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  #1  
Old 13 Apr 2006
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Question Washing parts in a dishwasher?

Ok, so now I have split my very first engine (as a practice case before my next trip - and I hope I'll be able to put it back together). Now I need to clean all the bits and pieces and I am considering using my dishwasher.

Does anyone have any experience washing crank cases, crank assemblies, pistons, gear assemblies, fasteners, or other parts in a kitchen dishwasher?

Are there any parts which successfully can or cannot be cleaned in the dishwasher? Any parts which should not be cleaned in the dishwasher (electronics goes without say so)?

One concern I've got are rubber oil seals. In my case I will replace them anyhow, but nice to know if it would be a problem if I wasn't.

Another concern is the rubber bushing where the shock absorber attaches. I have not removed this one. (On this engine, the engine, gear box, swing arm and wheel mount, is a single integrated assembly - clever man whoever designed this). Will I need to remove this before washing the crank case (aluminum) where the shock absorber rubber bushing is mounted?

A third conern are the bearings. How will the cope (there are still a couple to detach)?

Also, are there any procedures I should follow?

More importantly, how does the dishwasher cope... and how did your better half cope?
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Old 13 Apr 2006
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What a strangely wonderfull idea!!

I used to love rebuilding my 2CV engine but never thought about mums dishwasher...guess I should have tried!

I guess your dishwasher probably wouldn't be too worried about loads of engine oil and gravel, however, it is not a good idea to put oil down the household drains. In fact it's probably illegal on grounds of water pollution and killing all the bacteria in the sewage plant!

With regards to the engine: personally I would choose a more traditional approach anyway. Nothing more satisfying than giving all your components a good wipe down with maintenance spray or cleaning spray. Doing it by hand also ensures that you give every component a thorough inspection and find any minute damage that might otherwise escape your attention. And parts don't start to rust as you lubricate them in the process...

I wouldn't expect your rubber seals to develop any problems through water. Problems are more likely if you use strong solvents.

With regards to the bearings: Sealed bearings - wipe clean; Open bearings - can wash out with petrol and replace Bearing Grease (get the proper stuff and don't pack the bearing solid as it would overheat if you did!)

When installing or removing bearings, always put the force on the part of the bearing that fits tight (i.e. if the bearing gets pressed on a shaft, press on the inner ring, if it gets pressed in a hole, press on the outer ring). Never use a hardened tool to tap your bearing - it could crack. Always use a soft driver or short bit of pipe of the correct diameter to tap in bearings.

Open, all metal bearings only:
If the bearing fits on a seriously tight fit (interference fit) shaft, you can use an old fashioned hot plate to carefully heat the bearing to about 80 - 90 Celsius (its hot enough when spit starts to sizzle!) and then drop it straight on the shaft (have everything ready as it will cool quickly and sit solid where ever it is!). If you use this technique, don't overheat the bearing, if it discolors you can throw it away! Don't use this technique on sealed bearings or bearings with plastic parts - they will melt!

Otherwise, make sure you remember the correct order fo re-assembly and where everything goes!

Enjoy
Jens
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Old 13 Apr 2006
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Try Kero

Hi - when cleaning any truck engine parts I always use a Kero bath - a recirculating gentle tap and pump in a big steel sink - Kero will break down any grease packed in a bearing - and as its less volatile than petrol with less solvent content - so a bit safer to use. you can use an ice cream tub and a paint brush to do the same.
blow out excess with compressed air (while wearing goggles!) and let stand on clean newspaper.
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Old 13 Apr 2006
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Well now there's an idea!

Here I was contemplating buying a parts washer (metal tub with a pump and brush on the end of the hose to pump a cleaning solvent around), when I have a parts washer all along, sitting in the kitchen! However, if I use that, I may not have a wife waiting for me in the bedroom.... Hmmmm... I will have to work on this.. ;-)
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Old 13 Apr 2006
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I gave the crankcases a quick so so scrub with Kerosene and wiped them down with rags, they looked pretty decent. This is a fourty year old engine and has probably never been cleaned, it was pretty horrific.

As a test, I've now put the cleanest of the two halves in the dish washer, on a "pots and pans" cycle with the standard ammount of dishwasher detergent. I've left a mug in there to serve as a "litmus test" when the ordeal is over. If the tastes and smells ok, then I'll do the more gritty half. If the tastes horrible, I'll run another cycle with just the mug and do the litmus test over.

I opened the door of the dishwasher to check how everything was working out. The fumes in the steam allmost knocked me over...

This better work, my wife is home and knows what I'm up to


Will just have to see how this saga ends, I'll keep you posted....
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Old 13 Apr 2006
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The case looks like bling bling. Except for a couple of crannies that were filled with water during the cycle, the case looks almost perfect. I guess I could turn it over and run it a second cycle, to get out the tiny bits that are left, but as they are in spots where it doesn' matter, I won't bother.

