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Rust Never Sleeps

Old 06-02-21, 11:04 PM
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El Fug
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Rust Never Sleeps

I know this subject has been covered extensively, but I'd still appreciate some personalized advice here from all you rust-removing experts over here in C&V. I've got a LeMond Buenos Aires with some nicks and scratches in the paint. One small set of scratches is particularly worrying, the ones in the first picture. Second set doesn't look so bad.

What is the best way for me to deal with the (probable) rust?

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Old 06-03-21, 12:44 AM
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I prefer a rust removal gel (or evaporust in drenched cotton pads) and clear coat after that.
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Old 06-03-21, 12:57 AM
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Rust Never Sleeps.
You could always ride yer llama.

.
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Old 06-03-21, 01:01 AM
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nice!!
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Old 06-03-21, 01:27 AM
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That first pic is worrying. It's probably going to take a few cycles of gel/clean/repeat. A single application isn't likely to get that down to the good metal. As you're probably aware, the Reynolds 853 tubes are extremely thin -- I believe only about 0.4 mm in that spot. So, you'll want to be extremely careful in your cleaning not to take off any more of the surface than you need to. Depending on the gel you use, it'll probably leave the metal looking dark grey or black when you get past the rust. I think that's OK. I'd try a brass brush to scrape off the rust and residue between gel applications. The brass is softer than the steel, so it should stop before it digs a hole.
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Old 06-03-21, 01:47 AM
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Fortunately, I don't see any rust spiders--thin, twisting lines of rust that penetrate under the paint. Those can be a real challenge. For the rust in the first photo, it does look a bit thick. You could use Evaporust or Naval Jelly, or some other similar product, and let it work slowly. However, personally, I'd start by trying to knock/scrape a bit of that rust off first to speed along the process.

Another option is to carefully sand away the rust. I use a tool like this: https://www.aliexpress.com/item/33046131699.html. You could make a similar DIY tool and use cut strips of sandpaper. I used to use strips of sandpaper, rubber bands, and the eraser end of a pencil. After sanding away as much rust as you can see, you may still want to follow up with a rust remover. Try to keep the sanding to the rusted area but it's okay to sand the edge where the bare metal meets the paint. If you are applying touch-up paint, it's a good idea to have a smooth edge. It looks like the edges in the first photo are already smoothed out to some extent. The edges in the second photo aren't quite as smooth. If the rust has gotten under the paint edges, you may find that the paint will flake off a little. Best to get all the rust, and sanding at the edges can help determine where the rust ends. As Andy K says, that tubing is thin, so you're not trying to sand away the metal, just the rust and a tiny bit of the edge of the paint to smooth it out using a gentle circular motion.

Lastly, if you do sand the rust, you may want to put a little masking tape around the outside of the area to be sanded. The tape helps prevent rust powder from spreading into any micro-scratches in the paint. I did this to a white painted frame, and the orange rust powder was kind of difficult to scrub out of the surrounding area afterward.
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Old 06-03-21, 02:27 AM
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Don't sand - or use any mechanical methods, until the very last stages. That tube is so thin you cannot lose any more metal.

The absolute best way, in terms of saving what steel remains, is electrolytic de-rusting, but that probably be more work than necessary for such a small spot on such a big piece. I'd use a phosphoric acid product such as naval jelly.

Get the gel stuff, Arrange the bike so you can make a dam around the spot with plasticine, put a bit of the magic stuff on and wait a while, then wash off and check the progress. It could well be multiple iterations.

When all the rust has been converted, a light brushing to remove flakes, a good wash & dry with water and then alcohol, and immediate fill with epoxy or primer if you like, and paint to suit.
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Old 06-03-21, 10:16 AM
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Originally Posted by oneclick View Post
Don't sand - or use any mechanical methods, until the very last stages. That tube is so thin you cannot lose any more metal.

The absolute best way, in terms of saving what steel remains, is electrolytic de-rusting, but that probably be more work than necessary for such a small spot on such a big piece. I'd use a phosphoric acid product such as naval jelly.

Get the gel stuff, Arrange the bike so you can make a dam around the spot with plasticine, put a bit of the magic stuff on and wait a while, then wash off and check the progress. It could well be multiple iterations.

When all the rust has been converted, a light brushing to remove flakes, a good wash & dry with water and then alcohol, and immediate fill with epoxy or primer if you like, and paint to suit.
Thank you. What type of epoxy or primer should I get?
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Old 06-03-21, 11:36 AM
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Where does it end.

