Author Topic: Cleaning burned oil out of valve cover?  (Read 1165 times)

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Offline kinggeorge13

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Cleaning burned oil out of valve cover?
« on: May 19, 2014, 07:00:55 AM »
Hello everyone.   Figuring  fairly straight-forward job of changing the valve cover gaskets to fix typical chronic oil leaking on my white 1978 bus.   However, there is quite a bit of jet-black, rock-hard burned oil on the valve cover "face" that the gasket sits on.     I just have to believe if I leave it there, I'll never get a decent seal.  I've attacked it with brake cleaner (no effect) and several engine degreasers.    I'm brushing away till my arms hurt with a brass brush (to not scratch the valve cover) and letting the cover soak in degreaser for 15-20 minutes at a time in between each attack with the brush.  I've now done this cycle 4 times and while clearly, I have removed some of the black burned on stuff, the lionshare still remains.    I suspect if I kept this up for a day or two, I'd eventually removed it all, molecule by molecule but surely there is an easier way?    I wondered if oven cleaner would work or if it might damage the metal surface, just being aluminum?   I don't have access to a sandblaster (or glass blaster) or anything like that.    From everything I've read, people are against putting in a layer of gasket maker to help seal it so I don't want to do that either.   

I've attached a picture.  I realize most valve covers have all that black inside the cover itself and I'm not particularly worried about cleaning that.   What I want to do is get rid of that black burned oil from the actual edge face that the gasket goes on.   

Anyone have a magic cure or at least a chemical that eats it/loosens it better than regular old engine degreaser?

Thanks!
1975 Westy, Serenity
1975 Westy, Jack Sparrow
1979 Kombi, Pistachio
1979 Kombi, Oliver
1977 Tin top camper, Cosmos
1974 Westy, Garfield
1973 Tin top camper, Bart
1974 gutted Riviera, Casper
1975 Westy, Stella
1979 Super Beetle, Penelope
1967 Fastback, Green Hornet

Offline BUSDADDY

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Re: Cleaning burned oil out of valve cover?
« Reply #1 on: May 19, 2014, 08:27:11 AM »
Oven cleaner won't hurt that steel rocker cover, giddy up!
RUST NEVER SLEEPS

Offline buddy boy

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Re: Cleaning burned oil out of valve cover?
« Reply #2 on: May 19, 2014, 10:18:58 AM »
Soak over night ! And yes giver with the oven cleaner

"only dead fish swim with the stream"

Offline Richard Kuczko

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Re: Cleaning burned oil out of valve cover?
« Reply #3 on: May 19, 2014, 11:13:29 AM »
Carb cleaner
70 tintop kombi.  "Never 4 Sale!!!!"

Offline kinggeorge13

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Re: Cleaning burned oil out of valve cover?
« Reply #4 on: May 19, 2014, 09:22:30 PM »
I did not have any carb cleaner handy today but I did have some Easy Off oven cleaner as suggested so I went with that.   3 cycles of spray and wait 15 minutes and at it with the brass brush.   Each time lots came off and it got better and better.   After the 3rd blast of oven cleaner and 15 minutes "soaking" and then with the brush and this was the result (see picture).    Freaking awesome.   

Rinsed off with lots of water then brake cleaner and wiped all clean.   On with the new cork gasket and everything back together.   Cleaned up and adjusted the rear right brakes while at it.  Of course took some time unsticking the badly rusted star adjusters.   

Thanks for the helpful advice all! 

-George
1975 Westy, Serenity
1975 Westy, Jack Sparrow
1979 Kombi, Pistachio
1979 Kombi, Oliver
1977 Tin top camper, Cosmos
1974 Westy, Garfield
1973 Tin top camper, Bart
1974 gutted Riviera, Casper
1975 Westy, Stella
1979 Super Beetle, Penelope
1967 Fastback, Green Hornet

Offline kinggeorge13

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Re: Cleaning burned oil out of valve cover?
« Reply #5 on: May 20, 2014, 01:27:34 PM »
This is probably a part of some Darwinian award but later in the evening after cleaning one's valve cover insides with oven cleaner several times in a row and scrubbing between each application.........you'll start to figure out what skin was splashed with dots of oven cleaner that you didn't manage to clean off yourself afterwards.......
1975 Westy, Serenity
1975 Westy, Jack Sparrow
1979 Kombi, Pistachio
1979 Kombi, Oliver
1977 Tin top camper, Cosmos
1974 Westy, Garfield
1973 Tin top camper, Bart
1974 gutted Riviera, Casper
1975 Westy, Stella
1979 Super Beetle, Penelope
1967 Fastback, Green Hornet

Offline Richard Kuczko

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Re: Cleaning burned oil out of valve cover?
« Reply #6 on: May 20, 2014, 06:32:28 PM »
After all that and the costs of cleaners.  You could have bought brand new ones for cheaper and less chemical burns.  :)
70 tintop kombi.  "Never 4 Sale!!!!"

Offline BUSDADDY

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Re: Cleaning burned oil out of valve cover?
« Reply #7 on: May 20, 2014, 07:10:24 PM »
........... You could have bought brand new ones .............
Got a link?, Chinese?, German?
RUST NEVER SLEEPS

Offline Richard Kuczko

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Re: Cleaning burned oil out of valve cover?
« Reply #8 on: May 20, 2014, 07:16:54 PM »
Nope.  I guess it wasn't that funny lol.  My wife does say I'm a nerd
70 tintop kombi.  "Never 4 Sale!!!!"

Offline BUSDADDY

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Re: Cleaning burned oil out of valve cover?
« Reply #9 on: May 20, 2014, 09:37:02 PM »
Sorry, I wasn't trying to unfunny you, just thought you may have found a source for new type 4 valve covers I hadn't seen (although with the quality of most new stuff now would anyone really even want them?), happily the old ones clean up nice in most cases ;)
RUST NEVER SLEEPS

Offline kinggeorge13

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Re: Cleaning burned oil out of valve cover?
« Reply #10 on: May 20, 2014, 09:52:14 PM »
Well one more valve cover to go on the white bus and then the two on the orange bus but like anything, now that I've got a method that works, it should go much faster.......although every time I think that, some other unexpected situation becomes apparent once I'm working on something.    I did give a pause when I thought "really?  someone makes replacement covers?".    So yeah Richard, you had me going there for a few seconds.      :)
1975 Westy, Serenity
1975 Westy, Jack Sparrow
1979 Kombi, Pistachio
1979 Kombi, Oliver
1977 Tin top camper, Cosmos
1974 Westy, Garfield
1973 Tin top camper, Bart
1974 gutted Riviera, Casper
1975 Westy, Stella
1979 Super Beetle, Penelope
1967 Fastback, Green Hornet

 

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