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  1. #1
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    Removing rust from steel frame interior

    The 1995 Brodie Expresso frame arrived today. The exterior is in decent shape, although the brake posts are misaligned. I suspect that a Brake Therapy type device is the culprit. It came with an anti chainsuck plate. That was cool. Chainsuck damage is minimal.

    There is considerable rust inside, even though the seller claimed it was almost free of rust. Surprise! That sucks. Is it possible to pressure blast the rust out with oil and glass beads or something? Can the rust be removed in an ultrasonic bath? Is there some other method that is simple and relieble? I suppose I could try to soak it down with WD40 as an initial step.

    Any help would be appreciated.
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  2. #2
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    Are you sure you want to remove the rust, or do you just want to prevent it from getting any more rusted? I'm not a huge fan of removing rust, since you seem to lose a lot of steel that way, and the tubes end up being thinner. Not that they're very strong in their rusted form, it just seems odd to shave off a few layers of steel permanently.

    If you really do want to remove the rust, running the risk of losing a substantial amount of the frame material, try electrolysis. It's the easiest and most effective method I have used for removing rust from steel.

    Here's a pretty cool write-up on how to do it:

    http://myweb.tiscali.co.uk/andyspatch/rust.htm

  3. #3
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    I would probably pour some sort of rust conversion product into the frame (End-Rust, ect). They supposedly make the rust inert via some sort of chemical reaction. I have used quite a lot of it (though not on bikes) with good results. It is UV sensitive, which wouldn't be a problem inside the frame.
    Andy

  4. #4
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    Soak it in citric acid, dry fully, then coat with corrosion inhibitor where ever possible...

  5. #5
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    I enjoy this thread on the topic....

    http://www.vintagebmx.com/community/...wtopic=4004702
    Seek: Koski Trailmaster. Breezer Series 2, or 3. Fillet brazed Ibis Custom. Cunningham Racer. Otis Guy (but not that softride model). That's all I need I don't need anything else... except... except for an old Mountain Goat bar stem combo. And that's all I need. I don't need anything else. Except.....

  6. #6
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    Yes, Oxalic Acid or wood bleach/brightener. Just make sure to coat it after that with some sort of rust inhibitor.
    Wanted:Nothing. I have too much.

  7. #7
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    Thank you all for the suggestions. I am going to use the electrolytic method. It seems to be the most benign as well as the most thorough process. I will post some pictures of the exciting event for those considering it for their own projects.

    I will probably have to soda blast the inside of the frame afterwards to remove all the material that has been released from the surface.
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  8. #8
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    Electrolysis works great but is mostly line of sight, so you will need electrodes inside the frame that are electrically isolated from the frame. Rebar makes a nice electrode and 20 Mule Team Borax is the the best electrolyte. Do NOT use stainless steel for the electrode unless you like the idea of being exposed to hexavalent chromium. Any DC power source will work, but be sure you get your polarities correct, or your frame will be the sacrificial electrode.You want your frame to be negative (with my battery charger I just remember to put the black clamp on the part I want to turn black). After you are done, you will want to be sure to get all of the water out of the frame and then maybe treat it with frame saver.

    Having said all that, it may be easier to just use Evapo Rust:
    http://www.evapo-rust.com/

  9. #9
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    2-liter of coke
    Honestly... ahh I give up

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by outside!
    Having said all that, it may be easier to just use Evapo Rust:
    http://www.evapo-rust.com/
    Thank you.

    My research had discouraged me from considering chemical solutions, but this product seems to have none of the negative side effects of the others.
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  11. #11
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    I ended up using EvapoRust.

    The results were very impressive. I honestly did not expect to be able to ride this frame. Now I am much less concerned about thinning of the tubes around the bottom bracket junction. In fact, it's probably just the bottom bracket shell that is seriously damaged now that I can actually see grey steel.

    The process was simple. I sealed off the bottom bracket shell and water bottle mount holes and basically just poured Evapo Rust into the seat tube until the frame was full. I let it sit overnight. After pouring it out in the morning the rust was basically gone. Evapo Rust is reusable so I saved it to treat the frame again. I will then use JP Weigles Frame Saver on it. Most of the heavy rust just flaked off after vigourous shaking and pressure spraying into the frame. The original steel looked like new with one little problem. All of the rust damage is now clearly visible. The bottom bracket shell is heavily pitted, but not enough to make the frame unrideable. The tubes look better than I thought they would.

    One thing about EvapoRust is that the frame starts rusting again immediately after washing out with water. I solved this problem by blowing compressed air into the frame to dry it out, rather than letting it sit to dry. This left the tubes dry and clean, and rust did not start up again.

    I will probably media blast it inside the seat tube just be be certain that all flakes are completely removed.

    I am still irritated with the seller for not disclosing the rust issue.

