Chain O-ring WD-40 exposure effects study and results

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by klm4755, May 25, 2008.

  1. WzlTech

    WzlTech The fool on the hill

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    I dissected a chain once and did a post on it, if you want to see what happens when o-rings go missing: http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?p=7124392#post7124392

    The grease actually doesn't have anything to do with the rollers that contact the sprocket. There is an "outer pin" that the roller rides on and the grease is between that and the "inner" pin...or "axle" as you called it. Hope that makes sense. The link post might make it more clear, has pictures.

    Sorry for the hijack, just trying to help out the curious.
    #41
  2. Jamie Z

    Jamie Z Long timer

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    Very nice report. Some observations:

    Multiple data points would be useful. Multiple O-rings for each chemical.

    More than 24-hours would be more like real life.

    Is O-ring swelling (or shrinking) the problem? It would be interesting to spray or soak an assembled chain and examine the effect (if any) it has on the internal chain lube.

    I've been using "Lamp Oil" as it's easier for me to obtain that kerosene. From what I know, lamp oil is kerosene but I sometimes wonder if it has some additives which affect its usefulness as a chain cleaner.

    Jamie
    #42
  3. ibafran

    ibafran villagidiot

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    It is my experience that WD-40 is a terrible chain lube. I get 25k miles using real lube and/or 120wt gear oil from an oiler.

    I lost a perfectly good chain in 12k miles. No ammount of WD-40 was helpful. The chain dried rapidly and a red oxide/dust appeared rapidly. O-rings got hard and cracked off. I suspect that the chain got hot enough to cook the o-rings. It was a terrible experience and I will never repeat the test/experiment unless sprockets and chains and WD-40 is supplied to me for free.

    WD-40 might (and that is a mighty big MIGHT) be ok as a chain cleaner. But I wouldnt recommend it.

    If I was going to wash/clean a chain, I would run garden hose water over it to get mud and water soluable stuff off first. Then, brush it gently with kerosene to dissolve caked greases trying not to force any crud into the chain.

    Sure. WD-40 may not hurt o-rings. That doesnt mean that its a good idea for the chain. I couldnt make WD-40 work on my chain. YMMV
    #43
  4. wazman

    wazman Been here awhile

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    All this quasi-empirical testing is OK but I will not accept any of these findings until they are tested on Myth Busters by blowing something up or dropping it from a great height.:deal
    #44
  5. tmotten

    tmotten Lefthand ride Dutchy

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    Here goes my idea of using terpentine. Now I need to carry bloody kero around on my trip.

    The bottom one has been in terps for day. It felt a lot softer as well.

    [​IMG]
    The picky doesn't show it too well, but trust me, it's bigger. And that's for you girls out there too....... :evil
    #45
  6. aardschok

    aardschok Fallout Rider

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    When is a good time to change the chain? Mine has 15k miles and still looks good to me.:dunno
    #46
  7. Doghouse_Riley

    Doghouse_Riley Wannabe Adventure Tourer

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    When it's stretched beyond the service limit as specified in your service manual.
    #47
  8. suprPHREAK

    suprPHREAK Adventurer

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    WD40 alone should never be used as a lubricant. It dries and evaporates fairly rapidly, that it will not provide much lubrication after only a few hours. It is, however, GREAT for cleaning a chain, and removing gunked on grease.

    I use WD40 for cleaning the chain off, getting any dried lube and gunk off, then apply DuPont multiuse Teflon lubricant (for bikes) on there. So far, so good: 23,000km and the chain is like new.
    #48
  9. smokinjoe

    smokinjoe hippie kicker

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    :clap

    WOW! Thanks for taking the time to do this...I'd have never thought about a comparison test.

    I'm really bad about cleaning my chain. I lube the thing regularly and inspect it, but clean it....not so much.:baldy
    #49
  10. Janosh

    Janosh Old Man

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    Back in 66 I was in the Navy and they banned the use of WD40 due to the fact it draws moisture. Spraying unprotected steel with it leaves a coat of rust the next day in a humid environment. Of course, that was 42 years ago. God, I can't believe I have been around that long. I'm certainly not old. I like Diesel myself. Top it with some chain lube to keep it from rusting.
    Janosh
    #50
  11. Chad M

    Chad M A full head of air.

