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alan_fincher

Extreme degreasing of engine bilges.

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No, its very heady, as is petrol. My dad had a motor bike and side car, A 1936 Royal Enfield 500 single. One hot summers day I was sitting on it out side the house playing Geof Duke when I undid the petrol tank cap and had a sniff, wonderful, I kept on sniffing and sniffing, I liked the smell of petrol. I kept sniffing. Between sniffs I won all the races at great speed even with the side car attached. It flew in great bursts up into space, circumnavigating moon and all the other planets before returning to earth, out of petrol. It was marvelous. But the terrible pounding headache afterwards wasn't.

 

It isn't the same since four star was replaced by unleaded

 

Richard

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Before retirement I worked in the ralway vehicle spares industry. We used to get the gear-case covers from the bogies for overhaul/repair. Although most of the thick, grease-like 'Motac' lubricant had been removed these were still covered in a film of the stuff. Spillages did occur despite all the care taken.

 

We found that a citrus (orange) based degreaser worked best to get it off loors, shoes and clothing.

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We found that a citrus (orange) based degreaser worked best to get it off loors, shoes and clothing.

 

This is what I use now, particularly hot.

 

Richard

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you seem to have missed the shovel as much out as you can and treat the rest with Jizer

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If you are in no hurry, then something like diesel, left to soak in for a few days, then a really good brushing and drying out, followed by liberal amounts of engine bay paint.

Thinners would not be my idea of fun, unless you like falling over.

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I use a product called Bilgex.....made by Cuprinol.....you can get it from lumpy water chandlers....works really well

 

I'd be tempted to put a solution of it into a "Domestic" steam cleaner....the type they sell for wallpaper and the like.....it will take longer than a proper industrial one but should make less mess

 

Cheers

 

Gareth

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Well firstly to repeat, what we already know doesn't work well are......

 

1) Gunk - very little effect at all.

2) White spirit -a bit better, though maybe only because Gunk followed by white spirit has some effect, (but still really not cutting it)

3) Washing up liquid / hot water - useless.

 

I'm not prepared to use petrol, but the paraffin suggestion sounds well worth a try, as does the cellulose thinners. (Where does one obtain the latter at not silly money?).

 

No 1 son suggested on our return that he has great success with cleaning paint off war gaming models that he is involved with using Fairy Power Spray, (which Cath assures me is by far the most lethal hob / oven degreaser she ever gets involved in, so we may try that as well, but I suspect it will cost quite a lot to hit it with enough.

 

Leaving it not dealt with seems daft, as it has probably not been accessed for some 40 years, and the steelwork is less than perfect. I'm hoping it will never need accessing again in our ownership of the boat, and would dearly love to get some paint on it while there isn't a ton of engine and gearbox getting in the way.

 

If I have not mentioned anybody else's serious suggestion, I apologise - I'll reread through the whole thread again. A pressure washer would probably shift a lot of it, but I think the collateral damage would just be too great!

 

Please keep the ideas coming, particularly if you have dealt with the horrors of an engine bilge full of decades worth of grease ridden "silt".

I was going to suggest oven cleaner, it completely removed 40 years of baked on oil leaving the paint perfect on engine bay car parts. It's also brilliant on vinyl.

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After removing the silt, retrieving long-lost screwdrivers, nuts and bolts and various other detritus from the bilge under the BMC, I, like you, was left with a layer of grease. Admittedly it's only been there for fifteen years. I used an old wet and dry vacuum cleaner which sucked up the gunge rather effectively. True, I then had the problem of cleaning out the cleaner.

 

I've never been too fussy about having spotless eat-your-dinner-off-them engine bilges. I reckon a thin oily deposit is a most effective anti-rust treatment.

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I suspect over the years the composition of Gunk has changed considerably from when it was the go to degreaser for most applications. I have stopped using it as the recent incarnations don't seem anything like as effective as the stuff I remember from the 1970's.

