Clean or replace chain?

Discussion in 'Recumbent bicycles' started by Scott, Jan 22, 2003.

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  1. Scott

    Scott Guest

    This is probably something most of you have NOT had to deal with, but on my recent tour of the
    Mojave desert, we had to deal with a short section of sand blasting and, later, a several our
    dust storm. Today, I got down to the work of cleaning up the trike. I did a few spins with one of
    those on-bike chain cleaning tools, and the *surface* looks better, but when I wiggle the links I
    can hear/feel grit in each of the links. I mean, this stuff has really penetrated the chain. I'm
    going to have to pull the chains off, I think, and do a more vigorous scrub job, maybe the
    shaking-in-a-bottle technique that Sheldon Brown recommends. What do you all think? Can this
    chain be saved?

    Regards, Scott
     
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  2. Doug Huffman

    Doug Huffman Guest

    The internal grittiness is my major complaint with typical chain cleaning. I run my chain through
    two cycles in the Dish Washer after they are externally clean. The first with detergent and the
    second cycle without. Seems to work and wife has not yet noticed.

    "Scott" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > This is probably something most of you have NOT had to deal with, but on my recent tour of the
    > Mojave desert, we had to deal with a short section of sand blasting and, later, a several our dust
    > storm. Today, I got down to the work of cleaning up the trike. I did a few spins with one of those
    > on-bike chain cleaning tools, and the *surface* looks better, but when I wiggle the links I can
    > hear/feel grit in each of the links. I mean, this stuff has really penetrated the chain. I'm going
    > to have to pull the chains off, I think, and do a more vigorous scrub job, maybe the
    > shaking-in-a-bottle technique that Sheldon Brown recommends. What do you all think? Can this chain
    > be saved?
    >
    > Regards, Scott
     
  3. Hi Scott - I think it can be saved but only with a good soak in solvent and agitation. The sand is
    sticking to the grease. My favorite home agitator is the washing machine. I put the chain in a can
    of solvent, give it some good shaking and then rest it on top of the washing machine the next time I
    run a load. Not exactly an ultrasonic cleaner but I figure it helps.

    Regards Chris

    In article <[email protected]>, [email protected] says...
    > This is probably something most of you have NOT had to deal with, but on my recent tour of the
    > Mojave desert, we had to deal with a short section of sand blasting and, later, a several our dust
    > storm. Today, I got down to the work of cleaning up the trike. I did a few spins with one of those
    > on-bike chain cleaning tools, and the *surface* looks better, but when I wiggle the links I can
    > hear/feel grit in each of the links. I mean, this stuff has really penetrated the chain. I'm going
    > to have to pull the chains off, I think, and do a more vigorous scrub job, maybe the
    > shaking-in-a-bottle technique that Sheldon Brown recommends. What do you all think? Can this chain
    > be saved?
    >
    > Regards, Scott
     
  4. Schodges

    Schodges Guest

    "Scott" <[email protected]>*
    > but when I wiggle the links I can hear/feel grit in each of the links. I mean, this stuff has
    > really penetrated the chain. I'm going to have to pull the chains off, I think, and do a more
    > vigorous scrub job, maybe the shaking-in-a-bottle technique that Sheldon Brown recommends. What do
    > you all think? Can this chain be saved?
    Deep doodoo. Sounds like a very expensive ride. You will probably get 60-80% of the grit out with
    each cleaning cycle, Sheldon type, With a cleaning cycle taking 15-30minutes, if you spend a
    Saturday at it you will probably get it to a pretty good point. Some of that grit will get lodged
    and have to be crushed in situ by riding the bike. So 2-3 cleaning cycles a la Sheldon, with
    replacement of the cleaning and rinsing fluid (or filtration through a coffee filter between cycles)
    then a few rides and repeat will probably get enough that you might only lose 500-1000miles of
    chainwear. Worth a try if you have quick release chain. What about all the other bearings: chain
    rollers in derailleurs, CW/cassette teeth, bottom bracket and wheel bearings, contact surfaces in
    the derailleurs and brakes, headset? Scream....... Steve
     
  5. Crispy

    Crispy Guest

    I tried an "on-the-bike" chain cleaning device. I was not impressed with the results. There were
    lube deposits on all of the links near the joints. I went so far as to pop some links apart to see
    how well the inside of the bushings were cleaned. To my horror the lube and grit on the inside of
    the bushings remained unscathed by the cleaning.

    I have returned to the one true faith of agitated soaks.

    crispy

    PS. I often daydream about a hot agitated soak. Porn movies aside, given that metal expands when
    heated I hypothesize that a heated soak would expand the bushings and permit bushing grit to
    evacuate more easily. Unfortunately most if not all solvents are flammable which pretty much
    kills the idea. As for using a dishwasher as a chain cleaner: no thank you.
     
