WD-40 & Chain - Wrist Twisters
 
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post #1 of 23 Old 01-18-2014, 03:22 PM Thread Starter
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WD-40 & Chain

My Iron Butt Magazine arrived. I perused the chain lube test. The basis was simple: heat is caused by friction. Dupont Teflon, Blue Label PJ-1, WD-40 and Scott Oiler with ATF were compared by taking temperature readings with an infrared thermometer at both sprockets and several points on the chain. Readings were taken at 37 and 73 miles of constant highway speed. The results were surprising. Of course the Scott oiler rendered the lowest temperatures but close 2nd was good old WD-40! There was barely 10 degrees separating the field and conditions did not involve dirt or rain and my beloved PJ-1 came in last.

I remembered this thread where some guy soaked identical o-rings in popular lubricants and then measured them. The LEAST degradation occurred in the o-ring immersed in, you guessed it, WD-40. PJ-1 was almost as good. The other o-rings were visibly swollen and the one in the LPS was destroyed.

Convinced that WD-40 was at least not harmful to o-rings, I decided to try it on my trip. I wanted a way to quickly lube the chain during my SS2000 so I fashioned a pouch on the front of my left pannier to hold the can and I gave the exposed parts of the chain a quick squirt at every gas stop. It took seconds and not only did the chain never run dry, it required NO ADJUSTMENT for the entire 4800 mile trip! New chain? Nope. I'm also sold on the new EK brand ZZZ 530 x-ring rated at 11,000#. This one had over 10k on it when I started. Granted if I had encountered rain I would have switched back to PJ-1.

So here's my new best friend.



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post #2 of 23 Old 01-18-2014, 04:06 PM
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Oh boy, a chain lube thread: here we go!!


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post #3 of 23 Old 01-18-2014, 04:15 PM
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I run this stuff on the rentals. And usually get 15k out of a chain. And these are rentals, so you know that they never get lubed while out riding. Just when I get my hands on them. (of course we sell the stuff too...)

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post #4 of 23 Old 01-18-2014, 04:16 PM
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Sounds like it worked good for you Ken. I use WD-40 to clean my chain sometimes. Seems a little thin to me to use as a lube, but can't argue with results.

WD-40 -"The Legend of King Arthur" - YouTube

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post #5 of 23 Old 01-18-2014, 04:41 PM
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I trust the Dupont Teflon chain saver but use wd40 soaked rags to clean the chain between deeper cleans (motul chain cleaner + light touches with soft bristled toothbrush).

Using the 520 x-ring did chain LDH had going on sale for awhile, I'd say so far so good. Counter and steel sprockey still look brand new. No kinks or tight spots to report and still within adjustment range. Probably about 12k miles on them now with 4 track days in there. Not big on abrupt accelerations or wheelies though.

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post #6 of 23 Old 01-18-2014, 05:14 PM
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That's all we've ever used on our motocross O/X-ring chains. Never tried it on a street bike though. Thanks for the post.

Robert

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post #7 of 23 Old 01-18-2014, 06:01 PM
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I always had a can of wd-40 with me on my way to Nicaragua. I would be cleaning the chain every night at the hotels and hostels.
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post #8 of 23 Old 01-18-2014, 09:14 PM
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Very interesting thread and studies and there are lots of strong opinions. It's a good read. I'd guess most of the mechanics among us have used WD-40 for years. It's an aggressive cleaner and solvent but not a good lubricant. It's not even a good enough lubricant for the door hinges in my house. There is no effective or lasting (oil) film.
I hope no one thinks WD-40 should be used instead of a good chain lubricant.

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post #9 of 23 Old 01-18-2014, 09:26 PM
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Clean the wd40, lube with something else.

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post #10 of 23 Old 01-19-2014, 06:31 AM
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Ken, I worked as an industrial mechanic in the gulf of mexico 20 years way out on production platforms. I saw guys out there who sprayed wd-40 on everything. It has so little oil in it and actually acted as a solvent to remove heavy oils and grease on equipment and the result was negative in the harsh environment we were in. The parts sprayed by guys would be dry and rusty after a few days in the salt air environment. I think as someone said in above post.... need some heavy lube put on after cleaning.. Just my . ....... lew

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post #11 of 23 Old 01-19-2014, 07:29 AM
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What do you guys do to keep whatever you're spraying from getting on the swingarm and wheel?
I hold a piece of paper behind the chain as I spray it, but that gets messy.

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post #12 of 23 Old 01-19-2014, 07:53 AM
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I spray it into a shop rag and run the chain through the rag.

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post #13 of 23 Old 01-19-2014, 09:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ditch View Post
I spray it into a shop rag and run the chain through the rag.
Been using this the same way to keep the chain clean and free of corrosion. I lube with BelRay PJI at appropriate intervals when on tour.



