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post #1 of 12 Old 07-08-2017, 10:06 AM Thread Starter
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Media blast pistons?

Hi, I've picked up a set of stock 2.2 turbo pistons. They are incredibly dirty. Is it safe to blast them with any sort of media? I'd think walnut would be safe, is there a coating I do not want to remove? Out of curiosity, what are the consequences of removing the coating. Also, I've tried many chemical cleaners in the past, the ones I've tried did okay, but I want them spotless.
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post #2 of 12 Old 07-08-2017, 10:15 AM
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Re: Media blast pistons?

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Originally Posted by CatchaCuda View Post
Hi, I've picked up a set of stock 2.2 turbo pistons. They are incredibly dirty. Is it safe to blast them with any sort of media? I'd think walnut would be safe, is there a coating I do not want to remove? Out of curiosity, what are the consequences of removing the coating. Also, I've tried many chemical cleaners in the past, the ones I've tried did okay, but I want them spotless.
Easy off oven cleaner... Get the regular kind, not the foo-foo environmentally safe crap. Hose them down, and let them soak for about 20 minutes. Then scrub them with an old tooth brush. May take a couple of applications to get it all off, but it does work, and doesn't hurt the pistons.

I used it on the pistons in my 2.5 and they were almost like new when done.
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post #3 of 12 Old 07-08-2017, 10:30 AM
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Re: Media blast pistons?

Oven cleaner is a good choice, as also is WD40 believe it or not. You dont want to use any type of media to blast them clean. Any sort of blasting will reduce whatever is left of the knurling on the piston sides and that knurling provides not only clearance but also oil control. It's important that it be present.

I have not tried the oven cleaner but have seen it discussed several times. What I have used and it works out very well is WD40 and the scotchbrite green pads. You just spray on the WD40 and then scrub with the pads. The carbon doesn't fall off but the WD40 acts as both a lubricant and as degreaser and with just a little pit of effort the carbon will come right off. It's a good idea to rub the sides of the pistons in the same direction as the knurling (side to side) and not from top to bottom, it helps to preserve the knurling as well as clean the micro groves. To clean out the piston ring groves, I have used a old ring, broken in half, it fits the groove perfectly of course and the sharp edge of the ring gets down in the groove to remove the crud quite well. Getting the grooves clean was perhaps the hardest part. Once you clean them with the broken ring, its much easier and takes less time to shove the scotch pad in the groove and work it back and forth for the final clean finish.

One nice thing about the WD40 is it wont hurt your skin if you get it on your hands for long periods of time, the old school non-enviro heavy fume oven cleaner will pretty quickly do a number on your skin. Best to wear some good playtex or thick nitrile gloves in either case.
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post #4 of 12 Old 07-08-2017, 11:08 AM
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Re: Media blast pistons?

easy off oven cleaner - buy the yellow cans
the blue is the ev friendly stuff that won't do much of anything

also the yellow can stuff will remove paint from plastic without hurting the plastic (much)

knurling ?? I think you mean the machineing lines
knurling is something you do to an old loose sloppy pistion .. like for a model A engine that will never be run at high speed or under huge load - ie it's not a great way to correct piston fit unless there are no replacement pistons to be had and is always best if it can be avoided
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post #5 of 12 Old 07-08-2017, 11:42 AM
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Re: Media blast pistons?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ILIKESHELBYS View Post
One nice thing about the WD40 is it wont hurt your skin if you get it on your hands for long periods of time, the old school non-enviro heavy fume oven cleaner will pretty quickly do a number on your skin. Best to wear some good playtex or thick nitrile gloves in either case.
+1 on the nitrile gloves. I always wear them when cleaning engine parts. Any of the common degreasers will eat your skin, or at the very least remove all the natural oils and dry them out...

Although, I'm not too sure about the playtex gloves... may have to ask your wife about those. I know a lot of folks are allergic to latex gloves though...





Sorry Steve, just couldn't pass on that one....
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post #6 of 12 Old 07-08-2017, 12:57 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Media blast pistons?

Ah yes I've tried oven cleaner, wd40, pb blaster, brake fluid, purple power in the past. I was under the impression oven cleaner (& purple power) had lye and should not be left on aluminum. If it's been done successfully I'll try the oven cleaner thanks! I only have kotex gloves though. Thanks everybody
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post #7 of 12 Old 07-08-2017, 01:00 PM
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Re: Media blast pistons?

