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Poor Man's Parts Cleaner

Old 08-17-21, 10:17 PM
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etherhuffer 
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Poor Man's Parts Cleaner

Looking at a grease clogged derailleur that is in really good shape but gunked up. This was a nice video on parts cleaning if someone can't afford an ultrasonic cleaner. I have seen loads of palm sanders for cheap at garage sales.

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Old 08-17-21, 10:46 PM
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that's clever!!
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Old 08-17-21, 11:58 PM
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I wonder if anyone who is a reloader and and a cyclist has tried parts in a brass cleaner
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Old 08-18-21, 01:18 AM
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He should do the same test with the solution and time, but without the sander.

WD-40 and paper towels are basically all I've ever needed for filthy bike parts.
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Old 08-18-21, 04:02 AM
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Originally Posted by etherhuffer View Post
I wonder if anyone who is a reloader and and a cyclist has tried parts in a brass cleaner
If I was trying to process lot of parts, I would use a tumbler to polish after running through an ultrasonic. Mechanical cleaning devises are primarily time savers, but ultrasonic cleaners will clean mechanically inaccessible surfaces like inside a chain link, or a carburetor. In practice I use OMS or WD-40 and a toothbrush and a rag/ paper towel. But with the tonnage of bike parts and old tools collecting around me I am seriously considering finding an ultrasonic cleaner and maybe a tumbler. If you look on Ebay there are folks selling parts in various mechanical states, but spotlessly clean and polished. I figure that's what their using.

Last edited by bark_eater; 08-18-21 at 05:08 AM.
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Old 08-18-21, 05:21 AM
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IMO (and apparently, I'm wrong, and that's okay), I'd never use Calcium, Lime, Descaler solution on aluminum parts. Just my two cents. I use Branson degreaser.

It is a very clever idea, and I'll try it with a larger container. Sprockets above 26T cannot fully fit into my ultrasonic cleaner so I mostly scrub those by hand. This might be my work around. Thanks for posting.
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Last edited by pastorbobnlnh; 08-20-21 at 05:51 AM. Reason: clarity
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Old 08-18-21, 06:00 AM
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The cheap ultrasonic cleaners from Harbor Freight, or similar ones from Amazon, work great for bike parts. Just bite the bullet and buy one - they come in handy for a lot of other things too. For example:

https://www.amazon.com/Industrial-Li...4-135149aa9081
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Old 08-18-21, 08:21 AM
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Cool!
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Old 08-18-21, 08:57 AM
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Originally Posted by SurferRosa View Post
He should do the same test with the solution and time, but without the sander.

WD-40 and paper towels are basically all I've ever needed for filthy bike parts.
Skip the WD-40 and buy a can of mineral spirits. The only difference is the 25% mineral oil in the WD-40 that you don’t need and that leaves a film of oil on everything you “clean” with it.
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Old 08-18-21, 09:06 AM
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Originally Posted by pastorbobnlnh View Post
I could be wrong, but I'd never use Calcium, Lime, Descaler solution on aluminum parts. Just my two cents. I use Branson degreaser.
Looking at the information on the SDS for CLR, I wouldn’t say that it would damage aluminum but it’s not going to do diddily on grease. Detergents…which have a high pH and are thus basic…are only partially effective for removing grease. Acidic solutions are completely ineffective in removing grease.

The whole ultrasonic bath thing for cleaning bicycle parts is pretty silly to begin with. There is nothing on a bicycle that needs to be that clean nor will it stay that clean.
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Old 08-18-21, 09:47 AM
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I like the toothbrush approach cause of the reuse principal and, well I just like handling stuff and getting greasy!
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Old 08-18-21, 09:49 AM
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I use the toothbrush approach with great success. The only thing I can't clean to my satisfaction is the inside of rear derailleur bodies.
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Old 08-18-21, 09:53 AM
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Originally Posted by SurferRosa View Post
He should do the same test with the solution and time, but without the sander.

