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  #1  
Old 04-08-2021, 06:12 PM
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Cylinder head cleaning solution

Has anyone used a solution they were pleased with to soak cylinder heads to clean them up? I have a large container that the 2 heads will fit in submerged in whatever solution I choose. I am aware carbon may need more effort than just soaking but if it were softened that would help. the only areas that need attention are the combustion chambers and exhaust ports. Maybe it would be easier just to clean those areas?

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Old 04-08-2021, 09:36 PM
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Nothing really universal due to the different types of head materials, i.e. cast iron, aluminum, etc.

"Hot tanking" is probably the best way for cast iron. Not worth the trouble doing it on your own. You end up with a bunch of nasty goo which needs to be cleaned up and disposed.

For aluminum heads, pressure cleaning is the way to go. The caustic chemicals used in most tank solutions can attack the aluminum. Machine shops not only have a higher pressure cleaner than the average D.I.Y.'er but THEY get to clean up the mess left behind.

You can usually strike a deal with the machine shop to have the head Magna-fluxed, straightness checked and vacuum tested at the same time.
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Last edited by Mike D; 04-08-2021 at 09:42 PM. Reason: added some stuff
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Old 04-09-2021, 12:09 AM
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Yea they are aluminum. They are clean except for the combustion and exhaust. I may try oven cleaner then power washing. Closest machine shop several hrs away and I just want to clean them up enough to remove the valve guides.
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Old 04-09-2021, 08:57 AM
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Machine Shops in or near Bandon, Oregon OR
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Old 04-09-2021, 10:25 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tony H View Post
Yea they are aluminum. They are clean except for the combustion and exhaust. I may try oven cleaner then power washing. Closest machine shop several hrs away and I just want to clean them up enough to remove the valve guides.



If you are removing the valve guides then you need a machine shop to put the new ones in. Just take it to one and let them do the entire valve job.
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Old 04-09-2021, 02:11 PM
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Believe me there are no automotive machine shops capable of head and block work anywhere near here. My neighbor is the prez of the Mustang club and he knows everybody.
I realize the guides need to be sized to the valves. My shop in Portland (5hrs away) has diamond hone capability
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Last edited by Tony H; 04-09-2021 at 02:39 PM.
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Old 04-09-2021, 09:20 PM
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Many Machine shops use a steam Cleaner for Aluminul heads its fast and they look like New
you can use a wire brushes in a drill for the consumption chamber as well
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Old 04-09-2021, 11:01 PM
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If you have a large container and is willing to spend a few $$ then I would try simple green. It is not toxic, gentle to hands. Soak it for a few days and most grime and grease would come off. You can always try it first with a few greasy parts to test out.
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Old 04-10-2021, 01:32 AM
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The oven cleaner worked great-even on the exhaust ports. I have used it on other parts as well. It may darken some aluminum parts. It will mess up your skin big time so wear gloves. When I can make the trip I will have the machine shop size the guides, cut the seats, grind the valves and surface the heads.
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Past cars:
Porsche 914 2.0
'64 Jaguar XKE Roadster
'57 Oval Window VW
'71 Toyota Hilux Pickup Truck-Dad bought new
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  #10  
Old 04-11-2021, 10:41 AM
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Is this for your iron block big-bore/stroker project? What heads did you decide on?
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  #11  
Old 04-11-2021, 12:31 PM
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I have used Easy Off brand oven cleaner on several alloy parts and never had a problem. Use the BBQ Grill version for the best results.

I just spray it on, it foams up, I let is sit for an hour and then hit the car wash to pressure wash it off. It will not get everything but it will remove most of the grease and gunk.

Then some carb cleaner and a plastic brush to scrub off the rest.

The result will be a clean but normal looking part. Not shiney or dull. Just clean.
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  #12  
Old 04-12-2021, 12:48 AM
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I discovered oven cleaner many years ago. The dollar store stuff does not work as well as Easy Off. I will most likely have them cleaned by the machine shop anyway and they usually want to do that before they put them on their machines but I hate to work with grimy, oily parts and it makes it easier to locate defects. Tom-I don't want to do a lengthy discussion here but I am using the 5.6 heads on my build. I think I worked through all my concerns with them on the iron block.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Idle View Post
I have used Easy Off brand oven cleaner on several alloy parts and never had a problem. Use the BBQ Grill version for the best results.

I just spray it on, it foams up, I let is sit for an hour and then hit the car wash to pressure wash it off. It will not get everything but it will remove most of the grease and gunk.

Then some carb cleaner and a plastic brush to scrub off the rest.

The result will be a clean but normal looking part. Not shiney or dull. Just clean.

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W111 280SE 3.5 Coupe
Manual transmission

Past cars:
Porsche 914 2.0
'64 Jaguar XKE Roadster
'57 Oval Window VW
'71 Toyota Hilux Pickup Truck-Dad bought new
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