 

There's almost certainly better products these days, the auto glym "engine and machine cleaner" is astonishingly effective, but quite expensive. I've heard good things about a Screwfix degreaser but I don't know what it's called.

 

 

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Alan, I wasn't being silly saying leave the grease as a protective layer. With my track day toy I intentionally put engine oil, un-used, into the bottom of the car doors as this is often where rust starts, in the seams.

 

Another method I have used on car doors is slightly warmed up Waxoyl to get it to flow into crevices.

 

http://www.waxoyltreatment.co.uk/

Edited by Ray T

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Steam cleaner with degreser in will work eventualy but by far the best stuff for things like very old oil/grease unfortunately will be petrol or brake cleaner. You may find using strait industrial floor (garage) cleaner threw a jet was will work this is what we use to use on old engines but you fumes and chemicals wont do the cut any good 100%garentee to kill fish near you.

Im ingthe same position that i need to lift the floor and do this but at the same time dont want to do the nasty work but it will have to be done as engine buildge is blocked and a new electric has to go in at some point

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It's not as good as paraffin. It's basically a strong detergent that's non-flammable to suit modern HSE requirements.

 

Back in the early 70's I knew a chap who worked in a factory which made cantilever toolboxes. His job was to wash the toolboxes in a huge bath of trichloroethylene prior to them going to the paint shop. It certainly did the job but I don't believe you can buy it any more can you?

 

Citrus degreasers are supposed to replace it but I don't believe they work very well

 

Tony

We used a product called Citraclean when I worked Offshore as more environmentally friendly than Jizza.

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Thinners worked for us. Admittedly on a cruiser stern with all the boards up, but it was the only thing to shift 30+ years of grease. Wouldn't want to be a confined space with it.....

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Hi,

 

I would use a really good pressure washer, Karcher K4 or above fitted with a spade end lance, Thick build ups can be 'chiseled' off with a multi - tool fitted with a scraper blade.

 

I would have thought that using petrol or thinners in a confined space would need a respirator connected to an external air supply. A cheap steam cleaner with a flat plate, held in place for while will shift most things.

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Have a go with biological soap powder and hot water, a good strong mix. The biological stuff eats oil. Leave overnight. We used to clean piston crowns in oil drums like this. Works magic. Get one of them Long handled wire brushes to scrub it a bit. Then hoover it off with a wet vac. Non-bio won't work. Used to soak me overalls in a bucket for a few days like this if we'd got soaked in hfo or oil. Daz,acdo were good.

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From this document (a health and safety data sheet for cellulose thinners)

 

"The product is highly flammable, and explosive vapours/air mixtures may be formed even at normal room temperatures."

 

As an ex firefighter, and thus fairly complacent and cavalier about fire, even I wouldn't use it

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Before retirement I worked in the ralway vehicle spares industry...... 'Motac' ....

That magic product where where thick grease and tar overlap to cause havoc on anything you didnt want it on, and stops anyone who is merely mortal moving a power bogie with anything other than a 8ft pinch bar!

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When I was a kid at school I cleaned paint brushes with carbon tetrachloride

Isn't that another name for trichloroethylene? I used to use that too - decanted some from a drum at work into a coffee jar once. When I went to it in the shed the plastic lid had melted into the trich!

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A cheap steam cleaner with a flat plate, held in place for while will shift most things.

 

I can't hold in place anything with a flat plate, because there are more areas covered in knees, butt straps, raised angles and numerous rivets than there are genuinely flat areas of plate.

 

This is a large part of the problem. In a modern welded boat you can use scrapers over virtually the whole area, a "lumpy" historic boat bottom presents a much greater challenge.

From this document (a health and safety data sheet for cellulose thinners)

 

"The product is highly flammable, and explosive vapours/air mixtures may be formed even at normal room temperatures."

 

As an ex firefighter, and thus fairly complacent and cavalier about fire, even I wouldn't use it

 

I have already fully convinced myself that neither petrol or thinners will play any part in this operation!

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