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File description: Part Cleaner fills Your name: (optional) Doug
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I finally setup and filled my parts washer (the space shuttle gets less lead time than this project has had). Anyway, I got a 30 gallon
barrel-mount parts washer from Northern Hydraulic--I am very happy with
it. It has:
The pump is a 280 gallon/hour CalPump (USA made, all metal fountain pump
intended for 24-hour operation, two year guarantee, with three filtering
35"L x 27"W x8"D" wash pan--big enough a the head on my 300CID straight
six Ford van
Will operate on 5 gallons of solvent and holds up to 30 gallons
Because all the solvent drains back into the barrel, evaporation loss is
The pump has tremendous output--you have to be careful where you point
that steel flex hose.
It is made out of 16 guage steel (many of the ones I looked at were made
out of 18 gauge steel, but the $400+ Gray-Mills units are made out of 14
gauge steel) by a firm in Minnesota called R&D Fountains.
The part# at Northern Hydraulic is 159476 and it costs $259.
I priced out 5 gallon containers of Super Agitene at several suppliers:*
So I drove from the Westside of Los Angeles (where it was 80 degrees) to
Santa Fe Springs (where it was 105 degrees) in my old, un-airconditioned
van to buy the Agitene from McMasters. While there I bought enough
1/16" Butyl rubber to cover the lid of the parts washer to make a
clean/soft work bench, and a couple of nice angle-iron leg, oak seat
shop stools (one 18" for working on the bikes and one 30" for sitting at
the workbench--for some reason I have never had any stools/chairs in my
shop. What was up with that??) that were made in Chicago and will now be
in my will. While driving the forty miles back with 25 gallons of
Agitene (remember the Flash point of 105 degrees) inside the van with
me, in LA traffic and the 105 degree heat, steel floor of the van, cans
sliding around as I negotiated traffic, it had me thinking).
Anyway, Gray-Mills Super Agitene is just great stuff. It is light green
in color, has a very light odor, and actually smells nice--amazing! It
has lanolin in it to prevent chapping, doesn't evaporate and almost
feels good on the skin. It really doesn't look, smell, feel like it
should work, but I threw a grease encased wheel cylinder in there just
to test it, and it cuts the grease and crud better than anything I have
The downside, obviously, is the price. Is it worth it? This question
will be answered when I need to fill up the washer again, but I thought
I would give it a shot this time.
To some degree, it will depend on how long it will last (it is supposed
to last a long time), but I must say that I feel very good knowing that
this stuff is not supposed to attack the lungs, liver and various
internal organs. I ended up buying 25 gallons of it and put 15 gallons
in the washer. Given the nature of petroleum-based "anything" here in
Los Angeles, I thought, perhaps, it will get outlawed down the road.
When I need to change the solvent, I'll post again and let you know how
well the Super Agitene has worked out for me.
*= update!!!! As of 10_20_05, Randall writes...
And last a comment on Doug's "Part Cleaner fills" article, Super Agitene is
still available from McMaster-Carr but they don't call it that. Look for
P/N 3229K1 "Solvent-Plus-Lanolin Parts Washing Solution 5 Gallon". Only the
MSDS says "Super Agitene". Price has crept up to $44.96, so perhaps they
are no longer cheapest ... but my Triumph club meets in Santa Fe Springs so
MMC is handy for me.