chain cleaning help

The same is true of any sort of spray lubricant, whether it be chain lube, spray grease, whatever. It is all carried by a volitile, usually penetrating "vehicle" solvent. Otherwise, you would have to resort to the now ancient technique of boiling a chain in grease to get it to penetrate into the bushings (DONT try that at home). All of the referred to attributes of this vehicle are commonly found in most good quality lubes.
The same is NOT true for all spray lubricants.

First we must distinguish between carrier and propellant. Often times spray lubes will be propelled by means of a pressurized hydrocarbon. This is simply a vehicle to propel the fluid from it's holding source. The propellant will have little to do with the penetrating ability of a lube.

A can of spray chain oil or parrafin, like Maxima, uses a propellant to get the stuff out of the can, but the fluid serves as it's own carrier. It needs no further flow vehicle. If the lubricant were raw, as in a motor oil, you can place a drop of the fluid on a plate and it will start to expand it's area. But slowly, due to the viscocity of the fluid.

To even slow things up more, they tackifier added to keep the lube in place starts to set up immediately after hitting the air. In this situation a person can spray a chain link, allowing both sides of the reel to be engulfed in lube...and at this point the lube can actually create an air pocket at the pin/bushing area, as both ends of the reel are clogged up with entering tackifier rich lube.

At this point it is completely normal to see the lube set up before it can penetrate to where it is needed, due to the air pocket not allowing a smoothe enter, and the tackifier setting up.

Lets assume that you have a chain and you lube on link with a drop of motor oil and one with a drop of penetrating solvent carrier dry-film...

The drop of oil will take a considerable amount more time reaching the area it is needed. In fact, you can drop the oil on the link, and then drop the dry-film, and the dry-film will have not only reached the friction area and deposited the lubricant, but it probably has went through to the other side and the excess dripped off before the drop of oil will even reach where it's needed.

Another point to consider, when a spray lube contains a tackifier, it is robbing room for more lube.

The old school method of heating grease up to soak a chain is now and has always been an ignorant method to practice. Yes, I know that it was done for decades, but it is still a method used by those who really don't understand grease and oil.

Anecdotal wisdom also touted this method as "what you should do" at one time...funny how things change. I bet the old school chain soakers were just as hard to convince of a new method, as some are now on chain maintenance and products.

I use Maxima's Synthetic Chain Guard, as I mentioned earlier. I would probably use half again as much as I currently do if I were not using an O-ring chain, but as it stands, I use about three cans a year, lubing two motorcycles after every ride, or about 4 times a month. So that's what, about 24 uses?
At 4 times a month I count 48 uses.

But regardless, it is clear that dry-film goes much further than conventional spray lubes will. (ask ANYONE who uses dry-film)

Moly lubricant does in fact work that way. But so do the anti-wear additives other than MoS2 found in a good engine oil. Looked at under extreme magnification, the smooth ground surface you see as a bearing journal looks more like a part of the Tetons. MoS2, ZDDP (Zinc Dialkyl Dithiophosphate, the most common, and probably the best of several Zinc and Phosphorus based anti-wear agents), and other "boundary" lubricants work by filling in the irregularities of the surface, flattening it, and coming between the surface being lubed and it's mate in the event that the primary lube source should fail.
It is refreshing to see somone actually do some inventigating of a subject. Bob's has lots of good info for those who are a bit curious on the real deal.

And yes, what you describe happening with boundary additives is a fairly good way to explain things to the layman. However, the actions that take place are quite a bit more complex than simply filling in the gaps of the metals surface. Yes, Zinc-D works that way, but most of the other barrier additives work in a slightly different way, even though it may present itself as a simple "filling in of the gaps".

Many barrier additives have no solids at all. They are providing long chain molecules that reside at the oxide layer of the metals surfaces. Due to the dipole electric field, these molecules will attract and adhere themselves to the metals, and they also repel one another, aiding in the lubricity.

When metal violates the fluid film, the shearing that takes place is of the long chain molecules located above the metal surface. When these molecules are sheared, they become sort of a free radical at that point...looking for a home. What happens is that these sheared molecules immediately are looking for another ancor, which they find immediately.

