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Cleaning Brake Discs

Discussion in 'Bling and Appearance' started by Petesul, Feb 21, 2016.

  1. I recently had my pushie in for a service (yeah, I know, it's a flaw in my character) and was advised to clean the frame using a little dishwashing liquid and warm water. Anybody tried this on fairings?

    More to the point, my bike has disc brakes. Further advice was not get the above solution on the rotors, but use metho on the discs instead. Metho cleans the grime off the discs and stops grit getting onto the pads, causing them to glaze over.

    Do you clean your discs? Will the cleaning agents above work?
  2. I just use soapy water and a scouring pad for cleaning brake disks ... IF I can be bothered at all that is. I have used commercial disk brake cleaner in the past and it's worked fine (though it ruins any polish it touches if it splashes onto your paintwork), so I see no reason that metho wouldn't work if you really want to go to that extent.
  3. I don't know if I can be bothered, but I was told to keep the soapy water off the discs.
  4. It's never given me a problem and I usually use the same wash-n-wax over the whole bike. I've never tried dish washing soap though, that might be the difference.
  5. I was advised at frasers motorcycles to use mr sheen on tank mini fairing etc on my 659 but it's all plastic so don't know what surfaces your bike has
  6. PetesulPetesul - Re your bicycle discs. The commercial spray can cleansers are mostly alcohol base, and work well not only on the discs but also on the pads themselves (remove, spray, wipe down, replace). Works a treat to get rid of brake shudder and brake squeal as well. I have a tin of this stuff...
  7. Thanks chillibuttonchillibutton. Do you use brakes?
  8. On occasion lol. I do the brakeburner race at mt buller every year (off road) - got to 54km/h on single dirt track on the way down once - so certainly a need for brakes! My BIL burnt his pads out completely one year...
  9. Cleaning discs is fun for me. I just use Motul Brake Cleaner. it's incredibly toxic and smells toxic but that's the same for a lot of things related to engines/machines.

    I just spray it onto a microfibre cloth and wipe over the disc. Spraying a bit into the pads area and working the wheels back and forth hasn't hurt it either (short of removing the calipers etc)
  10. I think you should see a PSYKCPSYKC. Do you know of anyone?
    • Funny Funny x 1
  11. on pushy (as in real life) it depends what kind of pads you are using, as to what cleaning solution is best.

    regardless you don't want surfactants hanging around on your discs, that never assists in friction.
    dishwashing liquid has never really been encouraged for use on cars, but on a bike/bicycle where there is not as many crevices for it to pool on sheet metal, not so bad.

    if you are using organic pads, do you really want to go removing the resin from your discs? just means you (may) need to bed them in again, but it only takes one decent heat cycle to do that, so doesn't matter much if alcohol/brake cleaner removes the resin. (you can get shudder from uneven resin transfer.. cleaning off the resin removes shudder, until it transfers again

    if sintered, then clean metal surface is best. sintered pads good...

    either way, using alcohol/metho or one of the commercial solvents will remove oils and crap from the metal surface. the point of "brake cleaner" is that it evaporates fairly quick, and leaves no residue.

    you just need to decide if you are removing contaminating grease/oil, or if you really want a clean metal surface.
    check the MSDS's for brake cleaners to see what's really inside
    • Like Like x 1
  12. #12 oldcorollas, Feb 21, 2016
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2016
    http://www.partinfo.co.uk/files/913 Muc Off Disc Brake Cleaner (G8).pdf
    roughly 2/3rds ethanol, 1/3rd acetone, plus little bit of other stuff + propellant

    CRC Brakcleen is more fun http://www.crcindustries.com/faxdocs/msds/5089.pdf
    tetrachloro-ethylene + propellant
    (if you smoke, I'd suggest not smoking for a day after using this stuff, although probably not as bad as tetracholomethane)

    Motul brake cleaner http://cdn.opieoils.co.uk/msds/motul/Brake_Clean_MSDS.pdf
    2/3rds MEK (same stuff as PVC pipe primer fluid.. is a good solvent) + 1/3rd "low boiling point" naptha (could just be pentane or hexane really, not much benefit but a different kind of solvent power)

    Bendix 20L drum.. ethanol + light naptha (pentane/hexane?

