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  1. #1
    4GSR's Avatar
    4GSR is offline Titanium
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    Default OT What can I use to clean & restore old rubber with?

    I'm going to ask the "experts" out in PM land.

    I have a couple of old "toy" parts made of rubber that is old. They are dirty and slightly hard from setting in a metal box in a hot attic for 60 years. I want to clean them up the best I can and maybe restore some of the oils in the rubber that has been lost over the years. I suspect the rubber is Buna N, started out as a 40 -50 Durometer in hardness, now about 80-90 Duro. How bad would I mess them up using a "Armo-All" tire cleaner on them?
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  2. #2
    Dimitri is offline Titanium
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    Silicon based lubricant has worked for me on rubber seals on ammunition cans.

    Dimitri

  3. #3
    JL Sargent is offline Diamond
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    A product called "rubber rejuvenator".
    Kinda pricey 15yrs ago, now its probably 4 times as much.

  4. #4
    N2IXK's Avatar
    N2IXK is offline Stainless
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  5. #5
    JST's Avatar
    JST
    JST is online now Diamond
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    Default

    When most rubbers harden, they also become subject to cracking, due to a chemical change in the crosslinking of the molecules.

    I don't think that can really be un-done, so don't expect too much.

    We used to use a rubber cleaner on tape recorder pinch rollers etc that smelled powerfully of phenol. It may be around still. But it cleaned off "perished" rubber, leaving the good that was underneath. I don't think anything really puts back the original springiness

    The good news is the metal box probably kept the ozone off them.......

  6. #6
    MikeJB is offline Aluminum
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    There are tyre treatments used to soften rubber for motor racing; 'Grip' is one trade name that I remember.

    If you only want a small quantity, the model car racers use a similar product. Most model shops will have this in small containers. Ask for 'tyre additive'.

    The active ingredient is a chemical; DEHP? that is actually a plasticiser used in the rubber manufacturing process. Some of the products out there use Salicylic Acid (Oil of wintergreen); stinks and is mostly banned at race meets because of toxicity. I would avoid this.

    Regards,

    Mike.

  7. #7
    gustafson is online now Hot Rolled
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    Default re

    Clean with whatever works to clean, but silicone spray, silicon dielectric, whatever silicone is a wonder for rubber. I soaked some rubber bungs from my 1970 car in silicone spray over 20 years ago. They were hard as a rock. They softened right up and are still that way. My process is to soak them in a pan for a few weeks in the spray then rub the grease on them before they go into service. Obviously yo don't want toys greasy, but you get the picture.

  8. #8
    crossthread's Avatar
    crossthread is online now Stainless
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    Years ago we used a product called Fedron to recondition typewriter rollers. I Googled it and it is still available. We never found anything that would work better.

  9. #9
    brock is offline Aluminum
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    Wink Rubber

    Laquer thinner works miracles on old rubber. Liberally soak a rag with automotive grade Laquer thinner and scrub the surface of the rubber. The thinner will dissolve the surface of the rubber while you scrub leaving a new looking finnish. When you are finnished scrubbing with thee thinner, wash the rubber with a mild soap and warm water to remove any remaining thinner.
    Brock

  10. #10
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    james robert is offline Stainless
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    Brake fluid, It has a rubber preservative in it. Works great and is cheep.

    James

  11. #11
    Johann Ohnesorg is offline Hot Rolled
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    Throw Žem in the washing machine, 60° and a phosphate based washing detergent. I often do this to restore hardened and dirty bellows from motorcycles. It works quite well most of the time. A friend of mine used it to resoften a window frame for his oldtimer, it too werked very good.

    Cheers,
    Johann

  12. #12
    4GSR's Avatar
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    Thanks Guys,

    Yaw gave me some ideas to try,

    Ken

  13. #13
    NickIrons is offline Aluminum
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    Quote Originally Posted by Johann Ohnesorg View Post
    Throw Žem in the washing machine, 60° and a phosphate based washing detergent. I often do this to restore hardened and dirty bellows from motorcycles. It works quite well most of the time. A friend of mine used it to resoften a window frame for his oldtimer, it too werked very good.

    Cheers,
    Johann
    Not sure what you mean by motorcycle bellows, but whilst doing my
    M/Cycle rebuild, the carb rubbers were no longer available new, so I had
    to make do with what I had. I too put them in the dishwasher which
    softened them up a treat, and then just used good old Cherry Blossom
    black boot polish, to restore the blackness and get a nice shine to them.
    I've no before pic unfortunatley, but these came off of a 28 year old bike
    that had stood out in the cold for ten years....So you can imagine what
    they looked like before.


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