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Dipping parts like carb boots in boiling water is the easiest way to soften them for installation; they don'tr stay soft, though.
I boiled the bejezus out of those knee pads and all it did was make them hot. I remember installing hard rubber tires on an old riding mower my Dad had in the early 60's. We boiled the tires and they popped right over the rims.

The nitro-methane and alcohol is an interesting concoction. Sounds like RC engine fuel to me. Don't get that near the paint on your bike!!

Years ago, I either read an article or was talking to a tire and rubber expert about tires. I learned that one of the reasons tires harden up if left to sit is the oils in the rubber need to be warmed up for them to keep the rubber supple. I have to be honest, and struggle with understanding that, but I have also seen just how sticky my tires would get when I'd bring my bike in from a series of hot laps at the track. I suspect that road use is somewhere between track temps and gooey rubber and no use and cold, rock hard rubber.

I know UV plays a major role in rubber life. I have an original pair of Firestone sawtooth tread tires that came on my Knuck. They were installed sometime in the 50's as best I can tell. They are hard, but they are otherwise in excellent condition with no cracking, checking or rot of any kind. I know that the bike spent the last 50+ years under a canvas tarp in a garage so there was zero UV attack.

Ozone is another enemy of rubber. I have had rubber boots on electrical parts in my boat crumble after a year or two. They are hidden from any UV attack, but out in the open air all the time. I assume Ozone is the key culprit for that damage.

regards,
Rob
 

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What will soften rubber part?
Bushy,

I think this response from therabbithole is very valid.


"The point was that the answer is different whether it's actually vinyl, latex, real rubber, some sort of black plastic, etc. (are those even all different things? I don't know)."

I doubt there is very much natural rubber being used these days, and until you can identify the compound the item is made from, its really a suck it and see situation.

RR
 

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I am looking to soften rubber gaiters that go between the fairing and the shocks. The bike has stood for a number of years; it starts and runs great so I don’t want to strip it at all.

You probably would have been able to change the old gaiters to new supple ones faster than it would have taken you to read all these posts. ;)
 

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Discussion Starter #24 (Edited)
Thanks guys. This is not on my Triumph but on my BMW, The rubbers go between the fairing and the shocks, They are fairly cheap but not avalible in NZ. The fairing stays still when turning and the shocks move in the rubber sleve. To replace the is one major issue. You have to remove the fairing top, handlebars, top and btm yokes, etc etc. For the amount of riding or the possible sale of the bike I just don't know if its worth it. I have put a bit of CRC on it and worked it all over with a paint brush and it seems okay for now.
 

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they sound like the nacelle rubbers that have to be slipped over the handle bars.

on my cub, there are welded lugs for the levers on the bars, and the rubber isn't stretchy enough, so I dunked mine in v hot water for a min or so.

looking at your problem, although not 'correct" couldn't you cut them and superglue them back? I gather that's what a lotof CV joints on cars have done.
 

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Discussion Starter #28
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