  6. Don

    Don Guest

    Scott, First you have to ask yourself: Is the chain new enough to try saving? If so, the second
    question is: What would Mac Guyver do? I think he would make himself a big ultrasonic cleaner by
    bending a piece of screen to stand a little above the bottom of a bucket. Place the chain on the
    screen and cover with some economical, bulk, non-flammable,biodegradeable cleaner (e.g. Simple
    Green). Set the bucket on top of your washing machine or dryer and do some laundry. Make sure the
    bucket is anchored or it may run away.

    If it works let us know cause Mac Guyver does not offer guarantees and would be totally amazed if
    this knuckle-head idea worked.
     
  7. Scott

    Scott Guest

    Thanks, everyone: Well, I did a bunch of Sheldon shakin' and the babies seemed to come out pretty
    clean. I just kept rinsing and shaking, using a strong citrus solvent. After a few times for each
    chain, the fluid was coming out pretty clean. I know this can't be *perfect*, but it's WAY better
    now. The Sheldon Shake is certainly one of the best chain cleaning techniques I can think of. I
    haven't measured the chains for stretch yet, but they only have about 2,500
    mi. on them. As far as the rest of the bearings, headsets, etc., those are all pretty well sealed,
    so I don't think much stuff got into them. The chain, of course, is just out there naked in
    front of God and everyone--sans fig leaf! Ah, the hazards of desert travel. Ya gotta love it. :)

    Scott Feeling much cleaner now, thank you...

    "SCHodges" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:<[email protected]>...
    > "Scott" <[email protected]>*
    > > but when I wiggle the links I can hear/feel grit in each of the links. I mean, this stuff has
    > > really penetrated the chain. I'm going to have to pull the chains off, I think, and do a more
    > > vigorous scrub job, maybe the shaking-in-a-bottle technique that Sheldon Brown recommends. What
    > > do you all think? Can this chain be saved?
    > Deep doodoo. Sounds like a very expensive ride. You will probably get 60-80% of the grit out with
    > each cleaning cycle, Sheldon type, With a cleaning cycle taking 15-30minutes, if you spend a
    > Saturday at it you will probably get it to a pretty good point. Some of that grit will get lodged
    > and have to be crushed in situ by riding the bike. So 2-3 cleaning cycles a la Sheldon, with
    > replacement of the cleaning and rinsing fluid (or filtration through a coffee filter between
    > cycles) then a few rides and repeat will probably get enough that you might only lose
    > 500-1000miles of chainwear. Worth a try if you have quick release chain. What about all the other
    > bearings: chain rollers in derailleurs, CW/cassette teeth, bottom bracket and wheel bearings,
    > contact surfaces in the derailleurs and brakes, headset? Scream....... Steve
     
  8. Just Zis Guy

    Just Zis Guy Guest

    On 19 Jan 2003 17:19:17 -0800, [email protected] (crispy) wrote:

    >I tried an "on-the-bike" chain cleaning device. I was not impressed with the results. There were
    >lube deposits on all of the links near the joints.

    I've found them OK for maintenance cleaning of wedgie chains with oil-based lube - chains on my
    commuter bike only lasted about a year anyway, between 4,000 and 5,000 miles, at which point I get
    to thinking a new chain is cheaper than new cogs, so I replace the chain in the Spring overhaul.
    It's been suggested that the chain would last that long without cleaning, but I have ethical
    objections to the grinding noise from the rear mech when the thing gets cruddy :)

    However.... I've more or less stopped cleaning chains since I moved to wax-based lube. The chain
    never seems to get the old gritty feeling any more, even if I loose the mech and check the links
    through their maximum movement.

    Guy
    ===
    ** WARNING ** This posting may contain traces of irony. http://www.chapmancentral.com (BT ADSL and
    dynamic DNS permitting)
    NOTE: BT Openworld have now blocked port 25 (without notice), so old mail addresses may no longer
    work. Apologies.
     
  9. Scott

    Scott Guest

    Which wax-based do you use? Any problems/down sides to these? I've never used them though they sound
    less messy in some ways.

    Scott

    "Just zis Guy, you know?" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:<[email protected]>...
    > On 19 Jan 2003 17:19:17 -0800, [email protected] (crispy) wrote:
    >
    > >I tried an "on-the-bike" chain cleaning device. I was not impressed with the results. There were
    > >lube deposits on all of the links near the joints.
    >
    > I've found them OK for maintenance cleaning of wedgie chains with oil-based lube - chains on my
    > commuter bike only lasted about a year anyway, between 4,000 and 5,000 miles, at which point I get
    > to thinking a new chain is cheaper than new cogs, so I replace the chain in the Spring overhaul.
    > It's been suggested that the chain would last that long without cleaning, but I have ethical
    > objections to the grinding noise from the rear mech when the thing gets cruddy :)
    >
    > However.... I've more or less stopped cleaning chains since I moved to wax-based lube. The chain
    > never seems to get the old gritty feeling any more, even if I loose the mech and check the links
    > through their maximum movement.
    >
    > Guy
    > ===
    > ** WARNING ** This posting may contain traces of irony. http://www.chapmancentral.com (BT ADSL and
    > dynamic DNS permitting)
    > NOTE: BT Openworld have now blocked port 25 (without notice), so old mail addresses may no longer
    > work. Apologies.
     
