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Surface rust on steel, when do you call it quit?

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Surface rust on steel, when do you call it quit?

Old 04-18-21, 05:35 AM
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CaptainPlanet
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Surface rust on steel, when do you call it quit?

Is this still considered safe to ride? I can't tell how deep the rust has went into the fork, but the surface looks really well rusted. Haven't attempted any rust removal like acid or wire brush.

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Old 04-18-21, 06:33 AM
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iab
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Remove rust. Assess steel.
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Old 04-18-21, 06:34 AM
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Charles Wahl
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Oh, that'll buff right out! But joking aside, that's a fairly advanced state of decay for a chromed area on a frame. Chrome is done electrolytically, typically with copper plate first, followed by nickel, and finally chrome; all very thin. Chrome is the hardest, copper the softest. When it flakes off, as seems to be happening in your case, that's basically all three layers of metallic plate coming off together. Whether the underlying steel has a greater propensity to rust as a result of the plating process, I couldn't tell you. The only good news here is that the volume (or thickness) the developing rust (ferrous oxide) occupies, compared to the steel it replaces, is very large, on the order of 10 times. I would not sell or pass on a fork that looks like that to another person; but I might be tempted to de-rust (by soaking in oxalic acid solution or media blasting), repaint and ride such a fork myself. On the other hand, a nutted axle combined with aluminum cranks suggests a fairly low-end bike -- unless there's some sentimental attachment to it, why not spend the effort on something more promising?
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Old 04-18-21, 11:36 AM
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^^^^As mentioned clean and inspect....I would do a tap test to see if there are any soft spots....should ping a little. Why don't you post a picture of the entire bike, how are the rear stays?
Best, Ben
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Old 04-18-21, 01:24 PM
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What's the worst that could happen?

Sudden fork failure gives me the chills. I wouldn't ride it unless I got rid of all the rust, and could inspect it closely, and possibly give it some sort of stress test. There's likely going to be some serious pitting, possibly even pinholes. I'd always have some doubts in the back of my mind, especially when braking hard with the front brake As Charles Wahl says, probably not worth the risk for this one.
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Old 04-18-21, 02:12 PM
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I would pass on that fork. The outside damage is pretty bad, in my opinion. The question is, what does the inside look like? Unless the bike is something special, forget about it or, at the very lease, seek out a replacement fork.
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Old 04-18-21, 03:59 PM
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The rest of the bike actually looks okay. I am mostly keeping this for the frame. My other bike is compatible with this one, so I am planning to use this frame as a backup swap.

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Old 04-18-21, 04:07 PM
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The damage on the forks may be too bad to fix. I would look for a donor from another bike. Maybe a co op would have something that would work.
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Old 04-18-21, 04:18 PM
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Originally Posted by CaptainPlanet View Post

A bike like that is good. It is much less likely to get stolen. Use that bike any time you need to leave it where there is a possibility of getting stolen.
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Old 04-18-21, 06:25 PM
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Need to assess first. Rust is obscuring what's below.

Flake off the remaining chrome, it's gonna come off anyway. Get a bottle of Naval Jelly. Get a throwaway brush and slather a coat on. Bottle will say 10 minute treatment time, if it were me, I'd leave it on for 15-20 before rinsing and drying. It will probably take 2-3 treatments.

This will get you down to bare metal. At that point, assess condition. Best bet is you may be able to sand it out, self-etch prime, then repaint a near-matching color, or go with something silver.

Your one possible saving grace here is the rust appears to be exterior only, due to poor treatment of the chrome It doesn't seem to've compromised the blade-end joint. Oh, and those rims are f*d too.

PS - may need to widen out those fork ends if you ever intend on running QR'd hubs, which typically have a fatter axle.
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Old 04-18-21, 10:52 PM
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Originally Posted by CaptainPlanet View Post
The rest of the bike actually looks okay. I am mostly keeping this for the frame. My other bike is compatible with this one, so I am planning to use this frame as a backup swap.

There is a guy near me selling a nice Tange fork in a very similar color for $10. Let me know if interested and I can connect you. Pm me. I bought brakes and shifters from him, nice guy. It was on Nextdoor.
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Old 04-18-21, 11:46 PM
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I sanded a beater frame down to bare metal and dumped potash salt on it to rust it prematurely. Hasn't gotten stolen, so I think it's working as planned
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