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Cleaning/removing wax based chain lube?

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Cleaning/removing wax based chain lube?

Old 05-01-10, 05:52 AM
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Radix
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Cleaning/removing wax based chain lube?

Guys,
What's the best way to get this gunk off my chain?
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Old 05-01-10, 07:32 AM
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Mineral spirits, available at any hardware store.
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Old 05-01-10, 09:32 AM
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Depends on the "wax". Some, like paraffin, come off easily with mineral spirits, strong detergent/water or ammonia/water mixtures. Others aren't actually waxes and can be tough to break down, requiring you to use stronger solvents like MEK, or automotive disc brake cleaner. These are highly flammable and so should be used outdoors if possible.
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Old 05-01-10, 11:42 AM
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Thanks very much!
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Old 05-01-10, 05:37 PM
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+1 for Mineral Spirits. After soaking your chain in this stuff all the gunk will eventually settle to the bottom of the container allowing you to pour the clean spirits into another container to be used again and again. Kerosene also works well but you must let the the chain dry for a couple of hours to allow the Kerosene to evaporate. Also (gasp!) gasoline will work as a last resort but not the best choice for obvious reasons.
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Old 05-01-10, 06:03 PM
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I started a thread about a month ago on this, and the mineral spirits gave new life to the drivetrain. Get that gunk off!
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Old 05-01-10, 07:43 PM
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More good stuff! Thanks!!!
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Old 05-01-10, 08:35 PM
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Are you talking about the lube on a new chain? If so you are removing the best lube it will ever have.
http://yarchive.net/bike/chain_lubricant.html
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Old 05-01-10, 11:48 PM
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I'm at a loss as to why people want to clean their chain. I've had several bikes and not cleaned a chain yet. I currently use the new wax-in-solvent type of lube. My chain and cogs have a thick layer on them now. What is the issue with this?
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Old 05-02-10, 12:03 AM
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Gasoline.
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Old 05-02-10, 12:12 AM
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Originally Posted by 009jim View Post
I'm at a loss as to why people want to clean their chain. I've had several bikes and not cleaned a chain yet. I currently use the new wax-in-solvent type of lube. My chain and cogs have a thick layer on them now. What is the issue with this?
Because that layer traps grit and such which has the opposite of lubrication.
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Old 05-02-10, 12:40 AM
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Originally Posted by davidad View Post
Are you talking about the lube on a new chain? If so you are removing the best lube it will ever have.
http://yarchive.net/bike/chain_lubricant.html
Not the case on my bikes. The less sticky lubricant on my chain, the better my drivetrain.
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Old 05-02-10, 06:04 AM
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I have about a half mile of dirt to ride over before I hit tar, so I get a lot of grit on my chain which eventually leads to poor shifting and the loud grinding unsettling noise of a dirty chain. I've tried many lubes - oil based, teflon, & wax. Wax seems to stays clean the longest, but I think it's inferior compared to other lubes as it seems to break down quickly, and hence, requires more frequent application. The wax based stuff, once dirty is more difficult to give a thorough cleaning - especially in the cassette. Oil based stuff is easy to get off with a relatively benign environmental impact with some citrus cleaner - but the wax is insidious stuff. The mineral spirits will hopefully help!
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Old 05-02-10, 06:32 AM
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FWIW, I just cleaned and lubed the chain on my GFs bike with White Lightning wax type. At the same time I installed a much needed new Shimano chain on mine. I left the factory lube alone on mine. We did a 16mile ride on our usual crushed limestone trail. Her chain just looks slightly dusty while mine has picked up a lot of nasty grit. I'll be washing off the oily factory lube and going with the wax. It probably depends on your conditions. Ours is an old railbed trail finished with fine crushed limestone so very dusty and grity for the drivetrain.
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Old 05-02-10, 08:09 AM
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Originally Posted by underdog View Post
FWIW, I just cleaned and lubed the chain on my GFs bike with White Lightning wax type. At the same time I installed a much needed new Shimano chain on mine. I left the factory lube alone on mine. We did a 16mile ride on our usual crushed limestone trail. Her chain just looks slightly dusty while mine has picked up a lot of nasty grit. I'll be washing off the oily factory lube and going with the wax. It probably depends on your conditions. Ours is an old railbed trail finished with fine crushed limestone so very dusty and grity for the drivetrain.
I absolutely agree with your findings. My girlfriend and I ride on a canal path that is crushed limestone, and White Lightening or Pedro's Ice Wax are the only chain lubes we use. Anything else would be messy and require a lot more chain cleaning. Wax lubes need to be applied more often, but I have used nothing but wax lubes on my mountain bike, and got 8 years on the cassette, and probably 3000 miles on the chain before it needed replacing. That fine dust will grind your chain to nothing if you don't keep a barrier on your chain. Wax is the only lube that will provide that barrier.