WD-40 and paper towels are basically all I've ever needed for filthy bike parts.
Yes, but 48 years ago I found cleaning out Black "grease" and dirt from freewheels and chainrings, especially the top surface of the teeth, stronger measures were required.
Chevron 325 solvent was the go to. Unfortunately not available in SoCal any more.
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Old 08-18-21, 10:07 AM
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Clean is good.
Immaculately clean is more a statement about the cyclist than the bike.
Unless it is a bike for Show over Road.
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Old 08-18-21, 11:28 AM
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Ultrasonic cleaners

Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
The whole ultrasonic bath thing for cleaning bicycle parts is pretty silly to begin with. There is nothing on a bicycle that needs to be that clean nor will it stay that clean.

I would have agreed with this statement until about a year ago. For decades I had used mineral spirits, WD-40, degreasers, and lots of various brushes and rags. I was getting sick and tired of it. Last year I bought an ultrasonic cleaner to clean chains, as I was converting all my bikes to hot wax (a decision I'm very happy about). Now that I have the ultrasonic, I use it all the time for other parts and love it. No more breathing fumes, and little or no scrubbing. Saves time and does a better job. No more accumulation of stinky used mineral spirits.
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Old 08-18-21, 11:55 AM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
...The whole ultrasonic bath thing for cleaning bicycle parts is pretty silly....
Respectively, I disagree. I'd replace my ultrasonic cleaner in a fast second if it stopped working.
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Old 08-18-21, 03:53 PM
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For aluminum parts in the ultrasonic cleaner, I've had great success using this: https://www.aircraftspruce.com/catal...s/09-00810.php

I usually fill the cleaner with water, and place parts and solvent in ziplock bags. Uses less solution, and keeps the debris contained.

The cleaner's heating option alone is sufficient is many cases, as any resilient grease wipes right off.
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Old 08-18-21, 04:00 PM
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What about using an ultrasonic toothbrush...? Best of both worlds...
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Old 08-18-21, 05:16 PM
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Originally Posted by jdawginsc View Post
What about using an ultrasonic toothbrush...? Best of both worlds...
Brilliant!
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Old 08-18-21, 06:52 PM
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Originally Posted by jdawginsc View Post
What about using an ultrasonic toothbrush...? Best of both worlds.
Good idea. And double down with one of these vibrating belts while you work. It would save tons of time and help shape your muscles.


.
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Old 08-18-21, 08:39 PM
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Definitely trying this!
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Old 08-18-21, 11:09 PM
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So I guess my old coffee can filled with 2" of Coleman Lantern Fluid is too basic...? Even if I swirl it?
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Old 08-19-21, 01:23 AM
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I would just disassemble most rear derailleurs for proper cleaning. Usually it's the pulleys that need cleaning. The rest, meh, I rarely detail-clean the entire derailleur body with cotton swabs, etc., since they'll be dirty again after a couple of rides. So far with those I've disassembled the only tricky bit was winding the spring back up. But, sure, tossing a disassembled RD into an ultrasonic cleaner would be handy.

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.
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Old 08-19-21, 05:19 AM
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Any one got a recommendation for an ultrasonic cleaner? The Amazon/chinamart units all look about the same. I was going to get a 10l one with mechanical control knobs in the hope that simpler is better for long term durability.

magic box

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Old 08-19-21, 05:46 AM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
The whole ultrasonic bath thing for cleaning bicycle parts is pretty silly to begin with. There is nothing on a bicycle that needs to be that clean nor will it stay that clean.
I have a small (2 liter) ultrasonic cleaner. I use it when I do a full disassembly of a bike for service. It's no trouble to clean a derailleur "hands free" while you work on another part. It's also a way to remove grit from disc calipers without having to fully disassemble them. Rinsing, drying, lubricating and then new pads - voila!

The time that this approach shines is for a restoration/renewal of a customer's vintage bike. They appreciate the showroom cleanliness, even if it won't last with the bike's eventual use.
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