Cleaning up engine parts

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Cleaning up engine parts

Post by nickpohlaandp » Wed Sep 27, 2017 10:51 am

So I'm FINALLY starting to tear down my project and I gotta get rid of the crud. I hate working on dirty stuff. I have a parts cleaner and I've used that yellow stuff from Harbor Freight that you heavily dilute with water, but I'm not sure if I want to use it again. I've heard of some guys using kerosene, mineral spirits, etc. The Harbor Freight stuff did a good job, but if I left a part in there too long, like overnight, it would develop something like a slime on it. It all came off after hosing it down with water, but it still sucked. What do you prefer to use in your parts cleaner? I'm not opposed to buying 15 gal of parts cleaner solvent, but if something else works as well or better, and doesn't cost $10/gal then I'm open to suggestions. Thanks.
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Re: Cleaning up engine parts

Post by rfoll » Wed Sep 27, 2017 12:22 pm

I use the Gunk SC degreaser additive with Stoddard solvent. If it isn't a baked on layer, it will come off with a pressure washer and be clean enough to paint, The solvents tend to evaporate in an hour or less, so for overnight I use the rattle can degreasers.
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Re: Cleaning up engine parts

Post by nickpohlaandp » Wed Sep 27, 2017 12:51 pm

rfoll wrote:I use the Gunk SC degreaser additive with Stoddard solvent. If it isn't a baked on layer, it will come off with a pressure washer and be clean enough to paint, The solvents tend to evaporate in an hour or less, so for overnight I use the rattle can degreasers.
I'm talking about what's the most preferred solvent for a solvent tank. I know there are solvent tank solvents, but I've heard of people using a lot of other stuff as well. I know kerosene is one of them, but I'm thinking that would leave a nice oily residue behind. Sure your parts would be clean, but then you'd still have to get the kerosene off.
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Re: Cleaning up engine parts

Post by Dogwater » Wed Sep 27, 2017 12:53 pm

Mineral spirits in a 3 gal bucket with a screen about mid way up so all the heavy crap goes to the bottom. Spray on oven cleaner for cooked on grease & oil. Car wash sometimes if I'm in the mood to be splattered with everything I'm washing off.

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Re: Cleaning up engine parts

Post by rfoll » Wed Sep 27, 2017 4:44 pm

The solvent and SC is a standard solvent tank mix. if you smelled the stuff, you would recognize it as that machine shop smell. We had some stuff from Zep that was a little more viscous and water soluble, and It had a kind of sweet smell. When you hosed it off, the solvent turned white and left the surface clean enough to paint also. It was considered a safe non-flammable product.
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Re: Cleaning up engine parts

Post by gvx » Wed Sep 27, 2017 5:47 pm

I hear what you're asking what kind of solvent in 15 or 20 gallon volume would be good to put in your parts washing machine? Always go to the paint store Sherwin-Williams in my case and by mineral spirits by the 5-gallon jug. Kerosene work also but it leaves a petroleum odor on your hands that don't wash off immediately it can stay with you for 10 to 12 hours or more kerosene works just fine the same as diesel fuel but mineral spirits is just a little easier on your skin.

As far as the water based solvents there are many different brand names but the chemicals are just an alkaline based soap. The petroleum solvents seem to be more effective getting things clean in a shorter time frame with less scrubbing and elbow grease involved.

Then you have the caustic soda based cleaners most commonly available in oven cleaner aerosol spray cans. If you get it in more concentrated forms from some of your chemical supply stores but you can put in a dip or soak tank but the caustic sodas can be dangerous so you need a little bit of training and pay attention to the dangers and be cautious.

You also mention about your parts being slimy after you come out of the water base cleaner that's just a side effect of your alkaline cleaners as well as caustic cleaners when you use this kind of cleaner you have to put some effort in the water cleaning either water and a scrub brush during the rinse cycle or using a pressure washer should do the job.

With all this being said my preference is mineral spirits for the lot work and caustic for the nasty baked on stuff.

Water based Alkaline cleaner is inconvenient (purple power, greased lightning, powerball, mean green, harbor freight store brand and others......) Its all Alkaline based water/soap of varying concentrations remember when mamaw and papaw used to make lye soap when we were growing up? That was basicly the same thing just the oldtimers formulation.

If you go to use caustic on anything use word association anything that says caustic or hydrochloric acid solution on it = methyl ethyl bad stuff or skull and crossbones. Use extreme caution !!
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Re: Cleaning up engine parts

Post by nickpohlaandp » Wed Sep 27, 2017 6:06 pm

gvx wrote:I hear what you're asking what kind of solvent in 15 or 20 gallon volume would be good to put in your parts washing machine? Always go to the paint store Sherwin-Williams in my case and by mineral spirits by the 5-gallon jug. Kerosene work also but it leaves a petroleum odor on your hands that don't wash off immediately it can stay with you for 10 to 12 hours or more kerosene works just fine the same as diesel fuel but mineral spirits is just a little easier on your skin.

As far as the water based solvents there are many different brand names but the chemicals are just an alkaline based soap. The petroleum solvents seem to be more effective getting things clean in a shorter time frame with less scrubbing and elbow grease involved.

