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Bicycle Bottom Bracket Wax Seal

Parrafin or other solid wax seal.
  (+8, -3)
(+8, -3)
  [vote for,

Wax is often used for cycle chains, bicycle and motorcycle, as it polishes and protects during use. For waxing bicycle chains wax and a solvent are usually used, and applied from a squeeze bottle.

For waxing the bottom bracket of a bicycle where the cranks connect by a shaft to the bearing cylinder, the glob of petroleum jelly sealant should be substituted by a solid application of hard wax.

The use of a soldering iron or a heat sealer can be used to melt the wax from an unscented candle or other wax source. Personal wax is not advisable for this application.

Once the wax seal has been made it will act as a barrier for grime and salt during winter as well as providing the bearings and shaft a somewhat constant supply of precipitating wax.

When the wax seal needs to be replaced purchase a bag of preformed wax seals at your local bicycle supply store and melt in another one. Touch-ups can easily be done using more wax.

For the wax that you drip everywhere, use a clean cloth and wax with the Zen of bicycle maintenance.

rcarty, Sep 26 2009

Taconite seals http://smcyclo.com/...t/files/file-66.pdf
The best type of mechanical seal there is. [Custardguts, Sep 29 2009]


       why? how does the current system fail? I don't think that wax will hold a seal on a rotating shaft.
WcW, Sep 26 2009

       Hmmm - I don't see what's wrong with the design of bottom brackets that this is trying to fix. The bottom bracket on my bike is already well-sealed and properly lubricated.
hippo, Sep 27 2009

       // Personal wax //
Ear or bikini?
AbsintheWithoutLeave, Sep 27 2009

       [21Q]'s objection can be met if a synthetic wax with a higher melting point is specified.
BunsenHoneydew, Sep 27 2009

       We need to find more uses for personal wax.
RayfordSteele, Sep 27 2009

       help us out here, rcarty, I've been pondering this for days.
WcW, Sep 28 2009

       I sealed my bike's bottom bracket in this way the day I posted this. I've had quite a few bikes that lost their bearings due to the massive amounts of salt they apply to the roads here. Many bottom brackets are open, I suggest you conduct a survey at your closest well-populated bike rack. I melted as much wax as I could into into the bracket and smoothed the seal out with a heat sealing iron. The wax does not recede from the shaft. I've been ripping it up on all sorts of ground and the seal is still holding. Everything feels like its gliding.   

       I showed the guys at the local bike shop and they said they never heard of or thought of it before.
rcarty, Sep 28 2009

       Thanks for the tip, [rcarty]. I'll remember this application for other uses as well.
normzone, Sep 28 2009

       welcome back [rcarty] !
afinehowdoyoudo, Sep 29 2009

       Hey, [rcarty] - in heavy, dusty industrial applications, there is a special seal arrangement used called a taconite seal (sometimes used in conjunction with a labyrinth or labyrinth plate).   

       Simple in concept, complex in application, it essentially uses an inner seal to retain the oil or grease in the lubricated component, and an outer cavity or labyrinth filled with grease, that purges to atmosphere. The seal is maintained by regularly adding very small ammounts of grease to this outer cavity (via a grease nipple) - so the grease is actually a barrier to any contamination. The greasing point is located such that as grease is added, it moves the "sealing grease" toward the purge port, carrying any contaminants with it.   

       These seals have, theoretically, infinite life - in as aggressive an environment as you can find. The worse it is, the more often you purge the seal. Yes, this means some nasty grease leaks out, but for mobile applications, such as your bike, an environmentally sensitive grease can be used.   

       Anyhoo, it's simple to prove that any fixed mechanical seal will fail in an aggressive environment, your wax seal included. A very halfbaked solution would be to brumby up a rough taconite arrangement as an "outer seal" (it only needs to be a small void with a replaceable outer wiper type seal) that you can purge grease into.   

       A little squirt of grease maybe once a week and Viola! Infinite life while riding around in salt encrusted streets.
Custardguts, Sep 29 2009

       Assuming the bottom bracket is the bit the pedals get screwed on to, I both like and intend to apply this idea myself. I am the proud owner of a very cheap chinese made bike, and anything that promises to stop bits dropping out during use is an advantage!
vincevincevince, Sep 29 2009


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