20 February, 2014

Frame Saving and Rust

We occasionally get questions about internal rustproofing on steel frames. Should you worry about internal rust on your new, or used, frame? The fact is that the vast majority of steel frames never get any internal rust proofing treatment, yet last for many many decades. On the other hand, you'll occasionally see a rusted out frame, particularly in regions where road salt is used. So to be on the safe side, I rust-proof all my new frames. You'll certainly want to rust-proof any frame as nice as a VO frame.

Back in the day I simply sprayed WD40 into the frame, but today I prefer Frame Saver. Frame Saver is designed to get into the smallest spaces in your bike frame and leave a protective coating when it dries.

A single can will do several frames, and application takes only a few minutes. The included direction are pretty good, but here are a few photos of Scott rust-proofing a Camargue prototype:
First, spray Frame Saver into the main tubes through the BB shell, head tube, and seat tube. Rotate the frame and shoot some more in to better coat the tubes. Next, plug the tubes with rags or paper towels. 
Now shoot Frame saver into all the little vent holes. There should be a vent hole in every small tube; it's there to let out gases while welding the frame. Some cyclists plug these vents with little bits of wax, but I'm not sure if that's a good idea.
Now spin, shake, and gyrate the frame to distribute the Frame Saver and coat the tubes. You need not be quite as aggressive in this as Scott. After a few hours, remove the rags or paper towels and let the excess drain out. Wipe up any that's leaked onto the paint. Repeat with the fork. That's all there is to it.


15 comments:

Natasha Lynch said...

dont forget the mud guards (fenders), one of the main causes of corrosion is dirt accumulation which holds moisture , salt and acidic exhaust particulate deposits on the frame , they also reduce stone chips and spray , not to mention keep you and the bike cleaner and dryer ;-)

yikesbikes said...

What timing! I'll be picking up a can of frame-saver today and spraying down a soon-to-be-built-up frame.

Jeremy Deatherage said...

How about treating an older frame?

VeloOrange said...

@Jeremy,

Same process.

Anonymous said...

I use Boeshield, but same effect. I took a dip in the Puget Sound with my old Trek last year, long story... When I pulled it all apart let the salt water drain out. No issues I could find. Hosed it all out to get the salt, & reapplied. Voila.

dr2chase said...

That frame spinning is much more fun with a cargo bike.

fixedweasel said...

You can also use Linseed Oil to do the business/innards as well.* Whether you use Framesaver or the Oil, be ready to get the floor/etc. a bit messy unless you have some spare shop rags about. Let dry proper before the build/re-build. Cheap insurance.




*when building wheels, Linseed Oil can be used instead of Spoke Prep too

Anonymous said...


I use cosmoline that my father got for an airplane project he never got to.

Raiyn said...

I was a Frame Saver fan, but I had some issues getting the stuff, so I switched to Progold Steel Frame Protector. Same idea, seems to be the same stuff, just easier to get ahold of.

Kymbo said...

@Jeremy : as per VO's reply I'd also ensure the frame is dry internally first before treating by airing it out in the sun (or dry well ventilated area), with all posts/stems/BB etc removed. Just being ensure to remove any residual moisture which you don't want trapped in there by any treatment.

Kymbo said...

I've used fish-oil treatments as well. You can get the odourless variety as well as spray cans.

Jeremy Deatherage said...

@Kymbo, thanks. I'm in Arizona so moisture is not a real issue. But I might do it anyway, for kicks.

Alex said...

I use Fluid Film. Comes with a very long spray nozzle that sprays in all directions, obviating the need to shake your frame. And it works well otherwise. You can buy it in Europe as well. I have no affiliation to the company.

philcycles said...

I always sprayed Framesaver into the fork blades and seat stays and then sealed them with silver. No problems ever.
Phil Brown

tom vogel said...

I have used frame-saver for years. Just a comment - don't use too much. Excess will simply collect at low points in the frame then harden. I had to clean bottom bracket bearings that were stiffened up with dried frame-saver.