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Antique Engine Archives All archived posts from 1999 to 2004 when SmokStak was on EnginAds. This is a read-only board.

Antique Engine Archives

Hot Tank Solution

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Old 07-21-2000, 12:48:58 AM
Bill Garman
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Default Hot Tank Solution

Can anyone tell me what is used for "Hot Tank" solution at engine machine shops? What precautions must be observed if used in a home shop? I believe it must be caustic (the opposit of acid). What must be done after hot tanking a part before painting? In my area they want at least $40.oo to hot tank an engine block, and they dont cut you any slack if it's a small hit-n-miss, also they will not be responsible if parts are lost.

PERCAUTION WITH ACID!! I used muradic acid solution to clean lime from water ports in the head of an Alpha DeLaval. It worked great on the lime deposits, but I left it in too long. The iron seemed to be O.K. where there was paint or grease, but on the important areas, where gaskets had been, the iron was spongy and soft for about .020" I saved the head because I had to flycut in valve seats, and replace valve guides anyway, but I learned a lesson the hard way.
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Old 07-21-2000, 08:47:06 AM
Ted Brookover Ted Brookover is offline
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Default Re: Hot Tank Solution

Hi Bill, the product is called Caustic Soda, and is also used in Radiator shops. When I owned a Radiator shop we purchased the soda from a local Chemical Dealer or the Radiator supply house, You might be able to get a Radiator shop to sell you a pound or two, the afore mentioned suppliers only sold LARGE quuantities.

I keep a 55 Gal Drum with a double gas burner under it, works great, overnight. I then wash off the caustic with a power washer and then sand blast.
Old 07-21-2000, 09:01:43 AM
Russell Gilbert
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Default Re: Hot Tank Solution

Contact a local restaurant or caffe, they would most likely be using commercail costic base cleaners to clean down kitchens. They would be able to tell you of the closest wholesale outlet. There are different grades available for different strength need to get the job done. Just make sure you wash it all clean after you have finished and blow it dry with an air compressor otherwize your parts will soon rust.

Most of your modern domestic oven cleaners are costic too!! heat up your item to be cleaned and spray it on.
Old 07-21-2000, 02:44:11 PM
John Herald
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Default Re: Hot Tank Solution

Hi -I make my own Hot Tank stuff by putting 4 cans of "REDDEVIL" lye and 2 cups if Trisodium Phoshate into 50gal. then heat till boil - works really good and rinses off with plane water!--hope this helps you. JOHN
Old 07-21-2000, 06:06:30 PM
ted utess
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Default Re: Hot Tank Solution

Nicest way I have used to clean an engineis this...Buy a box of Arm & Hammer WASHING SODA. 1 cup to 2 Gal. water dissolved in PLASTIC container big enough to submerge items to be cleaned. Wire items together, connecting them to the NEGATIVE side of a 6 amp. battery charger. Place steel rods around perimeter of soluion tank, tie them together electrically and connect to POSITIVE side of charger. Make sure rods do not touch items to be cleaned. This is not fast, but it is safe, you can put hands into solution, clean Pos. rods as neded. This will take rust, grease and paint off and leave metal nearly non-rusting. Solution can be dumped on lawn and no harm done. I have used this several times.---Ted
Old 07-21-2000, 09:27:50 PM
Dan Bogart
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Default Re: Hot Tank Solution

Don't add caustic to hot water as it will erupt back at you.Don't get in eyes or skin, rinse with lots and lots of water if you do!Caustic will EAT aluminum and sometimes makes babbit bearings look a little bad. Zep also sells a good product but it comes in a large amount and is expensive.
Old 07-21-2000, 09:33:10 PM
Marv. Weber
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Default Re: Hot Tank Solution

Bill: The contents of the hot tank at the auto machine shop where I worked were water and caustic soda(sodium hydroxide lye, flake drano) We mixed a 50 lb keg of caustic soda with 100 gal of water. It worked best when it was boiling, removed grease and paint and would losten up dirt in the water jackets and leave a clean iron surface. It wouldn't remove rust. It would desolve aluminum and attack cam bearings and then make a deposit of cam bearing material on everything in the tank.

