Cleaning an aluminum carb

Fuel and Air Systems

  1. pishta

    pishta I know I'm right....

    Messages:
    23,081
    Likes Received:
    12562
    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2004
    Location:
    Tustin, CA
    Local Time:
    11:46 AM
    What's the process to clean a cast aluminum Holley 4010 or Edelbrock carb with the shiny finish? All seem to turn 5 shades of brightness over time: Big black spots, rough surfaces, dulling, etc. I was thinking maybe Eagle One etching mag cleaner? You put the stuff on a set of Westerns and they almost turn white, (well the foam does!) you have to rinse off and polish again to bring any shine back but at least it gets it one color. Any advice?
     
    • Like Like x 1
    • Agree Agree x 1
    • DFX 340 Duster

      DFX 340 Duster FABO Gold Member FABO Gold Member

      Messages:
      1,960
      Likes Received:
      956
      Joined:
      May 14, 2009
      Location:
      Orange County CA
      Local Time:
      11:46 AM
      I haven’t done it yet but I have some aircraft aluminum polish that I am wanting to try. I figure that I would try hand application of the polish on a cloth followed by a polishing wheel (not rubber backed) on a drill or bench motor to get into the nooks and crannies.
      As you hinted at, you know that any etching will remove discolored aluminum versus polishing away the very top surface of the blemish. Some enchants will turn the aluminum surface black (smut) that will be removed by polishing.
      I have experience with aircraft aluminum processing through chemical baths that I have wanted to try and duplicate at home.
      Good luck.
       
    • George Jets

      George Jets 1967 Dart 2 Door FABO Gold Member

      Messages:
      7,412
      Likes Received:
      10432
      Joined:
      Jan 18, 2019
      Location:
      Farmington MN
      Local Time:
      1:46 PM
      Here is one I cleaned in the Ultrasonic cleaner, 3 tablespoons of Pinesol and 2 gallons of distilled water. Heat the water in the Ultrasonic cleaner then run the bare carb in there at 10 minute intervals.

      Screenshot_20220503-154454_Gallery.jpg

      Keeping an eye on things, and removing that brown gum from the gasoline. Getting the brown gum off is a good place to stop, because you can leave them in too long and start turing the carb body gray.

      You can peel that yellow brass plating off the steel parts too if you leave them in too long.

      So yeah have to keep a close eye on it so you don't go too far.

      The carb bodies with the shiny finish are the easiest to clean. The earlier aluminum Cast finishes are the ones you really have to be careful with as they will turn gray.

      Screenshot_20210421-180941_Gallery.jpg
       
      • Like Like x 2
      • Thanks! Thanks! x 1
      • Garrett Ellison

        Garrett Ellison Amateur driver on public roadway, do not imitate.. FABO Gold Member

        Messages:
        4,582
        Likes Received:
        3803
        Joined:
        Jan 1, 2018
        Location:
        Southwest VA
        Local Time:
        2:46 PM
         
        • Like Like x 1
        • gzig5

          gzig5 Well-Known Member

          Messages:
          2,223
          Likes Received:
          2685
          Joined:
          May 3, 2018
          Location:
          Mequon, WI
          Local Time:
          1:46 PM
          Google vapor honing or vapor blasting. You can send parts out for service or may find someone local. Probably the best way to clean a carb but it isn't free.
           
          • Like Like x 3
          • Agree Agree x 1
          • RustyRatRod

            RustyRatRod I was born on a Monday. Not last Monday. FABO Gold Member

            Messages:
            86,713
            Likes Received:
            69152
            Joined:
            Jun 7, 2010
            Location:
            Georgia
            Local Time:
            2:46 PM
            I missed where that showed any cleanin. LOL Good to see rumblefish, though.
             
