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Water get into my frame? Rusting in bottom bracket area.

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Water get into my frame? Rusting in bottom bracket area.

Old 02-18-14, 11:21 AM
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j814wong
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Water get into my frame? Rusting in bottom bracket area.

So today, I removed my old bottom bracket in preparation to install a new one and a new crankset. After having to but my entire body weight (I was stepping on the tool to try to turn it.) into it to turn the cup out, the cup fell off and a liquid started dripping out from between teh frame and the bottom bracket. It looked like water that was a bit muddy and had a bit of oil in it. Having ridden my bike in the rain multiple times, I presume this to be the case. As a result of the water getting inside, there was also rust on the threads of both the bottom bracket and the aluminum frame. The rust probably also made it harder to get out the cup in the first place.

How can I prevent more rust from occuring and how can I minimize water seeping into the frame?
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Old 02-18-14, 11:29 AM
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The main entry point for water is at the seat post. You can reduce the chance of entry with a bead of stiff grease around the top of the frame where the post emerges, and in the slot at the back. But realistically the rear wheel throws a constant stream of water right at the slot in the seat tube, so there's always the risk of entry.

IMO the best approach is to concede that water will sometimes get in, and provide an exit by way of a weep hole in the middle of the BB shell. If you have a screwed on cable guide, you can remove the bolt to drain once in a while, or possibly drill a small hole down the center of the screw. Or you can drill a new hole where the plastic guide would provide a baffle, yet allow water to drain.

If this is a road bike where you don't routinely move the post, consider using silicone caulk to seal the post and slot permanently. I've been doing this for 45 years and it works (though all my bikes also have weep holes).
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Old 02-18-14, 11:45 AM
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Old 02-18-14, 11:54 AM
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Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
The main entry point for water is at the seat post. You can reduce the chance of entry with a bead of stiff grease around the top of the frame where the post emerges, and in the slot at the back. But realistically the rear wheel throws a constant stream of water right at the slot in the seat tube, so there's always the risk of entry.

IMO the best approach is to concede that water will sometimes get in, and provide an exit by way of a weep hole in the middle of the BB shell. If you have a screwed on cable guide, you can remove the bolt to drain once in a while, or possibly drill a small hole down the center of the screw. Or you can drill a new hole where the plastic guide would provide a baffle, yet allow water to drain.

If this is a road bike where you don't routinely move the post, consider using silicone caulk to seal the post and slot permanently. I've been doing this for 45 years and it works (though all my bikes also have weep holes).
Thanks for the suggestion. I think my bike does have a screw on cable guide but am not certain so I'll take a look at that later.

I'm sure caulk would work well but I would prefer a less permanent solution. Your idea makes me think of using electrical tape in that spot.
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Old 02-18-14, 11:58 AM
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Should i find a way to remove the rust inside or leave it be?

Later, I can get a photograph of the bottom bracket and the area near the frame where the bototm bracket fits.
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Old 02-18-14, 12:03 PM
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Originally Posted by j814wong View Post
Thanks for the suggestion. I think my bike does have a screw on cable guide but am not certain so I'll take a look at that later.

I'm sure caulk would work well but I would prefer a less permanent solution. Your idea makes me think of using electrical tape in that spot.
The Silicone caulk comes off easily enough, but if you want something completely temporary, use some stiff grease. The best for this application is water pump grease which as it's name implies is formulated to be very water resistant. You simply work it in and around than wipe off the excess leaving a fillit in the corners. The only drawback of the grease vs. the caulk is that it adheres dirt so you get a black line in the corner, and will get scrubbed out of the slot over time, so needs to be repeated from time to time.

Tape will make a visible ugly job and probably won't work nearly as well, so keep it simple with the grease.
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Old 02-18-14, 12:07 PM
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Originally Posted by j814wong View Post
Should i find a way to remove the rust inside or leave it be?

Later, I can get a photograph of the bottom bracket and the area near the frame where the bototm bracket fits.
I gently remove all loose rust with a wire brush, but don't obsess over cleaning down to bare shiny steel. When I install BB, I prefer to grease the threads well, though that can be a problem with many cartridge BB, which will tend to loosen. For these, I gauge the depth of thread and apply a grease ring just about where the cup will end up. Then the cup will be threaded dry (or with a thread compound) and will reach to the grease dam and seal inside. I also then apply a film of grease to the outer edge to close that so water can't wick into the thread.
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Old 02-18-14, 12:15 PM
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You mentioned your frame is aluminum so all of the rust must have come from the bottom bracket cups or spindle. Be careful cleaning the frame's threads so you don't damage the relatively soft aluminum, clean the bottom bracket cup threads and spindle thoroughly and grease or anti-seize treat the threads and spindle copiously before reinstalling them. As an alternative Teflon plumbers tape can be used on the bb thread to assure a good seal and prevent corrosion.
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Old 02-18-14, 12:16 PM
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Condensation of vapor water into a solid is hard to stop .
warm humid, to cooler temperatures is sufficient to condense water inside the frame tubes.
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Old 02-18-14, 01:50 PM
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Thanks for the advice.

To be specific, my new BB is a Shimano BB-ES25 and it is already slathered in grease but I may add my own White Lightning Crystal Grease which is waterproof.

