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  1. #1
    Registered user. tlw1344's Avatar
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    Default Use Carburator or Brake cleaner?

    I know this is not the proper way to clean a movement!!!
    Suppose you had a movement and no power was getting to the EW..... bushings were good but dirty. Take carburator or brake cleaner and spray into all the oil sinks very good. Wash the movement in dawn soap, rinse and dry. Oil the movement and test. What would this do in the long run to the movement??

  2. #2

    Default Re: Use Carburator or Brake cleaner? (RE: tlw1344)

    It would partially clean the movement. It would not do anything to wear or other needed repairs. It would do no harm. If dirt is the only problem, it will take care of a great deal of that. It will not be a good solution for mainsprings if it is a spring driven clock. All the dirt and grime that is solublized in the brake cleaner will go somewhere. Make sure it is not somewhere that it can foul the movement.

    The wash and rinse in Dawn can cause rust and will leave water in places you probably don't way water left. A final rinse in paint thinner or mineral spirits or alcohol would help with this but not necessarily get it all. Unless the rinse is really necessary after the brake cleaner, I'd consider not doing it.

    I have answered your direct question as directly as I can.

    I will now remind you that one of the reasons many of us are on this board is to help others learn how to do things properly... what you have described is a stopgap measure to get dirt out of the way.

    Chances are very good that there is more wrong with the clock than just cleaning will cure. I strongly encourage you to start learning how to fix it right if you are going to continue "fixing" clocks or be on the lookout for someone that can do the work for you and do it right. "Right" means disassemble the movement and clean, polish bearing surfaces and repair damage/wear.

    As a stopgap, what you have described is fine.. just realize what it is..
    David Robertson - Kingsland, TX

  3. #3

    Default Re: Use Carburator or Brake cleaner? (RE: tlw1344)

    tlw1344,

    I forgot to mention something VERY IMPORTANT...

    Brake cleaner and carburetor cleaner are very dangerous chemicals.. both from a flammability and toxicity standpoint..
    David Robertson - Kingsland, TX

  4. #4
    Jim D.
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    Default Re: Use Carburator or Brake cleaner? (RE: tlw1344)

    I have to agree with everything David said in his posts but would like to add not all cleaners dry residue free. Many are designed to leave a thin film of lubricant behind and some will discolor the brass.

    If you are going to wash it to rinse it why not wash it in a good cleaner first? A bath in Simple Green would be much better, rinse it then and blow dry it. You can get an old hair dryer at a market or yard sale for 5 or 10 bucks.

    Still far from the right way but better than what you are asking aout.

    Jim D.

  5. #5
    Registered user. Kevin W.'s Avatar
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    Default Re: Use Carburator or Brake cleaner? (RE: tlw1344)

    I agree with David and Jim.
    What are the health hazards to you and the environment with brake cleaner and carb cleaner.Why use these, use like mentioned simple gree,
    Do things the right way and avoid the short cuts.You will be proud of your work when you do it right.
    Anybody can just spray gunk, it takes more talent to diagnose a problem, disasemble the movement and clean and oil it.
    One clock at a time. Kevin West
    http://www.global-horology.com/GHMB/

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Use Carburator or Brake cleaner? (RE: tlw1344)

    Quote Originally Posted by tlw1344
    I know this is not the proper way to clean a movement!!!
    Suppose you had a movement and no power was getting to the EW..... bushings were good but dirty. Take carburator or brake cleaner and spray into all the oil sinks very good. Wash the movement in dawn soap, rinse and dry. Oil the movement and test. What would this do in the long run to the movement??
    To answer your question forthrightly: Yes, it will improve it, and it will probably get it running.

    I know that no one in this forum who is an experienced clock man will want to hear my reply, honest though it may be. (As they say in other email lists, "flame suit on".) However, there are not only the solutions and solvents you mention, but many other tricks and chemicals that you can use to accomplish the same: BUT... You are doing this to AVOID disassembly of the movement and to MAKE A QUICK BUCK on it.

    That WAS what you were asking, WASN'T IT?

    And, the answer is: Sure, you can. BUT you'll only know how to get it running, without whatever other repair the movement needs, and exploit the person that trusted you to know more than what very little you do know.

