Parts Cleaning Made Simple

I did some research to decide what I should use to degrease the engine parts.  I really don’t want to use hydrocarbon based solvents and chemicals as they are environmentally a mess, and you also need to worry about your hands and skin.  Disposal is a pain in the butt also.

I came across a product mention on many forums called Simple Green.  Made in the US, it is not toxic, hazardous or caustic and is safe for your skin.  It is also water based.  I decided to give it a go based on the success I saw from others.  As you can see below, the parts are pretty cruddy, so this was going to be a real test.

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I mixed up a bath of approx 1 part Simple Green to 2 parts water.


I placed the parts into the bath and gave them a bit of a scrub to see what happened.  The Simple Green didn’t really dissolve the grease and oil, but it seemed to be removing it anyway.  Really strange stuff.

I left the parts in the bath overnight to see what happened.  I was amazed this morning to see that the majority of the grease and slime had disappeared!  Note the line on the legs of the oil pan shield where they were above the liquid in the tub.

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There is still some grease to remove, but the results are nothing less than amazing.  I added a little more simple green and water, and will leave them in another 12 hours.


I picked up the heads from Head2Head on Thursday afternoon.  I am happy to report that the prognosis is excellent. 🙂

There are no cracks in the heads and the valves are in good condition.  This means that I can re-use the valves rather than take my chances with new valves, often from China.  Peter bead blasted the heads and installed K Lines in the guides, so the look great.  I can now proceed do some light port work – mainly just tidying up the inlets and polishing the exhaust.  I haven’t done this before, but have been doing plenty of research…I think I should be fine.

It turns out that the combustion chambers are machined, so the finish on them is great.  It won’t take much to polish them a little more.  The valve seats don’t have much meat behind them, so there will be less grinding than I anticipated.  There has been some core shift in the heads which is not uncommon in heads of this era.

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One thing I forgot to do was remove the freeze plugs before dropping the heads off.  I removed them last night using a punch – the process is to punch them inwards so the outside pulls away from the step in the casting.  Once you have punched them in enough, they can be removed with a magnet and a screwdriver.  I found only a small amount of corrosion in the heads.  Good news all around!

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Final Parts Order

Now that I have all the info I need, I have a plan so I ordered the last lot of parts – a new water pump, moly piston rings and main bearings.  I also ordered a Flexi-Hone, also known as a dingleberry hone.  I am going to hone the bores to deglaze them and use the old pistons again.

I tried to source the Flexi-Hone locally from Ayross Trading & Distributing, however yet again the local suppliers rape their customers on price.  Basically I can buy the hone from the US on eBay and ship it for $110; or I can buy it locally for $192 plus postage.  That makes the decision super easy.  I can’t understand why the local suppliers are losing business 😉

I have seen a number of guys use Simple Green to clean their pistons, so this is where I will start.  The trick with alloy is to not leave it in the Simple Green too long or it will start to corrode it.  It seems Simple Green likes aluminium a little bit too much! 10 minutes maximum according to the Simple Green website.


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