Steel frame corrosion prevention

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  • Steel frame corrosion prevention
  • MrSmith
    Member

    It’s worth doing just don’t pay over the odds for framesaver, I used a dinitrol product on mine that was cheaper than framesaver and was a huge can that was enough for 2 frames and there’s still loads more left.
    I’m guessing AC-50 will do the job? Just read the specs or maybe go for a heavier/thicker product.

    Premier Icon frankconway
    Subscriber

    JP Weigle’s FrameSaver.
    Loads of information online telling you the do’s and dont’s.

    Lionheart
    Member

    Acf is great in right places. I’d use wax oil (poss mixed with a bit of diesel but easier to just spay a warm can of wax oil into a warm frame). Or an alternative, Dinotrol, there best is AV-8 designed for aircraft tubing. Tiger Months and Piper Cubs had linseed oil poured in the tubes. I’ve seen tubes 70 years old still looking good so that obviously works.

    sweepy
    Member

    Gen question- has anyone had a frame rust through? Ive got an old saracen in the shed, spent a few years as a hire bike then the next 20 or so being abused by me. No sign of anything I’d worry about, so what would I have to do to make it rust?

    Lionheart
    Member

    Good question, I think it depends a lot on where/when you ride, if/how it’s cleaned, how it’s stored and does it get attention. I know it’s an mtb but my SS gets stripped every year and I clean the lot an re wax oil the tubes.
    I’ve seen BB seized in, seat posts seized in, these both usually due to different metals reacting. I’ve seen a couple of cracked frames where the tubes are rusty in side.
    I’ve seen lots of aircraft tubes cracked, many where they have rusted a little on the inside.

    thelawman
    Member

    I’ve had the chainsaw bridge go on a venerable (OK, 1995 or thereabouts) frame. It could have been cut out and replaced easily enough, but I’d already moved on a couple of frames by then. And had learned that a well greased and suitably washered nut & bolt through the hole for a mudguard mount was worth applying early in the frame’s life too, along with a dose of WD40 down the most obvious breather holes.

    sweepy
    Member

    Sounds like mine could go any decade now then!

    guitarsammy
    Member

    Just bought a Genesis Croix De Fer for commuting.

    Will probably be using it most of the year, including winter. Unfortunately, it’ll be kept in my (very secure and pretty dry) shed as I have no other option, so I’m trying to think how to reduce the risk of corrosion. It has a steel frame (Reynolds 725).

    I’ll do the usual stuff (mudguards, regular cleaning, sorting out paint chips, etc). I’ll also spray the outside of the frame with GT85 as a water displacer following cleaning.

    However, I’m wondering whether I need to spray something *inside* the frame, too, as I understand that’s the. I have some ACF 50, so could use some of that.

    The question is, is this a good idea? Is there any need to do this at all with Reynolds 725?

    Thanks.

    Premier Icon breadcrumb
    Subscriber

    I’ve an old 94 Univega that was in semi-regular use until a few years ago that hasn’t rusted through.

    It must add a bit of weight to some rather posh steel too.

    PJay
    Member

    I’ve tended to use Framesaver but it can be a tad expensive. I’ve heard that a lot of folk use Waxoyl but there have also been tales of the process being somewhat messy and having to heat up the Waxoyl to make it fluid enough to apply.

    I’ve recently notice that Halfords sell large cans of aerosol Waxoyl for a tenner; I don’t know if anyone has had experience of this.

    Premier Icon epicyclo
    Subscriber

    You don’t need anything fancy or expensive, although I’m sure those products are good.

    The best preventative is to make sure water cannot lie inside your frame. We used to drill a hole in the bottom of the BB shell, and the best frame makers used to do this as a matter of routine – doesn’t need to be huge.

    If you have a spray can of chain wax or grease give it a squirt down the wee holes at the end of your chainstays and internally into the chainstays and downtube from the BB shell. You have to remove the BB to do this. I always smear the entire interior of the BB shell with waterproof grease which helps, but it’s real purpose was to trap any grit that gets in – not a problem since sealed bearings. I suggest also smearing the steel steerer stem with grease or wax.

    I have a sizeable number of steel bikes aged up to 85 years and internal rust has not been a problem. However they probably benefitted from regular application of an oilcan and regular polishing.

