 AM
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Petrol is too stinky, I prefer Shellite/Coleman camp gas but that's only best for dismantled parts.

Whole bike I use engine/bilge degreaser on drivetrain then a Truck Wash shampoo everywhere else. If you've got access to hot water then that's even better.

SimpleGreen for me barely works any better than dishdrops. MorningFresh might even eat grease better.

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