Rust. The bane of every mechanic and restorer's existence. How many times have we excitedly reached for that perfect part at a swap meet only to see that it is badly pitted or unusable?
Being in Southern Ontario this is a reality that is unavoidable; I have seen some beautiful cars and bikes become scrap after falling victim to our good friend iron oxide.
Over the years I have relied heavily on white vinegar, usually the cleaning type with a higher acid concentration. I have also used WD40 and steel wool, mainly for cleaning rims, evaporust, Rust remover concentrate (from Lee Valley) and naval jelly.
In past posts I have touched on some of my experiences with these various methods, some good, some less than satisfactory. Evaporust for example, works well but is very expensive if you have a lot of parts. Vinegar is fine in the summer if you don't mind the smell, however in colder temperatures it is useless as I recently discovered.
I am very pleased to say that I have found my all time, number one go-to solution from here on out.
Molasses. Molasses and water.
Though I wish I could take credit for this discovery, I can't. This has been around for many years, very popular in Australia in particular. In my aforementioned lean months it was important to my budget to find something that was effective and dirt cheap. I looked into setting up an electrolytic conversion tank, however I was concerned about leaving a power supply unattended as well as the potential fumes. I figured it was as good a time as any to give this one a go.
There is no science to start the process, reports vary on the ratios; some people say 10:1 water to molasses, others 4:1, etc. I met in the middle with 6:1. Initially I just used some grocery store no name brand stuff, $2.99 a carton. I poured the contents into a big bucket with hot water and dropped my parts inside. I lost the before picture of my first lot, take my word for it this stuff was caked in rust. It looked as though I had found it at the bottom of the ocean! Thankfully I wasn't in a rush for these parts, it took two weeks for things to really clean up.
|After, before couldn't make it.|
The results with this molasses was much more impressive than the grocery store variety. I have a large garbage can now, filled to the brim with a variety of parts 'Chelating'. It seems to be working far more quickly this time with results as soon as a few days in. The added bonus is that this can be dumped onto your garden or safely down the drain when done. It is actually good for plant growth and is 100% biodegradable.
I won't delve into a scientific explanation here, however I will provide the link below.
Here are some tips for anyone wanting to try this at home.
1. It leaves a distinctive odor, not foul per say but not pleasant, outside is better than inside.
2. Wear gloves when pulling things out of the mixture. The odor will stay on your hands otherwise even if you wash them a few times.
3. Pull your parts out every few days and wipe them down or rinse them off. This will give the mixture better access to the bare metal.
4. When you make your mix, start with hot or boiling water. This will help the viscosity of the molasses and stop it from sinking to the bottom. Stir vigorously. I also believe that the reaction to hot water also speeds up the fermentation process.
Next post I will show some updated pictures and speak more on the Matchless project;
Have a safe weekend!