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Cleaning up restoring old parts, how long to soak.

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Cleaning up restoring old parts, how long to soak.

Old 05-01-13, 01:35 PM
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zukahn1
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Cleaning up restoring old parts, how long to soak.

I just got started on cleaning up and restoring some of the older parts with some siginificant rust tarnish in my collection. As general rule just how long do you soak stuff in either vingar or oa cleaning solution. It took about a day to get these old Lambert shifters to uncease and onther half for the stuff to come off ounce I got them apart is that to long. After replacing the inside bushings which where none existant ounce I got them apart and reasembling they seem fine and look good. My question is a day and half too long.
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Old 05-01-13, 01:37 PM
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Depending on how much rust there is, I do an OA soak for about 16-20 hours and have gone longer with no perceived issues.
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Old 05-01-13, 02:32 PM
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It really depends on how deep the rust has penetrated, and whether there are other non-removable alloy parts attached to the rusty item in question that could get damaged by OA (aluminum or Zn + OA = A Bad Thing).

In general, I'm very judicious with my application of OA. For small solutions, for example a pint or two in a tupperware container, I might just add a pinch of OA crystals. For a large solution of a few gallons, I might add an ounce of crystals. Like my cooking, I don't measure and just wing it.

Basically you are dealing with multiple chemical reactions that are happening at different rates that have opposing effects. You want to control those rates to work in your favor. For example, here are a couple of reactions you're dealing with:

Rusting: just because you are soaking in OA doesn't mean you aren't soaking in water, too. Your steel is rusting as it is getting derusted. If you make it too dilute, you are going to rust your part faster than you are going to remove the rust.

Rust complexing: As the steel is soaking, any free iron (iron oxide, or rust) is getting complexed with OA to turn into a sticky, yellowish coating. If you make your solution too concentrated, this is what you will get. The OA will stick to the metal and won't want to come off.

So, you want to have just the right concentration where the OA is complexing to, and neutralizing, the rust scale while not attacking the clean metal. And conversely, you don't want to have to soak your part for days, risking more rusting.

Generally speaking, my dilute OA solutions give me excellent results for mild, superficial surface rust overnight. For more penetrated rust, the same dilute solution will require about 36-48 hours of soaking. It also helps to occasionally sand off the loose rust as the OA is working. As you remove layers of rust, the OA can work more on the remaining rust.

Here are two sets of NOS Bluemels fenders that I recently soaked. They had been in damp storage for years, and the plated steel stay brackets were rusted way beyond the surface. The rust had also stained the white plastic. About 48 hours of soaking in dilute OA removed most of it, while not attacking the aluminum rivets:

The fender on the left hasn't been treated; the one on the right has (these are both rear fenders):


And here are the fronts:


The alloy rivets did not get significantly attacked by the dilute OA:


One set before:


After:



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Old 05-01-13, 02:57 PM
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Dilute OA = 24 hour cycle. I keep a solution/bath going continuously. One bath will last a couple of months.

Some really rusty parts get 2 cycles (48 hours).

Need to do a frame campaign (larger bath, been waiting for better weather as I do it outside).
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Old 05-01-13, 06:39 PM
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That is amazing. I hardly use the stuff. I use copper wool with oil to remove rust in most cases.
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Old 05-01-13, 08:33 PM
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Originally Posted by wrk101 View Post
Dilute OA = 24 hour cycle. I keep a solution/bath going continuously. One bath will last a couple of months.

Some really rusty parts get 2 cycles (48 hours).

Need to do a frame campaign (larger bath, been waiting for better weather as I do it outside).
You can keep a solution going for awhile, but once it gets yellow toss it. The yellow is the OA reacted with iron. The yellower it is, the more the OA has been consumed. Of course you can always just add a few more pinches of OA powder if you need to conserve water...
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Old 05-02-13, 05:44 AM
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24 hours works well for me. Recently I soaked a splitting maul and double bit axe for 48 hours to get it all. I do have a frame to soak and am waiting for better weather. Well it is here but the bike needs to be disassembled. I was thinking purchasing a cheap kids wadding pool. My hope is to find one large enough to dunk the whole frame. Some have used garbage bags instead.
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Old 05-02-13, 06:21 AM
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Originally Posted by southpawboston View Post
You can keep a solution going for awhile, but once it gets yellow toss it. The yellow is the OA reacted with iron. The yellower it is, the more the OA has been consumed. Of course you can always just add a few more pinches of OA powder if you need to conserve water...
+1 The yellow is ferric oxalate, and eventually, the bath is consumed. I might try a coffee filter straining, just for the heck of it (it all precipitates to the bottom).
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