WD-40 for chain lube - Ducati Monster Forums: Ducati Monster Motorcycle Forum
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post #1 of 17 (permalink) Old 06-18-2004, 05:57 AM
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WD-40 for chain lube

WD-40 is the only thing that touches my chain.

Before the naysayers go bananas, please note that WD-40 does not contain silicone, kerosene (the most popular misconception, "It will eat your O-rings!!" -NOT!), water, wax, graphite, or CFCs.


Folks who say you can't use WD for chain cleaning -AND- lube are, frankly, full of bullsheet. I know several people who have used WD exclusively for this purpose. An FZ1 rider I'm aquainted with has a whopping 19,000 miles on his original chain using WD once a week. No sign of substantial wear yet. He rides plenty hard too, lives in the twisties near Palo Alto, CA.

In days gone by I used WD for cleaning my chain, then I'd blow it off with compressed air, then I'd apply Maxima Chain Wax for lube and rust protection. Well, I didn't like all the crud the wax would attract to the chain over the course of the next few hundred miles before I repeated the process all over again.

So I decided to nix the second step, namely, the wax that I would work so d**n hard at getting off with WD during maintenance time.

I'll never pay for "chain lube" at a bike shop ever again.

As a final footnote, I'm familiar with a guy who wrote WD regarding this issue (and actually got a response back - I'm sure the company gets ALOT of pestering e-mail inquiries).

"WD-40 is a multi-purpose light lubricating oil. The WD-40 will definitely displace and remove the water or moisture from the chain. The 'WD' stands for water displacement. It will also act as a rust preventative on any of the metal surfaces. WD-40 will not 'dry out' the rubber o-rings. We have found no visible effects on surfaces of rubber, and o-rings. Certain types of rubber will swell under prolonged immersion [emphasis mine] in WD-40 (this refers to long soaking, and not just a spray)."


Chain S4
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post #2 of 17 (permalink) Old 06-18-2004, 06:51 AM
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Re: WD-40 for chain lube

WD40 may work OK, but the second it gets wet, the WD40 washes away. Thats why a chain lube is better, it stays on longer.
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post #3 of 17 (permalink) Old 06-18-2004, 07:38 AM
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Re: WD-40 for chain lube

wd40 may work as cleaner but i would not use it as a chain lube. motorcycle chain lube is better, it stays on longer and it's made for this very purpose. some work better than others but i would not use wd40 as a motorcycle chain lube.

honda chain lube in the red can and maxima chain lube both work good as a chain lube.
post #4 of 17 (permalink) Old 06-18-2004, 07:58 AM
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Re: WD-40 for chain lube

I always use the "Water Dispersal" Formula 40 to clean the chain but it tends to dissolve with the residual grim and fling it all over the place. I usually use it to get the bad dirt off, then apply non-fling chain lube LIGHTLY.
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post #5 of 17 (permalink) Old 06-18-2004, 08:28 AM
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Re: WD-40 for chain lube

BTDT, left my chain bone dry on one of our "normal" 200+ mile loop rides around San Diego county. And I REALLY tried to make WD40 work, too. There are a few people I respect that swear by it. Only thing I can think of is their mode of bike usage is radically different from mine.

This links to my article of how I have cleaned chains for more than a combined 100,000 miles and help chains last up to 17,000 miles.

Chris Kelley
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post #6 of 17 (permalink) Old 06-18-2004, 09:37 AM
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Re: WD-40 for chain lube

I know when I was a road racer (bicycling) those guys were a bunch of chain tech/ lube/ nazis

"When the going gets weird, the Weird turn pro" Hunter S Thompson
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post #7 of 17 (permalink) Old 06-18-2004, 11:09 AM
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Re: WD-40 for chain lube

it will burn up, smoke a bit too and have a smell. then your chain will gt tacky and you wish you hadnt. whats wrong with chain grease?
post #8 of 17 (permalink) Old 06-18-2004, 11:28 AM
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Re: WD-40 for chain lube

Yes wd-40 cleans and cleans very well, but to lube my chain I use a, guess what? a chain lubricant (Chain Wax) in my case and so far so good, by the way doesn't almost always some wd-40 stays on your chain which later will be on your rim? No matter how good you clean your chain.

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post #9 of 17 (permalink) Old 06-18-2004, 01:34 PM
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Re: WD-40 for chain lube

I think Chris Rock put it something like, "Suuure, You could drive a car with your feet if ya wanted to, but that don't mean it's a good $@#$ idea."

I bet in the long run, it'd cost you more to keep spraying on WD-40, than using CHAIN GREASE (I use synthetic, like $6 a can) I use WD40 to spray rust prone parts, but it burns right off once I've ridden a bit... stinks too.

It rains a bit out here in Virginia too, so I wouldn't trust it... but to each his/her own... It's your chain, and your rotors, and your bike.. If you want to be a rebel and use a water displacer in place of something made specifically to lubricate motorcycle chains, go ahead. I'll stick with my can of grease though.

Then again, I've heard beer makes a great shampoo... ya never know...
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post #10 of 17 (permalink) Old 06-18-2004, 02:08 PM
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Re: WD-40 for chain lube

PLEASE NOTE: the below response has hints of sarcasm imbedded in it, so please take no offense. Just some good natured bantering here fellas, promise!

Time to bring out the hammer then...

This is stolen from the another board I frequent, the FZ1 Owners Assocation. It is a response to a friend of one of the board mods some years ago. He wrote Tsubaki asking about chain care. The guy is reportedly militant about the care of his bikes, and one of his machines is a mint RC30. Guess what he uses?

You anti-WD guys can keep letting the facts get in the way of your argument though, it's a free country. And I don't want to talk you out of your $8 a can chain lube.

Me? I'll stick with the blue and yellow can I get for .99


P.S. You don't need lubrication on the outside of the chain. It's internally lubricated and the outside only needs to be protected from rust. So if you're on a bike trip, just keep a small can of WD in your tank bag and you're covered!


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