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Old 12-16-20, 07:59 AM
  #51  
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Originally Posted by noglider View Post
OK thanks folks. I'll change my practices immediately. I'll find my local disposal place. I'm not in NYC currently, I'm in the hamlet of High Falls, which is in the town Marbletown, NY (Ulster County).
Thank you, Tom.
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Old 12-16-20, 08:51 AM
  #52  
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Originally Posted by SurferRosa View Post
Ever seen a crude oil drilling site?
Well, I do know that whenever a containment pond leaks at an Alberta tar sands site there is hell to pay, so efforts are made to prevent gratuitous contamination of waterways.

i think the point is there are unavoidable by-products of industrial activity thatís we have to minimize but still have to live with if we want the benefits of progressing beyond a stone-age hunter-gatherer society. As individuals, though, we should avoid the casual polluting of ground water that is unnecessary except for our own convenience. Whether itís worse or better than some other activity is immaterial if it is done in addition.

Here Iím talking about non-biodegradable substances that have clear health risks to life forms, about which we should all be able to agree. One does not have to declare oneís opinion about measures to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, or not, in order to not dump Varsol down the storm sewer when there are better ways to get rid of it. Even if you have to emit several kg of CO2 to drive it to the transfer station.

A second shout-out to Tom for acknowledging this so good-heartedly.
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Old 12-16-20, 09:48 AM
  #53  
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Originally Posted by noglider View Post
OK folks. I promise I won't dump improperly anymore! I will also spread the word to others to dispose properly.
If you have any outdoor fires thats what I use to light them.
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Old 12-16-20, 10:13 AM
  #54  
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Be aware than any lube washed off the chain containing Teflon/PTFE produces extreme toxics when/if burned.
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Old 12-16-20, 11:19 AM
  #55  
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Originally Posted by ramzilla View Post
Diesel fuel is cheaper & works better.
Compared to WD-40 (25% mineral oil), Iíd say yes. Compared to mineral spirits (75% of what WD-40 is), however, diesel oil isnít cleaner. Mineral spirits works very well and evaporates cleanly. Kerosene is similar to diesel fuel in that it doesnít evaporate as cleanly.

I will say that if you are buying either for cleaning bicycles and chains at a filling station in gallon quantities, you need to reassess your lubrication regime. That can of mineral spirits that Iíve had for about 20 years (see post 32) has lasted me through my current 8 bikes and my wifeís 4 plus about 10 more bikes I no longer own. Some donít get ridden as much as others but none of them need the chain cleaned other than upon installation.
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Old 12-16-20, 11:32 AM
  #56  
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^^^ This
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Old 12-16-20, 01:57 PM
  #57  
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Originally Posted by noglider View Post
@robertorolfo, if my once-a-year dumping is serious and there is a better alternative, I'm all ears. Also, if it is worse than driving a car a mile, I'd like to know that, too. I'm assuming, and maybe I shouldn't.
Oh man, I didn't mean for this to turn into a can of worms for Tom, and of course he has quickly accepted the good advice offered here. I never got the chance to meet Tom in person, but I'm fairly certain that he is a very good guy and the type of person that makes our society a better one. As they say, if we had more guys like Tom in the world...

Originally Posted by Vintage_Cyclist View Post
Proper household solvent disposal per NYC Dept. of Environmental Conservation:
https://www.dec.ny.gov/docs/material...df/solvent.pdf
Thanks for this. What's sort of funny about it, however, is they make mention a few times of letting things "dry outdoors." And while there are plenty of people with living situations that will allow for this, there are probably just as many living in apartments without any really access to a space where you can leave something like this outside to dry (and don't mention a fire escape, because they are (rightfully) super strict these days about fooling around with them). Not the end of the world, but not completely helpful.
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Old 12-16-20, 02:23 PM
  #58  
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Originally Posted by robertorolfo View Post
Thanks for this. What's sort of funny about it, however, is they make mention a few times of letting things "dry outdoors." And while there are plenty of people with living situations that will allow for this, there are probably just as many living in apartments without any really access to a space where you can leave something like this outside to dry (and don't mention a fire escape, because they are (rightfully) super strict these days about fooling around with them). Not the end of the world, but not completely helpful.
C'mon now, it's NY state, where it's usually accidental for government action to improve things!
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Old 12-16-20, 03:25 PM
  #59  
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Old 12-16-20, 08:06 PM
  #60  
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Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
Compared to WD-40 (25% mineral oil), Iíd say yes. Compared to mineral spirits (75% of what WD-40 is), however, diesel oil isnít cleaner. Mineral spirits works very well and evaporates cleanly. Kerosene is similar to diesel fuel in that it doesnít evaporate as cleanly.

