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Cleaning out a fuel soaked engine bay?

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martin collins 109/07/2020 17:46:56
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429 forum posts
199 photos

The engine bay area of my Hawker hind has been well soaked over the years with glow fuel, this has sat for probably 10 years since it was last run, what is the best way of cleaning it up before i stick a nice clean electric motor in there?

Keith Berriman09/07/2020 17:51:17
744 forum posts
11 photos

I have had success in unwanted fuel in balsa with Talcom Powder.

J D 809/07/2020 18:12:45
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1520 forum posts
84 photos

Some solvent [ acetone ] painted on to soften the old oil before putting on the powder should help. Left for a few days it will "suck " out a lot of crud. Plaster of paris [ put on as a powder ] is another option.

kevin b09/07/2020 18:13:49
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1846 forum posts
146 photos

This question is an old one and along the same lines as "How do you get rid of a mole?". Unfortunately there is no way to "clean off" glow fuel from wood, particularly if it has been soaking in for years, as you say.

You can attempt to remove some of the excess using talcum powder, or similar, but my advice is to see how far down the fuselage it has soaked and if possible replace all the wood forward.

I recently rebuilt an airframe donated to the club for training purposes (it was in pieces !). It was also badly oil soaked. The front section was replaced up to the rear wing mount and the wing repaired. the tail was also affected by oil, but not completely soaked. having used tissue and a warm iron to persuade as much oil to come out as I could, I then gave it a good wipe over with thinners to tempt more to come out (in a well ventilated room). Having got it as dry as I could I then gave the wood a good coat of 2 pack lacquer in the hope that it would also soak in and grip to the fibres. This was reasonably successful and I was able to recover the tail. The aircraft is going to take some abuse, so a pristine job was not required.

jrman09/07/2020 18:41:08
402 forum posts
3 photos

Try liberally soaking the wood with isopropyl alcohol, let it soak and then, while it's still soaking fill the bay with rice. (not cookedwink)

Far better IMHO than talc and certainly easier to clean out.

A couple of "treatments" may be needed.

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