From a safety standpoint,sodium hydroxide will desolve organic matter which is us humans, so goggles, gloves and other protection is a wise move. Marv. Weber
Old 07-21-2000, 10:48:12 PM
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Default Re: Hot Tank Solution

You should be aware that our wonderful EPA classifies caustic soda as hazardous waste, & it's almost impossible to get rid of. My old machine shop buddy said they told him he was responsible for it forever, even after it's removed from his tank., & if you dump it in the sewer system they'll trace it back to you, & hang it in your a** big time. This is why you see many shops doing away w/ hot tanks & going to pressure washing or spray booths.
Old 07-22-2000, 04:07:02 AM
Russ Hughes
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Default Re: Hot Tank Solution

I would really say "Amen" to the use of safety face shields and/or side shield goggles, an appropriate protective apron and gloves to keep this stuff out of your eyes and off your skin. Flushing the eyes or skin with lots of water for 20 minutes is the antedote for this stuff if you get it on your skin or in your eyes. Then you should go directly to the hospital and have yourself checked out by a physician.

Yes, I know, some people have worked with this stuff for years and they ain't had no problems using it yet, and I might add "so far".

Caustic Soda is toxic and inhalation, ingestion or skin contact may cause severe injury or death. The effects of contact or inhalation may be delayed.

This information was taken from the 2000 Emergency Response Guidebook, published by the Department of Transportation (DOT) which is a guide book for people having to deal with stuff like this in an emergency or accident.

Yes, a mixture of caustic soda and water when heated it works good when removing stuff from old engine parts, but please be careful when using this stuff as it is not a plaything. There are other less hazardous substances on the market for this purpose. If you have kids or pets around your shop, then use something else instead.
Old 07-22-2000, 11:17:50 AM
Ron Oberloh
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Default Re: Hot Tank Solution

Here is my method of cleaning and derusting.

For rust I have a very large plastic trash can that I fill with diluded muratic acid. I usually put about 1 gallon of acid to 5 gallons of water. I will place all medium size parts in this container and check them every so often over about a 24 hour period until the parts are rust free. One must be a little careful but it sure does do the job. Cast iron is another matter. I will sometime put it into the acid bath but for a very short period of time. Cast iron will totally dissolve if left in to long. I will usually first do a job with the spray engine cleaner bought at the auto stores and a water hose. This will usually get the majority of the oil removed. After this treatment I then usually take a torch to the cast iron parts and torch away the remaining hard oil and some paint. This is followed by a wire brushing, primer and paint. Hot tanks are nice but one can do an almost equal job without one.

Nuts, bolts and other very small parts I usually put into a small plastic or glass container and pour muratic acid into it full strength. Within minutes they are totally clean and will then need to be dried off. Before I put primer on them I usuall wire brush them. One must make sure the all the parts are totally dried before putting any primer or finish on them in order to let all the muratic acid evaporate.

I am always looking for other ways but seem to go back to the above.

Old 07-23-2000, 04:02:50 AM
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Default Re: Hot Tank Solution

G'day,I only use boiling caustic as a last resort,I once had a stover O/C engine that I even tried chisseling the hard grease off (no joke).I have a 44 gallon drum cut in half put the parts in it add the water then mix the caustic in a small container and add to the bath.I then light a fire under the drum bring to the boil and let it cool,remove the bits,rinse them thoughly,if its an intricate casting with lots of nooks and crannies dip in a bath of citric acid to neutralize the caustic and rinse again.REMEMBER SAFTEY FIRST,wear gloves (industrial type) and saftey glasses,I normally do this behind the fence to keep the kids away,OUTSIDE in the open air.Happy cranking regards Phillip
Old 07-23-2000, 10:24:34 AM
robert hensarling
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Default Re: Hot Tank Solution

Here's another solution to the solution. I use Castrol Super Cleaner. It's much better than gunk, and cuts the grease better than anything else I've tried. It's fast, and comes in a self-pump spray bottle, and you can buy the stuff in gallon containers. I got mine from Pep boys, an auto parts outfit here in Texas. This stuff is strong, and will dry out your hands, so use all the precautions in the above threads. Rinse off with water after the grease etc has started to run. May have to use it a couple of times, but it's sure worth a try.
Old 07-23-2000, 02:23:20 PM
Ron Oberloh
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Default Re: Hot Tank Solution

I missed that one will give it a try.

Thanks Ron
Old 07-24-2000, 06:31:47 PM
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Default Re: Hot Tank Solution

Be sure you don't use this stuff on a paint job you want to keep. I does a fine job as a degreaser but it won't remove the paint or rust. However it will discolor and fade your paint.

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