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Old 09-08-2020, 05:04 AM   #1
russcc
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Default Cleaning an early aluminum intake

I would like to use an early intake on my test engine stand. It need a serious cleaning after years of sitting on the shelf. Any solutions I can put in to clean off the crud ? I could bead blast it but that's a lot of work for something that is just functional. Why are there 2 vacuum fittings between the 2 sets of intake ports. Any drawbacks to the early manifolds other than the 1" shorter fuel pump push rod ? Thank you Fordbarners.
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Old 09-08-2020, 05:31 AM   #2
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Default Re: Cleaning an early aluminum intake

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I would like to use an early intake on my test engine stand. It need a serious cleaning after years of sitting on the shelf. Any solutions I can put in to clean off the crud ? I could bead blast it but that's a lot of work for something that is just functional. Why are there 2 vacuum fittings between the 2 sets of intake ports. Any drawbacks to the early manifolds other than the 1" shorter fuel pump push rod ? Thank you Fordbarners.

You should be able to bead blast that manifold in less than 15 minutes. The front vacuum port is for the vacuum brake on the distributor, and the rear port is for your wipers. DD
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Old 09-08-2020, 06:49 AM   #3
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Default Re: Cleaning an early aluminum intake

Thanks for the heads up on the vac connections. Didn't think of the W Wipers. I will hold off on the beads blast to see if there is chemical process that will get the basic crud off.
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Old 09-08-2020, 07:49 AM   #4
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Default Re: Cleaning an early aluminum intake

Careful of what chemical products you use, some will eat the aluminum if its soaked in ot too long.

Scrap off the big pieces and blast it will be the easiest and quickest way
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Old 09-08-2020, 08:24 AM   #5
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Default Re: Cleaning an early aluminum intake

I’d start with soda and low pressure. Just to see how it cleans. You can always change to a more coarse media and more pressure if you’re not getting the results you want......Mark
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Old 09-08-2020, 08:27 AM   #6
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Default Re: Cleaning an early aluminum intake

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I've used oven clean and a plastic brush/toothbrush to brighten up and clean aluminum. I'd recommend a test spot.
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Old 09-08-2020, 08:35 AM   #7
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Default Re: Cleaning an early aluminum intake

I use aluminum brightner from any part store. Used on $100,000 trucks; good enough
for me. Use it all the time on carburetors too ! then wash with plain ole water
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Old 09-08-2020, 08:43 AM   #8
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Default Re: Cleaning an early aluminum intake

Concentrated Lemon Juice and water in a crock pot works really well on smaller parts. As mentioned there is a learning curve as to the mix and length of time and a subsequent through rinse of clean water afterward.......BUT once you get a feel for it there is none better!!! Unbelievable really!!! BUT your intake wouldn't fit in a crock pot!!
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Old 09-08-2020, 10:01 AM   #9
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Default Re: Cleaning an early aluminum intake

If you bead blast it don't do the underside as the imbedded material will find its way down inside the engine or steam clean it to purge that stuff.
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Old 09-08-2020, 05:57 PM   #10
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Default Re: Cleaning an early aluminum intake

Here is look at the underside of a trial manifold after cleaning with marine bottom cleaner, (acid base). Heavily coated with the cleaner, let it set a couple hrs, and washed it off with fresh water. Got rid of all the oil grime. Ready to use. Now for the flip side.
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Old 09-08-2020, 06:16 PM   #11
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Default Re: Cleaning an early aluminum intake

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Here is look at the underside of a trial manifold after cleaning with marine bottom cleaner, (acid base). Heavily coated with the cleaner, let it set a couple hrs, and washed it off with fresh water. Got rid of all the oil grime. Ready to use. Now for the flip side.

Man, that seems to work pretty damn well. The good thing about cleaning it chemically is that it does NOT break the factory 'glaze' or patina that never survives after bead blasting. All I know is that if you find something that works, keep that recipe handy, and please let the rest of us know what it is. I tested some kind of dedicated aluminum cleaner on the bottom of a 'pricy' aluminum manifold years ago and almost had a heart attack when it left black spots on this old aluminum after only a short-duration application. Some of these older aluminum castings can have no-telling what kind of an aluminum composition. DD
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Old 09-08-2020, 07:20 PM   #12
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Default Re: Cleaning an early aluminum intake

if you have a big truck operation nearby, ask them. we used to have a spray i believe called "agent orange" that they washed the aluminum fuel tanks and wheels, etc, that took all the grime off without scrubbing
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Old 09-08-2020, 09:06 PM   #13
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Default Re: Cleaning an early aluminum intake