I will say that if you are buying either for cleaning bicycles and chains at a filling station in gallon quantities, you need to reassess your lubrication regime. That can of mineral spirits that Iíve had for about 20 years (see post 32) has lasted me through my current 8 bikes and my wifeís 4 plus about 10 more bikes I no longer own. Some donít get ridden as much as others but none of them need the chain cleaned other than upon installation.
I consider the poor evaporation qualities of diesel as a benefit. Diesel dissolves grease & crud. And it leaves a nice residue behind that helps prevent corrosion. It's harmless to plastic containers. So, I use a system of plastic primary & secondary containment to prevent spills & fumes in the garage. There are all sorts of kitty litter trays & rubbermaid snap lid containers out there right now. Sludge goes into the waste oil receptacle at the auto parts store. Rags get tossed into the garbage. I hope I'm not contributing to any environmental contamination.
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Old 12-17-20, 05:01 AM
  #61  
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Originally Posted by ramzilla View Post
Rags get tossed into the garbage. I hope I'm not contributing to any environmental contamination.
Miniscule compared to the millions of flashlight batteries that wind up in our landfills annually.
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Old 12-17-20, 01:03 PM
  #62  
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Originally Posted by ramzilla View Post
I consider the poor evaporation qualities of diesel as a benefit. Diesel dissolves grease & crud. And it leaves a nice residue behind that helps prevent corrosion. It's harmless to plastic containers. So, I use a system of plastic primary & secondary containment to prevent spills & fumes in the garage. There are all sorts of kitty litter trays & rubbermaid snap lid containers out there right now. Sludge goes into the waste oil receptacle at the auto parts store. Rags get tossed into the garbage. I hope I'm not contributing to any environmental contamination.
Iíve never found a need to cover any bike part in oil to prevent corrosion. In my opinion, having excess oil covering parts is a problem rather than a solution. I prefer my drivetrains to be something that I can touch without having to spend hours scrubbing the gunk out of my skin.

You should also be careful about saying that diesel is harmless to plastic containers. That would depend on the container. Polyethylene and polypropylene are iffy.
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Old 12-17-20, 04:10 PM
  #63  
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I use vinegar for a lot of cleaning, degreasing, rust and corrosion removal. Cheap, non toxic and not environmentally hazardous. Whatever it is, just submerge it and let it soak. Sometimes it takes a couple of days but rust and corrosion drops off and just needs a gentle brushing, if that. Dries in minutes and no residue. Try your own experiment with parts you don't need right away to see how it works. I keep a vinegar clean spare chain that I can just swap out and try not to let it get too dirty before the next swap. I don't like quick links and am friendly with the chain tool. Chain lube? My choice is mineral oil. Just in general I lube moving and rubbing parts with a drop or few of mineral oil available at any pharmacy. Cheap, non toxic, no smell and you can drink it if you're constipated. I run the chain through a rag to wipe off as much as possible and it stays on the inner moving parts. I have it in a dropper bottle or just poke a little hole in the safety seal. If I have little parts with nooks and crannies to clean or I want to scrub after the vinegar soak I use baking soda/water paste and whatever brush works. I do woodworking and make hardwood toothpick things. I've used the furry end of those plastic tooth flossing sticks. Swish it in vinegar to foam up and remove the grit and it couldn't be cleaner. In my woodworking I make an oxidizing black stain by putting a piece of steel wool in a not completely capped quart jar of vinegar. In a few days to a couple of weeks the steel wool is disintegrated into little crumbs. Strain out the crumbs and it makes wood look beautiful with the grain showing through.

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Old 12-17-20, 07:21 PM
  #64  
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I've used various solvents over he years, mostly gasoline or mineral spirits, depending on where or what I'm cleaning.
I keep an old mayonnaise jar full of gas in the shed for cleaning cage bearings and really dirty chains. When it gets really dirty, I soak up the gas with
old rags or paper and use it to start the trash barrel fire.

As far as someone dumping a bit of mineral spirits or oil, I think the likely hood of that doing major damage is fairly minimal in that oil floats on water, its not likely to soak into the ground, its more likely to get carried away in the next rain into the sewer or drainage. While certainly not ideal, most sewer treatment facilities separate out oil and grease in traps.

Years ago, local farmers dumped their old oil on roads and driveways to keep down dust. Many of those farms look like they're paved with asphalt these days. It was normal practice back then. I remember watching old timers with various contraptions they made to drizzle waste oil over their driveways.
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Old 12-17-20, 08:48 PM
  #65  
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Regarding dumping solvents, I've rarely needed to because I reuse them until the stuff is evaporated and only sludge is left.

