Before I remove the head

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Before I remove the head

Postby ScottyD'sdad » Tue Jan 16, 2018 9:28 am

I have an engine that I am planning to remove the head, for exploration purposes. Had an idea, that I would like opinions, on. The head bolts tend to protrude slightly into the water jacket, and grow rust "mushrooms" that sometimes cause the bolt to break. Any thought on filling the water passages with rust remover, like phosphoric acid, and allowing it to "work" a few days? Would serve to clear out the cooling passages, of rust, too, if it works.
Just block the coolant inlet, and outlet, with the solution inside. The engine is on a stand, and can be rotated, occasionally, to "stir" the solution.
After draining and rinsing, some penetrant could be put in, and the engine left upside down, so the penetrant can soak into the head threads. I realize that the head bolts probably have sealer on them, that might prevent the penetrant from working. Ideas?

Reason for this idea, I've broken a few head bolts, and would rather not repeat that fun!
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Re: Before I remove the head

Postby coppersmythe » Tue Jan 16, 2018 9:36 am

ed , it sounds good . i have a cub that needs a head gasket , and have been putting it off for the same reason . if the acid leaks through the head gasket into the pistons , the only concern ? i'll be watching your thread to see what transpires . coppersmythe...................................( PS: hope all is well in yaun-kee land , see ya soon :wink: )

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Re: Before I remove the head

Postby Eugene » Tue Jan 16, 2018 10:11 am

I think I would try several washing soda treatments over a couple of days before using the acid. Washing soda is cheap and not that caustic.

Conduct the treatments over the floor drain and have water on hand to flush off and dilute any splashed acid.

Interesting. Let us know how this works out.
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Re: Before I remove the head

Postby Waif » Tue Jan 16, 2018 10:19 am

Ideas for your motor? L.o.l..

If head bolt ends are in coolant ...and coolant is replaced with a solution for running electrolysis ,and the motor is insulated from grounding.....Then would it be possible to clean bolt ends that way?
Being your motor......and after a study of which connection to make to each head bolt at a time... and which to attach to sacrificial anode in the coolant/ solution , it would be ..um ,interesting to see if electrolysis would knock corrosion off them.

I have run a tiny scale self built electrolysis cleaning system for metal detecting finds using wash soda in the water. Bulk of gunk usually falls off alright. Just need to keep an eye on developments ,so not to begin eating away at any stock beyond crud scaling.

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Re: Before I remove the head

Postby ScottyD'sdad » Tue Jan 16, 2018 10:27 am

coppersmythe wrote:ed , it sounds good . i have a cub that needs a head gasket , and have been putting it off for the same reason . if the acid leaks through the head gasket into the pistons , the only concern ? i'll be watching your thread to see what transpires . coppersmythe...................................( PS: hope all is well in yaun-kee land , see ya soon :wink: )

Hadn't thought of that, Val. Probably wouldn't cause any damage that honing wouldn't remove. May not do it for a bit, the treatment needs temperatures above 50 degrees, which I won't see for a bit.
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Re: Before I remove the head

Postby ScottyD'sdad » Tue Jan 16, 2018 10:29 am

Eugene wrote:I think I would try several washing soda treatments over a couple of days before using the acid. Washing soda is cheap and not that caustic.

Conduct the treatments over the floor drain and have water on hand to flush off and dilute any splashed acid.

Interesting. Let us know how this works out.


Might help, Eugene. It's the IH recommended way to clean the water jacket.

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Re: Before I remove the head

Postby ScottyD'sdad » Tue Jan 16, 2018 10:32 am

Waif wrote:Ideas for your motor? L.o.l..

If head bolt ends are in coolant ...and coolant is replaced with a solution for running electrolysis ,and the motor is insulated from grounding.....Then would it be possible to clean bolt ends that way?
Being your motor......and after a study of which connection to make to each head bolt at a time... and which to attach to sacrificial anode in the coolant/ solution , it would be ..um ,interesting to see if electrolysis would knock corrosion off them.

I have run a tiny scale self built electrolysis cleaning system for metal detecting finds using wash soda in the water. Bulk of gunk usually falls off alright. Just need to keep an eye on developments ,so not to begin eating away at any stock beyond crud scaling.


Electrolysis works best, in a "line of sight" area. Doubt it would be effective, in a system with lot of passages. I've used the process, on sheet metal, quite effectively.
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Re: Before I remove the head

Postby ntrenn » Tue Jan 16, 2018 8:48 pm

Man...you guys are making it too hard. 3-8 impact is your friend. You will break more bolts with a breaker bar. It is horrible design practice to have the threads protrude into the water jacket. Wet hole not so bad.
I have had many bolts i knew would break with normal wrenches that the impact took right out....