    Now I have to deal with the misaligned brake bosses. I don't really want to cold set them for fear of damaging the seat stays.
    Last edited by disease; 05-30-2010 at 08:19 AM.
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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by disease
    I sealed off the bottom bracket shell and water bottle mount holes and basically just poured Evapo Rust into the seat tube until the frame was full. I let it sit overnight. After pouring it out in the morning the rust was basically gone. Evapo Rust is reusable so I saved it to treat the frame again.
    Another nice thing about EvapoRust is that if you forget and leave it for a few days, it won't hurt anything. None of the acid treatments (Coke, vinegar, pool acid...) are safe in my mind for this reason.

    Quote Originally Posted by disease
    Now I have to deal with the misaligned brake bosses. I don't really want to cold set them for fear of damaging the seat stays.
    Might be worth it to find a local frame builder to fix the frame. If the brake bosses were originally in the correct location when the frame was built, then they have been cold set to their current position. Bending them back could possibly tweek the frame. Or you could just build it up as a fixie and forget the brakes! That's a great idea!

    Some pictures would be nice.
    Mountain bikers, hikers and horseback riders are not the enemy. Bulldozers are the enemy.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by outside!

    Might be worth it to find a local frame builder to fix the frame. If the brake bosses were originally in the correct location when the frame was built, then they have been cold set to their current position. Bending them back could possibly tweek the frame.
    I may attach a disc adapter. That way I can forget about the brake bosses altogether. The problem with an adapter is that I would need to modify it to clamp around the seatstay so that it does not attach to the brake boss and cause further damage. I don't think that would be very difficult to do. The cantilever bosses are really in bad shape. Not only are they misaligned but they are very worn, probably from never being cleaned or lubricated.

    I am not necessarily a purist for period correctness, so discs are not an issue for me. I kind of like the idea of updating an old frame with newer components so that it is functional rather than a museum piece. Some here will no doubt disagree.
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  14. #14
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    While your frame is cool, it doesn't sound like it is in the kind of shape where you should worry about modifying it. I would be tempted to just saw/file off the old canti mounts and have a builder braze on some disc tabs. Stick a low travel SID on the front with matching disc and ride!.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by outside!
    While your frame is cool, it doesn't sound like it is in the kind of shape where you should worry about modifying it. I would be tempted to just saw/file off the old canti mounts and have a builder braze on some disc tabs. Stick a low travel SID on the front with matching disc and ride!.
    I don't want to modify a Brodie Expresso frame if I can help it, regardless of it's condition.

    I am thinking of designing some sort of adapter that is removable but does not look as out of place as a Brake Therapy type attachment. Something without an unsightly torque arm. Hopefully it will not be too much trouble. If it works I can put one on my Sovereign too.

    Thanks again for the Evapo Rust suggestion. I am very impressed with the results. I also like the fact that it is gentle on the steel, and does not change it's surface properties.
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  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by disease
    Thanks again for the Evapo Rust suggestion. I am very impressed with the results. I also like the fact that it is gentle on the steel, and does not change it's surface properties.
    Cool that the EvapoRust worked out for you! Did it hurt the paint? Do you think it'd help a frame with a stuck post? (dump it in and let it soak?)

    Best,
    Rich

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Linoleum
    Cool that the EvapoRust worked out for you! Did it hurt the paint? Do you think it'd help a frame with a stuck post? (dump it in and let it soak?)

    Best,
    Rich
    No noticeable effect of the paint as far as I can see. I have not been paying careful attention since it is going to be repainted. It is an old frame with the original paint, so the finish isn't in ideal condition to begin with.

    Will it work of a stuck seatpost? I am assuming that you have an aluminum seatpost stuck in a steel frame. Rust is not usually the cause of the problem in that situation as far as I know. That being said, it's probably worth a try since other rust neutralizers(Coca Cola being one of them) are known to work. Be careful with acids though. They can damage the steel.
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  18. #18
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    I bought a gallon of this stuff over the weekend to try it myself. It works better than expected, and seems to be very mild to non-steel parts. I threw a pair of rusty SPDs in a bucket of Evapo-Rust and it removed the surface rust overnight, but didn't even dissolve the grease and oil residue on the spindle.

    Awesome stuff, highly recommended.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by disease View Post
    The process was simple. I sealed off the bottom bracket shell and water bottle mount holes and basically just poured Evapo Rust into the seat tube until the frame was full.
    what did you use to seal up the frame?

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by walrus tusk View Post
    what did you use to seal up the frame?
    Imagination!
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  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by disease View Post
    Imagination!
    I tried duct tape and plastic. Didn't hold. What did your superior imagination come up with?

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by walrus tusk View Post
    I tried duct tape and plastic. Didn't hold. What did your superior imagination come up with?
    I cut gaskets out of inner tubes and clamped them against the bottom bracket with steel plates and C clamps. Water bottle cage bosses were sealed with bolts and nitrile glove gaskets. Frame vent holes were covered with inner tube gaskets and band clamps. Place the frame over a pan if you are worried about slow overnight leaks. You can recover any Evaporust that escapes and use it again.
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  23. #23
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    Oxalic Acid and a kiddie pool sounds a lot easier to me . .02 % makes it about $1.00 a batch , then neutralize with baking soda.

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