stanger_missle (Forum Supporter)
stanger_missle (Forum Supporter) UltraDork
4/10/20 12:06 p.m.

Back story:

I bought a used Mazda 13b rotor and housing assembly off of eBay. The seller has a whole stack of these and basically sells them for dudes like me that feel the need to fill their houses with greasy engine parts for no reason other than to look at. The parts still have oil/grease/sludge all over them. I'd like them to be clean and shiny.

How do I get there?

Ideally, I'd like a cheap, safe way to remove the grease and paint. I have looked at soaking them in some kind of solution in a galvanized tub on my back porch. I have a cheap electric power washer at my disposal as well. I saw a dude on Youtube use a galvanized steel trashcan filled with a Simple Green/water solution heated with a small Coleman single burner stove to clean a cylinder head with pretty good results. But, the housing is aluminum and the rotor is steel so I need an aluminum safe cleaning solution/method. I'm open to using two tanks/solutions for each part for the best results.

Also, I'd like to get everything off of Amazon so I don't have to be out in public right now.

Thoughts? Dishwasher detergent? Commercial degreaser? Shotgun?

FuzzWuzzy HalfDork
4/10/20 12:12 p.m.

I too have seen the metal trash can over some sort of heating element with diluted simple green/purple stuff/ etc.

I think it may be the best/cheapest option available? At least, it's one of the only things I've come across on the internet since I was hoping to do the same to some LS heads and pistons caked in carbon and sludge that I want to clean.

Mr_Asa HalfDork
4/10/20 12:45 p.m.

I'd probably start with the Gunk engine degreaser gel paired with a pressure washer and see how far that gets you.

For really bad ferrous parts I start with oven cleaner and a pressure washer.  Itll eat aluminum though.

slefain PowerDork
4/10/20 12:59 p.m.

I wonder if it will fit in the dishwasher?

stafford1500 Dork
4/10/20 1:02 p.m.

Do you dare use the dishwasher???

Hot and soapy, self-contained, may need to run some drain cleaner thru it after.

spitfirebill MegaDork
4/10/20 1:04 p.m.

Try Pinesol.  

SkinnyG UltraDork
4/10/20 1:23 p.m.

I've had fantastic success on iron with Easy-Off full-strength fume-heavy Oven Cleaner.

Don't get it on you.

Or in your eyes.

Or breathe it.

RossD MegaDork
4/10/20 1:25 p.m.

I used Pinsol on a carb and it worked fairly well. Put PPE on, my hands broke out in a rash.

Mr_Asa HalfDork
4/10/20 1:28 p.m.

In reply to SkinnyG :

Yup.  Same stuff I use.

It's cheaper at hardware stores than grocery stores

Robbie (Forum Supporter)
Robbie (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
4/10/20 1:30 p.m.

Oil eater!

RacetruckRon HalfDork
4/10/20 1:45 p.m.

Plastic tote, orbital sander, duct tape and your favorite degreaser.


Jason McRoberts
Jason McRoberts New Reader
4/10/20 2:45 p.m.

Quick safety tip,. Most metal trash cans are galvanized, so if you heat one on a burner don't spend too much time breathing around it.  Zinc poisoning isn't fun.

dean1484 MegaDork
4/11/20 5:17 p.m.

Dawn dish soap hot water and oil eater. The hot water is key. Soak it in a pan or bucket. And scrub every now and then. My friend welded a steel box up out of thin plate that was about 2feet square and a foot deep and put that mix in and then sat it on two hot plates. It worked very well. Not fast. But you ended up with really clean parts. 

Years ago I helped out at a shop that had a 25 gallon drum that had some sort of caustic solvent in it that would clean things down to bear metal in 24 hours just sitting in it. I have no clue what it was but the owners dad acquired it back in the late 80s and this was the early 90s when I was there. I bet what ever it was now days it would be classified as an EPA hazmat problem. 

ShawnG UltimaDork
4/11/20 6:04 p.m.

I usually fill the biggest crock pot I can find at the thrift store with simple green.

I don't know if they make a crock pot that big but turkey fryers are a thing.

stanger_missle (Forum Supporter)
stanger_missle (Forum Supporter) UltraDork
4/11/20 8:02 p.m.

I've used oven cleaner on some used SBF iron heads with great success. Agree on the fumes too.

I've been (unsuccessfully) searching for a pan or tray to fit the housing. Do you guys think that the galvanized steel will have some weird electrolytic reaction with the aluminum housing and whatever solution I use?

Maybe a plastic or rubber tub would be better? Of course I can't really apply heat to it if it is plastic.

I was bored today so I soaked it in hot water and Ultra Dawn in the only container I had on hand, the bathtub in the guest bathroom.

I scrubbed it with a plastic grout brush. Some of the larger chunks came off along with some loose paint. It was still pretty oily so I hit it with some Simple Green and scrubbed it again. I made sure to rinse it well. It's less oily now but still pretty dirty.

Trying to find everything online is a real challenge. None of the dimensions listed for the tubs I have found seem to be accurate. Most of the cleaning products are either out of stock or come in smaller bottles which make it not cost effective.

ShawnG UltimaDork
4/11/20 8:26 p.m.

I use those big black totes with the yellow lid from Home Depot for pretty much everything now. They can take a beating.

Should handle that housing no problem.

Curtis73 (Forum Supporter)
Curtis73 (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
4/12/20 10:00 a.m.

I have boiled stuff before.  55 gallon barrel about half full of water on some steel channel with a good hot oak fire under it.  Throw in a cup of laundry detergent or dishwasher detergent.  Boil whatever for an hour or so.

That worked great for about 5 times until the bottom of the barrel busted and put out the fire.  I looked for an iron cauldron for a while, but they were all unobtanium prices.  Mostly antique apple butter boilers.

The commercial hot tanks we used at work for transmissions and engine blocks were a big, glorified, 240v dishwasher.  Pressure nozzles that shot hot water on a spinning platform.  We used laundry detergent in them.

Our Preferred Partners