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PTFE, Graphite, White Lithium, Silicone

Posted: Tue Nov 06, 2018 2:13 am
by Sadanorakman
The throttle cables and choke cable on my 91 GL1500 are almost seized after the bike has stood in Mediterranean temperatures for several years. No idea when they were lubricated prior to this.

Rather than replace all three, and add yet more cost to the growing list of servicing items I need for this bike, I wondered which of the above would give the best and longest lasting results.

Another concern is if I use original WD40 to flush the cables through first, will that then remain, preventing the lube I use working properly, or causing it to clump together.

I'm in the UK, so most products that are off-the-shelf in American are generally not available here, or cost serious money to import. WD40 markets several spray lubes that would flow down the cables. One is silicone based, and the other two have a carrier fluid that evaporates to leave either PTFE, or white lithium grease in place to do its job. I like the idea of a graphite spray also.

I'm also concerned that anything I put down them to clean them first e.g. a solvent might seep through and damage the outer plastic sleeving?

I have a suspicion that the white lithium grease option might make for quite a stiff cable operation compared to the PTFE or graphite.

What are your thoughts guys? What would you do? Many thanks.

Re: PTFE, Graphite, White Lithium, Silicone

Posted: Tue Nov 06, 2018 3:35 am
by Mh434
Personally, I'd stay away from the lithium grease spray, for the reason you stated. In colder temperatures, I've found it to get very thick & stiff after awhile, which could bind up cables worse than ever.

I do like silicone-based lubricants, as they're hydrophilic (repel moisture) & are very, very slippery. Their lubrication seems to last a long time, but be careful about overspray - it's VERY hard to remove from surfaces you don't want it on.

Graphite is good, too, but in my experience, very messy indeed. It stains any porous surfaces it contacts, including skin, clothing, carpet, vinyl, plastic, etc., at least as indelibly as a Sharpie permanent marker.

Normal WD-40 is good as a penetrant, and uses kerosene as a carrier. Kerosene is generally pretty safe for plastics, unlike solvents like xylene or acetone. Unfortunately, WD-40's lubricant is extremely thin, and wears off very quickly.

As a regimen for removing old, thickened grease, I'd probably use kerosene first, working the inner cable back & forth many, many times until it seems completely free. Then, I'd leave the cable to stand until the kerosene flashes off, & lubricate with one of the aforementioned products.

Just my two cents' worth....

Re: PTFE, Graphite, White Lithium, Silicone

Posted: Tue Nov 06, 2018 3:37 am
by AZgl1800
CRC makes a very good silicone based product that works great in outdoor stuff,
I use it to lube the mailbox lock on my Rural mailbox.... it is subject to the vagaries of wind, rain, ice, etc.

CRC 2-26 5 oz. Multi-Purpose Lubricant-02004

in the USA it is carried in all of the Big Box stores,
very cheap at $3 bux US more or less

https://www.homedepot.com/p/CRC-2-26-5- ... /100398344

this product is very liquid in the spray can, comes with a plastic nozzle,
and I think it would be the Cat's Meow for cable lubrication and it will NOT gum up.


CRC also makes a very good Contact Cleaner

https://www.homedepot.com/p/CRC-QD-11-o ... /202262505



WD-40 is a bad idea for cable lube, it leaves a residue that collects dirt and gums up the works.
it is designed to Displace Water from ignition systems, but of course, it gets used for everything else.

Re: PTFE, Graphite, White Lithium, Silicone

Posted: Tue Nov 06, 2018 8:46 am
by Sadanorakman
Mh434 wrote:
Tue Nov 06, 2018 3:35 am
Personally, I'd stay away from the lithium grease spray, for the reason you stated. In colder temperatures, I've found it to get very thick & stiff after awhile, which could bind up cables worse than ever.
-Thanks Mh434, You give some excellent advice! My gut tells me the Lithium Grease is the wrong way to go as I can only see it dragging on a cable, and this getting worse as the grease dries out.
Mh434 wrote:
Tue Nov 06, 2018 3:35 am
Normal WD-40 is good as a penetrant, and uses kerosene as a carrier. Kerosene is generally pretty safe for plastics, unlike solvents like xylene or acetone. Unfortunately, WD-40's lubricant is extremely thin, and wears off very quickly.
-The WD40 Site FAQ's explicitly say that it does not contain Kerosene. I agree that it's lubricating properties are quite thin and short-lived though, but then again it was never designed to be a lubricant.

