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Technical Cleaning Exhaust Manifolds to Sell

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by MARKDTN, Feb 6, 2017.

    Joined: Feb 16, 2016
    Posts: 87


    I had a booth at the Nashville AACA swap meet over the weekend. I brought 50+ V8 exhaust manifolds. Mostly SB Chevy but some Pontiac, Olds, and Ford. Probably 35+ were from the 60's. I had 4 C4 Corvette manifolds and the rest from the 70's. I had removed cut off pipes and any bad studs, might have hit a few with a wire brush. Not filthy dirty, overly rusty, or greasy; just as-found kind of condition. I did not sell any of them. One of my friends who helped me run the booth said I should clean them better for next year. (Nobody touched or even inquired about the Olds, Pontiac, or Ford so I will just bring the Chevy ones back) This morning I have researched this a little. It looks like you either blast them or use electrolysis. I don't know much about electrolysis, but I'm thinking this is not the way to go. I have a pressure sand blaster, but I am thinking this may be a bit harsh-especially on numbers? I can buy a cabinet blaster and use that I suppose, it would be a good excuse to get one. If you did this what would you use for media? Like walnut shell or something soft? Sand? Baking soda? I've been saving this stuff since the 80s, and I am ready to move some along to someone who will use them, but I'm not taking the $5-10 that people were offering. I want them clean and with easily readable casting numbers and dates. Any thoughts or advice on cleaning these to sell?
    das858 likes this.
  2. '51 Norm
    Joined: Dec 6, 2010
    Posts: 726

    '51 Norm
    from colorado

    I have sandblasted cast iron exhaust manifolds with sand without removing any of the casting numbers, etc.
    It cleans them up nicely but is a bit time consuming and so may not be cost effective.
    I looked at a set of Pontiac exhaust manifolds at the Denver tri-state swap meet this weekend. I passed when the seller didn't know how much he wanted for them.
  3. Use a blaster, and an aggressive media like aluminum oxide; it won't damage them if they're already rusty. But truthfully, unless these are rare and/or performance items, they'll be a tough sell for much money, blasted or not. If you can identify them, eBay will be a better selling option.
  4. upspirate
    Joined: Apr 15, 2012
    Posts: 2,267


    I've not tried it, but have read about soaking in molasses on here. A vat of it and let them soak for a few days???
    Krash Vegas and mgtstumpy like this.

  5. Muttley
    Joined: Nov 30, 2003
    Posts: 18,449


    Blasting them individually will take forever. Get one of those large plastic tote bins, fill it with a mix of oxalic acid (wood bleach) and water and let them soak for a few days (depending on the amount of rust). I use it for car/bike parts all the time, it works great and requires minimal effort.

    Joined: Feb 16, 2016
    Posts: 87


    What sort of ratio? Maybe a gallon for 10 gallons of water? This sounds like a good option.

    None of these are super rare, but some/most are at least desirable (Corvette, Camaro, Chevelle, 67-72 truck, GTO, 442....) I know these are OT names, but the cleaning process is the same. Thanks!
  7. Muttley
    Joined: Nov 30, 2003
    Posts: 18,449


    I'm terrible with measurements, so I'm not exactly sure. The tote is about knee high and a two and a half feet wide. The brand I used (the same as the photo above) is in crystal form, I'm not sure if it can also be bought as liquid. I filled it up leaving a little room to account for the displacement the parts would make and dumped the whole tub of wood bleach in. The tub is only 12 ounces, that photo I posted above may make it appear larger. The whole set up was under $20 and is usable for a long, long time. I've had my current batch working since last September.
  8. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 47,995


    I've noticed that I can sell stuff at the swap meet if I put the price low enough. Like about 10-20% of what I think it should be worth.

    If I have something that is kind of valuable (ie. worth the hassle) I will sell it on ebay. Way more interested buyers will see it there, than at a swap meet.
    afaulk likes this.
  9. Wood bleach, or I've had great luck w citric acid. Add a coffee cup or so to a 5 gallon bucket soak overnight, quick wire brush, rinse w clean water, spray w some Wd40 or the like to keel the rust at bay. That should get em looking good enough to sell without much work.

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-N900A using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
  10. 38caddy
    Joined: Mar 15, 2006
    Posts: 62

    from RI

    I used to work for a guy who collected/restored old tractor parts. He used to buy a 5 gallon bucket of some purple degreaser from a big box hardware store and then a rust converter (same brand) from the same place. He'd let parts sit in the purple stuff for a day, try to clean it with a stiff scrub brush, if it came clean, he would put it in the rust converter. If not, he would put it back in the purple stuff. Once cleaned and de-rusted, he would hit it with primer and then paint. I tried it on a cast iron water pump and it worked, although it was really, really slow at degreasing. The converter worked well though. Gunk engine bright and a garden hose was way more effective, but they tend to take issue with a stream of greasy water flowing down storm drains these days.
  11. 49ratfink
    Joined: Feb 8, 2004
    Posts: 18,033

    from California

    I don't think dirt is the reason for not selling them for more than 10 bucks. unless they are early and fit something cool worth restoring there is no value. if they are early and fit something unique you should have a tag saying so.
    47ragtop likes this.
  12. jimmy six
    Joined: Mar 21, 2006
    Posts: 8,541

    jimmy six

    Cast iron parts are heavy...sell them any way you can. I make it a point to not bring home cast iron parts from a swap meet.
    saltflats likes this.
  13. seb fontana
    Joined: Sep 1, 2005
    Posts: 6,890

    seb fontana
    from ct

    Just spinning your wheels if they not sumthin spacil..o_O
    47ragtop likes this.
  14. mgtstumpy
    Joined: Jul 20, 2006
    Posts: 8,687