    You get to live with yourself, and knowing that you are not experienced enough, or courageous enough, or knowledgeable enough to attempt disassembling a movement [i]and doing the job RIGHT[i].

    That is not a matter of technical expertise.

    THAT is a matter of CONSCIENCE.



  7. #7
    Registered user. ogee_boy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Use Carburator or Brake cleaner? (RE: tlw1344)

    I take movement apart and pegg out holes but working on cars for 40 years-I am old-----I have used with positive results-better living through chemistry---berryman chem-dip part 0996 at $18 a gallon at auto parts store- for soaking carbs-which are almost obsolete-soak movement for up to 4 hours or more wash with hot water and dip in kerosene or something so it won't rust-but get the escapment out to polish the pallets- a slow speed dremel with a wood dowel and rubbing compound or some kind of polish untll smooth as glass-polish the groves in the pallets also if any --- the cab soak is very good if the movement is100 years old with alot of crud so you will not mess up you work bench-I have used amonia with a ultra sonic cleaner and it turned the parts black

  8. #8
    Registered user. RJSoftware's Avatar
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    Default Re: Use Carburator or Brake cleaner? (RE: tlw1344)

    I still believe the best way is tooth brush and soap n water. Dish soap has degreeser. That and peg the holes with tooth picks. I go threw some tooth picks.

    I think it is more conservative.

    RJ
    Caution: The following link is for entertainment purposes only.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_9Kw8oKh94M

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Use Carburator or Brake cleaner? (RE: tlw1344)

    What would this do in the long run to the movement??
    Rearrange the dirt!
    It will also wash all the lubricant from the springs, if it is a spring movement, and if the springs are in barrels, you canot lubricate them, so wait for the bang and count your fingers afterwards.

    If a job is worth doing ......

    Quote Originally Posted by OGB
    [...]and dip in kerosene or something so it won't rust-but get the escapement out to polish the pallets- a slow speed dremel with a wood dowel and rubbing compound or some kind of polish untll smooth as glass-polish the groves in the pallets also if any[...]
    Sorry, but kerosene will not wash the water out, and neither will it evaporate for a long while. It will actually make it rust eventually as well as diluting any oil you apply.

    I have seen movements where some pre-war magazine espoused putting a dish of the stuff in the bottom of the case to get a clock going when the oil had turned to ear wax.
    Inevitably all the arbors were rusty.

    IMHO kerosene has no place in clock repairing at all, and dunking a movement might get the clock going, but it will have to be serviced properly soon, so is really a waste of effort.

    As for the "groves" [sic] on the pallets, it is really necessary to make sure that the pallets are only curved in one dimension.
    Emery buffs (or a pivot file if the pallets are not hard) are good. Finish off with rouge.
    If the grooves on strip pallets are very bad, just replace them. On a solid anchor, they can be refaced successfully and invisibly using a bit of old mainspring.


    Mike - banned member of the throwaway society.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Use Carburator or Brake cleaner? (RE: tlw1344)

    tlw1344
    "What will this do to the movement in the long run"
    Well if you plan on mixing those two poisnous, chemicals together, or plan on using either of them, for very long. It realy wont matter, because you just might not be around to find out, if you get my poit!
    I am glad to see my good friend from David, from Kingsland spoke up to give you a warning!
    So if you want to know why I fuss about this, go look up the post about cleaning Mainsprings. Be Safe us MSDS ON LINE FOR FREE.
    Pat
    P.S. SKULL & CROSSBONES SHOULD GIVE YOU A CLUE

  11. #11
    Registered user. RJSoftware's Avatar
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    Default Re: Use Carburator or Brake cleaner? (RE: tlw1344)

    I usta have a neighbor back in the old days.

    He would take a bread bag and put about a cup of gasoline in it. Shake it up and down and huff the bag. I was a kid back then but lucky for me I had enough sense not to do that. He kept asking me if I wanted to. He would comment on how it made the road vibrate when we where walkin arround.

    I don't know if he's still alive today. But years later he became total basket case. The last time I seen him at a store and some cruel smart-alick guy was laughin at him, they nicked named him blinky.

