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Aluminum nipple replacement

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Aluminum nipple replacement

Old 01-02-19, 12:36 PM
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megaparsec
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Aluminum nipple replacement

I bought a used Cannondale Lefty that came with a Stan's ZTR Race Gold wheelset. The combined effects of the high sealant pH and heavily salted winter roads lead to corrosion of the aluminum nipples. Best would be to switch them all out for brass ones. I haven't built wheels since my 1971 Fiamme Yellow Labels and need some advice. Should I 1) forget about it and get a new wheelset, 2) replace the nipples 1 by 1 or 3) completely disassemble the wheels and start as if building new wheels? Details would much appreciated.
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Old 01-03-19, 06:55 AM
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Either 2 or 3. Probably #2 . I'd probably throw the wheel into my truing stand and replace the nipples one by one, and get the tension of each close to correct before moving on to the next. Thinking about it some more, I could even measure the tension of each spoke prior to the nipple swap, making it easier to get the tension close to correct afterward.
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Old 01-03-19, 07:49 AM
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Originally Posted by JonathanGennick View Post
Probably #2 . I'd probably throw the wheel into my truing stand and replace the nipples one by one, and get the tension of each close to correct before moving on to the next. Thinking about it some more, I could even measure the tension of each spoke prior to the nipple swap, making it easier to get the tension close to correct afterward.
+1. An excellent and relatively easy solution.
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Old 01-03-19, 08:02 AM
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If the nipples already show corrosion, how hard will it be to unscrew them from the spokes? This might be a difficult job?
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Old 01-03-19, 10:54 AM
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Oil and clean you nipples on a regular basis.
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Old 01-03-19, 11:59 AM
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I"ll preface this with - I like building wheels. I'd loosen all the nipples, then replace them, screwing each on, oh say, 3 turns, greasing the spoke threads with marine boat trailer hub grease ($8 at any auto parts store). THhen tighten and true like any from scratch wheel. I'd consider replacing the rim also at the same time if it is a rim brake one and has seen wear. I know winter grit is very hard on braking surfaces. But an identical (or at least identical ERD) rim. Line up the valve hole of the new rim with that of the old. Tape the two together. Run each spoke to the new rim as you replace the nipples. Barely more work than what you are doing anyways.)

Ben
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Old 01-07-19, 04:04 PM
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aluminum-nipple-replacement

Thanks for all the suggestions!
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Old 01-08-19, 08:02 PM
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I'm sorry, but every time I read the thread title I think: "That would take some real brass balls."
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Old 01-14-19, 01:30 PM
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Originally Posted by trailangel View Post
Oil and clean you nipples on a regular basis.
lol!

To OP: took me awhile to find my old post but check it out. I had this exact situation with a super nice wheelset. Ended up buying brass nipples from Aliexpress on the cheap and rebuilding the wheels for about $5. Definitely option #1 !
Link to MTBR forum post.

Make sure to read the whole post for great information on galvanic corrosion.

Last edited by pressed001; 01-14-19 at 01:36 PM.
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