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Cleaning aluminum oxidation and baked on oil

Discussion in 'Technical Q&A' started by V12addict, Jan 23, 2021.

  1. V12addict

    V12addict Karting

    Jan 2, 2004
    115
    Hi All, has anybody attempted to clean and bring to factory look those intricate aluminum engine castings? I have heard everything from water blasting, bead blasting and all kinds of other blasting as well as oven cleaner and wet sanding. I also don't think the factory ever painted the engine castings before installation in the cars. any suggestion would be greatly appreciated. Thank you
     
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  3. Laserman

    Laserman Karting

    Oct 26, 2018
    60
    Minneapolis, MN
    You might try Frozen carbon dioxde blasting it will leave no residue. The CO2 gets behind the stain/material and then sublimes or boils off under the stains to remove them. If you can find a place near you you can ask them. Don't know how expensive it is how ever.
     
  4. Qavion

    Qavion F1 Rookie
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  5. wmuno

    wmuno Karting
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    Dec 24, 2007
    111
    Wilmette, Illinois
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    Bill Muno
    For a rough casting, glass bead blasting will work. Don't use alumina oxide; it's too abrasive for aluminum.
     
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  6. Edward 96GTS

    Edward 96GTS F1 Rookie
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    Nov 1, 2003
    4,084
    ice blasting
     
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  8. racerboy9

    racerboy9 Formula 3
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    Nov 3, 2003
    2,072
    I have used Eagle One Mag Wheel Cleaner on my Dino castings with good results. You can usually get it at you local auto parts store for less than $10. As mentioned by another Dino owner, use a stainless wire brush if necessary rather than a brass brush as it will mark the aluminum.
     
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  9. V12addict

    V12addict Karting

    Jan 2, 2004
    115
    Possible, thank you.
     
  10. V12addict

    V12addict Karting

    Jan 2, 2004
    115
    I have heard this product works very well
     
  11. V12addict

    V12addict Karting

    Jan 2, 2004
    115
    :):):):):)
     
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  13. wmuno

    wmuno Karting
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    Dec 24, 2007
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    Wilmette, Illinois
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    Bill Muno
    If you don't want to remove the parts for bead blasting, Aluminum Jelly is a product I have used to remove corrosion and brighten the metal. Bursh it on, let it sit for a few minutes, work it in with a Scotch-Brite, and finally clean with water.
     
  14. Nuvolari

    Nuvolari F1 Veteran
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    Sep 3, 2002
    5,587
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    Rob C.
    Depending on the car some castings were painted by the factory. What engine are you working on?
     
  15. wmuno

    wmuno Karting
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    Dec 24, 2007
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    Bill Muno
    Update: Aluminum Jelly is no longer available.
     
  16. daytonaman

    daytonaman Formula Junior

    May 1, 2007
    616
    Australia
    Full Name:
    howard pigdon
    My observation is
    Anything that was diecast (sand diecast) got painted
    Anything pressure diecast like (for example 308 water pumps) left natural.
     
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  17. V12addict

    V12addict Karting

    Jan 2, 2004
    115
    yes, thank you. the engine is inside the car and i like to clean it up without any removal.
     
  18. V12addict

    V12addict Karting

    Jan 2, 2004
    115
    a 308 from 1982
     
  19. Nuvolari

    Nuvolari F1 Veteran
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    A 1982 308 will have no painted castings. Most are pressure cast aluminum and are quite easy to clean however there are a lot of different techniques. With the engine in the car there are more limited options and some experimentation goes a long way. Here are some techniques that have worked well for me:

    1. WD40 with a plastic brush or very fine steel wool. Keep the workspace well lubricated and give the WD40 time to work. It will literally draw grease and grime out of the castings which you can wipe or wash away.

    2. Spray on scrubbing bubbles. Yes the same stuff used for your bathroom works really well on Aluminum. Again add soft agitation with a plastic brush and wipe and rinse.

    3. Spray brake cleaner. A fantastic chemical available at any auto parts store and should be in the toolbox anyways.

    4. Simple Green. The secret here is to make sure it is good and HOT. Totally a night and day difference compared to room temperature

    5. Aluma-Brite. This is an aviation cleaner that is alkaline. Can be tricky to use and requires lots of experimentation but can work very well.

    Whatever you do DONT use wire brushes or abrasives. It will forever ruin the factory aluminum. Any abrasive should be carefully tested and well lubricated to soften its potency. Good luck with your project
     
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  20. V12addict

    V12addict Karting

    Jan 2, 2004
    115
    Thank you for the advice. I like the lighter approach on these delicate castings. I have also looked into Simple Green air craft that is made particularly for aluminum they say.
     
  21. Solid State

    Solid State F1 Veteran
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    Feb 4, 2014
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    I don't know about Simple Green aircraft but regular Simple Green will etch raw aluminum and leave marks if you wait too long to flush off. It does work well but can't be left on too long.
     
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  22. 05elise

    05elise Karting

    Jul 20, 2011
    72
    Sharpsburg, GA
    Full Name:
    Dan
    As a cheap and safe cleaner I use mineral spirits in a pump spray bottle. It will not remove oxidation but is is it safe on aluminum or cured paint and does a really good job of easily removing old grease and oil with a little agitation using a brush. Just use it in a well ventilated work space, avoid any open flames and dispose of any saturated rags used for final cleanup in a safe manner.
     
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  23. tbakowsky

    tbakowsky F1 World Champ
    Professional Ferrari Technician Consultant

    Sep 18, 2002
    15,391
    The Cold North
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    Tom
    Purple Power cleaner works pretty damn good on anything. Also Flame aluminum wheel cleaner diluted down with water will also work wonders.
     
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  24. ssgharkness020147

    ssgharkness020147 Formula Junior
    Rossa Subscribed

    Jun 12, 2006
    270
    Midwest
    This is good advice. The aircraft Simple Green is aluminum rated. Though I have not looked in to using it for this application I would see if Super Clean could work as well, that’s a potent but gentle cleaner that can be diluted down quite a bit. Vapor blasting would be fastest and leave the best finished result.

     

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