    I remember times when Grandma talkin about how they had to take him to the mental ward again. He would have bad hallucinations of the little men at the bath tub. Something like that anyway. You knew when he was going back to the home when he started talking about the little men in the bathtub.

    Actually, it was really tragic.

    RJ
    Caution: The following link is for entertainment purposes only.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_9Kw8oKh94M

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Use Carburator or Brake cleaner? (RE: tlw1344)

    Quote Originally Posted by RJSoftware
    I usta have a neighbor back in the old days.

    He would take a bread bag and put about a cup of gasoline in it. Shake it up and down and huff the bag. I was a kid back then but lucky for me I had enough sense not to do that. He kept asking me if I wanted to. He would comment on how it made the road vibrate when we where walkin arround.

    I don't know if he's still alive today. But years later he became total basket case. The last time I seen him at a store and some cruel smart-alick guy was laughin at him, they nicked named him blinky.

    I remember times when Grandma talkin about how they had to take him to the mental ward again. He would have bad hallucinations of the little men at the bath tub. Something like that anyway. You knew when he was going back to the home when he started talking about the little men in the bathtub.

    Actually, it was really tragic.


    RJ
    RJ,

    If you are equating using carb cleaner with deliberately inhaling gasoline fumes, I don't see any relevance or value in making the analogy.

    Gumout carb cleaner is available in a spray can. I use it for cleaning my lawnmower carb, as that is its intended purpose: cleaning carburetors.

    If you were to use it this way on pivots, you'd be using less than 1/2 teaspoon of it, and any health risk is negligable. There is no point in using scare tactics to try to dissuade anyone from using a chemical cleaner prudently. It doesn't address what is essentially a potential problem of ethics.

    As I said earier, this is a matter of trying to cut corners, by avoidance of disassembling a movement. The question of intent in avoiding disassembly is the crux of the matter here.


  13. #13
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    Default Re: Use Carburator or Brake cleaner? (RE: tlw1344)

    Personally, I use carb cleaner as a pre-treatment for pivots and plates before they are polished and/or cleaned in Simple Green. I do this to remove as much crap as possible before the soak (kind of like rinsing dishes before putting them in the dishwasher, I guess.) I also use carb cleaner to clean mainsprings (very quick!)

    I agree with everyone; if you're just going to blast it, don't bother. The end effect may not be good. Especially with a dip in water. It will rust the springs. In this case, no cleaning is better than any cleaning.

    Side note: I use small doses of carb cleaner in my workshop to avoid vapor buildup and getting the whole house high.

  14. #14
    Registered user. RJSoftware's Avatar
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    Default Re: Use Carburator or Brake cleaner? (RE: tlw1344)

    No, just talking about something I experienced in the past.

    No personal reflection on you or any choice you made or make. You express yourself in a manner that suggest that you have more sense than that.

    Sometimes I am reminded of situations. And I feel compelled to express truths that I have witness, things I have lived through. Sometimes I do this, if nothing more than passing conversation. Maybe there is relevence somewhere to someone sometime down the road...

    Maybe to point out the frailty/resilience of life. The subtle truth of down in the dirt reality.

    But I am, or have become, more chemical consious. Something, somewhere at somepoint in my life gave me kidney cancer and the deeper I studied the more I have come to accept that chemical exposure was the culprit.

    But, everything is open to doubt when dealing in speculations. Just in hindsight I wish I had err on the side of caution.

    I think it's a shame that I had become masterful at taking care of the longevity of things and yet I was neglegent to myself. I learned in hindsite that it does matter.

    Another factor in why I like plain ol soap and water...!

    RJ
    Caution: The following link is for entertainment purposes only.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_9Kw8oKh94M

  15. #15

    Default Re: Use Carburator or Brake cleaner? (RE: tlw1344)

    One other problem with your method - the degreaser will remain and destroy the oil you put on the pivots (I assume you're going to oil it, right?). No good can come from what you describe, but lots of potential harm. I recommend taking the clock to a repairman and have it done professionally. You'll be able to enjoy the clock for a long time that way.

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