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Technical CLR to clean carburetors? free vibratory cleaner?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Paul, Jul 26, 2020.

  1. Paul
    Joined: Aug 29, 2002
    Posts: 15,591


    not exactly an ultrasonic cleaner,
    and only "free" as in it was done with stuff laying around.
    but, 'tried this today.
    Saw a version of this done somewhere,
    50-50 mix CLR with water,
    Shake for two hours,
    Scrub with fine brass wire brush
    Rinse thoroughly with clean water
    Dry and wipe with WD-40

    so I gave it a try.

    I believe it cleaned evenly inside and out including passages
    but gave it a dull etched zinc appearance
    hit with the fine brass wire brush gave it a kind of pewter look.

    not exactly restored look but might look ok..
    on engine with semi polished aluminum?

    IMG_20200726_094202.jpg IMG_20200726_101423.jpg IMG_20200726_101426.jpg IMG_20200726_101542.jpg IMG_20200726_101544.jpg IMG_20200726_102007.jpg IMG_20200726_102014.jpg View attachment 4767096 IMG_20200726_102126.jpg


    IMG_20200726_122649.jpg IMG_20200726_123350.jpg IMG_20200726_123358.jpg IMG_20200726_123428.jpg IMG_20200726_143258.jpg
  2. When I was a kid I used to get old grungy model airplane engines. I put the parts in a container with some cheap carb cleaner. I strapped the container to an old craftsmen vibrator/orbital sander clamped in a vise or held in my hand. The aluminum pieces came out perfectly clean and looked like I had polished them. Great for cleaning special hard to get fasteners too. I am 66 and still have the sander. BTW it works great on mixing model paints and small spray cans.
    chopped, VANDENPLAS and Paul like this.
  3. Well........ I don't know what to say.......?......
    It is a product made to clean stuff. And it did clean the part. Probably gentler than sandblasting. Looks like it worked out well. So, yea. :cool:
    Have you heard of anyone using CLR in those ultrasonic tanks?
    VANDENPLAS and Paul like this.
  4. Paul
    Joined: Aug 29, 2002
    Posts: 15,591


    That was the experiment,
    To make a caveman ultrasonic cleaner for zero cash outlay.

    Probably could have gotten similar results with dish soap and lemon juice.

  5. 5window
    Joined: Jan 29, 2005
    Posts: 8,545


    Worth the time to check it out. Thanks.
    VANDENPLAS likes this.
  6. jnaki
    Joined: Jan 1, 2015
    Posts: 6,431


    Hey P,

    Great job on those carb parts. Excellent modern caveman device with the sander. I have used CLR on a lot of stuff, despite the label warnings. The main thing it was good for was calcium deposits on sink faucets and the end tip bubblers. Drop those in a shallow tub and it was like new. If the faucet areas were too hard to get to or remove, a small paint brush and a couple of dabs of CLR left overnight also cleared up the chalky stuff.

    Now, there is no need since we upgraded to new stainless faucets and new sinks. But, that center basin plug will get clogged up with some form of "stuff." Water sits on top and develops a chalky residue. No need for a scrub brush at it scratches. Even Blue Dawn detergent in regular and concentrated did not take off that deposit. CLR took it right off.

    On an old skateboard cast aluminum part, I coated it with several coats of CLR and it looked like new.


    I like the look of the carb with the rough dull surface. Kind of like old school 1959-60 era. Perhaps assemble the whole thing and place it(them) on the manifold to see the look. It might surprise you. We don't all need to polish everything, especially if it is TRADITIONAL old style.
    alanp561 and Paul like this.
  7. Did the vibration loosen the lid?
    clem and Paul like this.
  8. Paul
    Joined: Aug 29, 2002
    Posts: 15,591


    Why yes, it did.
    The vibration unscrewed the lid
    dropping the jar to the floor.
    Luckily only a small mess and little loss of solution.
    No damage and easy fix.
  9. dumprat
    Joined: Dec 27, 2006
    Posts: 3,186

    from b.c.

