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· Premium Member
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102 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey folks, I tried searching the forums for this and came up empty handed, so I apologize in advance if this has been covered elsewhere.

I'm in the process of doing heads, and as I'm taking things apart on the motor, I'm finding quite a bit of dried white crud and general corrosion that I presume came from spilled/leaked coolant (PO was a dingus who let his TB heater plate leak for a while, then bypassed it...poorly...). I think that's the source since a lot of this mess seems to come from the top down, but if it wasn't I should rectify that since I'm replacing all the gaskets and seals with this job.

Anyways, I'm looking for a reliable and safe way to clean all this garbage up. My plan was to shop vac out what I could, then wipe with a degreaser soaked rag (White Lightnin'), follow with a wet rag to rinse, and then maybe a wipe with WD40? My concerns are damaging the aluminum surfaces with something too aggressive, and I don't want to go spraying/hosing degreaser all over the place because I'm fairly freaked out about getting fluids into parts of the engine where they shouldn't be, as well as just general crud.

Any suggestions or best practices would be appreciated! Thanks in advance
 

· '03 Disco SE
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573 Posts
Odds are you won't be able to dissolve it with any common products so your best bet is to try and scrub it with some Scotch-Brite pads to loosen it up and then wash it away with water. Avoid getting water/crud in the heads and cylinders, but other than that it won't really hurt anything, particularly if the battery is unhooked. I'm going through a head swap myself right now and that's how I went about it.

Just be careful leaving the degreaser on for any extended period of time. It WILL etch aluminum if left long enough. It's fine to use for a few minutes at a time, but make sure you get it wash off quickly. The etch won't really hurt the aluminum, it'll just make it lose it's shiny finish.

If you're really concerned, try using run of the mill carb cleaner (it's solvent based so it won't etch) or mineral spirits (which are incredible at dissolving oily deposits). Both are safe to use on engines and won't harm anything. Just avoid smoking or lighting a fire!
 

· Premium Member
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102 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I was thinking of gingerly trying battery terminal cleaner too to see if that did anything, but regardless I'm going to be very careful. Good idea with the Scotch Brite pads. Thanks!
 
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