Question about degreasers for parts washer

I'm finally in a position of needing the Harbor Freight 20 gal parts washer I bought used for a few bucks a few years back and in deciding what to use
as a degreaser I came across a blurb in it's manual indicating that only water based cleaners be used in it. I was thinking of using Kerosene or mineral spirits before I saw this but now I'm wondering if there would be some kind of problem with the pump. Anyone out there use a HF unit with a non water based cleaner?? If I have to go with a water based one, I see harbor freight carries a gallon concentrate degreaser in the store, will I have to rinse off the part with clean water afterward so I can paint it or is that unnecessary?? Seems to me that to get the paint to stick well that I should rinse after cleaning but that would be a real inconvenience since there is no where I could do this easily in my shop.
Any comments??
Bill
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Bill wrote:

After recently wondering this same thing, I switched from Graymill's Super Agitene (now an astonishing $15/gallon) to mineral spirits cut slightly with ATF. It works fine but is a bit smelly. - GWE
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I too have used mineral spirits and ATF in both of my HF washers (20 and 5 gallon) and have had no problems.
Peter
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How smelly is a "bit smelly"? Do you mean when you are using the tank or just having it filled with MS+ATF is causing the odor? My main concern is that while I'd be using it with the garage door opened it would normally be sitting in an enclosed room that is connected to the house. I did think about putting some kind of foam or rubber seal on the lid and switch box to keep the smell in if it turned out to be annoyingly strong or I could modify the unit to let me drain off the cleaner into a sealed container when not in use.
Bill

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Thought of something after I hit send. Do you have any problems with painting items cleaned in the mixture? I was wondering since I figured the ATF would leave a slight oil film on the piece. Mainly what I need to do is dunk a part in and get it clean let it dry and then paint it. I'd possibly run it through the sand blaster if there is rust or flakey paint on it but I'm looking to keep the procedure short and sweet since I'd like to take the entire mower apart and restore it and there are a fair amount of parts.
Bill

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Mine is only smelly when the lid is up. I have no "gasket" around the lid on mine and the smell is non-existent when the lid is down.
You will not want to paint after washing parts in your washer pretty much regardless of whether there's ATF in the fluid. After you use the washer for a little bit there'll be dirt and other contaminants mixed in anyway. I always wipe down parts I'm going to paint with rubbing alcohol after washing.
Peter
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Mine doesn't smell unless I use it, then it smells like paint thinner for awhile. I haven't noticed any residue from the ATF. I used a little less than a quart of ATF for 10 gallons of mineral spirits. -GWE
Bill wrote:

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| Mine doesn't smell unless I use it, then it smells like paint thinner for | awhile. I haven't noticed any residue from the ATF. I used a little less | than a quart of ATF for 10 gallons of mineral spirits. -GWE |
What's the purpose of the ATF?
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carl mciver wrote:

Said to make it a little easier if it gets on your hands. - GWE
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I swear by powdered Cascade automatic dishwasher detergent. I like it better than kero, tricloroethelene 111, Stoddard, spirits. I know it goes against the grain but you will be amazed...especially if it's heated. WOW!!! ...and it's cheap and low enviro impact.

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| I swear by powdered Cascade automatic dishwasher detergent. I like it | better than kero, tricloroethelene 111, Stoddard, spirits. I know it goes | against the grain but you will be amazed...especially if it's heated. | WOW!!! ...and it's cheap and low enviro impact.
So you just have detergent added to water in a regular parts washer? What's the ratio? How did you make the switch and why? How do you heat it up? Tell me/us more, this is interesting!
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My parts washer has a heater. I have added "Finish Aid", available from a plater supply to prevent rust. We make a solution with no real protocol, so just guess at the concentration. The solution feels pretty slimy and the parts need a good wash afterwards.

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Do you have any kind of problems with the tank itself rusting from having a water based cleaner in it full time??

use
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I get surprisingly good results with Ivory bar soap and water on small jobs. Just lather up my hands like crazy and massage the parts. Rinse the residue off and blow dry or air dry.
--
B.B. --I am not a goat! thegoat4 at airmail dot net
http://web2.airmail.net/thegoat4 /
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A couple scoops of any dishwasher detergent, plus a squirt of Dawn, plus a dash of drain cleaner.
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Simple Green - full strength.
Rinse in clear water before painting.
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My only comment is about your suggestion of using kerosene for cleaning. It's not a solvent, and stinks like hell. Are you familiar with Stoddard *solvent*? It evaporates to total dryness, unlike kerosene, and is every bit as safe to use for cleaning, if not more so. The smell is even somewhat better, although not great. Kerosene for cleaning makes very little sense. It leaves your parts with a covering of oil that would also prevent painting, and has a lesser capacity to dissolve hydrocarbons than does kerosene.
Harold
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Harold, when it comes to grinding or machining I consider you our guru, but surely your last sentence (quoted below) doesn't make any sense! - GWE

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but
also
than
Chuckle! Sounds like I need another drink!
Yep, caught me napping. I can't help but think my last word was supposed to be "Stoddard".
Harold
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Harold and Susan Vordos wrote:

I have kerosene in my big parts washer, a converted 55-gallon drum. I agree that it's a pretty mediocre cleaning solvent, but it was the only thing I could buy in qunatity locally. It works OK, but it doesn't cut oil and grease very well at all. Parts certainly require soap and water before painting.
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