Rusty chain

What's the best lubricant to use to grease up a rusty chain? chain's fine otherwise, just rusty.

Re: Rusty chain

chains are just a bunch of small bearings attached together .. Clearance on these bearings is precise. The rust you can see is not the problem. If the bearing are rusty no lube will help. Your owner's manual probably tells you to lay the chain out and measure it's length. A rusty worn chain will be longer than the limit specified.

A bad chain can and has killed people.. When they snap they wrap around the wheel and you do an unintentional panic stop but far more violently than those tiny brakes could ever hope to... and it can happen anywhere, anytime.

Get a new chain and keep it lubed so it never rusts. Motorcycle shops sell a variety of types of chain lube for different purposes.

Re: Rusty chain

See Ya Moped Army /

At a minimum, you've got to get that rust off. If the links are pitted from rust, then throw away the chain. If it's just surface rust, I use my wire wheel on my grinder to clean the rust off I then use a good quality motorcycle chain lube to lubricate it. Spraying lube over the rust is just a waste of time and will do little if anything.

Re: Rusty chain

I bought THIS somewhat large ultrasonic jewelry cleaner.. it easily holds a coiled chain .. i used kerosene and was pretty much amazed at the results.. so amazed i did it again and took before-and-after pix of a really badly rusted chain... but the pix are gone :/

Anyway the cleaned chain was still not trustworthy.. had a couple kinks and the bearings were sloppy.. which became very obvious when the rust was gone..

All i can say is every bit of visible rust disappeared without any work on my part.. i use the cleaner for various small parts and it's pretty handy.

Re: Rusty chain

See Ya Moped Army /

Jay Leno has one of those ultrasonic cleaners (commercial size) in his shop and also swears by it. Completely environmentally friendly.

Found the pix....

i din't do nothin but sit and watch.. If i recall this took about an hour and a half. That ultrasonic cleaner is only 50 watts .. it's weak compared to industrial stuff.

And it shuts off automatically after 3 minutes.. (partly so that stupid people who use flamable solvents like kerosene and don't monitor temperature won't start a fire.. the kerosene did get warm but not hot)

So, several cycles were needed although you can hold the "start" button down and it'll run forever...

Don't use strong stuff like carb cleaner or the plastic basket in the tank will dissolve into a nice gooey mess. Paint thinner is ok (but flamable).. soap and water and other household stuff works fine..


Re: Found the pix....

what's the point of that thing??


i dont really understand the point....

how does the ultrasonic helps??

what's the diff

Re: Found the pix....

ultrasonic (high frequency) sound waves cause bubbles to quickly form and collapse in a liquid, over and over. The sound actually pulls the liquid apart and creates bubbles that are empty..a vacuum.

The bubbles have a lot of energy when they "pop". This dislodges dirt. And the bubbles are microscopic and get into every nook and cranny.

I forget the exact number but, if translated into temperature, the energy of the tiny individual bubble reaction is like thousands of degrees. (this is why the cleaning fluid gets warm)

Something very similar happens when a boat propeller is spinning too fast and "cavitates" .. the metal surface of the propeller ends up looking like it was sandblasted.

Re: Found the pix....

btw.. as far as iron oxide goes (common rust), it is not actually stuck tight to the base metal. The rust is just laying there on the surface and is all cracked and loose. This is why iron rust spreads. It does NOT coat the metal and prevent water and oxygen from getting through the rust to corrode fresh, clean metal underneath.

Aluminum oxide does stick tight to the metal and prevents air/water from contacting clean base metal.. So a thin coating of aluminum oxide (aluminum "rust") is a hard, smooth protective surface. Further oxidation is discouraged.

What i'm getting at is the bike chain was able to be cleaned because vibrations disloged the iron rust.. but ultrasonics have a tough time cleaning aluminum.

Re: Found the pix....

would it clean any rusty parts???

like bolts, and anything?

also, wouldn't it be great to clean carbs?

would it work with simple water? instead of kerozen?


Re: Found the pix....

Ultrasonic cleaning is an industry unto itself and i know very little about the details of what it can or can't do and how to do it.

I've used it on various small parts, like carb parts, of different sorts and sometimes they come out shiny clean and sometimes not.

The rusty chain was just a experiment with an unexpectedly good result.

But after reading a bit on the net, it turns out that removing insoluble junk (like rust?) from a hard surface (like steel?) is one of ultrasonic cleaning's specialty.

Re: Rusty chain

Today I had a lot of rust on my chain and I sprayed on a chain lube that is for O-rings.

Is it ok to use this O-ring chain lube or do I need something else?

Thanks for the suggestion about using a rotary tool with the wire wheel to get the rust off. That is what I will do and then re-appy the proper chain lubricant.

Want to post in this forum? We'd love to have you join the discussion, but first:

Login or Create Account