You have to make certain all the rust is exposed. A box cutter is good to gently scrape off the paint (is it paint or powder coat?)until you get paint on rust free metal. That can be an alarming journey - especially if it's PC. Lightly sand so the surface of the exposed metal runs smooth onto solid paint.
If you suspect there is rust under top coat that has not flaked off tap it gently with the shaft of a screw driver. "TING!!!" indicates good paint metal adhesion "TOK!" indicates you have rust under the topcoat and needs to be lightly scraped/sanded until rust is gone.
Then apply rust converter not rust remover(you've already done that.) and do what it says on the tin.
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Old 06-03-21, 11:51 AM
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Clear coat will not stop rust

Originally Posted by El Fug View Post
Thank you. What type of epoxy or primer should I get?
Clear coat is not a barrier, paint is a barrier. Moisture will slowly pass thru clear coat and attack any bare steel underneath. Clearcoat protects paint and the paint protects the metal. Get some little touch up tins that match and then clear coat and wax.
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Old 06-03-21, 11:52 AM
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...I can't tell you it's the "best way", but what I do in situations like that is lightly sand the spots, treat the rusted ones (after you've knocked off most of the surface corrosion) with something like a "rust reformer".

Youi can either buy a whole spray can and spray some on a cardboard palette, then apply with a brush to the small spots, or look for it in a non spray can. Then, when that's dried, I paint over with a primer to seal the spots from the air. Final step is to very lightly sand the primer smooth, and make your best attempt to color match a paint over the primer. I've had pretty good luck with this, but I live in a climate where it's very dry half the year. The winters are damp, though, and it seems to hold up...at least on a bicycle that's stored in out of the weather.
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Old 06-03-21, 12:29 PM
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I appreciate all the input so far. You guys are incredible!

I went to Lowe's this morning and picked up some Naval Jelly. I applied it, waited, cleaned it, then applied again, waited cleaned it. It seemed to clear it up somewhat but still looks like there's some corrosion.

Then I went back to Lowe's and picked up some 80-grit sandpaper, rust converter and an epoxy. I hope it's clear that I have no idea what I'm doing, but I'm thinking about maybe applying one more round of the Naval Jelly and then using the rust converter. One thing that gives me pause about the converter is it says that the product may cause rust if applied to an area without rust.

I suppose I can find some paint to use too, though I have no idea what type to use. I don't care at all about the aesthetics, only about structural integrity.

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Old 06-03-21, 12:56 PM
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Originally Posted by 3alarmer View Post
.
...I can't tell you it's the "best way", but what I do in situations like that is lightly sand the spots, treat the rusted ones (after you've knocked off most of the surface corrosion) with something like a "rust reformer".

Youi can either buy a whole spray can and spray some on a cardboard palette, then apply with a brush to the small spots, or look for it in a non spray can. Then, when that's dried, I paint over with a primer to seal the spots from the air. Final step is to very lightly sand the primer smooth, and make your best attempt to color match a paint over the primer. I've had pretty good luck with this, but I live in a climate where it's very dry half the year. The winters are damp, though, and it seems to hold up...at least on a bicycle that's stored in out of the weather.
Thank you for this. I live in LA, which is why rust wasn't on my mind at all. What type of primer and paint is good for a bike? Should I use the epoxy, do you think?
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Old 06-03-21, 01:13 PM
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Gorilla glue?

Originally Posted by El Fug View Post
I appreciate all the input so far. You guys are incredible!

I went to Lowe's this morning and picked up some Naval Jelly. I applied it, waited, cleaned it, then applied again, waited cleaned it. It seemed to clear it up somewhat but still looks like there's some corrosion.

Then I went back to Lowe's and picked up some 80-grit sandpaper, rust converter and an epoxy. I hope it's clear that I have no idea what I'm doing, but I'm thinking about maybe applying one more round of the Naval Jelly and then using the rust converter. One thing that gives me pause about the converter is it says that the product may cause rust if applied to an area without rust.

I suppose I can find some paint to use too, though I have no idea what type to use. I don't care at all about the aesthetics, only about structural integrity.

Keep the glue it's great for bonding - not sure for painting. Just sand until it's reasonably solid then do the converter. Get some of those tablespoon size paint tins in auto shops. They are made exactly for this detail.Go fast yellow is common but you can mix other colors on a piece of plastic, jar top etc. to get an exact match and apply with a small brush. Same with clearcoat. The decals are available on Ebay if you are so inclined.
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Old 06-03-21, 01:17 PM
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Originally Posted by Johno59 View Post
Keep the glue it's great for bonding - not sure for painting. Just sand until it's reasonably solid then do the converter. Get some of those tablespoon size paint tins in auto shops. They are made exactly for this detail.Go fast yellow is common but you can mix other colors on a piece of plastic, jar top etc. to get an exact match and apply with a small brush. Same with clearcoat. The decals are available on Ebay if you are so inclined.
Okay, next stop, auto shop. Thank you for all of your help!
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Old 06-03-21, 03:17 PM
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Originally Posted by El Fug View Post
Thank you for this. I live in LA, which is why rust wasn't on my mind at all. What type of primer and paint is good for a bike? Should I use the epoxy, do you think?
...any primer will work for you to seal the thing after the converter. The epoxy primers are great, but they cost three or four times as much as just a regular primer in a spray can or liquid can from Home Depot. I use the spray cans, mostly, even for touch ups, but buying a small can of liquid metal primer and applying it with a small artist's brush will work for what you want to do. Using a white primer makes it easier to get a good color match for something like the bright yellow on your LeMond. That's probably what they used under the color coat originally.

