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Old 06-25-2008, 10:16 PM   #1
Hammers69
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Default How to Clean an Aluminum Intake Manifold?

What is the best way to clean a very dirty and perhaps painted original aluminum intake manifold? Is glass beading an option?

Thanks.
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Old 06-25-2008, 10:25 PM   #2
MotorHead
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That's the way I do it, mine come looking brand new, they are however not real dirty to start with
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Old 06-25-2008, 11:32 PM   #3
Ben Lurkin
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Easy off oven cleaner - the one in the blue can. Pressure wash at the local car wash. Glass bead.
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Old 06-26-2008, 09:01 AM   #4
Jud Chapin
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Have a look here:

http://www.offroaders.com/tnt/15.htm
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Old 06-26-2008, 09:47 AM   #5
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I glass beaded both of mine off my '65 and '78.
The key is to use as low of a pressure as possible and still get it clean.

If I recall I used about 25psi on the '78 (which was MUCH dirtier than my '65) and only increased that pressure a bit on a few areas that were being more stubborn.

This is my '78 intake before glass beading:
Click the image to open in full size.

after glass beading:
Click the image to open in full size.

After glass beading and painting with "Alumablast"
Click the image to open in full size.

IF you are going to glass bead an intake, it is VERY important to remove the splash shield on the underside (as shown here)
Click the image to open in full size.

The splash shield on the bottom will collect glass beads that get inside the runners and they will stick inside there, clinging to the oil residue. You do NOT want the glass beads to get into the motor afterwards so remove it before glass beading the intake. It's held on by 4 push-in type rivits. Gently pry the rivits out to remove the splash pan.
After glass beading the intake use air pressure and/or high pressure water to blow out remaining glass beads from inside the intake completely.
Afterwards, the splash pan can be reistalled with new rivits. They are available from your local chevy dealer's parts counter - they come as a bag of 10
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Old 06-26-2008, 10:04 AM   #6
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EAGLE 1 Aluminum mag cleaner!!!! Make sure it is the one that saids DO NOT USE ON CLEAR COATED MAGS. Two treatments spray on hose off and it looks brand new without having to clean out sand and beads!
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Old 06-26-2008, 01:45 PM   #7
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Whatever you do, don't get clever and put the manifold in the dishwasher. Please don't ask how I know this!

+1 for the Eagle Mag cleaner. That's how I recovered from mess #1.

Jim
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Old 06-26-2008, 02:20 PM   #8
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Is that the Eagle 1 "Etching" Mag cleaner, 26 oz spray bottle?
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Old 06-26-2008, 02:38 PM   #9
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easy off and you might try some AC coil cleaner this is a very aggresive cleaner used on outdoor ac units and can rinse off with water. You can dilute it if you like(hell we have used it on wheels that where really bad and they came out clean then had to polish). A more satin finish is the glass beads but as said above you better make sure that you blow/wash everything out really well our you might be sorry . I have used both methods and they work well.

Good luck wro87
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Old 06-26-2008, 07:16 PM   #10
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I don't remember if the bottle said etching on it but it says in bold print DO NOT USE ON CLEAR COAT MAGS! The stuff is strong and it leaves the aluminum with an almost polish look. Just spray and wash PEP BOY SPECAIL
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Old 06-26-2008, 07:48 PM   #11
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Would the same work for old rims?
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Old 06-26-2008, 08:53 PM   #12
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I use walnut shells instead of glass beads in my blast cabinet. They dont etch the aluminum like glass beads do.
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Old 06-26-2008, 09:43 PM   #13
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Thanks to everyone who responded. Really great ideas! The manifold is off the car. I think I will try the Eagle Mag treatment first. If that fails will try blasting. If I blast, are special tools needed to install the rivets in the splash shield? Do you blast or use cleaner on all surfaces inside and out?

With blasting, my concern would be to abrade a mating surface and cause leaks. Also, is glass residue (not beads) in the metal pores a potential problem?

Whatever cleaning method, do you all recommend painting afterward or is there a sealer? Any issues with getting paint inside? What's the best paint choice? Assume it must be high temp paint?

Thanks again! I will report results.
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Old 06-26-2008, 11:08 PM   #14
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I believe that those "rivets" are just twist-shank screws that you tap in with a hammer. Use a set of side-cuts (wire cutters) to grab on to the heads and give them a CCW twist. They should un-screw. If so, just buy some new twist screws and tap them back in for re-assembly.
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Old 06-26-2008, 11:10 PM   #15
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Not sure what your budget is , but there is a man in MD. named Jerry McNeish AKA MR. Z-28 He is kkown for some of the best restoration work in the country on 67 thru 69 Camaros.

