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Discussion Starter #1
I bought some new Open Pro wheels laced to Ultegra hubs in the fall, made by Wheelsmith. I've owned a couple of sets of OPs in the past with no problems, and my other sets both have over 10,000 miles on them. I was cleaning my bike with the new wheels the other day, and noticed that there was apparent corrosion around all of the eyelets on the rear wheel. The "corrosion" was a whitish chalky deposit on the rims around the eyelets on the rear wheel but not front. The deposit scraped off fairly easily, and the rims and eyelets do not appear to be rusting. I cleaned the rim and oiled all of the eyelets.

Does anyone know what this chalky deposit might be and how it could have gotten there? I don't ride much in the rain unless caught in an unexpected shower, and they don't salt the roads much where I live (NC) -- particularly this winter, which has been very mild with no snow. Since the deposit was only around the eyelets, I assume it was something that seeped out from inside the rim, perhaps after riding in the rain. I'm also wondering if this is something I should be concerned about. Obviously I will keep a close eye on the rear wheel, but I don't want to experience a sudden failure while riding. I am fairly certain I could return/exchange the wheel for a new one if there is a real problem.
 

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Aluminum oxide

The white chalky stuff is aluminum oxide. You don't see that too often around spoke holes, but you do see it. If they were my wheels, I would put a drop of oil at each spoke hole right where the ferrule attaches to the rim. That should stop further corrosion. Not a structural issue.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
thanks

Funny that it's never happened before with my other Open Pros. Maybe they're making the eyelets out of a different material now? I oiled the eyelets where the spokes go through, but will add a little more to make sure they are lubed where eyelets meet the rim.
 

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tarwheel2 said:
Funny that it's never happened before with my other Open Pros. Maybe they're making the eyelets out of a different material now? I oiled the eyelets where the spokes go through, but will add a little more to make sure they are lubed where eyelets meet the rim.
Possibly these have aluminum nipples and the others had brass? - TF
 

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Another guess.

Because the problem was with your rear wheel only, my guess is that the chain was slinging something nasty onto the rear rim. Usually you see chain lube all over a rear wheel after excessive lubing. But I can also imagine how degreaser could come off a chain during an overzealous cleaning job, spray all over the rear rim, seep under the eyelets and attack the anodizing.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
cleaning

If you saw my rear wheel, you wouldn't suspect overzealous cleaning! I haven't cleaned my bike much over the winter until recently. Also I always lube my chain with homebrew, 3:1 mixture of mineral spirits and motor oil, and wipe it down well after lubing. Clean my chain by removing and soaking it in homebrew as well.

I suspect what turbo said is the answer -- that the new eyelets are aluminum while my older wheels have stainless steel or brass eyelets.
 

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The clue

tarwheel2 said:
If you saw my rear wheel, you wouldn't suspect overzealous cleaning! I haven't cleaned my bike much over the winter until recently.
If you've been riding where there's any salt on the roads, you have explained the source of the problem. I doubt there are Al ferrules on the rim. TT was talking about the spoke nipples, not the rim construction.
 

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Another very real possibility is that the rim was not treated properly for corrosion protection. Aluminum parts are usualy chemically treated for corrosion resistance. The white powdery deposits you saw is aluminum corrosion product, and if it appears on the rim then it is the rim which is corroding. This is a logical first place for corrosion to appear because there is dissimilar metal contact between the spoke nipples and rim. Dissimilar metal contact cause galvanic corrosion, resulting in the more anodic metal (on bicycles, usually aluminum) corroding.

Someone said this isn't a structural problem and I strongly disagree. I can almost guarantee that you will see the corrosion product return in a short time. Aluminum corrosion accelerates fatigue and stress cracking, and you will see premature cracking around the spoke holes. If the corrosion product returns I would try to get the rim replaced under warranty because the improper corrosion treatment is a manufacturing defect.
 
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