Soaking a chain in petrol

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thornie1543
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Soaking a chain in petrol

Postby thornie1543 » 23 Jul 2017, 10:17am

Hi folks ,my chain .chainrings and cassette need a good scrub as my bike is a daily user and I haven't been as up on the cleaning lately,anyway anyone soak their chain/cassette in petrol?(have some in a can that's why i'm asking),I seem to remember I did it before and it got a bit grumbly after and took a long time to get properly lubricated again,so is it a good idea?

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Re: Soaking a chain in petrol

Postby Vorpal » 23 Jul 2017, 10:44am

Opinions go both ways on this one.

Petrol is a decent solvent, but you need to put the chain and the petrol together in a bottle, and shake it for awhile to get all the gunge out of the chain. Here's the Mick F method viewtopic.php?f=1&t=26911&p=212499

viewtopic.php?f=5&t=92177 discusses (among other things) advantages and disadvantages of petrol.
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Vladimir
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Re: Soaking a chain in petrol

Postby Vladimir » 23 Jul 2017, 10:50am

The same thing happened to me - after the "petrol treatment" my drivetrain became rather grumbly and creaky.
On closer inspection - it was because the whole thing, especially the chain and sprockets were badly worn.
The dirt and grease on chain and sprockets was actually acting as a "dampener" of sorts and covering up the incongruencies between the two. Once I got all the grime off - there was nothing to hide the fact that both were badly worn.
(what can I say, it was my first bike and also I decided it was a good idea to use lithium grease as a chain lubricant. don't ask...)
HTH
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Gattonero
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Re: Soaking a chain in petrol

Postby Gattonero » 23 Jul 2017, 11:14am

thornie1543 wrote:Hi folks ,my chain .chainrings and cassette need a good scrub as my bike is a daily user and I haven't been as up on the cleaning lately,anyway anyone soak their chain/cassette in petrol?(have some in a can that's why i'm asking),I seem to remember I did it before and it got a bit grumbly after and took a long time to get properly lubricated again,so is it a good idea?


The best thing to do would be to never arrive to the point where a "proper degreasing" is needed, rather a constant wipe-off to the chain/rings/sprockets so that no excess of grub sticks on.

If in need of going to the full path, one of those chain-cleaners that you attach to the bike and turn the cranks, will do a great job in removing all the dirt. One weak point of using a brush only, is that you don't really clean all the grub that is in between the plates. Those chain-cleaners do, because of the rotating brush that goes properly in between the plates.
Image

Though it all has to be completed by proper flushing, and a good go with the compressor and air-gun to expel all the dirt that may still be in.
Last edited by Gattonero on 23 Jul 2017, 11:16am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Soaking a chain in petrol

Postby bikepacker » 23 Jul 2017, 11:15am

I was taught well before the days of fancy degreasers to clean my chains using diesel and still do. It does the job for me by cleaning well and leaving the chain lubricated.
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Re: Soaking a chain in petrol

Postby Gattonero » 23 Jul 2017, 11:30am

bikepacker wrote:I was taught well before the days of fancy degreasers to clean my chains using diesel and still do. It does the job for me by cleaning well and leaving the chain lubricated.


I know it looks "fancy" and "gadgets" and "marketing", but I've had one of those cleaners -an old "Barbieri" branded one- for over 10 years and cleaned a lot of chains with it.
Thinking back, the little amount of solvent that is used to properly clean the chain, plus the time saved, I'd say is enough to consider it as £10 well spent. I do not have 1hr available to clean one chain, time is something that cannot be retrieved. If there is a "fancy" gadget that allows me to do a better job in less time, and to save money by using little amount of solvent, by all means is very welcome.
It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best,
since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them.
Thus you remember them as they actually are...

mercalia
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Re: Soaking a chain in petrol

Postby mercalia » 23 Jul 2017, 11:38am

If you go down the petrol route you might as well make up your own chain lube by dissolve some thickish lithium grease in petrol let the chain soak then let the petrol evaporate leaving the grease internal to the chain parts? looks like a new chain

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Re: Soaking a chain in petrol