Then you have the caustic soda based cleaners most commonly available in oven cleaner aerosol spray cans. If you get it in more concentrated forms from some of your chemical supply stores but you can put in a dip or soak tank but the caustic sodas can be dangerous so you need a little bit of training and pay attention to the dangers and be cautious.

You also mention about your parts being slimy after you come out of the water base cleaner that's just a side effect of your alkaline cleaners as well as caustic cleaners when you use this kind of cleaner you have to put some effort in the water cleaning either water and a scrub brush during the rinse cycle or using a pressure washer should do the job.

With all this being said my preference is mineral spirits for the lot work and caustic for the nasty baked on stuff.

Water based Alkaline cleaner is inconvenient (purple power, greased lightning, powerball, mean green, harbor freight store brand and others......) Its all Alkaline based water/soap of varying concentrations remember when mamaw and papaw used to make lye soap when we were growing up? That was basicly the same thing just the oldtimers formulation.

If you go to use caustic on anything use word association anything that says caustic or hydrochloric acid solution on it = methyl ethyl bad stuff or skull and crossbones. Use extreme caution !!
Thanks for the breakdown. I just picked up 10 gallons be of PSC1000 from Tractor Supply. I would've gotten 12 (or 15 if they had any more at all, my washer level is good at 12 though), but 10 should do for now. I just didn't want to deal with that Harbor Freight stuff anymore. It is good for precleaning really greasy clothes before you wash em though.
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Re: Cleaning up engine parts

Post by gunt » Wed Sep 27, 2017 6:24 pm

I trow about 5 gal of diesel 2 gal of kero and 2 liters of petrol , any outer guys that used my wash from other shops were seriously impressed , i also cut open a truck diesel tank that i leave parts soaking in , sometimes if i remember i'd trow Jizer degreaser in to the mix too , great stuff

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Re: Cleaning up engine parts

Post by tresi » Sun Oct 01, 2017 9:09 pm

I do the initial cleaning with purple power. Solvent aren't worth a damn on dirt. By saving my solvent tank for the final cleaning the solvent stays cleaner longer. When the solvent does start picking up a bunch of oil I'll give parts a final rinse of brake parts cleaner.

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Re: Cleaning up engine parts

Post by jsgarage » Tue Oct 03, 2017 4:37 pm

If what you're using is a cheap recirculating cleaning tank, be aware that some pumps & lines will not tolerate some solvents. I used an aggressive cleaner in my tank and wound up rebuilding my Harbor Freight tank's pump & replacing the flex line. It also stripped the paint off the tank wherever it touched. Smart too late again....

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Re: Cleaning up engine parts

Post by Splitter » Tue Oct 03, 2017 9:02 pm

Diesel...one thing I’ve noticed is it doesn’t give me headaches or get me stoned like mineral spirits, plus it’s cheap.

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Re: Cleaning up engine parts

Post by Schurkey » Tue Oct 03, 2017 10:12 pm

My solvent tank is built on top of a ~30 gallon drum. There's a screen on the solvent sink drain that keeps big chunks from falling into the solvent barrel.

I put 5 gallons of solvent in it. I keep a 1" block of wood under the front of the drum so the pump pick-up stays submerged.

My final rinse is from a garden-sprayer filled with the same mineral spirits that I use in the tank. By doing the final rinse with clean solvent, I replenish the tank. The solvent level goes down due to evaporation.

I clean out the barrel from time-to-time. I toss 3 or 4 gallons of dirty solvent, and some evil crap that gets past the screen on the tank drain. Then I refill with another five gallons of mineral spirits.

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Re: Cleaning up engine parts

Post by ZEOHSIX » Wed Oct 04, 2017 1:11 am

If you can afford one, I highly recommend a System One solvent tank with the self cleaning operation. Put some Tractor Supply PSC1000 low odor solvent into it......

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Re: Cleaning up engine parts

Post by modok » Wed Oct 04, 2017 6:07 am

Schurkey wrote:
Tue Oct 03, 2017 10:12 pm

My final rinse is from a garden-sprayer filled with the same mineral spirits that I use in the tank. By doing the final rinse with clean solvent, I replenish the tank. The solvent level goes down due to evaporation.
Very smart. i do that as well, I use the NEW solvent as the rinse for old, although I trying to minimize use of mineral spirits these days. Mineral spirts are very tame, but enough expose over enough years and it will hurt.


Still experimenting.
I'd like to see what a heated bath of wd-40 would do??? :D
What's the best way to rinse off wd-40??? :lol:
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Re: Cleaning up engine parts

Post by redliner » Wed Oct 04, 2017 10:46 am

modok wrote:
Wed Oct 04, 2017 6:07 am
Schurkey wrote:
Tue Oct 03, 2017 10:12 pm

My final rinse is from a garden-sprayer filled with the same mineral spirits that I use in the tank. By doing the final rinse with clean solvent, I replenish the tank. The solvent level goes down due to evaporation.
Very smart. i do that as well, I use the NEW solvent as the rinse for old, although I trying to minimize use of mineral spirits these days. Mineral spirts are very tame, but enough expose over enough years and it will hurt.


Still experimenting.
I'd like to see what a heated bath of wd-40 would do??? :D
What's the best way to rinse off wd-40??? :lol:
I bet GUNK will take off WD 40

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