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Wd40

Old 12-14-20, 09:04 AM
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Wd40

I have a foam chain degreaser but I ran out and so I decreased my chain with WD40. Only thing is now Iím worried-is it possible the wd40 dropped down to the axles and messed up the bottom bracket and rear axle bearings/seals? Hope I didnít mess it up.
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Old 12-14-20, 09:17 AM
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cool story.

yeah, WD-40 is a pretty good way to remove old gunk from things like chains. I would definitely remove the chain completely from the bike before using it though. be sure to get the chain really clean and put a proper chain lube on it afterwards.
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Old 12-14-20, 09:47 AM
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If you remove the chain for cleaning, you don't have to worry about solvents getting onto the bicycle and you can get a more thorough cleaning. There are many modern, master links for derailleur chains that provide a simple and easy way to break, remove and re-install a chain. Many replacement chains even come with them. Beware, there are some that cannot be reused and those that can usually have a limited number of times they can be reused. Still, the ones I use on my C&V bicycles work out to only about $0.50 for each use. In my opinion, that's good value and, in your case, is inexpensive peace of mind.
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Old 12-14-20, 10:02 AM
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I often degrease chains on the bike with WD40. A section at a time with a rag cupped under the section I'm working on. Never do I get solvent in the BB or hubs or on anything else. Not that a little would really hurt them though.

But yeah, totally neglected chains must be removed for cleaning... or just replaced.
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Old 12-14-20, 10:20 AM
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Another WD 40 thread.
Yep I clean and lube chain using WD 40. I leave chain on, use a rag as a back board catch, spray and wipe. Done.
I've done this for years. It last about 300 miles. I will say that it's possible that the WD 40 will get in side your freewheel and remove the grease in there...so wipe good and spray only on chain.
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Old 12-14-20, 10:31 AM
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WD-40 isn’t a “degreaser”* since it is about 25% “grease” (oil, actually). You are really just replacing one “grease” with another one. If you really feel the need to use an aerosol degreaser, get something that doesn’t contain the “grease” you are trying to get rid of. Finish Line Speed Degreaser is WD-40 without the oil. Overspray doesn’t leave oil on everything when the solvent evaporates. But, man, that’s an expensive way to degrease...as is WD-40.

I would also second removing the chain and using mineral spirits rather than aerosols. You can get quick links for just about any size chain you want and although they often say for one use only, I’ve never had one break if it is used multiple times. Remove the chain, feed it into a 500 mL Gatorade bottle, close the lid, and shake for about 30 seconds. I time that by how long I can stand to shake it vigorously. Fish it out and let it dry. Letting it dry is the longest part of the procedure. Including drying time, it should take less than 20 minutes.

As a plus, a cup of mineral spirits can easily clean up to a dozen chains.

Keep the cleaning process simple. Avoid adding a whole bunch of unnecessary cleaning steps...like multiple water based cleaning, ultrasonic baths, multiple rinses, etc. It’s a chain. It’s cheap. Don’t treat it as if it were the most important part of the bike.






