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Getting oil off engine parts


bob duffer
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What is the best thing to get oil completely off engine parts to be painted?

I've had a couple people tell me mineral spirits , acid-tone , denatured alcohol , brake cleaner.

What is best?

"Acid-tone", er, acetone, is the best. Lacquer thinner is essentially the same thing. That's what I use. POR-15 people obviously want to sell as much of the products that they make as possible.

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I use brake cleaner for things that I can't soak or parts still attached to a car. It cuts through just about anything and is relatively benign compared to some of the harsher chemicals. It evaporates quickly, though, so if it's really thick stuff, remove as much as you can with scraping before going at it with chemicals.

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Ive used gas. But mineral spirits is what they use in parts washers. I have used a wire wheel on my grinder motor to clean to a shine. Small parts. Before painting them. Since i dont have a parts washer.

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Depending how crudded up it is I go with brake cleaner too.

A few years ago, having only a cold water pressure washer, I didn't want to go broke buying cleaning solvents so I tried the cheapest paint thinner I could get and stuck the injection hose into that.

It was a fiercely dirty and oily 1918 Avery tractor I wanted to degrease.

When I was done there was bare cast iron flashing rust.......so yeah......it worked really well....... :D

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on bigger flat parts like an oil pan or valve cover Frame rails, inner fenders, Lighter fluid/charcoal starter works incredibly well. I use paper towels and burn them when I'm done. It will leave a surface so clean that when I Clear Coated right over the degreased area on my inner fenders which were still original 30's metallic paint that originally had up to a 1/4 inch of grease (the lighter fluid won't take the paint off) I didn't get a single fish eye. It doesn't get much cheaper than 2.00 a quart either.

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Lots-O-ways to skin this cat. I've had good results by scraping off caked on grime then scrubbing the parts/castings with a bristle brush and kerosene followed by a scrubbing with water based cleaner. Rinse well with hot water. No danger of fire or explosions. No toxic vapors. Inexpensive. I have some paint jobs 20 years old now and no peeling paint...............Bob

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Guest AlCapone

I also have 8 cans of starting fluid sitting around. Is that good degreaser too?

That would be the very last thing ( starting fluid ) I would consider and to be honest I would never use it ! Use acetone and you can't go wrong. Also keep anything silicone away from your work area.

Wayne

Edited by AlCapone (see edit history)
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Have had very good results using acetone and or lacquer thinner for cleaning oily castings prior to painting. If you use any rags or paper towels, make sure to dispose of them in such a way as not to cause spontaneous combustion, or do as auburnseeker does and burn the rags or paper towels after use.

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Yes as AzBob mentioned, any of the products mentioned will make paper towels or rags very combustable.

I have used mineral spirits to get most of the grim off and then as mentioned above I use paper towel with acetone to get the last traces of oil off my parts.

I would also recommend gloves compatible with acetone. I am usually in a hurry and don't do this, but acetone really dries your hands out.

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Keep in mine Mineral Spirits is a petroleum or oil product therefore it is meant to use in oil base products for various reasons such as mixing and diluting.

Mineral Spirits will definitely leave an oily residue. Talk to any old school sign painter or a good brush man and they'll tell you the best way to soak a oil brush whether it's camel/ox/china bristle whatever.. and they'll tell you they soak the brushes in mineral spirits for a reason, because the oil in the solvent keeps the hairs soft. You DO NOT want that residue under any base coat. Mineral Spirits may be fine for initial cleaning but not for final prep work.

Lacquer thinner/Acetone/Brake Cleaner are all ok for final prep before painting but as mentioned they are only to be used in well ventilated areas. Always use a CLEAN and highly absorbent white cotton rag for final rinse. When you see no more dirty residue on the rag you know your good to proceed to paint.

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I used a hot plate with either Spray Nine or Purple Power soap and water because I didn't feel like inhaling thinner, I could also be doing something else as the parts cook. A 49 Chevy hubcap fit perfectly on the pot I used and then a hunk of steel on top of the hub cap and had a pressure cooker. Jack I as well do the hot water treatment on engines, I used to do it to go-kart engines in my parents kitchen sink, straight 8 Chryslers are harderpost-39071-143142957734_thumb.jpgThis is how I cooked the grease out of the overdrive planetary gears, that is boiling water shooting through the holes in the center photo

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Edited by jazzer3
adding photo (see edit history)
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Make sure you do NOT use a Cleaner, Like Carb/ Throttle Body Cleaner as many of those contain a trace amount of oil for lubrication. Brake clean is straight up CLEAN :!) acetone/ paint thinner are in the top 3 as well...

spray cans with pressure work great once you get the heavy crud off !!

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Steam and clean by Zep. About $11 a gal in a 55 gal drum. It can be mixed 14 to 1 to make a good whitewall cleaner or de-greaser.

I have mixed it 3 to 1 and soaked parts in it and removed all paint, grease and rust!

Don't even think of soaking aluminum unless you want it to disappear! (A few minutes will clean it with a big foaming reaction) It will turn black but it will come off with a good brushing under warm water.

CAUTION!!! If you even think that you splashed it on yourself, wash it off immediately!!!

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