Acetone Part Cleaning Idea/Question

Discussion in 'General IH Tech' started by Gunfighter97, Oct 9, 2019.


  1. Gunfighter97

    Gunfighter97 Farmall Cub

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    I've discovered acetone: how expensive it is, how worth the money it is, and how dadgum fast the stuff evaporates to fumes (YEEEE HAW). Basically what I've got is a paint can full of the stuff that was collected after I rinsed a large part, I began soaking smaller parts in it in a home made wire basket and it seems very effective. Yesterday I put the five hole bracket thats part of the np202 xfer case crossmember in the can and the tary black glue that was road grime was ALOT easier to get off. In fact I was struggling to not to drop the stuff everywhere on my way out of the garage with the bracket(1 day of soaking). So heres my idea (or maybe these already exist and I dont know what to search for), essentially a giant paint can, capable of containing the fluid and reducing evaporation (this stuff is expensive after all) along with a large part like a bare t98 housing for example. Does this kind of tank/vat exist and if not I'd like to open discussion on how can I go about making something simple here that others can replicate on the cheap. Honestly, after the np202 cleaning process, I could've spent the money for five gallons of acetone, and a few days of fabrication to make a vat and still came out ahead...

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  2. Greg R

    Greg R Dreams of Cub Cadets

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    Acetone is highly flammable, you might as well use gasoline. Plus it can damage the nerves with long enough exposure. Small jobs, small parts I might use it. I used it in the refrigeration shop for low temperature probe testing, but other than that I go for something else such as mineral spirits or Stoddard solvent.

    In fact, back in my Navy days around 1970; there was a fleetwide safety bulletin about acetone/nail polish remover and safe disposal of said product. The way it went: a Navy wife threw some nail polish remover in the toilet. Hubby comes along to sit on the toilet. He lights up a smoke and throws the match in the bowl. Things lit up with a boom and the poor sailor had to miss a ship's cruise because he landed in the hospital with severe injuries to his backside. The Navy views missing a ship's movement very seriously, so this was no small accident. So, there ya go with my take on acetone.
     
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  3. jeff campbell

    jeff campbell Lives in an IH Dealership

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    Damn man.lol. wow thats crazy
     
  4. Dana Strong

    Dana Strong Dreams of Cub Cadets

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    It would take a lot of acetone to do that, even if the water were warm. Couldn't he smell it? It diffuses readily, not being like some heavier gasses that hug the ground.
    Frequent and prolonged exposure to acetone can cause liver damage, but I'm unaware of nerve damage occurring. It's a naturally occurring compound that is found in the blood of diabetics in significant amounts. I've used all the solvents, including dioxane, both professionally and at home, and see no great problem so long as one uses common sense when handling them. They're not like cyanide, where small amounts can be fatal.
    Yes, acetone and various other solvents will remove deposits and paint that even the best or the crappiest (e.g. california) gasoline won't touch. Purchased from the right places in 5 gallon cans, the price can be significantly lower for non-lab grade material. I haven't priced it in years though.
    BTW, Lacquer thinner, Brush Cleaners and Paint Removers have changed formulations here over the last decade or two. The chlorinated ethanes/ethylenes are gone from the last two; I forget the details about the first. I still get old formulations, and have a good supply of everything except benzene.
     
  5. Gunfighter97

    Gunfighter97 Farmall Cub

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    I dont know if I should laugh or cry... Only in America can you have your arse blown up minding your own business smoking while taking a s***

    Question: are we SURE it was the fumes from nail polish that exploded and not from the victims diet?

    On a serious note I am aware this stuff is quite hazardous. It might be possible to have a drain/fill function? Ie keep the solution contained via tubes and valves to a seperate can. The lid could be cracked once the tanks drained to alllow the fumes to disperse before removing/adding parts, then once sealed open the valve back up and raise the tank above the vat. Dadgum this stuff is so effective but I'm wondering if it might be more trouble than its worth(at least in liability)... How does that stodart solvent compare? Evaporation rate? Effectiveness? Fumes? Ive heard about it from a guy i consider a master of all mechanical objects, but I still need a vat.

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  6. Gunfighter97

    Gunfighter97 Farmall Cub

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    Dana Strong nailed it! Communist chemicals and all that... Acetone is the only thing I've used in cali besides that swepco hand scrub that actually works as advertised.

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  7. Dana Strong

    Dana Strong Dreams of Cub Cadets

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    Actually, you can add some to the standard Stoddard Solvent to improve its actions and to lessen evaporation, but the fumes diffuse fast so the vat needs to be kept tightly closed to prevent them from escaping at a significant rate.
     
  8. Gunfighter97

    Gunfighter97 Farmall Cub

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    Exacly! Where do i get a sealable vat big enough to put a transmission in?

