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Thread: how to clean alternator

          
  1. #31
    Registered Member benhui86's Avatar
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    i'd rather have a ugly alternator than a broken alternator... i guess you can try to use a toothbrush with some degresser on it and just keep on scrubbing then apply some metal polish on it....

  2. #32
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    if i was looking to make it look pretty id clean it up take a wire brush to it then paint it with aluminum paint with metallic

  3. #33
    Waxing Jeeping Nut Jeff Burrows's Avatar
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    Ok

    Look we all have our oppinions on this engine cleaning thing. I think that you be safe on anything from 1990 and up or a really old 50's or 60's. There should be caution in our steps and only 1 out of 10 times will somthing mess up seriously. I several methods and products to cleaning an engine and all the years I have cleaned engines I have never had a problem.

  4. #34
    aka 2hotford Tim Lingor's Avatar
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    Hey Jeff,

    * Jeff I think everyone reading this thread should realize that you are only 17 or 18 years old, and most likely have very limited experience in detailing engines. Therefore, it would be wise for members to take advice with caution.*

    You are right, it is an opinion. And to be fair, again it must be emphasized that risk is a part of it.

    Though I personally do not agree with your unsubstantiated "1 in 10" nor would my brother who is a GM mechanic (29 years) and sees the results more than the average person would, it is still that "1" that concerns me.

    Again, that is just my opinion.

    Tim

  5. #35
    Registered Member Mike Phillips's Avatar
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    Ahem...



    Perhaps this thread would be best served if each person with experience and a system that works for them post their write-up listing the process used and before and after pictures that include the products used and the steps that are to be followed.

    One thing we have to be careful of is that we don't want someone reading forum member's recommendations on how to work clean an alternator, then follow the suggestions and if something goes wrong, blame Meguiar's.

    This discussion forum is focused on multiple dimensions of car detailing but once we get into a specialized niche areas like cleaning and detailing alternators, it is beginning to cross a line and go into an area that is probably not best suited for the majority of forum members. Meguiar's does offer degreasers and cleaners for working under the hood, but alternators are is a very niche area that will more than likely be pretty far down the to-do list. For most people, there are plenty of other things to address including exterior and interior detailing that in and of themselves deserve ample amount of attention.

    So let's keep the right perspective on this topic.

    Thanks,

    Mike
    Mike Phillips
    Office: 800-869-3011 x206
    Mike.Phillips@Autogeek.net
    "Find something you like and use it often"

  6. #36
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    I will probably just take it off and sand it. this thing is really bad. After that I might polish it. Can I polish with a dremel?

  7. #37
    Waxing Jeeping Nut Jeff Burrows's Avatar
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    I would!

    Dear Mustangless,
    you will probably be ok using a dremel. Make sure you use enough polish so it dosen't burn through to quickly and keep the speed between 15,000-20,000 RPMS.I dont know of many alternators that are chrome, because if it isn't you could use a cleaner and a rag. If you have scratches you might want to use a mild compound and then finish with Meguiars metal polish! Best of luck Jeff!!

  8. #38
    Registered Member Galcobar's Avatar
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    Following Mike's suggestion, my procedure for cleaning my engine is as follows. This applies to a 1990 Toyota Celica GT with an inline 2.2L four-cylinder engine that had never previously been cleaned to my knowledge but wasn't in terrible shape. However, I only did the top half of the engine due to a persistent leak in the power steering fluid pump -- it's so slow I've been trying for years to get a bottle of stopleak into it, but power steering fluid makes an incredibly large mess with small amounts.

    I should also note I have a major advantage in that the tap water in my region is collected from rain-fed rivers, meaning in a dust-free environment it dries spot-free.

    Materials:
    aluminum foil
    Meguiar's Extra cleaner
    Shop rags
    long-handled scrubbing brush
    toothbrush
    wire brush
    Silvo metal polish
    Mother's Back-to-Black
    Black Magic anti-static dashboard protectant
    cloth diapers
    bandaids


    Steps:
    Covered the alternator, fuse boxes, alarm computer, and sparkplugs with foil completely. Draped foil over the distributor as best I could. The stock air intake in my Celica is actually a CAI, so it didn't need covering.

    Ran the engine for about five minutes, let it get to the point where I could still put my hand on it.

    Lightly rinsed the engine with a spray from the hose, then scrubbed at the more disgusting areas with the long-handled brush to loosen the grime. Rinsed again, gave the engine a quick scrub, then liberally sprayed the compartment with Extra and let it soak for 10 minutes.

    From there it was elbow grease and banged-up knuckles, scrubbing at stuck-on grime with either the scrub brush or the toothbrush, depending on how tight the crevice was. Discovered how effective Extra remains, even when the brush is black. For lightly soiled areas, used a shop rag wet with Extra to wipe down, including the various hoses and plastic covers.

    Lightly rinsed the compartment with the garden hose again, then used the shop rags to wipe it down, particularly concentrating on areas where water could pool.

    Unwrapped the covered pieces and went at them with a shop rag, again wet with Extra, then wiped them down with a water-damp rag to rinse. This was the safest method I could find to use on the alternator. The shop rags are rough-textured for some cleaning power, but won't sling droplets like a brush.

    Wire brush was used on certain aluminum or iron parts to deal with rust, then Silvo applied with a shop rag to smooth and protect. Three months later, the aluminum heat shield over the headers is still silky smooth. My alternator is painted, so a similar treatment could not be used on it, unfortunately, though I did lightly go over it with the wire brush during the Extra wipe-down.

    Next step was treating all rubber and plastic with Mothers B2B on a cloth diaper -- though I kind of regret that now, knowing the long-term effects of B2B. Penultimate step was to dress all the rubber and plastic with Black Magic's anti-static dashboard protectant.

    Finally, I went inside and bandaged the various gashes, scrapes and cuts I'd inflicted on my hands.

    I know, I know -- pics. Digital camera wasn't working then, and it's being used by my sister now. I'll try to borrow one from work when I get the chance.
    1990 Toyota Celica GT
    "The reason men call cars 'she' is so they have one female they understand"

  9. #39
    Registered Member Galcobar's Avatar
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    As for the alternator specifically, my mechanic made a good point -- you're not cleaning the alternator, you're cleaning the cover. Whatever you do and whatever you use should not go past the cover.

    If you do take a dremel or sandpaper to it, make sure you vacuum it well afterwards to remove dust that's made its way inside the alternator.
    1990 Toyota Celica GT
    "The reason men call cars 'she' is so they have one female they understand"

  10. #40
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    Originally posted by Mike Phillips
    Just to chime in here, Tim's dead on when he says,



    I plan on uploading the pictures and finishing the write-up for the Engine Detailing How-To this week. Hopefully this will provide some direction as to how to work safely when detailing engine compartments.

    Mike
    Mike please help!

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