I think I'll use the caulk method but first to seal the seat post but first, I am going to have to try to find some black colored caulk if such a thing exists since my frame is all black.
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Old 02-18-14, 02:00 PM
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I prefer anti seize compound for the BB threads.
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Old 02-18-14, 02:11 PM
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Originally Posted by Leebo View Post
I prefer anti seize compound for the BB threads.
Is there any particular brand of antiseize that you would recommend or does it not really matter? For example, Finish Line sells 8oz antiseize for $16 while another non-bike specific brand (Permatex) sells 8oz antiseize for $7.50 which it claims to be "ideal for marine use" but I've no intention of underwater cycling though the water might be good resistance training...

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Old 02-18-14, 02:21 PM
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I have always used automotive anti-seize bc I doubt there is a difference but it would be nice to know if anyone has that answer.
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Old 02-18-14, 02:21 PM
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^^^ It's brown? Got a small tube from my LBS guy. Maybe finishline? 4 years old winter commuter bb ( think lots of snow,ice & salt) came out with moderate force.
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Old 02-18-14, 06:02 PM
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Permatex and Never-Seez are the two most commonly available brand names and either will do just fine. There is no "bike specific" anti-seize, just relabeled automotive or industrial versions marked up absurdly. Buy a small tube of either brand at an auto parts store.
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Old 02-18-14, 07:24 PM
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Originally Posted by j814wong View Post
I think I'll use the caulk method but first to seal the seat post but first, I am going to have to try to find some black colored caulk if such a thing exists since my frame is all black.
Any auto parts store, home improvement center, hardware store, etc. should have black sealers of all different types. They make automotive RTV sealers in all different colors and in small tubes so you don't end up throwing a bunch out when it hardens in the tube. With some of the the small tubes it's also possible to cut the end so it makes a very small bead about a millimeter or so wide.
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Old 02-18-14, 11:06 PM
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One quick question regarding antiseize for the BB. All I need a a thin coat right? Normally, I'm generous with grease when applying it to threaded parts but I'm not sure if this ought to be teh case when applying antiseize.

Also, since my BB already has grease on it from the factory, I presume I need to white it all off from the threads before applying antiseize correct?
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Old 02-19-14, 08:48 AM
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It doesn't matter how much you apply, but rub it down into the threads (within reason). There's a limited gap in the threads, so the cup will push the excess forward as you screw it in.
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Old 02-19-14, 09:45 AM
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Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
If this is a road bike where you don't routinely move the post, consider using silicone caulk to seal the post and slot permanently. I've been doing this for 45 years and it works (though all my bikes also have weep holes).
To this end, I wonder if anyone's ever machined a groove into a seatpost for an O-ring...or would that create a point of failure?
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Old 02-19-14, 10:07 AM
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Originally Posted by arex View Post
To this end, I wonder if anyone's ever machined a groove into a seatpost for an O-ring...or would that create a point of failure?
An O-ring down near the bottom of the post might help, but by trapping water above might accelerate corrosion down the length of the post. Many makers have addressed this to an extent my putting the slot in front. That combined with greasing the post, and a weep hole in the BB shell solves the problem.

BTW- while the seatpost is a common point of water entry, it's not the only one. Most bikes are sold with 2-4 drilled and tapped holes for water bottle cages. If the owner doesn't install the cages, what do you think happens when he rides in the rain?
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Old 02-19-14, 10:10 AM
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Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
BTW- while the seatpost is a common point of water entry, it's not the only one. Most bikes are sold with 2-4 drilled and tapped holes for water bottle cages. If the owner doesn't install the cages, what do you think happens when he rides in the rain?
Or leave cage bolts in the unused holes. Almost all bikes come with bolts installed in all of the cage mounting bosses so just leaving the unused bolts in place solves that problem. It is worthwhile to remove, grease and reinstall the bolts to keep them from corroding in place.
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Old 02-19-14, 10:28 AM
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Originally Posted by HillRider View Post
Or leave cage bolts in the unused holes. Almost all bikes come with bolts installed in all of the cage mounting bosses so just leaving the unused bolts in place solves that problem. It is worthwhile to remove, grease and reinstall the bolts to keep them from corroding in place.
Some makers include the screws, buy some don't on lower end models. Also, either people remove them, or they somehow they vibrate loose because I pass tons of bikes with open bottle boss holes.

Then there are still the blowholes in the chainstays. This is why I say that the first and best step is a weep hole so, water that enters despite efforts to prevent it, can get back out.

When I was Campy's service tech we got a large number of waranty requests relating to corroded BB lock rings (especially on Ti frames), and 100% of them were corroded from the inside outward, and the vast majority of those were in frames without weepholes.

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Old 02-19-14, 11:15 AM
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Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
Some makers include the screws, buy some don't on lower end models. Also, either people remove them, or they somehow they vibrate loose because I pass tons of bikes with open bottle boss holes.

Then there are still the blowholes in the chainstays. This is why I say that the first and best step is a weep hole so, water that enters despite efforts to prevent it, can get back out.

When I was Campy's service tech we got a large number of waranty requests relating to corroded BB lock rings (especially on Ti frames), and 100% of them were corroded from the inside outward, and the vast majority of those were in frames without weepholes.
I guess I've never seen a bike that didn't come with the bolts installed in the bottle bosses but maybe I didn't look down scale far enough. They certainly could vibrate loose so that may be more of a factor although, again, I've never lost one myself.

As to absent weep holes in Ti frames, I have three Litespeeds and all three have weep holes in the bb shell adjacent to and clear of the plastic under bb cable guide. So at least Litespeed isn't guilty.
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