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  9. Dana Strong

    Dana Strong Dreams of Cub Cadets

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    What about a 50 gallon (or maybe a smaller one?) blue polyethylene barrel with the full removable top clamped in place with the steel ring? They can be gotten free around here sometimes. Depending on the seal material, might even be good for storage of the solvent when done.
    The smaller, the better wrt loss of vapor, of course. Not sure a 15 gallon is big enough though.
     
  10. Gunfighter97

    Gunfighter97 Farmall Cub

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    The plastic ones? Wont that melt? Years ago I put some of this in an empty peroxide bottle with a big red X on it and returned to a puddle of hardened brown mush a day later... Aparently you should read may harm some plastics as ALL PLASTICS MUST DIE!

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  11. Dana Strong

    Dana Strong Dreams of Cub Cadets

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    Polyethylene is inert to many compounds. Look at a chemical compatibility table if you want to see for yourself. They do get brittle with long exposure to sunlight, but it takes years and the blue pigment helps greatly to slow that process. Polypropylene may work too; I think some barrels are made of it.
     
  12. Gunfighter97

    Gunfighter97 Farmall Cub

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    Chemical compatibility table? That is so usefull to me you wouldnt even believe XD
    Finally, no more melting milk jugs... Anyways, this sounds like it could work with one of these barrels privided I could get to the part easily without submerging my head in toxic fumes (my grey cells dont need any help). I was hoping there might be a metal option......... *sound of gears groaning:
    Dust covered forgotten 25 gallon oil barrel in my barn.... Never mind, I think just I found an option for free. With a compatibility chart I could probably devise a seal, oooo. I just remembered the previous owner of that barrel used it to burn off who knows what "toxic chemicals"... Maybe bad idea. Now I'm wondering why I have that barrel to begin with.

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  13. Don B

    Don B Farmall Cub

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    I used to use varsol for parts cleaning but have just recently switched to Zep degreaser. You mix it with water and there is no smell. I mix it 50/50 and it’s really working well and has no fumes that I’ve noticed. I usually rinse it off in water and then dry. Even though I still use gloves I feel it’s a good product well worth trying. The price is very reasonable too.

    DonB
     
  14. Greg R

    Greg R Dreams of Cub Cadets

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    Varsol, Stoddard solvent, mineral spirits, paint thinner are very much the same. Low volatility, fairly high ignition, and with decent ventilation and gloves fairly safe to use, the only safer stuff I think is the water based stuff. When I couldn't get bulk Stoddard, I use a replacement made by Phillips/Conoco and it works pretty good. Even when the shop is in the 80s, it stays in the 40 gallon parts washer with the lid down. When I need to work with it, I open a door for fresh air. I never considered health affects as I always considered myself careful and had plenty of air.

    Two years ago I had to deal with bladder cancer. The urologist said the main causes were smoking, and exposure to solvents, namely toluene and benzene. Rubber workers and printers were the highest risk group next to mechanical trades people. I've been a mechanic for a little over 40 years in various fields including automotive and mainly refrigeration. All those years using compounds and solvents must have weakened the immune system to some degree and tumors showed up. Many solvents are absorbed through the skin, not just inhaled.

    Besides almost eliminating smoking, I wear gloves, have lots of fresh air, and I READ labels. One day I took a look at my bottle of 3M Super Duty Polishing Compound. Besides tripoli, pine oil, etc. etc., it had petroleum distillates, this and that, and toluene and benzene. Holy Crap Batman, I've been using this stuff bare handed for decades! Now I don't need no gummint or CA to ban this shizz. WHAT I NEED to do is something simple; wear gloves. That's it.

    I will report that for the last year and a half, the check-ups have been clean, nada. While cutting smoking may have helped in a big way, I'm positive reducing my exposure to chemicals also helped in a huge way. Anyone remember carbon tet? Great stuff, but too many fools damaged their liver or died. The Navy had it taken off their ships in the 60s, but it was one great solvent.
     
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  15. mallen

    mallen High Wheeler

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    That explains why women are so crazy......

    I worked 7 years in a lab analyzing toxic chemicals sampled in workplaces. One thing to remember is that Acetonecan go right through nitrile gloves. So dont count on them to protect you. Neoprene or latex is what you need. Small exposures are not particularly bad. Its sold as nail polish remover. In fact, if you dont need a gallon, you can pick up a bottle at Walmart in the nail polish section for 2 or 3 bucks. If getting a little on your hand once or twice a week was a problem, that would be a problem. (the formaldehyde found in nail polish is actually much more of a problem) Obviously, dont bathe in it, use it in ventilated areas. Try to keep it off your skin as best as possible. Dont reach in and pull parts out with your hands. Dont handle parts until they dry. And of course dont drink it. Also remember, your skin is like a glove. If there is a hole in it, it cant protect you. So if you have a cut on your hand, be extra careful not to expose that to chemicals. Use latex or neoprene gloves when handling ketones like MEK and acetone. If you spill acetone on your gloved hand, remove the glove and replace it immediately. Its obviously quite flammable. So it should be kept away from flames or sparks. The big issue I see with how hes handling it is that hes apparently pouring it into a container, washing parts then collecting it. That is going to volatilize quite a bit of it and its not good breathing it. From years of working with it, I have developed a sensitivity to ketones and aldehydes. Exposure to things like acetone and MEK causes my skin to burn and itch, all over my body. Its extremely unpleasant. That was caused by working in a circuit board manufacturing plant when I was in college, that had extremely poor safety procedures. (They stored a 10lb box of sodium cyanide used in the gold plating bath under a sink in the lab. WTF?! Who the hell thinks thats a good idea?) I now have to take extra precautions to avoid exposure to things like acetone.

