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Old 01-16-2011, 09:27 AM   #1
one442

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Default Best way to clean an aluminum intake manifold...

Yes its been asked before, yes I researched the archives and yes I picked up what I believe is helpful info.

Would just like a little confirmation if possible because the majority of the answers are wide ranging.

What I think suits my needs the most is going with a caustic aluminum wheel cleaner specifically for non-coated rims.

But is this strong enough ? is it too strong ? its for a Olds factory A5 intake that just seems to have the usual grit and grim accumulated over time/caked on. It is off of the engine. Bead-blasting and sandblasting are a no go. Just a quick cleaner-upper is all that is really wanted, no show car stuff.

Main thing is that whatever is used has no long term negative effects.
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1987 442 STOCK 307 - 15.179 @ 88.58 mph


7A head VIN 9 KZF 200-4R with a 8.5 3.73 air delete. Open/no air filter. 2 1/4" true dual Flowmasters with crossover. Alloy, mags, drums, and rad, 3560 race weight. Timing 22*, 23.8 inch diameter rear tires (4.07). Hypertech S R Chip. Mobile 1


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Old 01-16-2011, 09:29 AM   #2
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Default Re: Best way to clean an aluminum intake manifold...

I'd clean it with mag wheel cleaner, then prep and paint it. Bare aluminum is a nightmare to maintain. We typically high temp powder coat them silver if possible and you want that aluminum look.
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Old 01-16-2011, 09:39 AM   #3
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Default Re: Best way to clean an aluminum intake manifold...

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Originally Posted by one442 View Post
It is off of the engine. Bead-blasting and sandblasting are a no go. Just a quick cleaner-upper is all that is really wanted, no show car stuff.
Why is sandblasting out of the question? IMO the best way to do it.
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Old 01-16-2011, 09:55 AM   #4
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Default Re: Best way to clean an aluminum intake manifold...

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Why is sandblasting out of the question? IMO the best way to do it.
I agree, but its quite possibly a cost issue. I've used oven cleaner in the past when i wasn't worried about aesthetics.

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Old 01-16-2011, 12:33 PM   #5
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Default Re: Best way to clean an aluminum intake manifold...

Never discount some engine cleaner and the quarter car wash.
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Old 01-16-2011, 12:38 PM   #6
one442

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Default Re: Best way to clean an aluminum intake manifold...

Thanks for the input gents.

I just figure the blasting part is not as easy as using some spray on cleaner in your back yard and throwing it on.

and to me its definitely got to be cost effective.

Anyway just to know, what does it cost to get something properly blasted ? and I am assuming clear-coated ?
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1987 442 STOCK 307 - 15.179 @ 88.58 mph


7A head VIN 9 KZF 200-4R with a 8.5 3.73 air delete. Open/no air filter. 2 1/4" true dual Flowmasters with crossover. Alloy, mags, drums, and rad, 3560 race weight. Timing 22*, 23.8 inch diameter rear tires (4.07). Hypertech S R Chip. Mobile 1


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Old 01-16-2011, 12:59 PM   #7
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Default Re: Best way to clean an aluminum intake manifold...

Glass beading or sand blasting will make the parts look new again.The only concern I have with blasting is that I always worry about geting all the blast medium out of the part that has been blasted. Even if the part has been taped up.I like the idea of powder coating the intake to keep it loking good.
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Old 01-16-2011, 02:18 PM   #8
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Default Re: Best way to clean an aluminum intake manifold...

Blasting isn't too big of a deal. You can get a blast gun like this:
http://www.harborfreight.com/garage-...kit-37025.html

And use baking soda as your abrasive. It'll dissolve in water, so just soak it after you get done.
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Old 01-16-2011, 02:30 PM   #9
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Default Re: Best way to clean an aluminum intake manifold...

Soda blasting thats a good idea.
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Old 01-16-2011, 02:41 PM   #10
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Default Re: Best way to clean an aluminum intake manifold...

Sorry to hijack the thread...

What route would you go if you want to have a not so common factory aluminum intake produced in the very early 70's cleaned?
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Old 01-16-2011, 03:18 PM   #11
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Default Re: Best way to clean an aluminum intake manifold...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Burnhard View Post
Glass beading or sand blasting will make the parts look new again.The only concern I have with blasting is that I always worry about geting all the blast medium out of the part that has been blasted. Even if the part has been taped up.I like the idea of powder coating the intake to keep it loking good.
I agree bead blasting, but make sure you blow it out with clean air afterwards, before installing it.
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Old 01-16-2011, 03:26 PM   #12
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Default Re: Best way to clean an aluminum intake manifold...

Rare intake I would go soda or walnut. I would err on the side caution with rare alum parts. I would start off with the least abrasive medium that gets the job done. I think that is a good rule for any part.
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Old 01-16-2011, 03:34 PM   #13
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Default Re: Best way to clean an aluminum intake manifold...

Quote:
Originally Posted by 442_rocket View Post
Sorry to hijack the thread...

What route would you go if you want to have a not so common factory aluminum intake produced in the very early 70's cleaned?
I agree with Bur, soda for something rare. You don't want something that is so abrasive that it'll alter the part. If it has multiple coats of paint or some major buildup on it, you could start with a more aggressive one and work up to something finer. I'd try soda first though, just to see how it goes.
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Old 01-16-2011, 04:24 PM   #14
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Default Re: Best way to clean an aluminum intake manifold...

Quote:
Originally Posted by 442_rocket View Post
Sorry to hijack the thread...

