Cam maintenance is important, in that like any other technical item of climbing equipment, their performance and lifespan will benefit from regular care and attention.
A: CLEANING & LUBRICATING
You will need:
- Clean lint free absorbent rags
- Clean, warm water of domestic supply quality, 50°C max. (take suitable precautions when using hot water)
- Mild detergent (such as washing up liquid)
- A suitable lubricant (Henkel Superlube, 3-in-1 oil or Duck Oil)
It’s always worth cleaning and lubricating your cams before a thorough inspection as dirt and grime may hide possible visible faults. A clean, lubricated cam will hopefully meet the tactile requirements of the trigger/cam action test.
If your cams are seized, apply a penetrating oil as described in step 4 below, leave overnight and then check for free cam movement before commencing the cleaning procedure. This process may need repeating to ensure a fully smooth action.
1) Rinse the head of the cam in clean warm water (max. 50°C) mixed with mild detergent (diluted as for washing dishes). Submerse the cam head in the water while retracting and expanding the lobes.
2) Gently clean any dirt from the metal part of the cam, particularly around the lobes, springs and axles, using a toothbrush. Remember that the lobes can slide on the axle, so you can move them around and get access to any grime. Take care not to dislodge the retraction springs from the cam lobes.
3) Thoroughly rinse with fresh water. It is at this point where your cams should start to feel smooth/non-gritty. If they still feel gritty/rough actioned, go back to step 1 and start the cleaning process again. Using a clean dry rag carefully dry off excess water. Allow your cams to thoroughly dry away from direct heat before lubrication. You can place your cams on some clean newspaper or cardboard to do this.
4) Whilst opening and closing the cam lobes, lubricate the cam axle where it passes through the lobes, namely; i) on the cam springs ii) between the side plate and the lobe and iii) between the lobe and axle boss. Use Henkel Superlube, 3-in-1, Duck Oil or other suitable lubricating oil (do not use graphite or lubricating oils that contain degreasing agents such as WD40). It is important to operate the cam until the lubricant has penetrated along the axle and into the cams. For heavily soiled/seized cams it may require more than one application of lubricant or further cleaning/lubrication. Use an accurate lube dispenser to ensure that all moving parts are thoroughly lubricated and the camming device has a smooth action. Take care not to get any lubricant on the sling. The thumb press and sling can be wrapped in a plastic bag to prevent this.
5) Wipe off any excess with a clean rag or paper towel.
Your cams are now ready for inspection.
Further Cleaning Considerations
Sea-cliff environments and salt water are particularly harsh on climbing gear, which can rapidly degrade if not properly maintained after exposure to these elements. We recommend cleaning and lubricating your cams after every use on sea-cliffs to keep them in good working order.