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Building an Engine Cleaning Hot Tank, need advice...


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  #1  
Old 12-24-2010, 12:11 PM
Scotts439 Scotts439 is offline
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Default Building an Engine Cleaning Hot Tank, need advice...

I am building a homemade hot tank parts cleaner. It is a heavy gauge steel soak tank, a water heater thermostat and heating element, an air agitation system. My issue is I want to use a strong caustic cleaner such as red devil lye. This is no longer available for purchase in the supermarket. Does anyone have an opinion on a detergent. (I do not want to pay $100+ for proper hot tank detergent. ) any thoughts on draino type solutions?? They are lye based. My goal is for ferrous parts degreasing including paint removal. Thanks.
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Old 12-24-2010, 12:18 PM
K D Redd K D Redd is offline
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Default Re: Building an engine cleaning hot tank, need advice...

Do you have a automotive machine shop in your area? You might go ask them where they get there caustic soda compounds for their hot tanks.
You might also see if you can find a supplier of automotive machine shop chemicals on-line.

Kent
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Old 12-24-2010, 12:58 PM
ronm ronm is offline
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Default Re: Building an engine cleaning hot tank, need advice...

You might want to re-think the use of lye, caustic soda, Oakite, etc...they are now hazardous substances in the eyes of the EPA...I don't know of an old-style hot tank that's still operating around here. My machinist friend had one that would take a D9 Cat block, he gave it away to an oil-field outfit...if you buy a bag of Oakite you sign a manifest stating you are responsible for it basically FOREVER...until you dispose of it to a hazmat company.
All the shops here have gone to the enclosed high-pressure washing cabinets...pricey, but legal...
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Old 12-24-2010, 02:03 PM
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Ken Majeski Ken Majeski is offline
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Default Re: Building an engine cleaning hot tank, need advice...

Well.... Take this for whats it's worth... But a guy that should know told me to just go to Fleet Farm and buy Bang Laundry detergent... It's High in Lye and works almost as good, Legal and Cheep...

I believe some of the restrictions on Lye aren't because it's so toxic but because of the "Other" uses...
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Old 12-24-2010, 05:22 PM
Gene Williams Gene Williams is offline
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Default Re: Building an engine cleaning hot tank, need advice...

If you want something that works very well, go to your local chemical/laundry/motel supplier and ask for sodium hydroxide. It is an alkalai used to build detergent in laundry operations and is very legal to pour down the drain. Works very well to remove grease/dirt/paint but needs to be just short of boiling for best results.
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Old 12-24-2010, 05:37 PM
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Elden DuRand Elden DuRand is offline
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Default Re: Building an engine cleaning hot tank, need advice...

Tene:

Sodium Hydroxide is the same stuff as caustic soda or lye. It works the same and requires the same cautions.

The good news is that it works great to dissolve paint, crud and rust. The bad news is that the "chemical police" have discovered it.

Some of the best old paint removers were basically a jelled lye solution.

Take care - Elden
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Old 12-24-2010, 06:28 PM
Tom Martin Tom Martin is offline
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Default Re: Building an engine cleaning hot tank, need advice...

I just bought a container of lye from the local TruValue hardware store yesterday with no questions and no problems. As far as haz mat stuff goes, the oil you buy at the grocery store is considered hazardous material when you drain it out of your car.
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Old 12-25-2010, 01:28 AM
Scotts439 Scotts439 is offline
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Default Re: Building an engine cleaning hot tank, need advice...

Thanks for all the info guys. Red devil (pure) lye was used for soap making. Now it is used for crystal meth production. Someone mentioned potassium hydroxide, which is also what is in drain openers. These are meant to be poured down the drain. As far as the EPA and legality, I wasnt planning on telling them....
I have a jet wash tank, but it only does so much with paint. The detergent is very mild alkaline, annd aluminum safe. I am just thinking out loud. Thanks again. -scott
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Old 12-25-2010, 10:17 PM
jwx3 jwx3 is offline
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Default Re: Building an engine cleaning hot tank, need advice...

