Environmentally Safe Parts Cleaning
by Pat Goss
If you own an auto repair shop like I do, you find out that one of the most important parts of repairing vehicles properly is clean parts. Now the big machines that we have in the repair shop certainly aren’t practical for most home use, but here’s one from Eastwood Tools. This uses their Metal Wash parts cleaner. It mixes with water, does a very good job of washing parts. Whenever you’re working around chemicals, make sure you wear rubber gloves.
One of the biggest problems you’re going to have is cleaning aluminum parts. Aluminum is a soft metal, and you’re probably going to want to use some kind of a brush to get all of the crud off of the aluminum parts, but don’t use a steel brush. Don’t use a stainless steel brush. You can use brass if you don’t get too aggressive with it, but best is going to be nylon.
Aluminum has another nasty habit. Gaskets love to stick to it and they don’t like to come off, so you’re probably going to want a gasket scraper, such as this, which will typically come with a regular metal razor blade. You don’t use that metal razor blade on aluminum. Hopefully your scraper will come with a plastic razor blade like this one. If it doesn’t, buy some plastic razor blades and use it to scrape the gaskets on the aluminum parts.
But before you do that, you spray the gasket with gasket remover. Gasket remover eats into the gasket material. You let it sit there for a few, and it softens the gasket. Then the scraper will scrape it right off. It does a good job. Also you’ve got to be careful about abrasive disks. These are very common. The problem is that they are abrasive and the abrasive material can come off of them and it can get into oiled parts in an engine if you’re working on an actual operating engine. The other thing is that for aluminum they can be much too aggressive and they can scar the aluminum.
Here’s what you use. These are plastic wheels that go onto an air tool or a drill. These scrape away the gasket without damaging the aluminum. If you do this right, you won’t have any problems and your repair will be a permanent repair instead of a very temporary one.
*benchtop parts washer
The Eastwood Company
263 Shoemaker Road
Pottstown, PA 19464
If you have a question or comment, write to me.
The address is MotorWeek, Owings Mills, MD, 21117.