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Twist on Electrolysis Cleaning


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  #1  
Old 02-13-2005, 02:11:38 PM
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Default Twist on Electrolysis Cleaning

I have a marine cylinder that is packed pretty solid with rust. I have managed to clean out a path between the water inlet and outlet holes but there is still a lot of hard rust remaining in the water jacket that is inaccessible. I am thinking about trying the electrolysis method on the cylinder by pumping, with a plastic pump, the electrolyte through the cylinder. The battery charger would be connected one lead to the cylinder which is setting on a board outside the bath, and the other lead to an electrode in the bath of electrolyte. Has anyone tried this before? I would expect it to be very slow. Any opinions?
Thanks, Mike.
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Old 02-13-2005, 05:42:38 PM
Franz Franz is offline
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Default Re: Twist on Electrolysis Cleaning

Mike, I'd encourage you to do a bit of rethinking on the methodology.
The electrolyte is merely a path, not an active part of the system.
I've done a lot of experimentation with pumping the electrolyte thru a filter media in the past, hopeing to gain process speed, and had very poor results in all the experiments.

Since Electrolosys is a "line of site" process for want of a better description, you'll get a lot more performence if you can get a carbon rod (available from welding suppliers) into the hole you've already created, and use the rod as your accumulating electrode. If you can then pump sufficient volume of electrolyte thru the chamber you're derusting, preferrably from bottom to top, you should get a nice result going.
You'll need to keep the rod insulated, and a fairly constant watch, as flows will change rapidly as rust is removed, but it is doable.
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Old 02-13-2005, 05:45:27 PM
Franz Franz is offline
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Default Re: Twist on Electrolysis Cleaning

One additional thing, you say this is a Marine Cylinder, so the question of SALT water rust comes into play very heavily.
IF this is salt water rust, you'll need to desalt the rust as much as possible before beginning electrolosys, and change electrolyte often, as salt kills the process.
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Old 02-13-2005, 06:30:55 PM
Bill Schaller Bill Schaller is offline
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Default Re: Twist on Electrolysis Cleaning

the other thought is to soak it in a 1:10 molasses bath. works good, just takes a long time.
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Old 02-13-2005, 09:41:54 PM
Kevin O. Pulver Kevin O. Pulver is offline
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Default Re: Twist on Electrolysis Cleaning

A good glass beader or sandblaster will clean out things in a hurry if you can get it sprayed in there at all. Could you maybe get someof it out that way first and then do the electrolysis? Kevin
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Old 02-17-2005, 03:57:25 AM
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Default Zip disk...

Here's some water jacket surgery. Done with a "Zip Disk" (Walter product) on a 5" angle grinder. The cut is about 1mm wide which makes brazing things back together pretty easy. This jacket was split, so there was no choice. Or try pumping vinegar (acetic acid) through for a month or so. The best way IMO is a large ultrasonic cleaner with acetic acid. As long as there is no oil present in the jacket the acetic acid seems to reverse the rust somehow. What comes off is a black powder, leaving the iron 'in the white'. Never had much luck with molasses, but others obviously do. Maybe a rad shop would let you put it in their cleaner after it has soaked in the vinegar for a while, that or just run some high pressure water through everywhere you can. Probably the process would need to be repeated several times.
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Old 02-17-2005, 09:23:30 PM
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Thumbs up Re: Twist on Electrolysis Cleaning:try an old oven or kiln

I have been usung an electric kiln to heat cylinders for years to remove crud with great success. Basically I slowly heat to _750-800F over 6-10 hours (depending on size) and soak an hour at temperature then cool slowly. All the rust just falls out of the jackets or with a piece of wire or bead blaster. I heated an 8" Ericsson hot air engine cylinder with 6" of crud in it and was able to use a small plastic hose taped to my shop vac to get in there and remove the rust and encrustations once heated. The entire back side of the cylinder is blind to access except through the front port. Must have heated over 25 cylinders over last 10 years- 100% success and no cracks formed as a result of heat. Once the jacket is clean, I slush it with thinned rusty metal primer or epoxy to keep it clean.
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Old 02-18-2005, 11:02:40 AM
Orrin Orrin is offline
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Default Re: Twist on Electrolysis Cleaning

I've used Paul's technique and heated engines in an oven to break down the rust. It works.