    The best solvent , if it can be used is water. If you need to disolve greasy stuff, you use a surfactant (soap or detergent) with water. If that is not practical your next best option if you need something that can dissolve greasy things better is ethanol. Next is isopropyl alcohol. Things like acetone and MEK come later down the list. They are better than some of the other things like benzene which is super carcinogenic. (my ex girlfriends father was an auto body mechanic, and he told me the story of a guy he worked with that used to wash the paint off his hands with benzene. Guy died with tumors all over his hands and arms. ) Acetone is REASONABLY safe so long as your careful and limit your exposure.

    As for good uses of it, its also sold as reducer for various paint systems. Often there are several reducers for different temp ranges. Acetone for low temperatures, MEK for higher temperatures. MEK is a good alternative to acetone when you need less evaporation. Compared to the old B9 chemtool gallon bucket of parts cleaner that is (was?) sold outside of California, its far safer. B9 chemtool contained dichromate, which is freaking crazy toxic.
     
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  16. scout2000

    scout2000 Dreams of Cub Cadets

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    Cr*p !!

    Many, many lifetimes ago, while in Jr. College I worked in a (fiberglass) boat factory. This would have been late 1980's.

    We had 55 gallon drums of acetone open. As boats would finish, we'd dunk rags into the open drums of acetone for final gelcoat wipe down & inspection, before boats would be loaded up on (18-wheeler) trailers to ship off to the dealers. I would say I have 2 solid years of direct exposure to acetone.

    That was over 30 years ago, and I can't state that I have any noticeable effects, but are you stating that this should be an item of concern for me?
     
  17. Dana Strong

    Dana Strong Dreams of Cub Cadets

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    I haven't done a recent literature search about it but from my previous knowledge and experience, I believe serious exposure to acetone can cause degradation of the liver at the time of exposure, but isn't known for causing cancer, then or later. On a side note, I have seen what livers, other organs, blood and urine can look like after (usually prolonged) exposure to other crap, particularly drugs, and it ain't pretty. Black tar extracted from urine, partially from the ingested products but partly from metabolic pathways that no longer function as 'designed'.
    In your case, I wouldn't worry, but one should always pay attention to anything strange or any changes in the body or its function, from small warts or moles 'on up'. I'd worry more about a vehicle crash at 75 mph, particularly in a Scout. I never drive anywhere near that fast...
     
  18. mallen

    mallen High Wheeler

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    Just in general, any strange lesion or growth should be looked at. My friend had a funny little lesion on the back of his neck with a little "horn" growing out of it. He was going to put off having it checked but thought better. It turned out to be cancer. It took them 8 hours to carefully dig it out, cutting deeper, then looking with a microscope to see if they got it all, and being super carefully not to go all the into his brain stem. If he had not gone in right away, it would have gone I to his brain stem. Those who work with toxic chemicals have to be doubly cautious. It's easy to fix if they get it before it spreads though.
     
  19. Don B

    Don B Farmall Cub

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    This has turned into a scary thread! Who knew that solvents could have a significant risk. I’ve been more careful in the last 20 years or so but before that...
    So I would propose that you give the Zep a try. Maybe someone with chemical knowledge can decipher the material safety info for us and let us know the safety concerns for it. One Ithing I do know is it does not off gas at least I can’t smell anything. I always use gloves with this stuff anyway. Home Depot sells a gallon for $10.48 or 5 gallons for $38...cheap.

    Don B
     
  20. Dana Strong

    Dana Strong Dreams of Cub Cadets

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    Not cheap as I see it...and if it doesn't do anything besides remove the easy stuff or takes a long time, something different is called for. As I said, solvents are fine if used carefully with due consideration for their specific hazards. But I never could understand smoking either; from the time I was 7 or 8, it was obvious to me that smoke of any kind, particularly from tobacco, couldn't do anyone any good but could do harm.

    If all I need to remove is old oil, grease and embedded dirt, I usually use Gunk, give it time to work, then some brushing and a blast of water from the hose to do the job. Paint removal requires much more.
     

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