IF you pull the head...plan on new bolts...hardened washers, rings, cylinder hone, valve job, and anything else that could go wrong...50 year old iron...

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Re: Before I remove the head

Postby jsfarmall » Tue Jan 16, 2018 9:30 pm

Yes impacts do wonders. If worried about too much power just back the torque down or don't pull the trigger as hard. If not enough bump up the power. The impact vibration does alot for breaking bolts loose. I got a cordless impact and the faster vibration vs air impact helps alot in my opinion. But if you have a good air compressor can never go wrong with air gun. Start slow and go up.

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Re: Before I remove the head

Postby Boss Hog » Tue Jan 16, 2018 9:40 pm

Ed, 2 qts ATF, 1 pt Acetone turn engine upside down, let set, smack head bolts with hammer every day, after about a week set air wrench on low and remove bolts it works , if not I have jig to get head bolts drilled out lol
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Re: Before I remove the head

Postby ScottyD'sdad » Wed Jan 17, 2018 7:29 am

ntrenn wrote:Man...you guys are making it too hard. 3-8 impact is your friend. You will break more bolts with a breaker bar. It is horrible design practice to have the threads protrude into the water jacket. Wet hole not so bad.
I have had many bolts i knew would break with normal wrenches that the impact took right out....

IF you pull the head...plan on new bolts...hardened washers, rings, cylinder hone, valve job, and anything else that could go wrong...50 year old iron...

I've removed the heads on maybe 10 cubs. Broke bolts on 2 of them. I use a worn out 1/2 inch impact wrench, set low, to "rttle" them, and smack them with a hammer. Just trying to eliminate breaking any.
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Re: Before I remove the head

Postby ScottyD'sdad » Wed Jan 17, 2018 7:31 am

Boss Hog wrote:Ed, 2 qts ATF, 1 pt Acetone turn engine upside down, let set, smack head bolts with hammer every day, after about a week set air wrench on low and remove bolts it works , if not I have jig to get head bolts drilled out lol

Plan is, use your plan, after dissolving the rust, so it penetrates easier.
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Re: Before I remove the head

Postby Landreo » Wed Jan 17, 2018 8:51 am

Phosphoric acid is a rust converter not a rust remover. If you want an acid to dissolve rust then go to Lowes and get a gallon of muriatic acid. That will dissolve rust.

Washing soda will not dissolve rust since it is a base. It will dissolve organic compounds that often glue rust to things.

I woud just use an impact wrench, hammer, heat, etc.. but if you want to try to dissolve the rust glob on the end of the head bolts then I would do the washing soda or lye soak first followed by the muriatic acid.

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Re: Before I remove the head

Postby ScottyD'sdad » Wed Jan 17, 2018 9:51 am

Landreo wrote:Phosphoric acid is a rust converter not a rust remover. If you want an acid to dissolve rust then go to Lowes and get a gallon of muriatic acid. That will dissolve rust.

Washing soda will not dissolve rust since it is a base. It will dissolve organic compounds that often glue rust to things.

I woud just use an impact wrench, hammer, heat, etc.. but if you want to try to dissolve the rust glob on the end of the head bolts then I would do the washing soda or lye soak first followed by the muriatic acid.

How about Evapo-Rust? pH of 6.1, so it's not a strong acid. Claims to dissolve rust. I'm not a chemist, just trying an idea to make head bolt removal esier, on an engine I have no current need for, so I have time to experiment.
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Re: Before I remove the head

Postby Landreo » Wed Jan 17, 2018 10:51 am

Evapo Rust is a true rust remover. I use it all the time. I have parts from a 1920s adding maching soaking in a tub of evapo rust right now. I have used it to clean iron dust off old antique radio variable capacitors with no damage to the aluminum plates or the brass shaft. Derusted old micrometers and other tools. I have used it many times to free rusted and stuck engines with only one failure out of maybe 20 blocks. That failure required my 20 ton press to get the piston out ( piston and block survived and is back in the now running engine). Evapo rust does not affect the iron, just the rust. It works great.


It does not remove grease so I would still clean the block with washing soda or soapy water prior to using evapo rust so the evapo rust has good contact with the rust itself.

The disadvantage of evapo rust....$22 a gallon.


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