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Cleaning Up Tubulars wheels

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Cleaning Up Tubulars wheels

Old 11-17-15, 11:07 PM
  #1  
vintagerando 
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Cleaning Up Tubulars wheels

This could be a post for CV or mechanics forum. I just acquired my first (useble) set of tubulars: Wolber Super Champions. The wheels are probably late 80s. They have nice Shimano 600 hubs and a Sachs freewheel. I want to get them up and running. The first step is clean them up. How do you remove the old glue? What is the best way to do it?
Thanks.
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Old 11-17-15, 11:26 PM
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I've never tried it myself, but I have heard that a brass brush wheel in a drill works really well for cleaning old glue off.
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Old 11-17-15, 11:32 PM
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Those don't look to bad at all, just remove any loose, old glue. I use a small brass hand brush, available at most auto parts stores, and then wipe clean with a cloth dampened with alcohol.
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Old 11-18-15, 12:02 AM
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I used to be picky and remove every bit of the old stuff, but not anymore. Five minutes max.


Remove tubular tire, re-mount wheel back onto bike. No chemicals needed. Harbor Freight sells low cost nylon wire wheels to mount in a portable power drill. Simply use it on the rim surface. No need to strip completely the old glue, just get the rough stuff and smooth the rest. To overclean is a waste. New mastic, adhesive, tape type all stick down good.
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Old 11-18-15, 12:13 AM
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Acetone is the way we would get that crap off BITD -- agreed it doesnt have to be perfect, unless you are racing track
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Old 11-18-15, 12:29 AM
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I have some tubular wheels that I've been riding for over 30 years. I've never cleaned old glue off. I have had no problems keeping the tires stuck to the rim. If you like being fussy with stuff like this, go ahead and clean them up. Just realize that the work isn't necessary.
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Old 11-18-15, 12:29 AM
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My answer from the mechanics forum copied below.
------------------

You don't.

The old glue is the best bed for the new glue and the tire. Experienced tubular riders prize rims with a decently built up bed which ensures good seating, and protects the tires from damage from ferrules (if any).

If there excess glue poking out from the sides, it's best cleaned off with a dull knife, but leave the stuff in the belly alone.

BTW- it's bad form to post the same question simultaneously in two forums. Pick one and post your question, then wait a reasonable time for answers, then move to another forum if unsatisfied, or if people suggest that you might do better there.
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Old 11-18-15, 01:17 AM
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Most of the suggestions you'll hear are going to sound like the Indian parable of the six blind men describing an elephant from different perspectives.



Why? because there were/are a number of types of adhesives used to secure tubular tires to the rims. They require different procedures to remove the various types.

Your tires were glued onto the rims with the red Clement Gutta Extra rim cement. Over time it hardened up and in that condition the bulk of it can be easily removed. You can scrape it off with a plastic spoon, the round end of a butter knife or any other device that wont damage the rim surface. It should flake off.

If it's still a little soft you may have to use a chemical product to get it off (see warning below about paint removers).

Once you get most of it off the balance can be cleaned up with acetone, isopropyl alcohol, various kinds of paint removers, a wire brush, Scotch Brite, steel wool etc.

We called Clement red "gutta-rude-a" or "rude-a-gutta" because it was messy to apply and got soft when heated up from braking on a long fast descent. It would squish out onto the rim braking surface and squeal like a banshee.



It was also the holy grail among the raceur set because it was made in Italy and thus blessed by the pope! In reality, many of the pro teams used Clement red in the 70's... But what most "experts" didn't know was that the team mechanics mixed Clement red with Clement white plus they re-glued the tires or mounted new ones after every stage!!! They also had spare wheels carried by the support cars.

If you plan on reusing those tires, try to scrape as much of the gutta-rude-a off as you can so that you get a good fit when you remount them.

The next type was a clear, gray or white adhesive that remained tacky for a long time. This allowed you to mount a spare and continue riding if you got a flat. There were a number of different producers but Tubasti and Pastali were two of the more popular French brands sold in the US in the 70's. Clement made a white rim cement that sort of remained tacky but eventually hardened up.



Getting back to the parable of the elephant, using a wire brush on this type of cement will usually makes a gooey mess! Using a chemical remover is probably the easiest way to get this stuff off!

I used Pastali rim cement until I switched to high performance clinchers in the late 80's. Several years ago I dug out my old CX wheels. The last I time I glued them was in 1979. The Pastali was still tacky enough that I would feel comfortable riding them in a crunch to get back home.