For cleaning I use Pedro's Orange Peel citrus degreaser...It has worked fine on my chains. Mineral spirits is likely cheaper, however...
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Old 05-02-10, 09:39 AM
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Originally Posted by vettefrc2000 View Post
Gasoline.
Mineral spirits are much safer.
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Old 05-02-10, 06:14 PM
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Originally Posted by 009jim View Post
I'm at a loss as to why people want to clean their chain. I've had several bikes and not cleaned a chain yet. I currently use the new wax-in-solvent type of lube. My chain and cogs have a thick layer on them now. What is the issue with this?
You wash a very effective grinding compound down into the chain shortening it's life.
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Old 05-02-10, 06:17 PM
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Originally Posted by underdog View Post
FWIW, I just cleaned and lubed the chain on my GFs bike with White Lightning wax type. At the same time I installed a much needed new Shimano chain on mine. I left the factory lube alone on mine. We did a 16mile ride on our usual crushed limestone trail. Her chain just looks slightly dusty while mine has picked up a lot of nasty grit. I'll be washing off the oily factory lube and going with the wax. It probably depends on your conditions. Ours is an old railbed trail finished with fine crushed limestone so very dusty and grity for the drivetrain.
Just wipe the excess of the outside. It does it's job on the inside of the chain where the pins and bushing plates are.
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Old 05-03-10, 04:47 PM
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To clean the cassette & chain rings, I put mineral spirits in an empty spray bottle and it worked great!
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Old 05-17-10, 12:07 PM
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Chain wax vs the oil based lubes
For my off road and mtn bike use, I have found the White lightning wax to be the best at really "self cleaning" and cycling the dirt out from the chain plates.(they patented the self cleaning feature)
For my road bike I do not use since the wax just doesnt last for the long hard miles, so the best compromise in wax cleanliness, and high load lubrication is Finish Line Teflon dry lube which is very good if you clean the chain first with a biodegradable cleaner like citrus solvent and rinse it good, followed by an air hose drying to eliminate flash rust.(if you dont have the air compressor, sling the water out with a good spin in your work stand area and a dry cloth, on a dry day)You can also follow up with more lubrication after a chain flush with the high pressure hose directly on the chain to clean out between re applications.That builds a good base of the Teflon Plus dry lube.
Last thought for old school solvents,(Turpentine,Gas,Diesel) they leave a residual amount that really wrecks the effectiveness of the first few applications of whatever wax or dry lube you use.Bio cleaners like Zep Citrus (from Home Depot) get the chain truly clean.
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Old 05-17-10, 02:05 PM
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If you want to use a non-petroleum product, try De-Solv-it. It really works and it is citrus-based so you can just wash it down the drain. I just put the chain in an old "Simply Orange" juice container (has a nice wide mouth) and add a couple ounces of De-Solv-It and swish it around. All the wax and gunk just rinses off the chain. This stuff cleans MUCH better than Simple Green or any other citrus product that I've ever tried -- it's in the same league as gasoline or mineral spirits, in my opinion, without the petroleum drawbacks.
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Old 05-17-10, 02:18 PM
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Diesel or gasoline. Thinner is much more expensive and smells bad and still inflammable, I'll stick with diesel/gasoline smell. Alcohol is for drinking only
For diesel I just pop the lid of my tank, or just have around the shed in some bottles so the cost is zero and i have it right here, not in the hardware store.

Also it has a quick-dry function.
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Old 05-17-10, 02:31 PM
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Originally Posted by JohnDThompson View Post
Mineral spirits are much safer.
+1

Gasoline is about as safe as nitro. I've seen what a gasoline fire does to a person's face. It's even more dangerous with children around.
Just not worth the risk.
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