He has a process called re skinnig. It will take an alumium intake back to brand new out of the box look. But it is not a paint or coating that can be damaged by a fuel spill.

His web site is

www.z28camaro.com


You can see examples of the work.

cost is about 125.00

He did my valve covers and they look perfect.

David
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Old 06-26-2008, 11:17 PM   #16
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Default Gotta love plastic!

Consider using plastic media if you decide to blast. It is less abrasive to the base material, just as effective, and if some does get into the engine, it will competely burn off...any minimal residue is just carbon, same as fuel & oil
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Old 06-27-2008, 08:47 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dmayhew View Post
Not sure what your budget is , but there is a man in MD. named Jerry McNeish AKA MR. Z-28 He is kkown for some of the best restoration work in the country on 67 thru 69 Camaros.

He has a process called re skinnig. It will take an alumium intake back to brand new out of the box look. But it is not a paint or coating that can be damaged by a fuel spill.

His web site is

www.z28camaro.com


You can see examples of the work.

cost is about 125.00

He did my valve covers and they look perfect.

David
Jerry's work is very nice. I got my valve covers back a few days ago.

If you don't have the bucks just go ahead with the mag wheel cleaner for rough cast uncoated wheels. Spray it on, wait a while, hose it off. Repeat if you have stubborn stains. Rince well and hit it with VERY LIGHT multiple coats of dull aluminum high heat engine enamel. Dusting several light coats with a few minutes between them will give you a nice look that seals the pores and helps to prevent stains.

-Mark.
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Old 06-27-2008, 11:14 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hammers69 View Post
If I blast, are special tools needed to install the rivets in the splash shield? Do you blast or use cleaner on all surfaces inside and out?
no, they are splined and you just tap them into the holes with a hammer.
I blasted the entire outer surface and only very lightly on the underside. Again, you only want to use as much pressure as you need to clean it up. That will vary depending on how dirty/stained the intake is, the condition and abrasiveness of the glass beads, etc. On the intake and valve covers the beads I was using were somewhat worn from use already which I liked since it lessens the amount of possibly removing texture off the surface.
Start with as low of a pressure as you think will work and only increase it if you need. On my intakes I think I started around 15-20psi and went up to about 25psi. only had a couple small areas that I had to increase above 25psi to get some crap off.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hammers69 View Post
With blasting, my concern would be to abrade a mating surface and cause leaks. Also, is glass residue (not beads) in the metal pores a potential problem?
nah, you won't affect the mating surfaces. I barely touched the mating surfaces with the blasting though just to be safe. Also, the mating surfaces don't need to be blasted for any cosmetic reason since they aren't seen so you can skip them anyway altogether.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hammers69 View Post
Whatever cleaning method, do you all recommend painting afterward or is there a sealer? Any issues with getting paint inside? What's the best paint choice? Assume it must be high temp paint?
painting depends on the intake and year of the car. my '65 aluminum intake was not painted at the factory so I left it "raw" afterwards. My '78 intake was painted silver at the factory so after blasting it I repainted it. If you paint it you will want to use hi-temp paint.
Getting paint inside while painting, such as in the carb opening or the runner exits is not a problem
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Old 08-01-2008, 10:21 PM   #19
Hammers69
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Tried the wheel cleaner. It stripped a lot of residue off the outside but didn't come completely clean inside. Could not find rivets for the cover on the underside, so scrapped the blasting option. Opted to go to a machine shop and have it hot tanked. For $30 it came completely clean. Then painted it with Alumablast and top coated it with Plasti Kote clear. Looks good, and is fuel resistant. Thanks to all for the help.
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Old 08-02-2008, 12:14 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dmayhew View Post
Not sure what your budget is , but there is a man in MD. named Jerry McNeish AKA MR. Z-28 He is kkown for some of the best restoration work in the country on 67 thru 69 Camaros.

He has a process called re skinnig. It will take an alumium intake back to brand new out of the box look. But it is not a paint or coating that can be damaged by a fuel spill.

His web site is

www.z28camaro.com


You can see examples of the work. cost is about 125.00

He did my valve covers and they look perfect.
David
i tried cleaning my tri-power manifold using some of the techniques listed here and not the quality i am looking for. my manifold is with Jerry McNeish now and i cant wait to get it back home
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Old 08-02-2008, 12:14 AM
 
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