A wire brush might that Pastali off after half the rim is worn away!!!

The next type of rim cement that some people used was 3M weather strip adhesive used to attach rubber to the doors and trunk lids (boot in the UK). It was yellow colored and dried quickly. The bond was very strong but there was no residual tackiness so unless you were riding track or had a support car you were SOL if you got a flat. Again, a chemical remover is the easiest solution to remove the stuff.

Shellac was used for mount track tires. Denatured alcohol removes the stuff.


Now the safety warnings:

If you use a rotating wire brush make sure to wear safety glasses. A wire can break off and blind you!

Most types of paint removers/strippers contain DANGEROUS chemicals. Use them out doors and invest $25-$40 in a GOOD QUALITY respirator mask with filter cartridges that are designed for use with those types of chemicals. Your brain, lungs, liver and kidneys will thank you!



Now, the safer method of removing rim cement. 3M makes a product called Safest Stripped. It works pretty well and has no toxic fumes. It's available at many paint and hardware stores in the US.



Make sure not to get any paint remover on and brand name stickers on the rims.


Before remounting old tubulars, make sure that the base tape is well attached to the tire. The adhesive use to attach the base tape to tires made during the 70's and early 80's required a razor blade or X-Acto knife blade to separate the base tape from the tire casing:

Olde style base tape



Base tape used from the late 80's on was/is held on with a very poor quality adhesive and starts coming loose (or just plain falling off) as the tires age which makes for a scary situation.




What kind of rim cement do I recommend? None!

When I started riding sewups again about 6-7 years ago, I tried all of the different brands of rim cement that I could find. NONE of them were satisfactory compared to the old Pastali.

Then I tried Tufo Extreme Rim Tape. I'll never go back to messy glues again!!! It's fast, clean and holds well. I carry a spare roll in case I ever have to change a sewup on the road (see note below).



Note below...

When i switched to Tufo Rim Tape, I also started using Tufo Tire Sealant. There are other brands on the market but Tufo has always worked for me.



It wont work on most sidewall cuts or clinchers but it can seal up to a 3mm cut in the tread! I got several glass cuts in this tire. I put in some Tufo but I had to stop about every 1/2 mile and re-pump my tire. It got me back to the car!

The next morning I pumped up the tire and it held air - no problem!




I wrote this treatise in 2007:

gitaneusa.com :: View topic - Tubular tire experts - I have a question


verktyg

Chas.
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Last edited by verktyg; 11-18-15 at 01:40 AM.
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Old 11-18-15, 01:39 AM
  #9  
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Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
My answer from the mechanics forum copied below.
------------------

You don't.

The old glue is the best bed for the new glue and the tire. Experienced tubular riders prize rims with a decently built up bed which ensures good seating, and protects the tires from damage from ferrules (if any).

If there excess glue poking out from the sides, it's best cleaned off with a dull knife, but leave the stuff in the belly alone.
#FBinNY See my notes about the elephant...

Old hard Clement rude-a-gutta will flake off of the rim no matter how much modern rim cement you put on over it. It's best to remove most or all of it.

When I used Pastali, I never cleaned it off either. It remained tacky enough to get me home if I had a flat on the road and had to mount a spare.

verktyg

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Old 11-18-15, 05:16 AM
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There are three methods for getting old tubular adhesive off.

1) Abrasive method - in which you remove the glue, using a 3M abrasive or brass wheel mounted to a drill or a bench grinder. This method usually works well, results in very clean rims and doesn't require rags or solvents. This is the best method to use if the old tires were mounted with red mastic.

2) Solvent method - which requires application of a ketone-type solvent (ex. acetone, MEK, MIBK). It's messy, requires good ventilation and gloves, and leaves you with solvent-drenched rags to deal with after the job is done.

3) Blowtorch method - requires a propane torch, clean rags and temperature resistant gloves. Basic idea is to heat the old glue until it melts, then wipe off. This method works pretty well, and leaves a thin layer of adhesive around the bed as a kind of primer. It's not a good method for keeping labels intact, though - so if the rims have any value from a collection standpoint you'd probably want to avoid it.

Some further recommendations -

+1 on Chas' Tufo Tape suggestion. The stuff works. Tufo tape is better, cleaner, less agony overall and you can ride just after you apply instead of waiting 24-48 hours for the mastic to cure. I ride a lot of hills here in southeastern PA so I can attest that the tape doesn't give way on long downhills.