You don't want to blast the ring land area at all.

The piston crowns can be blasted.

Thanks
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post #8 of 12 Old 07-08-2017, 01:21 PM
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Re: Media blast pistons?

Quote:
Originally Posted by CatchaCuda View Post
Ah yes I've tried oven cleaner, wd40, pb blaster, brake fluid, purple power in the past. I was under the impression oven cleaner (& purple power) had lye and should not be left on aluminum. If it's been done successfully I'll try the oven cleaner thanks! I only have kotex gloves though. Thanks everybody
You do want to rinse them off thoroughly after you clean them, but I've not seen any ill effects leaving Easy-off on for at least 20 minutes at a time...

I believe the key is don't let it dry on the pistons. As long as it stays wet, you are OK.
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post #9 of 12 Old 07-08-2017, 01:23 PM
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Re: Media blast pistons?

Brake cleaner, a good stainless steel brush and some patience.
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post #10 of 12 Old 07-08-2017, 05:27 PM
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Re: Media blast pistons?

take them to a local machine shop.
they can put them in the hot tank for a few days. i doubt they would charge you more than 5-10$ to clean them for you.. a can of easy off on Amazon is 7.50$. and an hour of my time is worth more than 2.50$$..
more than worth it to have the shop clean them up.
hell my machine shop cleans stuff for free for me all the time. intakes and valve covers.. since I spend so much time with them.

I don't understand the infatuation of doing something the most ass backwards hard manual way that comes out worse.. than just doing what you are supposed to when you want Machine parts cleaned.














literally the only thing cleaning by hand will do is possibly damage your pistons and cost more and take more of your time. If you are going to spend an hour of your time working on a part. spend it filling rings or porting manifolds.. not scrubbing pistons with cleaners
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post #11 of 12 Old 07-09-2017, 07:10 AM
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Re: Media blast pistons?

Quote:
Originally Posted by masterjr3333 View Post
take them to a local machine shop.
they can put them in the hot tank for a few days. i doubt they would charge you more than 5-10$ to clean them for you.. a can of easy off on Amazon is 7.50$. and an hour of my time is worth more than 2.50$$..
more than worth it to have the shop clean them up.
hell my machine shop cleans stuff for free for me all the time. intakes and valve covers.. since I spend so much time with them.

I don't understand the infatuation of doing something the most ass backwards hard manual way that comes out worse.. than just doing what you are supposed to when you want Machine parts cleaned.




literally the only thing cleaning by hand will do is possibly damage your pistons and cost more and take more of your time. If you are going to spend an hour of your time working on a part. spend it filling rings or porting manifolds.. not scrubbing pistons with cleaners
While you make a valid point, and bring up a good alternative to what some of us have suggested, I think you miss the point....

Some of us(myself included), enjoy doing the work ourselves. There is an old say: trust, but verify. I have personally hand assembled every engine I have built. I know every tolerance, every part, and felt/inspected/measured everything that went into each of my engines. If anything goes wrong, I know who to blame. I wanted to clean my own pistons, so I could thoroughly inpect them myself. Because regardless of what machine shop you use, it's still not their motor. Might be their reputation on the line, but it's still not their motor.

Also, maybe there isn't a good local machine shop to do the cleaning... I have a place I trust to do the machining, and I'm sure they would clean parts for me, but it's half an hour from where I work, and it's the opposite way from how I go home. I have an hour drive each way to work as it is, I'm not going to add another hour so somebody else can clean my parts... I know you can argue that I'd waste that hour cleaning anyway, and so be it. But when I cleaned my pistons, I soaked them down with Easy off, then went and worked on something else for 20 minutes... So I was essentially multi-tasking(can't believe I just used that). It wasn't wasted time in my book...

But too each his own. The OP asked for cleaning solutions, and he has been given a variety...
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post #12 of 12 Old 07-11-2017, 10:08 PM
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Re: Media blast pistons?

Berryman carburetor cleaner works great on carbon and baked on oil. Completely safe on ferrous and non-ferrous metals. Lots of auto part stores sell this in a 3-4 quart can. It is very strong stuff. Don't confuse this with aerosol carb cleaner. If you buy some, don't use it indoors, and use some gloves for hand protection. Rinses off with soap & water and part comes out very clean.
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