View Full Version : Chemical polishing? cleaning a item?

07-20-2009, 07:44 PM
I got about 30 platinum NGK sparkplugs. Not worn but fouled.. You can not clean platinum plugs

I wonder if the electro-chemical polish used recently on some other things would get the carbon off without damaging the surface??

These are $5.95 each x 30.. came out of a buddys street bike that he won't let me tune the carburetor. He likes it just fine.. he increased the jet size till his quarter mile quit improving. Around town, not-so-much..

07-20-2009, 08:00 PM
It cant hurt to boil some and see what happens. Works for cast iron pans.

07-20-2009, 08:42 PM
It cant hurt to boil some and see what happens. Works for cast iron pans.
If it is carbon fouling, try oven cleaner, (Easy Off.) Follow the directions, and then put them in a plastic onion sack and run them through the dishwasher. (I assume that you dont have an ultrasonic tank, or you would have already tried that.) Duffy

07-20-2009, 09:08 PM
If it is carbon fouling, try oven cleaner, (Easy Off.) Follow the directions, and then put them in a plastic onion sack and run them through the dishwasher. (I assume that you dont have an ultrasonic tank, or you would have already tried that.) Duffy

Being he used to be a tattoo artist he may have a ultrasonic tank and an autoclave, its hard to say.

I like the idea of a ripple tank.

john hobdeclipe
07-20-2009, 09:12 PM
I got about 30 platinum NGK sparkplugs. Not worn but fouled.. You can not clean platinum plugs
Why can't you clean them?

07-20-2009, 09:29 PM
I used to take large reciprocating compressor valves to the radiator shop and leave them in the hot water vat overnight. It disolves the ash structure that the carbon is attached to. It still required some persuation but produced good results.

07-20-2009, 10:22 PM
Yes, why can't you clean them and define "clean".

07-20-2009, 10:31 PM
Ted Edwards posted this electrolytic cleaning solution back in 1999, when rec.crafts.metalworking was still a good news forum. I tried it, and it works great! The only ingredient that wasn't available locally was the sodium silicate -- I ordered it from a local chemical supply house (it was dirt cheap):

Electrolytic Cleaner (http://www.metalworking.com/dropbox/_1999_retired_files/E-CLEAN.TXT)

Sodium Carbonate (washing soda) 75 grams/liter 10 0unces/U.S. gal.
Sodium Hydroxide (lye) 12.5 1.7
Trisodium Phosphate (TSP) 25 3.3
Sodium Silicate (water-glass) 12.5 1.7

07-21-2009, 08:57 AM
I deal with carbon on a regular basis since I shoot firearms very often.
If you have the ultrasonic cleaner as mentioned above then you can put the items in a jar with CLR or white vineagar. It takes all and I mean all of the carbon from the inside of the brass cases and makes them look like new in twenty minutes. http://www.6mmbr.com/ultrasonic.html

If you don't have the ultrasonic cleaner you can order a small bottle of KG Products call KG2 Bore Polish (I got mine from Brownells.com). You wouldn't believe how fast it can make a very used barrel look like new when you look at it with a borescope. I tell a lot of my shooting buddies about it but they don't believe it until I let them look at the before and after results with the Hawkeye Borescope.
Hope this helps.


07-21-2009, 09:20 AM
I don't know if you are supposed to or not, but I have cleaned them in my glass bead box and they would still work.

07-21-2009, 10:43 AM
From what I read, the platinum is plated on and cleaning it can remove it. Either by design or purpose of replacement the manufacturer says not to clean them.

What purpose does platinum do on the spark plug? no clue, but I wore the threads out on the old panhead till I started using these plugs. Last set was in there for 45,000 miles. When taken out and checked, running a light chocolate brown. She was ran hard too. Moving from one part of the country to another would require rejetting of the carbs.. but..