Use Continental mastic if you're going to re-glue. It's about the best stuff out there now.

Mastic is best applied, using a flux brush. These are cheap, acquired easily at a hardware store, and have bristles stiff enough to ensure full coverage and minimum application rate.
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Old 11-18-15, 06:24 AM
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1- I buff off with a drill/brush mounted on a WorkMate, and if I don't get to the rim, I still have a smooth base that accepts glue.

2- I buff off with a drill/brush mounted on a WorkMate, and I go to the rim, supplementing with acetone, to get a clean rim for tape.

3- I use tape now, exclusively, and don't worry much about a lot of the other things common to use of tubulars.

4- Haven't encountered red mastic residue.
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Old 11-18-15, 06:56 AM
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For gooey glue, I recommend plain old mineral spirits. Soak a rag, let it sit on glue, scrape off. I think it works better than acetone and I believe it is less toxic. But I'm no chemical engineer.
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Old 11-18-15, 07:00 AM
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Fun with Fumes.
Rhymes with Junior High.
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Old 11-18-15, 07:11 AM
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I've used Aircraft Paint Remover to get rid of old glue. Works very well, but wear gloves and work outside.

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Old 11-18-15, 08:31 AM
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Originally Posted by Pars View Post
I've never tried it myself, but I have heard that a brass brush wheel in a drill works really well for cleaning old glue off.
With extreme efficiency...
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Old 11-18-15, 08:48 AM
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Old 11-18-15, 09:44 AM
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I used a truing stand and a putty trough filled with acetone to clean off a set of rims. Not sure what the guy did before me but there was glue everywhere. Seriously, like in the spoke nipples. It worked beautifully.
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Old 11-18-15, 10:54 AM
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Don't think I ever have, since my first tubi-equipped bike in 1967.

PS: The Gatorskin on Geraldine's rear wheel is approaching 3800 miles, cord showing in several places, no flats. Another way of saying use tire savers.
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Old 11-18-15, 11:14 AM
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Originally Posted by verktyg View Post

Then I tried Tufo Extreme Rim Tape. I'll never go back to messy glues again!!! It's fast, clean and holds well. I carry a spare roll in case I ever have to change a sewup on the road (see note below).



Note below...

When i switched to Tufo Rim Tape, I also started using Tufo Tire Sealant. There are other brands on the market but Tufo has always worked for me.



It wont work on most sidewall cuts or clinchers but it can seal up to a 3mm cut in the tread! I got several glass cuts in this tire. I put in some Tufo but I had to stop about every 1/2 mile and re-pump my tire. It got me back to the car!
If I ever use my old sewup race wheels again (28 spoke GP4s with Record hubs), this is the way I'll go.
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Old 11-18-15, 11:52 AM
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Originally Posted by kunsunoke View Post
There are three methods for getting old tubular adhesive off.

3) Blowtorch method - requires a propane torch, clean rags and temperature resistant gloves.
Overkill! A heatgun is more than enough, and is my first recommendation. Just warm the old glue 'til it bubbles and wipe it off with a disposable rag, easy-peasy. You could even use a hair dryer, if you're very patient (I'm not)

Acetone and mineral spirits work too, but are even slower, and make worse fumes.
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Old 11-18-15, 11:59 AM
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I have tried nearly all of the above. The best solution for me was the brass wire brush approach. @miamijim pics apply to my experience.
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Old 11-18-15, 12:07 PM
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I haven't seen this mentioned yet, but somebody may have.
What brand and model is that tire in the pics, OP?
If it's a good one, and not showing signs of sidewall damage or rot, try to save it.
Especially if it's something like a Clement Extra Seta, Paris-Roubaix, etc.
Probably not though.
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Old 11-18-15, 12:07 PM
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I have chipped off the old hardened red stuff with a small dull screwdriver and then finished cleaning with a "eco-friendly" solvent from Ace Hardware. I think the solvent is called Citristrip. I got a quart that came in a can. The solvent also works well on fresher continental glue which is my brand of choice. Acetone was a waste of time compared with this stuff.
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Old 11-18-15, 12:33 PM
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I used orange based solvent and acetone for a final wipe....and patience
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Old 11-18-15, 12:37 PM
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Originally Posted by nlerner View Post
I've used Aircraft Paint Remover to get rid of old glue. Works very well, but wear gloves and work outside.

You beat me to it Neal!! Everything kind of flakes off like old paper.

Scott
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