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Old 02-26-2017, 10:07 PM   #1
Tom Wesenberg
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Default How to Soften Old Hard Rubber Parts

I came across this solution a couple years ago on a motorcycle site, when a guy needed to soften the rubber coupling on his carb.

I needed to soften the rubber plunger for the pump on my old Crossman BB gun.

Mix 1 part Wintergreen Oil to 3 parts rubbing alcohol and let it set in a closed container. I let my plunger set for at least a few weeks, and now it's soft as a new part.

I'd guess this would work for hard original Model A hoses, and maybe belts, seals and O-rings.

The local health store sells 10ml of the wintergreen oil for $30, but I bought mine on ebay for $1.69 with free delivery.
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Old 02-26-2017, 11:04 PM   #2
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Default Re: How to Soften Old Hard Rubber Parts

I think i remember reading a long time ago that pretroleum jelly softens rubber also. That may be common knowledge to some.
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Old 02-26-2017, 11:36 PM   #3
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Default Re: How to Soften Old Hard Rubber Parts

I also thought silicone lube spray letting parts soak in it gives them new life. I have heard the wintergreen trick in the past but good to get some conformation that it works!
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Old 02-26-2017, 11:49 PM   #4
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Default Re: How to Soften Old Hard Rubber Parts

Here is some additional info;

Revitalize Rubber Parts thread

Where it find it;

WINTERGREEN oil
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Old 02-27-2017, 12:02 AM   #5
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Default Re: How to Soften Old Hard Rubber Parts

WD-40 did it for me!

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Old 02-27-2017, 12:29 AM   #6
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Default Re: How to Soften Old Hard Rubber Parts

You can also buy a mixture of oil of wintergreen and alcohol from walgreens.
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Old 02-27-2017, 02:58 AM   #7
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Default Re: How to Soften Old Hard Rubber Parts

What does the softening is methyl salicylate, the main ingredient in wintergreen oil. This is cheaper than wintergreen, which is a natural product, as opposed to methyl salicylate which is a synthetic chemical used as a flavouring in drinks and an emollient for muscular pain.
I used to mount the local go kart track' racers' used tyres in a milk churn with half a cup of methyl salicylate in the bottom. After a week or two with the lid on the churn the vapours would permeate and soften the rubber for the next races
A food flavoring company or chemical supply company should sell you a few hundred mls for a small sum. You want a technical grade not a high purity laboratory reagent grade which will be much more expensive.
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Old 02-27-2017, 06:28 AM   #8
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Default Re: How to Soften Old Hard Rubber Parts

A wheel cylinder cup, overnight in DIP carb cleaner, makes a GREAT conversation piece!---It gets this l--------------------------------------------------l BIG!
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Old 02-27-2017, 11:56 AM   #9
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Default Re: How to Soften Old Hard Rubber Parts

Tom, good information as always on numerous items. BTW you can go to the Crossman web site and look at the range of serial numbers for a particular model and from that get the part number for the plunger. The parts are very reasonable. On You Tube cam even see ways to increase the muzzle velocity.
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Old 02-27-2017, 12:11 PM   #10
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Default Re: How to Soften Old Hard Rubber Parts

Quote:
Originally Posted by jrelliott View Post
Tom, good information as always on numerous items. BTW you can go to the Crossman web site and look at the range of serial numbers for a particular model and from that get the part number for the plunger. The parts are very reasonable. On You Tube cam even see ways to increase the muzzle velocity.
Unfortunately my plunger is NLA.
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Old 02-27-2017, 12:23 PM   #11
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Default Re: How to Soften Old Hard Rubber Parts

Guys I used to work with would put a little brake fluid in automatic transmissions to soften a leaky front seal. They didn't put much in but I don't know how much, so use caution. It did work!
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Old 02-27-2017, 01:35 PM   #12
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Default Re: How to Soften Old Hard Rubber Parts

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Brierley View Post
Guys I used to work with would put a little brake fluid in automatic transmissions to soften a leaky front seal. They didn't put much in but I don't know how much, so use caution. It did work!
That a used car trick to get them out the door.. then eventually the brake fluid gets to the clutch pack seals and it blows.

Brake fluid will soften rubber and enlarge it..
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Old 02-27-2017, 04:50 PM   #13
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Default Re: How to Soften Old Hard Rubber Parts

ARMOUR ALL, soak for a few weeks!
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Old 02-27-2017, 08:02 PM   #14
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Default Re: How to Soften Old Hard Rubber Parts

I find that Silicon works the best
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Old 02-27-2017, 08:57 PM   #15
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Default Re: How to Soften Old Hard Rubber Parts

We used lye water on milking machine tit-cups and hoses when I was a kid when my dad ran a dairy. Soaked them over night and everything was soft as new.
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