I'm trying to fix up a bike that has been abandoned outside for a while. When I first turned it upside down, rust brown water started coming out of holes in frame around the rear stays.

I've fixed it up so the outside looks great, but I'm wondering if this standing water could've done much damage, and how I can clean and lube it up to keep it in good condition for as long as possible.

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    Remove the crank assembly, flush the frame as best you can, locate the drain hole in the bottom bracket housing and clear it of rust and debris. Then put a good coating of grease on the inside of the housing, going up the tubes a few inches to the extent that's possible. Take care to keep the drain hole clear. If you have a cartridge-type BB, coat the outside of the cartridge with grease before reinstalling. Commented May 15, 2019 at 11:59

2 Answers 2


The most important thing is that there is no standing water inside the tubes. Usually there are drainage holes around the rear dropouts and bottom bracket. Make sure the holes exist and are not obstructed.

You can look inside the frame through the bottom bracket, seat tube and head tube. Some people use oil or wax-based surface treatments against rust, e.g. J.P. Weigle's Frame Saver.

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    Do these treatments protect a frame which already shows internal rust?
    – Swifty
    Commented May 15, 2019 at 7:28
  • I’d think so. In any case it’s probably a good idea to inspect the frame and get the interior as clean as possible, e.g. with a hose and pipe cleaners before applying any treatment (and of course let it dry thoroughly beforehand).
    – Michael
    Commented May 15, 2019 at 8:00
  • This review of J.P. Weigle's Frame Saver says that it can always be used: “Whilst it works best on an untreated frame, it can be applied directly to frames, which have had previous treatments and oil or other automotive corrosion inhibitors inside them.”
    – Michael
    Commented May 15, 2019 at 8:05
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    If you're acquainted with somebody who does drains and pipes they often have endoscopic cameras. It's a way to get a look at the inside of frames.
    – Carel
    Commented May 16, 2019 at 8:25

Check if the holes are color brown. If it is color brown you must replace it already to avoid accident but if it can be recycled make sure to fix it properly because what you said that there are brown water came out from the holes i think that its dangerous to recycle. The best way is to replace all the damage parts to make it better

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    You're saying if brown water comes out I should recycle the entire frame? That seems unreasonable. Commented May 16, 2019 at 17:50

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