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PostPosted: Fri Oct 04, 2013 10:51 am 
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Any suggestions for how best to clean grime and dirt off the alloy castings, such as the front diff housing, gearbox, hubs & brake drums etc. Whilst I have everything apart I'd like to clean them up but am only having limited success with degreasing fluid etc.

TIA

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 04, 2013 5:56 pm 
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Brake cleaner in a 5 litre tin! I get you the make tomorrow when I can find the tin. I used it by buying a cheap (£1) spray bottle from the likes of HomeBase (the sort of thing you use for misting plant leaves). Cheap ones as the fluid will eat the internals and it will stop working by tomorrow! Having said that, it works wonders at the time and is a very easy way to get clean brake cleaning fluid on to your otherwise dirty object!
Also buy several paint brushes and cut the brush bit down to get slightly harder bristles.

Advantages of using Brake cleaner is that it cleans very well, and once clean, sprayed with clean fluid, it will wash the last thin layer of dirt off and evaporate so you don't have to wipe the item dry.

Smaller things I stuck in an ultra sonic cleaner with some of that fluid - see my post on rebuilding my carb.

John

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Last edited by heinkeljb on Sat Oct 05, 2013 8:13 am, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 05, 2013 7:30 am 
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I have tried different things. When cleaning the engine halves, I still used fuel so solve the oily dirt, which worked fine, but surely isn't very healthy. I didn't like getting dizzy after using the fuel for a while, also you really need thick gloves to protect your skin. I also tried to use rotatory tools like small steel brushes on a Dremel for dirt which would not be solved. The drawback, from my point of view, is, that these fastly rotating brushes also leave some sort of "texture" on the parts.

Then I bought a parts cleaning device, like I saw in your workshop as well Julian. I think a 10 l can of de-greaser came with it, which I still use - but since it has become very dirty, I need to change it sooner or later. Together with the de-greaser I used paintbrushes and steel wire brushes (size of a toothbrush, with quite fine wires) as well as some small screwdrivers to carefully help with dirt that the brushes couldn't scratch off. Using this method gave me very good results while not "hurting" the surface, which I like.

Regards,
C.


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 05, 2013 9:58 am 
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I too have tried the brush, Gunk and elbow grease method :roll:
It never gets the finish I'd like, though ?
I've wondered recently about the potential merits of a small domestic steam cleaner - what are people's thoughts on that ?

Paul


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 05, 2013 10:01 am 
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Thanks all; I have been experimenting with de-greasing fluid, brake cleaner (& petrol) today, and with a little agitation from a toothbrush and some steel wool I have got the worst of the dirt & grime off. The gearbox itself doesn't look quite as good as I would like, but I am getting into the realms of diminishing returns now. And on Day 1 it'll be dirty again anyway :D

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 05, 2013 6:10 pm 
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I bought a small steam cleaner (domestic) which is very good if you have oily metal surfaces. Not so good at getting rid of "caked on" oil and dirt that has been there for many years.
Biggest problem is that the water tank does not hold a large amount of water so your time spent with super heated steam / water spraying out the end is limited. Also you tend to get clouds of steam which obscure your vision of the bit you are cleaning so it is easy to miss bits and have to go over it all again.
For it to work nicely, you have to start at one side and using the steam jet, "push" the oil / gunk / rubbish away from you until it reaches an edge and gets blasted off or round the corner!

So all in all, it has to be a combination of several methods. If you want "shiny", then you have to use a light abrasive like a green brillo pad to get the oxidation off the surface after you have removed the worst of the grunge by other method. Then you have to go to some thing like "Autosolve" to polish the surface.

As Julian has already pointed out, it is going to get dirty very quickly if you ever "use" the vehicle for it's intended purpose!

John

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PostPosted: Sun Oct 06, 2013 2:59 am 
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When the professionals clean these sort of things they often use a sand blaster with an appropriate grade of grit such as shell or beads.

Garry

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 08, 2013 1:12 am 
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Hello

Ive also tried a lot of solutions, with no perfect answers. For grease removal I quite like brake cleaner as well, but Ive learned to stay clear of any degreasers which contain cuastic agents (ie sodium hydroxide) as these will dull the surface of alloys even after rinse off. So stick with solvent based degreasers.

When cleaning off the gearbox i noticed a fair bit of residual glazing with entrapped soil and dirt- not removalble using degreasers. So none of that nice alloy lustre. At that point I resported to the dremel tool with scotch-brite type bits, as only an abrasive can help here. I bought bags containing 100 or so via ebay. I found that useful, but its a tedious job, and as the photo below will attest, I ran out of patience.


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File comment: Before...
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spare-running-gear.jpg [ 117.91 KiB | Viewed 971 times ]
File comment: after...
P4250036.jpg
P4250036.jpg [ 94.5 KiB | Viewed 971 times ]

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 08, 2013 6:12 am 
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Gosh, what a lot of work! Congratulations!

My gearbox has some glazed-on grime too, and it is a so & so to remove. I'm pretty much at the point where I'm going to stop where I am as I am well in to the area of diminishing returns. The other parts, such as the gearbox tower and front diff etc are cleaning up nicely.

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 08, 2013 9:16 am 
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gearbox before and after photos .steam cleaned , professionally bead blasted then a clear coat of lacquer .

Dave


Attachments:
Rebuilt Gearbox 1.jpg
Rebuilt Gearbox 1.jpg [ 226.48 KiB | Viewed 966 times ]
before rebuild 23.jpg
before rebuild 23.jpg [ 255.36 KiB | Viewed 966 times ]
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 08, 2013 3:29 pm 
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Goodness me, what a transformation! Amazing!

Did you remove all of the gearbox internals prior to bead blasting? Seeing as a) my gearbox seems to be working fine, b) I'm a coward and c) I am such a rank amateur at All Things Mechanics I have decided not to strip the gearbox or the two diffs. The chances otherwise would be the strong liklihood that the machine never runs again ;)

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 08, 2013 5:55 pm 
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Like you Julian, I would rather not chance having to pull it all to bits because it got some abrasive past the "gaffer tape and brown paper" seals.

Toothpicks and brake cleaner will get more of the dirt off, if you want it shiny after that. Brillo pads and autosolve.

Much as the Dave's gearbox looks nice with the clear coat, I have to say I am not intending to eat off my gearbox and that after the first drive I would not want to have to get the polish out to clean it.

It is after all a "utility vehicle" and it will get dirty!

John

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 08, 2013 8:24 pm 
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Hi Julian,
the gearbox kept dropping out of 2nd gear when I de clutched, so I decided to strip the gearbox to find the problem. I found that all the needle rollers on a bearing towards the front of the pinion of the gearbox were all missing with only ground up dust mixed with the oil. surprisingly though there had been no tell tale noises to indicate there was a problem.

Dave


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 09, 2013 3:19 am 
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Arh - the Rivett Counters :D

Just think what that pretty gearbox alloy is what is going to look like after a decent offroad run with rocks and mud bouncing off it :o

I must admit though it does look nice :D

Garry

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 09, 2013 6:38 am 
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Dave,

Was it a pain to rebuild the gearbox? Looking in the repair manual there seems to be the need for special tools to line things up or something.
The other gearboxes I have had to pieces and put back together at worst require you to strip them again after measuring end float so you could put the correct size shims in.

Did you take any photos? If yes, how about starting a thread under drivetrain & gearbox showing them with a bit of blurb?

John

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