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Re: [Geared_hub_bikes] Good solvent

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  • David Chase
    ... You re overly fastidious :-). I do my best to keep road crud off my chain (partial chaincase in the front), but otherwise we re just putting off the
    Message 1 of 31 , Mar 19, 2013
      On 2013-03-18, at 2:17 PM, Benjamin Nead <mcnead@...> wrote:
      > Maybe I'm just overly fastidious when it comes to my bike, but I clean the road muck off my chain and cassette (with citrus degreaser) and give it a light lube (with biodiesel) about every two weeks. When I move to an IGH, the 3-in-One blue label (NOT the black label household stuff) seems to be the safest best bet.

      You're overly fastidious :-). I do my best to keep road crud off my chain (partial chaincase in the front), but otherwise we're just putting off the inevitable.

      > As for viscosity ratings on these automotive-specific lubricants, I know that gear oil viscosity is measured differently than automotive crankcase oil . . .

      I'm talking about apples-to-apples comparisons -- whether X is motor or transmission, synthetic X oil tends to lubricate better at lower viscosity than traditional petroleum X oils. When it gets cold, synthetic oil remains pourable at lower temperatures.

      > Note, also, in the above link, the below quoted passages, which may or may not apply to the specific products your thinking of . . .
      > "EP additives which contain phosphorous/sulfurous compounds are corrosive to yellow metals such as the copper and/or brass used in bushings and synchronizers; the GL1 class of gear oils does not contain any EP additives and thus finds use in applications which contain parts made of yellow metals."

      EP additives are found in heavier weight transmission oils; they smell (there's a nice correlation between the smell of the oil and the presence of "EP" on the label). I don't recommend those for bicycle hubs, both because they tend to be too viscous, and because they smell.

      > "GL-5 is not necessarily backward-compatible in synchro-mesh transmissions which are designed for a GL-4 oil: GL-5 has a lower coefficient of friction due to the higher concentration of EP additives over GL-4, and thus synchros can not engage as effectively.

      No bicycle hub (that I have ever heard of) has a synchromesh. The goal of a synchromesh is to act somewhat like a disengaging clutch as your lock a particular gear to the shaft on which it is spinning. Synchros are made of brass or bronze (i.e., a softer yellow metal) so that they wear (not the expensive hardened steel gears) and can be replaced on a transmission rebuild. The problem they refer to is the inability of synchros to do their job -- GL-5 is too slippery, hence the synchros do not grab and hence they do not synchronize the gear before it is engaged (and thus you get grinding and steady damage to the hardened steel). (Yes, I have rebuilt manual transmissions. And once I goofed and forgot to drain it before cracking the case open.)

      > Also, transmissions which explicitly call for GL-4 oil may have been designed around this lower concentration of EP additives and thus may contain yellow metal parts which GL-5 will corrode."

      Other than the brass in the Rohloff external mech, I'm not sure of any brass in IGHs. None that I saw in an AW-3, or an Alfine 8, or an iMotion 9. Seals, maybe?

      Turns out there is a standard for yellow metal corrosion (ASTM D-130) and you can see how oils rate on that. 1A is best, 1B is acceptable (gasoline must be 1B or better). GL-4 apparently has to meet ASTM D-130 at 1B or better.

      > This would lead me to be cautious about taking any available automotive lubricant that happens to be sitting on the shelf at the local Pep Boys and pouring it inside any old IGH.
      > Are there any specific synthetic auto lubes that you can recommend for hubs (specific brands, viscosity rating, etc.) and - given that some hubs may or may not have these copper or brass bushings - ones that don't have these GL-5 or even GL-4 additives?


      AMSOIL Manual Synchromesh Transmission Fluid 5W-30 (ASTM D-130, 1A)
      AMSOIL Synthetic Fuel Efficient ATF (ASTM D-130, 1B)

      Mobil One ATF. Doesn't smell like it has the EP additives, is not listed as containing the EP additives, and the MSDS does not call out any special compounds. Is "minimally toxic", with no LD50 known.

      Mobil synthetic motor oils also look decent -- no particular mention of sulfur compounds, I know they don't smell like it, and they are also "minimally toxic" with no LD50 known. Motor oils are not terribly likely to be chemically reactive, since they are in a very hot environment (good for making chemical reactions go).

      For comparison, Mobil synthetic gear lube (heavier weight, for manual transmissions) does declare that it is GL-5, does smell, and its MSDS lists "olefin sulfide", "phosphoric acid esters", "amine salt", and though it is also "minimally toxic", there are known concentrations that will kill 50% of rats and bunnies.

      However, it turns out that the gear lubes have been studied, some to a fare-thee-well. The internet is a wonderful place. Look here, it's probably worth making this a reference:

      A Study of Automotive Gear Lubes - www.goodsenseoil.com/G2457-GearOilWhitePaper.pdf
      summary (w.r.t. corrosion of yellow metal):
      BAD (4A/4B): MOPAR, Royal Purple, and Lucas.
      GOOD (1A/1B): AMSOIL, Mobil 1, Red Line GM Torco, Pennzoil, Castrol, Valvoline.

      FAIR (2A): DELO
    • jim
      In Florida it is unlawful to dispense gas into glass containers, and I bet other states prohibit it. I could imagine some sort of electrical activity released
      Message 31 of 31 , Mar 19, 2013
        In Florida it is unlawful to dispense gas into glass containers, and I bet other states prohibit it. I could imagine some sort of electrical activity released as a glass container separated into pieces, even without a metal involved. And then the liquid gas and the vapors released from within would be suspended or splashing about, gaining lots of surface interface with the air and no doubt go fireball bonkers. 
        Yeeeks!!!  I guess I'm lucky the ca-ca didn't hit the fan and I'm not hideously burned or worse.  Older, stale gas like I what used to clean bike parts that time has lost some volatility, but still....

        From: bikealfa <mtwils@...>
        To: Geared_hub_bikes@yahoogroups.com
        Sent: Tuesday, March 19, 2013 10:57 PM
        Subject: [Geared_hub_bikes] Re: Good solvent
        I was strongly advised against gasoline in my younger days, back when it had lead. It was a contact poison as well as poisonous when ingested, and it had a very low flash point. Sheldon Brown said you could throw a lit match into a container of kerosene and nothing would happen. Gasoline was not that stable. The gas stations would not even put it in a glass jar; they claimed that if the glass broke you could get sparks that would set it alight.

        I suspect that today's gasoline formulations are less poisonous and less volatile than the stuff of 40 years ago, but ...

        Today I use very little solvent for washing bike parts. The 40 year old Sears wheel bearing grease does not seem to harden up, nor does the Phil grease that I got from a basement bike shop that went out of business. When I do need something I use alcohol or paint thinner, because those are available in the garage.

        I don't wash chains, I lube them periodically and throw them away when they are worn out.

        Michael Wilson

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