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Cleaning Housings, Irons and Rotors

Old 07-05-12, 11:21 AM
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Cleaning Housings, Irons and Rotors

I'm rebuilding the 10th anny with the help of Hiroichi (Derrick). I had a failed coolant seal on the center iron. I got a low mileage iron from the guys RX7.com. That part was clean enough to eat off of. Now I want to clean up the rest.

I have a parts washer for the small parts stuff. What solvents do I need to use? Simple green? Purple Power?

What about the irons, housings, the front cover and oil pan and rotors? Can I soak these parts in degreaser? Solvent? What should I avoid to prevent damage?

I have heard of 'tanking' the parts.

Advice is welcome.

Jack
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Old 07-05-12, 11:35 AM
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solvent! purple power works pretty well too!
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Old 07-05-12, 08:11 PM
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Be careful with that stuff and aluminum. It'll give you a nice crusty "anodizing" if you leave it in the for very long.
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Old 07-10-12, 01:32 AM
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I used acetone on mine. Not cheap but strong chemical smell.
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Old 07-10-12, 03:44 AM
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Originally Posted by vrracing View Post
Be careful with that stuff and aluminum. It'll give you a nice crusty "anodizing" if you leave it in the for very long.
if ur leaving it on long enough to effect aluminum, ur doing it wrong
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Old 07-10-12, 06:09 AM
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I use Simple green purple(Heavy Duty kind) and tub of HOT water. works fairly well

friends use the Heavy Duty Degreaser from HF, they said it works like magic. you can try that as well.
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Old 07-10-12, 10:41 PM
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What I do,

On irons I like Purple Power and a soft brass bristle brush. The only tough part is using a small hardened steel flathead screw driver to clean the coolant o-ring grooves.

Never had to use more than WD40 and a rag on rotor housings chrome, but PP again with a plastic brush for the outside and exhaust ports. 1500 grit on flat surface for the sides if it needs it.

PP and plastic brush for rotors. An old sideseal for the sideseal slots, gentle use of a dental pick if the corner seal bores and oil control ring slots are nasty in the corners. If you need to soak rotors because lots of carbon, be sure to do it in something safe for the bearings. If apex seal slots come out tight on tolerance go gentle at first with something to remove any carbon before going at it with fine (1500 to 600) grit sandpaper and a flat backing (U use a file).

For E-shaft, take out the squirters with impact screwdriver and use alernate PP and high pressure water.

Stat gears/bearings- just WD40 and plastic bristle brush.

WD40 everything while drying and store in paper bags as moisture will condense on plastic and rust your clean parts.
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Old 07-12-12, 10:35 AM
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Well, as opposed to typing it I'll just post these two videos:



The little wire wheels on the Dremel turn hours of groove scraping into about 5 minutes. Just make sure to buy 3 of them, because they don't last long. Still totally worth it. $15 worth of Dremel brushes save an hour or more of scraping.

If the sides of the housings are really bad, then fine grit sand paper (400 - 600) on a flat sanding block with parts cleaner used as lubricant does the job. Personally though I love those Scotch Brite pads on the drill...

Carb cleaner makes quick work of the carbon on the rotors. A razor blade will scrape it off the faces very quickly. Then a good hand scrub with a Scotch Brite soaked in carb cleaner.
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Old 07-13-12, 01:20 PM
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Aaron I gotta say I am a huge fan of your videos. I am always cracking up and that makes them fun and easy to watch.

