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View Full Version : The ultimate penetrating oil? and dirt cheap to boot...



A.K. Boomer
11-12-2012, 10:51 AM
Don't know if this has been posted on here before but I'm going to be giving this a try in the future and will give my results - till then anyone with these two simple ingredients laying around might try it if you have a "situation"...




For All of you Mechanic's and Self doer’s out there.

This was in one of the Military Vehicle Club newsletters


Penetrating Oils

Recently “Machinist Workshop Magazine” did a test on penetrating oils. Using nuts and bolts that they ‘scientifically rusted’ to a uniform degree by soaking in salt water, they then tested the break-out torque required to loosen the nuts. They treated the nuts with a variety of penetrants and measured the torque required to loosen them.

This is what they came up with:

Nothing: 516 lbs

WD-40: 238 lbs;

PB Blaster: 214 lbs;

Liquid Wrench: 127 lbs,

Kano Kroil: 106 lbs

(ATF)/Acetone mix (50/50): 50 lbs.



This last “shop brew” of 50% automatic transmission fluid and 50% acetone appears to beat out the commercially prepared products costing far more.

aboard_epsilon
11-12-2012, 11:16 AM
trouble is acetone evaporates so furiously that you better keep the top on the bottle screwed on tight ..both the raw acetone and the mix you make up ..

quite expensive here as well, cost me something like £14 for 500ml and has to be ordered through a chemist/pharmacy if you need it locally

wonder if cellulose thinners and ATF will be just as good . or petrol/atf

all the best.markj

Allan Waterfall
11-12-2012, 11:21 AM
trouble is acetone evaporates so furiously that you better keep the top on the bottle screwed on tight ..both the raw acetone and the mix you make up ..

quite expensive here as well, cost me something like £14 for 500ml and has to be ordered through a chemist/pharmacy if you need it locally

wonder if cellulose thinners and ATF will be just as good . or petrol/atf

all the best.markj
Go to anywhere doing fibre glass repairs,I think the last lot I bought in Newark marina was about £3.00 for a litre.Take your own container just in case.

Allan

A.K. Boomer
11-12-2012, 11:27 AM
Also if you don't have a sealable applicator container nobody says you have to mix up a large batch and then try to store it,
ATF will survive on it's own fully open for years - and so will acetone in it's original container - just mix up a small batch enough to do the project your working on at the time...


Have to add, the last three cans of penetrating spray iv bought (all different brands from WD-40, liquid wrench, and PB blaster) have all gone flat about half way through - such is the nature of storing extreme volatiles whilst under pressure I suppose,
at any rate - it's puts the 6 or 8 bucks for a can of 8 or 12 oz. up to around 12 or 16 bucks,
as the can goes flat I resort to heating it first and then when that don't work im forced to tear into it for one last "fix"

Now - this may not be the situation for where I used to live (Mich.) cuz back in the smelly mitten I was using the stuff every other day - but out here in "rado" it's once every blue moon - but - when you need it you need it. might be a nice solution to have something that you already have laying around - that's non-pressurized - and that you can even mix up with an eye dropper on demand if you want... just saying.

cameron
11-12-2012, 12:18 PM
I don't suppose anyone has tested this mix on fasteners "scientifically rusted" for 10 years or so in road salt?

My experience has been that Liquid Wrench will usually work if I can give it enough time. I have no idea how well the acetone /ATF will work on severly corroded fasteners when a long soak is needed. And I can't say I've noticed that it has any magical properties in my relatively short experience with it.

Any bets on how many posts this thread will generate?

SteveF
11-12-2012, 12:31 PM
Yeah, it's been posted before and it is important to note that in the article the author very properly points out that this was an extremely limited test using one kind of steel and one level of rust, etc. Thus, this is NOT to be taken as gospel about which product may work better than any of the others listed.

The ATF/acetone mix worked well in THIS test. Doesn't mean it will work well in another.

Steve

A.K. Boomer
11-12-2012, 12:34 PM
totally agree - I didn't run the tests myself and can't verify - this was just sent to me by a fellow wrench so have no proof at all, It's exactly the reason why I stated "might just give it a try" in my OP, it's also the reasoning behind the question mark following the title in the OP :)

All I can say is at maybe 7cents an application it could be worth it - and I can also say the two ingredients do make sense as ATF is loaded with very strong detergents and corrosion inhibitors and the acetone is sure to distribute them...

lakeside53
11-12-2012, 12:40 PM
Some ATF's won't mix with Acetone. I don't remember which, but I tried one a couple of years ago and it simply separated.

You can get acetone by the gallon at paint stores.

flylo
11-12-2012, 12:50 PM
Well worth a try,Thanks AK!