Detergents will probably work well except for possibly foaming with your air agitation if you get lots of foam try a little stoddard solvent to reduce foaming.
I buy my solutions from zep products they have a cleaning solution for every need
Best of luck
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Old 12-27-2010, 10:16 AM
Scotts439 Scotts439 is offline
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Default Re: Building an engine cleaning hot tank, need advice...

Just found pure lye at Lowes. I bought a 2lb canister, not sure how much to add to say 20 gallons of water. I am going to experiment with small amounts, we'll see how it does on greasy rocker arms and valves etc.
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Old 01-24-2011, 06:38 PM
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John Hamilton John Hamilton is offline
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Default Re: Building an engine cleaning hot tank, need advice...

I think caustics disolve babbit bearings. You couldn't take a babbit engine to the shop and have it boiled out because of this.
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Old 01-24-2011, 09:25 PM
930dreamer 930dreamer is offline
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Default Re: Building an engine cleaning hot tank, need advice...

Hello, do you have any pictures?
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Old 04-04-2011, 01:20 AM
prybar prybar is offline
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Default Re: Building an engine cleaning hot tank, need advice...

Save your money the chem's are expensive. When i had it order is was about $350 for 55 Gal. When you buy they you will have to sign for it, which make you responsible for the disposal of the old, plus you are responsible for where it ends up for the rest of your life. I had a a Heated Magna with a lift table, I hauled it to the junk. The EPA will haunt you. If it is leagal in your state build a evaporation tank for chemical disposal.
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Old 04-04-2011, 10:32 AM
pegasuspinto pegasuspinto is offline
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Default Re: Building an engine cleaning hot tank, need advice...

You might try 'purple power', I've been pretty shocked by how well it works-slime just melts off. It's lye based as well but you can buy it at Lowe's, Napa, and a lot of other places.

Robert
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Old 04-04-2011, 04:08 PM
Grant Wallace Grant Wallace is offline
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Default Re: Building an engine cleaning hot tank, need advice...

I have for years just boiled parts in a vat of sears laundry detergent...and yes it will remove paint. Rinse with a hot pressure wash. I use the washing machine hook up in my garage. A hot pre-wash to cut most of the heavy crud will extend the life of the soap.
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Old 04-04-2011, 09:41 PM
Dan Baalman Dan Baalman is offline
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Default Re: Building an engine cleaning hot tank, need advice...

we used to use 5 pounds of lye to gallon of water in our hot tank. Would take anything off that wasnt iron. Worked great. Would boil engine for 10 to 12 hours . Got a lot of stuck pistons out right after taking them out of the tank while still hot and using the block and sledge method
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Old 04-08-2011, 07:21 AM
dieseladdicted dieseladdicted is online now
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Default Re: Building an engine cleaning hot tank, need advice...

You can purchase lye at your local craft and trinket type store as they use it for candle making. You can also purchase it where they sell soap making supplies. You can also purchase it on Ebay. For my homemade hot tank I use a bit of lye mixed with a jug of "purple clean" Butyl cleaner sold under many names and a couple jugs of soap from the dollar store. I am so glad that between the greenies and dope heads that we can no longer purchase virtualy nothing that cleans without jumping through hoops.

To the greenies credit thay have made proper disposal much easier than it used to be. I boil it down until it will fit in a 5 gallon pail and when they have a household hazardous disposal day I take it to them, shrug my shoulders and drive away happy knowing its going to be propery taken care of.
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Old 04-15-2011, 02:27 PM
Beanscoot Beanscoot is offline
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Default Re: Building an engine cleaning hot tank, need advice...

My local agricultural supply store sells 50 pound bags of sodium hydroxide and potassium hydroxide for fairly cheap. A friend and I bought one together years ago to have a supply of cheap drain cleaner.

The seller didn't ask us why we wanted it or to sign anything. But we are in Canada, perhaps in the USA it's more hassle to get dangerous chemicals.

Buying lye a pound at a time is going to be very expensive, and you will need quite a few pounds for an engine hot tank. If they are similarly priced, choose the potassium hydroxide as it's a bit stronger. But sodium hydroxide is plenty strong too.

Look up the MSDS for the commercial caustic hot tank powders to get an idea of what else to add. Typically there will be a bit of detergent besides the lye.
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