How to Clean Cams

By Rock and Ice | October 31st, 2013

By Larry “Toolman” Arthur

My solution to sticky cams and reluctant trigger wires is to clean and then lubricate them. First, dangle your cams in a pot of boiling water and carefully swish them around to melt any oil or grease that can trap dirt and grit. This is the solvent free “green” method of degreasing. Don’t get the slings or your fingers in the boiling water—it’s hot!

After you see the dirt and grease from the oil slick on the surface of the boiling water, remove the cams and blot them with paper towels, then set on newspaper to dry. Next lube the axles with a small shot of aerosol WD-40. Let the lubricant soak in for 30 minutes to penetrate into the joint between the cam lobes and the axle. Work the triggers, then shake and blot off any excess oil, which will only attract more dirt.

Other lubes that are more viscous tend to penetrate less, sit on the surface and attract and hold more dirt. The lighter-weight WD-40 does the job famously with out gumming up the surface, and is readily available at supermarkets, drug and hardware stores. If you notice tweaked or broken trigger wires, now is the time to fix ’em. Simple do-it-yourself kits are available from your favorite gear perveyor for nominal cost.

Clean your cams as often as necessary. This can be a couple of times per season if you are a desert climber.

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