"Nobody wants to watch me clean dowel pins" lol
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Old 07-13-12, 01:26 PM
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Parts cleaner to degrease them(what ever solvent works best for you) then they get blasted in our soda blasting cabinet. Everything looks brand new when I'm done cleaning up a motor.
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Old 09-04-12, 09:02 AM
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just try gas low octane way cheaper than solvents
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Old 12-26-14, 08:32 PM
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Well this isn't too old of a thread so I shouldn't catch much hell by reviving it plus two on being a big fan of Aaron Cakes videos, they are the best ones out there, THANK YOU for being so helpful to everyone, your work and showcasing and explanations are excellent for reference and learn to do ers, I also have the Bruce Turrentine Rotary rebuild video and I like your info and methods a little better, altho his DVD is very informative as well, I prefer the Royal Purple Max Tuff assembly lube vs the thick assembly lube, and how you line up the first rotor at 6 o clock in the assembly.. I just recently ported and polished my first Rotary Engine, 94 13b-REW and am getting ready to put it all back together one of these days, I have an 89 Mitsubishi Starion with an Rx8 6 speed,LSD and many other parts and the REW engine going in now substituting the Renesis engine I previously had in there, my sig link is to my build, I have many pics, anyways, I specifically have one question after a paragraph of appreciation, on the engine cleaning continued video, where you clean the irons with the scotch brite pads, do you clean the ENTIRE FACE of the iron with them ? Is it safe to do so ? As the video only shows you cleaning the outer parts of the face where the coolant seals sit on and not the middle.. I used the pads on the rotor housing sides and the iron's sides where the o rings sit in and outer parts and the legs but did not touch the faces of the irons, and since my housings, rotors and irons have been sitting in plastic bags for months soaked in sprayed on WD-40 in hot and humid FL weather, the irons have developed a slight bit of rust that did not come off with rubbing with towels and WD-40, I have thoroughly cleaned ALL of the engine parts in a plastic home depot parts washer tub and kerosene and many brushes, pads, etc, a few months ago the cleaning process has already been done but assembly postponed.. I need to know if it is safe to hit the entire face of the irons with purple colored scotch brite pads to get rid of the slight rust that has developed since..
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Old 12-26-14, 11:12 PM
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just tore down 13 engines, got ALOT of parts to clean, picked up a parts washer, tring the harbor freight degreaser, picked up a few wire wheels , and some non metallic abrasive wheel(one I used to strip rims of paint before).

probably going to try getting some of those skotch bright pads arron was talking about.
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Old 12-27-14, 09:49 AM
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I take the irons to the local automotive machine shop and have them hot tanked. Pretty much any good degreaser will work on the housings. I hit them with the power washer first to get most of the crud off.
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Old 12-27-14, 11:09 AM
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Originally Posted by KompressorLOgic View Post
just tore down 13 engines, got ALOT of parts to clean, picked up a parts washer, tring the harbor freight degreaser, picked up a few wire wheels , and some non metallic abrasive wheel(one I used to strip rims of paint before).

probably going to try getting some of those skotch bright pads arron was talking about.
If you have 13 engines worth of stuff to clean (yikes!) then I'd suggest a slightly different approach.

From Home Depot or wherever buy the big bucket of Super Clean or industrial Zepp Purple. Or rather, two of them.

Use one for rotors. Just stack all the rotors in the stuff full strength (or as many as you can fit in the bucket). Cut the overflow with some water and toss in all the small stuff (tension bolts, dowel pins, oil pickups, etc.). Let the rotors soak overnight then put in the next batch of rotors. You can then finish scrubbing the rotors by hand as necessary and use carb cleaner to remove stubborn carbon. Scrape grooves before putting in Zepp.

For the housings/irons, get a Tupperware tray of about the correct size and fill with Zepp. Leave the irons overnight but the housings can only stay in a few hours (aluminium).

That way you can let the chemicals do the work instead of your effort.

Clean eccentric and front stack stuff in parts cleaner (I hate getting water on those...they want to flash rust).
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Old 12-27-14, 11:12 AM
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Originally Posted by VICEdOUT View Post
I specifically have one question after a paragraph of appreciation, on the engine cleaning continued video, where you clean the irons with the scotch brite pads, do you clean the ENTIRE FACE of the iron with them ? Is it safe to do so ? As the video only shows you cleaning the outer parts of the face where the coolant seals sit on and not the middle.
You can clean the whole face of the iron with the pads. Typically that's what I do. In fact I just spent a few days cleaning parts for a build and I went over the entire iron face with the pads because the staining from sitting bothered me. The irons are nitrided and very hard so the surface scratches you put into them with the pads are jus cosmetic. Just keep them lubricated to flush way any junk.
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Old 12-27-14, 02:33 PM
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Originally Posted by KompressorLOgic View Post
picked up a parts washer, tring the harbor freight degreaser,
I used one of these and it was helpful. I used simple green as the de-greaser solution.
6-1/2 Gallon Parts Washer



Car is running great, BTW, I have about 300 miles on the engine.