The epoxy and urethane paints are great. I use them here when I do an entire frame and fork, sometimes as a primer, and sometimes as a deep gloss clear coat. But they are expensive, and much more toxic than just some regular metal primer and color enamel from Home Depot or from a local hobby shop (more color selection...smaller cans..). The color match thing is the hardest part, and is strictly for aesthetics. If you're good with just stopping the rust, stop after the primer. I think those might have been painted with an Imron type paint (epoxy 2 part with hardener) originally, anyway.

You're just trying to get rid of the big chunks of surface corrosion, convert whatever remains to something more inert chemically, and then reseal the surface to exclude oxygen.
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Old 06-03-21, 03:26 PM
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@El Fug I acknowledge there may be some disagreement about sanding. I can see why @oneclick would advise against sanding. He makes a good point that the tubing is very thin. Nonetheless, a little light, careful sanding has worked for me, even on very thin-tubed frames (Tange Prestige and 753r tubing). That said, since I was the first to mention sanding, I feel obliged to mention I would NOT use 80 grit sandpaper. That's definitely too aggressive. I use something like 400-600 grit.
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Old 06-03-21, 05:39 PM
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Originally Posted by gaucho777 View Post
@El Fug I acknowledge there may be some disagreement about sanding. I can see why @oneclick would advise against sanding. He makes a good point that the tubing is very thin. Nonetheless, a little light, careful sanding has worked for me, even on very thin-tubed frames (Tange Prestige and 753r tubing). That said, since I was the first to mention sanding, I feel obliged to mention I would NOT use 80 grit sandpaper. That's definitely too aggressive. I use something like 400-600 grit.
So I did use the 80 grit, but just for a couple of rubs. Got right down to metal. Then I applied some of the Gorilla Glue epoxy. I have no idea if this is a lasting solution but there's no trace of visible rust.

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Old 06-03-21, 11:26 PM
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So I've become a paranoic about this rust situation now. Is there some way I can test the down tube to ascertain whether or not it's been compromised? The entire situation has me a little spooked.
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Old 06-04-21, 07:41 AM
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Originally Posted by El Fug View Post
So I've become a paranoic about this rust situation now. Is there some way I can test the down tube to ascertain whether or not it's been compromised? The entire situation has me a little spooked.
If you did nothing and left the bike outside in the rain maybe in ten years you'd have a problem. As it stands there is nothing to concern yourself with. When you're happy with the look polish it up with some wax. Makes it shine but more importantly also gives another layer of protection. Like someone said above try to park it out of the weather. The bike as it stands will outlive you.
My only cautionary tale is a cared for LeMond 853 Reynolds is much prized by thieves, so get a good lock, park it in public and park it very securely overnight.

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Old 06-04-21, 08:01 AM
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Originally Posted by El Fug View Post
So I did use the 80 grit, but just for a couple of rubs. Got right down to metal. Then I applied some of the Gorilla Glue epoxy. I have no idea if this is a lasting solution but there's no trace of visible rust.
Sandpaper is graded on a scale whereby the lower the number the rougher the effect. 80 grit is for sanding the hull of an aircraft carrier and 2000 grit is for polishing diamonds,
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Old 06-04-21, 08:22 AM
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Originally Posted by Johno59 View Post
Sandpaper is graded on a scale whereby the lower the number the rougher the effect. 80 grit is for sanding the hull of an aircraft carrier and 2000 grit is for polishing diamonds,
Yeah, I got the coarse paper per the instructions on the can of rust converter (they suggested 50 grit). I barely sanded it and very, very gently.
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Old 06-04-21, 08:24 AM
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Originally Posted by Johno59 View Post
If you did nothing and left the bike outside in the rain maybe in ten years you'd have a problem. As it stands there is nothing to concern yourself with. When you're happy with the look polish it up with some wax. Makes it shine but more importantly also gives another layer of protection. Like someone said above try to park it out of the weather. The bike as it stands will outlive you.
My only cautionary tale is a cared for LeMond 853 Reynolds is much prized by thieves, so get a good lock, park it in public and park it very securely overnight.
It's in the garage when I'm not riding. If thieves get it in there, I have bigger problems than a stolen bike.

Thank you for all of your advice and suggestions. I really appreciate it!
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Old 06-04-21, 10:10 AM
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Originally Posted by El Fug View Post
It's in the garage when I'm not riding. If thieves get it in there, I have bigger problems than a stolen bike.

Thank you for all of your advice and suggestions. I really appreciate it!
lock the bike in the garage as well. Welcome to the ranks of the C&V paranoid .
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Old 06-05-21, 12:32 AM
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Originally Posted by JaccoW View Post
I prefer a rust removal gel (or evaporust in drenched cotton pads) and clear coat after that.
Cotton pads soaked in Evaporust. That, sir, is brilliant. Thanks for a great tip.
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