As the sludge settles in one jar of solvent, I'll decant the relatively clear fluid to another jar, or filter it through a paper coffee filter if I want it a bit cleaner.

As little solvent as I use that can go on for years before I've accumulated enough sludge to worry about proper disposal. By then the original solvent is evaporated or gone through attrition.

But since switching to wax or relatively clean lubes like Rock 'n' Roll Absolute Dry and Gold I haven't needed to swish my chains around in a jar of mineral spirits, acetone, etc., in two or three years. I'm pretty sure Rock 'n' Roll lubes use naphtha, and I use very little via needle droppers. The carrier evaporates.

I have needed to dump odorless "green" mineral spirit substitute -- that stuff that resembles buttermilk -- because it's utterly useless for cleaning. It doesn't help with bike chain or other cleanup and has to be rinsed off with hot water and Dawn or other detergent, so the stuff goes down the sink anyway. Tried it once, never again. Another clever solution to a non-existent problem.
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Old 12-17-20, 09:24 PM
  #66  
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Originally Posted by oldlugs View Post
I've used various solvents over he years, mostly gasoline or mineral spirits, depending on where or what I'm cleaning.
I keep an old mayonnaise jar full of gas in the shed for cleaning cage bearings and really dirty chains. When it gets really dirty, I soak up the gas with
old rags or paper and use it to start the trash barrel fire.

As far as someone dumping a bit of mineral spirits or oil, I think the likely hood of that doing major damage is fairly minimal in that oil floats on water, its not likely to soak into the ground, its more likely to get carried away in the next rain into the sewer or drainage. While certainly not ideal, most sewer treatment facilities separate out oil and grease in traps.

Years ago, local farmers dumped their old oil on roads and driveways to keep down dust. Many of those farms look like they're paved with asphalt these days. It was normal practice back then. I remember watching old timers with various contraptions they made to drizzle waste oil over their driveways.
Thank you for sharing your uninformed opinion about the safety of dumping petroleum products on the ground or into the storm sewers. But please donít do it, OK?
Couldnít care less what people used to do ďback thenĒ. Itís called progress.
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Old 12-18-20, 11:27 AM
  #67  
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Originally Posted by canklecat View Post
I have needed to dump odorless "green" mineral spirit substitute -- that stuff that resembles buttermilk -- because it's utterly useless for cleaning. It doesn't help with bike chain or other cleanup and has to be rinsed off with hot water and Dawn or other detergent, so the stuff goes down the sink anyway. Tried it once, never again. Another clever solution to a non-existent problem.
“Green” mineral spirits contains about 40% mineral spirits and a bunch of surfactants to keep the mineral spirits in an emulsion. It’s not a good idea to pour it down the sink because it does contain mineral spirits. I found one from Jasco at Lowes that is marked “slow to dissolve” mineral spirits. Kind of says it all.

And I agree that it’s a solution looking for a problem.

Originally Posted by Medium Size Dog View Post
I use vinegar for a lot of cleaning, degreasing, rust and corrosion removal. Cheap, non toxic and not environmentally hazardous. Whatever it is, just submerge it and let it soak. Sometimes it takes a couple of days but rust and corrosion drops off and just needs a gentle brushing, if that. Dries in minutes and no residue. Try your own experiment with parts you don't need right away to see how it works. I keep a vinegar clean spare chain that I can just swap out and try not to let it get too dirty before the next swap. I don't like quick links and am friendly with the chain tool. Chain lube? My choice is mineral oil. Just in general I lube moving and rubbing parts with a drop or few of mineral oil available at any pharmacy. Cheap, non toxic, no smell and you can drink it if you're constipated. I run the chain through a rag to wipe off as much as possible and it stays on the inner moving parts. I have it in a dropper bottle or just poke a little hole in the safety seal. If I have little parts with nooks and crannies to clean or I want to scrub after the vinegar soak I use baking soda/water paste and whatever brush works. I do woodworking and make hardwood toothpick things. I've used the furry end of those plastic tooth flossing sticks. Swish it in vinegar to foam up and remove the grit and it couldn't be cleaner. In my woodworking I make an oxidizing black stain by putting a piece of steel wool in a not completely capped quart jar of vinegar. In a few days to a couple of weeks the steel wool is disintegrated into little crumbs. Strain out the crumbs and it makes wood look beautiful with the grain showing through.
The reason I combined these two quotes is to illustrate something.

