Cleaning vintage bicycle parts

Discussion in 'Vintage and Classic Bikes' started by Alex11, 5 Aug 2012.

  1. Alex11

    Alex11 Active Member

    Location:
    South West
    Hi I've finally found a good project - a nice Dawes vintage 5 speed racer.

    I was wondering what you guys thought was the best way of going about cleaning it, removing rust, lubing, cleaning chrome etc. ?

    Should I dissembled the bicycle first and then clean each individual part as I go?

    WD40? T-Cut? Soap and Water?

    Thanks!
     
  2. OP
    OP
    Alex11

    Alex11 Active Member

    Location:
    South West
    WD40 and foil I've found works like a bloody treat!
     
  3. sidevalve

    sidevalve Über Member

    Yes, strip it then clean all the parts individually. You will only regret it if you don't [unless you're happy with a half hearted job of course, in which case fair enough]. Rust can never be removed, it can be neutralized and overpainted or polished away untill it blends in [just depends on how far and how deep it spreads]. If the chrome is only slightly pitted then the above will work well but if it's bad then renewal or rechroming is the only option.
    Alloy is best polished with either a buffing mop on a bench grinder [only a tenner or so for acheap one and they are SO usefull] or a mop on an electric drill or hours of polishing with solvol [or similar]. Don't cost much, just lot's of time [even a grinder costs less than a half decent tyre].
     
  4. OP
    OP
    Alex11

    Alex11 Active Member

    Location:
    South West
    Yes spent the whole afternoon stripping it and cleaning everything individually.

    Unfortunately the stem is stuck... Any ideas on how to get it out?
     
  5. compo

    compo Veteran

    Location:
    Harlow
    Have you loosened the centre bolt half a dozen threads and then given it a really good smack with a hammer to dislodge the wedge. A bit of brute force usually works eventually.
     
  6. OP
    OP
    Alex11

    Alex11 Active Member

    Location:
    South West
    I'll give it a good old whack in a minute, thanks
     
    Mad Doug Biker likes this.
  7. Mad Doug Biker

    Mad Doug Biker Bikeoholics Anonymous

    Location:
    Craggy Island
    Can I quickly hijack this thread and ask, what is the best way of removing rust inside the seat tube etc, you know, the bits you can't reach?

    I remember hearing about if you put a piece of metal into a certain liquid and then ran a small electrical current through it then the rust would eventually drop off (I know the process roughly from Chemistry).

    How possible is this, and what is required?

    Thanks.
     
  8. sidevalve

    sidevalve Über Member

    If you're hitting the stem bolt hard don't rely on the wheel / forks to support the bike they'll absorb the shock [it's what they were designed to do]. Remove the wheel and stand the bike on a piece of wood in the fork top.
    Removing rust INSIDE a tube is tricky, chemical dipping [which is more or less what you suggest] is either VERY effective, removes everything or pretty useless. depending on the chemicals and currents involved.
    The only alternatives I've ever seen work are 1- light rust, try putting an old cable in an electric drill and whizzing it around inside the tube, or 2 - similar, use a flexible drive for the drill and run either a small wire brush or pieces of coarse wet n dry up and down. Afterwards try spraying some grease into the tube to prevent the now clean [ish] surface rusting over again immediately.
     
    Mad Doug Biker and Teuchter like this.
  9. Teuchter

    Teuchter Über Member

    Location:
    Erskine, Scotland
    That's fantastic! How did I never think of doing this before?
     
    Mad Doug Biker likes this.
  10. Mad Doug Biker

    Mad Doug Biker Bikeoholics Anonymous

    Location:
    Craggy Island
    Sounds intriguing, thanks.
     
  11. Ivor Smith

    Ivor Smith New Member

    To free up old seized alloy stems and seat posts....soak them with coke (the fizzy drink) overnight by filling the frame upside down in that location, using corks to stop it pouring out (cork in end of seatpost)....pour in via the crank holes for the seat post or the stem expander bolt for the stem, but dont thump the stem bolt, just take it out.After the coke goes in the stem, replace the bolt loose and then give the bolt a whack turn upside down and leave overnight. Several attempts might be needed if seized solid. Clean out the coke afterwards, and engine oil the frame inside. It works.
     
    Mad Doug Biker likes this.
  12. David Higson

    David Higson Active Member

    Location:
    Bury Lancashire
    Alternatively, use vinegar instead of cola.
    WD40 is a "Water Dispersant" - the clue is in the name.
    Better to use a proper penetrating oil if parts are seized.
     
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