StratoFlite (Spaceliner style)

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Well, I guess I'm in with Spaceliner #3. It's actually a 1964 (correction: 1965) Murray StratoFlite, and I'm pretty stoked about how complete it is.
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The only definite plan is to clean it up and make it rideable while preserving as much of the patina/character as possible. Other than that, I am kicking around the idea of converting the headlight/taillight setup to LED, and if I found a 3-speed coaster wheelset, I'd consider adding that too.

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kingfish254

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here I am! End of the school year is always crazy for me as a teacher (well, actually a school librarian, but who's counting). Then, the first weekend after school let out, we went to LI to help my parents move from my childhood home to an over-55 community. Then, the weekend after that, we flew to Florida to buy a car that a relative of mine was selling and road-trip it back to PA. Soooo, now that I have had a few days to catch up, it's time to get working on this thing. First thing I noticed is that the rack support on the drive side is broken. Need to come up with a creative fix.
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Let the games begin!

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Awww this bodes not well. BOTH rack supports are snapped at the mounting hole.
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Looking at the rust and crust, I am thinking this is more than I want to take on with a wad of tin foil. Might be time for an oxalic acid bath. There's currently a girls' Ross Polobike awaiting cleanup here that could also benefit, so it just might pay to mix up a big batch.
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And then I was considering the option of making it a 3-speed, so when this popped up on FB Marketplace, I couldn't resist grabbing it to potentially use the wheelset:
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The problem here is twofold: One, I hate to cut it up. It rides like a comfy old Buick. And two, I couldn't tell from the ad that the rims are white, not silver, and once I got there I didn't want to flake out on the seller. I'd REALLY hate to take it apart and then decide I don't like the white rims on the Spaceliner. I know painted rims were a thing on ballooners and some early middleweights, but I'm not sold on it yet for this bike.

Decisions, decisions.

Of course, there is always the possibility that my wife or my daughter will fall in love with it and make the decision for me. :)
 
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That's one sharp Strato-Flite you've got there! It may be a little crusty, but I'm impressed that the red paint hasn't faded! It's in really nice shape overall!

I bet you could clean up those chrome wheels well enough with some #0000 steel wool. They might not come out perfect, but if all you're trying to do is just shine up your bike without losing the character, I think they'll turn out better than you might expect. I've shined up wheels like those before, and they've turned out really nice that way.

I don't know if you own a welder or know someone who does, but you could probably weld a couple thick washers to the supports of the rack to make it mountable again. otherwise, maybe you could use some crimp-fit battery cable ends and just squeeze them onto the existing support rods without having to weld anything.

One more idea to help shine up the paint: Turtle Rubbing Compound, Johnson's Paste Wax and some microfiber cloths. I've used that stuff on a few of my bikes before, and it's impressive how much of a difference it makes.
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You've got a great project there! Looking forward to seeing it all spruced up!
 
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kingfish254

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That's one sharp Strato-Flite you've got there! It may be a little crusty, I'm impressed that the red paint hasn't faded! It's in really nice shape overall!

I bet you could clean up those chrome wheels well enough with some #0000 steel wool. They might not come out perfect, but if all you're trying to do is just shine up your bike without losing the character, I think they'll turn out better than you might expect. I've shined up wheels like those before, and they've turned out really nice that way.

I don't know if you own a welder or know someone who does, but you could probably weld a couple thick washers to the supports of the rack to make it mountable again. otherwise, maybe you could use some crimp-fit battery cable ends and just squeeze them onto the existing support rods without having to weld anything.

One more idea to help shine up the paint: Turtle Rubbing Compound, Johnson's Paste Wax and some microfiber cloths. I've used that stuff on a few of my bikes before, and it's impressive how much of a difference it makes.
View attachment 199747 View attachment 199748

You've got a great project there! Looking forward to seeing it all spruced up!

battery cable ends! Of course! I have used them on homemade truss rods. That's a great idea, and there's a hardware store near here where I know I can get some. Thanks for the idea!

And yeah, I will probably use a variety of methods to get a little shine out of the paint.
 
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Tearin' it all down...

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I never had a Spaceliner before, so I had no idea the plastic gizmo on the sprocket was just held on with a couple of screws. I was a little nervous about the plastic being brittle, but the screws came out just fine. Debating hitting it with chrome paint.

