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Soda Blasting Questions

I’ll do my best to be succinct, but no guarantees!

I have my ('87NA 944) engine apart and I want to clean everything by soda blasting.

I’m trying to work my soda blasting scenario into my overall budget for rebuilding the engine, plus rebuilding brakes, power steering, new clutch disc, etc., along with some possible cosmetics like seat recovering and paint correction. So I’d like to keep my entire soda blasting-rig outlay at less than 400.00 if possible, not including blast media which might put me over this figure.

I’d like to use a small, handheld, gravity-fed blaster (LeMantec AS118) for soda, in combo with either a vertical, 20 gallon/175psi max./4CFM at 90psi, oil-less compressor, or a horizontal, 10 gallon/125psi max./5.1CFM at 90psi, oil-fed compressor.

The LeMantec blaster is rated for 7CFM at 90psi, and other systems are rated either close to or above this CFM value. My assumption is that this refers to continuous use. I do not need to blast continuously…multiple short blasts are fine.

After having looked all over the net, and posting on the Pelican 944 forum, answers are all over the place…from “either (of the above) combo will work great," to “forget about it,” and everything in between.

One guy said that, with either of the above combos, it would take me literally hours to clean my intake manifold, with lots more time needed to cool down the compressor versus actual blasting time. Others say the complete opposite, that as long as I’m doing small areas (like engine components, versus, say, an entire car), I’ll be fine. Another guy soda-blasted an entire car trailer with a setup similar to the one’s I’ve mentioned. Like I said…all over the map!

So…anybody care to chime in? And, more specifically…which of the two above mentioned compressor configurations might work better? Thanks!

Old 11-24-2019, 08:24 AM
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Émilio
 
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I think you want the more cfm as possible. The number of gallon is not important in this case if it is only for a one time job.
7Cfm is way to low to blast parts. You will lose days cleaning your stuff. With all the stuff you need I think you should drop it to a shop specialise in this matter and get your stuff the next day.

Good luck with your project!
Old 11-24-2019, 12:57 PM
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I had good results with my inexpensive 120VAC oilless vertical tank home garage compressor. Good sized tank, not very good pump. I used a cheap blasting gun ($20 maybe) sucking right from my big bag of soda. Did it in the driveway, made a heck of a mess but got the guck/grease/grime off my engine and transmission cases. I'd doubt it will work on rust on iron, but haven't tried - nothing like that on my motors, and can't think why I'd blast my steel headers.

You should have a compressor anyway, so I'd not include its cost as part of your cleaning budget. Lots of other great uses.

I've not had compressor cool down issues. Pressure fluctuates a lot, comes on a lot, but it keeps going. DIY means you discount your time spent.
Old 11-24-2019, 02:04 PM
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914-6Werkshop
 
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It sounds like your setup will work with some small parts but I wouldn't count on doing much. We use a commercial shop compressor. Any kind of blasting takes lots of air volume. I would rent a commercial, tow behind your truck compressor and a decent pressurized soda blast setup. Soda doesn't remove rust. If you want the best bang for your buck, clean all the parts off first, especially tar and use soda to provide an even finish.
Old 11-24-2019, 07:23 PM
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You don’t want to bead blast any part of the motor that sees oil...unless you want glass and sand in your oil...

Harbor freight sells a portable blaster that works great $100 or so. You will go through tons of sand, and you had better have a huge compressor...

