How to clean extremely dirty or oxidized aluminum, for real
ive used this stuff before but it was in a commercial setting. i have plenty of experience with it and its safe as long as you have some common sense. if youre an idiot, just do us a favor and drink the acid or something, thanks. i went out and bought some acid to clean my intake mani and heres whats up.
ok, so lets say your HO or LO intake manifold is stained brown or has white flecks in it from oxidization. youre tried engine cleaners and theyve failed horribly and wasted your money, leaving you with a dirty but grease free intake. what to do?
easy! hydrochloric acid! RAWR. yes, hydrochloric acid, the same shit thats in your stomach, the same shit that is used in movies and defeats space aliens. zombies, ect.
what you want to buy is the watered down version of hydrochloric acid known as muriatic acid. its a 25-30% solution. its available at any pool place and sometimes at home depot/lowes/ace hardware. pool places are 100% sure to have it. itll vary from $6-$10 for a gallon depending on brand but they all do the same thing.
anyways, go buy a gallon and bring it home. mix it roughly 50/50 with water in a plastic bottle ONLY. itll eat thru anything else. be careful when you open the bottle as the fumes will are strong and itll probably smoke like a frigging science fair project. if this scares you, youre a pansy. if if excites you, then youre prolly going to kill ppl later on in life. make sure to keep the gallon container off of metal shelving as, over time, itis possiblefor the fumes to permeate thru the plastic and eat the shelf. dont worry, this is over YEARS of storage at high concentration. just letting you know what youre dealing with.
for use on a car engine. first off, the engine should be cool to the touch. if not, let it cool or spray water on it until it is cool. when it is cool, then spray the area with water and make sure theres a film of water on the surface ofthe aluminum. this step is not necessary but doing so will ensure the least possible amount of streaking [ black lines ]. theyll come off but you have to reapply the acid again, wasting time. so, spray the are to be cleaned with water, then genty spray the area with the acid. it should immediately foam up. this stuff starts working instantly so theres no real set up time. if you do chose tolet it set, do not let it set more than 20-30 seconds or it WILL streak. you can also scrub the are at this time if you chose but you NEED eye protection. gloves are optional as the acid will only cause a slight tingling sensation. it may make your hand turn red if you handle it constantly but its not that bad really. use gloves anyways, no reason not to. when you rinse the acid off of the area, make sure to rinse extremely well as the water is the only way to stop the acid from eating the surface. rinse for at least twice as long as you let the acid sit. the longer the better. marvel at how bright and awesome your HO or LO manifold looks. hit the alternator too. itll look great too.
note, this stuff doesnt really eat grease, so use chem-tool or brake cleaner if your part is filthy greasy.
now, i made this shit sound like its about to eat a hole thru the Earth but in reality it isnt that bad as long as you have some common sense. be ccareful and youll not have any problems.
for the TLDR people: buy acid, mix 50/50. wet surface, apply acid and count to 10. rinse acid for 20-30 seconds. win. oh, do not eat, apply in eyes, or wash hands in the acid. end.
93 Olds Achieva SC(X) - no interior, 6 point roll cage, sheet metal dash, tons of other stuff, just ask. SOLD
92 GA GT Quad4 - 11:1 forged Ross pistons, Eagle rods, 226/.410 cams, W41 chip, titanium retainers, Lightweight Flywheel, Spec stage III clutch.
90 Calais I-Series - W41 Chip, 2.5" exhaust - GONE
90 Beretta GTZ - 2.5" Exhaust - timing chain broke at 144,000 miles - RIP
isn't this the same stuff, that if you get it on your skin, it seeps in and eats away at your bones? - I didn't read any disclaimer of avoiding skin contact...
I (being a somewhat paranoid individual) won't touch the stuff.
Yes, I know - I might have a problem... 1989 Grand Am LE coupe; burgandy, LD2/5spd(sold) 1991 Grand Am LE coupe; white, LGO/W32(written off) 1991 Grand Am SE coupe; red, LGO(sold) 1991 Grand Am LE coupe; red, LGO/W32
Woodstock, 1969 "To get back to the warning that I received. You may take it with however many grains of salt that you wish. That the brown acid that is circulating around us isn't too good. It is suggested that you stay away from that. Of course it's your own trip. So be my guest, but please be advised that there is a warning on that one, ok?"
I was 100% serious with my last post;
call me a pus' if you will...
My brother used to have a job where they regularly used muriatic acid to clean the aluminum parts of bus shelters - he had heard many horror stories of peole who were not careful when using the stuff, and put themselves in the hospital...
He was quite careful when using it, and even though he is fine working with the stuff, he still takes precautions with it...
nasty, nasty stuff...
loves calcium, and eats through it like nothing.
Last edited by unruhjonny; 02-27-2010 at 10:20 PM.
no jonny this concentration isnt that bad. i used it to clean aluminum wheels for big trucks for 2 years with constant exposure.
as long as you use eye protection when mixing it or on windy days, dont breathe the vapors, and or let sit on your skin for long periods, its no more a perceived danger than bleach is.
any of you guys ever swim in a pool? guess what? it probably has a little hydrochloric acid in it. muratic acid, aka diluted hydrochloric acid, is used to lower total alkalinity of the water. this is different from ph though.
I did this on a throttle body from Draftinwitjr3815 back a month or so ago and worked great, but I suggest a coat of paint quick some of the Oxygenation came back over night. Best part was the Acid cost $10 and it removes oil stains in the concrete also.
I didn't take a before but here is a after. I wasn't sure if it was going to be usable but the acid brought it right back.
I would use the stuff on parts before assembly but I would NEVER use it on a motor that's in a car. No way. Some of that is bound to get washed into the valley between the cam towers and down into the spark plug recesses.
I have a build coming up soon, I'm going to give it a try.
if youre that worried about it just sprinkle some baking soda on it. the acid reacts with it and it makes salt water.
Good point. I'll pull the IDI cover and plug boots. Do the acid wash, rinse with some baking soda water and flush. Then a quick touch of the shop vac to soak up the water and blow it out with compressed air.
its not really needed and prolly adds to the mess. i worked with the stuff professionally to clean aluminum for some time. its safe as long as you follow the directions i gave. make sure to wash everything thouroughly. also, make sure the item is wet first as it tends to lessen black streaks. even 3 parts water and 1 part acid will do the trick. if you wanted, you could sneak up on the concentration yuou feel comfy with isnt a bad idea.