Thanks for the help!

-J
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Old 12-29-14, 03:18 PM
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I just got this parts washer yesterday for $80 using the 20% off coupon. Now I just need to find a brush to attach to it like Aaron Cake has on his. Cant find anything locally. I also picked up 2.5 gallons of Super Clean from WalMart for $22.

20 Gallon Parts Washer with Pump

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Old 12-29-14, 05:18 PM
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You don't need the the brush that attaches, you just need a brush.
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Old 12-29-14, 10:08 PM
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That 20 gal is the min. size I'd use for housings and irons. Gives u a lil extra room so things aren't tight. That's the size i used helping my buddy with cleaning.
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Old 12-30-14, 09:32 AM
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I bought my brush from the same place I purchases the parts washer, Princess Auto. Which leads me to believe that Harbor Freight will have something similar. I just got some clear tubing (which has turned rather stiff due to the chemicals) and clamped it to the nozzle on the parts washer.
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Old 12-30-14, 11:11 AM
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Originally Posted by TonyD89 View Post
You don't need the the brush that attaches, you just need a brush.
I know you dont NEED it, I WANT it. It keeps the cleaner going where you are brushing and I'm sure will make cleaning even easier.


Originally Posted by Aaron Cake View Post
I bought my brush from the same place I purchases the parts washer, Princess Auto. Which leads me to believe that Harbor Freight will have something similar. I just got some clear tubing (which has turned rather stiff due to the chemicals) and clamped it to the nozzle on the parts washer.
Harbor Freight doesnt have any flow through type brushes, except for the one to wash your car. I've tried everyone local and can't seem to find one anywhere.


On a brighter note, I did manage to completely strip down 1 rotor last night and organized all the seals and springs into an envelope system I started. Now the other rotor.....sheesh.....all the seals are pressed all the way in and stuck on both sides of the rotor. I'm guessing I'm gonna need to soak that whole rotor in some Super Clean overnight and hope that it loosens up the seals? Any other ideas?
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Old 12-30-14, 01:58 PM
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Originally Posted by xtremeskier97 View Post
I know you dont NEED it, I WANT it. It keeps the cleaner going where you are brushing and I'm sure will make cleaning even easier.




Harbor Freight doesnt have any flow through type brushes, except for the one to wash your car. I've tried everyone local and can't seem to find one anywhere.


On a brighter note, I did manage to completely strip down 1 rotor last night and organized all the seals and springs into an envelope system I started. Now the other rotor.....sheesh.....all the seals are pressed all the way in and stuck on both sides of the rotor. I'm guessing I'm gonna need to soak that whole rotor in some Super Clean overnight and hope that it loosens up the seals? Any other ideas?

Amazon.com: Parts Wash Washer Brush Research PWA Hand Brush w/ Flow Thru Tube: Automotive Amazon.com: Parts Wash Washer Brush Research PWA Hand Brush w/ Flow Thru Tube: Automotive


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Old 12-30-14, 02:40 PM
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I'm gonna have to get that if I cant find something cheaper locally. I cant believe no one has these things. I've tried harbor freight, tractor supply, home depot, lowes, walmart, advanced auto, autozone....no one has them!
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Old 12-30-14, 04:43 PM
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Originally Posted by xtremeskier97 View Post
I'm gonna have to get that if I cant find something cheaper locally. I cant believe no one has these things. I've tried harbor freight, tractor supply, home depot, lowes, walmart, advanced auto, autozone....no one has them!
Try Grainger if you want to pick it up in person. You don't want it to be any cheaper or it might melt depending on the solvent used.
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