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Disolving old hard grease?

rob2

Active member
Joined
23 Aug 2005
Messages
4,091
Location
Hampshire UK
That takes me back to my teens when parents came home a day early from a trip to find bearings in the freezer and a crankcase in the oven... They got their revenge by putting a chrome exhaust pipe in my bed one cold night!

Dried out grease can be removed with a degreasant, but it takes time and ideally a little warmth for it to soak in - just like getting dried/burnt food off a pan by soaking. Paraffin would be my favourite for soaking, but it's cheaper to buy five litres of diesel. You can always filter it into the fuel tank when you've finished. Buy a large pan from a charity shop and an electric hotplate if you can, but only warm it up don't try to boil it!

Rob.
 

AntarcticPilot

Well-known member
Joined
4 May 2007
Messages
7,112
Location
Cambridge, UK
Good man!

Has anyone suggested white spirit? I think I recall using this when stripping my Mini, but it was 40 years ago.
I've used it - it worked, but no better than other solvents like meths, diesel and petrol. My experience is that the real problem isn't the grease you can see - it's the grease that is caught up in bearings and suchlike, in places where you can't get at it. As I mentioned, caustic soda in a recirculating system with a pressurized jet did a better job. I didn't do it - my bother used a degreasing set-up he has for working on car parts.

The real problem is that what you're removing isn't grease any more - it's whatever grease turns into after all the volatiles have evaporated, and no doubt some polymerization has taken place. To me it looks more like varnish, and it is certainly quite hard; it needs metal tools to scrape it off where you can get that kind of access.
 

Woodlouse

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Joined
7 Jan 2006
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8,295
Location
Behind your curtains.
You can get some pretty fantastic brake and carburettor cleaning sprays that cut through grease and oil with remarkable ease and are by far my favourite means of cleaning a winch if available.
 

lw395

Well-known member
Joined
16 May 2007
Messages
42,084
You can get some pretty fantastic brake and carburettor cleaning sprays that cut through grease and oil with remarkable ease and are by far my favourite means of cleaning a winch if available.
Yes they are good, dissolve most things and go where you point them.

If it's something I don't mind getting wet, I tend to use detergent type degreasers. The cheap one from Screwfix isn't bad.
Otherwise whatver solvent seems to work.
Some things, a good approach is just to wipe/scrape off as much crud as possible, then keep adding clean oil and wiping the mess off.
Aerosol grease sold for motorbike chains is a good quick fix for some things, it gets the worst of the crud out and leaves new grease behind. Not as good as a total clean, but keeps things working.

Other things just need to be dunked in red diesel for a week or so!
 

Spuddy

Active member
Joined
8 Jul 2003
Messages
1,947
Location
Kent
I've followed this thread with interest because of a recurring ear wax problem. Hot diesel in the earhole might be a bit much. Since it's animal based, praps the caustic would be the best solution. I could fix up a recirculating system - in one ear and out the other. This could well be a permanent solution and the wax should not reoccur. Thanks very much.
 

parsifal

New member
Joined
17 Jul 2009
Messages
19,518
It's very good but expensive and not that readily available. I clean components with Gunk, wash off the residue with water and then rinse in isopropyl alcohol to remove the water.

Would isopropanol be any good?
 
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