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Poor Man's Parts Cleaner

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Poor Man's Parts Cleaner

Old 08-19-21, 06:26 AM
  #26  
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Here’s mine. Big enough to fit most bike items.




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Old 08-19-21, 07:40 AM
  #27  
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Originally Posted by canklecat View Post

Main reason I'd consider an ultrasonic cleaner is for chains so I could resume waxing. I like riding waxed chains. I just don't like the initial cleaning to get the factory lube off the new chain. I'm in an apartment, so most solvents are out.
Oh, joy! This thread is going to go that way For the life of me, I can’t see why people use elaborate methods to clean a chain, especially for waxing. I use solvent based wax lubricants and I clean my chain before first use. I use about a cup of mineral spirits in a Gatorade bottle (nice wide mouth), shake for about 30 seconds, fish out the chain and let the chain dry in the sun. Simple and quick. The cup of mineral spirits isn’t done, however. I can use it to clean about a dozen chains before it is more factory lub than mineral spirits. Based on that number of chains, the actual volume of mineral spirits needed is about a tablespoon (20 mL). Because the process is done in a closed bottle, you could even do it in an apartment. Do, however, dry the chain outside!

The chain will come out of the bath clean enough for hot waxing. The wax itself is a solvent so any traces of factory lubricant would end up in the wax which probably wouldn’t be a bad thing.

Disposal is a bit more elaborate because it is classified as a hazardous waste but most municipalities have a household waste collection system.

Now compare that to detergent cleaning. First a cup of detergent isn’t enough to clean all the factory lubricant off a single chain. A quart of detergent probably isn’t enough. And it’s going to take a lot longer than 30 seconds, even with an ultrasonic cleaner. After cleaning, the oil is still in the water and really shouldn’t be just flushed down the drain. Most people will but sewage treatment plants don’t handle petroleum products well. But the cleaning process isn’t finished there. The chain needs to be rinsed…more contaminated water…and the water needs to be removed. Simply letting it air dry is likely to cause rusting so a solvent to chase the water off is needed…another source of waste. And this is for each and every chain cleaning!

My method of chain cleaning can make a cup of mineral spirits last for years per bike (3000 miles x 12) and gets the chain just as clean with a whole lot less waste and no need for any more agitation than what I can add with my arm. Even for people who don’t wax and do much more frequent chain cleanings that I do would use less cleaning solvents than water based methods.

My (overly belabored) point is that ultrasonic cleaning isn’t necessary if you use the proper solvent.
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Old 08-19-21, 07:59 AM
  #28  
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Fwiw, I practice the black arts of chain waxing and clean my chains (brand new from the factory or used) in mineral spirits. I tried the ultrasonic, but it just didn't get it as clean as a vigorous shake in a jar of mineral spirits. I also just decant the used spirits with a coffee filter and a strainer and re-use.
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Old 08-19-21, 08:05 AM
  #29  
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I've been tempted to get an ultrasonic cleaner to service my components, but decided that my method, of cleaning by doing a full disassembly of the component, cleaning it with a toothbrush while dipped in a pan mineral spirits, polishing the parts if needed and reassembly, applying any lubrication while doing so. This way I really give the part a full extensive service and adjustment, instead of just giving it a quick ultrasonic bath...... Doing it the way I do, also helps me find out if any of the parts on the component might need attention or replacement.
I also get a lot of satisfaction from the "zen" putting in all the work into cleaning, adjusting and polishing the component......
BTW, can't help asking,......wasn't that "ignition system coming fan" shown in the video being cleaned, was really a turbo impeller??
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Old 08-19-21, 10:21 AM
  #30  
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Here’s mine. Big enough to fit most bike items.

Just park you bike in this one and go grocery shipping (And, yes, I know it wouldn't do the BB/headset/hubs any good)

​​​​​​https://www.facebook.com/marketplace...6-f550c5911e85

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Ultrasonic cleaner. Works great and can be used to clean blinds and other items.

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Old 08-19-21, 12:53 PM
  #31  
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Chain cleaning

Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
For the life of me, I can’t see why people use elaborate methods to clean a chain, especially for waxing. My (overly belabored) point is that ultrasonic cleaning isn’t necessary if you use the proper solvent.
I agree that mineral spirits is an excellent cleaner for grease, but I'm sick of using it. Based on what I learned from Oz Cycle and Josh Poertner (Silca) youtube videos, I'm surprised that your cleaning method would get the chain clean enough for hot waxing. But if it works for you, then who am I to doubt it? I essentially use Poertner's approach. While it does take some time, the chain gets super clean and it only needs to be done once per chain..
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Old 08-19-21, 04:51 PM
  #32  
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Originally Posted by Duke7777 View Post
I agree that mineral spirits is an excellent cleaner for grease, but I'm sick of using it. Based on what I learned from Oz Cycle and Josh Poertner (Silca) youtube videos, I'm surprised that your cleaning method would get the chain clean enough for hot waxing. But if it works for you, then who am I to doubt it? I essentially use Poertner's approach. While it does take some time, the chain gets super clean and it only needs to be done once per chain..
I don’t hot wax. But mineral spirits should be enough to remove all the wax…yes, the factory lube is a soft wax…on the chain. I watched a video from Oz Cycle called “Waxing your bike chain - getting it right” (no link because I don’t want to really share his incorrect information) and he says to use “petroleum” for the first wash. He also says not to use an ultrasonic cleaner (but entirely for the wrong reason). Frankly, I disagree with a lot of what he says for several reasons. First DO NOT USE GASOLINE!!!! Gasoline is beyond just “flammable” and headed towards explosive. It is highly dangerous to use as a solvent. Mineral spirits will do exactly the same degreasing without risking setting your house on fire. Frankly, anyone who suggests gasoline as a solvent should be avoided for any advice.

Second, there is no need to use a water based degreaser. The “petroleum” step is all that is needed. Adding water to the procedure…even with a detergent in the liquid…just overly complicates the process and adds unnecessary and unproductive steps. Third, the “methylated spirits” is just to remove the water from a step that is totally unnecessary because you don’t need the water in the first place.

There are other things he gets wrong in that video. The “black stuff” isn’t “Teflon”. You can grind Teflon down to a very fine powder…in fact he uses very finely ground teflon in his wax…and it will never go black. The “black stuff” is steel from wear. It may also have some finely divided dirt in it but it is not Teflon.

I haven’t found anything by Josh Poertner on cleaning but have run across something from someone else talking about the need for a “sterile” chain. The chain doesn’t have to be that clean. The wax itself is a solvent…it’s basically solid mineral spirits with a longer molecular chain. Wax is not incompatible with the factory lube, which, again, is a wax itself. It will melt into the wax without issues and without causing problems. Oil would do the same.

Finally, I don’t see how a ultrasonic bath bath would be useful past the initial cleaning. Waxing chains is about having a clean chain that doesn’t need the constant cleaning that oil based lubricants require. After the initial cleaning, hot dipping the chain should be provide more than enough cleaning. And I don’t think it is necessary nor efficient for that initial cleaning if you use an efficient solvent.
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Old 08-19-21, 05:32 PM
  #33  
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I use gasoline and a paintbrush. I also eat eggs, red meat, and cut the tags off my pillows.
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Old 08-19-21, 05:36 PM
  #34  
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Originally Posted by sdn40 View Post
I use gasoline and a paintbrush. I also eat eggs, red meat, and cut the tags off my pillows.
Just don’t be surprised when a big red truck with flashing lights shows up in front of your house. And don’t be surprised when your insurance company finds this post and tells you that you are just out of luck on that house fire claim.
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Old 08-19-21, 05:55 PM
  #35  
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Well... as some one who keeps every household flammable in Justrite cabinets, and has a fire proof trash can, fire extinguishers, smoke detectors and removes all rags immediately to burn in a fire pit, I don't use gasoline to clean stuff. But I'm not going to suggest that if someone does use gasoline outside away from any ignition source that there will be a tear in the time space continuum...
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Old 08-19-21, 06:05 PM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
Just don’t be surprised when a big red truck with flashing lights shows up in front of your house. And don’t be surprised when your insurance company finds this post and tells you that you are just out of luck on that house fire claim.
Not too worried. I also have a few working brain cells. As did generations before me that barely survived such dangerous practices.
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Old 08-19-21, 06:15 PM
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Originally Posted by nlerner View Post
Fwiw, I practice the black arts of chain waxing and clean my chains (brand new from the factory or used) in mineral spirits. I tried the ultrasonic, but it just didn't get it as clean as a vigorous shake in a jar of mineral spirits. I also just decant the used spirits with a coffee filter and a strainer and re-use.
I'm new to waxing, read that re-waxing every few hundred miles is the practice. Do you clean in mineral spirits that often before re-waxing?
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Old 08-19-21, 06:22 PM
  #38  
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Chain cleaning for hot wax

Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
I don’t hot wax.
I've heard from several people who do hot wax, that if the chain is not clean enough, the wax will not last nearly as long. You could say this is just anecdotal, and maybe there are other factors. But I believe Poertner says this too, and he's pretty systematic and scientific. I don't go along with some of Oz Cycle's methods or explanations, but he does get excellent results.
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Old 08-19-21, 06:24 PM
  #39  
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I hope none of you take that Ichiban dude seriously. His videos are pure mechanic schtick. Watch some of his other videos if you missed the wink in his presentation here. Good fun.
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Old 08-19-21, 08:27 PM
  #40  
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Originally Posted by Nessism View Post
I hope none of you take that Ichiban dude [too] seriously... Good fun.
^ Edited. And thanks for the heads up. He is witty. I enjoyed this one:

