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#4496349 - 08/23/17 06:43 PM Degreasing threads
VeeDubb Offline


Registered: 08/15/02
Posts: 2435
Loc: Indiana
I wanted to degrease some threads on my bike before using the torque wrench since the torque specs are for dry threads. I'm curious - what is a safe way to degrease aluminum and steel threads? I thought about using a speed degreaser and then it occurred to me it might be harmful to aluminum. Would rubbing alcohol be okay?

Thanks
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#4496359 - 08/23/17 06:50 PM Re: Degreasing threads [Re: VeeDubb]
ZeeOSix Offline


Registered: 07/22/10
Posts: 17771
Loc: PNW
Originally Posted By: VeeDubb
Would rubbing alcohol be okay

Yes, I use it to clean threads and many other things when I work on all my stuff.

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#4496367 - 08/23/17 07:01 PM Re: Degreasing threads [Re: VeeDubb]
tom slick Offline


Registered: 05/26/03
Posts: 9301
Loc: Central Coast, Calif.
Mineral spirits degrease well and doesn't affect most surfaces.
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#4496383 - 08/23/17 07:18 PM Re: Degreasing threads [Re: VeeDubb]
ArcticDriver Offline


Registered: 01/27/17
Posts: 1139
Loc: USA
I have no proof but I don't believe a degreaser is going to damage aluminum threads.

Perhaps a resident metallurgist will chime in.
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Multiple Diesel and Gasoline vehicles

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#4496391 - 08/23/17 07:26 PM Re: Degreasing threads [Re: VeeDubb]
NoNameJoe Offline


Registered: 06/03/15
Posts: 414
Loc: New York
Rubbing alcohol or brake cleaner. Be careful about getting the brake cleaner on painted or plastic surfaces. Both of these are volatile and will evaporate with no residue, except for the alcohol leaving a little bit of water behind depending on the purity but usually the common 70% leaves so little water it evaporates as well. I use these two to clean everything, my tools, auto parts, et cetera.

Originally Posted By: ArcticDriver
I have no proof but I don't believe a degreaser is going to damage aluminum threads.

Perhaps a resident metallurgist will chime in.

Certain degreasers can cause awful etching/staining of aluminum if left in contact for too long, allowed to dry or directly in the sun. For steel, degreasers can cause hydrogen embrittlement. There are metal-safe degreasers out there like Simple Green Pro HD. If you're going to use degreasers make sure to rinse it well.

http://www.velonews.com/2005/11/bikes-an...le-green-2_9216

I left an aluminum casting for a distributor soaked in Purple Power + water mixture to degrease and it came out stained a dull gray.

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#4496398 - 08/23/17 07:38 PM Re: Degreasing threads [Re: VeeDubb]
JHZR2 Offline



Registered: 12/14/02
Posts: 41773
Loc: New Jersey
Id use brake parts cleaner.

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#4496401 - 08/23/17 07:40 PM Re: Degreasing threads [Re: VeeDubb]
justintendo Offline


Registered: 03/04/17
Posts: 101
Loc: northwest pa
we use starting fluid alot at work to clean. seemed odd at first but works well and is mild on painted surfaces.
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#4496409 - 08/23/17 07:49 PM Re: Degreasing threads [Re: tom slick]
Merkava_4 Offline


Registered: 01/30/07
Posts: 17501
Loc: Clovis, CA
Originally Posted By: tom slick
Mineral spirits degrease well and doesn't affect most surfaces.


THIS + TOOTHBRUSH!

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#4496428 - 08/23/17 08:12 PM Re: Degreasing threads [Re: VeeDubb]
rooflessVW Online   content


Registered: 12/24/11
Posts: 4039
Loc: North Carolina
Isopropyl is what I use to clean basically everything. I keep a 5 gallon can around. In a good spray bottle, it's very good for flushing out contaminants and quickly.

Many common degreasers are harmful to aluminum if left in contact long term - like inside a blind hole or a lap joint. Simple Green stands out as a common degreaser that is harmful to aluminum. It should be diluted for use and flushed heavily with water afterwards. Even then, you may get some streaking on an aluminum part.
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#4496440 - 08/23/17 08:22 PM Re: Degreasing threads [Re: rooflessVW]
ArcticDriver Offline


Registered: 01/27/17
Posts: 1139
Loc: USA
Originally Posted By: rooflessVW
Isopropyl is what I use to clean basically everything. I keep a 5 gallon can around. In a good spray bottle, it's very good for flushing out contaminants and quickly.

Many common degreasers are harmful to aluminum if left in contact long term - like inside a blind hole or a lap joint. Simple Green stands out as a common degreaser that is harmful to aluminum. It should be diluted for use and flushed heavily with water afterwards. Even then, you may get some streaking on an aluminum part.


There appears to be two different conversations going on.

The OP asked specifically about aluminum threads and many of the responses have discussed aesthetic issues on aluminum surfaces.

Can someone please tell me how these various degreasers destroy aluminum bolts or threading? Do they cause oxidation? Do they cause brittleness?

I have used Brakleen and PB Blaster for decades on aluminum bolts with no apparent ill effect. I have never later had one of these bolts snap off or show any other signs of fatigue. I would like to know how degreasers destroy an aluminum bolt.

Acids? Yes.
Degreasers? Please explain.

Thanks
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#4496446 - 08/23/17 08:29 PM Re: Degreasing threads [Re: ArcticDriver]
rooflessVW Online   content


Registered: 12/24/11
Posts: 4039
Loc: North Carolina
Originally Posted By: ArcticDriver
There appears to be two different conversations going on.

