View Full Version : Removing oil stains from paint work

05-25-2011, 04:53 PM
Likely to be caused by years of a lack of basic care, my latest acquisition has oil stains on the (light coloured) paintwork. However, the paintwork is good enough not to warrant a repaint, so has anyone got a good method for removing or minimising the staining?
I've tried kerosene and wax & grease remover without much success - the stain lifts a little but is still there.
(Related rant)
Incredibly although I was told that this machine was used in a technical training centre, apart from the general lack of superficial cleanliness, one of the 3 gear boxes was dry (another was 1/2 way there) and grease had been pumped into the oil nipples. I would have thought that basic machine maintenance/ care should have been the first thing taught at these places. I bet the instructors or students don't keep their cars that way


05-25-2011, 05:17 PM
think you're going to have to use a cutting compound on it .

there are different grades....

if its really bad get the most course grade..

if you're not bothered use scouring powder on it ..."VIM"

all the best.markj

05-25-2011, 05:35 PM
Sounds like its seeped into the paint. Normally I use WD40 and green scotchbrite lightly for the surface stains, and an electric buffer with some fine polishing rouge for the deeper ones. Beyond that, I either strip it or ignore it because I havent found a way of getting it out.

05-25-2011, 07:23 PM
Stains in light coloured paint? Not much chance of getting it out. You could try bleach. Oil is organic while most paint pigments aren't so it may lighten the stain without lightening the paint.

John Stevenson
05-25-2011, 07:31 PM
Just use the bugger, they are not made to be polished.

Bob Fisher
05-25-2011, 07:45 PM
Sell it! To me at a reduced price, and look for a perfect one.Bob Fisher.

05-25-2011, 08:45 PM

I think you are going to have to learn to live with it or get ready to repaint. I have a white BP clone. I have tried everything possible to remove the oil stains. They run all the way down to the primer. They can only be covered up with new paint.


05-25-2011, 08:52 PM
The "just use it" option is the one currently being followed but if there is a simple quick way of cleaning it up I'd do that. I'm not planning to strip the paint or cut and polish the machine (or get rid of it while waiting for a perfect one, although thanks for the offer Bob) just because of a bit of staining. Eventually some repainting may take place but there are enough functional issues to chase down before any of that takes place.


05-26-2011, 06:14 AM
back to this stuff then


05-26-2011, 06:49 AM
Just use the bugger, they are not made to be polished.
Well said John

or do we have a concours section for machine tools ,if its got oil stains its been lubed at some stage

Alistair Hosie
05-26-2011, 07:05 AM
Mark is spot on all you need is a mild abrasive like T cut or better still some pumice poweder and water with some washing liquid mixed together it is on the surface most likely so elbow grease will be required have fun .Or better still paint it green. Alistair

Alistair Hosie
05-26-2011, 07:07 AM
Sir John can't talk gert tells me he's always buffing polishing his in the bath:D anyway one day it will be bright and shiney. Alistair and he never uses it either according to our Gert:D

John Stevenson
05-26-2011, 07:45 AM
Sir John can't talk gert tells me he's always buffing polishing his in the bath:D anyway one day it will be bright and shiney. Alistair and he never uses it either according to our Gert:D

Well you are right on one point and wrong on the other, I'll leave you to work out which :rolleyes:

05-28-2011, 06:54 AM
Today I was draining the sludge out of the coolant tank. I'm still debating about using coolant as for occasional use it seems more trouble than it's worth. However, I did some experimenting (ok - discovered something by accident).
I had been cleaning some parts with methylated spirits and grabbed that rag to wipe up some sludge and noticed that did a very good job. I then remembered that I've stripped paint in the past with a 50:50 mix of meths and turps (mineral turpentine - commonly used as a paint thinner here in Oz), so I tried 50:50 meths and kero (kerosene - you'll pick up the language eventually). This is the result -
(this is the before)

and this is after a few seconds of rubbing with a rag.


The combination of the two even if they don't like mixing seems to do the job. I mixed some in a small dish and then dunked the rag in it to pick up both. The meths seems to soften the dried up oil/ grease which the kero can then attack. Separately the kero doesn't work well at all while with the meths (while more effective) requires a dripping rag - with this mix the rag only needs to be wet/ damp. The rag once used came away with some white on it, so I suspect as well as removing the oil residue degraded paint is being attacked slightly as well.


05-28-2011, 12:30 PM
So what kind of mill is this? I see a powered knee, sight glass on right is empty, XLO?

Don't mess with coolant unless you don't have to, for you I would suggest a light, non-staining, cutting oil like Mobilmet 404.

Forrest Addy
05-28-2011, 04:07 PM
What John said. It's a machine tool etc. This often falls on deaf ears when people like to have their stuff look nice. In that case, the solution is simple, prep the area, match the paint and touch up. If you break through to bare metal, patch prime, fill as needed, and finish coat.

There are three keys to an invisible paint repair. One is to properly prep the area to be painted. The next is match the original paint for color and compatibility. The last (and most often skimped) step is to allow sufficient undisturbed curing time between coats.

Machine tool paint touch-ups take as long as they take. Good results diminish in exponentially to corners cut and times rushed.

05-28-2011, 06:45 PM
I don't want to touch the paint work on this machine - I try to only paint hardware if the paint is so far gone that coverage has been reduced so that corrosion is a possibility (or it looks so tatty that the scrap metal dealers start circling). I'm not planning on re chroming the shiny bits either. This machine (a Sajo 52 with universal table) has good paint coverage although with a few chips in it. I hate painting and find that once you start on a machine you end up painting everything.
However, I do prefer my machines to look tidy, so I wanted to remove the oil stains and clean it up generally. Essential in this case as even the dials on the machine were caked in dried up oil.
I know this is a shocking confession - I'm one of those terrible people who cleans machines and sweeps the floor after using them. I find that people who don't are soon not permitted to use machines in the shops at work. Yes, I have a floor that I can see in my shed. Please don't ban me from the forum.

The empty sight glass is another story. When I get a machine I do some basic maintenance checks before I start using it in anger. Electrical stuff, V belt condition, bearings, fluids, lubrication etc. Part of this may be changing the oil. Although this machine takes 6 litres in it's three gear boxes, it only had 3 total present and that was like melted chocolate (both in colour and viscosity). One possible reason for this was that the sight glasses, made of plastic, were so discoloured with age that nothing could be seen through them. The thread was a very non standard one (M26x1.75), so after asking around and getting no joy I made up some housings and got a local glass cutter to make up some discs for me. I'm letting the gasket goo set for a little while but I hope to fill the gear boxes today and be able to see the oil level. I hope the bearings have not suffered but short of pulling the gearboxes apart I won't know until it's running.