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Cleaning a gunky engine...

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Grumpy Cynic
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I don't use simple green for anything around a running machine anymore.
That stuff is nasty.
<< >>I have a friend that has a caustic tank, heated for cleaning SBC blocks. It will disolve an aluminum engine block in short order.
Agree about the Simple Green. Never really worked all that well for me.
<< >>
I've had excellent results over the years with ZEP's caustic based cleaner on aluminum and magnesium in my hot tank. It has some kind of inhibitors in it to prevent the attacking the metal. If you don't hose the cleaned parts down while still hot and damp it will leave a film, but a quick re-soak fixes that.
But that only works on parts, not whole engines.
 

Dana

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Simple Green is corrosive to aluminum. However, they make "Simple Green Motorsports" (which is actually blue) which meets a Boeing spec for use on aircraft.

The A&P who does my condition inspections just fills a spray bottle with 100LL, perhaps not the safest but grease and grime just ruin right off.
 

N804RV

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Mount Vernon, WA
I wouldn't pressure wash. Just use baggies, duct tape, shop towels as needed to close off oppenings. Then use Stoddard solvent (PD-680), or mineral spirits, and a brush to clean before disassembly. Then, once dissasembled, anything that needs further cleaning, carefully use MEK and a brush (respirator, chemical proof rubber gloves and adequate ventilation required).
 
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TFF

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Apr 28, 2010
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The old way was 100LL. Today you don’t want to get caught , not that people are looking at private use, but a shop will get shut down. When taking the fuel tanks off the work helicopters, even after draining, some will spill. Free cleanup fluid because all the dirty stuff is under them. Always took advantage of it. I always just used Gunk or some turbine internal engine wash which smell about the same but about triple strength. Most of the time it’s about scrubbing with some sort of brush. Simple green has never worked for me, they had great advertising.
 

DaveK

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Apr 21, 2007
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Total Cycle Cleaner is safe on aluminum and does a pretty good job of loosing grime. After that soda blasting is gentle and does a good job of getting the rest. And no moisture left over. If you have a compressor you can get a cheap blasting gun and a bag of soda media for less than $100.
 

cblink.007

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Jul 7, 2014
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K2W6, Maryland, USA
Got to be careful with oven cleaner on aluminum. Dawn Powerwash is popular on model airplane engines.
I used to swear by Castrol Super Clean...found out that 6061T6 anodized aluminum didnt like it... but have gotten amazing results with Simple Green over the years!!!
 

sharpvector

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Jul 25, 2014
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Monona
I don't use simple green for anything around a running machine anymore. Stuff stops working after you wash an engine bay with that stuff. Fine for bare metal parts. That stuff is nasty. I have some hippie friends that use it because they think it is environmentally friendly. It was named way before people called stuff green for that reason. Oven cleaner is a base, not an acid. I have a friend that has a caustic tank, heated for cleaning SBC blocks. It will disolve an aluminum engine block in short order.

The two things I have had luck with are distilled white vinegar 10% if you can get it and be careful. Aluminum wheel cleaner can work as well. And good old elbow grease always works. Wire brushes, scotch brite pads in a small angle grinder, dremel, etc...

Just to be clear, the link I shared is not for the usual Simple Green product I think you're referring to, but for something made by Simple Green called "Extreme Aircraft and Precision Cleaner". It is rated as being safe for Aluminum and other metals and all the reviews I've seen so far have said this is the case. Looks like a lot of people are using it to clean their firearms.

By the way, in researching it some more I found you can get it for less at Walmart or Ebay than at Amazon, and 5-gallon quantities at Home Depot.
 
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robertl

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May 5, 2017
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Heath Springs, S.C. USA
There are youtube videos about cleaning car engines and you can take it for what it's worth. May have some good points.
Bob
 
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skelly

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Aug 21, 2020
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There is only one way to clean that and that is to completely strip it and have the cases soda blasted and hot washed.
Then you can do an internal inspection of all the parts, maybee fit some new shells, piggy rings etc.
Lap the valves in, new gaskets and you will have an engine that you know and trust and is lovely and clean and will be problem free for quite some time.
 

Bill-Higdon

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Feb 6, 2011
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Salem, Oregon, USA
There is only one way to clean that and that is to completely strip it and have the cases soda blasted and hot washed.
Then you can do an internal inspection of all the parts, maybee fit some new shells, piggy rings etc.
Lap the valves in, new gaskets and you will have an engine that you know and trust and is lovely and clean and will be problem free for quite some time.
You might want to ask Al Wick about this.
 

Tommy222

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Mar 23, 2019
Messages
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Take it outside and spray it with Grease-Be-Gone. No need to rinse. Then finish it up with Simple Green for aircraft. The green SG will get into everywhere and it is caustic. You get G-B-G from the wing tank.
 
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