  10. Just Zis Guy

    Just Zis Guy Guest

    On 20 Jan 2003 21:43:41 -0800, [email protected] (Scott) wrote:

    >Which wax-based do you use? Any problems/down sides to these? I've never used them though they
    >sound less messy in some ways.

    I use White Lightning Raceday. The only downside is that it keeps the chain clean by falling off,
    taking the dirt with it, so you have to add a couple of drops every day or two. A bottle of lube
    lasts me about two months riding 100+ miles per week in the summer and a bit less in winter. I used
    to clean the chain whenever it got gritty (about every week or two) - since switching to wax I've
    not needed to clean the chain at all, on any bike other than my MTB (which gets ridden offroad).

    During the good weather I use White Lightning regular instead, which is cleaner still - normally I
    strip and clean the bike in April and on the wedgie I replace the chain at this point; the lube will
    then be White Lightning regular until about September. I'll probably do the "Sheldon Shake" and put
    the chain back on the bent this April, since it'll only have done a couple of thousand by then.

    The plus side is that wax lube washes out of clothes better and doesn't form grinding paste, which
    is especially welcome when the roads are muddy and sometimes flood deep enough that the rear mech is
    partially submerged :)

    Guy
    ===
    ** WARNING ** This posting may contain traces of irony. http://www.chapmancentral.com (BT ADSL and
    dynamic DNS permitting)
    NOTE: BT Openworld have now blocked port 25 (without notice), so old mail addresses may no longer
    work. Apologies.
     
  11. Just Zis Guy

    Just Zis Guy Guest

    On 21 Jan 2003 14:39:51 -0800, [email protected] (Scott) wrote:

    >Thanks for the info., Guy. Any problems switching from oily lubes to White Lightning. Is a
    >transition w/the Sheldon-shake enough?

    Yes, the Sheldon Shake is adequate preparation, although I recommend letting the chain dry before
    appplying the new lube (if in a hurry you can centrifuge it dry round your head on the end of a
    piece of string, but try not to do this near the washing line unless you've been very thorough with
    the cleaning).

    Guy
    ===
    ** WARNING ** This posting may contain traces of irony. http://www.chapmancentral.com (BT ADSL and
    dynamic DNS permitting)
    NOTE: BT Openworld have now blocked port 25 (without notice), so old mail addresses may no longer
    work. Apologies.
     
  12. Scott

    Scott Guest

    Thanks for the info., Guy. Any problems switching from oily lubes to White Lightning. Is a
    transition w/the Sheldon-shake enough?

    Scott

    "Just zis Guy, you know?" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:<[email protected]>...
    > On 20 Jan 2003 21:43:41 -0800, [email protected] (Scott) wrote:
    >
    > >Which wax-based do you use? Any problems/down sides to these? I've never used them though they
    > >sound less messy in some ways.
    >
    > I use White Lightning Raceday. The only downside is that it keeps the chain clean by falling off,
    > taking the dirt with it, so you have to add a couple of drops every day or two. A bottle of lube
    > lasts me about two months riding 100+ miles per week in the summer and a bit less in winter. I
    > used to clean the chain whenever it got gritty (about every week or two) - since switching to wax
    > I've not needed to clean the chain at all, on any bike other than my MTB (which gets ridden
    > offroad).
    >
    > During the good weather I use White Lightning regular instead, which is cleaner still - normally
    > I strip and clean the bike in April and on the wedgie I replace the chain at this point; the
    > lube will then be White Lightning regular until about September. I'll probably do the "Sheldon
    > Shake" and put the chain back on the bent this April, since it'll only have done a couple of
    > thousand by then.
    >
    > The plus side is that wax lube washes out of clothes better and doesn't form grinding paste, which
    > is especially welcome when the roads are muddy and sometimes flood deep enough that the rear mech
    > is partially submerged :)
    >
    > Guy
    > ===
    > ** WARNING ** This posting may contain traces of irony. http://www.chapmancentral.com (BT ADSL and
    > dynamic DNS permitting)
    > NOTE: BT Openworld have now blocked port 25 (without notice), so old mail addresses may no longer
    > work. Apologies.
     
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