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Cleaning rock hard carbon off pulled engine valves. What's the best method?

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Old 04-18-2010, 12:22 PM   #1
polo1134
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Default Cleaning rock hard carbon off pulled engine valves. What's the best method?

I have the valves out of the engine and really need to clean up the carbon and deposits that are caked on them. I would like to do this at home myself with general tools and solvents. I soaked them in lacquer over night but the deposits are still rock hard. I did try a little steel wool and that did nothing.

Would a drill with wire brush be to harsh? Would a hand wire brush be better to use?

Any help will be appreciated. Thanks!
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Old 04-18-2010, 12:26 PM   #2
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I use a bench grinder with a wire wheel - quick and easy!
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Old 04-18-2010, 12:29 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by polo1134 View Post
I have the valves out of the engine and really need to clean up the carbon and deposits that are caked on them. I would like to do this at home myself with general tools and solvents. I soaked them in lacquer over night but the deposits are still rock hard. I did try a little steel wool and that did nothing.

Would a drill with wire brush be to harsh? Would a hand wire brush be better to use?

Any help will be appreciated. Thanks!


Compared to the environment those valves live in!! I'd say, no...
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Old 04-18-2010, 12:43 PM   #4
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Bench grinder with a wire wheel. Fast and easy, and no damage to the valves.

Lars
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Old 04-18-2010, 01:05 PM   #5
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OK, I have no bench grinder. I do have some drills with the metal wire wheel attachments. It may take longer but at least it will get the job done.

Thanks for the advice.
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Old 04-18-2010, 01:42 PM   #6
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I also use a bench grinder. I have a brass wire wheel. Works great!
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Old 04-18-2010, 01:51 PM   #7
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Default Heres a way

Using one valve, strike the other where the carbon has built up on the head of the valve. This will knock most of the carbon off since you dont have a grinder or glass bead cabinet...You will not hurt either valve by doing this procedure. However you don't have to be outrageously aggressive either.....
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Old 04-18-2010, 03:50 PM   #8
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On really bad valves I put them in a drill press and use a flat blade screw driver as a gouge.
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Old 04-18-2010, 05:57 PM   #9
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I'm going to go and purchase a bench grinder. Cleaning the valves by hand is a PITA!

Thanks for the info.
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Old 04-18-2010, 08:36 PM   #10
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Clamp your drill in a vice, put a valve in the drill (stem first obviously), run the drill and use an old screwdriver to remove the deposits from the spinning valve.
Clean up and polish the valve with emery paper.
Wear gloves and goggles if the safety police are watching.
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Old 04-19-2010, 06:17 AM   #11
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For a solvent to soften up the deposits, go to you local Lowe's or HD and pick up some paint stripper. The methylene chloride in the stripper does an excellent job of cutting the deposits.
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Old 04-19-2010, 07:01 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by polo1134 View Post
I'm going to go and purchase a bench grinder. Cleaning the valves by hand is a PITA!

Thanks for the info.
New valves are cheaper...but then you don't get a new toy for the shop!
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Old 04-19-2010, 10:07 AM   #13
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If you have heads removed with many miles of use, take them to a rebuilder for clean-up, 3-angle valve regrind, new springs, new valves, new seals and keepers. Cleaning the carbon off the valves and putting it all back together is NOT what you want to do.
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