Reconditioning Rubber parts. What is your method and products of choice? - JeepForum.com
 
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post #1 of 7 Old 07-06-2020, 11:29 AM Thread Starter
weapon
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Reconditioning Rubber parts. What is your method and products of choice?

I need to try to bring some of my rubber parts back to life. I am not looking for spray ons or creams for topical recovery. I am looking for penetrating chemicals that will recondition the rubber.

I have heard of wintergreen (Methyl Salicylate) and xylene mixtures. Setting parts in them soaking and/or simmering.

What have you tried?

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post #2 of 7 Old 07-06-2020, 07:35 PM
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For rubber parts I normally stick with Armor All, plastics however I use Contractor's Cleaner, this stuff is tough enough to pull chain lube from a swingarm and not damage the finish.

The parts shop that stocks part for Skylab II will not have parts for our year/model of Jeep
We cannot accurately judge the trajectory of a speeding critter (cat, dog, sasquatch)
Record heat waves and floods only occur when we visit that area
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post #3 of 7 Old 07-06-2020, 07:39 PM Thread Starter
weapon
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Quote:
Originally Posted by turbogus View Post
For rubber parts I normally stick with Armor All, plastics however I use Contractor's Cleaner, this stuff is tough enough to pull chain lube from a swingarm and not damage the finish.
This is not about cleaning but bringing back old hardened rubber to a manageable pliability.
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post #4 of 7 Old 07-06-2020, 08:02 PM
turbogus
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In that case Armor All I've found over the years will soften some rubber parts.

The parts shop that stocks part for Skylab II will not have parts for our year/model of Jeep
We cannot accurately judge the trajectory of a speeding critter (cat, dog, sasquatch)
Record heat waves and floods only occur when we visit that area
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post #5 of 7 Old 07-06-2020, 08:33 PM
amcenthusiast
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With more than twenty years experience I'd easily recommend applying petroleum jelly to the old rubber part.
It will 'soak in' faster at first, and the part will gradually become slightly more soft to touch and less prone to cracking.
Nothing miraculous, but no unexpected destroyed rubber parts -does not damage the ancient/hard to find rubber part.
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post #6 of 7 Old 07-06-2020, 08:44 PM
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I'd say 'no -never try to restore old rubber parts with any type of solvent'.
Solvents, most of which are petroleum distillates, may create increased dryness of the rubber part to make it more brittle.
I'd say 'avoid glass cleaner' too, for it's mild alcohol solvent content.
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post #7 of 7 Old 07-06-2020, 09:08 PM
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Depending on what your parts are actually made from, you may have a vulcanized natural rubber i.e. it has been cooked up with a vulcanizing agent and its softness depends on the amount of softener and oil used and carbon black and filler in the mix or you may have a synthetic elastomer. The exact mix of rubber and additives will determine whether it hardens over time along with temperature, oxygen and contaminants such as oil.

The hardening process is free radicals in the rubber mix linking up and forming chains. The chains make the rubber harder and brittle. There is of course a reverse process which is these chains breaking down, which makes it softer. The chemistry is complex.

Armorall is a glycerine and silicon mix. They do not tell you this because they overcharge for what it is. It is a surface treatment only.

You could use ammonia (pure ammonia, no detergents etc) or lye in a weak solution of say 5% in the presence of heat (slow simmer in the solution) to change the chemistry of the part. Both may work but depends on the part and it is not clear to me how far they will penetrate. Short term gains may just be from the boiling which will make the part pliable. You could try this followed by a glycerine and silicone rub, which is Armorall, which will give surface sealing. This is a fairly safe process.

As to methyl salicylate there is a product called Rubber Renue which is a mix of xylene 60%, ethylbenzene 20% and methyl salicylate 20% that could work. Due to the high level of xylene solvent and ethylbenzene, it opens up the surface of the rubber and the methyl salicylate gets to work, the solvent evaporates and the part goes back to original size but with a changed composition. This is the sort of chemical that photcopy repair places will use to soften old rollers so they grip. Not a nice chemical but you can use in well ventilated places. You could follow this up with the glycerine and silicone rub. This is less safe but more aggressive.

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