    Firstly degrease everything with a high pressure water blaster and then drop them all in a vat of molasses and water, 10% molasses to 90% water and leave for a few days or longer (Week). If there is any alloy there now there won't be when it comes out.
    Anyway remove them, pressure blast clean and dry with compressed air to prevent them flash rusting and wipe clean. Job done. At the end you can dispose of residue as it's non toxic. I just empty into garden as molasses is natural and not chemical based.
  15. Krash Vegas
    Joined: Jul 18, 2006
    Posts: 461

    Krash Vegas

    X2 for the molasses. cheap.
  16. chopndrop
    Joined: Feb 8, 2005
    Posts: 710


    Have you found this for sale locally?
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2017
  17. Rusty O'Toole
    Joined: Sep 17, 2006
    Posts: 9,480

    Rusty O'Toole

    If anyone needed them they would have bought or at least asked about them. Cleaning won't help. A low price will help.

    This assumes they are reasonably clean and not dripping with grease and dirt. A quick wire brush and wipe with a rag should be enough. They are used parts, anyone who needs them will either use them as is or restore them to their own standard.
    40FORDPU, 47ragtop and squirrel like this.
  18. bchctybob
    Joined: Sep 18, 2011
    Posts: 2,903


    My molasses tank didn't do a very good job on cast iron parts (Early Olds & Buick timing covers), maybe I have the wrong molasses to water ratio.
    I ended up using Muriatic acid like they use for swimming pools. In for a short bath, rinse with water, air dry. Came out looking new. Really nasty stuff though.
    Now that I've got my HF sandblast cabinet, I've been using that method mostly.
  19. slowmotion
    Joined: Nov 21, 2011
    Posts: 3,258


    5 gallons of white vinegar, cheap Dollar Store appropriately sized plastic tub, should come in under $20. 24hr soak, rinse, then WD40. You'll be surprised. Recommend doing this in a ventilated area, or better yet outdoors. Gasses off some nasty vapors (hydrogen?) the will put a rust film on anything in close proximity. Try it.
  20. I toss stuff like that in a barrel of molasis mix 7 to 1 over the winter then wash wire brush and paint.
  21. Muttley
    Joined: Nov 30, 2003
    Posts: 18,449


    Yes, I buy it at Fresno Ag. Hardware. I'm not sure weather places like Lowes, Home Depot or Orchard Supply carry it.
  22. Muttley
    Joined: Nov 30, 2003
    Posts: 18,449


    Another benefit to the Wood Bleach is that it can be used on chrome or painted items and it will only attack the rust. I used it on some extremely rusty bicycle wheels's the result:


  23. gimpyshotrods
    Joined: May 20, 2009
    Posts: 17,919


    I am not sure that they do, either. I have not seen it at any of those in a very long time.

    I am going to have to head out to horse country and get some.
  24. CoolYourJets
    Joined: Dec 16, 2016
    Posts: 172


    I just used the Molasses method on my headers and had amazing success. I'll post a couple of pics so you can see the before and after. Basically, I used 9 parts water to 1 part Molasses and put them in a big plastic storage box. It took 3 weeks and I hand brushed them off twice in the middle. I didn't touch them with a wheel or anything. I was cool with waiting as my car is getting new upholstery. And the price was right: about $6. The only down side: it stunk around the box on week 3 => wife not happy. Do it away from the house and blame it on the neighbors.

    And here is an action shot:
    C. John Stutzer likes this.
  25. 47ragtop
    Joined: Feb 8, 2007
    Posts: 664


    Like Putting lipstick on a pig !! Does that ring a bell ? Over 100 manifolds and no one asked about them. That sounds like your priced them too high and had nothing special , so all the cleaning in the world probably wouldn't have made a difference. Remember with all the LT1 type Chevy engines being installed , there is less and less demand for SBC parts in general. This year is the 1st time I missed Nashville as a vendor and I don't ever remember selling any manifolds.
  26. Los_Control
    Joined: Oct 7, 2016
    Posts: 722

    from TX

    I also have been using the molasses trick for rusted parts.
    It does ferment and stink after a bit.
    Can get it cheap at the farm supply, some you can bring your own buckets and buy it by the gallon.
    Used to mix in with oats for horse feed.
    When your done with it, can just pour it on your lawn. Wont hurt anything and act as a fertilizer.
    The heater in my truck was pretty rusty with the doors frozen shut, after soaking for 2 weeks was ready for hose it off and paint. The doors open and close easily now.

    Yeah the exhaust manifolds sounds like a tough business to be in, good luck.
  27. I'd be really interested in the Pontiac manifolds - but unfortunately for both of us, I am in the UK....
  28. DSC_0007.JPG DSC_0008.JPG

    Mix up half a pound of citric acid powder and water in a plastic container big enough to put your manifolds in. Stir well. Drop your manifolds in and give them a shake to get trapped air out. Cover with a piece of wood to keep the rain out and leave 'em for a few days......It smells like battery acid and my dogs wouldn't go near the tub. Yuk.
    When you think it's time and wearing some protective gloves, pull the manifolds from the murky tub. They were covered in a red/brown sludge and so I pressure washed this off. Next I dried them with an airline and then finally, hit them with a wire brush in a drill. Job done. Have a beer.
    I used the mix again to clean up pedals, brake push rods, nuts, bolts and even a cast iron Caddy inlet manifold.

    An extremely satisfying clean up operation for minimal outlay.
    C. John Stutzer likes this.
    Joined: Feb 16, 2016
    Posts: 87


    I am going to try the citric acid, wood bleach, and molasses methods and see which I like best. And then I will probably Ebay them. I priced them about what offshore junk repro stuff sells for, so to me the originals fit so much better and have "good numbers". Thank you all for your advice.

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