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Tips/techniques for cleaning up hubs

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Tips/techniques for cleaning up hubs

Old 08-27-15, 05:36 AM
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Tips/techniques for cleaning up hubs

In the last couple of restorations I have done, the one bit that has given me the hardest time is getting the outside of the hubs clean without breaking down the wheel. Does anyone care to share their method for getting the gunk of while navigating the spokes? Some sort of foaming cleaner? What's the secret?
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Old 08-27-15, 05:45 AM
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I've had good luck with one of the orange degreasers and a rag.
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Old 08-27-15, 05:52 AM
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You have to be careful with those orange degreasers as they cab stain Aluminium parts if left to soak.
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Old 08-27-15, 05:53 AM
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I wouldn't break down a wheel except for a true museum quality restoration.

Make a hub shiner from a scrap of cloth or leather and ride the bike a while. For the flanges and spoke along them, something like a tooth brush is as good as anything for getting it 95% clean, then if you feel it's necessary, a blast of spray solvent, will free the last of the crud from under and along the spokes.

Of course you can't polish the flanges out near the spoke holes, so that decision depends on whether you're talking museum quality restoration or making a bike presentable for sale or general show. I wouldn't break down a wheel except for a true museum quality restoration.
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Old 08-27-15, 07:13 AM
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wd40, a soft nylon bristled brush, a children's toothbrush, and some small rags.

Spray a little wd40 all over the hub both inside and outside the spokes to start the degreasing process. Use the large brush first on the spokes and hub where they meet one another and where the spoke cross above the hub. Spray a little more and brush again. Wipe it off and see where you stand. The small rags make it easier to get the rag inside the spokes to wipe off the hub and inner flange.
Spot spray where needed and use the small toothbrush to get into areas where the spokes meet the hub.
Rinse with water and dry it off.

Takes probably 5min per hub typically, though I have gotten lost in time and spent WAY too long obsessing over extracting 30year old grime from areas I couldn't even see.

I like the small toothbrush because it can fit inside the spokes easily and you have more leverage to clean the inside flanges where the spokes connect to the hub.
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Old 08-27-15, 07:14 AM
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Toothbrush and Dawn dish deteregent.
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Old 08-27-15, 07:31 AM
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Originally Posted by mstateglfr View Post
wd40, a soft nylon bristled brush, a children's toothbrush, and some small rags.

Spray a little wd40 all over the hub both inside and outside the spokes to start the degreasing process. Use the large brush first on the spokes and hub where they meet one another and where the spoke cross above the hub. Spray a little more and brush again. Wipe it off and see where you stand. The small rags make it easier to get the rag inside the spokes to wipe off the hub and inner flange.
Spot spray where needed and use the small toothbrush to get into areas where the spokes meet the hub.
Rinse with water and dry it off.

Takes probably 5min per hub typically, though I have gotten lost in time and spent WAY too long obsessing over extracting 30year old grime from areas I couldn't even see.

I like the small toothbrush because it can fit inside the spokes easily and you have more leverage to clean the inside flanges where the spokes connect to the hub.
That's almost exactly what I do. I save all used toothbrushes in the household. They are great for this and other times you need a semi-disposable soft brush.

I also sometimes use 0000 steel wool and wd40 to clean and polish the spokes.
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Old 08-27-15, 07:55 AM
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Ditto
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Old 08-28-15, 05:05 AM
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I remove as much crud as possible from the outside of the hub.

Then... I take rubber bands and put a bunch of them over the axle at the dust covers. They act as seals to keep the citrus cleaner and flush water out of the bearingws.

Once all of the grease and dirt is gone the work begins. I use Semichrome polish first with rags to get to the open areas then a tooth bush to polish around the spokes in the flanges...

Rubbing alcohol can be used with a tooth brush to get rid of any remaining polish.


@jeirvine I use steel wool on the spokes too.

I wear good quality dust masks to avoid breathing the dust. Not a problem with stainless spokes but steel spokes are usually plated with zinc, but they could also be cadmium plated with is toxic.


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Old 08-28-15, 10:28 AM
  #10  
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Simichrome. SIMICHROMEPOLISH.COM
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Old 08-28-15, 01:01 PM
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Better than Simichrome.

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Old 08-28-15, 03:37 PM
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For the center barrel area I put a rag over my finger and apply the polish liberally, turning the wheel and poking my hand between different groups of spokes. Then I put a thin cloth shop rag over my hand and push toward th center barrel so the rag and fingers surround the barrel and some polishing action can be effected using a push-pull action to keep the rag polishing at the barrel. A higher gloss can be achieved by looping a long rag over the barrel and doing an alternating push-pull with the two ends of the rag out near the rim.

For the spoke flanges, which might be done first, I put a couple of drops of Finish Line Citrus Degreaser on a toothbrush and scrub away at the flanges and spokes. I try to use a minimum of the product so that the abrasive qualities of the dirt doesn't get too diluted, and I add another drop or two to the brush only as needed.

I finish off by spraying a bit of rubbing alcohol onto the brush, rubbing the brush on an air outside vent grating to dislodge the dirt and degreaser from the brush and shake out any excess alcohol, alternating with brief final scrubbings of the flanges to get them clean.
A good brush can be covered with a thin shop rag and used to scrub further, the bristles still conforming to the tight contours of the flanges and spokes and with the rag getting pushed into all the spaces to do a good final polish-and-mop-up effect.

Do avoid breathing aluminum and cadmium oxide dusts as verktyg mentioned. Do everything outside and keep things damp to avoid breathing these toxic dusts and the cleaning liquid fumes.

One more thing is that much of this stuff is at times easier to do on a wheel that is mounted in a truing stand, which I keep next to the outside door of my basement workshop. The stand is bolted down, but I can take the wheel outside just for certain steps of the cleaning. I also use the truing stand for polishing of rims.

Last edited by dddd; 08-28-15 at 03:58 PM.
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Old 08-28-15, 03:38 PM
  #13  
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Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
I wouldn't break down a wheel except for a true museum quality restoration.

Make a hub shiner from a scrap of cloth or leather and ride the bike a while. For the flanges and spoke along them, something like a tooth brush is as good as anything for getting it 95% clean, then if you feel it's necessary, a blast of spray solvent, will free the last of the crud from under and along the spokes.

Of course you can't polish the flanges out near the spoke holes, so that decision depends on whether you're talking museum quality restoration or making a bike presentable for sale or general show. I wouldn't break down a wheel except for a true museum quality restoration.
+1, after goof off (for really bad gunk, otherwise wd-40) soft toothbrush and compressed air, they're on their own.

Last edited by Last ride 76; 08-28-15 at 03:42 PM.
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