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  • Dumb question about kerosene and alternatives...

    Hey guys, I've looked for specifics about this, but came up with nothing. So my dumb question pertains to cleaning an old oil bath air cleaner. The manual says to clean it with kerosene, but having never used the stuff -- ever, what does that mean? Do I just get a gallon or so in a tub and submerge the oil bath unit in there and let it soak? If so, for how long? What do I do with the kerosene afterwards? And is this still the best way to clean the air cleaner with all the new products we have these days. I read about some product called "purple power" used for cleaning auto parts. I have used Simple Green in the past -- Is that or some other product superior or easier to use than kerosene. Thanks for any info, I just have never done this before...
    sigpic

    1950 Commander Starlight Coupe
    Regal Deluxe Trim
    Automatic transmission
    46k original miles, 4th Owner

  • #2
    In the past, kerosene or gasoline was used to dissolve the gums left behind by oils and such. It worked well as a solvent, but we have better stuff now. Simple Green is great; Costco has begun stocking a cleaner called Oil Eater that works pretty well. Ignore the manual in this instance - go with the modern alternative
    Clark in San Diego
    '63 Standard (F2) "Barney"
    http://studeblogger.blogspot.com

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    • #3
      Originally posted by deco_droid View Post
      Hey guys, I've looked for specifics about this, but came up with nothing. So my dumb question pertains to cleaning an old oil bath air cleaner. The manual says to clean it with kerosene, but having never used the stuff -- ever, what does that mean? Do I just get a gallon or so in a tub and submerge the oil bath unit in there and let it soak? If so, for how long? What do I do with the kerosene afterwards? And is this still the best way to clean the air cleaner with all the new products we have these days. I read about some product called "purple power" used for cleaning auto parts. I have used Simple Green in the past -- Is that or some other product superior or easier to use than kerosene. Thanks for any info, I just have never done this before...
      at the time your car was made Kerosene was CHEAP!! Probably around $.10 per gallon. you just pour about a gallon into a bucket and slosh it around. Let it drain, refil the pan with fresh oil and you're good to go. Before the days of detergent oil, some folks would pour the kerosene into the crankcase after draining the oil, spin the engine over several times to wash the sludge out. Dump the dirty Kerosene and refill with fresh oil.

      Disposing of used Kerosene nowadays might be a problem. As for myself, I would put it in my parts washer.

      If you can't find Kerosene readily, Mineral Spirits or Paint thinner (not reducer) will do just as well.
      Neil Thornton

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      • #4
        Another good alternative would be mineral spirits. It's readily available in any store's paint department, in quantities from a pint to a gallon. Another benefit is it cleans many surfaces without staining or leaving a fowl odor. Hope this helps.(sorry for the duplication Neil)

        Dan Miller
        Auburn, GA

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        • #5
          Of course, if you have access to a parts washer...
          "All attempts to 'rise above the issue' are simply an excuse to avoid it profitably." --Dick Gregory

          Brad Johnson, SDC since 1975, ASC since 1990
          Pine Grove Mills, Pa.
          sigpic'33 Rockne 10, '51 Commander Starlight, '53 Commander Starlight "Désirée"

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          • #6
            Thanks for the info -- Well if Simple Green is fine, then I will dunk the unit in that in a bucket and let it sit I guess. How long should I leave it, and how long does it take for the unit to dry out, before I can reinstall it? Thanks.
            sigpic

            1950 Commander Starlight Coupe
            Regal Deluxe Trim
            Automatic transmission
            46k original miles, 4th Owner

            Comment


            • #7
              I don't know if I would submerge it. You may pull it out and find all the paint stripped off.

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              • #8
                About 5-6 years ago I started using Paint Thinner to clean my auto parts. At $2.19 a gallon it was significantly cheaper than a $2.99, 12 oz. can of spray cleaner. I'd either us it in a bucket or a hand pump sprayer. Within a year or two the price went up to $7.99. Just the other day I went looking to price the stuff and neither WalMart nor Home Depot carried "paint thinner." Only mineral spirits were available at $14.99 a gallon!!!

                How does a $2.19 product go to $14.99? It's like gas going from $4.00 a gallon to $28 a gallon!

                Tom
                Last edited by wittsend; 10-16-2012, 01:56 PM.
                '64 Lark Type, powered by '85 Corvette L-98 (carburetor), 700R4, - CASO to the Max.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by mbstude View Post
                  I don't know if I would submerge it. You may pull it out and find all the paint stripped off.
                  Okay, so someone earlier said slosh it around in a bucket full and then let it drain. Is that the consensus? How long would you expect to have to let it sit before putting back on the car? Thanks...
                  Last edited by deco_droid; 10-16-2012, 04:56 PM.
                  sigpic

                  1950 Commander Starlight Coupe
                  Regal Deluxe Trim
                  Automatic transmission
                  46k original miles, 4th Owner

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    If you blow it dry with compressed Air after draining an hour or less, it could be Re-Oiled and Installed immediately.
                    StudeRich
                    Second Generation Stude Driver,
                    Proud '54 Starliner Owner



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                    • #11
                      Not sure why you would need to soak it for any length of time?

                      If you are cleaning out the body, just empty it, and wipe/scrub/scrape out any gunk/sludge, followed by a wipe with mild solvent.
                      If the gunk is really stuck, then maybe a spray of engine degreaser or such, just to soften the gunk/sludge.

                      If you want to clean out the element, then dunk and slosh that in a mild solvent, then drain and blow out with compressed air and let it dry. All you are trying to do is dislodge any dust and particles that are stuck in the element.
                      Then lightly oil the element, fill the bowl to the line, and reinstall the element/lid.

                      Remember how these work, dirty air is sucked down towards the surface of the oil in the bowl, and then sharply upward into the throat. Because the solid particles can't make the sharp turn and are trapped in the oil and accumulate there.

                      And yes to what Rich said whilst I was typing!

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                      • #12
                        Okay, I think I got it now, guys. I thought there was a lot of gunk in the element that needed to be cleaned out thoroughly -- that makes sense, skyway -- thanks so much!
                        Last edited by deco_droid; 10-16-2012, 05:39 PM.
                        sigpic

                        1950 Commander Starlight Coupe
                        Regal Deluxe Trim
                        Automatic transmission
                        46k original miles, 4th Owner

                        Comment

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