Rusty and pitted chrome bicycle wheel rims needs cleaning. Cleaned most of the surface rust off with steel wool. However rubbing with steel wool is not removing the rust within the pits. Any suggestions? Please help.
Oct 03, 2011, 02:04 AM
The only thing I know that will actually dissolve rust is hydrochloric acid. However, hydrochloric acid will also attack any chrome plating on the rims themselves, leaving the chrome discoloured and blotchy.
I think your best bet is to clean the rims as best you can with mineral spirits to remove any oil, grease or asphalt residue from them, and then just treat the rims with a rust converter.
Rust converters are basically tannic acid mixed with an air drying resin. When tannins from plants react with iron, they form iron tannates, which is a blueish black precipitate, and that precipitate was the pigment in iron gall inks which were used throughout the middle ages for writing. The US Declaration of Independance is written with iron gall ink.
So, rust converters react with the rust to form a blueish black pigment, and then the air drying resins in the rust converter dry to form a protective film over the converted rust, which can then serve as a primer for painting.
So, you shouldn't let the rust converter dry on your rims as you'll have to use some fairly harsh chemicals to remove that cured resin. Better to give it 10 minutes or so to work, and then wipe it off the rims before it starts to cure.
Hope this helps.This message has been edited. Last edited by: Nestor,
Oct 03, 2011, 10:27 AM
I have always used Naval Jelly (hardware or home stores will have it) to remove rust from metals. But then one may need a coat of wax or primer/paint to prevent it from returning.
Oct 03, 2011, 05:13 PM
actually it's phosphoric acid that does the work, any rust remover including those links shown or naval jelly will work.But if you're trying to get back to the chrome finish, you're out of luck. You can paint over the the treated surface though
Oct 04, 2011, 09:24 PM
You can use a polish like Simichrome to remove the remaining rust and protect the chrome surface temporarily...
If you paint the rims the friction brakes will never work correctly .......
Nov 13, 2011, 06:47 PM
Why screw around, just get new rims from any bicycle store, they're not that expensive
Aug 30, 2012, 02:08 AM
Borax is a cleaning product found in most grocery stores. To make this rust removal mix equal parts of Borax and lemon juice or white vinegar in a bowl. Borax helps remove dirt, rust and other remains. Use a dry cloth or sponge to spread the solution onto the rusty surface.
To remove the rust stains prepare a paste of cream of tartar and hydrogen peroxide. Apply the mixture over the rusted area and add 5-6 drops of ammonia. Leave the mix for 2-3 hours and then rinse it with warm soapy water.