I’m not sure how you are using it as a degreaser. Vinegar might help with rust but not as a degreaser. “Vinegar” is a 5% solution of acetic acid in water. The important bit isn’t that it contains 5% acetic acid but that it contains 95% water. Ever heard the old saw of oil and water no mixing? Ever looked at a bottle of salad dressing? The oil sits on top of the water and doesn’t dissolve. The oil in the salad dressing separates from the vinegar on standing unless some fairly sophisticated surfactants are used to maintain the emulsion. In food materials, it’s things like xanthan gum or proteins.

If the green mineral spirits that cankle cat refers to above...which uses industrial surfactants to keep about 40% mineral spirits that don’t want to be around water suspended in about 60% water...doesn’t work on oil and grease, how can a substance...acetic acid... which is polar and won’t dissolve in oils of any kind and is in the presence of far more water work as a degreaser? Glacial acetic acid (the common name for 100% acetic acid) wouldn’t work as a degreaser because it is far to polar to dissolve oils. Adding a whole bunch of water doesn’t make the chemistry any better.

Sorry but my 40 years of chemical experience says I’m not buying vinegar as a degreaser.
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Old 12-18-20, 12:03 PM
  #68  
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Originally Posted by oldlugs View Post
I've used various solvents over he years, mostly gasoline or mineral spirits, depending on where or what I'm cleaning.
I keep an old mayonnaise jar full of gas in the shed for cleaning cage bearings and really dirty chains. When it gets really dirty, I soak up the gas with
old rags or paper and use it to start the trash barrel fire.

As far as someone dumping a bit of mineral spirits or oil, I think the likely hood of that doing major damage is fairly minimal in that oil floats on water, its not likely to soak into the ground, its more likely to get carried away in the next rain into the sewer or drainage. While certainly not ideal, most sewer treatment facilities separate out oil and grease in traps.

Years ago, local farmers dumped their old oil on roads and driveways to keep down dust. Many of those farms look like they're paved with asphalt these days. It was normal practice back then. I remember watching old timers with various contraptions they made to drizzle waste oil over their driveways.
And there it is. Someone is bond to suggest gasoline in any chain cleaning thread. For those of you who still have some common sense, gasoline is perhaps the most hazardous material you handle on a regular basis. Gasoline isnít just a fuel, it is close to an explosive...thatís how dangerous it is. Its flashpoint is -40įF (which is the same temperature in the metric system). That means it has enough vapor pressure to catch fire at extremely low temperatures. As the temperature warms, it becomes more flammable. It also contains lots of chemicals that are bot acutely toxic as well as chronically toxic. It can possibly kill you now and it can also kill you later.

Just donít use it!

Minearal spirits has a flashpoint of around 70įF to 130*F (20*C to 50įC) or room temperature to Phoenix, AZ hot. Yes, they can still be ignited but they are harder to ignite and donít burn as intensely.

As for pouring out used oil just because old farmers used to, we established the EPA to stop that kind of foolishness...as well as barrel fires and home incinerators. The Cuyahoga River caught fire about a dozen times because people used to just pour crap into it as a convenient way of getting ďridĒ of the garbage they didnít want. There are thousands, literally, of examples of people just dumping something on the ground so that it becomes someone elseís problem...usually us, the taxpayer. Just donít pour crap out on the ground and make someone else deal with it.
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Old 12-18-20, 01:10 PM
  #69  
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A small container of cleaning solution for the Parks chain cleaning device is about $12. I've tried citrus based degreasers, they work, but not as well as the Park stuff. Any ideas on a cheaper but effective solution?
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Old 12-18-20, 02:13 PM
  #70  
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Originally Posted by Shp4man View Post
A small container of cleaning solution for the Parks chain cleaning device is about $12. I've tried citrus based degreasers, they work, but not as well as the Park stuff. Any ideas on a cheaper but effective solution?
Use less oil on the chain. A tiny drop on each roller is all you need. Then you’ll never need to clean it. Honest.
You can put the $12 toward a new chain, and here I’m not even asking you to accept shorter chain life from not cleaning it: it’s not going to be dirty, right? If it’s dry, I oil it. If it isn’t, I don’t.

In the old sailing Royal Navy, ship captains would grouse that the King’s tight-fisted Admiralty purchasing agents would “waste a ship to save a ha’penny-worth of tar.” Fair enough, for ships. But if ships were cheap and built to wear out (like chains) and tar overpriced and expensive (like Park fluid), the calculation would be reversed.