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Old 08-19-21, 09:35 PM
  #41  
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Originally Posted by sdn40 View Post
Not too worried. I also have a few working brain cells. As did generations before me that barely survived such dangerous practices.
I happen to have several working brain cells that I used to get a degree in chemistry along with 40 years of experience working with chemicals. Years of safety training seminars have taught me that lots of people didn’t survive such dangerous practices.
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Old 08-19-21, 09:50 PM
  #42  
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Originally Posted by tiger1964 View Post
I'm new to waxing, read that re-waxing every few hundred miles is the practice. Do you clean in mineral spirits that often before re-waxing?
I’ve been following this protocol:

https://www.outsideonline.com/outdoo...ur-bike-chain/

For rewaxing, I cover the chain in boiling water for a couple of rounds. You can do a cycle of mineral spirits and denatured alcohol if you really want to make sure the chain is antiseptic, but I don’t think it’s necessary.
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Old 08-19-21, 09:55 PM
  #43  
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Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
I happen to have several working brain cells that I used to get a degree in chemistry along with 40 years of experience working with chemicals. Years of safety training seminars have taught me that lots of people didn’t survive such dangerous practices.
And for 50 years automobile gas tanks vented directly into enclosed garages. Look - I get it - flammable liquids need to be used with care. If you want to used distilled water and ivory soap and a 12 stage filter and a toothbrush and have 2 hours to burn cleaning a derailleur, all the more power to ya. I use a metal pan, 3 tablespoons of gas, a paintbrush, outside on my deck and 20 seconds later my derailleur is clean. 10 minutes later everything is evaporated. I'm pretty sure I'll live. Riding my bike around the block is a million times more dangerous.

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Old 08-20-21, 05:48 AM
  #44  
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Come on (certain) folks, let's keep this thread on topic and stop wasting bandwidth. If you don't care for ultrasonic cleaners or a DIY Power Sander Cleaner (which IMO is quite clever), move along. I have negative opinions about other opinions expressed above--- but that's not the topic. I'd like to suggest that certain participants go back and delete their inflammatory off-topic opinions.
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Old 08-20-21, 06:39 AM
  #45  
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I was furiously searching for a video of some one brazing a filler port on a full gas tank.... but I think that may be an apocryphal problem solving tale that predates the internet.
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Old 08-20-21, 08:19 AM
  #46  
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Originally Posted by sdn40 View Post
And for 50 years automobile gas tanks vented directly into enclosed garages. Look - I get it - flammable liquids need to be used with care. If you want to used distilled water and ivory soap and a 12 stage filter and a toothbrush and have 2 hours to burn cleaning a derailleur, all the more power to ya. I use a metal pan, 3 tablespoons of gas, a paintbrush, outside on my deck and 20 seconds later my derailleur is clean. 10 minutes later everything is evaporated. I'm pretty sure I'll live. Riding my bike around the block is a million times more dangerous.
No, you don’t “get it”. There are other solvents to there that will do exactly the same thing as gasoline without risking turning yourself into a human torch. Gasoline will ignite at -40°F. It will also form a vapor that will flow in air to an ignition source. There is no safe temperature at which it can be handled openly.

Mineral spirits has a flash point of 100°F. The same 3 tablespoons will do the same work but it won’t form the vapor cloud. It evaporates in about the same amount of time. A wise person uses a safer alternative if it does the same job without the risks.
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Old 08-20-21, 08:52 AM
  #47  
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Originally Posted by nlerner View Post
I’ve been following this protocol:

https://www.outsideonline.com/outdoo...ur-bike-chain/
If you are going to follow a procedure, you have to ask yourself why do you do the steps of the procedure? My work was developing procedures for chemical analysis. Every step of a procedure has to have a reason based on the final result. Every reagent or step is tested to see if it has an impact on that final result. I remove a reagent and see if the process still works. If it does, the reagent stays out. If the procedure has a certain time of heating and/or stirring, I either don’t stir or reduce the time or change the temperature (usually lower it). If the procedure still works, I use those new parameter and test them again. I question each step constantly.

The same applies with chain cleaning. Why do several washes with mineral spirits followed by washes with something else? If you are using a water based solvent, those washes are probably needed because water based degreasers are very inefficient. The chaser with alcohol is certainly needed to remove rinse water from the inside of the chain. The amount of waste generated by a water based degreaser is enormous and the results are poor which is why I don’t use them.

