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Is soaking chain in homebrew chain oil enough to clean it, or can I soak in straight mineral spirits(then later add chain oil) for better cleaning? How long should I soak the cleaners, can I soak overnight?
 

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I just soak mine in Homebrew overnight

Then wipe it off and remount. Make sure you have another day for it to dry, else you will have a real mess. (Translate...don't try to ride it right away).
 

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Chain cleaning?

samh said:
Is soaking chain in homebrew chain oil enough to clean it, or can I soak in straight mineral spirits(then later add chain oil) for better cleaning? How long should I soak the cleaners, can I soak overnight?
Assuming we're talking road riding, use the following technique for successful ProLink or homebrew lube (1 part motor oil to 3-4 parts odorless mineral spirits) application and use:

1 - wipe the chain, cogs, pulleys, and chainrings clean with a rag.
2 - drip on lube while pedaling (forward is better) so that the chain just starts to drip lube. Aim the lube between the side plates and between the bushings and the side plates.
3 - run through all the gears several times, front and back.
4 - wipe the chain, cogs, pulleys, and chainrings clean with a rag.
5 - repeat steps 2-4 if the chain was really dirty

If you do this every 300 miles or so (or when you get caught in the rain), you will not get any significant gunky buildup, and you won't have to clean the chain.

No lube is "perfect." A brite shiny chain that is clean to the touch but is well lubed and gives long mileage is still not possible. IMO, ProLink is the best compromise.
 

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Hate to agree with Kerry all the time, but....

FWIW, I used to be a pretty religious chain cleaner, taking them off and soaking them every few hundred miles, then hanging them to dry, reinstalling, working out the tight links, lubing, the whole old-school drill.
In the last four or five years, since I started using White Lightning (I've since switched to ProLink), I haven't done it at all. I lube and wipe as he described, when I think of it or when I hear a noise, and the chains stay clean enough and shift fine.
 

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I've got to disagree with Kerry

I feel that I get more dirt and junk out of the chain by using a "chain box" cleaner with mineral spirits. I think that more dirt comes out from between the sideplates because of the flexing of the chain in the box with the fluid. I fill the box several times until the remaining fluid is somewhat clear. I use another "chain box" to apply the home brew. Again, the chain is flexed through the lube.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
agree with jimP

JimP said:
I feel that I get more dirt and junk out of the chain by using a "chain box" cleaner with mineral spirits. I think that more dirt comes out from between the sideplates because of the flexing of the chain in the box with the fluid. I fill the box several times until the remaining fluid is somewhat clear. I use another "chain box" to apply the home brew. Again, the chain is flexed through the lube.
Considering this because soaking doesn't seem to clean well, agitation from brushes (like a vacuum has) might be better...guess everyone has their own method.
 

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I used to use one of those ridiculous boxes with the brushes inside, but I found they really just made a great mess of my patio floor.

When I do get around to a proper cleaning, I take the chain off and put in in a tub/bottle that contains some mineral spirits/paint thinner. I then shake the container around for a while. I repeat this step with fresh fluid. All used mineral spirits go into another container where the solids settle to the bottom so I can recycle for future use. After that I dry the chain off, install it on the bike and then lubricate with whatever I'm using at the time. It's a fairly quick process.
 

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I actually do all three mentioned. Normally I just do the pro-link wipe and lube. About once a month I use the chain box scrubber to agitate the gunk from inside the plates out. Then I remove the chain and soak in a light degreaser agitating it as well. remove the chain from the soak, dry it with a rag, if time permits air dry on the work stand, then lube it with prolink and put it back on the bike. Is it all necessary? well it gives me a reason to drink a beer and clean my bike once a month. :)
 

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Adding lube to a dirty chain only accelerates wear. A clean lightly lubed chain is what you want to achieve.

My approach is to use a connecting link (Wipperman, SRAM) and take the chain off the bike for cleaning. I use either a solvent soaking and brushing or hot water and Dawn detergent in a bottle with the chain and shake it so to get the suds working. Then dry the chain by wiping or compressed air or letting the chain hang dry.

One drop of lube per roller and wipe off any excess.

The old lube, wipe off, ride, wipe off, and add more lube then ride again just makes the grit stay in the chain. Rather than add any lube to a chain thats been serviced already I'd rather just wait until I can take the time to re-clean and re-lube.
 

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So I bought the Zinn book for road bikes....he mentions that taking your chain off continuously will actually create a weaker chain. Any truth, does he know what he is talking about (on the surface a stupid question I suppose)??
 

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since grit and dirt eat up the chain and gears, getting that off is wise. I like using the chain box cleaner and I use a bucket and rag under the bike to keep my patio clean.

So much depends on where you live that determines what method you should use you should find out what locals use. Geography makes a difference in the abrasiveness and hardness of the kinds of grits that will accumulate on your chain.

I do not remove my chain to clean it.The grit that wears gears would be on the rollers primarily.

I'm cheap so mineral spirits is what I use to clean the chain. I also use a toothbrush to help clean the chain. When I am done and have the chain wiped off it is dry to the touch and clean on all visible surfaces. I then use a good chain oil, applying that liberally then wiping it off as much as I can. I know what is left on the chain is more than enough. I then wipe the chain off every once in a while as it gets dirty.

I see no reason to remove the chain since it can't be cleaned any more throuroughly by shaking it in a container than you can running it around the gears and turns through the dreailleur.
 
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