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how do you people clean car parts at home?


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24 replies to this topic

#1 soobie_newbie67

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Posted 06 January 2011 - 02:25 PM

like what cleaners do you use and how do you get them to clean affectivly? i recently bought a 1 gallon jug of this cleaner called Purple Power and dumped the whole thing into a sonic scrub machine that my grandparents have, and i have been able to effortlessly clean my engine parts spotless.

i completely tore down my intake manifold for the 1988 GL-10, removed all electronic parts, and anything else that could come off and washed the thing till it looked brand new. only took me about 45 minutes to get it completely clean.

now, not everyone on here would have one of these 20,000 dollar sonic scrub machines like i do, so i was wondering what other ways you people clean parts.

oh, and most importantly, i was wanting to know what you people would recommend for a good cleaner. my machine is 100 percent stainless steel, so no cleaners would hurt it. (cept maybe acid.)

#2 GeneralDisorder

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Posted 06 January 2011 - 05:06 PM

1. Harbor Freight 20 gallon parts washer ~$80 on sale.

2. Lightly used Inland Technology "Breakthrough" solvent: http://www.inlandtec...akthroughsupsup

The solvent was free (normally it's about $80 per 5 gallon can so free is a helluva deal!) because it was lightly used and the customer wanted their parts washer switched to some other product. The Inland Tech service guy that maintains the parts washer at my old work gave me two 5 gallon cans for free. And I needed a replacement pump because the crappy plastic unit in the HF parts washer ate itself - he came through again with a used pump from a high-end parts washer which I retro-fitted to my Chinese unit.

I must say the Breakthrough is GREAT stuff. Easy on the hands, no obnoxious odors, dry's without any oily residue, etc.

I'm very satisfied with the $80 I've spent on my parts washer. Could it be better? Sure it could. But unlikely for the little money I've spent.

As far as a "good" cleaner - I can only reccomend the Inland stuff and the Zep products. Everything else I've tried that was "water based" and availible through retail channels has been a WASTE OF MONEY. Either it's so nasty that it eats everything in sight including your hands (such is the case with that purple crap you have - it will etch aluminium, eat the flesh from your hands, and is rather toxic to have on your skin), or it doesn't work at all.

GD

Edited by GeneralDisorder, 06 January 2011 - 05:16 PM.


#3 soobie_newbie67

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Posted 06 January 2011 - 06:40 PM

is the case with that purple crap you have - it will etch aluminium, eat the flesh from your hands, and is rather toxic to have on your skin), or it doesn't work at all.

GD


your machine sounds the steal deal for the end of time, but your kinda wrong about the cleaner i used. i did not hurt my hand at all, did a wonderful job at cleaning, doesnt smell horrible (was even using the machine in my garage so im not in the cold) and i did not have any problems. oh, also forgot to add, the stuff i bought is biodegradable.

does any one have any clue what cleaner the pro's use when cleaning fuel injectors? after some research online and talk with my 24-year-career automotive teacher, i found out the pro's use sonic scrub just like the one i have, and they flush out the injectors while holding them open while having them hooked up to power. i have everything i would need to do it the way they do except a good recommended cleaner.

any suggestions?

#4 GeneralDisorder

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Posted 06 January 2011 - 06:54 PM

The purple stuff is Sodium Hydroxide (look at the label) and it's very alkaline - the soapy feel gives it away. It eats metal like crazy (aluminium dissolves in alkaline chemicals) and discolors plastics in a big way. Yes it does eat grease and oil very well - but it's not the chemical I would use for automotive parts cleaning as much of the stuff in modern cars is either plastics or aluminium - both of which react poorly to that type of chemical bath. When used in small quantities it's ok - but it also must be thouroughly washed off to prevent discoloration, etc...... the light petroleum based solvents such as the Breakthrough I use do not require a rinsing stage - you shake the part off and dry it with a towel or compressed air - even interior plastics, etc are not harmed and no residue is left behind.

Read up on the harmful effects of lye exposure - that's basically what the purple stuff is. Heavily alkaline chemical. It's biodegradeable in a sense because it will break down in the environment - but it will kill animals, etc just from it's PH alone.

As for injector cleaning - I would be using some form of carb cleaner - which is a heavily controlled substance in most places (the good stuff anyway). It's about the only thing that will touch carbon deposits.

GD

#5 markjw

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Posted 06 January 2011 - 07:18 PM

I use a dishwasher I picked up of Craigs for free. I use Cascade Dishwasher soap and run the machine on the hottest water setting. Works Great!

