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Discussion Starter #1
This is what I was thinking about doing, please advise;

  • I bought a parts washing basket to put dirty links into and wash thoroughly with water. My links have some Arizona sand in them.
  • After washing, spin dry off excess water and dry links with a heat gun

  • After drying links with heat gun for a few minutes, spray with WD-40 once cooled

If it is not wide to go the water cleaning route, are there any bulk solvents that do not leave residue on the links? That way I can soak the links in the solvent and reuse the solvent that I would put into a 3.5 gallon bucket with a lock ring lid.
 

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I dump all my links dirty or not into a metal drain pan used for changing oil. Dump in a gallon or two of diesel fuel and vigorously agitate the mixture for several minutes. Gather up the links and spread them out in cardboard boxes lined with newspapers, letting them drain and dry off in the sun. Give them plenty of time to dry and place them in a carboard box lined with more newspapers to absorb any remaining diesel fuel. BTW the diesel fuel imparts some lubricating qualities onto the links but, if you find you need more just add a small amount of used synthetic motor oil to the diesel and that should be sufficent as a preservative / rust inhibitor. Let's keep it simple, no need for a parts washer. When you are through let the diesel fuel settle and the sand will settle to the bottom of the pan. Pour off the diesel fuel filtering it through a filter, back into a container for a future similar use. Caution do not smoke while doing this and don't even try to reuse the fuel in an engine. No I haven't done either but, would caution against doing either. LOL
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Deisel in "urban" area may be a problem

Thank you for sharing your diesel method of link cleaning kung-fu!!!!

Not that Tucson is a densely populated metropolis, but I have relatively close neighbors, so what do you think of this proposal:

Placing the links within the parts washing screen pail, submerging the links inside the screen pail into diesel (1.5 gal should do) within a 3.5 gallon steel bucket with a lock ring lid.

Agitate the 3.5 gal bucket with links inside the submerged parts washing screen pail and leave it out in the yard overnight to let the dirt settle off the links, closed for minimal odor.

Open lid of 3.5 gal bucket in the morning, take parts washing screen pail with links out of the diesel. Wrap links in newspaper, set on cardboard in AZ sun for entire work day, come home from work day-get links and store.

Maybe I can pour the used diesel into a gas can via a large mouth funnel for re-use and storage?
 

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As far as solvents go, my personal favorite for heavy gunk is Stoddard Solvent. I get mine in 5 gallon buckets from the local NAPA store. It is at least part mineral spirits, judging by the smell, but low VOC so it doesn't evaporate hardly at all in an open container.

If you want to use a water based solvent try hot water and Simple Green. Slosh the link filled parts basket around for a minute or two in the mix, then air dry if it is summer (especially in Arizona) or use a heat gun. With Simple Green every bit of oil is removed so give the links a light squirt of a good quality gun oil while they are piled up in the middle of an old bath towel then pick up the corners of the towel and roll the links back and forth. I'm not a huge fan of WD-40 since is dries over time and leaves a kind of sludge behind.

Frank's diesel fuel system should work fine, too. I've been known to do something similar with used ATF when trying to free up a batch of rusty bolts and nuts.
 

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That's almost what I do. I've got the used diesel stored in a plastic fuel can for future use. The diesel really doesn't smell, you're not burning it. The links only need about 15 minutes of soaking / agitating to really clean them good. Leaving them out in the sun on the paper lined boxes allows them to dry slowly, and doesn't smell then either, your neighbor wouldn't even know it. Diesel isn't as aromatic as Kerosene.
 

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I've been using Diesel as a cleaner for a while. Makes quick work of Cosmoline too.. Regardless of how dirty it gets just let it sit and most of it will settle out, pour the cleaner Diesel in a container and dispose of the sludge... The only complaint is from the Wife when I splash it on myself and come back in the house... :lol:
 

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I just throw mine in one of my vibrators with corn cob. After 15-20min, they are clean. Then I throw a couple of red rags in a .50 cal can, throw the links in, spray with wd 40. Shake for a few minutes and the end up looking like new.
 