    Koalacare "Xtreme!!!!" brake cleaner http://www.koalakare.com.au/home/wp-content/uploads/MSDS-Xtreme-Brake-Cleaner1.pdf
    "alcohol based" (ie ethanol), and ~50% hexane..

    so yeah, different approaches, different chems, to get same result.

    you can go cheaper using liquids rather than expensive spray cans...
    Metho + acetone mix, or PVC primer fluid.. or the CRC stuff if you like the smell :)

    my hunch is that metho won't rip off the resin but probably take off oils, the chlorinated stuff will dissolve pretty much anything and evaporate quick (and smell great! and probably good for carbies too) as will the MEK, the Acetone is middle of the road as a solvent (?) but will take off nail polish
    the hexane stuff should remove oils, but again, may not be aggressive enough to remove resin..

    in terms of safety.. I'd probably go the Muc off, acetone is not too bad compared to some of the other stuff
    • Like Like x 1
  13. You left out "get a chemistry degree and a thesaurus" if you really want to get into MSDS's. How many people would even know, to pluck a random compound out of the ether, what polyhexamethylene biguanide hydrochloride really is or what it does?

    P.s - lol - the word "biguanide" auto corrects to "bonus nude" :ROFLMAO:
  14. Well oldcorollasoldcorollas , when I'm screaming down Mt Dandenong Tourist Road, at 65km/h+ and going faster after just negotiating a compound curve with an idiot in a clapped out Hyundai trying to pass me because he wants to go 2km/h faster, heading for a hairpin, not being able to see because of the wind in my eyes (how do you guys in open face helmets do it? Order of Australia to you all), with stupid Lycra and a party hat on, I need something down there in the wheel somewhere that helps me stop. Sort of want to get it right!
  15. I'm really worried about you mate, we need a ride to sort you out.
  16. We're doing one tomorrow morning if you're interested...
  17. You are teasing me, gotta work all day and have a function I have to attend starting at 6pm, no rest for the wicked. I just wish I knew what I did that was so bad, at least I could have enjoyed it.
    • Funny Funny x 1
  18. Another time then. Due to the kids we often sneak rides into the week when they're at school, not as easy for us to do regular weekend rides.
  19. Well, I'll have to do a sneak with you.
    • Like Like x 1
    • Agree Agree x 1
  20. LOL, sorry, it's just second nature for me....

    CFC's are bad.. (chloro-fluoro-carbons) most people know about them.
    Chlorinated hydrocarbons can also be very bad. Carbon tetra-chloride (which is basically methane with chlorine instead of hydrogen ie Cl4C) is bad..
    the tetra-chloro-ethylene, is basically same as carbon tetra-chloride with an extra carbon (C2Cl4).. I wouldn't suggest use it for chroming instead of petrol :) basically...
    basically, carbon + chlorine.. not good for you.

    methyl-ethyl-ketone is not too bad, but is not good for acute exposure.. headspins, nausea, can shut down your central nervous system iirc.. but probably not carcinogenic
    again, not very good for you, but better than chloro stuff

    ok, for a science lesson (or refresher), solvents are on a scale from polar (like water, has a +ve and -ve side), or non-polar.

    different things are dissolved more or less by polar or non-polar.. polar stuff mixes with water (like alcohol), non-polar doesn't (like oil).

    to cater for all that stuff, you might mix together a polar and non-polar solvent, with the hope that you can clean off whatever is on the disc.

    fwiw, carby cleaner typically has a mix of maybe Metho, acetone, and toluene or xylene, which caters for a wider range of stuff to be dissolved..