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Author  [Modern View]

06-23-2012 22:06:39

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I under the stand the concept of electrolysis for rust removal, but does it work well for helping seperate two parts rusted together? I have a small steel wheeled wagon that the wheel hubs are SOLIDLY rusted to the axle. Would electrolysis work so I could seperate the parts for further clean up and restoration? (Yes it would be possible to remove the axle/wheel assemblys and stand them on end, one wheel at a time in a tank for the electrolysis process.)

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07-06-2012 10:22:57

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 Re: Electrolysis in reply to Wheat47, 06-23-2012 22:06:39  
first, you'd have to be able to immerse the hub -that might be real tough. Second, for the process to work, the rusty areas have to line of sight to the anode/cathode (can't remember which is which - the OTHER metal part). that seems unlikely.

I'm guessing other who have had luck unsticking anything similar have had it work more from the soaking than anything else.

One word on old hubs - not sure of the setup there but I've found that what happens very often is that the axle gets mushroomed slightly from frustrated pounding. If you were to pound the hub itself ONTO the axle - if that's possible with your wheel. That might be a better first step.

Sometimes a hub can seem welded to the axle until you go the other way with it - and it moves much more easily.

I use a heavy machined part - like a thick cup that fits around the axle - makes things a lot easier.

By pushing the hub in, you can usually expose enough of the axle to file it down slightly. Then the wheel can pop right off.

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m. Doud

06-30-2012 09:34:13

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 Re: Electrolysis in reply to Wheat47, 06-23-2012 22:06:39  
It absolutely may help with rusted together parts. I've had success with parts being freed during/after electrolysis rust removal.

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06-29-2012 19:00:50

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 Re: Electrolysis in reply to Wheat47, 06-23-2012 22:06:39  
deffinately won't hurt.

remember - to work piece.. and sodium carbonate is a good electrolyte..

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06-26-2012 08:12:06

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 Re: Electrolysis in reply to Wheat47, 06-23-2012 22:06:39  
ive used it several times on smaller things like,corn shellers, grain mills and things and it definitly helps in my opinion. kind of limited to the size of your tank though. one of these days when i have a spare, just in case, Im going to try the cast iron carb parts to see if it will help clean out the passages.

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06-25-2012 21:43:25

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 Re: Electrolysis in reply to Wheat47, 06-23-2012 22:06:39  
Here's an update on the project: I have drilled a hole thru the hub (cast iron with steel spokes cast into the hubs) and apparently hid a"void". I've been filling the hole with "Liquid Wrench" and/or PB Blaster and occasionly appying heat with a propane weed burner. Been doing this off and on for the last month (more off than on!). So, this evening, I tapped the hole to 1/4-28 thread for a small Zerk. I then filled the hole with some penatrating oil, screwed in the Zerk, and applied pressure with the grease gun. I rounded up the weed burner again, and proceded to heat the hub. Didn't get it red hot, but good and smoking hot. I also applied some more pressure from the grease gun a couple or 3 more times. I then noticed some of the oil/grease beginning to seep out around the axle/hub on the outter end of the axle. Can't see the inner side!!!! So..apparently I'm on to something. The wheel still isn't free, but will let it cool and see what happens. Perhaps this method will help someone else.
By the way, I still have 3 more wheels to go!!!! I'll let you all know how this battle goes. Jon

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06-24-2012 06:25:14

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 Re: Electrolysis in reply to Wheat47, 06-23-2012 22:06:39  

In my refurbishing of three old Ferguson tractors, I have found it definitely helps on rusted-together bolts and nuts. It also helped with removing the tie-rod ends from the draglink tubes. (The longer the parts are left in the electrolsyis process, the better the ease of separation.)

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