            • Thanks! Thanks! x 1
            • Garrett Ellison

              Garrett Ellison Amateur driver on public roadway, do not imitate.. FABO Gold Member

              Messages:
              4,582
              Likes Received:
              3803
              Joined:
              Jan 1, 2018
              Location:
              Southwest VA
              Local Time:
              2:46 PM
              Okay, I thought it had showed him cleaning it, but it was in the thread he talked about using a wire brush attachments in a Dremel. A cup of aluminum brightener and a cup of vinegar in a bucket of hot water with a teaspoon of naval jelly for an overnight soak will clean one up very well, too! That’s one that you will need to keep an eye on, though, because it will really etch it if left in too long.
               
              Last edited: May 3, 2022
            • Oldmanmopar

              Oldmanmopar Going left turning right FABO Gold Member

              Messages:
              11,095
              Likes Received:
              8914
              Joined:
              Jan 8, 2009
              Location:
              Danielsville Pa. 18038
              Local Time:
              2:46 PM
              That is a really nice system. I'll show my son I am sure there will be one here shortly. That would work great for aluminum heads and blocks.
               
              • Agree Agree x 1
              • rumblefish360

                rumblefish360 I have escaped the evil Empire State! FABO Gold Member

                Messages:
                43,727
                Likes Received:
                15869
                Joined:
                Jun 21, 2005
                Location:
                Florida
                Local Time:
                2:46 PM
                LMAO! Thanks….

                More to come later….
                 
                • Like Like x 1
                • DFX 340 Duster

                  DFX 340 Duster FABO Gold Member FABO Gold Member

                  Messages:
                  1,960
                  Likes Received:
                  956
                  Joined:
                  May 14, 2009
                  Location:
                  Orange County CA
                  Local Time:
                  11:46 AM
                  When I started working for Douglas Aircraft Company way back in 1984, we had a HydroHone blast cabinet that used pressurized water and a variety of abrasives. One of the things that I discovered while using and experimenting with it was that I could use just plain pressurized water and remove paint from the primer. Another thing that I could do was to change the pressure setting and give the oxidized paint coat a “water polish” surface finish.
                   
                • pishta

                  pishta I know I'm right....

                  Messages:
                  23,081
                  Likes Received:
                  12562
                  Joined:
                  Oct 13, 2004
                  Location:
                  Tustin, CA
                  Local Time:
                  11:46 AM
                  I got a pressure washer and can make a plastic barrel blast cabinet. Maybe I can rig up a flexible gun in the cabinet and a media suction cup. Or just blast it with soda....Ill try Eagle One etching mag cleaner (aluminum brightener) first on a small area under the carb.
                   
                  • Like Like x 1
                  • Bewy

                    Bewy Well-Known Member

                    Messages:
                    2,268
                    Likes Received:
                    1444
                    Joined:
                    Jan 1, 2021
                    Location:
                    Australia
                    Local Time:
                    4:46 AM
                    The best cleaner I have found is domestic paint stripper.
                     
                    • Thanks! Thanks! x 1
                    • chrisf

                      chrisf Well-Known Member

                      Messages:
                      566
                      Likes Received:
                      83
                      Joined:
                      Sep 15, 2004
                      Local Time:
                      11:46 AM
                      my business is media blasting. one part of it is vapor blasting. i have done tons of carbs and they turn out really well. only issue is keeping the media out of the orfices and out of the throttle shaft springs. i normally ultrasonic before and then vapor then ultrasonic again and blow out everything
                       
                      • Like Like x 1
                      • Garrett Ellison

                        Garrett Ellison Amateur driver on public roadway, do not imitate.. FABO Gold Member

                        Messages:
                        4,582
                        Likes Received:
                        3803
                        Joined:
                        Jan 1, 2018
                        Location:
                        Southwest VA
                        Local Time:
                        2:46 PM
                        Isn’t vapor blasting done with dry ice? Why do you have to be careful to keep it off of the springs and out of orifices?
                         