Tattoo artist?
I am having eye problems, not a tattoo artist in a long time. Last one I did by braille.. really. It was a blurr even through the reading glasses, I sold all the equipment to stop the desire and then do work-half ass. I still have people who call me at times, they think I am something special of a artist. Not anymore. For younger eyes and smoother hands. Most tattoo artists badmouth each other then praise you to your face. Not me either.. I have tried to help everyone, even when they didn't appreciate it. I brought sterilization to North Georgia as a requirement. Everyone here was using restrurant cleaning fluid soak to sterilize needles and tubes. I got the first autoclave in the area. THE ultrasonic is just a pre-wash to remove grime before cooking it with dry steam. I was not appreciated in the least. No diseases have been transmitted at or by any shop I have ever worked.

As a matter of factoid.. you can look at a used tattoo needle and it is slightly "hooked" on the end.. there in the "hook" is a small piece of flesh.. Cooked and sterilized it is fine to inject.. raw and unclean, not so much.. New needles are not sterile, made by someone who normally packs them to length with a finger. I have made hundreds of thousands myself over the years.

Back to the Hotrods and motorcycles and the lil problems they present, each a puzzle.

I would like a ultrasonic "pendant" to drop into a tank to clean greasy parts.. Someday when I get time.. if I live long enough.. if I have the money.. if..

07-21-2009, 01:28 PM
David, you can buy an ultrasonic cleaner from Horible Freight that would do what you want at a reasonable price.

07-21-2009, 02:06 PM
De-carbed a Mercury O/B engine block (Solid head/cylinder) with Carbon Tet. many years ago, just painted on wth a brush "Don't cha just lurv the smell of C/T first thing in the mornin"??

Regards Ian. :D

Just had another thought, if flooding an engine is suposed to kill a catalytic converter (Platinum) What use "Platinum" plated plugs???

07-21-2009, 03:45 PM
I agree with the carbon tet. Carb tuners carried a bottle with a rubber plug that would accept a spark plug tip. Where to get it nowdays? I don't know, I used to collect those old carbon tet fire extinguishers to get my supply.

07-21-2009, 04:06 PM
Yes the platinum is designed to resist sputtering and melting resulting in a longer-life spark plug. In this way, they can make a spark plug with a sharper electrode, resulting in higher E-field and thus decrease the voltage needed to spark. "Cleaning" via wire brush or sandblasting or etc will damage the thin surface of platinum.

They will still work afterwards, but if you damage that platinum coating then their life-times will be shortened considerably. (I would guess they would perform just like an ordinary spark plug, then)

At least that's my understanding. I'm no expert on the topic, though.

07-21-2009, 06:21 PM

Scroll down to the cleaning topic.

07-21-2009, 06:36 PM
I still have one of those little brass extinguishers out by my mill/drill. It's empty, though.

07-22-2009, 01:29 AM
Topct; I just want to thank you for that very good explanation. WAYNE.

07-22-2009, 05:58 AM

Scroll down to the cleaning topic.

Sounds like the NGK cleaning procedure is designed to blow away any thin platinum coating you have, errr, once had.

07-22-2009, 06:12 AM
On a personal note, I wouldn't trust any sort of blasting, the tinyest spec of residue makes a fine grinding media.

Regards Ian.

07-22-2009, 06:04 PM
I've always wanted a cheap stainless steel sink with a ultrasonic vibrator on it. Pull the plug and drain it. Carburetors are one tickle spot for me.

Never saw a ultrasonic with a drain. Using one before to etch printed circuit cards, they speed the process up. Used them to clean firearms, used them to clean jewelry, my ex wife, she came into the tattoo shop as I was setting up to tattoo Porky, got her partial plate out of my branson unit. He looked at me and said, you are going to clean that solution are you not? I showed him the test tubes I kept in it to hold the tattoo machines.

Sometimes them cheap test tubes would shatter for no apparent reason. I guess it wore the glass out with fatigue.

I was hoping for a quick soak in Evan's cleaning solution and a quick fix on the plugs..

Thanks all.