Engine bits, garlic-press and the dishwasher

Discussion in 'Technical Q&A' started by ham308, Apr 4, 2004.

  1. ham308

    ham308 Formula Junior

    Nov 3, 2003
    NE Switzerland
    Full Name:
    Richard Ham
    I've got various aluminium bits off the engine at the moment, belt covers, oil pan etc, and I'm wondering if the dishwasher is a good way of cleaning these up before they go back on.

    The garlic press for example does not fair well in there. It comes out sort of grey and furry. Are Ferrari castings better quality than my garlic press?

    Anybody tried this? If it's a good idea then is it a quick rinse with the wine glasses, or a full-blown baked on crud setting?

    The plan may get blocked by the department manager of course....

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  3. 134282

    134282 Four Time F1 World Champ

    Aug 3, 2002
    Full Name:
    Carbon McCoy
    This is one of the funniest serious posts i've read in a loooooooong time... :)
  4. ShanB

    ShanB Formula Junior

    Jul 9, 2003
    Full Name:
    Wow - interesting idea but probably not good for the dishwasher. Automotive grease is not good for such appliances or household plumbing. Kerosene in a dip tub or brake parts cleaner spray followed by some light scrubbing will work wonders. Make sure you have good ventilation. Simple Green or Krud Kutter work well as biodegradable options. Good luck.
  5. thecarreaper

    thecarreaper F1 World Champ
    Silver Subscribed

    Sep 30, 2003
    Full Name:
    dishwasher soap is corrosive to aluminum it will etch and pit the surfaces of your parts. my humble advice DONT DO IT!
    oh yea aluminum is suspect as a cause of Alzhiemers, aluminum traces can be found in measurable amounts in human brain tissue. theory is, it messes up the electrical signals in the brain tissue. now do you want to eat off of anything that may be covered in aluminum????
  6. 348 Turbo

    348 Turbo Formula 3

    Jul 17, 2002
    DO NOT wash engine ANYTHING in your dishwasher. It might seem like a good way to clean parts but, it is BAD for you!
    Get a parts washer, or use some carb cleaner and a rag. It will be just as fast.
    Then, a gentle glass beading will be nice.
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  8. ham308

    ham308 Formula Junior

    Nov 3, 2003
    NE Switzerland
    Full Name:
    Richard Ham
    OK, bad decision......Certainly wasn't expecting Alzheimers to be the reason though :)
  9. Mitch Alsup

    Mitch Alsup F1 Veteran

    Nov 4, 2003
    My repair shop has a 'dishwasher' filled with a degreasing solvent and a heater and is used to clean all sorts of gunk off automotive parts. But the internals are all designed to tollerate this harsh environment. A home dishwasher would not survive.

    Simple green, a stiff parts brush and water did the trick when I did this on my major this winter.
  10. Dale

    Dale F1 Veteran

    Oct 7, 2003
    Full Name:
    Dale Juan
    Dishwasher mmmmh no,
    1,parts washer first
    2,pressure wash off with water all the degreasing fluid,
    3,blow off components with oil free air line,
    4,use electric heater blower to finally dry(DO NOT OVERHEAT PARTS)
    5,bag and seal components ready for inspection(cracks etc)
    6,get the workbench CLEAN,
    7,Inspect parts and clean gasket faces,
    8,now repeat 1-6 and assemble the parts,
    Think thats about it have fun,

  11. Mark 328

    Mark 328 Formula Junior

    Nov 6, 2003
    Orange, Ca
    Full Name:
    Mark Foley
    You may want to spray on Gunk Engine Brite then spray-off at the quarter carwash.
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  13. 4re gt4

    4re gt4 Formula 3

    Apr 23, 2002
    Roseburg, OR
    Full Name:
    Hans E. Hansen
    BTW, Simple Green will discolor/slightly corrode aluminum. Some report decent results if diluted more, and quickly rinsed.

    Search the archives. There are numerous reports of corrosion that seems to show up well after the initial cleaning - sort of a porosity, as I remember.

    Oh, and PS: The post above is correct in that dishwashing detergent is the cause of a sort of 'whiteness' on aluminum.
  14. atlantaman

    atlantaman Formula 3

    Mar 31, 2002
    Roswell, Georgia
    Full Name:
    dishwashers work great on parts if you are goin to paint them--cleans 'em up nice--also great for eyeglasses and gun parts!!!!!
  15. writerguy

    writerguy F1 Veteran

    Sep 30, 2003
    Full Name:

    Now I HAVE to know ==== How exactly does one discover this?
  16. thecarreaper

    thecarreaper F1 World Champ
    Silver Subscribed

    Sep 30, 2003
    Full Name:
    LMAO Charles, what gun parts do you put in the dishwasher??? do you know how toxic Hoppes no9 is !!! ( J/K)
  17. WaltP

    WaltP Formula 3

    Nov 1, 2003
    Cape Canaveral/Atlanta
    Full Name:
    Walt P
    I used the parts washer then dishwasher before having some parts powder coated. It worked just fine.
  18. chrismorse

    chrismorse Formula 3

    Feb 16, 2004
    way north california
    Full Name:
    chris morse
    About 30 years ago I was cleaning up my MGA for a car show at the high school. I had polished the SU carbs and wanted to get all of the carb parts clean, so I cleaned them with solvent then a water rinse and dry. The still looked like they could be brightened up a bit so I put the parts in my mom's dishwasher. They came out looking good BUT when mom found out about it she went Balistic - I mean the smoke and flames were awsome and a bit terrifying to behold - especially from such a normally mild woman. My psychie still bears the fearsome scorch marks.
    On a more current and positive note, I would go with good old solvent, a brush and maybe a quick hose job with brake clean and blow dry.