I don’t have any cleaning solvents on the bench anymore. I can’t remember when I last cleaned a chain. Yes if I rub my fingers on it they’ll come away black, but so what? It doesn’t look dirty, and only Freds touch their chains. Elbow grease and rags of various descriptions, including shoe laces, are all I need for cleaning other bits. Small screwdrivers are handy to remove “dental plaque”, that dry-paste mixture of oil and steel dust that builds up on parts adjacent to where the chain runs. You want to scrape this stiff off intact into dry hard little piles where you can sweep it up. Where it is it isn’t doing any harm. If you liquify it with solvent it goes everywhere into the moving parts where you can’t get it out and makes everything filthy.

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Old 12-18-20, 02:59 PM
  #71  
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This is what I like about Bike forums. All kinds of opinions. I'm kind of of obsessed with clean drivetrain parts and low friction. Sealed bearing derailleur wheels, that kind of thing. I even clean the freewheel and chainrings. Not that I have enough power for it to make that much difference.
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Old 12-18-20, 03:17 PM
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I gladly accept scientific fact and consider it an honor to be quoted and corrected by cyccommute and completely bow to his expertise. Not being a poster child for environmental correctness, I try to do my part where I can. The thread kinda veered from the original OP about degreasing to the concerning casual handling of toxic substances. If this stuff has been discussed too much in other threads please forgive me. In the past when oil paints were more common I had 3 containers of mineral spirits that I used for years, clean, dirty and dirty dirty. Sometimes it would take months for the crud to settle out but it always did and i could carefully pour the clean thinner into the clean container and responsibly dispose of the solids. I now sparingly use acetone for the occasional paint brush and quick cleaning of tenacious crud and am polluting the air with evaporation instead of the ground with liquid. I'd like to more fully understand the science of the efficiency of the acid in vinegar to remove rust and corrosion. Soaking in vinegar or Dawn detergent to remove encrusted wood pitch does wonders for saw blades that you thought needed sharpening. Isn't a lot of degreasing the cleaning off of the crud that collects in the layer of oil that was too thick in the first place or shouldn't have been there? If the acid in vinegar can corrode a piece of steel wool into dust are the soaking steel chain parts beginning to corrode causing stuff that's stuck to them to separate from the surface? The oil would not need to be dissolved, just displaced. Is this silly hair splitting or just silly? I'd like to use the most efficient environmentally friendly methods to do anything and hope that others do too. Thanks again to any and all for the education on everything bike I've gotten from this forum.

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Old 12-19-20, 11:44 AM
  #73  
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Chain cleaning method opinions can become biased toward removing crusted-on lube deposits when one works on vintage bikes. Newer chains can stay reasonably clean over their service life simply by wiping thoroughly with terrycloth shop towel before and after each lubing, thus never needing removal and/or dedicated cleaning processes.

There will always be some grit that gets into the wrong parts of the chain when it is lubed and wiped, but chains are made to digest this stuff and go on to a long and healthy life. Modern chain is a blessing and prices today seem very reasonable even at the higher levels if one shops around.

My road bike chains get lubed with a diluted style of lube and then wiped down, and end up looking like this. This is the old UG Narrow chain that came on my recent Goodwill-sourced ONP and has been lubed and wiped down 3 or four times in the weeks I've been riding it everyday since. I haven't touched it in the last 200 miles and It sure doesn't seem to need any sort of cleaning. Luckily it had little ancient encrusted detritus when found (the freewheel is a cleaned/rebuilt D-A 7s with smallest cog removed to fit 120mm, so is still super clean).




In case anyone was curious about the odd cable routing at the pinch bolt, this was to get the 6-speed SIS levers to work with the 7s cog spacing.
I made a two-legged bent-tab washer to extend the arm length and thus increase leverage of the cable to reduce the derailer movement.
Amazingly, the 600 SIS short-cage mech handles this 13-28t freewheel and 34-42-52 gearing with grace:

Last edited by dddd; 12-19-20 at 12:05 PM.
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Old 12-19-20, 06:45 PM
  #74  
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Ultrasonic cleaner + 10 minutes + diesel fuel, for drivetrain cleaning.
I sometimes did it in the morning before group rides. Didn't even get my hands dirty.

It's like having a washing machine for your bike 😁 and diesel can be reused many times.
I don't want to degrease my chain, I just want to clean the dirt off, so I don't see a problem using oil to clean dirty oil.

Best investment in cleaning products ever made and way less polluting long term as well.
Obviously, it can be used to clean other stuff as well, value for money as they say.

For about x10 600ml cans worth of WD40 in UK, you can buy a decently sized heated ultrasonic cleaner.
If you're into wax-on wax-off, and stuff, then by all means use a degreaser instead of diesel.
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Old 12-19-20, 09:13 PM
  #75  
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Diesel rules!
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