1 pound of Marine Grease is < $4 @ auto parts stores... Goes on all parts 30x over...

Discussion in 'General Questions' started by sparky, Jul 23, 2011.

  1. sparky

    sparky Active Member

    And it even goes on chains!!!

    I redid my hubs and my bottom bracket earlier this year.

    It later occurred to me that this 1 pound tub of marine grease will even go on chains!!! This is profound to me, but I forgot to mention it to you guys when I realized it myself.

    OK... "specific bike" oil is fricking expensive. Ya dig?

    Put this marine grease on everything, including chains, and you don't have to worry about nothin'!

    Grease is even better than oil when it comes to chains. That's why everybody pays top dollar for the "waxy" oil. HAH!! 1 pound tub of the stuff for one less Big Mac.

    I've degreased both my chains with carb cleaner today, and I'll be applying the marine grease as soon as I get some proper bolts to mount my engine.

    Wondering how much and how exactly to apply the grease. :thinking:

    Shouldn't need too much. Should need less frequent "waxings". Shouldn't get as dirty, while still being cheaper than dirt. What's not to like??
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2011

  2. Chalo

    Chalo Member

    Only the oil way down inside your chain, between the pins and bushings, does any good. Grease is too thick to get down in there. It can make your chain a sticky mess, but it does a poor job of lubrication.

    For chains you need oil, that can weep into the chain's bushings, or wax that gets cooked into the same crevices and then cooled. Grease won't do.

    Grease works pretty darned well for everything else, though-- including spoke nipples. But you have to be able to dab it where you want it, because it won't migrate far.

    I use red auto grease at work, so I can tell when it's contaminated.

  3. sparky

    sparky Active Member

    Sheldon Brown seemed to think that grease was of the best lubes for chains...


    He suggests "cooking" the grease in a pan outdoors to liquify the grease, tho. Will have to try that out.
  4. Happy Valley

    Happy Valley Active Member

    I hadn't seen where SB recommended boiling grease, he hypothetically mentioned hot wax but regardless, and as much as I admire Sheldon (RIP) for his body of work and from visiting him in the shop, if he did I cannot imagine going through the voodoo cooking of a grease pot to keep a chain lubed and the dirt magnet it would leave behind.

    Getting lube to flow to the interior parts of a chain is the problem but if a chain is dirty and not cleaned first the lube just draws the abrasive grit in with it. Retro-grouch Jobst Brandt makes sene of that: http://sheldonbrown.com/brandt/chain-care.html

    SB called it a 'religious question' lol so as the communion continues with discussion of motorcycle, chainsaw and commercial sprays I've found it simple, cheap and effective to mix 4:1, mineral spirits:non-detergent 30 wt. motor oil, for chain lube applied with a drip spout can. The mineral spirits evaporate after aiding the flow of oil to the interior leaving a light film behind when applied to a clean chain, it's easy clean the chain next time and a few bucks buys a lifetime supply.
  5. Chalo

    Chalo Member

    I'm indifferent about what kind of oil to use on a bike chain, but it has to be liquid at the time it's applied. The greases I use have a "drop point" (temperature at which they'll drip) of 300 to 500F. I have no intention of soaking a chain in smoldering 400 degree grease, even if that would work great.

    Some of the wax lube spays I've used are very thin and wet when they come out of the can, but solid after the carrier evaporates. That seems like a pretty good approach if you want to avoid attracting dirt and dust.

    If I'm at work, I use Tri-Flow, because that's what we use at work. If I'm at home, I use whatever oil I have sitting around.

  6. sparky

    sparky Active Member

    Only problem with Tri-Flow is that it's the worst value of all the lubes. I'll use the stuff inside my freewheels, and that's about it.

    "Now we're cookin' with grease"!!!

    :chef1: :afro::afro::afro::afro: :75:

    I will at least cook the engine chain with grease, but I'll just massage it into the pedal chain. We'll see how it works out in the long run.
  7. Chalo

    Chalo Member

    Consider cutting a cheap grease down with odorless mineral spirits or something else that will evaporate. Then your chain can drink it, but it will return to a grease consistency later.

    Tri-Flow is expensive per volume, but it gets some jobs done with minimal volume because it wicks into the mechanism instead of clinging or dripping away. It's an obvious choice for chains, but it also works well for brake levers and derailleur pivots, where the part in need of lubrication is hidden inside.

    Last edited: Jul 26, 2011
  8. DougC

    DougC New Member

    The problem with bicycle chains is attracting dirt. In any kind of outdoor riding use, any kind of wet lube just makes the problem worse.

    The DuPont multi-purpose teflon dry-wax spray (in a blue can) is only ~$5 a can and works well.

    There is also a 'wet' version of this lube, if you want it. The dry is generally preferred for chain use however.


    Grease is an oil with a thickener added, and often the thickener isn't a lubricant at all. Grease "cakes" when the oil runs off, leaving the thickener behind.

    For grease I mostly use plain teflon powder now, plus a couple drops of oil for rust protection. The teflon lubricates better than any grease, but yet doesn't cause most of the problems that grease will.
  9. I'm not buying using thick grease on bike chains. To sticky, draws dirt and grit like a magnet when exposed. It would also be more difficult and time consuming to remove grease to clean the chain. I have used melted toilet bowl wax to lube motorcycle chains, back in the day. It's waterproof and sticks, even over a hundred mph. Not needed on a bike. Grease is essentialy oil thickened with soap. Use it inside bearings where it isn't exposed to dirt and grit, as it was intended. Use a thiner oil for chains. I clean bicycle chains with mineral spirits and reoil with decent quality oil, hang them to dry after cleaning and to let excess oil drip off, wiping them throughly before putting them back on the bike. Don't be a cheapskate when it comes to maintenance, it costs only a few cents more to do it right.
  10. Esteban

    Esteban Active Member

    I agree as well !
  11. sparky

    sparky Active Member

    Yup, I found out the hard way -- my favorite way. :devilish:

    I didn't follow the suggested methods (mixing with solvent or boiling in a pan), but just tried "packing" it with my fingers and didn't even wipe the excess off.

    First night I was riding, my back wheel came loose just a tad and moved my pedal chain, so of course it pops off as I'm standing on it with the right side of my body. Foot hits ground. Pedal cuts calf. Not necessarily in that order.

    Tightened it up and then went on my way.

    Couple days ago, engine chain pops off. No biggie, put it back on keep riding to my destination. Ride back home (~15 miles) today, and the engine chain popped off almost a dozen times.

    Get back home and realize that my tensioner wheel is sliding side to side on its axis. Correct that, now no more problem.

    But there was a ton of sand on my chain, so I just removed the grease. It was a pain. Used carb cleaner on one chain, then ran out and decided I didn't want to buy anymore carb cleaner!! So I used the air compressor to spray off all the grease, sand, & other grime. Worked surprisingly well, tho my 6 gal. pancake compressor seemed like she was getting stressed after I did both those chains like that in the end. Little more wiping and hardly could tell the difference. :whistling:

    Went to the parts store and got 10oz of Liquid Wrench White Lithium for $4.

    Still much better than the prices for I've seen for Tri-Flow, White Lightning, etc. at my local bike shops. $10 for an itty bitty can!!! They're easily charging 4x more for the exact same products. I'd love to help my LBS out, but at 400% markup on the little things that allow me to support it... I'll stick to an auto part store for the real deal.

    P.S. -- If anybody actually tries mixing the grease w/ solvent or boiling the grease before I get around to it, please post your thoughts. :)

    I think the solvent idea w/ a wipe down could work surprisingly well...