*”Degreaser” is really a misnomer. You are actually “de-oiling” since you are removing oil rather than grease.
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Old 12-14-20, 10:38 AM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
As a plus, a cup of mineral spirits can easily clean up to a dozen chains.
How do you dispose of your mineral spirits when finish with them?
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Old 12-14-20, 10:42 AM
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To clean a chain I remove it from the bike and soak it in Kerosene over night. I then take it outside and blow it out with compressed air, then hang to dry. Before installing the chain, take time to floss the freewheel and clean the chain rings. I have been using the wax based lubricants on my chains and less build up on chain rings and freewheels .
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Old 12-14-20, 10:43 AM
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Originally Posted by texaspandj View Post
Another WD 40 thread.
Yep I clean and lube chain using WD 40. I leave chain on, use a rag as a back board catch, spray and wipe. Done.
I've done this for years. It last about 300 miles. I will say that it's possible that the WD 40 will get in side your freewheel and remove the grease in there...so wipe good and spray only on chain.
Iím one of the few that are with you on this. Been using WD-40 as a chain lube for at least 40 years. Works great.
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Old 12-14-20, 10:46 AM
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Old 12-14-20, 10:55 AM
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Originally Posted by texaspandj View Post
Another WD 40 thread.
Yep I clean and lube chain using WD 40. I leave chain on, use a rag as a back board catch, spray and wipe. Done.
I've done this for years. It last about 300 miles. I will say that it's possible that the WD 40 will get in side your freewheel and remove the grease in there...so wipe good and spray only on chain.
Oh damn. I ran the chain through the gears with wd40 to degrease the chain. That was an idiot move. Now the freewheel is way noisier. Do I need to redo all the ball bearings in the freewheel now!? Or can I just remove, clean, and re-oil it without taking out the bearings? Yikes!
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Old 12-14-20, 11:09 AM
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Originally Posted by robertorolfo View Post
How do you dispose of your mineral spirits when finish with them?
I find it takes so little to do it cyccommute ís way that pouring the used stuff back into an empty container takes about 10 years to fill it, then itís a convenient trip to the transfer station along with old batteries and other stuff that you want not to leach back into the earth. Mind you, most of my summer chains elongate before they need really vigorous cleaning, but on the rare occasions they do, thatís exactly how I do it.
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Old 12-14-20, 11:20 AM
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Originally Posted by Bicicletta89 View Post
Oh damn. I ran the chain through the gears with wd40 to degrease the chain. That was an idiot move. Now the freewheel is way noisier. Do I need to redo all the ball bearings in the freewheel now!? Or can I just remove, clean, and re-oil it without taking out the bearings? Yikes!
Unless you ride in very wet conditions (in which case your freewheel should be a good sealed or shielded one like Dura-Ace, Sante or 600), there in no need for heavy lubrication inside.
The most I ever do for a freewheel is to blast it out with degreaser and then water (if it is completely unsealed), and then dry and re-oil it, and "whirl" out the excess oil outside using my arm rotation. Or I can lay it on a rag on it's end and come back the next day.

Freewheel bearings won't wear out from some grit in there. The worst thing that happens to freewheels is when they get internal rust and then they are goners that are only good for salvaging cogs from.

I don't clean chains, other than to wipe down thoroughly with terry cloth after lubing with a diluted ("watery") style of chain lube.
I used to apply degreaser to chains from the left side after leaning the bike toward the right, so as to keep any dripping away from the critical bottom bracket and rear axle bearings, but since I don't rescue crapped-out chains any more this all is in the past.

Hopefully, the good, cheap chains that we have been blessed with don't come into short supply like many other bike-related bits of late.

Increasingly I am cautious not to empty out spray cans or end up having to pour away contaminated solvents. I use mechanical means to strip off stubborn deposits and then just the rag (maybe with a few drops of Finish Line Citrus Degreaser). The spray cleaners are expensive, and just blasting away is hugely wasteful plus environmentally unfriendly to the extreme. I recommend brushes and various metal scrapers (like a 6" machinist's rule or a screwdriver) to remove chain-path detritus before a final wipe-down using a rag or shop towel.

Chains that are lubed and wiped periodically should see absolutely no buildup of grunge over time, as long as a thinned (solvent-diluted) type of chain lube is used.
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Old 12-14-20, 11:44 AM
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I
Originally Posted by Bicicletta89 View Post
Oh damn. I ran the chain through the gears with wd40 to degrease the chain. That was an idiot move. Now the freewheel is way noisier. Do I need to redo all the ball bearings in the freewheel now!? Or can I just remove, clean, and re-oil it without taking out the bearings? Yikes!
Were you using a pressure washer to apply the WD-40? Or a car wash?
Actually no part of a freewheel moves under load. The pawls need some lube so they will snap back under spring force to fully engage the ratchet ring, else they will slip when you start to pedal. That’s it.

