Steel rusts. It's a fact, Mac.
I've known what needs to be done and yes, I've been procrastinating. But a coupla lately middle-of-the-night half-awake-half-asleep dream panic attacks about rust-induced separation of my Elephant's downtube from it's headtube during a high speed descent compelled me into action.
As is the case with steel frames, my Elephant came with a tough, corrosion-resistant finish on the outside, but nothing to protect the vulnerable insides. While there are other treatments, the gold standard for protecting the internal surfaces of a steel frame is J.P. Weigle's Frame Saver. It comes in a little can like this:
I've had shops apply this product to my frames before, but I'd never done it myself, and in a moment of exceedingly bad judgement, I decided I needed to experience the joy of this process for myself. Holy hell.
The bike was pretty dirty, so first thing I did was to give it a crazy-serious bath. Outside, with a hose and bucket. In November. Yay. (Yes, I even individually washed every spoke.) Thinking being that if I was gonna tear it apart, I'd like the parts to be as clean as possible. (Second moment of bad judgement and super huge waste of time, as far as thinking I was gonna keep things clean.)
Anyhoo. Clean bike, let the teardown begin . . .
And continue . . .
And continue . . .
Until it's just the frame at which point you would normally stop, but since this bike has couplings, you take it a step further . . .
Because that will make your job so much easier because you can just spray Frame Saver into the open ends . . .
. . . which would be wrong.
So once you have your bike stripped totally down, you can start spraying Frame Saver into the insides of all the tubes and rolling the frame around so that the puddle eventually wets all the surfaces. Here's a shot of the head tube, with a puddle on the bottom, so that you can see what this nasty, yet wonderous shit looks like . . .
One can is supposed to be enough for 3-5 frames, but I burnt the whole thing down on just one bike. Thinking being that after all the the work to tear it down and build it back up, no way was I going skinny on a $12 can of juice. I applied two generous coats, 24 hours apart, to give the the first coat time to, umm, "set up", as they say. Like many things in life, I think this is one of those that if you can't do it to excess, why even bother.
Only downside to that theory is that there's only so much juice your frame can suck up and the rest of it runs out the vent holes all over the outside of the bike and down your arms and sleeves as you're trying to rotate the frame around so that you get every square millimeter of the inside of your tubes covered and a lot of this motion is disco-ish, complete with some low and high moves, sans music, and there's no way to avoid becoming a super spaz outside in the moonlight on a cold night which is where you've moved so that you don't dump this smelly, toxic shit all over everything in your shop, all the while with your neighbors looking out their windows, bewildered and maybe a little scared of the latest episode of bike weirdness from next door.
At least that was my experience.
What I didn't absorb into my clothes and skin, I sopped up with paper towels.
With the frame finally all coated, last thing I did was to drill a hole in the bottom bracket so that if water does get inside the frame, it has a way to drain out at this low point. (Of course I got Glen's blessing. Don't be ridiculous.)
I'm sure there are tons of tricks to applying Frame Saver. Unfortunately, I don't know any of them yet. What I do know is that this frame is seriously protected from internal rust. So then. Good. I feel way better now.