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Chain Cleaning Fluids To Avoid??
#1
This area is the most polluted in the US. Chains get gunked up with grey & black crud amazingly quickly. It gets on the ground around your bike, gets tracked onto the carpet & you're screwed.
I use a chain cleaning reservoir, the Park Tool.

Any reason not to use Simple Green brand as the fluid??? I've got a bunch of it. Is there some reason to avoid it?
I wash the chain. Rewash with a super diluted solution. Rinse with hot water three times, drying gently with a cloth and an air compressor after each rinse.
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#2
As a Mechanical Design Engineer who has designed many sealing systems, and mechanisms; I strongly recommend avoiding all cleaning fluids on chains. Recommendation - wipe them off with a dry rag.

The reason is that chains are made with grease inside for lubrication, the sealing of the grease cavity is far from perfect, any fluid will push out some (to most) of the grease. Replacing the grease is not easy - it might be possible to do it with chain submerged in hot grease (150°C) in a vacuum (to pull the air out of the chain).
Nigel
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#3
Hey Jef! Boy - our old pal, Nigel, really likes to take this stuff down to the molecular level, doesn't he? Smile
We love Nigel and reading his posts but, I'm gonna try to answer your question with 20+ years of bike wrenching under my belt and balance it between what I have seen people do with WD-40 and what I have seen published in certain magazines/books over the years, along with my own thoughts.
Nigel - please keep in mind that many folks outside of our BT membership may read this and that I am in no way intending to discredit you. Cool?

Rule #1 : JUST SAY NO to WD-40. It's a Penetrant. Not a Lubricant. The same goes for Liquid Wrench, Nuts-Off, etc. If you need these products, you really need a new chain.

For the average cyclist that likes to perform thier own maintenance, Simple Green is a nice-smelling and environmentally-friendly cleaner that can be easily used straight and then progressively diluted in those chain cleaner tools made by Park, Pedros, Finish Line and others. BUT. When you go to dump the contents of the tool... is it still environmentally-friendly junk? Probably not. If I'm trying to salvage a usable chain on a customers (old) bike that looks like it's coated with tar, cat hair and belly-button fuzz, I'm gonna get nasty and use kerosene or diesel fuel. Sometimes I have even had to resort to carb cleaner or other harsh chemicals. That's another story, though.

If I may - I need to diverge to a tangent subject here. When these chain-scrubber tools first came on the market back in the 1990's, I thought they were the next biggest thing since sliced bread. I, personally, no longer use them. Why? Re-read what Nigel posted and think about it.

The lube (grease) that is In/On a new chain from the factory simply can not be beat, but, unfortunately it doesn't last forever.
When I sell a new bike or have a customer pick up a repair that needed a new chain or drivetrain, I inquire about thier riding habits and conditions. Chain lubes have become very specific to these parameters, these days.
The main thing is - Once the factory lube is gone, it's up to You. Keep it as clean as possible. Do Not over-lube. That attracts grit. Grit + Lube = black carpet. You only need lube down inside the rollers and bushings. The rest will get residual lube as it creeps out of the link.
Wheelies don't pop themselves. (from a QBP fortune cookie)
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#4
My problem is that no matter what I do, a new chain, or clean one lubed with a myriad of products and then allowed to dry for one to two days, IT ENDS UP FILTHY, fairly quickly.
You can't wipe it off. It won't wipe off, not without a solvent. You would have to fashion a tool, like a pipe cleaner & spend about a minute per inch of chain.
A good description would be granular tar, mixed with grunge.
Every time I read about some guy wiping down his chain after every ride & lubricating occaisonally and getting 15000+K on a chain I crack up. He either ain't from around here, or knows something I don't.
That gritty grunge I described acts as a bit of an abrasive & even wears chainrings visibly.
It's frustrating. I knew a reservoir tool might flush out internal grease, but I've yet to find anything that cleans so easily down in the cracks & crannys.

So:
I guess I would rather clean chains with a reservoir & pay the price, replacing the chain more often.

(12-06-2013, 02:06 AM)RobAR Wrote:  You only need lube down inside the rollers and bushings. The rest will get residual lube as it creeps out of the link.
I do the one drop, carefully applied to each side, one link at a time. Then I'll (sparingly) drip some on the rollers as I move the chain over the jockeys, cassette & chain rings.
I've also tried the Progold (?) in a spray bottle and WOW is it easier!!!
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#5
(12-06-2013, 02:06 AM)RobAR Wrote:  Sometimes I have even had to resort to carb cleaner or other harsh chemicals. That's another story, though.
Carb cleaner has some effect, but brake cleaner seems to be a better solvent match & blows it out much better. I hold a folded paper towel under the chain to act as a shield/collector & do 3 or 4 inches at a time with rapid side to side motion. It takes 6 or 8 paper towels for the whole chain! This gets a lot of the stuff out without saturating the chain, but is nothing like the reservoir.
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#6
Jef - what lubes are you using? Road bike? MTB? ??
Wheelies don't pop themselves. (from a QBP fortune cookie)
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#7
(12-06-2013, 12:40 PM)RobAR Wrote:  Jef - what lubes are you using? Road bike? MTB? ??
I've tried most mainstream brands. Tri Flow, both White Lightnings etc.... Right now I'm using ProGold ProLube. It can be misted on as I described or applied with one of my pipettes, one drop to each side, one link at a time.
I ride 3200-3600miles/year (actual, not estimated).
I'm in city traffic, in the worst area in the nation for pollution (small particulates especially).
Never off-road.
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#8
(12-06-2013, 12:40 PM)RobAR Wrote:  Jef - what lubes are you using? Road bike? MTB? ??
I've tried most mainstream brands. Tri Flow, both White Lightnings etc.... Right now I'm using ProGold ProLink.
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