Thinking about a parts washer and wondering what might be a good and economical choice for a garage set up.
The basic China versions that hold 3 gallons of solvent work pretty well for home use. Just don't ever soak your chain in one and you're golden.
Ok, I'll ask the stupid question, what's up with soaking a chain in them?
Couple of things. Chains are best left on the bike for cleaning. Every time you take a chain off the bike it's that much more likely to fail, which always comes at the worst possible moment. The other thing that's bad about soaking them is that it completely strips the chain of all the lube that's been built up inside the rollers where it really needs to be.
Other people will certainly chime in with opinions and experiences that are opposite mine. However I've been at this for some time and I'm not alone in my stance amongst professional mechanics.
Another device for chain cleaning, this one is from Morgan Blue Photos | Cyclingnews.com
Something like this makes cleaning the chain on the bike a lot easier. This one is from Morgan Blue, but they're pretty easy to make if you've got some spare hub parts sitting around.
Depending on the size of stuff you're washing and what it is, most auto stores sell what is basically a 1-gallon paint can of carb cleaner with a basket. Not advisable for plastic, but for metal parts, it'll clean just about anything.
My Dos Centavos...
I don't often remove and wash my chain, but when I do...
I use exclusively wax based lubes (lets leave that for another debate) every few rides I brush the chain with a stiff nylon brush, blow it out with air, and apply a light coat of wax.
When I take it off to clean it ( a couple times a season) I use a water based degreaser in an old tupperware container. After it has soaked a while and I do some initial brushing, I mount an old vibrating palm sander into my vice upside down, hold the tupperware on it ...with the lid on and let it vibrate all of the gunk out between the rollers. I will dump it out and repeat and its amazing how much more gunk comes out.
Thoroughly dry with compressed air, re-wax and its as ninja-silent as ever.
any sealable container that's big enough to put the part in, then go to the local hardware store or home improvement store and get a gallon of the orange degreaser for under 10 bucks... I usually thin it a tad with rubbing alcohol and/or water. Pour, shake, brush what ever floats your boat or the part and rinse off... haven't found any bike part short of a rim I can do it with,.. and those just get a rag anyway.
Originally Posted by bloodyknee
as to the chain issue, soaking a chain is bad if you don't rinse and re-oil properly, if you do thou it'll far out last any chain that you leave the old dirty gunk in the rollers.. the key is to really rinse and dry it, you have to make sure every bit of degreaser is out, then actually soak the chain to make sure the oil gets inside.. over the past 30+ yrs of riding both Mt and road bikes, tried just about every type of oil, wax, teflon, ptf, ZXR, bla bla bla.. techno over priced stuff.. the very best is ChainL but honestly, good old fashion chainsaw bar and chain oil works damn close and is just easier to get. It's fairly cheap, you can fill a small container with it and dump the chain in over night and with a good wipe down be good to go ... easily do 100-150 miles before needing a reapply..
What about the ultrasonic jewelry cleaners they sell for $50-$100 bucks? Would that not work for parts?
They work AWESOME, just most are too small to do more than a chain..
Originally Posted by jm2e
I can't say I'm a big fan of using parts cleaners. I have a larger ultrasonic at work and it does a good job if parts are caked with grime, but if something is just dirty I think it's far easier to use a rag, some brushes, and either alcohol or something like simple green. I clean my bike fairly often and you can get one pretty spotless with very little effort and materials.
Agreed on the increasing chances of failure removing chain IF you dont have a qwik link(sure, even w one id assume removing it fatigues the parts, but its never been an issue for me). I always run one and remove my chain for a deep clean maybe 3 to 5 times during its lifespan.
Originally Posted by customfab
However, Id argue that cleaning a chain thoroughly enuff to remove any and all lube from between rollers will also remove any and all dirt from same area, which, afterall, is the purpose of cleaning said chain, amirite? A proper re-lube will have all the right juices in all the right places
Also, Id never 'soak' my chain in lube of any kind. Drop by drop, link by link! 1 or 2 drops per roller keeps excess lube off the links where it 1) does no good, and 2)Will only collect way more dirt way more faster making you spending way more time scrubbing and cleaning your junk
Originally Posted by arphaxhad
Another basic tip: IF using NON FLAMMABLE solvent(s) to soak yer chain, if logical and safe, dilute with hot water, microwave, otherwise heat up, said liquid prior to initial soak to aid in gunk removal. Its amazing how much easier stuff falls off even with very mild/heavily diluted solvent if its hot...
Originally Posted by ryanxj
nope.. just dripping does just what Customfab was talking about, it doesn't get the oil deep enough inside and can prematurely wear the bearings and rollers. Dripping is good "maintenance" but not after a full out strip of the chain. Thou honestly I still think it's better than just leaving dirty grating old oil in there.
Originally Posted by ryanxj
soaking lets it seep all the way in. YES you have to wipe it down before install to remove the excess oil. My chain hasn't been touched in like 10 rides.. road today in snow and mud and sand and crap... looks pretty clean to me.. shifts great, runs quiet.. just used good old fashion chainsaw oil that was warmed and left over night to soak. It is time to give it a good wipe down and a drip of new oil on the rollers.
thou It's funny but the best tire cleaner I've ever found.. SNOW.. something about riding in the snow makes tires look almost brand new LOL
Just a reminder if your using flammable solvents please do not use in a basement. Fumes will settle near the floor where pilot lights on water heaters could ignite them causing big troubles!
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