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How to clean vintage bike frame & components?

Old 04-07-19, 12:10 PM
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How to clean vintage bike frame & components?

I've got a '74 Raleigh Super Tourer that I'm finally going to start to rebuild and almost everything on it is original and looks to be in pretty decent shape. Just looking for suggestions on how to best and easily clean up the components and try to clean the frame from the rust specks. See pics below:





also can I put some regular pads on these brakes? Obviously the old ones are hard as a rock. Will they take modern brake shoes & pads? Or should I just buy a new set of Tektros?




Thanks for any recommendations!!
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Old 04-07-19, 12:23 PM
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I think I've got this down...



Aluminum: disassemble and polish with nev'r dull or mother's it will shine up pretty well.

Frame: either a "cleaning wax" which has super fine polishing abrasives, and if that fails a rubbing clay or compound. Also oxocylic acid bath, if you need to get inside the frame. OA will not harm paint, but it's too harsh for aluminum.

Chrome: a wad of aluminum foil, you can also lubricate with white vinegar which is a mild acid.

Brake hoods: Oxyclean, magic eraser, baking soda paste, all have worked for people, also Windex. Might be a little sticky after cleaningc, you can A) wait a few days or B) apply some white chalk.

After it's all cleaned up, wax the frame with car wax, and reassemble.

...Then ride through a fat mud puddle so it's clear you use your bike!😉👍

Also, is that a Super Course? I LOVE Raleighs "copper green" or whatever they called it! I here these ride really nice:

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Old 04-07-19, 12:58 PM
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Originally Posted by the sci guy View Post
I've got a '74 Raleigh Super Tourer that I'm finally going to start to rebuild and almost everything on it is original and looks to be in pretty decent shape. Just looking for suggestions on how to best and easily clean up the components and try to clean the frame from the rust specks. See pics below:

also can I put some regular pads on these brakes? Obviously the old ones are hard as a rock. Will they take modern brake shoes & pads? Or should I just buy a new set of Tektros?

Thanks for any recommendations!!
+1 to the above advice, but clean and degrease first... BITD we would have dumped those parts in a solvent tank. These days most people use orange cleaner and/or detergent and water or something like that. Alternatively you can simply spray them with WD40 and wipe clean.

Note that those Jubilee derailleurs have ball bearing jockey wheels, and they will need to be rebuilt and repacked after any dumping in solvents.

Yes, you can install new pads. I suggest you make it easy on yourself and use modern Dura Koolstop cartridges. It will make set up and toe in a lot easier, and the modern pad material will make them stop better. If you wanted to be hardcore period authentic, you could use weinmann holders and replace the inserts with the appropriate Kool stops.

IMHO, I would not even consider replacing those brakes. They were the original dual pivots. With new good pads and proper adjustment, they will stop very well. Do learn to stop from the drops as we were all taught back then. If you want modern, ride a modern bike.
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Old 04-07-19, 01:04 PM
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Another thing to consider: Velo Orange and others sell Weinmann replacement hoods made by Rustines in France from actual gum rubber. I like good non decayed hoods, and would be inclined to install new ones, and put the old original ones in a baggy for storage. However, the originals appear to be in very good shape, so simply using them would be a reasonable decision.
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Old 04-07-19, 02:09 PM
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Right on. Thanks guys.
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Old 04-07-19, 02:26 PM
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I refer back to this threads on occasion:

Best vintage part polishing procedure
How to clean, shine and protect during an overhaul

ALSO

Post your Centurion Ironman.. For the love of 80s paint jobs!
@RobbieTunes
Originally Posted by RobbieTunes (Post 18324900)Since most of the frame is pretty good, and only the R side TT decal is compromised, I think it's worth some time and tedious and trouble to rectify.
1-Wash it down good with hot soapy water, rubbing it hard. Dry it very well, blow out the frame tubes, etc.
2-Framesaver if you want, but I often just spray inside the tubes with WD40 and let it go. They'll still outlast me.
3-Liberal WD40 on a cloth, and rub hard and long on every mm of the frame. You'll be amazed at what comes off.
4-Hair dryer on the bike shop decal, until it's good and hot, then peel it off if you want to remove it.
5-Mineral spirits on a cloth, rub on some areas, but don't linger. Wipe off those areas with a clean wet cloth.
6-Another WD40 rubdown. By this time, you'll be where the frame is at it's best.

