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Cleaning and restoring small parts
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73vertproject


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    Post: #1
    Cleaning and restoring small parts

    As I travel down this seemingly never-ending path of replacing my front suspension, I disassemble many parts and would like to spiff up, and extend the lifetime of many small and not-so-small parts (everything from bolts and nuts to the splash guards for the front disc brakes) without having to buy new ones. Most are just a little rusty and mostly need a wire brush, but others are caked with grease and grime collected since 1973.

    What are some good ways to restore these parts? I don't have a parts cleaner, and for safety reasons I'm very hesitant to fill a bucket up with gasoline and soak them in it. Should I invest in a semi-pro parts cleaner tank for a couple hundred bucks, or can I get by with a few different wire brushes for my drill and some spray-on cleaner and rattle cans? Again, I'm not looking to build a show car, but I'll probably want to take it to a few small shows and show it off around town.

    The previous owner must have garaged it most of the time, because there is very little rust and the convertible top and interior are in great shape.

    Thanks for any recommendations. It'll give me something to do during the coming winter. Remember, cheaper is better whenever possible. Smile

    Doc
    Offline 09-03-2010 12:55 AM
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    rocketfoot


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      Post: #2
      RE: Cleaning and restoring small parts

      Personally, I think a small parts cleaner would be a great idea but you could probably get by with some parts and brake cleaner (aerosol cans). Wire brushes for your drill and maybe even a decent wire brush on a bench grinder are also good. Other wise you'll need some fine grit sand paper for detail work and some pre-kleeno to remove grease and dirt before you rattle can the new finish onto the parts.

      Hope this helps...
      Offline 09-03-2010 05:03 AM
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      Mikes73stang



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        Post: #3
        RE: Cleaning and restoring small parts

        I put a wire brush wheel on my bench grinder, and it works great for getting grime off small parts.
        Offline 09-03-2010 07:32 AM
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        72HCODE


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          Post: #4
          RE: Cleaning and restoring small parts

          well if you are on the cheap you can't get cheaper then a power washer and solvent soaking with a wire brush.

          i would say, start with a power washing all the large parts getting all the sludge and 30+ years of junk off.

          wouldn't hurt to power wash the chassis in the front also getting all the loose paint and undercoat off.

          then take each part to the solvent pan and soak it in engine bright or degreaser , then useing elbow grease wire brush everything and whip the parts down with lacquer thinner to get it ready for priming or paint.

          then you can use some rust protectant primer or paint and finish in the color you want.

          but how cheap is cheap are you replacing the suspension arms or are you just changing ball joints?

          my method was buying a media baster and air compressor and going to town on all the parts i wouldn't be replacing, everything else i bought new were i could to save myself time and some money on tools.

          really cleaning up a front end takes forever to make it like new, the other option is just clean what you need replace what needs to be replaced and slap it back together. it won't look great but it will be safe.
          Offline 09-03-2010 12:28 PM
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          72fastback



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            Post: #5
            RE: Cleaning and restoring small parts

            for small rusted parts a 1 day or 2 day soak in vinegar works well.
            Offline 09-03-2010 03:52 PM
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            OLE PONY


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              Post: #6
              RE: Cleaning and restoring small parts

              I'll chime in with some similar advice as some of the other posters. The spray cans of brake cleaner works pretty well cleaning up the oily/greasy parts. I did buy a decent air compressor at Lowes and a media blasting box to use with the compressor. Well worth the investment for me for cleaning up parts for the restoration. There always small parts to media blast, I even did my ash trays to brighten them up. Of course I used the drill with a wire brush too. Good luck.
              Offline 09-03-2010 04:27 PM
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              73vertproject


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                Post: #7
                RE: Cleaning and restoring small parts

                Thanks everyone for the ideas. I tried all of them except the media box, and most worked very well for my needs. Soaking small pieces in brake fluid and then running them across a wire wheel for my bench grinder worked fine for almost everything. I tried the vinegar route, too, and it worked OK if I left it for a couple days. I may invest in a media box the next time I head to the big city and hit Lowes.

                Thanks again for the suggestions, and if you're interested, I'll post the results of the front suspension rebuild in the appropriate forum. It was quite an experience. Smile

                Doc
                Offline 09-06-2010 10:59 PM
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                rocketfoot


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                  Post: #8
                  RE: Cleaning and restoring small parts

                  My Dad mentioned getting a wire basket/cage and putting greasy parts in it and then heading down to the local car wash (self wash) and use the pressure wand to degrease.
                  Offline 09-07-2010 05:16 AM
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                  Tomahawk715



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                    Post: #9
                    RE: Cleaning and restoring small parts

                    http://antique-engines.com/electrol.asp

                    Best way to clean up small parts--you can do larger but you have to build a bigger tank.

                    You can buy washing soda on ACE hardwares online site--they will ship it to your local store.
                    Offline 09-11-2010 04:38 AM
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                    73vertproject


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                      Post: #10
                      RE: Cleaning and restoring small parts

                      Cool. The electolysis looks very interesting - I want to give it a try as soon as I get a chance. When I do, I'll let you know how well it works. Thanks for the tip and link!

                      Doc
                      Offline 09-11-2010 11:53 AM
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