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Alternator cleaning ideas

Darrell_Walker

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I've pulled the alternator out of my TR8 to fix a problem with the lower radiator hose. While I have it out, I'd like to clean it up a bit. It is working fine, just has 30 years of stuff on it. I assume I don't want to immerse it in water or anything?

Is there any kind of cleaner that would be safe? Or should I stick to dry brushes and a vacuum?
 

Dale

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I've washed alternators in our hot water washer at work, with seemingly, no ill affects. The alternators on our gas compression units operate outside under all conditions and run 24-7.
 

DNK

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Darrell, does your wife work?
One word
Dishwasher!
 
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Darrell_Walker

Darrell_Walker

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DNK said:
Darrell, does your wife work?
One word
Dishwasher!

Not in the summer.

Can I send it to you to wash?

-Darrell
 

TR3driver

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I sure wouldn't want to dunk a Lucas alternator into anything that might wash the lubrication out of the bearings; unless I was going to disassemble it afterwards to dry & relubricate.

But washing the outside of the case should be OK.
 
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Darrell_Walker

Darrell_Walker

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Well, I tried a few things, the worst problem is that the aluminum(?) case is stained. I tried wire brushing it, but that didn't help very much. So I'm probably looking at disassembly to really do much, either painting or more aggressive cleaning.

Not a big deal, but was just thinking I could spruce it up a bit while I had it out.
 

DNK

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Pull the case and have it ceramic coated
grin.gif
 

HerronScott

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Didn't Art rebuild alternators or work at a company that did it? Maybe he'll have some good information on what to clean them with. I was going to recommend electronic spray wash but as Randall said you wouldn't want to clean near the bearings.

Scott
 

Brosky

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Try some CLR on the outside with a scrub brush, then rinse it clean and clear coat to protect it after you are done.
 

martx-5

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HerronScott said:
Didn't Art rebuild alternators or work at a company that did it? Maybe he'll have some good information on what to clean them with.

Scott

I still work for an electrical rebuilder. We completely disassemble all of the alternators, and depending on what part it is, initial cleaning is done in machines using either hot water, mineral spirits or ultrasound. After that, many of the parts go through a steel shot wheelabrator or glass bead tumbler. So much for me handing out some useful information on cleaning parts at home! :laugh:

Actually, I have cleaned parts here at home on several occasions, and the best all around stuff is mineral spirits, followed by brake clean to get rid of any residual oils.

Stained aluminum can be tough. If the mineral spirits and brake clean doesn't get rid of it all, there are aluminum paints that make the parts look like they were just glass beaded. As far as the bearings go, if you're careful with the mineral spirits etc, you shouldn't run into a problem. Most of the bearings are sealed or shielded so as long as you don't dunk the unit in whatever you're cleaning with, the bearings will be fine.
 
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