Re: PTFE, Graphite, White Lithium, Silicone

Posted: Tue Nov 06, 2018 9:03 am
by Sadanorakman
AZgl1800 wrote:
Tue Nov 06, 2018 3:37 am
WD-40 is a bad idea for cable lube, it leaves a residue that collects dirt and gums up the works.
it is designed to Displace Water from ignition systems, but of course, it gets used for everything else.
Thanks John, you also give some excellent advice. I've never used WD40 as cable lube, but for many other purposes, and I've never found it to leave any troublesome residue. Is it possible that the residue you speak of, was other contaminates such as old grease, that the WD40 had dissolved and mobilized, and had then been left behind when the WD40 evaporated?

Some quick research tells me that WD40 is called such, because it was the 40th recipe of combinations of 'Water Displacing' ingredients tested by Norm Larsen of the 'Rocket Chemical Company'. It was specifically used on Atlas rockets to displace water in order to prevent rust. It was never designed for use in the Automotive industry, nor specifically as a lubricant, although yes it works well in all sorts of use-cases.

I was only considering the WD40 as a means of initially cleaning the cables through to flush out any old grime, grease, and corrosion.

When Kerosese was mentioned as being the 'carrier' in WD40, then I though maybe I should just use that instead to flush the cables... Turns out though that WD40 does not contain Kerosene (according to the manufacturer)

The idea of a Graphite or PTFE spray is looking pretty good right now. Anyone else have some input please?

regards

Re: PTFE, Graphite, White Lithium, Silicone

Posted: Tue Nov 06, 2018 10:26 am
by julimike54
I've used Dri-Slide for years. It's a moly lube. Might be available in your area?

https://www.drislide.com/products/drisl ... t-w-needle

Re: PTFE, Graphite, White Lithium, Silicone

Posted: Tue Nov 06, 2018 11:51 am
by Mh434
I apologize for the information regarding kerosene in WD-40. The information I had (mind you, that was from about 30 years ago!) indicated that it did. I do know that, whatever the carrier is, it still smells like kerosene, and has approximately the same flammability & flash point.

Nonetheless, I still feel that kerosene is excellent for dissolving and removing old grease and other lubricants, particularly as it's thin enough to help carry dissolved grease etc. away.

Re: PTFE, Graphite, White Lithium, Silicone

Posted: Tue Nov 06, 2018 12:58 pm
by AZgl1800
julimike54 wrote:
Tue Nov 06, 2018 10:26 am
I've used Dri-Slide for years. It's a moly lube. Might be available in your area?

https://www.drislide.com/products/drisl ... t-w-needle
IF,

the cable is dry, no crap left over from previous owners trying to lube it with something....
then DriSlide does a very good job. Intended for locks originally and guns.
You might have to pull a cable out, spray in the DriSlide and push the cable back in and twist it as you go.

if the CRC products are available on your side of the pond, they are very good, and cheap.
they can be used w/o having to pull the cables.

Re: PTFE, Graphite, White Lithium, Silicone

Posted: Tue Nov 06, 2018 3:56 pm
by WingAdmin
I've used nothing but graphite spray for many years on cables. The carrier is a very volatile solvent, so it dislodges and flushes out any crud that might have built up in the cable, and it dries leaving an incredibly slippery dry surface.

As noted, it does tend to stain anything and everything it touches - I treat it like black spray paint in terms of cleanup, because it behaves in much the same way. I use one of these cable luber devices:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0012TYX9W/?tag=goldwingdocs-20 ... ingdocs-20

You clamp it on the end of the cable, stick the straw of the graphite spray into it, put the other end of the cable into a cup or receptacle, then spray until you have a good stream of fluid coming out the other end of the cable. I wrap the cable luber with a cloth, just in case the straw were to pop out while I was spraying. :)

Once that's done, I let it sit for an hour or so to make sure it's good and dry (in the open air it dries in seconds, inside an enclosed cable, not as fast).

Re: PTFE, Graphite, White Lithium, Silicone

Posted: Tue Nov 06, 2018 4:11 pm
by Sadanorakman
Mh434 wrote:
Tue Nov 06, 2018 11:51 am
I apologize for the information regarding kerosene in WD-40. The information I had (mind you, that was from about 30 years ago!) indicated that it did. I do know that, whatever the carrier is, it still smells like kerosene, and has approximately the same flammability & flash point.

Nonetheless, I still feel that kerosene is excellent for dissolving and removing old grease and other lubricants, particularly as it's thin enough to help carry dissolved grease etc. away.
No need to apologise sir. I never thought you were out to mislead anyone. Advice here is always given free of charge, and out of the goodness of members hearts. Let's face it, the carrier is going to be a hydrocarbon of similar volatility to Kerosene, so I bet you're not actually too far off the mark!

I also agree that Kerosene is an excellent degreaser. Thank you again for your advice.

