Sunday, November 26, 2006

Cleaning your heads

Air cooled VW heads are aluminum; if you "hot tank" them, all you'll be left with will be the studs, valve guides, and seats. You need to cold tank them. Shops around here charge $40 just to cold tank the heads.

Radiator Specialty Company, the makers of GUNK, sell a suitable "digester", that eats anything carbonaceous, and leaves the metal untouched. There is at least one other brand, with different chemistry. The problem is getting anybody in California to sell you any, particularly since your head won't fit in the little dip tank. You need at least 2 gallons, and container that's at least 13 X 10 X 8 Inches, with NO plastic anywhere.

I bought the last gallon of GUNK Carburetor Cleaner the local Kragen had on the shelf, then went back to get another, and not only didn't they have it, they claimed to be unable to get it. Radiator Specialties also makes a product called Hydro Seal II, which is available in useful larger quantities, but it apparently cannot be retailed in California at all.

Girlfriend's enameled Canner served as the Cold Tank, and was able to score the second gallon at a DIFFERENT Kragens (total cost for parts cleaner = over $40 - should have Paid The Man - Oh Well). Still wasn't enough to cover the heads, so I filled some tall glass jars with water to displace some volume, and then added a little more mineral spirits. This toxic brew lives under the porch, WITH THE LID ON, the shade keeping it from getting too hot, and sending Volatile Organic Compounds skyward.

In a month or two, I'll fish out the first head, and put the second one in. Then we'll inspect them, and start rebuilding them, if they are worthy.

UPDATE 11/08
The heads were junk, not worth rebuilding, but they live on in the engine mockup.

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