<VV> Parts Washers & Solvents (for corvair parts :-)

Mike Shank mike.shank@juno.com
Thu, 26 Aug 2004 01:30:43 -0400

I'm debating buying a 20 gal parts washer on sale for 69.99 at the local
HF store.  Noticed that they only sold water-based "solvent" for the
washer, so I took the thing apart, in the store <g>, to see what the pump
was made of - PLASTIC!   Called HF Technical Help - they recommend
AGAINST using petroleum based solvents in their washers.  My first
thought after I hung up was: "90% of the crud I plan to wash off my parts
is petroleum based!!!! - how long will that last?"   So I downloaded the
VV-Archives and did a little searching (since I know many of you fellow
vair owners are both technically savy and financially prudent ;-) what I
found was somewhat nebulous so now have more questions than answers. 
What I discovered was that this subject has definitely not yet been
beaten to death with facts and opinions as many others have (at least not
while the archives were being kept), so here goes:

1) Do any of you have any experience w/ the water-based cleaners sold at
HF?  Some of my concerns would be: 
Does it cut thru oily crud, etc., effectively?   (yes, I'll scrape the
worst of it off 1st)    
Is there a problem w/ surface rust due to trapped moisture in clean
metal?   (yes, I can try to blow it dry w/ air, but is that good enough?)
Are there other water-based "solvent" problems that are lurking out

2) Do any of you have any experience w/ NON-water based cleaners in a
cheap parts washer w/ a plastic pump?  

3) Quite a few of you recommended using either Mineral Spirits or
Kerosene (claimed to be easier on hands).  What kind of pump is in your

3) There was a very informative thread in 2002 about using "d-Limonene"
either straight or mixed with mineral spirits - came highly recommended
from several of you.  Where do you buy it?  (brand names?)  Again does
anbody have any experience w/ it in a washer w/ a plastic pump?   Can it
be mixed w/ anything that wont attack plastic but still retain its

4)  I'm assuming (that word ASSUME has gotten me before :-)  that mineral
spirits and plastic pumps don't get along.   Any insight?

5) A completely different approach - I have an old solenoid-type elec
fuel pump that puts out way too much pressure for my vair carbs.  Has
anybody built their own washer out of an old metal wash tub, a sheet
metal lid, a fuel pump, and a couple lengths of fuel hose?   How long
might that kind of pump hold up under those conditions?  Would you
recommend a filter or does it get clogged too fast?    The store bought
washers have a fusible safety link holding the lid open, is this a
must-have item or did a Ralph Nader protege dream up that federal mandate
for job security reasons?   If necessary, where do I get one all by
itself w/o a whole washer attached to it?  

6) Would you build your own if you had most of the stuff laying around,
or buy a cheap one w/ plastic pump & safety lid, or fork out bigger bucks
for a better one - if so, which one & where?

Any insight into this whole subject would be much appreciated, as would
any specific brand names, stores, etc.

- Mike