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Old 04-06-2006, 10:09   #16
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I agree with wheels, I would not use oven cleaner,simple green works well with a pressure wash, or if your engine is really that bad go to a auto parts store and get a product like gunk, dont forget to keep all this going over board
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Old 04-06-2006, 10:11   #17
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What about Gunk? My dad told me it was just diesel fuel with a foaming agent. I'm tthinking maybe this as my first coat, soak, scrub it with a paint brush, rinse, then to remove the gunk residue, do the Tide thing which I hadn't thought off.

Thanks for all the replies.

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Old 04-06-2006, 12:01   #18
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Any soap product is probably made with Lye to start with. The way you make soap is to add lard to a lye solution until the the soap stop gelling out. As long as you don't expose your rubber products such as hoses to a prolonged exposure (hours to days) to a cleaner, you should not have a problem. Cleaners such as Simple Green or Mean Green have lye in them, but probably not to the extent as oven cleaner or your own home brew of Red Devil Lye in a pail of hot water.

Once again, run your engine first to get the grease on it warm and then apply what ever cleaner you desire. I have used both oven cleaner and Mean Green on automobile engines with good success.

Covering the alternator is a good idea if you think you might get some of a caustic cleaner in it. If you rinse the bilge afterward, you should get any concentration of cleaner to a state low enough to preclude any possible damage to fiberglass resin. If you are still concerned, rinse the bilge with a mild solution of vinegar after rinsing.
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Old 04-06-2006, 13:51   #19
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Arrrr simple Green. I have a feeling it was First made right here in NZ. Good stuff. But any good detergent that is sold as a degreaser will do the job and if you have a good water pressure or the luxury of a water blaster, then cleaning is simple really. No need for nasty cleaners.
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Old 04-06-2006, 14:45   #20
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DeepFrz-
"I wonder how well these cleaners work at removing the seals/impellers/diagphrams of bilge pumps or if they attack electrical insulation, etc." You betcha they will.<G> Unlike the laundry detergent, which will just leave you lots of sudsy bubbles.

CaptainK-
"So like the oven cleaner. When using Kleanstrip, use rubber gloves for protection. ...Since you mentioned it can take the skin off? Does it also contain lye in it"
No lye that I'm aware of, but high end solvents. Get a little most on your skin, a little blowback on a windy day, and it feels like you've been sprayed with battery acid. But then again...if you've ever tried to remove firmly bedded and cured silicone seal, or polyurethane foam, you may appreciate the need for an 'extreme' product.

WuKong-
The fact that soap is made with lye, does not mean it contains lye. The lye is consumed, converted, chemically changed during the process. And, please note that soaps and detergents are very different products. Detergent is *not* soap. It is made by other processes with other ingredients. Simple Green does not list lye (sodium hydroxide) in the ingredients. Interestingly enough, they do mention in their MSDS that it is safe for use on polyimide jacketed wiring and it will not break down that insulation.

Kevin-
Gunk can be disappointing. Great high-end solvent to dissolve varnish if you are cleaning carburetors, but how do you scrub thick baked grease on a vertical surface with it? It runs off, evaporates, penetrates your gloves, defats your skin. (Solvents can literally remove the fats from your skin while you are still in it. Not a good thing.)

Nah. I prefer the laundry detergent. Although, I've used brake degreaser and that's wonderful stuff too. A bit rough on everything except metal and ceramic though. Along with the wonderful warning label.<G>
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Old 04-06-2006, 16:22   #21
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Solvents usually thin the grease but leaves a film of oil that prevents paint from adhering to the metal you wish to protect. It also leaves a water insoluble mess to clean up.

The last time I bought a can of Red Devil Lye it came in a steel can with a plastic cap. I don't know what kind of plastic the cap was but the can eventually corroded and the cap stayed fresh.

If the grease and grime is not to heavy a detergent will probably remove the major portions. However if the goal is to paint (Spray enamel?), you need to be sure that not even a thin layer of grease or oil remains. Oven cleaner or a good cleaner made especially for motor oil grease should work well to leave a clean surface for painting. If you rinse well, and clean everywhere within 30 min there should be not problem with cleaners that contain lye in any concentration.

As far as my experience, having the engine warm is probably the most important step as it makes whatever you want to remove soft and reactive. Also, make the cleaning solution as hot as you can make it.

Your best plan is to keep the engine clean. Washing down with a hot detergent periodically is probably the best course of action. However, if the detergent was not getting the heavy crud, I personally would not hesitate to use a caustic based cleaner.

Once again, warm up the engine and use a hot cleaner.
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Old 22-05-2007, 10:44   #22
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What if it is already clean....

What about a clean engine. Mine is very clean since it was recently overhauled and spray painted.

What should I use to keep it that way?

Should I apply CRC 6-56 or WD-40 or other lubricant to keep it nice ...?
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Old 22-05-2007, 11:37   #23
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Applying WD-40 (you might as well use kerosene) would just leave a sticky residue that would attract and hold dust and dirt. Some simple soap and water, or a car wash type product, is all you need and even that isn't needed often. You can use Armorall or a similar product to keep rubber parts in good shape, or talc them. (On the belts I'd use nothing.)

Of course, if you want to wash and wax it and detail it like a show car...<G>...I'm sure we can find lots of folks willing to let you practice on their engines first.<G>
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Old 22-05-2007, 16:20   #24
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Just a caution on Simple Green. It has been banned in the past for aviation use (big controversy - you can google it) because long term it attacks aluminum. The military discovered this on their Chinooks. They are supposed to be changing the formula but...

