Cleaning Aluminum Intercooler

I would like to chemically remove the oxide buildup on the exterior fins of the intercooler for my car. It is made entirely out of Aluminum. I have already degreased the interior but would like to chemically strip off some oxide buildup from the external fins without dissolving them. Does anybody know of a suitable product of have a home made recipe?

Reply to
Boris Mohar
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Reply to
David Billington

Mothers wheel mist- has a little phosphoric acid, foams a little.

Note that if you don't then coat the fins with something, they'll oxide right up again, quite quickly.


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The standard solution for cleaning aluminum fins DOES dissolve them; in a controlled manner.

Commercial air conditioning fin cleaner consists of sodium hydroxide (lye) and detergent. It's usually applied fairly dilute, and allowed to "work" for a few minutes before thorough rinsing.

The action of the lye releases hydrogen as it dissolves the superficial surface of the aluminum. The bubbles that result lift not only oxides but dirt, lint, grease, etc., where it is suspended and held by the detergent. The detergent also helps remove grease and oil that might interfere with the action of the lye.

It's a 'tricky' operation. Leave it on too long, and it will, in fact, dissolve the fins. To little, and the cleaning is incomplete.


Reply to
Lloyd E. Sponenburgh

Find some Duragloss Aluminum Cleaner & Brightener. It's like wheel cleaner, but more general in purpose. We sell a lot of it to truck fleets.

Reply to
Rex B

HVAC repairmen use a chemical cleaner to clean the aluminum coils at the condenser. Any HVAC supply shop would have it.


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