Paul Alciatore
11-12-2012, 01:11 PM
This reflects on my concern that ATF is not a fixed substance. There can be and probably are different formulations and one may work while another may not or in any case, the results can vary. Even if you specify a particular brand of ATF, the manufacturer may change the formula from time to time so you really do not know what you are getting.

I like Kroil.

Paul A.



Some ATF's won't mix with Acetone. I don't remember which, but I tried one a couple of years ago and it simply separated.

You can get acetone by the gallon at paint stores.

wierdscience
11-12-2012, 01:44 PM
Another good mix is ATF and Charcoal Lighter fluid.That one works good for freeing up stuck engine cylinders.

ironmonger
11-12-2012, 01:45 PM
This originally appeared in HSM a few years ago. I tried the acetone and the ATF separated within seconds. I have not tried the synthetic ATF's... way to expensive... but they might work better. Just don't have any partial bottles laying around.

I believe the author had used another solvent that was not environmentally friendly ( like acetone would be...). I have used simple mineral spirits in lieu of the acetone.

All in all, it works pretty well. I have found that it seems as effective as any other nutbuster other than heat.

At least the mineral spirits doesn't literally boil out of the mix, and you don't have to be as careful not to let the mix touch painted surfaces you want to keep that way.

paul

CCWKen
11-12-2012, 02:33 PM
I've found that plain ole #2 Diesel works as good or better than anything in a can. A little in a squeeze bottle lasts a long time.

Mike Amick
11-12-2012, 02:37 PM
The classic car crowd has know about this for years. When you are tearing apart kingpins and
such of a 50 yr old car .. getting the parts to actually come apart is sometimes the hardest
part of the job.

Just keep shaking it as you are using it. If you want to think other things work better .. then
use them.

I have read several different tests by .. several different sources and this mix has won
every time.

Deus Machina
11-12-2012, 02:42 PM
Wish they published which ATF they used.
I tried a mix, but it separated and I ended up with a part that was cleaner and oily, but just as stuck as when I started.

wierdscience
11-12-2012, 02:51 PM
If I had to guess which ATF I would go for the cheapest crap on the shelf or one of the multi-spec varieties.

George Bulliss
11-12-2012, 03:07 PM
The author told me he also uses power steering fluid instead of ATF, so I don't think the mix is that technical. Lots of people have written to let me know that it won't work, and an equal number has written to tell me it's the best stuff going. My opinion is that it will either work or it won't:)

firbikrhd1
11-12-2012, 03:28 PM
If rapid evaporation is an issue how about using MEK instead. It evaporates more slowly yet has properties similar to Acetone.

Krunch
11-12-2012, 04:09 PM
I always thought acetone evaporated like crazy too...until the day I went into the shop and found a 1-gallon can of acetone with the lid missing...I think it had been sitting there for a week or more, and it didn't seem to have evaporated at all!

Maybe when it's in a can with a layer of acetone vapor over top of the liquid it doesn't evaporate too fast. I dunno. It sure feels ice-cold when you put it on a rag to clean parts for tigging!

Boucher
11-12-2012, 04:26 PM
We have been around this discussion several times. Also google ED’s Red. The Acetone does not mix with the Newer Hydraulic fluid, Power Steering Fluid if you go directly together. If you want these formulas to work, mix the ATF with some diesel fuel or Mineral spirits then add the acetone. I don’t like the odor of Diesel and prefer to use the odorless version used in the kerosene stoves.

darryl
11-12-2012, 08:56 PM
I seem to recall acetone having one of the lowest viscosities. Doesn't surprise me that it would wick into the smallest of gaps.

kc5ezc
11-12-2012, 08:57 PM
Does it work? Heck yes! Around here the guys call it 'John's Magic Elixir' . I have told them what is in it but I guess I am the only one that buys acetone in a five gallon can. Makes it easy to add a dose of acetone to the power steering fluid or ATF in a spray bottle and use it up. The vapor pressure of acetone will force the mixture out of a squirt bottle unless it is sealed tight. Don't ask what happens to a sealed plastic container of the elixir in the Oklahoma sun. Makes a mess.

darryl
11-12-2012, 09:13 PM
methylene chloride- I'd be wary of using that stuff anywhere there's a potential for anyone to breathe it in. It probably does work pretty good for penetrating-

kf2qd
11-12-2012, 09:38 PM
Dexron or Mercon?