The dishwasher smelled like Kerosene straight away, but now that it has cooled down, it is ok.

Best of all, the tastes and smells great!

I should have taken before and after shots, but I forgot. Tomorrow I'll do the nasty case half, and I'll post some pictures. If this casing goes, then any will go. We are afterall talking about an engine from 1966. I might have to run a couple of cycles, but it sure beats scrubbing by hand... or spending hundreds of dollars on a partswasher.
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Old 14 Apr 2006
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Ok, my final report on the dishwasher experiment:

Today I put in the more gritty parts and ended up having to run the parts through two cycles. These were pretty filthy to begin with, and didn't come out perfect. But, it still beats the hell out of breaking a sweat and getting filthy. If I wanted the parts perfect, the job would be infinitely easier and less messy to do by hand after they have been cleaned off in the dishwasher.

However, if I was to do this again, I would have sprayed the parts with an engine degreaser and hosed them off thoroughly with a pressurewasher, before putting it in the dishwasher. To keep the parts from flying off, I would either have stepped on them with rubber boots, or snap-tied them to a milk crate.

It seems as though the plastics within the dishwasher is not too fond of all the petroleum products and could easily get stained. In my case I had to quickly wipe down the dishwasher with Ajax Professional Double Power, and then run a third cycle with just the mug. It was a two minute job to wipe it down, easy peasy. But next time, I'll make certain my parts are cleaner to begin with when putting them in the dish washer. The tasted and smelled perfect.

The remaining stains you can still see on the picture is mostly just 60 year old road grit and corrosion, embedded on the outside of the casings, which really doesn't matter except for cosmetic purposes. I believe the only viable method of removing this would either be by polishing them using an aluminum polishing compound and a Dremel, or by using ultrasound.

It is fair to mention that these types of chemicals are carcinogenic (but so is the smoky meat from the BBQ). I've heard rumors that a liter of old oil can contaminate a million liters of water. Wether this is true or not, or how severely the effects are, I have no idea (I'm taking my risks). But you have now been informed.

Would I recommend others to use their dishwasher to wash down their parts? I don't know, but I will certainly do it again! Besides, if my dishwasher got ruined, I can get a brand new one for about the same as a parts washer. Then I can stick the stained one in the garage. If you are in doubt, an old beaten up dishwasher shouldn't cost much, a cheap and efficient parts washer.

Do be prepared to wipe down the dishwasher though. But, this is a quick and easy job. This is by no means a guarentee that it will work for you. I take no responsability for your parts, your dishwasher, your health or your environment.

My bling bling engine casing:



Here you can see a film of oil on the plastics of the dishwasher:




Last edited by Wheelie; 14 Apr 2006 at 16:02.
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Old 14 Apr 2006
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I've had cylinder heads and pistons etc in the dish washer - never had any problems.
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Old 17 Apr 2006
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Washing parts in a dishwasher?

Brilliant! I guess this is the 21st centuary equivilent of re-building the engine on the kitchen table.

My only question is how you managed to sell the idea to your wife? Flowers, a bottle of something nice and smelly or did you just go for it and hope that the inevitable Flak soon passed? All tips gratefully received..........

Q
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Old 17 Apr 2006
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Well, first you slowly but surely occupy different strategic corners of your house with small bike projects. Slowly, so that it creaps up on her. When it is too late to simply pack up the stuff, meaning you have to complete the project before moving back into the garage, it doesn't take long before the wife will get so sick of it that she will buy into anything to get her house back. In my case it was convincing her that she would soon get the laundry room back if I could only clean the engine in the dish washer. The alternative scenario portrayed was ofcourse spending days and days scrubbing parts in smelly Kerosene, right next to where all the laundry was hanging to dry (it was ofcourse too cold to work in the garage).

Another option is ofcourse to choose your wife wisely...
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Old 18 Apr 2006
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Electronics in the dishwasher

Used to be a favourite of the circuit cellars.

As most electronics are sealed and rated for 100 degrees C the dishwasher is Ok for them too. The things I'd worry about are electrolytic capacitors - they have a seal that may leak. Potentiometers. Adjustable capacitors.

As for motor parts .. I'd be concerned with rust after the wash. Things like bearings can hide some moisture.
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Old 18 Apr 2006
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Thumbs up dishwasher parts cleaner

Wheelie can you find Castrol Super Clean ? This stuff works great. Just spray it on brush heavy deposits wash off with a strong stream of water. A cautionary note, use rubber gloves,this stuff is an acid. My first time using it I noticed my hands looking really clean, then I felt my fingers burning, not fun.
If you have to repeat the process a couple of times for satisfactory results it seems like a reasonable tradeoff for domestic tranquillity.
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Old 19 Apr 2006
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Ahh - new thingy - you have to click on 'read posts below current' ...

They have diswasher cleaners .. would be a good idea after the 'non domestic' parts .. before domestic bliss is endangered?
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