Postby reohn2 » 23 Jul 2017, 11:50am

As Gatto says chain scrubbers do a good job and takes about 5 minutes,I use White Spirit as a solvent for chains and sprockets either with the chain scrubber or if the chain and cassette is off a shake in a bottle(Tropicana orange bottle) for the chain and a scrub with an old paint brush for the cassette.
I just wipe the excess WS off and lube the chain twice wiping the excess off once again.
The used WS can then be put in a jam jar or similar with the lid on,left to settle and the clean WS reused over and over for many times.
I've tried diesel but it stinks :?
Petrol may melt nylon or plastic parts such as jockey wheels and cassette spacers.
Last edited by reohn2 on 23 Jul 2017, 1:16pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Des49
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Re: Soaking a chain in petrol

Postby Des49 » 23 Jul 2017, 11:55am

Going back well over 3 decades I left a chain in a jar of petrol overnight, it was a stiff corroded mess the next day! Lesson learnt.

Generally my degreaser is half diesel, half petrol, but no prolonged soaking. If I have some around I also use white spirit, no worries with prolonged soaking with that.

Brucey
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Re: Soaking a chain in petrol

Postby Brucey » 23 Jul 2017, 12:34pm

any chain cleaning regime that uses a small quantity of cleaning solution (of any type) will suffer the problem that unless the fluid is changed several times, the 'clean parts' will almost invariably be covered in a thin layer of the crud you were trying to get rid of. Gattonero's suggestion of using compressed air is one way of shifting the remaining crud, copious rinsing is another.

If you have any doubts about the cleanliness of your chain, refit it, oil it, and then run it for a few minutes on the workstand or up and down the road. Then wipe the chain with a clean tissue. If the chain was really bad you will have been able to hear/feel the chain make a grinding sound to start with instead of moving freely. If it is almost but not quite properly clean, the oil that you wipe off with a tissue will already be dirty.

FWIW no one has mentioned the obvious issues with petrol as a cleaner; it has a low flashpoint and the vapour tends to be heavier than air and pool in low places. These things make it incredibly dangerous to work with; one spark and it can be 'goodnight Vienna'. It is also a nasty mixture of all kinds of things including some that are known to be carcinogenic; getting it in contact with your skin or breathing the vapour on a regular basis are pretty dumb things to do, even if you manage not to blow yourself up with it.....

Diesel is safer to work with fire risk-wise but (IIRC) only a little less poisonous.

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Gattonero
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Re: Soaking a chain in petrol

Postby Gattonero » 23 Jul 2017, 12:40pm

Should go without saying about the risks of using solvents, but good to repeat up there, better safe than sorry!
I thought would be implied to work in well ventilated areas, especially if using a compressor blasting off solvents
It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best,
since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them.
Thus you remember them as they actually are...

thornie1543
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Re: Soaking a chain in petrol

Postby thornie1543 » 23 Jul 2017, 2:43pm

Thanks for all the interesting answers folks,i usually always keep my drivetrain in good order as I use by bike a lot but slipped a bit lately,thinking of it the chain is quite new so I think i'll just take it off and give it a scrub with some degreaser before going down the petrol route,i've thought about those chain cleaning devices in the past,food for thought there.

cycle tramp
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Re: Soaking a chain in petrol

Postby cycle tramp » 23 Jul 2017, 5:11pm

Possibility in the interests of you health you may wish to avoid petrol & diesel (not only are they flammable but the vapours they emit prompt cancer within the body)

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Re: Soaking a chain in petrol

Postby Gattonero » 23 Jul 2017, 5:25pm

cycle tramp wrote:Possibility in the interests of you health you may wish to avoid petrol & diesel (not only are they flammable but the vapours they emit prompt cancer within the body)


To be fair, even the "bio degreasers" are not good stuff either, some have a lot of fragrance added (to mask how nasty they really smell?) so you can't really use them indoors.
It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best,
since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them.
Thus you remember them as they actually are...

axel_knutt
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Re: Soaking a chain in petrol

Postby axel_knutt » 23 Jul 2017, 6:07pm

Gattonero wrote:one of those chain-cleaners that you attach to the bike and turn the cranks, will do a great job

....of plastering the bike and garage floor with black oily solvent, and keeping you busy clearing up the mess for the rest of the day.
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