    Also the top of the seatpost was open so any water would eventually evaporate out instead of being trapped.

    I always strip down a new bike and give it a good going over with quality polish, and generally they get this every year, but rarely cleaned other than rinsed in between (especially if the road is salty).

    Saccades
    Member

    I used that spray can waxoyl on my 456 frame. Appears to have worked.

    It’s my winter bike and doesn’t get looked after (igh so I oil the chain sometimes).

    Left the bike in a greenhouse in summer so it was hot, sprayed the bike, tumbled it around then left it dripping.

    Only downside is ~8 years later is removing it to get the frame resprayed. Supposedly a git to remove and if you don’t the oven curing bit is buggered.

    bob_summers
    Member

    Gen question- has anyone had a frame rust through?

    Yep. Frame was only about 5 year old at the time, kept indoors but used in all weather. Bottom of the seat stay, tubes had been protected from new but I think a drain hole blocked. Spray from rear wheel running down seat post into the seat stays and unable to drain out properly. It was thin walled tubing (Spirit) which was probably why it didn’t take long for a hole to appear.

    Premier Icon epicyclo
    Subscriber

    Just had a thought which hadn’t occurred to me before. The old lugged frames didn’t have so many water traps. This might explain their longevity.

    Eg the chainstays. In a lugged bike the chainstay drains straight into the BB, whereas on a welded bike there is the potential for water to gather where it meets the BB shell – a lip is created. It may be worthwhile ensuring there is enough wax or grease in there to let trapped water flow over any lip.

    jonba
    Member

    My pompetamine lives outdoors at work. It must be 6 years old now. Gets a regular soaking and used on salty roads.

    It has a rusty gusset but when I last replaced the BB it was fine, no significant corrosion. Personally I wouldn’t bother with anything beyond making sure there is no where for water to pool in the BB area. Use grease when you assemble.

    shermer75
    Member

    Surly recommend coating the inside of their frames but I have never done it on any of my steel frames and they’ve always been fine..

    sync
    Member

    Most if not all EU steel bikes frames and components, whilst experiencing a bit of surface corrosion won’t rust through. Very old frames can have poor quality steels or high ferrous content which will but most this side of the 60s are fine.

    Steel parts can rust and seize up which is a pain and unsightly.

    Frames get pulled after being underwater for years and are, albeit corroded ok. Many bikes live outside all their life.

    Protection does inhibit corrosion to help minimise seized parts (seat post etc) and preserve aethetics. It’s worth doing but not really necessary.

    dragon
    Member

    Most if not all EU steel bikes frames and components, whilst experiencing a bit of surface corrosion won’t rust through.

    Based on what?

    Frames will corrode through but I’ve only ever seen it on expensive very thin wall frames, or ones that are ancient. Biggest threat is water getting down into the seat tube and sitting there. Preventing water getting in is the best option to reduce any corrosion, followed by chemical corrosion inhibitors like framesaver and drain holes are a decent back-up.

    doncorleoni
    Member

    I would not worry about the croix… Mine is 3 years old… Been through plenty of fjords (up to seat clamp in places) and ridden through the worst of the British weather (commuter). There are some bungs on the stays at the back so just remove them once in a while and drain the water.

    Replaced the bb last weekend and despite being pretty wet at the bottom there is a light surface coating of rust but that’s about it. I reckon the frame will outlast all the other components bolted to it.

    MrSmith
    Member

    I would not worry about the croix… Mine is 3 years old… Been through plenty of fjords (up to seat clamp in places) and ridden through the worst of the British weather (commuter). There are some bungs on the stays at the back so just remove them once in a while and drain the water.

    Replaced the bb last weekend and despite being pretty wet at the bottom there is a light surface coating of rust but that’s about it. I reckon the frame will outlast all the other components bolted to it.

    or spend £8 on some dinitrol or trust in anecdotal evidence of a similar frame not rusting through in 3 years?

    i have a 12 year old frame with no rust inside as it’s been coated from day one. its spirit tubing so .38mm in the middle of the butting and £2.5k to replace so would rather not have any surface rust as thats the beginning of problems.

    qwerty
    Member

    I’ve seen a set of steel rigid forks on an unloved commuter collapse and the rider eat the tarmac, because of a lack of tlc, rusted right through, never cleaned or protected from the road salt. A little tlc may go a long way to keeping your face intact.