7-Go back to the decal on the R side of the TT, and rub down with mineral spirits, but not heavy, and not real wet.
--You are preparing the decal for touchup. A silver paint pen works find on the silver part of the decal. 2 coats. Let it dry 3 days.
--After the silver paint has dried 3 days, you can lightly mask along the edges of the letters with pinstripe tape.
--A black fine-point paint pen can restore the outline of the letters, just "write" up along the pinstripe tape.

8-Go to a beauty supply store and find a match for that magenta, perhaps pick up some darker and some white.
--In any case, mix it up and test it on another piece of painted metal. Feel free to do it thinly on the Ironman, and come back every couple of days.
--Don't go too thick, but if you do, a q-tip dipped in rubbing compound, about a week later, can carefully smooth it down.

9-Sure, it's tedious. Sure, it's a PITA. Sure, it is slow. But properly done, can have really good results. The key is patience, don't over-apply anything.

10-When it's done, cheap soft paste-wax it and then ride it. It will pick up more wear and tear as you do, but it will be your wear and tear.
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Old 04-07-19, 05:35 PM
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Originally Posted by Chr0m0ly View Post
Also, is that a Super Course? I LOVE Raleighs "copper green" or whatever they called it! I here these ride really nice:
Its actually a Super Tourer from 1974 - they only made them for 4 years starting that year. I looked up the serial and it appears its something like #1400ish off the line in England that year.
The color way is chartreuse - so my wife named it the Chartreuse Goose lol

Assuming I can get it back to working condition it's going to become commute bike #2 . Will throw a rack on the back - and hopefully front, and maybe some fenders too eventually. Thinking of skipping the upright bars like the original model and putting on a set of randonneur bars.

Will post post-cleaning pics
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Old 04-07-19, 05:45 PM
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That sounds like an awesome build plan, that's a high zoot frame to sport upright bars! Now I have another Raleigh bike to ad to the list. I've been wanting to try a Reynolds Raleigh for a while now. Something from Carlton with fancy lugs and Weinmann brakes.... I'm looking forward to see this done up!
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Old 04-07-19, 05:54 PM
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it's at a shop right now getting the bottom bracket and headset replaced.
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Old 04-07-19, 06:06 PM
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Definitely keep those brakes but get new quality brake shoes. Evapo rust is great for all the small parts.
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Old 04-07-19, 06:26 PM
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A mix of automatic trans fluid and wd40 or PB blaster is a great mix for removing rust as a dunk . Am an old auto mechanic and have used that mix for years. It will un seize frozen parts as well. Mothers mag polish works great on aluminum and their carnauba cleaner wax on paint as well. Great bike and good luck with it!!!
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Old 04-07-19, 06:55 PM
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Good advice all, I will add that its best to avoid Simple Green, it can and will pit aluminum surfaces. I understand that even the new formulation that claims to be safe for aluminum isn't up to snuff and can cause some pitting, There was an A/D issued for aircraft owners and A/P mechanics back in around 2000-2002 that warned, and then forbid its use. A line maintenance Master Chief for a Naval Training Airwing said that BuAir had forbid its use completely, at that time (Early 2003.)

One of our regulars @randyjawa, has a fantastic web site for anyone wanting to delve into C&V bikes, My Ten Speeds, he has some great tips on cleaning and disassembly, as well as restoration work. Great site that I use as a reference regularly, and a pretty good guy as well!!!