I expect this has long been outlawed by the EPA, but in the late 80's this Ks boy found himself working and living in the SoCal high desert. Purchased an off topic 67 Merc ex sheriff's car with a factory Hipo FE and rare aluminum intake. Car had over 200K miles. Disassembled the engine and the intake was so bad the heat riser crossovers were caked solid with carbon. Took the intake into R&E racing. They did what they termed a "cold tanking" of the intake. It cleaned out all the carbon and the intake came out perfectly like new!! To this day I have no idea what they used, but sure wish I had been wise enough to ask at the time.
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Old 09-08-2020, 09:17 PM   #14
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Default Re: Cleaning an early aluminum intake

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Concentrated Lemon Juice and water in a crock pot works really well on smaller parts. As mentioned there is a learning curve as to the mix and length of time and a subsequent through rinse of clean water afterward.......BUT once you get a feel for it there is none better!!! Unbelievable really!!! BUT your intake wouldn't fit in a crock pot!!

I use one of these to clean greasy parts. Find them all day long at yard sales.
Might not be large enough for a manifold all at once but probably work 1/2 at a time without the lid.
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Old 09-09-2020, 06:45 PM   #15
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Default Re: Cleaning an early aluminum intake

Latest update. If you decide to use Marine Grade Hull cleaner to clean an old aluminum manifold, look out ! In the 2nd experiment I cleaned the oil sludge off the bottom of another manifold. This product, StarBrite foamed, steamed, and heated up the metal and generated some nasty acidic fumes. I didn't harm the aluminum, but it was kinda scary. Use the stuff with care or have someone do it for you. Do it outside, in a good breeze, (ventilation), away from the garage and house, use a catch pan under the item, and a garden hose to wash stuff down with. I touched it up with the wire wheel, and hit a couple hard to get at grime pockets with the bead blaster, and here is what it looks like. I had a good size tapered reamer I cleaned out the heat riser tubes under the carb.with
This is just a manifold to use on my test stand so I don't have to handle the heavy cast iron type, so it will never see the light of day.
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Old 09-10-2020, 08:13 AM   #16
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Default Re: Cleaning an early aluminum intake

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Originally Posted by russcc View Post
Latest update. If you decide to use Marine Grade Hull cleaner to clean an old aluminum manifold, look out ! In the 2nd experiment I cleaned the oil sludge off the bottom of another manifold. This product, StarBrite foamed, steamed, and heated up the metal and generated some nasty acidic fumes. I didn't harm the aluminum, but it was kinda scary. Use the stuff with care or have someone do it for you. Do it outside, in a good breeze, (ventilation), away from the garage and house, use a catch pan under the item, and a garden hose to wash stuff down with. I touched it up with the wire wheel, and hit a couple hard to get at grime pockets with the bead blaster, and here is what it looks like. I had a good size tapered reamer I cleaned out the heat riser tubes under the carb.with
This is just a manifold to use on my test stand so I don't have to handle the heavy cast iron type, so it will never see the light of day.

No photos on my end.
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Old 09-10-2020, 10:09 AM   #17
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Default Re: Cleaning an early aluminum intake

I believe I cleaned the one I have with oven cleaner and a small soft wire bristle brush. Worked pretty well. Just took a lot of elbow grease.
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Old 09-10-2020, 12:30 PM   #18
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Default Re: Cleaning an early aluminum intake

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Originally Posted by russcc View Post
Latest update. If you decide to use Marine Grade Hull cleaner to clean an old aluminum manifold, look out ! In the 2nd experiment I cleaned the oil sludge off the bottom of another manifold. This product, StarBrite foamed, steamed, and heated up the metal and generated some nasty acidic fumes. I didn't harm the aluminum, but it was kinda scary. Use the stuff with care or have someone do it for you. Do it outside, in a good breeze, (ventilation), away from the garage and house, use a catch pan under the item, and a garden hose to wash stuff down with. I touched it up with the wire wheel, and hit a couple hard to get at grime pockets with the bead blaster, and here is what it looks like. I had a good size tapered reamer I cleaned out the heat riser tubes under the carb.with
This is just a manifold to use on my test stand so I don't have to handle the heavy cast iron type, so it will never see the light of day.

Sounds like the reaction muiratic acid makes.
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Old 09-10-2020, 12:39 PM   #19
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if you have a big truck operation nearby, ask them. we used to have a spray i believe called "agent orange" that they washed the aluminum fuel tanks and wheels, etc, that took all the grime off without scrubbing
We take our horse trailers to a nearby truck wash at the end of each season. Whatever is in their solution, wow... the aluminum ends up looking as new.
The horses do not appreciate it one bit.
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Old 09-10-2020, 06:42 PM   #20
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Default Re: Cleaning an early aluminum intake

Sorry about the photos, slipped my mind. What I do like about this nasty process is, it produces and almost ready to use part, and in my case, the aluminum came out with a business like magnesium casting finish. See photos, (this time). I wish I had found this process before I put the NOS Navarro heads on the motor. I love the magnesium look vs the shiny glow.
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