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Auto Shop Equipment Essentials – Part 6

April 14th, 2011

Part 6 of our Auto Shop Equipment Essentials list is spotlighting Parts Washers. No shop can do without at least some type of Parts Cleaner. There are constant questions customers have when it comes to parts cleaners. The most common is – What type should I get?
The answer to that question requires some follow up questions from the person selling you the parts washer. A good sales person will attempt to better determine your application to fit you with the best choice for your situation. They won’t just try and sell you what they have in stock or the most expensive machine they can.
What kind of parts are you cleaning? How frequently are you cleaning parts? How big are the parts? Are the parts manufactured out of plastic, or do they have a painted surface? Is there any component that might not be compatible with certain solvents? What kind of dirt are you attempting to remove from the parts? Is it grease and oil, or some other type of dirt? Do you want a water based (Aqueous) Parts Washer or a solvent based parts washer?

Aqueous Parts Washer
That last question is one of the most important ones. Solvent parts washers have traditionally been the type found in most auto shops. But as disposal of waste detergent becomes more difficult and expensive, water based parts washers have rapidly grown in popularity. They require a larger up-front cost, but will eventually save you lots of money on detergent. Water based detergents come as a concentrate, and typically you would mix it 1 to 6 with water. The knock against water based detergents is that they don’t clean as well as solvent (hydrocarbon) based detergents. But with some of the better modern water based detergents, as long as it is the proper concentrate, and as long as your parts washer has a heater, you should be able to clean as effectively as solvent.
What type of parts washer should you get? A drum mount model, sink basin style, or top loading agitated models are all available. If you need to clean larger parts, with tough baked on grime, a spray wash cabinet may be in order. A Spray Wash Cabinet will do all the work for you so you don’t have to scrub away at the parts.
What ever type you get, don’t try to take the cheap way out. Inferior pumps and inferior finishes that leave you with chipping paint will leave you wishing you spent a few extra bucks for a quality machine.

Spray Wash Cabinet

Aqueous Parts Cleaner vs Solvent Parts Washer

May 1st, 2010

The question is a common one. Should I get a solvent based parts washer, or a water based one?
There are advantages to each.

For the typical auto shop, you may want to get a drum mount model. This style is very popular for the typical garage. It allows you to clean parts in a sink style unit, keeping your parts up out of the solvent. Plus many better quality units will typically feature a flow through brush so you can clean your parts more effectively by forcing the detergent through the brush that you are cleaning the parts with. The other style that is popular
is the basin style parts washer that allows you to place your components in a spacious capacity sink area that contains the detergent. This is different from the drum mount model in that the detergent is in your working area, and you can put your dirty parts in this area to let them to soak for a while, allowing the detergent to go to work on the grease and dirt while you can take off to perform other work. You can then come back ata later time to finish up manually cleaning the remaining dirt off your parts.

Another popular option would be spray wash cabinet. This type of model would be used for larger parts like transmissions or engine blocks, although they often contain parts baskets for small parts as well. There are both top loading and side loading models available. This type of parts washer has the ability to clean the parts with numerous jets of water-based heated cleaning agent spraying onto the parts at a high pressure. This is also a very effective cleaning method.

A filtration system is always a very valuable addition to any parts washer. Adding a filter option can extend the life to your cleaning agent for many hours. This can save you a significant amount of money and a filter system pays for itself in no time.

The next question is – Do you want a solvent, or water-based Parts Cleaner? Both have their benefits. Water based cleaning agents come in a concentrated formula. You would typically mix it around 5 to 7 parts water to 1 part concentrate. Water based detergents have come a long way.
When they are used with a heated parts washer, a good detergent can clean almost as effectively as a solvent based cleaning agent. They are also much more environmentally and user friendly. Plus, disposing of a water based detergents waste is easier. Solvent parts washers are usually more affordable, and sometimes clean more effectively, which is why many shops choose this style still.

There are many factors to consider when choosing the type of parts washer to purchase, and when determining whether to get an aqueous, (water-based) or Solvent Parts Washer.

Parts Cleaner