Re: PTFE, Graphite, White Lithium, Silicone

Posted: Tue Nov 06, 2018 4:15 pm
by Sadanorakman
julimike54 wrote:
Tue Nov 06, 2018 10:26 am
I've used Dri-Slide for years. It's a moly lube. Might be available in your area?

https://www.drislide.com/products/drisl ... t-w-needle
Can't seem to find dri-slide in the UK other than as a US import for the equivalent of about $40... The shipping costs as much as the product!

Thanks for the recommendation though.

Re: PTFE, Graphite, White Lithium, Silicone

Posted: Tue Nov 06, 2018 4:23 pm
by Sadanorakman
WingAdmin wrote:
Tue Nov 06, 2018 3:56 pm
I've used nothing but graphite spray for many years on cables. The carrier is a very volatile solvent, so it dislodges and flushes out any crud that might have built up in the cable, and it dries leaving an incredibly slippery dry surface.

As noted, it does tend to stain anything and everything it touches - I treat it like black spray paint in terms of cleanup, because it behaves in much the same way. I use one of these cable luber devices:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0012TYX9W/?tag=goldwingdocs-20 ... ingdocs-20

You clamp it on the end of the cable, stick the straw of the graphite spray into it, put the other end of the cable into a cup or receptacle, then spray until you have a good stream of fluid coming out the other end of the cable. I wrap the cable luber with a cloth, just in case the straw were to pop out while I was spraying. :)

Once that's done, I let it sit for an hour or so to make sure it's good and dry (in the open air it dries in seconds, inside an enclosed cable, not as fast).
Thank you WingAdmin. I've seen the cable cleaner clamps, and am quite tempted.

I read a forum thread where someone detached the upper ends of the cables from the throttle twist, pushed a rubber pipe over the end of each cable in turn to make a good seal, placed their solvent or lubricant into the pipe, then blew down the pipe to pressurise it and push the fluid down the cables... Seems a very sensible way of flushing-out and then lubing the cables without completely removing them from the bike!

Re: PTFE, Graphite, White Lithium, Silicone

Posted: Tue Nov 06, 2018 4:36 pm
by Sadanorakman
AZgl1800 wrote:
Tue Nov 06, 2018 3:37 am
CRC makes a very good silicone based product that works great in outdoor stuff,

CRC 2-26 5 oz. Multi-Purpose Lubricant-02004

in the USA it is carried in all of the Big Box stores,
very cheap at $3 bux US more or less

https://www.homedepot.com/p/CRC-2-26-5- ... /100398344

I found the distributor for CRC products in the UK... The silicone lube costs the equivalent of $10 a bottle plus $7.50 postage.

I'm warming most to the idea of either a PTFE or more likely Graphite spray which uses a liquid carrier to penetrate, then evaporates to leave the dry lubricant behind... Just need to find a reasonable one in the UK now.

Thanks for everyone's advice.

Re: PTFE, Graphite, White Lithium, Silicone

Posted: Wed Nov 07, 2018 8:32 am
by minimac
Knowing how well graphite works, I have always used it on my bike chains, cables, and anything else that needed an occasional lube. It's available as a spray, a paste, liquid, even a sort of tape. It can be messy, in any form, if you're not careful.

Re: PTFE, Graphite, White Lithium, Silicone

Posted: Wed Nov 07, 2018 8:41 am
by WingAdmin
minimac wrote:
Wed Nov 07, 2018 8:32 am
Knowing how well graphite works, I have always used it on my bike chains, cables, and anything else that needed an occasional lube. It's available as a spray, a paste, liquid, even a sort of tape. It can be messy, in any form, if you're not careful.
It's also an excellent lock lubricant. The carrier flushes out dirt and grit and cleans the pins, and it leaves behind lubricant that keeps the lock working very smoothly.

Re: PTFE, Graphite, White Lithium, Silicone

Posted: Wed Nov 07, 2018 11:33 am
by Mh434
^^^Absolutely! I never use ANYTHING but graphite on locks, at least any that are outdoors. It seems you use it once on a sticky lock, and it stays free...forever!

Re: PTFE, Graphite, White Lithium, Silicone

Posted: Wed Nov 07, 2018 4:57 pm
by oldishwinger
there is a lubricant Ive used for many years on throttle cables etc its called Inox mx3 lubricant with injector needle. the oil is very fine, and the injector needle allows oil flow between the sheath and cable, which mean as long as you can access the top the cables, you should be able to lubricate them without removal.