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Old 04-07-19, 07:00 PM
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Did not know that about simple green !! And yes that site is fantastic!!! Lots of great info!!
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Old 04-07-19, 07:17 PM
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Originally Posted by Glennr134 View Post
Did not know that about simple green !! And yes that site is fantastic!!! Lots of great info!!
I have a friend that was a vintage aircraft owner, he told me about the A/D back in Dec. 2002, and while working as the site quality engineer on board a construction project at NAS Whiting Field, the TrAWing 5 Command Master Chief for AIMD told me that BuAir had sent out a directive to all wings/squadrons, not to use it. He wouldn't even allow it to be in the hangars while he as stationed there. I raced motocross for many years, and Simple Green got a lot of use as it did truly degrease and make maintenance easier. Until some folks began pulling down motors and other aluminum castings. It seeps in gaskets and where two aluminum surfaces mate, and it eats into the raw aluminum causing pitting.

3M Scotchbrite pads was another problem maker that surfaced, it would really make a chrome bore cylinder look nice, and aluminum piston's domes with carbon accumulation like new. Problems began when rings on the pistons started prematurely wearing, and Chrome and alumi-feric cylinder coatings were getting damaged. The pads have an abrasive formulation on them that just doesn't rinse off easily when it is deposited on the metal surfaces. I was told by a master mechanic, and a master machinist also, that they had received directions calling for a three step cleaning process if Scotchbrite pads had been applied to clean any metal surfaces they encountered or worked on.

Sometimes, the easiest way isn't the best way, in the long run.

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Old 04-07-19, 09:18 PM
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Originally Posted by the sci guy View Post
it's at a shop right now getting the bottom bracket and headset replaced.
what happened to the headset and bottom bracket?
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Old 04-07-19, 11:17 PM
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Originally Posted by Slowride79 View Post

what happened to the headset and bottom bracket?
headset was loose and bent, BB was also warped a bit, might be the crank. It won’t know until they diagnose. The old original wheels are there too getting trued and made sure they are safe to ride still.
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Old 04-07-19, 11:54 PM
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Originally Posted by the sci guy View Post


headset was loose and bent, BB was also warped a bit, might be the crank. It won’t know until they diagnose. The old original wheels are there too getting trued and made sure they are safe to ride still.
it is a Raleigh, have the bottom bracket checked for squareness. Hopefully it is a 1.370 x 24 tpi threaded unit. The shop I worked for did not sell these for some reason.
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Old 04-07-19, 11:55 PM
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Double check the fork steerer too ... hopefully not Raleigh 26 tpi
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Old 04-08-19, 06:05 AM
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Challenger. This stuff is great. I sometimes get bikes that are really dirty and greasy. Before I bring them into the shop I spray them with Challenger and hose them off with the garden hose. Instant clean.
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Old 04-08-19, 09:29 PM
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Originally Posted by the sci guy View Post


headset was loose and bent, BB was also warped a bit, might be the crank. It won’t know until they diagnose. The old original wheels are there too getting trued and made sure they are safe to ride still.
if you end up replacing the headset or bracket and don’t need the parts I may be interested as I too am refurbishing a ‘74 ST! The lower races on my headset are kaput but everything else serviceable. All but one chartreuse ST I’ve seen has had this rust issue with frame fork including mine. I in fact just did OA bath two weeks ago. If I did over I would grease the chrome portions as I think they were slightly etched in the process. Alternatively search he forum for full frame evaporust method; one forum member made a setup requiring 1.5 gallons. I have used simple green with park tool brush just applying , scrubbing, and immediately rinsing in sink on steel and aluminum without issue (is there only problem when you soak?) here’s a pic of my ST before, getting OA bath, and after.


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Old 04-11-19, 12:02 PM
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So I heard back from the shop yesterday afternoon—they aren’t able to true the wheels because the majority of the spokes are rusted/frozen. They are the original wheels and aluminum spokes so I’m not too surprised. Problem now is is still like to use the 5 speed cassette on the rear wheel, and the wheels have those great Mallard hubs I don’t want to lose. They said they could order a set of new wheels for about $250 but I don’t know what build quality they’d be.
Thoughts on what to do?