The OP asked specifically about aluminum threads and many of the responses have discussed aesthetic issues on aluminum surfaces.

Can someone please tell me how these various degreasers destroy aluminum bolts or threading? Do they cause oxidation? Do they cause brittleness?

I have used Brakleen and PB Blaster for decades on aluminum bolts with no apparent ill effect. I have never later had one of these bolts snap off or show any other signs of fatigue. I would like to know how degreasers destroy an aluminum bolt.

Acids? Yes.
Degreasers? Please explain.

Thanks

What do you think streaking or oxidation on aluminum is? It is corrosion. Normally it stops by itself - the oxidized layer acts like a barrier.

Most degreasers are heavy alkaline solutions and will continue to corrode aluminum. Think Simple Green, Purple Power, Grez-off, etc.

Brakleen and PB Blaster are solvent degreasers, PB Blaster has oil in it as well. Much safer for aluminum, and not what came to mind when I posted.
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#4496450 - 08/23/17 08:32 PM Re: Degreasing threads [Re: NoNameJoe]
ArcticDriver Offline


Registered: 01/27/17
Posts: 1139
Loc: USA
Originally Posted By: NoNameJoe
Rubbing alcohol or brake cleaner. Be careful about getting the brake cleaner on painted or plastic surfaces. Both of these are volatile and will evaporate with no residue, except for the alcohol leaving a little bit of water behind depending on the purity but usually the common 70% leaves so little water it evaporates as well. I use these two to clean everything, my tools, auto parts, et cetera.

Originally Posted By: ArcticDriver
I have no proof but I don't believe a degreaser is going to damage aluminum threads.

Perhaps a resident metallurgist will chime in.

Certain degreasers can cause awful etching/staining of aluminum if left in contact for too long, allowed to dry or directly in the sun. For steel, degreasers can cause hydrogen embrittlement. There are metal-safe degreasers out there like Simple Green Pro HD. If you're going to use degreasers make sure to rinse it well.

http://www.velonews.com/2005/11/bikes-an...le-green-2_9216

I left an aluminum casting for a distributor soaked in Purple Power + water mixture to degrease and it came out stained a dull gray.


I read the link of hydrogen embrittlement on a SRAM chain which was left soaking for 6 months. The concern is the mixture became acidic over that long period of time.

When I read the OP, I did not see that he intended to soak the aluminum bolts for several months.

I don't use Simple Green or Purple Power since a thorough rinse is necessary and that defeats the point of it for cleaning threads IMO. I would use a wire brush and brakleen.
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Multiple Diesel and Gasoline vehicles

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#4496453 - 08/23/17 08:34 PM Re: Degreasing threads [Re: VeeDubb]
4WD Offline


Registered: 09/21/10
Posts: 6366
Loc: Texas
Kind & gentle - WD40 to remove grease & Dawn to remove WD40 ...

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#4496458 - 08/23/17 08:38 PM Re: Degreasing threads [Re: rooflessVW]
ArcticDriver Offline


Registered: 01/27/17
Posts: 1139
Loc: USA
Originally Posted By: rooflessVW
Originally Posted By: ArcticDriver
There appears to be two different conversations going on.

The OP asked specifically about aluminum threads and many of the responses have discussed aesthetic issues on aluminum surfaces.

Can someone please tell me how these various degreasers destroy aluminum bolts or threading? Do they cause oxidation? Do they cause brittleness?

I have used Brakleen and PB Blaster for decades on aluminum bolts with no apparent ill effect. I have never later had one of these bolts snap off or show any other signs of fatigue. I would like to know how degreasers destroy an aluminum bolt.

Acids? Yes.
Degreasers? Please explain.

Thanks

What do you think streaking or oxidation on aluminum is? It is corrosion. Normally it stops by itself - the oxidized layer acts like a barrier.

Most degreasers are heavy alkaline solutions and will continue to corrode aluminum. Think Simple Green, Purple Power, Grez-off, etc.

Brakleen and PB Blaster are solvent degreasers, PB Blaster has oil in it as well. Much safer for aluminum, and not what came to mind when I posted.


Yes, its corrosion. So you are saying that the threads on the aluminum bolts will corrode right off?

The alkaline degreasers that you mention...how do you stop them from causing corrosion? Rinse them thoroughly with water?
I guess I never considered that someone would not rinse a bolt in water after it was soaked in a Simple Green or purple Power. I used PP once and found it left a noticeable film of the surface of the material I was degreasing even after I rinsed it. That is why I stick with Brakleen. It evaporates quickly and displaces water.

To the OP...I will include a disclaimer that i did not think was necessary. If you are going to use a degreaser such as SG or PP, then don't leave the bolts in there for several months and do be sure to thoroughly rinse the bolt in water when finished.
grin
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Multiple Diesel and Gasoline vehicles

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#4496466 - 08/23/17 08:46 PM Re: Degreasing threads [Re: VeeDubb]
rooflessVW Online   content


Registered: 12/24/11
Posts: 4039
Loc: North Carolina
I'm saying that given enough time and vibration, bad things can happen. With enough time to work, I suspect aluminum threads could come right out with the fastener the next time it is removed.

He asked about cleaning threads but he never said bolts specifically. If would think that cleaning bolt threads would be obvious and wouldn't merit a post, so my mind went cleaning blind holes. Plenty of steel fasteners pull out aluminum threads to begin with - no need to help the process along.
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