High flash point petroleum solvents are far more efficient. One and done. I used to do multiple washes with mineral spirits then noticed that it didn’t make any difference to how clean the chain came out. I used to let the chain sit for hours and hours until I noticed that it didn’t make the chain cleaner. In other words, I tested the procedure and found a better procedure.

For rewaxing, I cover the chain in boiling water for a couple of rounds. You can do a cycle of mineral spirits and denatured alcohol if you really want to make sure the chain is antiseptic, but I don’t think it’s necessary.
This is an example where you should ask yourself why do you do that? What is the purpose of boiling water? Wax isn’t soluble in water. The melt point of wax is between 15 and 50°F higher than the boiling point of water. The boiling water isn’t dissolving the wax nor dissolving the wax. You are just introducing water into the procedure that will cause problems down the line and need to have unnecessary steps to remove the unnecessary water.

I fully agree that the chain doesn’t need to be antiseptic. That’s one reason why I don’t think an ultrasonic bath is necessary, especially with a new chain. Another reason is that ultrasonic baths use water and detergents which are, again, very inefficient when it comes to cleaning grease. I know I will probably eat these words but I don’t think anyone is ignorant enough to use an organic solvent in an ultrasonic bath.

To get back to the original post, did the guy with the sander try just hand agitating the part in a jar (plastic, please) before he got out the sander?
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Picking the Scablands. Washington and Oregon, 2005. Pie and spiders on the Columbia River!
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Old 08-20-21, 09:28 AM
  #48  
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I use an ultrasonic but reading this thread makes me realize my bike is not so clean. The most I do with a rear derailleur is take the pulleys off and clean them by hand. The ball bearings never get fouled.

I am rethinking my new chain breakin process. Once I break a chain in, I rarely if ever clean it again. It goes right into the hold melt wax crockpot. The new chain gets ridden for about 100 miles. I have experimented with dawn, simple green, and water in the ultrasonic followed by alcohol and then mineral spirits. I have skipped the ultrasonic and tried Coleman Fuel (don't tell my mommy). What I have found is a lot of small metal shards in the solution. I would be concerned that a simple swish in Mineral Spirits would not remove these metal burrs or shards, whatever you want to call them. If the flash is 100F, maybe I can vigorously shake the chain inside the spirits to dislodge the metal pieces. One step would make it simple.

My ultrasonic cleaner might have been $60 at Walmart or Harbor Freight, I forget. It is also useful when cleaning the bolts on my funs.
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Old 08-20-21, 10:52 AM
  #49  
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Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
To get back to the original post, did the guy with the sander try just hand agitating the part in a jar (plastic, please) before he got out the sander?
Well, it wouldn't have made the final cut of the YouTube video, for sure.
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Old 08-20-21, 12:19 PM
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Originally Posted by GhostRider62 View Post
I use an ultrasonic but reading this thread makes me realize my bike is not so clean. The most I do with a rear derailleur is take the pulleys off and clean them by hand. The ball bearings never get fouled.

I am rethinking my new chain breakin process. Once I break a chain in, I rarely if ever clean it again. It goes right into the hold melt wax crockpot. The new chain gets ridden for about 100 miles. I have experimented with dawn, simple green, and water in the ultrasonic followed by alcohol and then mineral spirits. I have skipped the ultrasonic and tried Coleman Fuel (don't tell my mommy). What I have found is a lot of small metal shards in the solution. I would be concerned that a simple swish in Mineral Spirits would not remove these metal burrs or shards, whatever you want to call them. If the flash is 100F, maybe I can vigorously shake the chain inside the spirits to dislodge the metal pieces. One step would make it simple.

My ultrasonic cleaner might have been $60 at Walmart or Harbor Freight, I forget. It is also useful when cleaning the bolts on my funs.
You are on your way towards understanding. I’m not sure what you mean by a “chain break in process” as a chain is useable out of the package without any thing being done to it. I clean my chains once when I install them. They don’t get cleaned again. After 3000 to 4000 miles, I replace them with a cleaned chain. Even with what most people would consider abusive treatment of the chain, I get what other people usually claim in chain mileage. All of the ultrasonic cleaning, multiple washes, multiple solvents, passing of bones over the chain, and ancient chants in dead languages that most people will tell you that you have to do doesn’t get them significantly more mileage out of their chains. It’s just extra work.

Coleman fuel, by the way, is basically odored mineral spirits. We call it “white gas” but it isn’t gasoline. The flash point is a bit lower (0°F) which makes it a little more flammable then mineral spirits but not nearly as flammable as gasoline. It does have an elevated benzene content which makes it more hazardous to handle…please use gloves with any solvent…but it’s still less toxic than gasoline which has a much higher benzene content.
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