The last time you saw this frame, it was dirty, greasy, dusty and covered in spider’s webs. The parts were rusty and some were even beyond help. But after a few days and some hard work and elbow grease, the frame for SB1861 is looking so much better; although it did give me a bit of a issue.
After soaking the rear end in penetrating fluid over night and applying as much heat as I dare, and even after a few other tricks, the adjuster just wasn’t coming out. The metal was just too corroded and the head of the adjuster broke away. All I had to grip was a few exposed threads on the outside of the end, but as the metal was soft, the last remaining piece of adjuster simply twisted off.
All you can do is use a pair of long nose pliers and snap away any remaining adjuster screw so that both sides of the screw are flush with the end. The only way to remove the remaining screw is to carefully use a drill, with a steady hand and drill out the screw. It’s generally soft metal so isn’t normally too difficult to do. These things never snap cleanly so the first thing to do before trying to use the drill is to use a centre punch to pop the end of the snapped screw and give you a place to locate the tip of the drill bit.
You have to start with a pilot hole – it is a thin drill bit, only 1.5 mm diameter so a steady hand is essential so that you don’t snap the bit. Once the pilot hole is drilled, open it up slightly wider with a 2 mm bit and finish it with a 2.5 mm bit – most of the old screw will have been removed by now. Because the thread has had a stuck bolt in it, and also had a drill bit run through it, it is always advisable to use the correct size thread tap to clean up the thread before trying to fit a new adjuster.
Using a thin drill bit isn’t the only danger in this task, a snapped thread tap is your worst nightmare – these things are hard! If one of these snapped then you have bigger problems, so take it easy! I cannot recommend cutting fluid enough, even though it may just take a couple of turns of the tap, the fluid makes it so much smoother and also helps protect your tools.
I always try to keep any small parts from any bike that I’ve had. Good quality parts are getting harder to find, and also quite expensive for certain components. So I have a little supply of Campagnolo end adjusters. This frame has the 1010/A long adjusters and I have a few spare so finding a replacement wasn’t too hard.
With that little diversion dealt with, I could concentrate on cleaning this very dirty frame. Soap and water and a big sponge followed with a spray all over from the trusty GT85. After a wipe over to dry the frame, I gave it the first going over with paint restorer, wiping on with one polishing cloth and wiping off with another clean and dry polishing cloth. The initial results look great.
The paint renovator is great at getting rid of dirt that has worked its way into paint scratches, it is also a cutting compound, but quite mild, which is great for giving the paint a gentle clean.
That looks really bright and shiny, it looks so much better than it did half an hour earlier. But the final thing to do is cover the entire frame again in polish and buff it off.
I left the polish on the frame for a little bit and started to clean the headset and hardware that would have been fitted to this frame by the SBDU. I recently restored SB6398 which required the removal of lots of surface rust so I used the same technique to deal with SB1861. The headset, seat bolt and bottle boss bolts are all steel and cleaned up nicely. Although these parts are now clean, they still show their age, some of the surfaces are pitted, but that helps to keep this bike looking like a restoration rather than a totally clean renovation.
I would normally face a head tube before fitting a headset, but this headset was fitted to this frame by the SBDU, the head tube is already nice and clean, so in this case, their is no need. I’m confident the headset will be smooth once it is fitted. Just apply a small amount of grease to the bare surfaces of the head tube to protect the metal and help ease the cups into the frame.
A Team Pro 531 with a Campagnolo Record headset fitted is a classic SBDU look. Red frames and polished or bright chrome parts always look great.
The original hardware (with one replacement adjuster) re-fitted to the frame.
And here it is, SB1861, as it would have been when it was packaged up by the SBDU at the end of 1977, uncertain of its future, but heading to Bates in Plaistow, London… just waiting for an owner to pop in and snap it up!
After 40 years, I think SB1861 has aged well and is still looking good and will still turn heads.
Up next will be the huge task of cleaning and removing rust from hundreds of small parts. I’ve already made a start on the derailleurs and chainset and things are looking good!