RWL
11-12-2012, 10:21 PM
Have to add, the last three cans of penetrating spray iv bought (all different brands from WD-40, liquid wrench, and PB blaster) have all gone flat about half way through - such is the nature of storing extreme volatiles whilst under pressure I suppose, at any rate - it's puts the 6 or 8 bucks for a can of 8 or 12 oz. up to around 12 or 16 bucks, as the can goes flat I resort to heating it first and then when that don't work im forced to tear into it for one last "fix"


You can repressurize cans that go flat. Make an adapter that threads on the stem of a bernzomatic propane torch and has a narrow tube that will fit into the hole in the top of the can (with the nozzle removed). Turn the propane tank upside down, insert into the spray can, and turn on the valve. Withdraw filler when flow to the can stops and then turn off the valve. Learned this from one of the guys on rec.crafts.metalworking several years ago. I"ve refilled one rattle can so far. It works.

oldtiffie
11-12-2012, 11:12 PM
The OP's topic: The ultimate penetrating oil? and dirt cheap to boot...

Try: lube used on condoms - I am advised that it works well (it has to!!) and tasted good too (as a by-product).

CCWKen
11-13-2012, 12:28 AM
I don't EVEN want to know how you found out it tastes good. :)

oldtiffie
11-13-2012, 01:59 AM
I was told - of course - how else would I know?

IanPendle
11-13-2012, 02:49 AM
trouble is acetone evaporates so furiously that you better keep the top on the bottle screwed on tight ..both the raw acetone and the mix you make up ..

quite expensive here as well, cost me something like £14 for 500ml and has to be ordered through a chemist/pharmacy if you need it locally

wonder if cellulose thinners and ATF will be just as good . or petrol/atf

all the best.markj

For those in the UK, you can buy Acetone way cheaper than this via ebay, and surprisingly, it seems to be permissible to send by post. Maybe the stuff supplied by pharmacies is an extra pure grade? Just enter Acetone or Nail Varnish Remover.

Ian.

Ian B
11-13-2012, 05:27 AM
Darryl,

Methylene chloride; yes, it'd probably make a good penetrating fluid. The use I know for it is as a paint stripper. I dipped a tank off a Honda 500/4 in a drum of the stuff, kept it submerged for about half a minute, pulled it out and the paint fell off in one sheet, leaving bare metal.

Ian

tdmidget
11-13-2012, 07:07 AM
Is that why the gold standard of penetrants is Kroil? PULEASE give it up. They don't mix and if they did I'd be using it in every power plant I work at. It is a joke.

cameron
11-13-2012, 09:31 AM
They mix fine for me, td. Try holding your mouth a bit different when you stir it.

A.K. Boomer
11-13-2012, 09:49 AM
Hey - it's got to be true - it's on Wiki :p

(how this one got past Tiffer i'll never know, perhaps he was focused on "other things" )



"Domestic and other niche uses

Acetone is often the primary component in cleaning agents such as nail polish remover. Acetone is a component of superglue remover and easily removes residues from glass and porcelain. Make-up artists use acetone to remove skin adhesive from the netting of wigs and moustaches by immersing the item in an acetone bath, then removing the softened glue residue with a stiff brush.

This chemical is also used as an artistic agent; when rubbed on the back of a laser print or photocopy placed face-down on another surface and burnished firmly, the toner of the image transfers to the destination surface.[citation needed]

Acetone can also be used in combination with automatic transmission fluid to create an effective penetrating oil. Brake fluid is sometimes used in place of ATF. These mixtures (usually 1:1) can be useful in loosening rusted or stuck bolts."

PTSideshow
11-13-2012, 09:52 AM
Like George said it works on some stuff, and not on other items. Neighbor used about a quart trying to remove an aluminum trailer decoration one of those hitch faux knuckle train couplers. Over two days didn't even budge it and gentle tapping was used too. It did loosen steel to steel nuts and bolts on his 98 van!

A.K. Boomer
11-13-2012, 10:14 AM
PT - You would be the one to test it, I lived in utica and seen 9/16th fastener heads whittled down to 1/2" in just a couple years from all the salt out there,

I remember having my foot go through a floor board and feeling the road with my shoe "at speed"

Also seen other people depressing their clutch pedals and shifting their cars even though they had their door closed... Man I don't miss that.... what a waste.

rohart
11-13-2012, 03:26 PM
Pendle - you beat me to it. I agree - that nail varnish remover is just acetone with a little lanolin and other 'gentlers' in it. They add stuff so it doesn't dissolve all the oils out of your cuticle and other nearby skin.

For most engineering purposes - like dissolving rubber based impact adhesives - the additives are neither here nor there, especially if you finish off your adhesive removal with a wipe with naphtha - lighter fluid.

I can fully understand how pure acetone is much more expensive. It suffers from the massive disadvantage that very few people need it or ask for it.

What do the gentler sex in the States use to remove their nail varnish ?


Edit - Afterthought - Blimey, that phrase got past the censors. Well I never !