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Thread: Cleaning up engine cases

  1. #1

    Cleaning up engine cases

    Anyone has any easy way to clean up the engine cases . I have tried gas , degreasers, wire brush, simple green and scrub pad , still doesn't look very clean .
    I have thought about using some aluminum spray on cleaner /acid . I have used it on /2 cases and did a decent job short of some sort of air abrasive system that would require engine tear down. Is there a better idea

  2. #2
    Liaison 20774's Avatar
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    Not sure there's really any better way than elbow grease. Obviously, it's easier with the engine/transmission out of the frame. Be careful with the spray on products such as say Simple Green. They contain an acid which can turn the aluminum a dark gray if left on too long.

    I figure it's just going to get dirty again anyway. When I do clean my bike, I usually pre-treat with Gunk engine degreaser, then use a tooth brush where necessary. Good enough for me...again, it's just going to get dirty again. I prefer to ride...
    Kurt -- Forum Liaison ---> Resources and Links Thread <---
    '78 R100/7 & '69 R69S & '52 R25/2
    mine-ineye-deatheah-pielayah-jooa-kalayus. oolah-minane-hay-meeriah-kal-oyus-algay-a-thaykin', buddy!

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    I've used Simple Green on the last 4 bikes. It's not perfect, but I've never seen anyone come up to those bikes and get down to look closely at the engine or exhaust, Most people just compliment the bikes from about 20 feet away.

    One consideration... the better the cleaner, the more caustic the chemicals you'll be flushing into the rivers. Simple Green is at least bio-degradable.

    Chris
    Elnathan - 2014 BMW F800GT
    IBA# 49894 True Rounder = 0-20's - Rounder -- to -- 100's+ Red Hot Rounder
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    I have used the home made soda blaster to clean my cases, worked really good, wear a mask!

    http://www.aircooledtech.com/tools-o.../soda_blaster/
    1994 R1100RS--,1974 R90/6 built 9/73,--1964 Triumph T100--1986 Concours

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    One last thought...

    I was riding my bike today. Taking care of things my wife asked me to do for her after badly spraining her angle. The temperature was a nice mid-40, down to about 38F. No rain. Sweet. The bike is filthy. Absolutely filthy. In the past couple weeks, the temperature has been at or below freezing. Washing the bike was out of the question back then. Tommorrow, it rains again. What's the point in washing it, if the bike will be dirty the next time I ride it. And leaving it in the garage so it won't get water spots on it, is not an option.

    Chris
    Elnathan - 2014 BMW F800GT
    IBA# 49894 True Rounder = 0-20's - Rounder -- to -- 100's+ Red Hot Rounder
    John 14:6

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    Registered User ebeeby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jagarra View Post
    I have used the home made soda blaster to clean my cases, worked really good, wear a mask!

    http://www.aircooledtech.com/tools-o.../soda_blaster/
    Way cool. Way.
    1973 R75/5

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    Registered User Motodan's Avatar
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    I found a combination of WD-40, steel wool and elbow grease gave best results...spray then work it with steel wool. Might take more than one go round, but the results are worth it. Gives a newish stock finish that seems to last.
    MOA #46783
    2017 R1200RT

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    Watch This!!! junkjohn's Avatar
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    That setup is also good for sucking crud out of fuel tanks and other hard to get spots.
    John Simonds
    2008 R 1200 GSA
    1975 Norton Commando 850 Roadster Mk 3
    If it ain"t broke... fix it till it is.

  9. #9
    Registered User PAS's Avatar
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    Some people enjoy cleaning and riding their bikes. Myself being one. The 81 RT has over 171k and is pretty darn clean. Most likely has something to do with being a pilot and former aircraft owner years ago. It's all what you want to do.

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    Registered User jad01's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Motodan View Post
    I found a combination of WD-40, steel wool and elbow grease gave best results...spray then work it with steel wool. Might take more than one go round, but the results are worth it. Gives a newish stock finish that seems to last.
    I like the WD-40 for this also, although I prefer a green scotchbright-type pad to steel wool. The WD also helps prevent oxidation and keeps road goo from sticking to the cases, which makes it easier to clean the next time... I recall Tom Cutter also mentioning this at an MOA rally workshop a few years ago (maybe in MO?), which convinced me to give it a try.
    Jim
    '78 R80/7 and '84 R100RS (Blues Brothers), '86 K75C (Icy Hot)
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    '96 Giant Upland (big Kendas, baby!)

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by daboo View Post
    One last thought...

    I was riding my bike today. Taking care of things my wife asked me to do for her after badly spraining her angle.

    Chris
    Not many things are worse than a sprained angle.

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by 20774 View Post
    Not sure there's really any better way than elbow grease. Obviously, it's easier with the engine/transmission out of the frame. Be careful with the spray on products such as say Simple Green. They contain an acid which can turn the aluminum a dark gray if left on too long.

    I figure it's just going to get dirty again anyway. When I do clean my bike, I usually pre-treat with Gunk engine degreaser, then use a tooth brush where necessary. Good enough for me...again, it's just going to get dirty again. I prefer to ride...
    My experience is this: If you want to achieve the original look, then it will be extremely difficult as the original was not polished, but just clean looking. Most trying to clean now means polishing and that makes the aluminum more shiny than original. Still looks great, but not original.

    From my experience, the older aluminum seems to take on darkness like it has been stained, and that is very difficult to get out, if ever.

    Also, be careful to NOT use any sort of acid based cleaner like many of the cleaners for automotive use. Acid will eventually darken aluminum.

    I like to use gunk mixed half and half with kerosene, when engine is warm (but not hot) and let it soak, then spray off. Then use the Simple Green as Kurt suggested or some other cleaner. I also like to use a spray of either WD-40, or, and even better, LPS-1. Both enhance (and protect against corrosion) the appearance.

    Be sure to also clean the inside of removable cases (like the front case, and the cases around air filter) as they will build up corrosion like you would not believe. In my area of SC, there is a lot of moisture in the air (not as bad as the areas near any salt ocean though) and last winter, even though my bike was garaged and covered, the INSIDE of my front cover got terribly corroded! Be sure to disconnect the battery before taking that front cover off!
    "The difference between death and taxes is that death doesn't change every time congress meets." - Will Rogers

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by 20774 View Post
    I figure it's just going to get dirty again anyway. Good enough for me...again, it's just going to get dirty again. I prefer to ride...
    Your comment reminds me of back when I was just 17 and working at a Honda/BMW dealer (circa 1967). I was into the Hondas and hated BMWs. I kept mine spotlessly clean - even down to using Q-Tips in the detail. Our head mechanic had an R69S and it was usually filthy. I would make smart remarks to him about keeping it clean. His response was, "I would rather ride it than clean it." Now . . . I realize what he meant!!
    Last edited by SCBuckeye; 12-24-2016 at 09:50 PM.
    "The difference between death and taxes is that death doesn't change every time congress meets." - Will Rogers

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    Stay away from cleaners containing amonia. On one of my projects I soaked some valve covers in it, they turned a really nice black
    1994 R1100RS--,1974 R90/6 built 9/73,--1964 Triumph T100--1986 Concours

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    Quote Originally Posted by SCBuckeye View Post
    Your comment reminds me of back when I was just 17 and working at a Honda/BMW dealer (circa 1967). I was into the Hondas and hated BMWs. I kept mine spotlessly clean - even down to using Q-Tips in the detail. Our head mechanic had an R90S and it was usually filthy. I would make smart remarks to him about keeping it clean. His response was, "I would rather ride it than clean it." Now . . . I realize what he meant!!
    you can do both.
    Louie..._/)....

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