                      • oldkimmer

                        oldkimmer FABO Gold Member FABO Gold Member

                        Messages:
                        22,162
                        Likes Received:
                        9005
                        Joined:
                        Nov 11, 2006
                        Location:
                        Kindersley, Saskatchewan,
                        Local Time:
                        1:46 PM
                        • Like Like x 1
                        • pishta

                          pishta I know I'm right....

                          Messages:
                          23,081
                          Likes Received:
                          12562
                          Joined:
                          Oct 13, 2004
                          Location:
                          Tustin, CA
                          Local Time:
                          11:46 AM
                          That's clean! Not something I can do the the garage though...:-(
                           
                        • oldkimmer

                          oldkimmer FABO Gold Member FABO Gold Member

                          Messages:
                          22,162
                          Likes Received:
                          9005
                          Joined:
                          Nov 11, 2006
                          Location:
                          Kindersley, Saskatchewan,
                          Local Time:
                          1:46 PM
                          Too dull for my liking but their cleaner than clean. Lol
                           
                        • chrisf

                          chrisf Well-Known Member

                          Messages:
                          566
                          Likes Received:
                          83
                          Joined:
                          Sep 15, 2004
                          Local Time:
                          11:46 AM
                          vapor is glass bead and water in a slurry mix.
                           
                          • Thanks! Thanks! x 1
                          • chrisf

                            chrisf Well-Known Member

                            Messages:
                            566
                            Likes Received:
                            83
                            Joined:
                            Sep 15, 2004
                            Local Time:
                            11:46 AM
                            i would say looking at those pics that they used a really big glass bead. i can get my stuff pretty close to factory finish. only issue is getting them too bright on rough cast surfaces can make stuff look like cheap aluminum spray paint has been used.
                             
                          • Phreakish

                            Phreakish Well-Known Member

                            Messages:
                            1,760
                            Likes Received:
                            1368
                            Joined:
                            May 28, 2015
                            Location:
                            N. Idaho
                            Local Time:
                            11:46 AM
                            Edelbrock calls their shiny finish "endurashine", and the internet says it's a metalized finish with a clear powdercoat on top. Makes sense, since I've seen it flake before when in super corrosive settings.

                            Pretty much any mechanical cleaning will probably damage it. Dry ice blast probably wouldn't, but it will remove the areas where it's already compromised.

                            Vapor blast or vapor home works really well. High speed tumbling can do wonders, but with a carb I'd be worried about packing orifices with media. Plus, it takes pretty fine stones or media to get all the sharp inside geometry of a carb, and a few seconds too many in a high speed tumbler will make expensive scrap.

                            Most carbs aren't straight aluminum, but a die casting alloy that may also contain zinc and magnesium. It's often a highly reactive metal that will oxidize rapidly and polishes poorly. Some sort of chemical barrier is needed to make an inert surface. I'd go with shops that specialize in carburetor restoration and refinishing. But there's nothing wrong with starting with a blast job. With care, it won't degrade too fast, but won't last if near salt water or exposed to varying humidity.
                             
                          • mbaird

                            mbaird mbaird

                            Messages:
                            8,683
                            Likes Received:
                            5561
                            Joined:
                            Dec 10, 2005
                            Location:
                            boise, Id
                            Local Time:
                            12:46 PM
                            The Holley Pro Dominator and Eddie carbs were vapor blasted . Came out looking new. Are you trying to preserve the Endurashine finish ?

                            F6184921-B130-4BAF-BA50-22AF44D66B17.jpeg

                            10FD8488-F384-4511-B1ED-70225CB53C40.jpeg

                            5A8518A9-180E-4471-9D18-0215BBC536FA.jpeg
                             
                          • pishta

                            pishta I know I'm right....

                            Messages:
                            23,081
                            Likes Received:
                            12562
                            Joined:
                            Oct 13, 2004
                            Location:
                            Tustin, CA
                            Local Time:
                            11:46 AM
                            No just trying to get it all one shade of silver. I've never come across a used endurashine carb that looked new. All seem to have some sort of shading in the finish.
                             
                          1. This site uses cookies to help personalize content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
                            By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.