In a couple of months I am going to lose my access to a good steam cleaner for cleaning parts and degreasing. What do the rest of you use
Depending on the severity and age of the grease, any or all of the below products using a stiff parts cleaning brush:
1. Dawn Dishwashing liquid.
2. Mineral spirits.
3. Foaming engine cleaner.
4. Easy Off Oven Cleaner (not on painted items).
5. Lacquer thinner (not on painted items).
1. Muriatic Acid for removing rust (not for use on aluminum or plated items). Wear respirator, face shield and rubber gloves for hands and forearms. Use outdoors away from tools and other bare metal as corrosive fumes alone will rust them.
2. Baking soda in water for neutralizing Muriatic Acid after rust removal (paint on or soak until it stops bubbling then rinse and dry with a high heat gun to prevent new formation of rust. After part cools, Prime with red oxide primer, ASAP.
I use a Harbor Freight parts washer. For the solvent, I use off-road diesel fuel (no road tax) with about 2% two-stroke oil added. The washer pump works best if there is close to 10 gallons of solvent in the washer, so that works out to be about one quart of two-stroke oil.
I added the two-stroke oil for two reasons. The first is that I figured it would reduce the evaporation of the diesel fuel, which may not be a problem anyway. The other reason is to prevent rust on parts I've washed and it certainly does.
Obviously, the washed parts will have an oily film on them once "dry". A quick blast with cheapo brake cleaner and compressed air takes care of that. Compressed air optional.
Cheapo brake cleaner will soften paint though, much like lacquer thinner that Jim mentioned above. Mineral spirits or kerosene can also be used to remove the oily film and won't soften paint.
Stiff brushes speed up the cleaning process, obviously.
Super Agitene manufactured by Graymills is the best I have found for the parts washer. It works way better than Kerosene or mineral spirits. It is about $70 for 5 gallons.
For occasionally stripping paint off small parts, I like to use Permatex spray-on gasket remover. It works good for real stubborn hard grease, and of course many gasket sealants.
Agitene is lanolin based which is far better for your hands and the enviroment. It also cleans parts better than anything I have ever seen that is generally available. It is available at Grainger and other suppliers.
AGITENE is best---------no oily film remains---my only complaint is that it seems to evaporate kinda fast.....Paul
I am thinking about using the cleaning solution I use on cuckoo clock movements. I have not tried it in my parts washer yet, but I have used it on small items in my ultra sonic cleaner "i.e. model t carb, site gages etc. I will try the solution in my parts washer this coming summer.
Clock Cleaning Solution and Process for Ultra Sonic Cleaners
4 Oz Acetone
4 Oz Murphy’s Oil Soap
4 Oz Dawn dish soap
1 Gallon distilled water
Stir well, and then add:
8 Oz Ammonia Hydroxide
(Household strength is ok but 26% ammonia is better.)
If the clockworks is real greasy or dirty pre-clean with Simple Green then wash off with warm water before putting in the Ultra Sonic Cleaner.
Add solution to Ultra Sonic Cleaner and heat up. Be sure to completely cover your clockworks with this solution otherwise the Dawn dish soap might cause a black water line to occur on the brass works. You do not want to leave the clockworks in this solution for more then 30 minutes
Immediately Rinse Clockworks after cleaning with: 99% pure Isopropyl Alcohol
Immediately dry with a hot hair dryer.
Non-Model T related...
Travis, I'm always complaining to my wife for bringing other people's junk home that she buys at yard sales and Goodwill. Last week I discovered one of her purchases hidden in a bag in a closet. It was a pretty hand painted Black Forest, 1 day, chalet type musical cuckoo clock with dancing figures that are supposed to spin around on the hour and half hour. I secretly took it out to my workshop, took it apart, cleaned the movement, oiled the gears and linkages and hung it on the wall and attached the three weights. It ran and played perfectly. I asked her about it and thinking she was in trouble, said she bought it for her Mother at a yard sale for $2.00. She said the seller wanted $3.00, but because it did not work, she talked her down to $2.00. LOL! As I invited her into my workshop, I said, are you sure you want to give that to your Mother? She then saw the beautiful, clean, working clock and the way it played a different tune on the half hour, as the dancing figures spun around. She loved it and said she wanted to keep it. Best of all, I told her I looked it up online and saw that the exact clock sells for $868.00. Needless to say, I don't complain about the junk she brings home anymore. Merry Christmas. Jim Patrick
One thing I like to use that I haven't seen mentioned is Vinegar. I soak parts overnight in vinegar then brush the next day. If not satisfactory I just put the parts back in the vinegar and repeat the next day. Removes paint and grease. I recently restored an aluminum vacuum fuel pump (obviously non-T but we all sin on occasion)using this process and it turned out exceptionally well. Also my T hubcaps. Yes, I know, I sound like Heliose but, what the heck, it works and is environmentally friendly.
Bill Rigdon '25 Fordor (and one of those "C" cars)
I find mineral spirits works best for me. I also use brake clean when needed. Diesel gives me a headache and I don't think I'd stick my hands in Travis' concoction, acetone is nasty stuff.
What about stoddard solvent? Isn't that what it is made for? Works for me. Any oil distibutor should have it. Non flamable, which is VERY important and cost is reasonable.
Stodard solvent and low odor mineral spirits are the same thing. There was a fuel dealer about 15 miles away that sold it inexpensively at the pump, but they haven't carried it now for several years.
Stodard solvent and mineral spirits (same thing) are getting hard to find.
Here in Ca. I have not found a paint store that sells it but mineral spirits can still be bought in hardware stores for $12 a gallon, in gallons only.
I have not been able to buy stodard solvent in about 10 years.
The last time I got some the container was marked "enamel thinner".