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To Clean or Not to Clean, that is the question

Old 03-28-19, 09:01 AM
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TulsaJohn
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To Clean or Not to Clean, that is the question

Hi,

I have a box of old Campy parts from the 70s I have decided to sell. Most need a good cleaning as they were taken off a bike and then just stored for 30-40 years, road grime and all. The parts are in good working condition but just need a good cleaning.

My question is should I clean them? Do the vintage purchasers prefer to clean the parts themselves so it is done "right"?. I would probably just clean with the green liquid cleaning stuff and an old toothbrush but I figure some prefer a different method.

Tailwinds, John
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Old 03-28-19, 10:41 AM
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Simply green and dawn soap.
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Old 03-28-19, 11:59 AM
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If you keep it to a superficial clean, then I think it’s very unlikely you’ll negatively affect the value. Serious tinkerers will want to take it apart anyway for a deep clean, and the superficial clean helps assess condition in photos. If you start disassembling, then that’s where things can go wrong, so I would avoid.
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Old 03-28-19, 12:03 PM
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I do not know how true this is. I have heard and read that dish detergent is not a good option for bikes or cars. It has acid in it that can affect the finish of the metal. I know it is really good on greasy, oily things and that is what bird/waterfowl rescuers use on animals that have been coated in petroleum products. I do sometimes use simple green as the solution to clean park parts. I also have a cleaner called LA's Totally Awesome Cleaner. It works really well as a solution to soak things in overnight, no acid. As for the detergent, that is the individuals choice.
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Old 03-28-19, 01:14 PM
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Clean components are more appealing and better show the true cosmetic condition, which is important to the kind of people interested in old collectable components.
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Old 03-28-19, 02:23 PM
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I typically use light oil as a solvent for simple cleaning, like derailleur jockey wheels, either with a toothbrush or a paper towel. It breaks up gritty and dried grease. Something like this:

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Old 03-28-19, 02:29 PM
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To maximize return, or to leave a lot of money on the table, that is the answer!


Look up any of your parts on eBay in the sold section. Then sort them highest price first. Once you get past NOS, are the highest prices for dirty stuff or clean?

WD40, a tooth blush and a rag. Personally, I dismantle all cranksets and clean them. Be careful not to lose small parts.


As a practical matter, really dirty can hide defects, so clean for the win.

Sold an RD on eBay yesterday. Did a “one song” cleanup first (total cleanup took less than the time it took to play one song on my workshop stereo). My price was double what someone else was asking for the same dérailleur but dirty. Mine sold, his is still available.

Pay rate for that 4 minute job? Several hundred dollars per hour.

Polishing a seatpost takes longer but a 30 minute job might yield me $50 more for the part.

Lazy sellers get less, a lot less. And their stuff can take longer to sell.

Last edited by wrk101; 03-29-19 at 01:52 PM.
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Old 03-28-19, 02:55 PM
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I always want to buy 'em as dirty as possible, so I can get a great deal.

My favorite thing to buy is a campy seatpost with tons of zigzags so I can get it for about half its worth, then polish it like new.

My least favorite thing is finding pitting in the hub races of a dirty hub that would've polished up like new.

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Old 03-28-19, 03:41 PM
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I heard that Simple Green can be harmful to some metals if you soak your components too long in it.....
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Old 03-28-19, 07:29 PM
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Definitely clean it and use WD40. That’s the simplest way to go and will give a good result.
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Old 03-28-19, 08:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Chombi1 View Post
I heard that Simple Green can be harmful to some metals if you soak your components too long in it.....
+1 especially Campagnolo crank, chainring, dis comp brake caliper. I have experience it first hand
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Old 03-28-19, 08:55 PM
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I would clean and go with WD-40 not too harsh and gives a nice shine for photo's. Check ebay sold listings for your stuff which will give a good idea of the difference between clean well presented BIT now and as is dirty auction prices. As said the clean stuff does a lot better.
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Old 03-28-19, 08:55 PM
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It's Italian. Soak it in diesel fuel. That's a magnifico!
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Old 03-29-19, 10:19 AM
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I say clean and check over. That allows for best visual presentation and also allows the seller to indicate mechanical condition. For example, I will never ever buy a set of hubs on-line unless I am sure that the rolling elements (cups, cones and ball bearings) are good.

So, for me, it is clean (sometimes polish if selling with pictures of on-line) and offer accurate information pertaining to mechanical condition. Now...

If selling on-line, which Campy Legnano hub set would you buy..?

Dirty and "as found"....



or all shined (machiine or hand polished) up and guaranteed mechanical sound..?
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Old 03-29-19, 05:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Chombi1 View Post
I heard that Simple Green can be harmful to some metals if you soak your components too long in it.....
Same here, on my Fuchs there was some staining on the anodized rims.
Best, Ben
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Old 04-27-19, 10:43 AM
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Originally Posted by CABELLOJO View Post
Simply green and dawn soap.
Absolutely. Just rinse the Simple Green well after using. I have soaked freewheels in dawn and hot water for an hour, scrubbed with a brush, oiled and they are perfect.
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Old 04-27-19, 10:53 AM
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I see a lot of grungy chainrings and freewheels for sale here, when surprisingly few minutes with a toothbrush and mineral spirits would take that all right off.

Not that I, like @SurferRosa, mind when I'm the one buying.
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