Dirty valves, how to clean? - Alfa Romeo Bulletin Board & Forums

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Old 02-10-2009, 09:18 AM
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Question Dirty valves, how to clean?

Dirty valves, how to clean?

After removing the intake manifold, I noticed a thick layer of soot coating the valves.

Is there any way to clean the valves without removing them?
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Old 02-10-2009, 08:02 PM
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Cleaning valves

The exhaust will be far worse.

You can do it, but will take lots of time, make a mess, and will leave mess in the pan as well that weak hearts usually can`t take.
Uses chemicals that most of you are not allowed to have in the house.
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Old 02-10-2009, 10:06 PM
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Question Dirty valves

Do you suggest spraying either some "B-12 Chemtool intake valve cleaner" or putting some on a long brush or rag? Which chemicals would be the best? Carb and choke cleaner?

Is it better to put the carburetors back on and put some "seafoam" type stuff somewhere?

Is there any danger to touching the valves? I don't want to mess anything up.

If there is a way to capture the junk before it falls there should be no bad exhaust, right?
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Old 02-10-2009, 10:18 PM
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Sorry I don't have the answer to your question but I did find this link to a previous conversation on "seafoam" cleaner.

http://www.alfabb.com/bb/forums/164-...6-seafoam.html

Hope it helps.
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Old 02-11-2009, 02:29 PM
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I would try and find a nice long straight road and give her a big long thrash ... and nice long foot flat to the floor pull would get the internals nice and hot and might help.

Just make sure you do it safely .

My parents used to de-carbon old Triumphs similar to this before they would tune them ... lots of stuff would come out the exhaust. The owners never revved these old things ...
Pete
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Old 02-12-2009, 06:32 AM
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"Chemical Ring Job"

This is from an old communication. Works, messy. You will need to change the oil twice shortly afterwards.
I would suggest doing for a longer period than discussed. then washing pan out with diesel or kerosene.
Not pretty. But works.

This will take a full week if done right, but you can do over a weekend if you want to try a "quickie".
If the car is low on compression and rings not sealing well this might help. It will get the carbon / oily build up off of the pistons as well but you well need to run it hot to burn the residual left off!. There will be gunk in the pan to flush as well.
Start by filling each cylinder with MEK Being sure to get it on the valves. Rocking the pistons to "loosen the carbon`s grip and hourly application of MEK and WD40 will clean the Rings & valves.

Gallon cans of WD 40 can be found at Napa, & most autoparts stores. I bought a gallon last week when I saw it at Harbor Freight! Option is kerosene. Fill liners with MEK. Be sure to get on valves.
If you want to get serious, Get some M.E.K. and pour in and let work for 2or 3 minutes. It will both run through fast and is very caustic which will attack the carbon. If you are at a point where you are going to be around the car, keep running MEK through it, & moving the pistons a bit. Do these steps repeatedly, a couple of times a day for a week will really clean out the gum & carbon. When you are going to leave the car pour in the WD 40 or (kerosene) & turn to coat liners, and continue the cleaning process..
A last serious washdown with MEK, and turning the engine with the plugs in to force through rings should do the deal. Then drain the oil.
Be sure to get MEK on the valves while doing all this, as it will clean them! This is the stuff that is active agent in most carb & FI cleaning compounds. See attached info below.
DON`T SPILL ON PAINT!

MEK (methyl ethyl ketone):
A highly caustic solvent. Always use protective hand and eyewear. Used to dissolve some of the more determined paint problems. Removal of hardened paint on hardware such as hinges and doorknobs by soaking in MEK are common uses for this product. Always test before applying MEK on any object or surface as the powerful solvent qualities of MEK can quickly damage or destroy the item.
Kerosene
Though typically used as a fuel, kerosene has very strong solvent properties. For ‘‘oil glazing’’ in decorative finishing, kerosene is sometimes employed to make the glaze ‘‘hot’’, increasing the workable time with the glaze, as well as ‘‘fusing’’ with a glaze previously applied. No more than a capful per gallon is used and adding kerosene to any paint product is not recommended.
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Old 02-12-2009, 08:41 AM
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This really sounds like overkill for a bit of soot on the valves. The car's got carbs: it's never going to run totally clean. I'd start by throwing in a bottle of Techron, and if that doesn't make you happy try the Seafoam thing.

Incidentally, as a chemical engineer I need to make a comment here: MEK is *not* "caustic". Caustic has a very specific meaning and refers to things like sodium hydroxide that are strong bases. MEK is a neutral solvent and will damage some paint and rubber. From a personal safety standpoint it's pretty harmless: about on par with acetone or nail polish remover. Treat it like you'd treat those and you'll be fine.
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Old 02-12-2009, 09:37 AM
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Revvvvvvv the warmed engine up to about 3,000rpm and slowly squirt some water into the throats one at a time, being careful not to over do it and cause lock. You will know, it will start to stall and knock. A heavy mist is best rather than a stream.

Black soot/smoke will come billowing out the tailpipe indicating a break up of the carbon and a cleaning of the internals. Stop when its clean...

