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Chain Lube: Home Made???(11 posts)

Chain Lube: Home Made???Waterboy
Dec 18, 2001 4:12 PM
I read on previous post a receipe for home made chain lube. It said use 1 part Mobil 1 to 3 or 4 parts odorless mineral spirits. I looked today at Mobil 1 which is Fully Synthetic Motor Oil, available in 10W-30 or 15W-50. I purchased the 15W-50, but not sure if this is the correct weight.

Can someone who is more experienced with the correct formula and preferred weight of oil enlighten me as to what I should use! Also does the oil have to be synthetic, and does it have to be Mobil 1, just curious?

I'm looking forward to this conservitive approach.

Thanks, Waterboy
Weight?Kerry Irons
Dec 18, 2001 5:16 PM
People use a range of weights, some claiming better results with the lighter stuff, others liking the heavier. Some even use gear case lube (90w) in this formula. Apparently it makes little difference. IMO, there is no real reason to use Mobil 1, since the advantages of a synthetic oil is improved thermal resistance, which has no meaning on a bike chain. In another view, motor oil is roughly 25% additives (detergents, buffers, temperature sensitive viscosity agents, etc.) which would also seem to mostly have no effect on chain lube performance. This would argue for a simple, additive-free oil (electric motor oil, for example) but in the end, it is probably not too important. ProLink claims they have a special MFR (metal friction reducer) formula, but no one has undertaken (or at least published) any independent tests of these formulations, so it's mostly opinion as to which lube works best. ProLink has many followers, as does the home brew.
Good greif! Don't use the heavy stuff!Ahimsa
Dec 18, 2001 5:25 PM
90 weight gear case oil?!?!? That viscosity could add unecesary grams to your bike!!! For god sake use the LIGHTEST weight oil you can find if you wanna make it up those hills!



common mistakeDrD
Dec 19, 2001 4:18 AM
Gear oil viscosities are measured at different temperature points than motor oil - a 75W90 gear oil is close viscosity wise to a 10w30 motor oil - buy some and pour it out to see (or if you have a manual trans. car, open up the drain plug and take a look at what comes out).

That being said, if wax works, then a thick oil shouldn't be too much of an issue. In fact, one would think a heavier oil would stick around longer...

If I were using gear oil, I would probably prefer a synthetic as they don't have (or need) the extreme pressure additives used in conventional oils (the additives are sulfur based, and depending on the manuf., can stink a bit). I use Redline MT90 in my car - you could probably use what you drain out of the trans. at an oil change (it doesn't really get dirty - it thins a bit, but that's about it - plus the redline stuff is red, which is always cool...) for chain lube.
The Colonel's secret formulaDaveG
Dec 18, 2001 6:11 PM
I'm using 1 part 10/30w Mobil 1 to 3 parts mineral spirits. I seriously doubt the viscosity makes a major difference. Using a higher ratio of mineral spirits will yield a cleaner chain but won't last as long. Mobil 1 may be more legend than required but heck one quart should last half a lifetime so $4.50 a qt is no biggie. After one season I'm a convert. Why not try what you bought and let us know.
11 herbs and spices....Ahimsa
Dec 18, 2001 6:53 PM
I hear they are changing the name from KFC to TFS.
"Tuckey Fried Shicken"

Do you ever add oil of wintergreen? I believe this is what gives Pro-link it's distinctive smell.

I'm sure it adds no advantage mechanically, but might make the job slightly more pleasant.

If you wanted to make batches w/ differing weights I suppose you could "scent code" them with different oils.

Gah! Martha Stewart sounding idea! Where's my medication?!?


re: Chain Lube: Home MadeChen2
Dec 18, 2001 6:46 PM
Since you're cutting the oil with a yet to be determined proportion of mineral spirits, I don't think it matters what weight oil you use. If you need to thin it just add more mineral spirits. I use Mobil 1 in all of my gasoline engines because I think it is one of the best, probably better than I need. When I mix my home brew I will use Mobil 1 because I have some in my garage. Mix on, it's almost sure to be better than ProLink.
re: Chain Lube: Home Made???pmf1
Dec 19, 2001 7:38 AM
Any lubricating oil will do. No need to use synthetic oil unless you want to. Even at $5 per quart for synthetic oil, you're going to get a whole lot of lube pretty cheap. I just use regular motor oil.

Probably more important is the ratio of oil to mineral spirits. The more oil and less spirits you use, the gunkier it gets. I use a 4:1 ration and slather it on fairly thick. If you're the type who carefully drips. use 3:1.
How to rationalize a new C40 . . .DCW
Dec 19, 2001 10:45 AM
it probably doesn't make a real difference which grade of Mobil 1 you use or whether you use a synthetic or a natural oil. I use Mobil 1 in about a 4/1 ratio with odorless mineral spirits. A friend who is an auto and motorcycle mechanic uses chainsaw oil (it's red) in a 3/1 ratio.

All these recipes will eventually make black gunk on your chain, so wipe, reapply and wipe every couple of rides or 100 miles or so.

Several of us pooled our resources and mixed up 5 quarts last weekend. Total cost? $7.50 ($1.50 per quart).

I used to use Pro Link. Cost? About $8.00 for 4 ounces. Five quarts would cost 40 times as much -- $320.

Cost savings over a riding lifetime? At least one Colnago C40. I think I'll order mine now . . .
Hey, it works for me ...pmf1
Dec 19, 2001 11:18 AM
That plus the savings of using Zepp citris degreaser at $7/gallon from Home Depot vs. Finish Line citris degreaser $48/gallon at LBS, should definitely be worth a C-40 every 5 years or so.
I wonder if we could make bar tape . . .DCW
Dec 20, 2001 1:12 AM
out of recylced wine corks. That would save me another $20/yr. or so (I like clean tape.) Over a riding lifetime of at least 40 years, that's another $800.