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Rust

Old 01-28-23, 06:58 PM
  #1  
louky
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Rust

I am working on de-rusting a chain off a bike that will be donated. I have soaked it in vinegar, the flushed with paint thinner. I have wire brushed it and now have it soaking in evaporust. It is getting better but still has some rust, but it improves each time I brush it. The chain has little wear, and one stiff link that I've already worked loose.

Is there a downside to leaving it in the Evaporust for multiple days? Is it true that as long as it is submerged that it won't rust any further and if I flush it with water when I am finished and then dry and oil it will be OK? Thanks!
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Old 01-28-23, 07:08 PM
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If you can get it flexible and oiled it will be 'okay' for a while. But how long depends on how deep the corrosion ate into the metal. I usually only do what you're doing instead of replacing when I know the person getting the bike won't appreciate it or take care of it anyway. Otherwise, for the cost of a chain I'd replace it. I'm assuming this is a single speed or under 8 speed bike. Good luck,
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Old 01-28-23, 07:10 PM
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I have found the old rust comes off on its own as long as its well lubed. ATF works wonders for this. The best resurrection of a heavily rusted chain I have seen was my neighbor. He put it in a Rock Tumbler with light sand for a few hours.

Over the past years I have come to consider chains an expendable item when it comes to rust and wear...
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Old 01-28-23, 09:20 PM
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Since nothing can reverse rust to functional steel, there's no percentage in trying to go farther with this.

Rinse it, dry, mount and lube and you're fine. Any internal rust that matters will wear off as rubbing surfaces buff back to a worn shine. External rust is purely cosmetic and won't be noticeable with use.

For future reference, you can skip the rust removal steps, and mount & oil chain and ride.

By analogy think of railroad tracks. They rust, and the passing trains do the maintenance.

Last edited by FBinNY; 01-28-23 at 09:47 PM.
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Old 01-29-23, 08:29 AM
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Makes me feel better about the light amount of rust I get after rainy days now due to my chain waxing habit. Lubricant is a lot harder to remove between the pins and plates where it counts
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Old 01-29-23, 09:59 AM
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Years ago my 3 speed's bike's chain seriously rusted. I got is free enough to use, lubed and set it's tension. After a few rides the chain was drooping a lot like the tension was way too little. What had happened was that the rust had "rubbed" off the contact surfaces and that loss of material (the surface rust) in each link left space behind. I removed the chain, cleaned off the lube/rust slurry and re tensioned (yes, I know the chain really has zero tension when set best) the chain and didn't look back. Andy
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Old 01-29-23, 10:38 AM
  #7  
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I'll use a light wire wheel with my hand held drill for rust on chains, bolts, nuts if need be. I've used the wire wheel with pneumatic die grinder, but 12,000 rpm is faster than recommended safe use. Sure toook it down quickly, lol
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Old 01-29-23, 10:53 AM
  #8  
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Don't do anything for the rust on your chain. At most just brush it off with a wire brush. Certainly don't use vinegar on anything bicycle. Unless perhaps you are pickling a bare aluminum frame you are about to paint.

For all my rusty chains on the kids bikes when they left them out in the elements, I just sprayed them down with a light lubricant or even a penetrating oil or WD-40. They'll loosen up after a ride or two. If they don't then find anther chain. Rust on the chain is mostly on the surface and it's mainly just cosmetic after you get the side plates loosened up.
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Old 01-29-23, 12:08 PM
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Originally Posted by louky View Post
I am working on de-rusting a chain off a bike that will be donated. I have soaked it in vinegar, the flushed with paint thinner. I have wire brushed it and now have it soaking in evaporust. It is getting better but still has some rust, but it improves each time I brush it. The chain has little wear, and one stiff link that I've already worked loose.
Is it really worth the effort? Oil the chain, ride the bike around the block, wipe off excess oil.
Originally Posted by louky View Post
Is there a downside to leaving it in the Evaporust for multiple days?
None at all, just don't let it dry up.
Originally Posted by louky View Post
Is it true that as long as it is submerged that it won't rust any further and if I flush it with water when I am finished and then dry and oil it will be OK? Thanks!
That's my experience with Evapo-Rust..
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Old 01-29-23, 04:18 PM
  #10  
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After all these heroic efforts to salvage the chain, don't forget to measure it for elongation. A little rust on the load-bearing parts goes a long way; visible rust is more of an esthetic thing.
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Old 01-30-23, 12:23 PM
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New chains are not expensive...
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Old 01-31-23, 10:37 AM
  #12  
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Iíve soaked metal parts and fasteners in EvapoRust for weeks

no adverse effects that I was aware of

appearance of some parts can change a bit (more) however

( I often soak in WD40 after and/or will hit some with wire brush )

I believe EvapoRust will work better and faster at certain temps - if it is cold it can take much more time to be effective
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Old 01-31-23, 10:38 AM
  #13  
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Originally Posted by blacknbluebikes View Post
New chains are not expensive...
This is what I was thinking. Too much time and effort spent trying to remove rust from a chain.
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Old 01-31-23, 12:24 PM
  #14  
louky
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Thanks for all the replies. I should have stated at the outset that this was a donated bike which I am trying to get functioning to re-donate to a homeless organization. The goal is to get the bikes in rideable condition at the lowest cost, so that I can do more bikes. I could put a new chain on this, but it would double the cost on this particular bike so I feel I can invest some labor to keep from spending that money, which will free it up for the next one.

I did measure the chain for wear before I started, and after the derusting.
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Old 01-31-23, 12:50 PM
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I refurbish and donate rusty discarded bikes and I soak the chains in kerosene after removing as much rust as possible with a wire wheel.
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Old 01-31-23, 02:09 PM
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louky as I have said time is money and some bikes are just not worth a lot so if putting some good wet lube and letting it soak in for a day or two is not going to get it working well just move on to a new chain. Spending a ton of time trying to remove rust from a wear item, that might be worn out is just not worth it. I bet if you asked a shop and said "hey I am repairing some bikes for the unhoused and need some new 8 speed chains is there anything you can do to help out" they might help or maybe an employee might help or maybe not but it would be an easy quick try.
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Old 01-31-23, 08:26 PM
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Originally Posted by louky View Post
i did measure the chain for wear before i started, and after the derusting.
+1
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Old 02-01-23, 06:03 AM
  #18  
louky
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Originally Posted by RB1-luvr View Post
I refurbish and donate rusty discarded bikes and I soak the chains in kerosene after removing as much rust as possible with a wire wheel.
That sounds like a good plan going forward to me. Thanks!
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Old 02-01-23, 11:28 AM
  #19  
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Originally Posted by louky View Post
That sounds like a good plan going forward to me. Thanks!
sure, if you don't mind the smell and nonscheduled high. Like others said, if chain links are loose, the rust won't even be visible when lubricated.
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