Edit: the pawls can also stick open in the unengaged position if the lube is too stiff (too viscous, too cold, or dried out.). Resuscitating stuck-open pawls is the only circumstance where I would try to degrease a freewheel. I had to do this once, many winters ago.

If your freewheel has an oil port hidden under the sprockets, use that to get light oil to the pawls. Otherwise, dribble oil into the top interface between rotor and Jstator while click-click-clicking it until dirty rusty oil leaks out the bottom interface. You can do this with the freewheel on the hub if you don’t have the removal tool but it’s messier. Let it drain overnight, then ride. The freewheels with oil ports typically have a seal between rotor and stator so this won’t work with them. Even if the freewheel sounds rough and noisy when you coast, this doesn’t impair it’s operation for transmitting drive force. Just don’t coast if it annoys you. But the oil you apply will likely quiet it some.

Edit: all said better, and definitively, by dddd above.

Last edited by conspiratemus1; 12-14-20 at 12:07 PM.
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Old 12-14-20, 12:39 PM
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Originally Posted by Bicicletta89 View Post
Oh damn. I ran the chain through the gears with wd40 to degrease the chain. That was an idiot move. Now the freewheel is way noisier. Do I need to redo all the ball bearings in the freewheel now!? Or can I just remove, clean, and re-oil it without taking out the bearings? Yikes!
Clean cogs and chains run noisier than dirtier ones. The build-up of oily dirt on the chain and cogs decreases the noise, by providing a soft layer than prevents direct metal on metal contact. It's highly unlikely that you got anything into the freewheel mechanism just by running the chain through the cogs. The noise is probably just the increased metal to metal contact of the clean chain and cogs. The noise decrease takes place so gradually over time that you don't notice the change, until you clean everything.
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Old 12-14-20, 12:44 PM
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Maybe I am missing something (pretty likely) but if the OP sprayed WD40 on the chain and ran it through the gears, how did any WD40 get inside the freewheel? Unless soaked from behind its not clear to me that there is any issue (whether or not you agree with WD40 as a cleaner/chain lube). I would expect the majority (if not all) of the WD40 ended up on the floor, in a rag, or in the chain links but not in the freewheel body. Same idea with the bottom bracket.....getting WD40 on the outside of the BB and/or cups isn't the same as spraying WD40 into the BB....so again there should be little to no issue.
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Old 12-14-20, 01:07 PM
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Originally Posted by markk900 View Post
Maybe I am missing something (pretty likely) but if the OP sprayed WD40 on the chain and ran it through the gears, how did any WD40 get inside the freewheel? Unless soaked from behind its not clear to me that there is any issue (whether or not you agree with WD40 as a cleaner/chain lube). I would expect the majority (if not all) of the WD40 ended up on the floor, in a rag, or in the chain links but not in the freewheel body. Same idea with the bottom bracket.....getting WD40 on the outside of the BB and/or cups isn't the same as spraying WD40 into the BB....so again there should be little to no issue.
good to know! I didnít know how sneaky wd40 was or was not with getting into places. Good to know that the freewheel is only really infiltrated from the rear. My biggest worry was that it couldíve infiltrated my wheel hub bearing which is new and fancy but Iím guessing that would be highly unlikely.

learning about all this has made me realize that the freewheel is probably decades overdue for oiling anyway. Iím gonna get one of those tools to take it off the wheel so I can really clean, degrease and re-oil it. Seems like most common recommendation for that is Phil Wood Tenacious Oil with some folks partial to tri flow.