    Lemon pine sol works better than CLR. Just saying
  10. 302GMC
    Joined: Dec 15, 2005
    Posts: 7,029

    from Idaho

    I discovered the vibrator part many years ago cleaning rifle brass. Didn't have a tumbler, so I strapped one of those strap-it-to-your-hand massage units to a 3 lb coffee can half full of media, a dab of Brasso & a bunch of found .30-30 cases. Used plastic lid. Plugged it in & let it run all night - next morning, shiny brass ....
    It works on auto parts equally well.
  11. When I read carbs and CLR together I wanted to scream NOOOOOO! CLR eats aluminum and pot metal. But you diluted it and kept an eye on it. Results look great!
    lothiandon1940 and Paul like this.
  12. Paul
    Joined: Aug 29, 2002
    Posts: 15,591


    Yes it says right on the container not for galvanized (zinc) old carburetors, and
    not for aluminum, new carburetors.
    But I had to see for myself.
    j-jock and lothiandon1940 like this.
  13. I have an ultrasonic cleaner for small stuff, and a air operated pump type that was made to be used in a 5 gal can, but I think your rig is a great idea, and the results are obvious.
    I have a vibrating sander, and intend to give this a try. I have been using Simply Green as my main cleaning fluid, with good results. I have some CLR, and may give it a try as well.
    I dilute the Simple Green, and have used it a lot in the ultrasonic cleaner to clean aluminum chainsaw carbs from large chainsaws.
    Great idea.
    Paul likes this.
  14. 5window
    Joined: Jan 29, 2005
    Posts: 8,545


    Strap it to your "hand" vibrator? I don't know about that! :)
  15. indyjps
    Joined: Feb 21, 2007
    Posts: 4,545


    I like it.
    Agree - go very cautious on the acid content with carbs. One carb to the next xould be much different cast or plating material. Lemon juice - can probably also use citric acid sparingly. Safest bet is a petroleum based cleaner since we're trying to dissolve petroleum based crud.

    Vibration / tumbler
    Ive seen concrete mixer rotated on its side with fuel tank strapped to it, cleaner and chain rolling around for hours.

    I can see how the sander gives smaller pulse action like an ultrasonic cleaner, compared to a rotating tumbler.

    I have a old beat to death half sheet electric sander that needs a new pad, the pad installs with screws. Could make a fluid container that actually bolts to the sander in place of the pad.
    Paul likes this.
  16. indyjps
    Joined: Feb 21, 2007
    Posts: 4,545


  17. belair
    Joined: Jul 10, 2006
    Posts: 8,806


    Paul likes this.
  18. 31Apickup
    Joined: Nov 8, 2005
    Posts: 2,813


    The last carb I did, used pinesol and it worked good, didn’t try vibrating but it would probably get it done faster.

    Sent from my iPhone using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
    indyjps and Paul like this.
  19. Paul
    Joined: Aug 29, 2002
    Posts: 15,591


    Another test for comparison
    This time same two hours but without agitation
    94 top with gold coating
    Similar results

    I think this just shows CLR is not the best for carb cleaning.
    All fuel residue, oil etc would need to be cleaned off first,
    Agitation does seem to help
    But the CLR is too aggressive, by the time things start looking clean the acids are eating the metal away.

    IMG_20200727_072502.jpg IMG_20200727_072507.jpg IMG_20200727_072658.jpg IMG_20200727_093215.jpg IMG_20200727_093223.jpg IMG_20200727_093305.jpg
    indyjps likes this.
  20. indyjps
    Joined: Feb 21, 2007
    Posts: 4,545


    Ive been looking into citrus degreasers, to refill a parts washer, theyre moving to them in the asphalt industry to clean equipment, if it cuts asphalt, it should cut engine type gunk.
    The PH on them is approx 10-11 so theyre basic and not acidic, should be easier on plating and base metal. Ammonia is around 10 PH for reference.

    Zep sells a citrus degreaser that should be available at home improvement stores, for a test, before ponying up for the industrial brand version( 1 gallon jug dilutes to 5-8 gallons) for use.

    Not sure how these compare to pinesol.

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