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post #14 of 23 Old 01-19-2014, 09:59 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EatDirtFartDust View Post
What do you guys do to keep whatever you're spraying from getting on the swingarm and wheel?
I hold a piece of paper behind the chain as I spray it, but that gets messy.
I have heavy rubber gloves and I hold a rag behind the area I'm spraying which is under the front of the swingarm. I start at the master link and rotate the rear wheel a little at a time. I clean with WD-40 and lube with PJ-1.

I needed a fast method to keep the chain wet on my Iron Butt ride and the built-in straw on the WD-40 can was just the thing. Aftwerward I did spray the chain with PJ-1 each morning.

I wanted to pass along the findings of the Iron Butt Magazine crew too. So my conclusion is while WD-40 has proven itself to be safe for o-rings and effective at reducing heat and friction when applied every 150 miles or so, it is still not a long term lube and shouldn't be used exclusively as such. It's just another arrow in the quiver.
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post #15 of 23 Old 01-19-2014, 11:56 AM
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Do yourselves a favor and ditch the Pj-1 lube. Its terrible stuff. Especially in wet and/or dirty envrionments. Instead, use the Teflon Chain Saver. That stuff is amazing. I've used it rain or shine and my chain will still look very clean after 500 miles.

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post #16 of 23 Old 01-19-2014, 12:52 PM
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Another great thing about the DuPont Teflon Saver and non - gunky lubricants, that build up under the counter cover stops growing. Before switching it would always be a mess, you can scoop all the old dirt and lube that's massed underneath. A pain in the ass to get nice and clean. Now with the chain saver, wd40 and a rag cleans that area up real quick and no scooping gunk out.

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- '01 RC51 SP1 (Sold)
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post #17 of 23 Old 01-19-2014, 01:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pvster View Post
Do yourselves a favor and ditch the Pj-1 lube. Its terrible stuff. Especially in wet and/or dirty envrionments. Instead, use the Teflon Chain Saver. That stuff is amazing. I've used it rain or shine and my chain will still look very clean after 500 miles.
Yeah that stuff sucks and just ends up everywhere except your chain. After I've cleaned the chain I flip the rag over and use some gear oil. I have to do it often, but if just takes a minute and it's fun caring for your bike anyway.

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post #18 of 23 Old 01-19-2014, 07:33 PM
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Just don't buy it from these guys:

List price: $7.99
Our price: $33.95

HELLVA markup

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post #19 of 23 Old 01-19-2014, 07:48 PM
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post #20 of 23 Old 01-20-2014, 07:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken Phenix View Post
So my conclusion is while WD-40 has proven itself to be safe for o-rings and effective at reducing heat and friction when applied every 150 miles or so, it is still not a long term lube and shouldn't be used exclusively as such. It's just another arrow in the quiver.
The problem with WD40 ISN'T that it harms o-rings, it's that the solvent part of WD40 gets by the o-ring and washes/dilutes the factory grease in the chain.

I clean with kerosene and lube with motor oil..........just my "2 cents".

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post #21 of 23 Old 01-20-2014, 08:16 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PAULIBIKER View Post
The problem with WD40 ISN'T that it harms o-rings, it's that the solvent part of WD40 gets by the o-ring and washes/dilutes the factory grease in the chain.

I clean with kerosene and lube with motor oil..........just my "2 cents".
That may be true but my focus here is to dispel some chain lube myths. In the little ADV test above WD-40 caused the LEAST o-ring degradation of all the products tested.

BTW: Kerosene is a main ingredient in WD-40. If it gets by the o-rings and thins the grease, it stands to reason straight kerosene will too.
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post #22 of 23 Old 01-20-2014, 08:39 AM
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I clean the chain once or twice a year with a rag and WD40, and then let the scottoiler oil it as usual.

I have now 19.5k miles on the kit and it has now reached the green zone (you know, as the chain is long, it starts far away from the green zone). I had to adjust it twice or three times.

Too, I use WD40 for cleaning the bike of oily dirt under the mufflers, plate, the front sprocket cover, etc... and lubing the clutch cable too. It's really multipurpose.

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post #23 of 23 Old 01-20-2014, 04:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken Phenix View Post
BTW: Kerosene is a main ingredient in WD-40. If it gets by the o-rings and thins the grease, it stands to reason straight kerosene will too.
Sorry, but flawed logic.

The issue with WD-40 is that it displaces most liquids due to the other chemicals added that makes WD-40 so unqiue. When WD-40 evaporates away, it leaves behind those chemicals hence why things become so dry after the fact.

Kero does not.

Been using Kero baths and Teflon Chainsaver on my chain now through 5 track days and over 25k miles (need to sit down and do the math to be exact) and the chain is still in adjustment range despite being in harsh dirty and wet conditions (114 links).

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