    Premier Icon jonathan
    Subscriber

    My Bontrager OR rusted through the seat tube at 12 years old – like very expensive steel swiss cheese. Think that was mostly due to the powder coat lifting, but not breaking, and letting moisture sit underneath it. And some very svelte tubing being used.

    I replaced that with a cheap On-One which I religiously coated the guts of with ordinary engine oil (works very well). That frame lasted less than a year though until the wrongly specced headtube went oval. So, sometimes it’s not worth worry about too much 😉

    Of course, if that Bonty was still alive it would probably be worth a bit now!

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Subscriber

    Spray Waxoyl in mine, but with a few caveats. It melts at not much more than body heat, so I sprayed a load in then warmed up the frame with a heat gun – very gently. Then I shook it all around to distribute it, and then I held it up to get all the drips out of the holes by the rear dropout – keepign it warm and making damn sure there was none left in there. If you don’t you run the risk of it dripping out when in a warm place and ending up on your discs.

    Then I went for a ride, and then I de-greased the top of the seat tube…….. 🙂

    PJay
    Member

    If I’ve been out on a particularly wet ride a remove the seatpost and tip the bike upside down to drain briefly (rarely anything runs out) and then store the bike with the seattube out to for the frame to air.

    Water can pool in the seatstays and a tip I picked up somewhere was to tip the bike up on its back wheel for a few seconds to allow any water to drain for the breath holes in the chainstays.

    I’d always internally coat the frame just for peace of mind. I’d be interested to know if there was a ‘go to’ product out of Framesaver, Wayoyl or Dinitrol. I’ve never had any issues with Framesaver seeping out even on really hot days, but I’m a bit unsure about Waxoyl now!

    Premier Icon mick_r
    Subscriber

    Frames get pulled after being underwater for years and are, albeit corroded ok. Many bikes live outside all their life.

    I thought corrosion needed oxygen? The typical UK commute cycle is probably more damaging than full immersion. Corrosion tests are done with a salt spray (not dip) for a reason.

    I’ve seen and sometimes repaired a number of corroded pepperpot frames – 853,Tange,501 and 531. Often in bridges and stays where water sits, but also through the rear of seat tubes part way up.

    I use Boeshield on frames I’ve made, but not overly impressed. It runs well but doesn’t leave a very convincing coating. When the can is empty I’ll probably just use linseed oil.

    Phosphate dips prior to power can help a bit inside the tubes, but they are mainly to aid adhesion and stop corrosion under the powder.

    PJay
    Member

    There seems to be a bewildering range of Dinitrol products; anyone know what’s best?

    Bob Jackson Cycles recommends ML (as it’s relatively thin) but this is sated as giving an oily (rather than dry) film; there also do a wax based product and a variety of others.

    MrSmith
    Member

    I use 77B
    I did look at spec sheet and cant remember why i chose it over the others but having looked inside the tubes there’s still a brown coating (wax not rust) and it seemed to flow well out the breather holes so it must have coated all the way inside the tubes. It’s cheap enough compared to framesaver to go overboard with it so all the inner surfaces are covered.

    Premier Icon frankconway
    Subscriber

    Framesaver is not expensive; it may cost a little more than other products but that’s almost irrelevant compared to the cost of repairing or replacing a corroded frame.

    The real question should be about performance.

    If the OP is concerned he could contact Genesis and ask for their views or, better still, their recommendation.

    mr frosty
    Member

    I was recommended using a “rust inhibitor” if I plan on riding in the rain by a steel builder with great experience. Down the seat tube and head tube. Living in Wales I’d say not much choice on the rain sadly. Planet X have some on their website, worth a squirt I’d say.

    Premier Icon superstu
    Subscriber

    I’ve an old 94 Univega that was in semi-regular use until a few years ago that hasn’t rusted through.

    I had a 1994 univega and the maximum mud (or whatever it was called) chainstay rusted through. Think it was a design fault as they dipped in an elongated kind of u shape and therefore water ran to the bottom. I thought it was only surface rust (I bought second hand), gave it a tap and it collapsed. Tubes on it were very thin BITD though. Glad I didn’t build it up in the end!!

    As others have said, it’s a few quid so worth doing something but I’d not be overly worried provided BB area can drain.

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