What route would you go if you want to have a not so common factory aluminum intake produced in the very early 70's cleaned?
I beaded the ones I had with ZERO issues... I would agree that walnuts or soda is probably best.

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Old 01-16-2011, 04:34 PM   #15
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Default Re: Best way to clean an aluminum intake manifold...

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Originally Posted by Eightupman View Post
I beaded the ones I had with ZERO issues... I would agree that walnuts or soda is probably best.

John
Where you going to find ground up walnut hulls. Heck My company hasen't used them in 20 years for turbine compressor cleaning.
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Old 01-16-2011, 05:01 PM   #16
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Default Re: Best way to clean an aluminum intake manifold...

I was in a local tool store that sells sand blasters about a month back and they had bags of walnut shells. I'm on the West Coast.
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Old 01-16-2011, 06:42 PM   #17
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Default Re: Best way to clean an aluminum intake manifold...

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Where you going to find ground up walnut hulls. Heck My company hasen't used them in 20 years for turbine compressor cleaning.
Um... http://www.northerntool.com/shop/too...6039_200336039

or

http://www.northerntool.com/shop/too...6874_200136874

and your company probably went to water wash. that is what Pratt and Whitney recommend for the C-17 motors...
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Old 01-16-2011, 07:06 PM   #18
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Default Re: Best way to clean an aluminum intake manifold...

Quote:
Originally Posted by one442 View Post
Thanks for the input gents.

I just figure the blasting part is not as easy as using some spray on cleaner in your back yard and throwing it on.

and to me its definitely got to be cost effective.

Anyway just to know, what does it cost to get something properly blasted ? and I am assuming clear-coated ?
Shouldn't cost much to have it blasted. Just to give you an idea, I had all front control arms blasted for $30, and they quoted me $40 to do my trunk lid. I am assuming for an intake, it won't be any more than $30, probably closer to $20. I do not know if they would charge more to use different kinds of media though.
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Old 01-16-2011, 08:29 PM   #19
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Default Re: Best way to clean an aluminum intake manifold...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Burnhard View Post
Rare intake I would go soda or walnut. I would err on the side caution with rare alum parts. I would start off with the least abrasive medium that gets the job done. I think that is a good rule for any part.
Thanks for the input. I will need to find someone around here that does that. I have a W-31 intake that needs a little cleaning.
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Old 01-16-2011, 09:02 PM   #20
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Default Re: Best way to clean an aluminum intake manifold...

The biggest problem with sand blasting is the operator. You pay some to blast your intake, and the crank the airpressure to get the job done, you end up with an intake that has a horrible un-even texture, and might need to be machined on the gasket surfaces.
Someone doing it for themselves would probably take a more cautious approach.
Soda would be my first choice, very controlable, Ive watched guys strip single layers of paint off of cars.
If youre dropping it off, mask all the machined areas, anything you dont want blasted.
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Old 01-16-2011, 09:18 PM   #21
one442

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Default Re: Best way to clean an aluminum intake manifold...

^ Yeah I am not thinking this is a option.

I am going to strongly suggest (Its not for me) a tip you gave from a similar thread a while back. Regarding the wheel cleaner.
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1987 442 STOCK 307 - 15.179 @ 88.58 mph


7A head VIN 9 KZF 200-4R with a 8.5 3.73 air delete. Open/no air filter. 2 1/4" true dual Flowmasters with crossover. Alloy, mags, drums, and rad, 3560 race weight. Timing 22*, 23.8 inch diameter rear tires (4.07). Hypertech S R Chip. Mobile 1


http://one442.blogspot.com/


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1967 Cutlass 2dr 330, 1972 98 455, 1966 442 a2 400, 1971 Eldo 500
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Old 01-17-2011, 05:39 AM   #22
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Default Re: Best way to clean an aluminum intake manifold...

I've used some black oxide media on aluminum intake manifolds, but I regulated it down to around 30 psi to avoid damage while blasting. Worked really good...
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Old 01-17-2011, 08:49 AM   #23
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Default Re: Best way to clean an aluminum intake manifold...

Menards sells blast media for around $9 a bag that works OK. It isn't as agressive as aluminum oxide but like Luke, I have used both with the right air pressure and not damaged aluminum intakes.
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Old 01-17-2011, 09:38 AM   #24
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Default Re: Best way to clean an aluminum intake manifold...

I would think it would be better to walnut or baking soda blast for two reasons. First it is not very agressive and I would rather have walnut dust or soda dust flying around. I used to have a blast cabinet and found out it was cheeper to have it done at a shop. When you factor in the running time on your compressor, time it takes to blast the parts, blast medium and tips for the blast gun,electricity, blast cabinet,etc.Doing it at home was convenient though.
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Old 01-17-2011, 10:42 AM   #25
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Default Re: Best way to clean an aluminum intake manifold...

One method not mentioned is shot blasting. I had an alternator to clean up for an original owner (nice generally unmolested car) 72 442 & talked to electrical rebuilder. Case came out looking literally brand new. No surface disruption, no uneveness, no discoloration common w/ sandblasting, stamped #'s untouched. Seriously looked brand new. Cost $75 w/ a rebuild. I would guess that if I disassembled unit, I probably could have dropped no more than a twenty on him to get it done.

I would think this would be a good method for an aluminum intake that you want to have appear "proper". Nice clean, bright surface w/ no discoloration & no alteration of the cast texture. Sure works nice on iron parts too.

Though this may be only somewhat related to this thread, I figured I would put it out there.
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