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D.T. 11-14-2012 07:26 AM

Any tips on how to remove carbon from the tops of pistons with out F'n up the aluminum? Tried a wire wheel in the drill and it's not working too well.

lanceputnam 11-14-2012 07:31 AM

Soaking in carb cleaner?

GreaseMonkey 11-14-2012 08:22 AM

A putty knife often works well, just hit both corners with a file or grinder to round them a little. Other items on hand that can work are flat bladed screwdrivers and don't laugh but a cheap SS butterknife also works.

If the pistons are out, then as mentioned soaking in solvent is really good as most of the carbon will just fall off after an overnight soak but if it is still in the motor and the head is off careful scraping is usually the way to go.

MCCOYBOY 11-14-2012 08:47 AM

Try finding someone with an ultrasonic cleaner. Here is the before and after on the last head I rebuilt. It was loaded with carbon but the cleaner made short work of it.



hayasakiman 11-14-2012 08:56 AM

Ultrasonic Cleaner for that size is pretty pricey. What kind of solution was used?

How about using gun cleaner solution like Hoppie's? Or, Non-corrosive degreaser?

MCCOYBOY 11-14-2012 09:11 AM


Originally Posted by hayasakiman (Post 20042030)
Ultrasonic Cleaner for that size is pretty pricey. What kind of solution was used?

How about using gun cleaner solution like Hoppie's? Or, Non-corrosive degreaser?

It's an 8 gallon unit and you can pick one up for around $800. I use a 70/30 mix of pinesol (30%) and water (70%). It also heats the mixture up to 150-175 degrees F. Most shops will have one and won't charge much to clean some pistons. I did a few out of an old yamaha xs850 for a guy and charged him $30 to do 3 pistons.

FlySniper 11-14-2012 09:13 AM

Denatured alcohol or 90~99% rubbing alcohol. I can't remember which worked best, one of them cuts carbon really well...

I suspect a soaking in Pine-Sol might work too.

Don't even consider anything with lye, like Greased Lighting.

hayasakiman 11-14-2012 09:53 AM

I used Zep for cleaning and it worked good. I will try Pinesol the next time. :D


After with Zep:

D.T. 11-14-2012 10:57 AM

I have acess to an ultrasonic cleaner at work, it uses equipment cleaner 30 for solder mask.

The carb cleaner isn't doing much. May try some pine sol and rubbing alcohol too.

Thanks! I just bought some used pistons that I want to clean up.

I tried my 1.5" plastic putty knife and it works much better than I thought it would! I ended up using carb cleaner, wire brush and dull putty knife.

Wasser 11-14-2012 01:45 PM

Stop by your local Chrysler/Dodge/Jeep dealer and pick up some Mopar Combustion Chamber cleaner.

Or, if your local auto parts store carries the Wynns Combustion Chamber Cleaner. Its the same stuff as the Mopar. Wynns makes it for them.

Anorak 11-14-2012 08:24 PM

Aircraft grade paint remover, methylene chloride. It's nasty and it works well.

espacef1fan 11-14-2012 08:37 PM

Try MEK (Methyl Ethyl Ketone) IF you can find it...HORRIBLE shit...wear

or you might try oven cleaner and a green scrubby pad...?

16VGTIDave 11-14-2012 09:13 PM

In the past, I've used Castrol Super Clean diluted 1:1 with water (to increase volume and reduce cost) in a steel wash tub and heated it over a camp stove. The parts were simmered for about an hour in this mixture. Other water based de-greasers may also work. All oil, sludge and grease were removed, as well as most of the carbon. The remaining carbon was very soft and easily brushed off with a brass brush. When clean, rinse the parts well with warm or hot water and dry thoroughly. Use compressed air if available, or a heat gun, or a cheap hair dryer (from a thrift store, not your bathroom! :D ). Then apply oil to prevent corrosion or rust. The parts will rust or corrode quckly as there is nothing protecting them.

Please wear long gloves and eye protection at a minimum! :deal A face shield and a respirator would be even better. Super Clean will remove all the oils from your skin and kill layers of it very quickly. Been there, done that, learn from my mistake! Cracking and peeling skin is painful. :cry I'd hate to think what it would do to eyes... :eek1


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