Most commonly, such agants are added to lubricating oils as an emergency lube, a last line of defense in case the oil film is subjected to such pressure that it is squeezed away. In the case of MoS2, it is so effective as a boundary lube, it can be used as a sole source of lubrication, within limits. But it is more effective when used in combination with a fluid lubricant for two reasons: that being that the presence of an oil provides the primary lube source, as well as a fresh supply of new moly platelets to replenish any that are carried off by wear.
Yes, in motor oils, these barrier additives are placed in the oil as a last line of defence against wear, when the fluid film is violated. BUT it is not an emergency add. It is assumed that the fluid film will fail, thus the addition of the additives. It is NOT an emergency, last ditch, all else fails add.

The simple startup and shutdown of a car engine creates the condition that barrier additives are needed.


If the notion that an oil film must be maintained at .001" to be effective were true, nearly every automotive crankshaft in the world would fail. Auto cranks are typically fit at a clearance of .0015", leaving room for a surrounding layer of oil only .00075" thick. Clearances in rolling element bearings are normally at least that small.

That was somewhat true once, but newer synthetic solutions to the washout/flyoff issue have emerged that allow the lube to remain in place without being sticky, at least, not nearly so much as in the past. Obviously, not everyone uses them.

If there were no barrier additives in the motror oil, then the cranks, plain bearings, and valve components would indeed wear out. Also, since the lube system of a motor is powered, there is a fresh flow of oil always provided (except for at startup and shutdown).

Yes, with a fluid film lube, once the film is viloated we must depend on barrier additives to protect from wear. But with the nature of a motor, there are also other things happening in close tolerance areas. One of them is elastohydrodynamic lubrication.

The force of the crank turning, and the forced flow of oil, creates surprisingly high pressure at the friction point. Oil is drawn into the area, and the pressure and transformation of the oil is something that is yet to be fully understood by scientists, but the oil actually can turn into a solid for a microsecond, at the point of friction and pressure.

A roller chain cannot create the conditions that an engine can. Also, there is not a flow of lubricant to keep replentishing any barrier additives that are displaced. Oils and greases have a very small amount of barrier additive available in the first place. Measured in parts per million.

The thing about moly and other barrier additives is that if there is an abundance of them abailable in the friction area, they will replentish themsleves. Even as the tails of the long chain molecules is being sheared off, the sheared material is already attaching itself to other areas.

No oil or grease or wax on the market can provide as much barrier protection as needed to last on a roller chain.

As far as the thickness of is comman knowledge in the tribology world that when desingning an automatic lubrication system that grease is engineered so that there is .002" thick film, and .001" for oil. It has been tested and accepted by the lube community that this is the criteria.

This can obviously have a variance depending on the metal types and delivery devices.

My opinion, for what it's worth, is that a really ideal chain lube would be one consisting of a synthetic based, moly bearing grease that dried "clean" like MSCG does, washes of as easily, and provides the extra protection that MoS2 offers. I haven't found anything like that yet, though. I just don't think that there is a great deal of wisdom in depending solely on dry moly. But you should try it if it interests you.

Any time you can use oil insted of grease, you should do so.

To start, grease is nothing but oil that is whipped up with a base product to keep it thick.

Let's look at a ring chain...

If the injected lubricant is a grease, then the grease taht is convering the friction area is what initially protects. However, there will come a time that the lube in that particular area is consumed and there needs to be a replentichment of oil. A thick grease will not flow to that area and replentish it with lube. You must depend on the oil to seperate from the soap base so that it can now flow to the needed area.

If you ever open up an old used up ring chain you may find that there is a goo may even resemble a dry powder. What you are seeing is the remaining soap base, typically lithium. The oil is long gone, either by being consumed by friction and heat, or by permeating the ring material.

Regardless, the lube is gone and the chain went south.

IF the mfg uses oil instead of a grease, then it is much easier for the lubricant to be slung around the whole area inside the bushing. An oil filled ring chain will last longer than the grease filled chain, because the oil can be slung around where it is needed much easier, plus there is more lubricant available as there is no soap base taking up precious area.

Another thing I'd like to add...

I try to stay off of our products, as I am not a sponsor here and I don't want to spam...

But I would place up another challange. I will put up our Ultra Film (no solids) against ANY chain lube on the market, as far as lubricaty goes. (OK add motor oil, grease, WD-40...whatever)

Pick the test...Timken wear, Pin& Vee, no matter...I challange any and all comers.

Matter of fact, I'd just about bet money on Shaeffer's or Honda moly over ANY coventional chain lube. (save for Digilube of course :D )

Did I just hear you say, "free sample"?

i want some

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