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Cleaning Engine Parts Via Sacrificial Anode

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Hi all.


In response to a thread I made about cleaning exhaust ports,

see: http://www.thumpertalk.com/topic/1077047-removing-carbon-from-exhaust-ports/#!Hbhgo


I recently setup a soda wash bath to clean the cylinder head and valves for my XR250R.


Here is the setup and results.


Step 1: Setup interlocking sacrificial anodes in bucket. The sacrificial anode I used was three re-bar bars. The only limitation here is to NOT USE STAINLESS STEEL AS YOUR SACRIFICIAL ANODE. Apparently it releases some form of chromium which has been known to cause cancer. You can read up on it through a simple google search.




I used copper wire to connect the re-bar.


Step 2: Dissolve 1/3 to 1/2 cup of SODA WASH (not baking soda) into the 5 Gallon Bucket along with 5 Gal of Water. I used a paint stirrer attached to a cordless drill.


Step 3: Connect the piece you are trying to clean to another piece of rebar




Again, I used copper wire and wrapped the wire through the cam chain opening and various bolt holes to ensure a good electrical connection between the re-bar and cylinder head


I also attached the intake and exhaust valves to this re bar so they would clean up as well.


Step 4: Submerge the cylinder head inside the bucket. Make sure the cylinder head, copper wire, and single re-bar piece do not touch the sacrificial anode re-bar pieces or the copper wire connecting the sacrificial anodes.





Step 5: Connect the positive terminal of a battery charger to the re-bar piece connected to the cylinder head. Connect the negative terminal of the battery charger to any of the sacrificial anodes. Connect this to the part of the re-bar sticking out of the water mixture.


Step 6: Turn on the battery charger and let it sit. The carbon and any dirt or gunk naturally gets drawn from the positively charged engine part(s) to the sacrificial anodes.


Once you power up the charger, you will notice small bubbles breaking off and rising to the surface. Don't panic. This is normal.


These bubbles are the chemical components of water, Hydrogen and Oxygen.




Do not leave this to clean in a closed area such as a basement or garage, these gases bubbling off are explosive. I let mine bubble in the driveway.


I let it sit for about 8 hours, then did another cleaning for about 16 hours.



OK so you want to see the results eh?


Here are some pictures of the gunked valves before they were cleaned.








Here they are after cleaning







Here is the cylinder head:















Just a final tip:


Once the parts were removed I quickly dried them with a blow dryer to make sure no rust formed. I wanted to try this on my cylinder, but since I had already honed it, I did not want to mess up the sleeve.



Thought on this approach? Anyone done this before?

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Thanks for the write up. I will have to remember this method, you could clean all kinds of things. Do you know if this would work on rusted parts? I would probably put a coat of some type of light weight oil on any carbon steel surface so it does not rust up.

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No problem. Yeah it is mainly used for rust removal.

Clearly it worked well with carbon deposits as well. I wish I took some pictures of the exhaust ports. It cleaned them off and most of what was left was easily just wiped away with a paper towel.

I was really concerned about the stainless steel letting off that toxic chemical when using it as a sacrificial anode. Seems like it is related to giving it a negative charge. Never the less I wanted to clean some stainless steel parts like my grill grates lol but I couldn't dig up any info on if it was okay to use the stainless as the cathode.

You can google "rust removal using sacrificial anode" it seems like that is the most common use for this method.

Wire brushes are useful and everything, but my brief experience with them is that the proper ones bend and do not easily take carbon off.. And the ones that work are harder than the aluminum alloys I cleaned and left some scratches inside the combustion chamber on my 650L. I did not want to wire brush the valves themselves.

Even I was surprised how well this method worked.

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Funny , I was just watching on youtube a few days about this, & an old man was using carbon instead of steel rods, because their was no residue scum that was produced. I didn't know it would do aluminum so well. Looks good!

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