#6 soobie_newbie67

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Posted 06 January 2011 - 07:29 PM

I use a dishwasher I picked up of Craigs for free. I use Cascade Dishwasher soap and run the machine on the hottest water setting. Works Great!


now theres some smart thinkin! i bet no one else has ever thought of that.

#7 davebugs

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Posted 06 January 2011 - 07:38 PM

Great for hubcaps, and all kinds of stuff. I miss my old dishwasher.

Cascade liquid works for cleaning your ceramic bath/shower tile (a tenant told me about it), also works excellent as a coolant flush, I'm not kidding. My local radiator shop has been known to use it from time to time.

I have an old commercail parts washer but need new juice. Mine is a mess. Bought used, then degreased a ton from a long time leaking rear main on a 71 VW bus. Don't see a decent way to clean it. Haven't turned it on in months so I may try and pul the cleaner stuff off the top.

#8 GeneralDisorder

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Posted 06 January 2011 - 09:03 PM

I have been known to put things in the dishwasher as well - usually interior plastic parts do well with that method (and it's often spilled food/coffee/soda that I'm trying to get off anyway :rolleyes:).

GD

#9 lostinthe202

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Posted 06 January 2011 - 09:28 PM

As for injector cleaning - I would be using some form of carb cleaner - which is a heavily controlled substance in most places (the good stuff anyway). It's about the only thing that will touch carbon deposits.

GD


I've worked on a number of neglected motorcycles over the years and I used to use Chem-dip, which is still around but with a different formula since around the mid 90's. The old formula worked amazingly well while the "improved" version wasn't worth jack. Some time after it came out I started using full concentrate simple green when I want to clean motorcycle jets. A half-hour soak and a shot of compressed air usually cleans 'em right out. Think the same might work for injectors? MC jets have really small holes in them, I'm not really familiar with the geometry of a fuel injector, but I'd imagine that since it's atomizing gasoline, it's probably got a something similar in hole size.

But wouldn't it be important to be able to hold the injector open no matter how you cleaned it?

Will-

#10 Indrid cold

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Posted 06 January 2011 - 10:58 PM

What a great post... never thought about dishwasher and G.D. is always informative regarding + or - of products.

I like the Citrus cleaner, Price wasn't bad, did a good job and did rinse parts with water when clean enough for me. I put in squirt bottle and used elbow grease rinsing down after cleaning and wore proper hand gloves that resisted break-through of chemicals and changed often.

But, since we all live up stream of a river a concern I had was what to do with the remaining fluid?

To safely get rid of the buckets I put a metal screen over the top and assured no animal couldn't pry off and let it evaperate. It didn't take long in our summer sun I put remaining grease sludge in a bag with kitty litter and deposited as grease waste.

#11 GeneralDisorder

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Posted 06 January 2011 - 11:42 PM

Also - when I was researching this a bit ago trying to determine what I wanted for solvent I found that a lot of folks out there are using straight kerosene (or in some cases deisel) in their parts washers. Some with additives to slow evaporation. The down-side is that it leaves more of an oily residue.....

When I finally did decide on a product I wanted to buy.... the one I had chosen was MIL-SPEC only and I couldn't buy it unless my former employer (the only guy's I know with a ZEP account) changed their account with ZEP to a DOD contractor account (which they could have done because they do supply the DOD) so I didn't want to persue it. But I got this Breakthrough for free and decided to try that out and it works just dandy for what I need.

I haven't tried the Simple Green (except their carpet formula) but I hear that works well on lots of stuff. I wonder what it's active base is though. I will have to look into that.

GD

Edited by GeneralDisorder, 06 January 2011 - 11:44 PM.


#12 Fairtax4me

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Posted 07 January 2011 - 12:29 AM

Simple green is corrosive to aluminum. USAF did some tests years ago, and consequently prohibited the use of simple green.

Purple power I'm not sure about, but I've used it many times on aluminum parts (degreasing the outside of engines, transmissions) and have never noticed any ill effects. I have seen plenty of other degreasers dull/etch aluminum surfaces almost immediately.

#13 GeneralDisorder

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Posted 07 January 2011 - 01:20 AM

Basically many of the degreasers on the market are using some form of alkaline chemical concoction. Sounds like simple green may be similar.

Of the two popular methods I prefer the petroleum based cleaners even though they tend to be more expensive.

GD

#14 Svengouli7

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Posted 07 January 2011 - 10:58 AM

Interesting post fellas. I've been eyeing that HF washer for a while now, and part of the hold up has been deciding what to put in it.

In my gallon dip can on the bench I've been using good ol' mineral spirits.. degreases really well but doesn't budge varnish, maybe softens valve carbon goop..