This is pretty basic and old school, but has worked on every engine I have done it to with no harmful side effects. It works. Just go slow and dont over do it.
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Old 02-12-2009, 11:46 AM
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carbon cleaner

I agree w Bill. My brother would get an old windex bottle filled w water and spray it down tha carb throat as he revved it up. usually you would see a sooty exhaust for a short period. I even saw people throw grains of rice into the carb throat as well. the rice would come out the tailpipe. The theory was the rice and water droplets would act as a "sandblasting" of the built up carbon surfaces. With all the new fangled rice products, partially cooked, converted, etc. I'm not sure I'd ever do that again, but the water will work. ken
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Old 02-12-2009, 02:20 PM
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Okay now I think we are being silly and there is some engine damaging advice in this thread.

Basically a bit of soot on the head of your valve does NOT indicate there is anything wrong ... so the safest thing you could do is nothing.

Pouring cr@p into your engine to clean something that does not need to be cleaned and that does not in any way affect your engine performance is simply crazy.

Again the reason cars carbon up is because the engine is not being worked hard enough when it is fully warm ... hence my suggestion to give her a decent work out. Race engines for example never carbon up.

Now word of warning again. If you engine, especially pistons and rings are carboned up and you have a bit of oil control problems, or think your rings are weak ... putting stuff to clean the carbon off the top sides of the pistons and rings will completely fnck any sealing you currently have.

I was told by the best mechanic in the business, my father (a 40+ year A grade mechanic), that when we did valve jobs on engines that I was never, ever, ever and he meant ever to clean more than the top of the pistons IF we were not going to remove them. I was not even allowed to clean the top of the bores. This is because that carbon build up actually helps old rings and his customer was just paying for a valve job ... would be very upset if suddenly his repaired car starting blowing smoke or even more down on power.

Also to back up what Dad said ... I stupidly used some of that oil cleaning or engine cleaning stuff on my Alfa not long after I got her and we got the engine running again. He warned me not too, but I was like 18 or something and ignored him. Well the engine went from running okay and blowing a little oil smoke to creating great big clouds of oil smoke as the old and ineffective rings were cleaned. The worse thing I could have done ... as I only wanted to drive her for a little while before the restoration started. Every time after this I put petrol in her, I then add to fill up the oil.

So please do not do anything other than drive the car a little harder. The best thing you could do here is NOTHING.
Best
Pete
ps: Injector cleaner is the only safe thing to put in an engine ... the rest of the stuff is invented to give car repair shops more work IMO, or like the 100mpg carburetter, cr@p somebody is trying to make a buck from.
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Last edited by PSk; 02-12-2009 at 02:25 PM.
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Old 02-12-2009, 02:36 PM
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Ohhh. This is getting INTERESTING!
Just my opinion.
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Old 02-12-2009, 02:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gubi View Post
This really sounds like overkill for a bit of soot on the valves. The car's got carbs: it's never going to run totally clean. I'd start by throwing in a bottle of Techron, and if that doesn't make you happy try the Seafoam thing.

Incidentally, as a chemical engineer I need to make a comment here: MEK is *not* "caustic". Caustic has a very specific meaning and refers to things like sodium hydroxide that are strong bases. MEK is a neutral solvent and will damage some paint and rubber. From a personal safety standpoint it's pretty harmless: about on par with acetone or nail polish remover. Treat it like you'd treat those and you'll be fine.
Good point, Tom. Neutral, yes. Also that general public uses the term to mean it can harm you by whatever means...kinda very layman's use of a term, like so many others out there. And, above IS overkill for some normally sooty valves.

Only thing Id add is I wouldnt necessarily call it harmless as far as safety goes. Like acetone, it is volatile, and flammable. Also, vapors can knock you out if in an enclosed area/little ventilation. Plus it is a suspect carcinogen.

Just be careful.........
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Old 02-12-2009, 02:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gordon Raymond View Post
Ohhh. This is getting INTERESTING!
Just my opinion.


For something like 20 years my parents lived next to this family, great friends of ours, etc. The dad though was a car fiddler, thus even though his car was running fine (my parents business actually serviced it) he would go looking and adjust things, even though he knew very little about cars.

Every now and then an embarrassed neighbour would pop over into our sheds as we were working on our restoration projects or race cars and er, admit he had a problem ... Dad or I would then have to go over and put it back to how it was.

Cleaning these valves sounds like a recipy for making more issues than just leaving them alone in my opinion ... along the lines of, if it isn't broke don't fix it.
Pete
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Old 02-12-2009, 02:44 PM
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Soot is mostly non reactive carbon, so no solvent will disolve it. Watch out for snake oil/elixirs like seafoam. almost useless , and made of mostly naphtha, oil, and IPA. These do not dissolve carbon, period.
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Old 02-12-2009, 03:25 PM
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I'm going to disagree with you there, Joe. Either Seafoam or water will in fact remove carbon from combustion chambers. The water trick is pretty old-school but was a lot more common in the days of downdraft carburetors (way before my time, but so my mechanics have told me).

Neither one "dissolves" the carbon, per se. It's more of a physical process of the liquid hitting the carbon, vaporizing, and cracking off the carbon film.

Like I said, though, either one sounds like it would be overkill for a little soot on the valves.
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