If you have an aluminum hull - caveat sailor...

Right before we took ownership of our boat the mechanic sprayed oil all over it. Must be some old sailor's wives tale. As noted it just attracts dirt.

Cleaning philosophy is simple. Start mild and work up to aggressive. Start with detergent, warm engine, let it soak etc. If that doesn't work go a little stronger.

When you are done and there are some nooks and crannies left go with the toothbrush and the caustic soda if you have to.

Be careful mixing chemicals however you don't wan't to create deadly fumes!

Finally, As others said be careful about wires, alternators and things that are a little more delicate. I also advise against the high pressure washer for this reason. You can blow wires right off the engine - Also It splatters like crazy and now you have to clean the bilge, boat, dock, marina, depending how enthusiastic you got - LOL
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Old 22-05-2007, 16:45   #25
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Ex-Calif, perhaps you could supply a URL to that ban as the MSDS states that it is appropriate for aircraft use.
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Old 22-05-2007, 17:42   #26
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Being in a salty water environment, Could it be wise maybe to grab a rag and spray some anti-rust liquid spray and apply it to the metal parts?
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Old 22-05-2007, 18:50   #27
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Been in the over the road trucking business for many years and have used Simple Green since it came out on all the engines and undercarriages. Works great, especially if you establish a routine and schedule of use.
I keep a two gallon plastic spayer (garden sprayer type) and fill it up, it makes it easier to spray and control the amount and type of spray, i.e. stream, spray etc..
Concensus is correct, the warmer the item to be cleaned, the better, and rinse well..
I've used both high pressure ( on equipment that hadn't been kept up) to hose line with a good nozzle on maintained units.
The good thing is that the part/engine/frame can be dried and painted without extra prep.

Found no adverse effects on lines, hoses or wiring or paint.

just my 2 cents
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Old 22-05-2007, 19:24   #28
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There apparently is a new Simple Green product called "Extreme Simple Green" - Supposed to be less corrosive but I guess time will tell.

The problem lies in removing all the Simple Green from cracks and crevices.

Like I said it's controversial so I won't say any more. I will just let the manufacturer say his piece.

Here are a couple of clips from the Simple Green website:

Frequently Asked Questions


Aircraft Cleaning with Simple Green or Crystal Simple Green
Many private and commercial aircraft owners and operators have cleaned their craft with All-Purpose Simple Green or Crystal Simple Green® for many years. However, these products do not have Mil-Prf (military testing) authority. The testing involves very long (168 hours in one test) soaking of various metals in the solution and then a corrosion inspection. If an aircraft owner only wants to use mil-prf approved products; he will not want to use Simple Green. Please see the additional information under "Aluminum".

Aluminum - Is it safe to use Simple Green on aluminum?
Simple Green products have been successfully and safely used on aircraft, automotive, industrial and consumer aluminum items for over 20 years. However, caution and common sense must be used: Aluminum is a soft metal that easily corrodes with unprotected exposure to water. The aqueous-base and alkalinity of Simple Green or Crystal Simple Green can accelerate the corrosion process. Therefore, contact times of All-Purpose Simple Green and Crystal Simple Green with unprotected or unpainted aluminum surfaces should be kept as brief as the job will allow - never for more than 10 minutes. Large cleaning jobs should be conducted in smaller-area stages to achieve lower contact time. Rinsing after cleaning should always be extremely thorough - paying special attention to flush out cracks and crevices to remove all Simple Green/Crystal Simple Green residues. Unfinished, uncoated or unpainted aluminum cleaned with Simple Green products should receive some sort of protectant after cleaning to prevent oxidation.
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Old 22-05-2007, 23:10   #29
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Cleaning an engine

I have had good results with Marine Clean, a product produced by PPC in the US, but available in most countries. Promoted to be environmentally friendly, it is prescribed for removing grease and cleaning metal before applying their flagship paints. Can be used from 1:10 up to 1:2, but for really thick stuff I mix a small batch (eg. 1 cup) mineral turps and Marine Clean 1:2, then use a toothbrush. Heat the Marine Clean beforehand.

The problem I have found with painting my diesel is that the cast iron is somewhat porous, and can retain moisture which spoils the paint job even weeks after application. So getting cast iron dry is important.

I have given up on using 'normal' engine enamels based on two personal experiences where they failed after 18 months. The heat in a small marine diesel is not such a big factor as in motorcar engines.
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Old 23-05-2007, 03:20   #30
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Excerpted from “Naval Safety Center” Letters:
Letters to the Editor

”... Lt. David Mims, head of the Occupational and Environmental Health Division here at the Safety Center, researched the Simple Green situation. He found that the Naval Air Warfare Center (NavAir) disapproved of the use of Simple Green for naval aviation in 1993. They have a documented incident of crazing of an F-18 canopy following the unauthorized use of Simple Green. According to an official at NAVAIR, they have tested the product at least three times since 1989. Simple Green fails sandwich corrosion and total immersion-corrosion tests for aluminum ...”

Announcing New Extreme Simple Green Aircraft & Precision Cleaner
Press Releases
”... The new formula offers customers unparalleled cleaning performance, anti-corrosion agents and low toxicity. Extreme Simple Green cuts through tough, built up grease, oil, dirt, pollution, insect residue and impact soils while maintaining surface integrity and meeting various aircraft industry standards ...”
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