Substitue for Methylene Chloride?

I have been doing some powdercoating work on mostly aluminum (some steel and
cast iron) parts that come to be very dirty, greasy and sometimes painted.
The only thing I have found to remove the "crud" is methylene chloride. This
is basically the liquid carb cleaner that you buy at a NAPA store. The stuff
cleans great, but it has a couple major drawbacks. The first and most
important one is the health hazard of this stuff. The MSDS sheet is here:
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The biggest thing that bothers me is when I see the word carcinogen. there
are other issues as well, but that is the biggest one. The second issue is
cost. This stuff is $20/gallon which may be the going rate for this type of
cleaner, and if so, that is fine. I figure if I am going to shop for prices,
I may as well look for a substitute that isn't quite as hazardous as this
stuff is.
The parts I am cleaning are automotive intake manifolds, carburetors and
throttle bodies. The main thing that I have had a problem removing from
these parts is the carbon/oil/gas baked on crust that forms inside the
manifold runners and exhaust passages. The methylene does an excellent job
of removing this, but I would like to see if there is something else that
would do the job as well. I've tried acetone, lacquer thinner, mineral
spirits, and even brake cleaner. None of these even put a dent in the
removal of this crud. Does anyone have any suggestions? I would like to keep
this in my shop if it is doable and cost effective.
TIA Chris
Reply to
c
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I remember using some of that stuff, but it had an additive or extra fluid that floated on top and kept the vapors from escaping. maybe this would allay some of your apprehensions.
c wrote:
Reply to
Jerry Wass
OK, don't laugh...Cascade automatic dishwashing powder in very hot water. This stuff will eat glass! ...and use wire brushes.
Reply to
Tom Gardner
Yeah this has the added fluid or whatever it is. It looks about the color of butterscotch pudding when it is new out of the can.
Chris
Reply to
c
I'll give that a try, but part of my problem is that I need something that will basically dissolve the stuff on these parts because there are a lot of areas that are basically impossible to clean with brushes. Some of the passages are rather small and have some sharp curves in them. Thanks for the tip.
Chris
Reply to
c
Liquid Tide in water will remove a lot of greasy nasties, but it's a slow soaking process.
Safety-Kleen used to rent air-powered 'carb cleaners' - a 30 gallon sized drum featuring a parts basket that was agitated by an air motor. Worked great and kept exposure to a minimum. Maybe they still have them?
-Carl
Reply to
Carl Byrns
about a decade ago, a scientist at Hughes discovered that lemmon juice (mixed with water and some other stuff) cleaned circuit boards better than the previously used chemical - so there may be alternatives. One thing to try is TSP (trisodium phosphate) - that's a pretty good degreaser, particularly if you warm it up (just be patient and let it work) - maybe with citric acid added to help etch the metal a little bit. worth an experiment anyway.
Reply to
william_b_noble
Interesting, Tom! If Cascade works as you say (and I don't doubt you), then commercial/institutional dishwashing detergent might work even better. Cascade is a "household" product where the other stuff is an "industrial chemical". There is a significant difference. I learned this while working with a major appliance mfr on a dishwasher project, learned a few things from the guys at Unilever and P&G who make and sell the various products for dishwashing.
Your note about "very hot water" is right on. These potions need to be hot to work, at least 120 to 130 F in residential dishwashers and close to boiling in
Reply to
Don Foreman
Criss Any chance you can immerse the part on some sort of ultrasonic agitator ? That and the Cascade together might work better . I know some parts cleaners have air powered baskets that keep the part in motion . I have never tried one but it always struck me as a good idea . Ken Cutt
Reply to
Ken Cutt
proir to anodising, aluminum parts are dipped in a caustic soda bath for cleaning
Reply to
Wwj2110
Ken,
I would be more than willing to try this, but I don't have access to this equipment. I'm just getting into this as a business and want to get this sorted before I have more work than I can handle the way I am cleaning them now. Any idea where I could have someone try this for me?
TIA Chris
Reply to
c
Do you know the pH level they are using for this? The reason I ask is that at my last place of employment we plated steel parts with zinc chromate and used caustic to clean. I tried dipping an aluminum part in there and it instantly reacted with the caustic, causing the aluminum to turn dark grey. I also know that the typical caustic solution for cleaning automotive cast iron parts is lye based and that is a definite no-no with aluminum.
TIA Chris
Reply to
c
I've seen our local powdercoater just put stuff in his small (6' cube) oven and cook it at 600-650 F for a while to burn stuff off. That's how they get rid of old powder for recoats, and I've seen them do intake manifolds that way, too. Think "self-cleaning oven" :-). Course, he also turned an emblem that he thought was aluminum into a puddle of pot metal on the floor, once :-). Soaking in hot automatic transmission fluid softens the burnt on carbon on pistons and engine heads, but not as fast as you would like. I don't know how well the citrus-based (limonene) cleaners work (orange zep, simple green) but again, try soaking hot at full strength on a test piece.
-- Regards, Carl Ijames snipped-for-privacy@verizon.net
Reply to
Carl Ijames
I used to use proprietory chemicals for engine parts cleaning but when I found out they were all primarily methylene chloride with a few additives I just bought the neat meth from then on at 1/3 the cost. Over here it's about £40 for 25 litres so I doubt it would be more over there in bulk. You just use it with a couple of inches of water floating on the top to stop the meth evaporating. There's nothing better and it isn't that dangerous. If you don't drink the stuff or take a bath in it you aren't going to come to any harm. It isn't even listed as a carcinogen on the UK safety sheets so I guess as with most things they're being over cautious in the states for fear of litigation.
Dave Baker - Puma Race Engines
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I'm not at all sure why women like men. We're argumentative, childish, unsociable and extremely unappealing naked. I'm quite grateful they do though.
Reply to
Dave Baker
I heartily endorse Tom's suggestion. I use it all the time. For cast iron or steel parts I'll boil them in a good strong solution of Cascade in water. I'd be very leery of boiling an aluminum or pot-metal carb, tho. Some bad things can happen in a hurry.
If you use Cascade, pull your part, often, and check it to make sure it is not being pitted or eaten up in any way.
That said, I frequently use Stryp-Eze paint remover to remove gunk. Its main ingredient is methylene chloride. But, it doesn't cost $20 per gallon.
Denatured alcohol is good for removing the varnish left behind when gasoline evaporates. It can be found at your paint store. Granted, the alcohol in gasohol can be hard on some equipment, but that damage comes from long, sustained exposure. A quick wash with alcohol isn't apt to hurt anything. I use alcohol to clean the carbs on my vintage Fords. Just don't spash it on paint, however!
Orrin
Reply to
Orrin Iseminger
Steam clean them at the car wash.
Reply to
dann mann
You might want to consider this company's products:
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It's not too especially cheap but it is non-hazardous, biodegradable and seems to do a pretty good job on parts cleaning.
Reply to
Mike Henry
How dense is this stuff? I'd think water would sink in it (i.e. it floats on water), especially since something I have with a similar compsition and boiling point is certainly lighter than water.
Guess I'll go search the web...
Tim
-- "That's for the courts to decide." - Homer Simpson Website @
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Reply to
Tim Williams
Interesting.
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Tim
-- "That's for the courts to decide." - Homer Simpson Website @
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Reply to
Tim Williams
I tried that too, and I distinctly heard the gunk and grime laughing at me.
Chris
Reply to
c

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