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Conditioning Old Rubber

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What is preferred to restore and preserve old rubber? Mainly tires. 

Picked up a few older Tyco's and the rubber bits are looking a bit tired. 

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I've read, but never tried, that using WD-40 can recondition/soften old hardened tires.  Someone mentioned to get them clean of dirt, then spray them with WD-4o (completely coating them), then immediately putting them in a ziplock bag for at least 24 hours out of sun light.

 

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I tried WD40, after reading about people using it on real car tires before races.  Hardened rubber becomes softer, but not stickier.  

I've tried it over a week, re-spraying every day and flipping them.  The shrunken rubber ended up becoming bigger than the wheel.  So 8 days was a bad idea.  But other tires that were done for 24, 48 hours or so were good.  It returns the tires to better condition in elasticity and size.  

 

 

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I've heard of both good and bad results with WD-40... Not all "rubber" parts are always purely rubber. I think in some cases the plastics that are blended into the compounds can be attacked by strong solvents like WD-40. I would consider experimenting with some rubber parts you'd be okay with sacrificing to unintended results.

I can't find the original source where I read of it, but apparently putting rubber parts in a pillow case and giving them a low temperature tumble in your clothes dryer can improve the pliability. I thought it was a neat concept that attempts to "re-anneal" the rubber. Personally I've never tried this method, so no idea how effective it may be. Might be worth experimenting with though?

I also found this video, which is also somewhat unproven, but the immediate results seem promising B)

 

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I thought putting a petroleum product like WD40 on rubber is bad over time. Using spray silicone is better for the tire and preservation.

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Soak it in pure glycerine, works wonders. You can get that in 5ltr container's in 99% pharmacy quality.

So the misses can make soap etc out of what's left 😉

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Some good ideas!

I use a product called 303 on my car dash and headlights and boats vinyl seats and has worked great over the past 10 years. Just not sure it's ok to use on older rubber/plastic.  

Was also thinking of maybe using a lanolin type product as i've used it on underside of my truck to a protective coating and notice the plastic on my running boards are softer now that i soak the bottom of them in Lanolin. I guess it's a "natural" product that is derived from sheep. 

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I use Simple Green. I was given the tip by one of the fast guys at my offroad club and have since noticed everyone uses it. My tyres are much newer but it madevsome 2 year old Goosebumps like new again. 

He told me the simple green actually softens the rubber. When I asked if its legal since we aren't allowed tyre saucing here he looked sideways and said it was a grey area since its a legit cleaning product and you're allowed to clean your tyres between rounds.

Anyway, it works, but not sure if it keeps new tyres like new or will restore really old ones but worth a go. If nothing else you'll have a general purpose cleaner

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My tires were done about a year ago, and they seem fine.  But it is true that WD40 can damage plastic and rubber.  

Since I have heaps of old tires, I think I'll try glycerin and Simple Green next. 

 

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On 2/8/2019 at 1:03 PM, Jonathon Gillham said:

I use Simple Green. I was given the tip by one of the fast guys at my offroad club and have since noticed everyone uses it. My tyres are much newer but it madevsome 2 year old Goosebumps like new again. 

He told me the simple green actually softens the rubber. When I asked if its legal since we aren't allowed tyre saucing here he looked sideways and said it was a grey area since its a legit cleaning product and you're allowed to clean your tyres between rounds.

Anyway, it works, but not sure if it keeps new tyres like new or will restore really old ones but worth a go. If nothing else you'll have a general purpose cleaner

Yeah I like this suggestion; I've been using SImple Green as a cleaning product for a reeeeeealy long time :rolleyes: It's a strong degreaser, so I was curious as to how exactly it would soften old rubber, but a little digging and I found some very promising reviews of this application. And this thread even has an actual letter from SImple Green declaring that their product does not contain wintergreen oil:

https://www.rctech.net/forum/electric-road/295144-simple-green.html

It's remarkable the diversity of info on this topic that's out there... absolutely nothing resembling a consensus :blink:

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On 2/8/2019 at 10:55 AM, magnumb said:

You know, I haven't tried that stuff, but I've definitely heard of it. Only $16 bucks makes it seem worth a try. Reading those reviews makes me feel like it's a pretty good product 👍

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I usually soak old tires in Simple Green for about 10-15 minutes, then give them a good scrubbing with warm-hot water.  After I soak them with a conditioner (such as Aerospace 303) for half a day or so in a plastic bag and it helps a lot.  It also work with new tires that are hard compound as well.   Just did this with a set of Kyosho USA-1 tires that are pretty old and they came out very well.   Also did this with a set of new tires from a Bruiser clone and they;re much softer than they started out.   Another plus to using the 303 is the tires get a nice even satin black finish.  Not a tire shine type of look, but just a nice deep black finish.

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I second glycerin. It used to be, you'd have to hunt down and restore rubbers for classic cars before the companies started to re-re those parts. I have brought back at least a handful of parts back to useable condition. Also you could try though I haven't,  for a car oriented product something you would buy from BMW as a seal conditioner

 BMW Gummi-Pflege #  83-19-2-449-390

 

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