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Had someone down at Big Sandy tell we about waxing links. I have given it a try and it seems to help with feeding and keeping the links clean. The process is to dunk them in melted wax and then bake them in the oven to allow the excess wax to melt off. Apparently it is an old German trick.
 

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How do any of your links get dirty enough to necessitate that kind of a cleaning regimen?

Are your shooting spots mud pits? :rofl:


I just blow them off in the bucket with a blow nozzle and compressor then mist them with aerosol RemOil and call it good.
 

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Heh, which made me think "oh, right, I always throw down my shooting mat to catch the links and brass" :rolleyes:
 

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Thank you for sharing your diesel method of link cleaning kung-fu!!!!

Not that Tucson is a densely populated metropolis, but I have relatively close neighbors, so what do you think of this proposal:

Placing the links within the parts washing screen pail, submerging the links inside the screen pail into diesel (1.5 gal should do) within a 3.5 gallon steel bucket with a lock ring lid.

Agitate the 3.5 gal bucket with links inside the submerged parts washing screen pail and leave it out in the yard overnight to let the dirt settle off the links, closed for minimal odor.

Open lid of 3.5 gal bucket in the morning, take parts washing screen pail with links out of the diesel. Wrap links in newspaper, set on cardboard in AZ sun for entire work day, come home from work day-get links and store.

Maybe I can pour the used diesel into a gas can via a large mouth funnel for re-use and storage?
what part of tucson are you in? its nice to know there are others around...

Richard
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Links cleaned

I went with a 1:25 mixture of simple green. Placed the links in a screened basket, submerged into simple green bath and agitated. Let the links settle in the simple green bath for 30 mins. Removed links from the simple green bath and rinsed them in the screened basket with water for 3 mins. Placed in AZ sun on a towel until dry (30 mins). Placed links in garbage bag and sprayed with Remoil. Placed plastic bag with oiled links into boxes for storage.

I did try to hit the links in the screened basket with a heat gun, no bueno - the links in the center stay wet. I'd like to find a screened flat piece to heat gun the links with, I'm afraid that standard window screens would not handle the heat.

I do place a tarp under my 1919 to catch links, just had a windy day blow some onto sandy gravel. Check out the sludge I wiped off the bottom of my simple green bath can!!
Link to grime picture

Overall, I'm really happy with the process. Fast and easy on a sunny day here in AZ - even in our "chilly" winters. Cost of simple green was low, bought a gallon of concentrate at $12.00 from Ace.
 

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zammer217 SUGGESTS: "....dunk them in melted wax and then bake them in the oven to allow the excess wax to melt off...."

Let me guess; .... You're not married! :grenade:

I use the woven sacks like onions, oranges and such come in. Dunk them in solvent, swish around, hang in the sun and then dump into paper-lined cardboard box. EZ


Carry On!
Gary
><>
 

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zammer217 SUGGESTS: "....dunk them in melted wax and then bake them in the oven to allow the excess wax to melt off...."

Let me guess; .... You're not married! :grenade:

I use the woven sacks like onions, oranges and such come in. Dunk them in solvent, swish around, hang in the sun and then dump into paper-lined cardboard box. EZ


Carry On!
Gary
><>
She wasn't pissed till she found out I used all her Yankee Candles. But now when I go shooting it smells like fresh baked Christmas Cookies.
 

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The wax trick IS a recommended method according to Hermann the German. They used it on the 34/42 link belts.

Personally, I clean links in the 'ol Dillon tumbler. The Browning links turn out fine, but '60 links clump up in a snarl like Christmas lights....
 

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After you clean and dry them I would not use WD 40 on them as it makes them oily and they will really pick up the dirt when they hit the ground. I use spry on Teflon by Dupont from Lowes about $5 per can. It is not greasy, works great and does not pick up dirt like oils do. Just my .02.
 
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