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I was cleaning the carburetors in one of my old Suzukis which sat in my
basement for 18 years (ever smell 18 year old gasoline? Yuck!).
The carbs were varnished and gum filled. Spray can carb cleaner barely touched the crap in there. I took them to work and put them in our Safety-Kleen parts washer - not much luck again.
Our tool room guys said "Put them in our parts washer". I did. An hour later, they came out, I blew them dry, and the gum and varnish were gone. The rubber and plastic parts and jets were not harmed, although the aluminum cases had turned more "gray" (but were clean!)
"What's in there", I asked?....
To make one gallon of cleaner, mix up:
8 oz. Simple Green
6 oz. Ammonia
2 oz. Mr Clean
112 oz. water
The stuff really works. I was in disbelief. Try this at home!
We used to buy a can of carb cleaner, something like 3-5 gallons with a snap-on lid and a basket. Whatever was in there it would definitely clean any gunk off of a carburetor.
We also had a "vat" out back- a steel tank about 300 gallons. It had a strong base in it, with a gas jet underneath that we could light to heat it up a little. When we disassembled an engine we would put the heads and steel intake back on, then lower the whole thing in the vat and let it set overnight. We also wired the pan, valve covers, etc. together and hung them in there. The next day we would take everything out and spray it off. This would remove all oil/grease/whatever. We knew not to put anything aluminum in there or it might not be there the next day.
When I was in the AF we used a product called Brulin Safety Solvent to clean
jet engine parts. Talk about baked on crud.
We had a tank with a heater as mentioned. It would take parts down to the
bare metal with an overnight soak. It was billed as non toxic and
biodegradable. I believe the product is still around.