  19. Smiles

    Smiles Moderator
    Moderator Owner

    Nov 20, 2003
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Full Name:
    Matt F
    Chris' story is a good illustration of why it's important to talk to the "department manager"!

    There are various alloys of aluminum. For a pretty comprehensive guide to them all, check out this link:;aluminum

    I believe that all of your engine bits are 6061. Your garlic press is probably 1100 with some impurities. In other words, the Ferrari parts ARE more resistant to oxidation than the lowly garlic press. (Al oxide is what makes the garlic press look white and furry.)

    My question for you, Richard, would be: do you want to clean the parts, or do you want to brighten them?

    If you want to clean them, then the dishwasher is fine. Another kitchen-based alternative is to use oven cleaner in the kitchen sink. If you do use oven cleaner, don't let it sit on the aluminum for very long, or you'll get white splotches.

    If you want to brighten the parts, you'll actually have to polish them to remove the aluminum oxide. You can polish them yourself (and a kit by can make that easier) or you can send the parts out to be polished.

    The best bet is to clean and then polish the parts. And don't worry about Alzheimer's. That's pure bullshlt:

  20. Glassman

    Glassman F1 World Champ
    Silver Subscribed

    DO NOT take Ferrari parts into the house! I have learned this first hand, after my wife caught me with two cam covers baking nicely at 150 degrees in her new oven.
    The fallout was real bad. I now have my own oven in the garage, and my wife has a new one.
    Since that day, no Ferrari parts of any sort are allowed in the house.
  21. 4re gt4

    4re gt4 Formula 3

    Apr 23, 2002
    Roseburg, OR
    Full Name:
    Hans E. Hansen
    Well, I didn't use the oven, but I overhauled 4 Webers on the living room coffee table...........
  22. Exoticbro

    Exoticbro Karting

    Nov 1, 2003
    St.Louis, MO
    Full Name:
    Chuck Ligon
    Last year I rebuilt the wastegate on my 930 on the kitchen center island.
    Thank god the wife was not home.
  23. Wasco

    Wasco Formula Junior

    Dec 9, 2003
    Full Name:
    The dishwasher just throws around high pressure water, that wont hurt most parts. It is the highly corrosive soap that most of us use that will cause damage to alloys.

    Do you have fine china with gold trim. I bet you never put it in the micor or dishwasher as the trim will soon be gone, not from the water pressure or heat but the corrosive soap. I would think the same thing would hold true for car parts.

    Question: What do most people use to clean their alum. parts on engine?
  24. Verell

    Verell F1 Veteran
    Consultant Owner

    May 5, 2001
    Groton, MA
    Full Name:
    Verell Boaen
    LOL-This isn't bad, you just need a powdercoating gun & you're in business.

    That's why I just said 'ok dear, I'll take car of the old one' when Cindy decided she wanted a new range. I'd been figuring that I was going to have to give her the idea that a new one was needed...

    We used it for Jonathan's a-arms when we redid his bushings.

    Funny thing, my wife has never complained about the many times she's found me with half a dozen car parts being cleaned in the kitchen sink. She also didn't complain when I dumped my entire Craftsman tool box into the dishwasher & ran it thru.

    However, I think using the dining table as a workbench would be pressing my luck.

    For several years I used Gunk concentrate mixed with Kerosene or Mineral Spirits. However, I'd catch h@## about the stink whenever I left the garage door open, or didn't change my work shirt when washing up for dinner.
    I now have a small parts washer & use Solve-All to wash all of my car parts. It's a citrus (ie: lemonene) based parts cleaner that works better than Gunk, nicely cleans up with water, & smells more or less like oranges. Now no complaints from Cindy.
  25. pma1010

    pma1010 F1 Rookie

    Jul 21, 2002
    Full Name:
    While we are on the "no-no's", don't do this to harden the paint. I did it while my wife was away for the evening. It was all baking away nicely and I decide to look online for some sources to check my assumptions on temperature and duration. Some kindly chap had posted a long article about re-painting Thomas The Tank Engine. About half way through the article he talks about the smell that "invades" the rest of the oven from trying to cure the paint with a strong admonishment not to do it. I sprinted into the kitchen, and sure enough, there was a strong odor emanating from the oven. A few quick expletives and the parts were out of the oven.

    Two hours later the smell, which by now had turned into a slightly more mature (and even more unpleasant) odor still had hold of the kitchen. With my wife due back in a couple of hours, the panic set it. Thankfully, putting the oven onto the cleaning cycle took care of the problem, but be warned...

    Oh, and the "Thomas" author also indicated the toaster oven is nbg either - less because of the (contaminating) smell, and more because it cycles on and off causing too much temperature variation.

    I find laundry detergent, goop and such like does a great job on engine parts when applied with liberal quantities of hot water.
  26. ham308

    ham308 Formula Junior

    Nov 3, 2003
    NE Switzerland
    Full Name:
    Richard Ham
    Well thanks to you all for the information. I've learnt a lot. Not always about cleaning the engine bits mind !

    Anyway the general opinion seems to be, solvent, scrub up and maybe some detergent. Verell, I like the idea of smelling like roses or whatever afterwards. That would make a change.

    I've seen some photos of aluminium bits after using GREEN? is it. For the bits that are going to show, it really seems to brighten them up. I don't think we can get that over here. Doesn't it contain Boric or Oxalic acid or something?

    If aluminium in my dishwasher is going to give me Alzheimers, presumably I won't even get the chance to get to old age with GREEN...

    By the way, the boss doesn't care how many people answer my thread, or whether it's going to rot my brain. No way are those bits going in there.

    heartless, absolutely heartless.... :)


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