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    Isn't the whole point of W(ater)D(displacing)40 to not draw moisture? Something is not right, by "humid environment" do you mean dipped in seawater and left on the deck of a battleship?

    Chad.
    #51
  12. wyowillys46

    wyowillys46 Petrosexual.

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    Holy crap. You know, it's a KLR, not a submarine. :lol3
    #52
  13. Chubber

    Chubber I am the Brewmaster.

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    You gotta hide the porno stash somewhere you know she will NEVER look...
    #53
  14. rivercreep

    rivercreep Banned

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    The only thing I used on my DR650s' (s- as I've owned a 91 and 97) was spray on silicone. Worked great as a cleaner and lube and since the o-rings are of a silicone compound it just always made sense to not mix compounds to me.
    I'd clean/lube with the stuff every 1,000 miles and routinely get between 15 and 20,000 miles per chain/sprocket combo. Not bad factoring in all the water crossings and river grit.

    Shame I didn't find what I was looking for here in regards to my chain wear search, though!

    Good Job but, there's just sooo many variables to consider.
    #54
  15. gboezio

    gboezio Been here awhile

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    Great report, this would end up some eternal debate on chain cleaning
    Great work:clap
    #55
  16. klm4755

    klm4755 Been here awhile

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    Thanks! part II test results are shown here:
    http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=350310

    I consider a 20% reduction in O-ring strength, due to WD-40 usage, a concern. I'm considering a part III test to evaluate the degeradation of the O-ring OEM grease within the link it's self.
    Keithm
    #56
  17. Wuwei

    Wuwei Long timer

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    Stupid bike shop trick: When I worked as a mechanic in a bike (bicycle) shop we would blow up old inner tubes like balloons, spray them with a little WD40 and then toss them in a corner. After a few hours the tube would explode, hopefully causing everyone not in the know to spill their coffee. In our shop we were careful to keep WD40 away from tires and inner tubes. WD40 does negatively impact some rubbers and plastics, but not others. I try to keep it away from any rubber or plastic, just to be on the safe side.
    #57
  18. Janosh

    Janosh Old Man

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    The way WD deals with moistrure apears to be that it absorbes it, then the distilates evaporate leaving the moisture behind which then ocidizes with the metal.
    This is why the Navy banned it's use back in the 60's
    They changed to CRC at the time.
    I think I'll have to go with the Silicone for chains, it doesnt cake up with gritty dust, and doesn't hurt the O rings.

    Have you ever noticed there is lots of miss information, and deception in life? A friend told me that planet Earth is an Insane Asylum and the best we can do is try and be sane.
    Janosh
    #58
  19. fixer

    fixer KLR-riding cheap bastard

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    i tried many things on bicycle chains back in the day.

    dipping chain in melted paraffin. worked well, but required periodic reapplication, which meant pulling the chain and melting the paraffin in a double boiler. laso left me with a squeaking chain around mile 150 of a 200 mile ride. stopped using it after that.

    WD-40: not very good, needed very frequent application.

    Tri-Flow: worked good, but left dark marks on anything the chain touched.

    Silicone Spray: clean, but seemed to need FREQUENT reapplication.

    LPS-3: waxy, worked well in everything except dusty environments. also provided great service when i got a street bike (moto) and i'd get over 20,000 miles out of an RK chain. don't think it's what i'd use for dual-sport abuse.
    #59
  20. smokinjoe

    smokinjoe hippie kicker

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    Well, leave it to the military....that's why WD-40 was invented. Water Displacement formula #40.

    Like I say, I'm not real good about cleaning the chain, but I do check it almost every time I go out, and it gets lubed with Chain Wax after a 5-10 minute ride to warm it up; just like the directions say. In the olden days before O-rings, I would break the chain, clean with diesel, let it dry, then into the oven for a bit to warm it up for 30-45 minutes on a low setting. When it got good and warm, I'd drop it into a bucket of 80/90 or 80/120 gear lube. :dunno What can I say, it worked great on that old '49 Panhead!!! Life was so much simpler back then!!!:lol2
    #60