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Took the rest apart to dunk in an oxalic acid bath. I can only hope it comes out as good as last time I tried it.

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Still debating on what to do with wheels. As of today I have a line on a decent set of steel cruiser wheels with a Histop coaster hub. Then there's the Nexus set off the aforementioned girls' cruiser, and there's always the option of just cleaning up the original wheels. (Now that I'm not scrubbing all the stuff up there with steel wool and tinfoil, that option is starting to look better...)
 
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I had forgotten how amazing oxalic acid is. The rust quite literally WIPES OFF.
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Looked at the frame for a while and decided that the steel wool I had done already wasn't making it any better. I was starting to get paint off, but not surface rust. So I rubbed it all down with Gibbs protectant and started putting stuff back on.
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I noticed an interesting problem... the butt end of the kickstand just about touches the inside of the sprocket sometimes depending on how it's tightened to the frame and how it's kicked up. Apparently it was a problem before, as the chrome is worn off the sprocket in a couple places where it was rubbing. Will have to fiddle with that, maybe file or grind on the kickstand a little...
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Next: experimenting with alternate rust removal methods for the wheels and the rack. Yuck.
 

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I usually use phosphoric acid when working with ferrous metals, In the form of Jasco metal prep, (now called Jasco prep and prime.)

Phosphoric acid, alcohol, and water is the recipe.

I also have a bottle of something similar with phosphoric acid and strong detergent in it used for cleaning swimming pools. I have used it to prep metal. (It etches concrete and any masonry like crazy so beware..)

But I must try oxalic acid now. I use it all the time in the form of Barkeepers Friend, a powder which I use for cleaning glass aquariums.
 

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Chrome paint on the plastic works well...
Looking good, I've wondered about oxalic acid baths (and naval jelly) what's your goto mix?

Carl.
 
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Dang that turned out nice! I've been itching to try an OA bath on some of my stuff, but I just can't decide what to test it on first.

You think it'd be possible to just grind off a little of the kickstand where it's rubbing against the chainring? I wouldn't think you'd need to remove that much to give yourself some clearance.
 
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I usually use phosphoric acid when working with ferrous metals, In the form of Jasco metal prep, (now called Jasco prep and prime.)

Phosphoric acid, alcohol, and water is the recipe.

I also have a bottle of something similar with phosphoric acid and strong detergent in it used for cleaning swimming pools. I have used it to prep metal. (It etches concrete and any masonry like crazy so beware..)

But I must try oxalic acid now. I use it all the time in the form of Barkeepers Friend, a powder which I use for cleaning glass aquariums.
For what it's worth, there's a very good how-to here:

 
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Chrome paint on the plastic works well...
Looking good, I've wondered about oxalic acid baths (and naval jelly) what's your goto mix?

Carl.
I'm sure I made it stronger than I needed to; this was all done within 12 hours where the guy who wrote the directions I use says he takes 24 to 36.

His write-up says 3 heaping teaspoons or 1 heaping tablespoon of OA crystals. Without really thinking about it, I grabbed the unused plastic spoon that came with the Chinese food we got last night and dumped 3 pretty good spoonfuls of the crystals into this tub:
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I put similarly proportioned amounts in the other two tubs I used.

In retrospect:
  • an actual measuring teaspoon is not the same as something you eat with
  • last time I did this, I think I was a lot more careful to measure using an actual measuring teaspoon
  • the container in the original directions is somewhat bigger than mine; the guy was soaking a whole BMX frame in it
Also, the original directions describe wiping down the parts every 6 hours or so over 24 to 36 hours. I put this stuff in the drink at 9:30 last night. Gave it a wipedown at 1:30 in the morning, and the OA had already done a good bit of its work. Got back out to the garage around 7 AM and did another wipedown and rinsed it all off with clean water and I was done.

I highly recommend checking out the link to the bmxmuseum post that I included above. The original poster gives very good directions and descriptions. He cautions against making the solution too strong to start; the idea is to start slow and strengthen the solution if needed.
 
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Dang that turned out nice! I've been itching to try an OA bath on some of my stuff, but I just can't decide what to test it on first.

You think it'd be possible to just grind off a little of the kickstand where it's rubbing against the chainring? I wouldn't think you'd need to remove that much to give yourself some clearance.
yeah, that's what I figured on doing. Literally just touch it with the grinder and that'd be plenty.
 
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