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Subject: Penetrating Oils - FYI







Penetrating Oils

Machinist's Workshop MagT recently published some information on various penetrating oils that I found very interesting. Some of you might appreciate this. The magazine reports they tested penetrates for break out torque on rusted nuts.

They are below, as forwarded by an ex-student and professional machinist. They arranged a subjective test of all the popular penetrates with the control being the torque required to remove the nut from a "scientifically rusted" environment.



*Penetrating oils ........... Average torque load to loosen*



No Oil used ................... 516 pounds

WD-40 ..................... ... 238 pounds

PB Blaster .................... 214 pounds

Liquid Wrench ...............127 pounds

Kano Kroil .................... 106 pounds

ATF*-Acetone mix............53 pounds



The ATF-Acetone mix is a "home brew" mix of 50 - 50 automatic transmission fluid and acetone. Note this "home brew" released bolts better than any commercial product in this one particular test.



Our local machinist group mixed up a batch and we all now use it with equally good results.

Note also that "Liquid Wrench" is almost as good as "Kroil" for about 20% of the price.



Steve from Godwin-Singer says that ATF-Acetone mix is best, but you can also use ATF and lacquer thinner in a 50-50 mix. *ATF=Automatic Transmission Fluid
 

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Just remember that acetone is very volatile and typically removes paint from stuff. Ventilated area, no flames, etc. That mix works wonders on airhead exhausts, though. I'm more surprised that humans can displace that much torque with a lever as small as a wrench.



Reminds me of an old saying: "Speed is how fast you hit the wall. Torque is how far you move the wall."
 

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I had an old outboard motor with a ton of salt corrosion. If I tried to remove a screw the head just snapped off. I sprayed all the screws everyday for a month with WD40 and after that every single screw came out very easily, even the remains of the ones where the heads snapped off.



Whatever you use be patient. I bet they all work well if given enough time.
 

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Thats extremely interesting. I have never heard of an ATF+acetone=Penetrating oil. Next time I have a stuck bolt I am gonna try that. In this test kinda like Tony was saying did all the penetrating oils have the same amount of time to sit and work? or did some get more time to sit than others?
 

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Interesting... thanks for putting that up. I had a bout with a stuck chain adjusting bolt in the swing arm on my KTM and hit it with PB blaster daily for about 4 days with no luck. I finally got so frustrated I drilled the stupid thing out. I got lucky and managed to be able to re tap the hole and use another OEM adjusting bolt, albeit with anti seize.
 

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Not only is acetone volatile, i.e. explosive potential, but it also is extremely harmful to breath so definitely use that ventilation suggestion. We don't want to cook our livers with things that are not fun. Tom
 

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Not only is acetone volatile, i.e. explosive potential, but it also is extremely harmful to breath so definitely use that ventilation suggestion. We don't want to cook our livers with things that are not fun. Tom


No doubt about that. If nothing else, the headache is incredible, believe me.
 

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Yes, acetone is bad stuff.

Is lacquer thinner any better health-wise?



Thanks for posting the results!

I'm going to buy some more Liquid Wrench.

But I do have some ATF on hand, and lacquer thinner too.
 

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Most any solvent will make ATF "creep". Pick your poison. I use acetone, MEK or even Coleman fluid. The fumes aren't much of an issue when mixed or stored in good old-fashioned metal squirt cans.
 

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The thing I get from this is... you can choose a compromise between how much torque it takes and how likely it is to eat any paint it touches.
 

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In a "scientifically rusted" situation requiring 516 ft.lbs. of unlubricated torque the last thing you'd be concerned with is paint. But it does point out that many of the more costly preparations we use for the purpose amount to pure snake oil. There's no mention of soak times, but I'd wager ATF alone (no solvent) may even have outperformed a few of them.
 

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Acetone is the base for nail polish remover



I bet the goodness is the ATF and the Acetone is just a thinner and could be replaced

by any low viscosity organic solvent.
 

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Here's a link to a site that did some testing that backs this up. I don't know how credible they are but they talk about their testing methods and results in the link to their final report. It looks like one of their goals was to find inexpensive alternatives to commercial products for use in third world countries.


Depending on which particular part of the third world you're dealing with this is redundant. They're generally way ahead of us on these sorts of things BECAUSE they're way behind us.



If you want sensible alternatives to a lot of these sorts of things you don't need to hire a think tank. Just find a a 90 y.o. former mechanic and ask him how they did things before we got lazy and stoopit..
 

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Depending on which particular part of the third world you're dealing with this is redundant. They're generally way ahead of us on these sorts of things BECAUSE they're way behind us.



If you want sensible alternatives to a lot of these sorts of things you don't need to hire a think tank. Just find a a 90 y.o. former mechanic and ask him how they did things before we got lazy and stoopit..


You are so right. Think about what skills can be learned from those Cuban mechanics who have kept their '53 Chevy taxi's running for 60 years without access to parts.
 

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Depending on which particular part of the third world you're dealing with this is redundant. They're generally way ahead of us on these sorts of things BECAUSE they're way behind us.



If you want sensible alternatives to a lot of these sorts of things you don't need to hire a think tank. Just find a a 90 y.o. former mechanic and ask him how they did things before we got lazy and stoopit..


You probably wouldn't want to do this on a motorcycle, but in some places it works well to heat the bolt (or nut) and apply regular old candle wax. The heat causes the wax to be sucked into the threads, breaking the bond between bolt and fastener. I've had good success doing this. Oh, by the way I'm not 90 years old, but I did learn this from a very experienced mechanic who works in the rust belt.
 

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One bit of glop that I can't do without is some form of antisieze compound, which keeps the problem from becoming a problem. An old Porsche and A&P mechanic turned me on to Phillip's Milk of Magnesia as antisieze back when I was a kid trying to keep my bikes and Corvairs alive.
 
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