DYI Parts Cleaner - JeepForum.com
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post #1 of 3 Old 01-24-2007, 09:13 PM Thread Starter
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1964 CJ5 
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Location: Glens Falls, NY
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Thumbs up DYI Parts Cleaner

DIY degreasing parts cleaner, environmentally safe

Materials needed:
• 30-55 gallon drum
• Copper tubing and fittings to make a ring or square in the bottom
• A ball valve
• Fitting to connect to air supply
• TSP or I found a product called TSP-PH (dishwasher soap should work the key is getting the PH to 9)
• Large bottle Dawn dish soap
• Large can waterless hand cleaner
• Gallon denatured alcohol
• Small screen like a sieve
• Brush like an old dust broom
• Cardboard box of newspaper

Here’s the poop and the scoop on what started out as an experiment and works just amazing – if it were not true, I would call it hog wash and a waste of time, but I got the pics to back it up and I am using it with amazing success – sure beats the $1200 for a 55 gallon drum of cleaner which is what a catalog showed me. It came about during discussion on a project – a 64 Kaiser Jeep rebuild - it had some light dust on it.

My father spent his career as a Textile chemist – he knows a thing or 2 about degreasing stuff and this was our brain child as I was going to use a tank of kerosene but what to do with it when you are done? Ahh – you need to read on!

First up, the tank agitation:
I happened to have an empty 55 gal plastic drum so I used it. I had a lot of 45 deg ˝ in copper fittings left over from a side job along with a ball valve and other fittings and pipe to connect it to my air hose. After assembling a loop, I drilled small holes in it every couple of inches with a pipe going up and over the side of the tank, it looked like this:

Agitation system

The beast in action

Though I made mine a ring, a square would work well as well. The ball valve allows you to control the air and therefore the agitation rate. I found low to be the most effective, you just need to keep the stuff circulating.

Next: time for a chemistry lesson:
I got a chemistry lesson from my pop for a degreasing formula to set up this parts cleaner that is a lot less toxic than my planned use of kerosene. What he told me during our chat, was to degrease, you need 3 things to come together. This first, is degreasing works best at a 9ph (alkaline), with your water at 9, next you need detergent, and he recommended DAWN DISH soap. Finally, you need a water based solvent which he recommended denatured alcohol. Suspend your greasy stuff in this formula with agitation and it will come clean. To rinse metal items that will not be immediately painted, he recommended a rinse tank of plain water with a bottle of salad oil – the dunk in the water will clean off the solvent and the trip out of the water will pass it through the salad oil, coating it so it will not rust. He used to use this technique on machine parts at the mill he ran.

My formula was in a 55 gal drum
30 gal of water
4 Cups of TSP-PH
2 bottles of dawn dish soap
1 large (dispenser type) can of waterless hand cleaner
Gallon of denatured alcohol.

Doing it over, I would have tried a better way to dissolve the hand cleaner as it took several days to fully dissolve in the water – maybe smaller amounts in a blender with water. Also, it is not necessary to be exact on anything but the PH., so if you use a smaller tank, adjust accordingly.

Using the parts cleaner
I bent welding filler rod – coat hangers would work also, as holders for various parts. I suspended any dirty greasy small stuff, drive shafts I just placed in as well as the Head and oil pan full of sludge. I even sank the bell housing. Going in, I pre-cleaned, scraped NOTHING – hey I wanted to see if it would work

Most of the lighter stuff would be gone within a couple of hours, the heavy stuff I pulled a RONCO – set it and forget it. After soaking a day or 2, with an old dust broom, I would sweep the surface of the most offensive parts and was amazed with the results, the oil pan below was first up, it was in for 1 1/2 hrs. Heavy caked grease takes a bit longer - I usually put stuff in in the afternoon and leave it over night, but it all has the same result.



One neat thing I discovered while using this setup, oil and grease still float, so you develop a nasty oil slick that starts to resemble chocolate cottage cheese. I used a screen to skim this off the surface and tapped the sludge into a cardboard box with newspapers – it eventually soaks in and can be tossed.

After the parts come out of the tank to your satisfaction, let up dry – they are not perfect, for paint, you will need to wipe it down the same as you would with a chemical cleaner. This method may take longer than chemicals, but ya can’t beat the price and I can not tell you how well it works – you will have to try it.

The best part, no ENCON here, if you ever decide you are done with it, use a bottle of vinegar to bring its PH to 7 then flush it.

Last edited by molsenice; 02-25-2008 at 06:46 PM.
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post #2 of 3 Old 01-21-2008, 09:37 PM Thread Starter
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1964 CJ5 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Glens Falls, NY
Posts: 1,293
havent visited this thread in a year - for some reason the pics were gone - if it were not for a question on this cleaner in my 64 build thread - would never have checked back - pics fixed
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post #3 of 3 Old 11-24-2008, 06:30 PM Thread Starter
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Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Glens Falls, NY
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PM me with any questions.
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