Wednesday, March 27, 2013

To Frame Save or Not To Frame Save: That is the Question?

I put a lot of miles on my Ogre last year and it needed a little overhaul.  I am not sure why, but the Ogre has become one of my favorites.  I suppose it is the combination of a number of things from fit, how it rides, and the fact that I feel like I can bang it around a little and don't worry about it's huge cost or chipping the beautiful Olive Drab paint.   I have stated before my only real complaint was that I am not real fond of some of the areas that collect water and show some surface rust.  So I decided to bite the bullet and treat the inside of the frame for piece of mind.  While it is not an "expensive" bike by today's standards, I do like to make things last as long as I can, especially if it is something I like.

To Frame Save or Not To Frame Save:  That is the question?

Holy Cow, I did not realize that this was such a controversial issue in the bicycling world.  There is a lot of discussion on the topic and not always friendly.  Surly Bikes has a FAQ on taking care of a steel frame.  They list a number of treatment options and even though I keep my bikes indoors but I figured I would do it to be safe.  I turned to the interweb to find both product and tips where I quickly found that there are three schools of thought when it comes to treating the inside of a bike frame.  

1.  "Do it"
2.  "Don't do it, it is Voodoo.  You are stupid and waste your money if you do it!"
3.  "Meh, I don't know if it works but it is cheap so why not!"

Oddly enough the second was the most passionate and many responses were borderline hostile.  After spending some time reading on it I went with option number 3.

The Secret Sauce! 

There are several options that I would have settled for:
1.  Boiled Linseed Oil 
2.  Boeshield T-9
3.  J.P. Weigle Frame Saver
4.  AMSOIL HDMP

I wasn't looking for a "pepto bismol" solution that only coats.  If I was going to spend some time I wanted something that fought rust too.  Besides, I don't even know what boiled linseed oil is.  I decided that I was going to use J.P. Weigle Frame Saver, heck for all I know all that is boiled linseed oil.  I went to my favorite LBS and they said it was currently out of stock at the distributer.  That seems to be a trend.  I tried a number of online sources before I changed my course.  I heard that AMSOIL Heavy Duty Metal Protector was essentially the same thing and a number of people said you could get it at any auto part store so I spent a day trying to get that to no avail.

Then I read where Boeshield T-9 which I use on my chain seals is great for metal protection.  I read a great article where it was the best for protecting metal surfaces on table saws and related woodworking equipment.  So I began the search for a spray can of T-9.......with equal results as before.  I walked into a bike shop to look for some T-9 when I saw a can of Frame Saver.  I spent days trying to find a suitable product and there is was.    

Treating the Frame:

This is not rocket surgery by any means but the last thing I want to do is clean up a huge mess.  I taped off all of the holes with a low tack masking tape and shoved some paper towel into the bottom bracket to absorb run off from the down tube.  The fumes from Frame Saver are pretty strong so I did it out in my garage.

Now it is a party!


Down Tube and Top Tube:  I sprayed frame saver into the Top Tube and Down Tube from the head tube openings.  Then I wadded up some paper towel, inserted it into the head tube and taped it off.  I left the Head Set cups in.  

Chain Stays:  I sprayed the Frame Saver into the chain stays through the bottom bracket holes.  Then I wadded up some paper towel and shoved it into the BB and taped it off.

Seat Stays:  This is where I had some problems.  Because the Seat Tube extends far above the point where the seat stays are welded on I could not get to them with the included straw.  This meant that I would have to spray it into the gas vent holes which the instructions very clearly state you should not as pressure and gas from the can cause Frame Saver to spray back out of the holes.  At this point I donned safety glasses!  Sure enough when I pulled the straw out, Frame Saver sprayed back out a bit.  This was a little messy.  Then I taped over the hole.




Seat Tube:  Sprayed then I put a little paper towel at the top and taped it off.


This thing:  This is the source of a lot of my rust.  Water sprays up there and little rusty orange rivers come out. I soaked this in Frame Saver and then taped it off.





Once I had every thing taped off I rotated the frame around every hour or so.  The next day I pulled the tape off and sprayed it again the same way.

After the second application I brought it into the house (still taped up) and the next day I pulled the tape off to let it dry completely.  This is where I ran into some trouble.  I had a 6:30 a.m. meeting and I wanted to take the tape off before I left for the day.  When I pulled the tape off of the seat stay hole Frame Saver shot out and sprayed all over my face and t-shirt.  It was 4:30 in the morning and I didn't have time to lose my eyesight.  I ran my face under the kitchen faucet for a while but my skin was irritated through out the day.  I don't even understand what would cause that.  It didn't spray back out when I pulled the straw out and it took a few seconds to to put tape over it so gas or pressure should have escaped.  Lesson learned.....wear eye pro!

Clean Up:  Over spray and leaks cleaned up easily with WD-40.  If I didn't plan on disassembling the bike I probably wouldn't do it.  If it is a brand new naked frame I would do it.  Meh!  We will see, if the little orange rivers stop than it was worth it.

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