Wear a mask...
Old 11-26-2019, 04:02 PM
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Soda blasting is the name of the game here, not sand!
Old 12-03-2019, 08:56 AM
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So Much bad info when it comes to media blasting.Your not going to save any money and certainly not going to get better results with cheap ass HF blasting equipment and a 7cfm compressor. Also you need dry air which is not cheap either. Putting filters and water traps directly on the compressor outlet is the most common mistake I see. Compressed air is hot and needs to cool before removing moisture. CFM is the most important factor as stated above many people are misled by hp and gallons. The cheapest doable compressor pump is the HF @$179 states 18cfm but probably more like 10 @90psi then you'll need a tank, a 5Hp motor, valves,proper dry air, switch et et et easily blowing your budget before you even get to the blast equipment.
Trust me Ive been down this road before like a lot of us have.
I built a vapor honing cabinet to do motors they come out looking brand new ;however you have to pull all oil galley plugs, piston oil squirters, cam lines and then put case in an ultrasonic cleaner. More work but well worth the results. Trying to media blast with cheap equipment made for nothing more than separating you from your money is highly disappointing, and time consuming. Just my two cents
Old 12-11-2019, 01:36 PM
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Thanks folks. I've decided to go with a 30 gallon, 175psi, 5.1cfm at 90psi model, and if it only works by cleaning small areas at a time...I'm totally fine with that. If not, then I'll take Walt's position...knowing that I'll be finding lots of other uses for this compressor in any case.
Old 12-12-2019, 03:32 AM
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Well at least you'll be able to put air in your tires.
Old 12-12-2019, 06:22 AM
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You do realise Soda will only remove muck.It will not touch corrosion nor oxidisation.I had my Vincent engine soda cleaned whilst assembled.Soda did manage to get into case, and "thickened" the oil with sludge.
I have a huge compressor.Still not big enough to run my blast cabinet,which I only use for small parts.Anything larger than a caliper,bracket etc I give to shop
Old 12-12-2019, 10:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by coomo View Post
You do realise Soda will only remove muck.It will not touch corrosion nor oxidisation.I had my Vincent engine soda cleaned whilst assembled.Soda did manage to get into case, and "thickened" the oil with sludge.
I have a huge compressor.Still not big enough to run my blast cabinet,which I only use for small parts.Anything larger than a caliper,bracket etc I give to shop
I have a 20 cfm compressor pump and an 80 gallon tank, just enough to run a blast cabinet continuously, however compressor runs non stop which puts a lot of wear on the motor and pump. Anything bigger and you have to go to a 10hp motor which is not cheap.
An ideal set up would be a two stage pump around 25 to 30cfm or a rotary screw compressor. Prices are coming down on screw compressors which would be the ideal option.
Old 12-14-2019, 07:48 AM
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I've heard good things about vapor blasting. Many of the motorcycle enthusiasts are using it for their engine cases and it leaves no residue, and the results are great. Does anyone have opinions on vapor v. soda?
Old 12-14-2019, 08:02 AM
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Vapour uses an abrasive media in a water jet.It cleans and peens to some extent, by removal of substrate.Just make sure you clean out your oilways after.Never on built parts
Old 12-14-2019, 09:34 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MST0118 View Post
I've heard good things about vapor blasting. Many of the motorcycle enthusiasts are using it for their engine cases and it leaves no residue, and the results are great. Does anyone have opinions on vapor v. soda?
I've done a lot with vapor blasting. There is a large unit at the shop where I worked so I did all my motorcycle parts, Carrera manifolds, 915 trans, Aluminum Carrera crossmembers, Weber carbs and lots of smaller parts. It makes tired, corroded aluminum parts look like new. Most of the time I will glass bead blast to remove corrosion and get the metal to a uniform finish and then vapor blast to "peen" the metal smooth. Yes, you do have to clean the parts well, since the medium is basically glass bead and water but that's nothing unusual. So it does leave plenty of residue but does not alter the part dimensions.

All the parts below were heavily corroded and ugly.





Old 12-16-2019, 05:42 PM
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Old 12-16-2019, 05:50 PM
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That’s impressive!

Last edited by MST0118; 12-17-2019 at 07:17 PM..
Old 12-17-2019, 07:15 PM
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I dropped my engine cases to my engine guy this week.As we carried them into his workshop, we placed them next to another partially stripped engine.
He glanced at me whilst gesturing at the partially stripped engine and enquired "Hope you didnt vapour clean these cases, like this guy.Less than 1000 miles and a few grains that got left behind.Ruined"
Old 12-20-2019, 01:13 PM
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I've done soda with a Bostitch BTFP01012 compressor. Made a gun from a Gatorade bottle and cut a slot into air gun's muzzle---can see how this is done on YouTube. Played around with psi to get good flow. MUST HAVE a water catch in the air line or the soda jams in gun. Don't blast with soda near plants or varnished furniture as the settling soda powder has a bad affect on these. It's messy.
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Old 12-25-2019, 07:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by coomo View Post
I dropped my engine cases to my engine guy this week.As we carried them into his workshop, we placed them next to another partially stripped engine.
He glanced at me whilst gesturing at the partially stripped engine and enquired "Hope you didnt vapour clean these cases, like this guy.Less than 1000 miles and a few grains that got left behind.Ruined"
Rubbish, people have been blasting engine cases for years. Maybe if your too lazy to pull piston squirters, and oil galley plugs you might have a problem.
Old 12-26-2019, 05:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dpmulvan View Post
Rubbish, people have been blasting engine cases for years. Maybe if your too lazy to pull piston squirters, and oil galley plugs you might have a problem.
I dont know exact details.As to whether squirters were pulled.All I was doing was stating my experience last week, from One of The top guys in UK.Plus of course Wayne here, doesnt recommend vapour cleaning.Yes, Ive cleaned many engines with vapour without issues.Perhaps scrupulous removal of media remains, doesnt always work.

Old 12-26-2019, 09:03 AM
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