Should have the frame back back this weekend after which I will start cleaning it and the rest of the components.
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Old 04-11-19, 12:13 PM
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Originally Posted by the sci guy View Post
So I heard back from the shop yesterday afternoon—they aren’t able to true the wheels because the majority of the spokes are rusted/frozen. They are the original wheels and aluminum spokes so I’m not too surprised. Problem now is is still like to use the 5 speed cassette on the rear wheel, and the wheels have those great Mallard hubs I don’t want to lose. They said they could order a set of new wheels for about $250 but I don’t know what build quality they’d be.
Thoughts on what to do?

Should have the frame back back this weekend after which I will start cleaning it and the rest of the components.
You can buy new wheels for much less than that via Amazon or from Velomine my experience with the wheelsmith 27" wheels from amz is that they are adjusted too tight and don't have enough grease for my taste, not an issue if you have the cone wrenches in your tool box and a willingness to adjust the hubs. One thing about this hobby is that unless you are willing to do most of your own maintenance the cost of a shop doing it gets cost prohibitive. One payment for a shop tune up can buy a lot of bike specific tools for you to DIY,

Fortunately there are a number of great resources out there -including this forum - and with some practice, patience and trial and error even a non-mechanical guy like me can become an adequate vintage bike mechanic. That said wheel building is an area I have yet to tackle but in theory you can salvage the hubs and build them up with new rims and spokes. Good luck.

Also if you have a bike Co-op near you they can be a wealth of knowledge, vintage parts and bike specific tools.
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Old 04-11-19, 01:59 PM
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Nipples do sometimes seize on spokes, but not because the spokes are aluminum. I guarantee the spokes are steel.

You definitely can rebuild the wheels. Those are good hubs. But it will cost more than replacement wheels, unfortunately, because labor to build a wheel is at least $50 each. On the other hand, we can walk you through building your own wheels if you're up to it. We've done it a lot here.
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Old 04-11-19, 03:04 PM
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The hubs could certainly be rebuilt. This would have been routine on a bike of this quality at one time. I guess the time has passed where most any decent bike shop could build good wheels. It may be more cost effective nowadays for them to buy premade wheels. They do need to be 120 5 speed spaced, or else your frame would need to be respaced to 6 speed, and then you'd also need a new 6 or 7 speed freewheel, and a chain.

AFA build quality, ask them the specifics of rims and spokes etc, and ask here. We will tell you...

While you could buy new wheels from Velomine or the like for less, they are going to have 126 (6/7 speed) spacing. They will need to have the axle and the spacer chopped 6mm, and the wheel then redished. That's $140 wheels plus $30 shipping plus maybe whatever labor to redish and modify the hubs, so you are approaching shop price. It's kind of bad form to buy mailorder parts and bring them into a shop. Just my opinion. If you were doing the work yourself, for sure, do the mailorder wheels.
Sun CR18 27 5,6,7 Speed Freewheel hubs Road Bike Wheelset [72274726665] - $139.00 Velomine.com : Worldwide Bicycle Shop, fixed gear track bike wheelsets campagnolo super record vintage bike

There's one thing that hasn't been mentioned but is very important: you must use polished aluminum rims. Not black, and not 'silver' anodized. If you do not use polished rims, your bicycle will spontaneously burst into flames while on a fast descent. That can be very painful.
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Old 04-14-19, 06:16 PM
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Did a first pass today on almost everything except the frame - giving them a bath in some degreaser (Pedro's Oranj Peelz) and some good ol' fashioned scrubbing. I think things are starting to look much better.

Question: do I need to dilute the white vinegar to go at them on my second pass? If so how much?

The magic eraser and oxyclean worked great on the hoods. They're not quite "like new", but they are definitely not gross anymore and look pretty good.
Going to try to remove any little bits of rust and buffing/shining everything up next.
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