Carbon

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by D.T., Nov 14, 2012.

  1. D.T.

    D.T. Difficult but useful

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2004
    Oddometer:
    12,259
    Location:
    Moneyapolis, MN
    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.
    #1
  2. lanceputnam

    lanceputnam Hayden's Dad

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2010
    Oddometer:
    438
    Location:
    Albuquerque, NM
    Soaking in carb cleaner?
    #2
  3. GreaseMonkey

    GreaseMonkey Preshrunk & Cottony

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2006
    Oddometer:
    5,434
    Location:
    The only county in Illinois with no train tracks
    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.
    #3
  4. MCCOYBOY

    MCCOYBOY Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2012
    Oddometer:
    99
    Location:
    Swanton, MD
    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.

    Before
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    After
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    #4
  5. hayasakiman

    hayasakiman Been here awhile

    Joined:
    May 9, 2012
    Oddometer:
    159
    Location:
    WPB, FL, USA
    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?
    #5
  6. MCCOYBOY

    MCCOYBOY Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2012
    Oddometer:
    99
    Location:
    Swanton, MD
    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.
    #6
  7. FlySniper

    FlySniper Bleh...

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2007
    Oddometer:
    1,664
    Location:
    Here
    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.
    #7
  8. hayasakiman

    hayasakiman Been here awhile

    Joined:
    May 9, 2012
    Oddometer:
    159
    Location:
    WPB, FL, USA
    I used Zep for cleaning and it worked good. I will try Pinesol the next time. :D

    Before:

    [​IMG]

    After with Zep:

    [​IMG]
    #8
  9. D.T.

    D.T. Difficult but useful

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2004
    Oddometer:
    12,259
    Location:
    Moneyapolis, MN
    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.
    #9
  10. Wasser

    Wasser Spilt my beer

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2009
    Oddometer:
    5,256
    Location:
    Colorado
    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.
    #10
  11. Anorak

    Anorak Woolf Barnato

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2004
    Oddometer:
    35,107
    Location:
    OAK
    Aircraft grade paint remover, methylene chloride. It's nasty and it works well.
    #11
  12. espacef1fan

    espacef1fan Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2007
    Oddometer:
    689
    Location:
    Clarksville, TN
    Try MEK (Methyl Ethyl Ketone) IF you can find it...HORRIBLE shit...wear protection..lol


    or you might try oven cleaner and a green scrubby pad...?
    #12
  13. 16VGTIDave

    16VGTIDave blame Reaver...

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2012
    Oddometer:
    599
    Location:
    Drumbo, Ontario, Canada
    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

    HTH,
    Dave
    #13