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hardtail hardass
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45 Posts
Some folks will run their chain through a chain washer with degreaser, I think funetical's wd-40 method is easier and just as good, if not better. Soak in wd40, wait, wipe. repeat as necessary. Apply new chain lube and wipe away excess. Only problem is if you're running dry lube, the wd40 will eat it/ prevent it from adhearing well.
 

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hardtail hardass
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45 Posts
WD40 is a blend of petroleum based solvents(about 50%), mineral and natural oils(about 25%) and CO2 for propellant(about 25%.) Yes, it will dissolve grease and oils very, which is why it works so well as a cleaner. If you do not wipe the chain down afterwards, you are right, the remaining wd40 will thin/dissolve any synthetic or dry lube you apply to the chain. However when properly wiped down, the chain can be re-lubed with an oil based lube no problem. It does not harm the chain. WD40 was originally designed to repel water and prevent corrosion. That said, excessive use of wd40 will remove grease and oils that prevent wear on moving parts. I usually spray a cloth which i use to wipe the chain.
 

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hardtail hardass
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45 Posts
Yes that is white gas. The advantage to it is that it has no added junk. It dissolves the old oils and chain lubes wax type included and then when you remove the chain from the gas the remaining gas evaporates and there is nothing left behind to affect the new lube.

Hophead is correct. The places we want lube are between the plates and on the rollers of the chain. White gas will clean those spaces out and evaporate allowing for a clean fresh surface for the new lube. WD40 will get in there and clean out the old lube but it will not evaporate, wiping down the chain will only remove the WD40 on the outside, but the important place between the plates and on the rollers/pins will still have WD40 and it will continue to eat at the new lube. While WD40 is classified as a cleaner, water displacer and lubricant it is not designed for areas that are under high stress as the rollers/pins it will do ok for the space between the plates as they don't have a lot of stress on them but it is not the ideal lubricant even for that area. The WD40 removes the good lube and will supply a bit of lubrication but not enough and will cause the chain to wear prematurely and cause chain suck to occur long before it would with a good lube down in between the plates.
I respectfully disagree. I've used WD40 as a cleaner/lube on external drivetrain components for many years without any chain suck, weakening of the chain, or undue wearing. As long as it is used sparingly, such as applied to a rag or old tooth brush, WD40 works great.

I used to use a park tools chain cleaner with a diluted solution of biodegradable chain degreaser, and found that I was lubing more often as a result. A chain cleaner with soapy water can leave water and surfactants in the nooks and crannies between plates. Surfactants attract dirt/grit and also breakdown the surface tension of water so it can pentrate more between components. Now I use Prolink all in one cleaner/lube (also a blended oil/solvent) to clean most of the time, and WD40 when the chain gets really dirty or muddy.

The web is full of threads on this topic. Lots of folks hate WD40. Lots of folks swear by it. Some use it as their only lube, although I probably wouldn't. Many people in the motorcycle community has been using WD40 as a chain cleaner/lube for years. It all comes down to personal preference and the conditions of where you ride.
 
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