The Studeblogger

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Rust buster!

Last weekend I got something done (yay!)... I pulled the heater out of Barney. Bad news was: the core had leaked and the fan really was shot (boo!). I hooked the fan motor up to my battery charger and, on the 10 amp setting, it would not budge... took the 50 amp setting to get it spinning! And even then it sounded like the bearings were very pissed at me for making them... well, bear.

So I am now embarked on rebuilding the heater, and therein lies a tale, one of mild alkali, electricity and rust removal.

The squirrel-cage blower fan had rusted (no! really?) and although they're still available, $30 made the CASO* in me squirm. I remembered an article I'd read about electrolytic de-rusting, and decided to give it a spin.

The gist is this: you take a plastic bucket, pour in a couple gallons of water, add 1 tablespoon of baking soda (or washing soda) and stir. Then, you connect the positive side of a power source (like a battery charger) to a steel or iron object immersed in the bucket, and the negative side to the object you wish to de-rust. Switch on, let it bubble for a few hours, and voila! clean metal. Well, un-rusty metal - you still have to scrub off the black coating left behind by the process.

You can read a much more detailed explanation on the Stovebolt Forum.

So, last night, in went the squirrel cage. And this morning, out it came, with nearly all of the rust banished.

Oh, and don't worry about the filthy mess in the bucket after you're done - all it is, is iron oxide, baking soda and whatever other sludge your part may have had on it.

As I write this, the blower housing is soaking in the bath, and I have ordered a new fan motor and miscellaneous other parts from SASCO. Look for the step-by-step heater repair post coming soon!

*CASO: commonly-used acronym, stands for "Cheap-ass Studebaker owner". Can be a term of endearment, or not - use carefully!

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  • Very neat stuff. I normally sandblast, but it can take a while on parts like this. How long did the post bath scrubbing take?

    By Blogger They Might Be Racing, at 12:25 AM  

  • Not long! About 5 minutes with a Scotchbrite and I was ready for primer.

    By Blogger Clark, at 7:41 AM  

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