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Cleaned aluminum block, soap scum or oxidation?

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country
I'm working on cleaning up an aluminum briggs block. Some time ago I scrubbed it in a in tank of water with Era laundry detergent. It came clean relatively easily. I them forgot about it for about, oh, maybe two months or so, and it sat in the soapy water. I finally remembered it, and removed it. Now I want to reassemble the engine, but there is a white residue or film on it that I can't get off. Is it soap scum that I can't get off? Is it oxidation that I can't get removed? I've scrubbed it, used degreaser, but every time it dries, the white residue returns. I can wipe it off with my finger, so I don't know why it keeps returning, unless it's oxidation that is returning that quickly. Any thoughts? I'm on vacation this week, and I've been fighting this since wednesday wanting to get started on reassembly. Thanks in advance!

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country
Well, I can't get into all of the little crooks and crevices with a wire brush or steel wool, and I don't have access to a bead blast cabinet. I thought about the soap scum, and used some shower cleaner on it that is supposed to remove soap scum, and it didn't seem like it helped.

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country
I thought about that. I assume it would need to be submerged in water thought, and I don't have anything large enough to do that in. It's an 11hp engine, so a decent size block. Other than the oven in the house, I don't have any way to do it. I'm pretty sure my wife won't go for that.

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DeltaBravo
Submerge it in hot water, agitate, change water, repeat. Would a garbage can be large enough, or a large enough storage container would do. The original container would probably do as well.

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country
Well, the hot water and agitate trick is out, since I ran it through the dish washer on high temp scrub to no avail. I have some paint stripper, WD40, mineral spirits, etc. Maybe I'll give some of them a try. The problem with some of these items is ventilation. My garage doubles as my workshop, which is under the bedrooms of our split foyer house. Paint stripper fumes may be too harsh without being to open the doors.

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country
I just spent some time lapping in the valves, since I'm kinda stuck on the rest of it. I was think about the comment above by mendon-chalmers about the hard water. While I thought the high temp scrub in the dishwasher would remove all the problematic residue, I noticed it was actually worse. After I lapped the valves, I got the degreaser and brake cleaner back out. I sprayed a small area with the degreaser, let it soak a minute or so, scrubbed it with a brush a minute or so, and then rinsed it with the brake cleaner. That small area seems to be ok. The water may very well be the issue after. I'm going to try the degreaser and brake cleaner rinse and see if that will do the trick.

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B.Ikard
Once I put a large aluminum automatic transmission case into a hot water/caustic "enviromentally friendly" parts washer at work. It was sopposed to have a "neutralizer" added to prevent corrosion. I let it run 1 hr and found a white powdery corrosion on all surfaces. I sprayed it down all over with WD40 and wiped it all off-but is was definitely corrosion brought on by caustic detergents. I usually use a bug sprayer with diesel and pressure wash large components. I immediately blow it dry with compressed air and use WD40 on machined surfaces. I don't like corrosive cleaners at all}:) Brent

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country
Well, at this point I've tried mineral spirits, paint stripper, degreaser, brake cleaner, all to no avail. Right now I have the entire block soaking in WD40 per the advice of B.Ikard. Hopefully in the morning I'll be able to wipe the residue off, at least in all the places I can get to. Two tools have been very helpful. One is a rifle cleaning kit. The small diameter brushes are great for bolt holes and cleaning the fins. The other is a sonic scrubbing brush. It's basically an over sized battery powered tooth brush. It came with one brush head, and I bought the extra package with 4 additional brushes. One is pointed at the center, making it great for corners and such. Now as long as I find something that will cut the residue, I'll be in good shape. Thanks all, I did what I could to support the club and purchased the $125 of parts from SLI, now if I can just get the block cleaned up enough to use them we'll all be happy!

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country
Final prognosis is the block is about 80% clean. It sat soaked in WD40 for about 2 days now. I wiped it off this morning and used brake cleaner to rinse it. The inside was almost completely clean of the corrosion or whatever it was. The outside still has some, but hopefully in places that I don't have to worry about painting anyway. I'm going to go ahead and reassemble the way it is and go from here. Thanks all for your help.

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country
Hello all, one more tidbit of information. I used degreaser and washed the oil pan as best I could. I then washed it in the sink with dawn dish detergent, and left it upside down to dry. Guess what? After it dried and I picked it up, the inside had a small amount of corrosion. I know I rinsed it sufficiently, so my question now is what is in my water that I drink everyday that corrodes aluminum? Kind of concerning to me actually.

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UCD
Dish detergent is made for washing dishes. laundry detergent is made for washing clothes. Automotive degreasers and solvents are made for washing/cleaning parts. The aluminum in pots and pans is not the same composition as the aluminum in engine parts. Also if you put an Aluminum block into a cleaning solution intended for cast iron blocks you might not have a block left when you take it out depending on time left in the solution.

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country
Well, I picked up some Cameo brand aluminum and SS cleaner/polish that is intended for pots, pans, etc. It's a power that you mix with water and lightly scrub over the parts with. It worked very well, but I dried the oil pan after I used it. I'm thinking my water is as much the problem, or more so, than the soaps I used to wash the parts with. If I wash with soaps, and thoroughly rinse them, then water is all that's left to cause the corrosion, right? Most degreasers have instructions that call for a water rinse after the degreaser has had time to work. If my water is some or most of my problem, what other products are there that will work without a water rinse? Keep in mind that many parts, such as the engine block, have areas that you cannot get into to with a rag to simply wipe down. I don't have room for any kind of a parts cleaner, unless I could fasion one from a 5 gallon bucket. I'd still need a pump and such to do that also. Looking for future solutions, as I'm sure I'll have to do this again some day.

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