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Rubber Rejuvination/Restoration


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Has anyone found a product that will seep back into rubber that has not gone rock hard and rejuvinate it and protect it? I am not interested in the stuff that just coats the outside and make it look good. I am wanting something the seeps into the rubber to give it back its original feel and look. I see there are products for rubber rollers on tape machines and printers. I don't know if that would work or not. I do not need to buy new rubber. My 38 has good original rubber around the windows and I want to presenrve it. Any info will be appreciated.:)

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I did quite a bit of looking into on this some time back. What I eventually did was soak my draftpads in armor all for several days to maybe a couple of weeks and they are still now pliable and in great shape, that was maybe a year ago if not more.

I tried tranny fluid and a few other things but got no results until I tried the armor all, there are some that might warn against this, I have read objections to this online but it worked for me.

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Not another" I don't know anything about what you are asking , BUT" answer. I've HEARD that ATF will soften rubber. But I KNOW that Lestoil WILL soften rubber. I have a set of VW floormats that are from about '56-'57 that would have broken if bent over, they were that hard. I soaked them in Lestoil for a few days and they've been soft and bendable for at least 4 years. Don't get it on paint, it will stain or strip it. I've brushed it on window rubber, but make sure the car is in the garge so it doesn't rain on it. Check on your rubber at least every day or it will go limp or swell up and ruin it. A buddy forgot a grommet for about a week, and it swelled up about 5 times the size it should have been. The local grocery store carries it. I've had a few old bottles that developed a hole, thought it was a mouse chewing on the plastic bottle. My buddy had the exact same thing happen, in a place where there aren't any mouses. We think it eats through the bottles, so we store it in glass.

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When I first started gathering parts for my Maxwell restoration, money was tight so I bought 4 old tires off eBay. They were hard and badly weather checked. Someone here recommended Lestoil. It worked wonders, not only did it soften and revive the rubber it closed up the weather checking so it appeared to disappear. Try it, you'll like!

Howard Dennis

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I may have cracked this one. Not being sure how the pine oil or caustic soda in Lestoil would soften rubber I checked out stoddard spirit (white spirit). The instructions for this product say that it should not be brought into contact with rubber. From this I assume it is a solvent of rubber and that careful application would have a softening effect.

Not having access to the magic Lestoil here in Australia, I will try neat white spirit. Watch this space for results.

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Tony, where did you find the ingrediance? I've never heard what is in it, just know it works. For anyone that follows NASCAR a few years ago Jeff Gordon was caught useing a cleaning agent that softened his tires. They never tell the whole story when one of the racers are caught cheating. I wonder if this was his secret sauce?

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Great news - the stoddard spirit/white spirit works. Several brushings over a couple of days softened a hardended fuel filler grommet that I had lying around.

Next atempt will be on some hardended floor mats that I need to preserve. Looks like this could be a cheaper alternative.

Tony

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... Several brushings over a couple of days softened a hardended fuel filler grommet that I had lying around. ... Tony

Thanks for taking the time to do the empirical research Tony!

Could you tell us the exact process you used? (What was the real product you finally used? How often did you apply? How dense was the application - runny or barely on there? How much time in between applications? Any comments on a possible better way to do it, now that you did it?) I'm all ears! (Well, maybe not, but you know what I mean!!!) :D

Thanks!

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The stuff I used is branded "Digger's White Spirits", marketed locally in a range incuding turps, methylated spirit, shellite etc.

I think your local hardware or paint store should carry it as a dry cleaning/brush cleaning sovent - possibly under the name of Stoddard Spirit.

As a first cautious step I applied it to the rubber by brush, reapplying when dry (about an hour or when I remembered). The results were good after a couple of days.

Next step is to try soaking. I expect that too long might result in swelling and ultimate disintergration so care might be needed. Will report back.

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According to Wikipedia (if you trust them):

Mineral Spirits, also called Stoddard solvent [CAS 8052-41-3][1], is a petroleum distillate commonly used as a paint thinner and mild solvent. Outside of the United States and Canada, it is referred to as white spirit. In industry, mineral spirits is used for cleaning and degreasing machine tools and parts. According to Wesco, a supplier of solvents and cleaning equipment, mineral spirits "are especially effective in removing oils, greases, carbon, and other material from metal."

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LESTOIL is sold in Canada at Canadian Tire stores in 800 ml containers. I'm going to try and soften the rubber ring that goes around the gas tank filler tube and the rubber 'cover' that closes the hole around the steering column on my '35. Both are original and very hard with spider web cracks. I'll let you know the outcome.

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  • 5 months later...

NEW TO SITE!

what is best way to rejuvenate old rubber weatherstripping on

1968 MERCEDES-BENZ 250 SE SEDAN. only 103,000 + miles!!

Like -short of complete restoring with new-

WHAT IS BEST PRODUCT THAT WILL MAKE WEATHERSTRIPPING SOFT AGAIN

AND MAKE DRIED OUT CRACKS SMOOTH OUT??

I simply can't believe that there isn't something out there that can do this,

in this age if chemicals!!

I read about LESTOIL being used on rubber mat, but what about

rubber weatherstripping???

Sincere thanks for any help you can give me on this!!!:)

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YES, I DO!!!!!! I COULD EVEN SING YOU THE MELODY!!! THAT'S WHY I USE THE NAME

SYNTHMAN!!

However, that jingle doesn't answer my question, but I do applaud you for kicking up

the gray matter in my brain!!!

Does anyone have an answer to my question??

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Am anxious to try this on two spare tires. It seems to be unknown in these parts. A relative from up North is willing to send me some. Can this be mailed (shipped) or is it listed as hazardous material?

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Thanks, 36D2. I asked because of the sodium hydroxide. If I read this correctly, it is DOT not restricted. I'm assuming that the % of sodium hydroxide in the product does not override this DOT regulation.

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  • 3 years later...

Interesting. I read all of the comments and threads. I am not a car restoration guy, though my ideal oldie would have to be a 1954 Willy's Truck (I had a 72 Wagoneer that I loved), 48 Dodge Power Wagon or a 1970 Corvette Hardtop. I found this topic through google researching "Rubber Restoration" and it brought me here so I thought I'd join. I do however own many Antiques including a Circa 1889 Mill Home that was occupied by the Mill Doctor. One of my past times is Golf, though I am really bad at it, I also collect vintage Clubs and related items. I searched this topic to try and restore/rejuvenate some rather old original rubber grips and found this thread. I preemptively shall thank all of you for your input on this subject. Happy Motoring.

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