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  1. #1
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Feb 2013

    Cleaning parts with sand? advice please

    Hi all,

    this is not another thread about how to clean a sandy chain so please read on.

    I would like advice on cleaning drivetrain parts since I dont have access to a professional-grade cleaning tank like I used at my old bike shop in college. I have many cassettes and chains to clean and I am trying to develop a method to clean them thoroughly without harsh stuff like naphthalene.

    My idea is like this: with a large enough tupperware basin filled with a solution of simplegreen and water, I can soak my chains and cassettes to loosen all the grime, then I would add some coarse sand like a slurry and gently agitate the mix so that all the parts are lightly abraded by the sand to polish the surfaces.

    After all the old grease and grime is cleaned off, a few good rinses and a blast with compressed air to dry, I can relube everything with triflow/phil wood/etc.

    Is this totally nuts?

  2. #2
    Trailhead Poseur
    Reputation: jjaguar's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    I can't really say if this is a good idea or not, but it reminds me of how they cleaned chainmail armor in the middle ages. They would take the chainmail and pack it in barrels filled with sand and roll it around for awhile. Keep in mind they didn't have anything like stainless steel back then, so metal rusted easily, and this rolling would scrub the armor clean.

  3. #3
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    I would be afraid that there would be microscopic sand particles that would get between moving parts. What about glass beads used for sandblasting?

    I just throw my greasy parts in the dishwasher. I know, I have the most wonderful and understanding wife

  4. #4
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    cut_down_cassette | Flickr - Photo Sharing! I sand down all my cassettes then generally run soap then motor oil through the mechanism you can feel the grit so you know when it is clean. This also gets rid of all the grime inside the mechanism. Sand silicon dioxide is not hard enough to take the anodized coating off of aluminum but silicon carbide is. You can buy ultrasonic cleaners from drug stores for around $40 get together with your friends to share in the cost of one of these.
    "Dish is illogical." Spoke of Vulcan.

  5. #5
    > /dev/null 2&>1
    Reputation: Procter's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    For cassette, sure. But for the chain I say no. For the cranks, why bother, if you're going to the trouble to remove it, you already have ready access to the hard to reach spaces with medium bristle brush.

    Basically I agree with Dennis F, I think you're probably adding small gritty particles inside the chain rollers.

    But, just my opinion. :P

  6. #6
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Actually wax works good for cleaning chains. Candles gulf wax crayons or vasoline. This is extremely dangerous if you put it over a fire paraffin is the same mixture of hydrocarbons as gasoline with a higher proportion of the heavier molecules and the boiling point is around 200 F or 100 C. What works is leaving the pan in an old style oven with pilot light or out in the sun. The dirt will sink to the bottom so the mixture can be reused.
    "Dish is illogical." Spoke of Vulcan.

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