Wednesday, January 23, 2008

How to clean your engine cases

I recently read that some folks like to use "oven cleaner" to clean up their engine cases. Warning! It's a bad idea!!

Also, don't polish your engine cases. Hard to keep clean. Not original either. Just clean them up or bead blast them, which is what I did.

I have had this discussion before with my mentors and just emailed them to confirm that I was right.

Here's what Tom G. said:

Bad idea.

Cases are aluminum, and most oven cleaners are
lye-based (caustic soda). Lye reacts with aluminum.
Frankly, I don't know if it weakens it or not
(probably not upon temporary surface contact), but it
does leave dark stains on it. Ugly.

Scrape as much as you can with a plastic, wood, or
even metal scraper, and then wash the residue off with
solvents. Not necessarily paint thinner either, but
ok to use it if you like. Gasoline is cheap (but
explosive!), and there are proprietary parts washing
solvents out there which are less combustible, and
have additives to deter evaporation.

Here's what Christopher M. said:

I agree with Tom. If you buy parts washer fluid at an auto parts store,
avoid the Purple Power stuff. It creates some sort of effluoresence on
aluminum. Not sure if it eats metal, but it gets ugly. Easy to brush off,
though. I like the paint thinner that is listed as reduced odor. It still
stinks, but not as much as the regular stuff.


VespaRos said...

Hey Jeremy, thanks for the kind words! And the referal on your blog to mine. I will definitely add your blogs to my links. And thanks for the heads up on oven cleaner. I bought the "How to restore and maintain your Vespa Scooter" book and they say up and down to use oven cleaner. Oh well, I guess I will just start using the odorless paint thinner that I bought at the same time.

VespaRos said...

Oh, there's definitely nothing wrong with a two stage paint. It will look very nice and should still hold up very well. Just in the case that it needs a little re-work due to dings or scratches (heaven forbid!) it is a little more work. $1000 for all of that is a very good price. The prep work is the real killer in labor. If I could afford to have some one else do it, I sure would. Luckily, since I have so many painting professional friends, as long as I do the prep work my paint job is only $200 (besides materials, whcih I already bought). But I've got to do all of the pounding, filling, and grinding, and priming myself to get it ready for them. So unfortunately, it won't be painted right after I'm done blasting. I'm shooting for next weekend. And don't worry, I'll heed your device about taping up the column!