I experimented with oven cleaner.. got the idea from Zap a long time ago. Took varnish straight off cranks,cams... cleaned aluminum blocks quite well but did etch their surface even thought I limited the time on the aluminum to a minute or two.
Funny thing is those block halves emitted the odor of the oven cleaner in my garage for days, maybe weeks!

#15 Legacy777

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Posted 07 January 2011 - 12:26 PM

I too have one of the HF parts washers and mineral spirits. It works pretty well on most stuff. If I have stubborn parts I'll supplement the mineral spirits with brake cleaner.

One thing I do not care for with the mineral spirits is that is leaves a little bit of a residue. If I need to get rid of the residue from the mineral spirits I will wash the parts with the Zep orange degreaser you can get at home depot.

That combination has worked pretty well for me over the years.

#16 flatfour73

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Posted 11 January 2011 - 05:33 AM

I use deisel fuel, a tough paint brush and a bucket.

#17 Loyale 2.7 Turbo

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Posted 12 January 2011 - 03:28 PM

...eat the flesh from your hands...


Holy Cow! ... :eek: ... Sounds Very Dangerous!

... i bet no one else has ever thought of that.



I Did it! ;) :

Posted Image

Yes, Concentrated Dishwasher... and Clothes Washing Powder too.



#18 kanurys

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Posted 14 January 2011 - 09:12 PM

Hmmm. Those ultrasonic parts cleaners should only use what is recommended for what material they're made out of. Most caustics will eat aluminum and stainless away quickly. These machines work best with an emulsion fluid which suspends debris well and is still really not pretty to smell or for the environment.

I use citrus based cleaners, elbow grease and a little bit of crazy. :Flame:

#19 bheinen74

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Posted 14 January 2011 - 09:16 PM

i use the kitchen sink and a brass bristle brush and the scotchpad.

#20 TeamCF

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Posted 15 January 2011 - 03:19 AM

I use various methods depending on the job.

Have a parts washer for big nasty stuff (20gal HF special) I forget the cleaner I used in it. Stuff was $9 from HF, looks like antifreeze and I only needed half the gallon diluted in the washer to clean some really nasty caked engine parts.
Careful with soaking though. It eats aluminum. But I was cleaning to get a bit more out of the scrap so all the etching was no biggie.

I'll just use some brake cleaner for small stuff. Little blast and a rag wipe usually gets it.

And for the medium jobs I got a gallon of that Castol Super Clean that I'll put some in a spray bottle, which never lasts as it eats the seals, so use a cheap/old one. Stuff works great but is really hard on the skin, wear rubber gloves.

#21 ShawnW

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Posted 15 January 2011 - 03:36 PM

i use the kitchen sink and a brass bristle brush and the scotchpad.


No wife/girlfriend living in the house I assume by this statement? Most would kill for that offense.

#22 heartless

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Posted 15 January 2011 - 08:28 PM

No wife/girlfriend living in the house I assume by this statement? Most would kill for that offense.


hehe, not this particular wife/girlfriend - i would probably be the one doing the scrubbing! LOL :grin:

i have found that for varnished over stuff, PB Blaster does a pretty good job of breaking up the varnish, and quite quickly, too- but it does leave an oily residue...

we do have one of the HF parts washers, but havent really used in the way it was intended to be used...mostly set a part in, squirt it down with cleaner of choice (PB, brake kleen, carb cleaner, etc) give a little scrub at the stubborn stuff, and rinse with the favored cleaner again...

The primary reason for this is because we dont use it often enough to warrant keeping it filled with a specific cleaning fluid - it would probably evaporate long before we had need of it again.

#23 Legacy777

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Posted 17 January 2011 - 12:19 PM

The primary reason for this is because we dont use it often enough to warrant keeping it filled with a specific cleaning fluid - it would probably evaporate long before we had need of it again.


I've noticed that the mineral spirits will evaporate over time, but for as long as I have had the thing and as much as I've used it, I can't say the solvent has evaporated too badly.

#24 heartless

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Posted 18 January 2011 - 11:25 AM

I've noticed that the mineral spirits will evaporate over time, but for as long as I have had the thing and as much as I've used it, I can't say the solvent has evaporated too badly.


that is good to know, but seriously - i think we have used ours maybe two or three times in the 3-4 yrs we have had it... it is mostly a flat surface to put things on top of! LOL :Flame:

#25 Legacy777

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Posted 18 January 2011 - 12:59 PM

that is good to know, but seriously - i think we have used ours maybe two or three times in the 3-4 yrs we have had it... it is mostly a flat surface to put things on top of! LOL :Flame:


Yeah, if you only use it that much, then it's probably not worth filling up.




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