Not having a kiln, I stacked up firebrick to make a temporary oven, then heated it with a propane weed burner.

After getting the engine up to a dull red heat, I turned down the burner to hold that temperature and let the whole works "soak" at dull red for a few hours.

After shutting down the weed burner I plugged all the holes in the oven and let it cool down until the next day.

This engine had been sitting outdoors for decades with a spark plug removed and the hole pointing up. Before heating, the pistons were hopelessly stuck. Afterwards, I was able to pull them out the bottom with a jury-rigged all-thread puller without difficulty. (Headless engine)

Don't try this on an engine with aluminum pistons!

Orrin
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Old 02-18-2005, 12:08:59 PM
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Default Re: Twist on Electrolysis Cleaning

Thanks Orrin for the endorsement... No need to go to red heat (ca 1200F). 700-800F will work just fine with a 1-2 hour soak. I had a couple of ported ARACO cylinders with the ports long plugged off with carbon and grease. It worked great and I was able to get the plug out and restore that throaty ported sound. Either a quick hit with a wire wheel or blaster after cooling will have the part ready to prime.
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Old 02-18-2005, 12:39:55 PM
KidDynamo KidDynamo is offline
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Default Re: Twist on Electrolysis Cleaning

Has anyone who uses the "high temp" rust busting ever mike'd a cylinder before and then after?? Does the cylinder change shape or size?

I was just wondering if this system can be used on parts where the bore is round and the correct size be fore starting. Does the bore stay that way?

I have a couple of cracked hopper waterjackets with good bores but the cracks don't appear to be the kind that a J.B. Weld fix would work on and I don't want to rebore. Thanks, as usual....
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Old 02-19-2005, 09:36:16 AM
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Default Re: Twist on Electrolysis Cleaning

I agree, Paul, that it is not necessary to bring the temperature up to red heat; but, lacking a thermostatically controled furnace, pyrometer or the correct Tempil stick, dull red was my only way to judge "hot enough."

I've tried the technique without the oven and never had a clue how hot the engine got. As it turned out, not enough.

As to whether or not there are any dimensional changes in the bore, I cannot say with certainty; but, my gut feeling is this: If the heating and cooling is done gradually in a controlled fashion, they are unlikely to change. The only exception would be if there had been some residual stresses in the original casting. I seriously doubt this could ever be the case, however, in an old engine that has gone through hundreds of cycles of heating to operating temperature, cooling, etc.

My neighbor re-builds burned-up grain trucks (happens every year during harvest in this dry country) and as far as I know he has never had any trouble with the engines. He's had to re-arch the springs on the chassis a few times, though.

Regards,

Orrin
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Old 02-22-2005, 12:03:36 AM
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Default Re: Twist on Electrolysis Cleaning

Indeed heating does work! I was told by an old blacksmith way back thirty odd years ago about "black heat". This guy was in his mid 80s at that time, and spent most of his life working in the oilfields as a toolmaker/dresser. It basically involved heating the cast up to a point where it was black in color from the heat. Like Paul says-700-800 degrees, (both of us have "been there, done that") after being kept at this temp for a while, rust turns into a "powder". I have done this several times to remove pistons and other parts. I have done it in a coal fired forge with smaller cylinders and had good results. Usually a piston can be removed by slight aggression and kerosene. If you have done it right the rings will come loose from the lands with little effort.
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Old 02-22-2005, 11:35:23 PM
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Default Re: Twist on Electrolysis Cleaning

If you are not in a hurry, give this a try. Put it in a 5 gal plastic pail, and stuff every opening as full as you can with cut up potato, peels and all. They can be old or new, cover the pail with a newspaper and keep it at room temp.. As the potato rots the chemical reaction will remove all the rust and leave the metal a nice black color. The pail can get funky, so best not to leave it in the kitchen! Save your potato peels next time you have mashed potatoes, and give it a try. You won't believe it!
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Old 02-24-2005, 12:06:56 PM
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Default Re: Twist on Electrolysis Cleaning

I have located a kiln and plan to try the 800 degree method. The cylinder is odd shaped with a large protrusion off the top so I may have to brick around the top of the kiln. Engine is 8 HP Hicks marine. Mike
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