Guessing either of those would be more appropriate than chain oil?
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Old 12-14-20, 01:31 PM
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In my experience the Phil Wood Tenacious Oil works well for freewheel lubrication.
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Old 12-14-20, 01:44 PM
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I guess making it a clear distinction between removing manufacturers lube vs cleaning (commonly referred to as degreasing) Chain.
For sure when removing manufacturers lube you need to use paint thinner or mineral spirits and completely remove the chain. The only good reason to do that is if you're going to use wax instead.
However leaving the original manufacturers lube and cleaning the chain with wd-40 is a great way to clean the chain. Then lube it with what ever your preference is. After cleaning it with wd-40 I just leave it.
As I posted earlier, it's Possible to get WD 40 in your freewheel it's not Probable. And only when spraying by the freewheel.
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Old 12-14-20, 02:50 PM
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I keep my chains clean and shiny. Kerosene is pretty awesome for chains and degreasing most stuff. I keep a jelly jar on the workbench with kerosene in it. To clean a chain, I pour some in my park chain cleaner and run the chain through it some. Then I wipe the shiny chain and chainwheel off with a paper towel and pour the kerosene back into the jelly jar. When I go to use the kerosene again, all the filth has settled to the bottom and the kerosene is relatively clear. I figure I get about 50-70,000 miles worth of clean bike parts from a gallon. Most of my chains are HG and while I sometimes have extra pins for 8,9 and 10 speed, I don't like taking a chain off the bike.
I use WD40 on my Hedge clippers and Tree saw before I put them away after use.
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Old 12-14-20, 03:10 PM
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The freewheel is relatively unhurt by WD40. The brake parts are a completely different story, though. Don't get oil on the pads or rim.
i.usually clean the chain with one of those Park devices. All the black stuff gets removed. Then apply Tri-Flow on the chain after.
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Old 12-14-20, 03:41 PM
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I've done just about every method of chain cleaning popular on these boards. I've done waxing and keeping spare chains all waxed and ready, but its a hassle any way you slice it. My favorite on-bike method is to wet the chain with some tri-flow or similar and terrycloth rag. Off-bike methods that I have employed range from petrol in a jar to an ultrasonic cleaner. I've tried all of the commercial chain lubes, but I have to say that my favorite right now is Mobil 1 ATF.
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Old 12-14-20, 04:02 PM
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Originally Posted by T-Mar View Post
Clean cogs and chains run noisier than dirtier ones. The build-up of oily dirt on the chain and cogs decreases the noise, by providing a soft layer than prevents direct metal on metal contact. It's highly unlikely that you got anything into the freewheel mechanism just by running the chain through the cogs. The noise is probably just the increased metal to metal contact of the clean chain and cogs. The noise decrease takes place so gradually over time that you don't notice the change, until you clean everything.

I've noticed that very gritty sound when I first ride after "cleaning" a chain, but I'm pretty sure it is just some of the remaining grit that now needs a mile or so of riding to get displaced away from the mating surfaces in and about the chain. Some of the grit also quickly breaks down to a size that can't be heard.
I try not to let it bother me, after experiencing this for so many decades! Chains are designed to digest a decent amount of grit in their lifetimes while still lasting a very long time.
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Old 12-14-20, 04:25 PM
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Originally Posted by dddd View Post
Unless you ride in very wet conditions (in which case your freewheel should be a good sealed or shielded one like Dura-Ace, Sante or 600), there in no need for heavy lubrication inside.
I agree, although I just used a fairly generous amount of grease on some used Zonda wheels I picked up (yes, I know, freehub vs freewheel) and it nearly silenced them completely while coasting. I'm really happy with it.

Originally Posted by J.Higgins View Post
I've tried all of the commercial chain lubes, but I have to say that my favorite right now is Mobil 1 ATF.
Interesting, but how is the smell? I use Mobil 1 ATF for my car, and the smell is just awful to me.
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Old 12-14-20, 04:28 PM
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Originally Posted by robertorolfo View Post
I agree, although I just used a fairly generous amount of grease on some used Zonda wheels I picked up (yes, I know, freehub vs freewheel) and it nearly silenced them completely while coasting. I'm really happy with it.



Interesting, but how is the smell? I use Mobil 1 ATF for my car, and the smell is just awful to me.
Funny you should ask, because I have a very sensitive sense of smell, and the littlest odors really bother me. This is synthetic and has no offensive odor.
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