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Fixing up my old Schwinn World

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Fixing up my old Schwinn World

Old 11-05-04, 10:59 PM
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Fixing up my old Schwinn World

I have a Schwinn World that has been a good friend since I Bought it new in 1982, We've lived in five cities together and it has taken good care of me all the way. Recently, I replaced it with something made of aluminum and carbon. However, I don't want to let the old warhorse go completely out to pasture.

Unfortunately, living two blocks from the Atlantic Ocean for the last fifteen years has caused rusting on the wheels and some of the elderly Shimano components and steel fittings. I realize I should have taken better care of it, but...

I could replace everything with new alloy parts, but I want to keep all the steel components for sentimental reasons. As strange as it may sound, I feel like I would be betraying an old friend to strip it of its original components, especially when they still work just fine.

I've searched the Forum for rust-removal tips, but I've found surprisingly little info. I'm wondering what others have done to clean up treasured old bikes. Mind you, I'm not trying to return it to mint condition; I just want to restore functionality so I can keep the old girl (pardon the sexism) on the road for another twenty-two years.

Please share your thoughts.
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Old 11-05-04, 11:46 PM
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Within the past 3 weeks, I cleaned up the rims of my late Uncle's 1974 Raleigh Superbe. There was a light-moderate degree of rust on nearly all surfaces of the steel wheels. I'm not saying that what I did is necessarily the best or the easiest way to remove the rust, but here's what did.

After removing the tires, tubes and rim strips, I cleaned the outside edge and sides with very fine grit, wet/dry emory paper. It's the black stuff they sell in the automotive section of Wal Mart. I was able to remove almost all of the rust, though I couldn't get every speck out from between the radial ridges and from out of the little grooves that were on the sides of my wheels, perpendicular to the ridges. I think these features might be unique to the old Raleigh steel wheels, but I can't say for sure.

Once this was done, I loosened all the spokes (one of them broke), and then once loosened, I undid the nipple, lifted the spoke out of the hole, and sanded the space on the inside of the rim between the spokes on either side of the one I removed. I then replaced the spoke, put the nipple back on, and then went on to the next one. I repeated this until I was all the way around the wheel.

The whole process was rather tedious, but the end result was quite an improvement. I can't say the wheels look brand new, but they did come through quite nicely - and I can honestly say, without any apparent scratches. The trick of the whole process is to use the finest grit that removes the rust, and to apply as little force as you can to still get the job done.

Depending on how original you want your wheel to look, you might want to try to loosen all the nipples before you do anything else. That way you'll know whether or not you'll end up with any shiny new spokes - which are like flashing neon signs proclaiming - "not completely original!" I didn't check many places, but the only source of comparable galvanized spokes I could locate would have come from cannibalizing a wheel from another old bike. I opted for new spokes, but I'm having second thoughts.

Good luck, and hopefully someone else will come to the rescue with a less laborious alternative.
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Old 11-06-04, 08:15 AM
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Another way to remove rust from chrome plated rims & parts is to purchase a copper scouring pad from the houseware section of your local supermarket. They are similar to a steel wool pad only made of strands of copper. Scrub off the rust without abrading the chromed surface. I have used this trick to restore many old chrome auto & bicycle parts. It will remove all but heavy rust spots. Another technique I have heard of but not tried is to use a wadded up piece of Aluminum foil as a scrubber to remove light rust from chromed steel & oxidation from aluminum parts. Good Luck & let us know how this turns out. Don
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Old 11-06-04, 08:27 AM
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Scotchbrite® plastic scouring pads work pretty well too, and come in various levels of coarseness.
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Old 11-06-04, 01:50 PM
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I use a combination of #7 brand auto chrome polish with the copper scouring pad and it works wonders.
It's made things that looked hopeless look merely used.
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