Cleaning an aluminum intake manifold - Chevelle Tech

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post #1 of 18 (permalink) Old Jan 4th, 00, 8:07 AM Thread Starter
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Has anyone used a good method for cleaning an aluminum intake manifold. I have been using Aluminum Navel Jelly with some success, but the manifold still is not really clean. I am a little reluctant to glass bead the manifold because it has a riveted heat shield on the bottom that I don't want to remove and I am concerned with not being able to get all the glass bead cleaned out from this area. Any ideas?

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post #2 of 18 (permalink) Old Jan 4th, 00, 8:24 AM
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Ed try aluminum wheel cleaner I use it on the car keeps it clean.Don't know how it is on a really dirty one,I have used it since new.Be sure to flush it with lots of clear water...FRED

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post #3 of 18 (permalink) Old Jan 4th, 00, 8:32 AM
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I have used the wheel cleaner,but it tends to whiten the intake too much.I have also used the glass bead method.I had a factory intake with the heat shield on it, and the rivets just pull out. You may have to get a hold of them with a pair of vise grips. When you get it off, degrease the whole area, and go to bead blasting.Then put it back on, and with a rubber hammer, tap the rivets back in.Since aluminum is pourous, you will need to put some kind of coating on it, or just take a steel wool or SOS pad and wash it down to close up the pours.Then you can put a clear coat on it to keep it fresh looking.

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post #4 of 18 (permalink) Old Jan 4th, 00, 8:36 AM
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Ed, have it beadblasted and use a highheat satin clearcoat on it.

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post #5 of 18 (permalink) Old Jan 4th, 00, 2:19 PM
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There are a few shops in Hemmings that advertize "reskinning" an Alu. intake and they claim it looks like new. It is not glass beading. You may want to give them a call.
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post #6 of 18 (permalink) Old Jan 4th, 00, 2:25 PM
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Try 409 (the pro formula) it made my 69's alum intake look like new!

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post #7 of 18 (permalink) Old Jan 4th, 00, 4:18 PM
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I use a scotch-brite pad soaked with WD40 with great results.

Rick

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post #8 of 18 (permalink) Old Jan 4th, 00, 4:37 PM
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Busch aluma wash for non clear coated aluminum works great after cleaning with that use a little soap and water and rinse it.

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Scott Trufant 1967 Malibu 1967 Elcamino and still looking for a 1967 Wagon. Doesn't hurt to have one of each!
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post #9 of 18 (permalink) Old Jan 4th, 00, 4:40 PM
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I've heard that Tide (Laundry detergent) and a toothbrush will work wonders. Don't know why but that tip came from an old racer that I have gotten many good tips from.

Try it and let us know

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post #10 of 18 (permalink) Old Jan 4th, 00, 9:10 PM
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I would think twice before glass beading. Because glass will imbed in the pores of the alu. only to enter the engine as the intake heats up. I have good success with soaking the intake with aircraft quality paint stripper,then scrubbing with a small wire brush.Washing it all off with a steam cleaner.Some gas stains may require a 2nd dose.


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post #11 of 18 (permalink) Old Jan 4th, 00, 9:22 PM
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When I do an aluminum intake for one of my engines, I remove the heat shield and tap the holes for screws.

I then chemically clean it and then bead-blast it, and then go over it with SOS soap pads. Why the pads? The bead blasting disturbs the upper layer of aluminum, and makes it very porous. This holds dirt, oils and grease. It also makes the aluminum look dull. The steel wool pads smooth the surfaces back to near stock finish and make it much more resistant to oils and stianing, then it can be clear coated if desired.

Costs nothing to swipe a steel wool pad from the kitchen and try it. I like the finish the steel wool gives much better than a clear coated, bead blasted one.
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post #12 of 18 (permalink) Old Jan 5th, 00, 5:14 AM
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<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Hot66ss:
I've heard that Tide (Laundry detergent) and a toothbrush will work wonders. Don't know why but that tip came from an old racer that I have gotten many good tips from.

Try it and let us know
<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

I too have heard of this method. Supposedly bead blasting makes the intake look too white. This would be for the purists out there.





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Bob (Pa.)

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post #13 of 18 (permalink) Old Jan 5th, 00, 11:08 AM
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The other aspect of bead blasting is the metal will absorb everything right after unless finished somehow.

The fella who polished my manifold recommended "Hog Wash" for polished aluminum parts, but I don't know how it would work on bare.

Me, I'd fill the basement sink with hot water, dish soap and an SOS pad and go at it. Sometimes low tech elbow grease works wonders!

[This message has been edited by Gene Chas (edited 01-05-2000).]
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post #14 of 18 (permalink) Old Jan 5th, 00, 3:29 PM
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I like 65Z16's idea with the steel wool. I had my last intake sandblasted and I will never do that again. In addition to making it porous, as 65Z16 mentions, it gave it an appearance that I would liken to wet cement. The shop where I had this done then clearcoated it - it looked terrible! I would think beadblasting would yield similar results. With my latest project, I am having a new intake CermaChromed so I will never have to worry about stains or discoloration. I know it doesn't look like stock, but it sure does look nice!

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post #15 of 18 (permalink) Old Jan 6th, 00, 5:21 AM
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Just about any degreaser should take care of the bulk of the gunk. I don't recommend oven cleaners because that will heavily oxidize the aluminum.

What I did was to just take a wire brush attachment to my drill and brush the $&!)# out of it. (I must tell you I was nervous the first time I touched the drill to the manifold.) I cleaned up GREAT to a great shine! I then shot it with a quality high temp clear. That was almost a year ago and it still looks great.

For pics:
http://www.bee.net/juncosa/chevelle

Bob
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