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Old 03-14-17, 10:15 AM   #5
jeff5may
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Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: elizabethtown, ky, USA
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I had it rigged up a few ways at first, with recycling drain/supply/settling barrel at first. I found it worked better just connected to the fresh water supply. The multiple rinses of fresh, hot water beat even some pretty toxic solvents.

I found two effective products to pretreat just about any dirty, greasy, rusty, dusty part with. The first: foamy engine bright. The gel type works well on extra-thick stuff like bearings and gearboxes. The second: easy off oven cleaner spray. Works on rusty, dusty, carbon burnt stuff like valves and heads. Spray product on, right in the machine, flipping parts for even coating. Let sit a few minutes, then run like dishes.

I'm lazy, so I rarely ever brushed or scrubbed any of these parts off until they ran through the machine. For stuff that was swimming in mud or grease, it got pressure washed (mud/dirt clods), steam cleaned, and/or spray painted with kerosene/atf mixture (waxy/gloppy) then maybe hit with a blow gun before going in the dishwasher.

My filter was a grease trap for a range hood. I used some leftover door sweep weatherstrip for a seal and some toggle clamps to keep it from floating around. The clamps resembled this one:


The secret recipe for detergent: whatever is compatible with pretreat (spray can) product in the open cup, cheapest generic cascade substitute available for closed cup. Whatever pretreat ingredients include lye/KOH, tsp, washing soda, borax, etc. For really dirty parts, I stuck lots of "first" chemical in and hung around for the first wash cycle to end. When it tried to drain, I advanced the timer until the pump shut off, so the dirty parts would get two cycles worth of hot wash.

I did a double head gasket replacement on a small block chevy V8 this winter, and I really missed the dishwasher. The steam cleaner won top honors for the most useful device this time:

The parts washer I improvised, not so much. It got made out of a rubbermaid tub, a little fountain pump, and a few gallons of kerosene. Way too much touching involved, plus kerosene stinks. On a positive note, the kerosene worked very well to heat the shop!
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