Re: PTFE, Graphite, White Lithium, Silicone

Posted: Fri Nov 09, 2018 5:46 am
by Sadanorakman
oldishwinger wrote:
Wed Nov 07, 2018 4:57 pm
there is a lubricant Ive used for many years on throttle cables etc its called Inox mx3 lubricant with injector needle. the oil is very fine, and the injector needle allows oil flow between the sheath and cable, which mean as long as you can access the top the cables, you should be able to lubricate them without removal.
@Oldishwinger, I've just been reading up on Inox mx3... God only knows what is in it, as the manufacturer proudly state it doesn't include Silicone or Kerosene, is so benign that it can be used in a food environment, It penetrates and lubricates, is non-conductive, displaces water. ...It probably makes tea, vacuums rugs, and solves political tensions too! Honestly, it has the most non-eventful material safety data sheet (MSDS) I have ever cast my eyes upon!

So it's seemingly somewhat like a more environmentally friendly version of WD40, but who's lubricating capabilities are meant to remain long term.

The catch? I cannot see anywhere to pick it up easily in the UK. There is one place advertising it 'from' £15 (18.75 USD) (one would assume for the small 125mm bottle), but that would have postage on top. There is also a place in Australia that will sell me a bottle for only £5, but then need to charge me £20 to ship it to me half way around the globe.

Re: PTFE, Graphite, White Lithium, Silicone

Posted: Fri Nov 09, 2018 5:58 am
by Rambozo
Stop at a bicycle shop. They will stock cable lubes. I like the PTFE versions as they are about as slick as graphite, with out the mess.

Re: PTFE, Graphite, White Lithium, Silicone

Posted: Fri Nov 09, 2018 9:36 am
by AZgl1800
Sadanorakman wrote:
Fri Nov 09, 2018 5:46 am
oldishwinger wrote:
Wed Nov 07, 2018 4:57 pm
there is a lubricant Ive used for many years on throttle cables etc its called Inox mx3 lubricant with injector needle. the oil is very fine, and the injector needle allows oil flow between the sheath and cable, which mean as long as you can access the top the cables, you should be able to lubricate them without removal.
@Oldishwinger, I've just been reading up on Inox mx3... God only knows what is in it, as the manufacturer proudly state it doesn't include Silicone or Kerosene, is so benign that it can be used in a food environment, It penetrates and lubricates, is non-conductive, displaces water. ...It probably makes tea, vacuums rugs, and solves political tensions too! Honestly, it has the most non-eventful material safety data sheet (MSDS) I have ever cast my eyes upon!

So it's seemingly somewhat like a more environmentally friendly version of WD40, but who's lubricating capabilities are meant to remain long term.

The catch? I cannot see anywhere to pick it up easily in the UK. There is one place advertising it 'from' £15 (18.75 USD) (one would assume for the small 125mm bottle), but that would have postage on top. There is also a place in Australia that will sell me a bottle for only £5, but then need to charge me £20 to ship it to me half way around the globe.
Why, doncha know, it is the same lubricant that I use on my toast every morning, very slick, works great. and passes all FDA rules. :lol:

Re: PTFE, Graphite, White Lithium, Silicone

Posted: Fri Nov 09, 2018 2:51 pm
by oldishwinger
The mx 3 oil oil in my country is available in sports shops that sell fishing gear etc as the oil is used to lubricate fishing reels you may find it there or on ebay

Re: PTFE, Graphite, White Lithium, Silicone

Posted: Fri Nov 09, 2018 3:50 pm
by Farmerl814
Been reading response to lube questions,after 40 plus years on bikes of all kinds and working on them and running shop in farming community,keep it simple is best usually wd or similar products break loose cables and rust but it does dry up rather quick ,then you follow up with light oils,such as gun oils ,or sewing machine oils there made to remain fluid to low temps and creep into crevises.just done my 82 aspencade,Sporter,cb 750 took syringe and let drip in doesn't take much.sad to say but if they are stuck that long you probly will have to replace them anyway damage already done

Re: PTFE, Graphite, White Lithium, Silicone

Posted: Mon Nov 12, 2018 2:38 pm
by CrystalPistol
Good tool for lubing cables here;

www.denniskirk.com/motion-pro/cable-lub ... /28910.sku


Mine is over 40 yrsold, used a lot on my Nortons & Triumphs in past, I use a spray Dry slide as I recall. Sold T150V last year, haven't used it since, but it's in a cabinet.

Re: PTFE, Graphite, White Lithium, Silicone

Posted: Mon Nov 12, 2018 2:50 pm
by AZgl1800
finding that tool when you need it, is the challenge.

Re: PTFE, Graphite, White Lithium, Silicone

Posted: Thu Nov 15, 2018 9:35 pm
by CrystalPistol
AZgl1800 wrote:
Mon Nov 12, 2018 2:50 pm
finding that tool when you need it, is the challenge.
"middle drawer, top row, roll-around #1"