Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: Gastonia, NC - Born & raised in Connecticut - 31 years
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Simple,Cheap,Electrolysis Parts Cleaner
Thought some of you might benefit from this inexpensive home brewed parts cleaner for those crusty small parts and such. I used this exact setup when I rebuilt my brother's driveline, suspension & brakes.
1 - 5 gallon plastic bucket (could use other sizes/shapes too).
1 - 12volt car battery charger (4-12 amp).
1 - threaded rod (what I used) or steel rod.
1 - container of sodium carbonate powder, I used OXI CLEAN, 1.3 lb container
found in the clothes detergent isle at Walmart.
1 - wire clothes hanger or welding wire
Fill bucket with water about 70-80%
Add 1/3 cup Oxi Clean, or other brand, and mix
Hang your part from your wire hanger into the bucket -submerged
Opposite your part, put in your steel rod. Rod has to stick out above the
water. It cannot touch your part.
Attach the red/positive(+) clip of your battery charger to the top of the
Attach the black/negative(-) clip of your battery charger to the wire hanger
holding your part under water. Make sure the wire hanger is securely
holding onto your part for a good connection.
Turn on your charger and if you have done it right, you should see tiny
bubbles rising up to the surface. Your part is being cleaned of its rust &
Caution! The gas bubbles are hydrogen & oxygen and flammable/explosive in
an unvented area. NO SPARKS. NO SMOKING. NO WELDING nearby. I set my bucket outside.
Aluminum parts can be cleaned as well, BUT this metal is SOFT and left too long in solution will be DESTROYED. I only used mine for metal -so you need to check often if you attempt to clean anything with aluminum or other soft metals -like pot metal.
The rust will transfer to the metal rod. Eventually it will get so caked, I just put in a new one, but it takes a while. You can keep the steel part in for a long time as only the rust is affected. Real heavy crusty expanded type rust will come off, but I let it bubble for a good number of hours, which loosens it up, take it out of solution, knock off the heavy rust, put it back into solution to clean more. You will learn how long to keep in solution after doing a few pieces -and depending on how many amps your charger is putting out. On a larger piece, I do one side then flip over and do the other. You can clip the black/negative(-) right to the part if it sticks out the solution. Just DON'T let the (+) rod touch your (-) part -you'll damage your charger. They say you can use this for really big stuff too if your wife does not mind you using the pool and you have a good DC welder! Ya, just dunk the entire GTO shell in the pool for a few days, she will understand -and you will know how much she really loves you.
This is so simple & what a time saver. When you are done with your part, sand/wire brush, prime & paint. This system will preserve stamped part numbers or part logos -its not an acid, or grinding disc.
Hope this helps a few of you enthusiasts who do their own work. IF you experience anything different than what I did, please leave a comment -I had no problems ever and I did a lot of parts, but someone else may, so please share.