Not 116, but need help cleaning alloy inlet manifold

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John S

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I need help with this for the upcoming Concours. The inlet on my V6 W210 is magnificently formed in an alloy and nicely in view, EXCEPT that it has an intricate surface finish that looks blotchy and seems to hold the dirt rather tightly.

Having tried cleaning it normally without much effect, I then tried (very lightly) sanding with 400 Wet & Dry which cleaned it up fairly well without going too far but the ingrained dirt is still there. I then tried turps, which helper a little but still not good enough. Next was alloy wheel cleaner with a toothbrush, still not good enough. What else could I use? Truck wash was then scrubbed in with a toothbrush once more, but no go, you can still see the dirt in/on the surface. My last effort was Xylene, thinking that it would strip anything out, but no, the manifold is still not Concourse.

So what is the trick to obtaining an 'as new' finish on the alloy inlet manifold?
 

Styria

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Didn't OBH do some cleaning with coke ? I must admit to not following his post too closely at the time, but it might be an idea to try and find it on the discussion board - in fact, I myself will need to make an effort to find it as I wanted to respond to it at the time but never got around to doing it. Regards Styria
 

BenzBoy

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If you can get your hands on some (oxalic acid?) that might do the trick. Ant knows. Ant - what did you use? Ant -your help is needed!! :D
Coca Cola is good for a surface in reasonable condition but you may need a heavier acid - juts watch where else it goes.
Regards,
Benz-Boy
 
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John S

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What a great idea, Coke has some Phosphoric Acid in it doesn't it? I shall give Coke a go tomorrow morning.
 

SEL_69L

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I have seen Alkasteam, which is highly alkaline, absolutely destroy unprotected alloy surfaces; it turns alloy surfaces a very unattractive dull grey. Normally, alloy wheels are protected with a very good laquer finish. Similarly, I have seen alloy surfaces devastated with 'mag wheel cleaner', which is dilute hydrofluoric acid.
 
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abl567

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Citric Acid, as used to clean coffee machines. Make up a slightly stronger solution than suggested and work in well with a toothbrush, rinse the part with water then return the unrinsed toothbrush to whoever deserves it;)
 

TJ 450

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I have used alkaline mag wheel cleaner with success, although it is very subjective.

Tim
 

BenzBoy

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Citric Acid, as used to clean coffee machines. Make up a slightly stronger solution than suggested and work in well with a toothbrush, rinse the part with water then return the unrinsed toothbrush to whoever deserves it;)

Thanks Ant - SuperHero to the Clean Engine Brigade. I remember now, Oxalic acid is used to kill weeds. Just got my hobbies mixed up.
Regards,
Benz-Boy
 

OzBenzHead

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A couple of litres of cola fizz (no-name el-cheapo works as well as The Big Brand) poured over a warm (but certainly not hot) alloy manifold can do no harm (if you take the usual precautions against getting liquids in the wrong places).

Works a treat for me on old-style alloy rocker covers and inlet manifolds (M180, M130, M189). I left it on for about half an hour.

The active ingredient is phosphoric acid.

I now have a 10 litre drum of 85% phosphoric acid that I can dilute to suit any job.

From my initial experiments it seems a solution of 1 part acid to 100 parts water is similar in effect to cola drink.

I have gone up to 5% in my experiments, and found that anything beyond 3% tended to discolour the alloy rather than leave it white-clean.

There are some pics of my freshly-coked M189 kicking around the ether somewhere -- perhaps posted elsewhere on TopKlasse. Not concours (wasn't aiming there), but it might help you toward it.
 
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John S

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OK I tried the Cola method this morning but no discernable improvement. From about 3 foot away the manifold looks great, but when you get up close you can see there is room for improvement. The truck wash I tried was CT18 by the way; it's supposed to work well on manifolds according to Matt. Perhaps I am expecting too much.
 
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BAR

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Oxalic acid is the base product used in timber deck and outdoor furniture cleaners, you can get this from a ship's chandler or even dare I suggest Bunnings. A brand that comes to mind is DecksAlloy.

If the surface has been unmanaged for a long time the alloy will have oxidised to an extent and it may be better using Scotch Brite pads (plastic version of steel wool).

I polished the alloy rocker covers on my car by removing them from the engine and worked on them with a bench polisher. First the scotch brite belt, then using polishing wheel (cloth wheel) and metal polish. WHen all nice and shiny I used a wax polish to protect and seal.
 
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John S

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Thanks for all the suggestions guys. One suggestion was from Mike Fleming, who advised masking all the electrical components off, use degreaser then rinse off with water; so I decided to give Mike’s suggestion a go, using rubber bands to hold plastic bags in place over the electronic modules.

The block cleaned off nicely (and I thought it was clean anyway) as did the cam covers plus the nooks & crannies in the engine bay, but the inlet manifold doesn't seem to have changed much.

After drying everything I could with paper towels, I put the large "Mercedes Benz" plastic cover back on so will check other engine bays for comparison on Sunday.
 
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