DIY Rust Removal via Electrolysis- Amazing. - MR2 Owners Club Message Board
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post #1 of 63 (permalink) Old February 24th, 2004, 23:54 Thread Starter
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DIY Rust Removal via Electrolysis- Amazing.

Courtesy of user sgraber from board.mr2faq.com


Check out this simple DIY method for rust removal from metal parts

Heres what someone on another message board had to say:

Opened it, read it, was sceptical, then tried it anyway. Wow!! I just cant find enough stuff to 'electrolyse'!

I first tried one of my 4x4 front uprights. I had already drifted out the bearing outer races (a complete bitch) and given it a good 20 minutes of 'The Tool' - not the soft wirey one but the voilent twisted one that leaves you looking like you have a piercing fetish, not to mention the instant parkinsons/arthritis. It was still covered with stubborn lumps of rust especially in all the hard to reach places.

After several hours in the tank, the rest of the rust fell off in my fingers under a tap (or with a tiny bit of wire brush persuasion), and with a quick dry in the oven it looked every bit as good as the day it came out of Henry Ford's finest casting shop. Totally amazing and no effort or money!

Then I tried my other upright straight off the car, covered in years of filth and rust, left the bearing races in. Same result. Awesome! All the crap just rubs off with your fingers!

Here's what others had to say...

"It's so cheap and easy! I just leave it going over night and in the morning my component is like new!" - Jessica, Middlesex.

"The best thing for me is it doesn't attack clean metal so it wont harm machined surfaces and parts like bearing races! I'll never use sand blasting again!" - Peter, Dudley.

"I find electrolysis very useful for dismantling rusty donor car assemblies like hubs, struts and the like!" - Jean, Doncaster.

"I'll never touch 'The Tool' again! Too bad I already got arthritis!" - Winston, Hereford.


It's fantastic. I used baking soda and it works fine. I use a bit of thin walled 6" diameter stainless tube i found as the electrode, and occasionally a small bit of inch tube to insert inside tricky bits if required. Draws about 2 amps with the electrode nice and close to the piece.

Give it a go. Even if you're already driving you must have something rusty.
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post #2 of 63 (permalink) Old February 24th, 2004, 23:54 Thread Starter
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Continued...

WARNING WARNING WARNING!!!

Do NOT use stainless Steel as the anode when using this process!

Please read the following message posted on locostbuilders.co.uk

"Many people using the electrolysis method for rust reduction swear by stainless steel, stating (incorrectly) that it's not consumed, stays clean and seems safe.
Stainless steel is indeed consumed when used in the electrolysis process, although slowly. The main problem with using it is the hazardous waste it produces. Stainless steel contains chromium.


The electrodes, and thus the chromium is consumed, and you end up with poisonous chromates in your electrolyte. Dumping these on the ground or down the drain is illegal. The compounds can cause severe skin problems and ultimately, cancer. Hexavalent chromate is poisonous. These compounds are not excused from hazardous waste regulations where household wastes are.
These compounds are bad enough that government regulations mandate "elimination of hexavalent chromate by 2007 for corrosion protection." Remember the movie "Erin Brokovich"? Hexavalent Chromate in the Water is what they were fighting against.

Does your electrolyte turn yellow? That's a sign of chromates.

If you have been using stainless steel for the anodes (positive electrodes), wear rubber gloves when working with or near the liquids. If you need to dispose of it, allow it to evaporate into powders and dispose of the powders in sealed containers during your local "hazardous waste clean-up days".

Best bet - don't use stainless steel no matter how tempting it is."
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post #3 of 63 (permalink) Old March 4th, 2004, 09:50
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Whats a good thing to use for the electrode? I cant think of any iron I have lying arround
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post #4 of 63 (permalink) Old March 16th, 2004, 20:00
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How about regular steel? An old coat hanger perhaps?
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post #5 of 63 (permalink) Old March 30th, 2004, 07:01
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I tried this out last night on my strut housing that had a thick layer of 20 year old rust on them. I only had baking soda so I used that in the water. I was very happy with how it turn out.






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post #6 of 63 (permalink) Old June 29th, 2004, 13:23
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I'm doing this now on my coolant lines under the intake mani. Coat hanger and baking soda that's been sitting my fridge for years. Seems to be working. Hanger is cool because you can bend it to shape the part and still have the positive cable out of the water. I let it soak overnight, but haven't washed it yet.

here's a list for the clickably challenged (not responsible if you blow yourself up):

Need:
battery charger
plastic tub
"washing" soda - or lye or baking soda
water (lye to water - never water to lye)
electrode - iron or coat hanger

Do:
1 tbsp. of soda to every gal. (3.7 litres?) of water
negative clip on part w/ good contact
positive clip on end of steel electrode
Watch for the cool bubbles.

Don'ts:
Mix water INTO lye.... lye to water (I said that, right?)
lye and stainless steel don't like each other.
Mix up the postive and negative connections - if your electrode starts to bubble, it's backwards.... ask me how I know
Water and electricity don't usually mix. Use caution when connecting to the electrode.
Don't drink the water - it's not bad for the environment, unless you use stainless steel for your electrode, per above.

/standard disclaimer - don't shoot the messenger
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post #7 of 63 (permalink) Old June 30th, 2004, 20:15
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Hanger will only last about 24 hours before it's worn out. Good thing I have a bunch.
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post #8 of 63 (permalink) Old August 7th, 2004, 18:04
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I use an old rotor as the electrode. It sits good at the bottom of a 5 gal pail. I welded a length of 1/4 inch rod to it, with a U bend that goes over the top of the pail. I had tried a length of coat hanger through a hole I drilled in the rotor, but it didn't last long.

The only concern I have with the process is that hydrogen is generated at the surface of the cathode (piece being cleaned). If it piece is in solution long it can become charged. I put my pieces in the oven for a couple of hours if I am concerned that embrittlement might cause problems. Above 100C hydrogen is very mobile in steel, and will quickly diffuse.
post #9 of 63 (permalink) Old February 1st, 2005, 14:02
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*necropost*

This is an amazing process...the first time I'd seen it used was at the fort at St. Augustine. They were using Iron and Electrolysis to restore an anchor that had been underwater since the mid 1700's. According to my recollection, the explanation was that once the rust was all knocked off, the iron *continued* to accrete from the iron anode to the anchor (cathode), thus actually *replacing* metal that had already rusted away.

You should have seen the size of their iron anodes, though...
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post #10 of 63 (permalink) Old June 7th, 2005, 16:59
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Has anyone tried this on an exhaust manifold or EGR?

Charles Wells
(aka senna21)

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post #11 of 63 (permalink) Old June 8th, 2005, 07:06
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no before/after pics yet??
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post #12 of 63 (permalink) Old July 18th, 2005, 17:01
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Can someone please take a picture of their setup. I dont really know anything about battery charges, or what exactly to do with the coat hanger. Also, how are you cleaning your coolant lines under the intake manifold? I thought they had to be submerged in the tub. This is what I understood from reading everything.... you put the electrolyte at the bottom of the tub with a coat hanger attached to it and mix the baking soda and water in the tub. Where does the other end of the coat hanger go, and which end goes to which end of the battery charger?
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post #13 of 63 (permalink) Old July 23rd, 2005, 18:32
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I finally figured this out .. here's an easy explanation, for anyone as stupid as me.

You need a battery charger, a big plastic tub, a coat hanger, and baking soda.

Put a tablespoon of baking soda in the tub for every gallon of water there is. The rusty object your trying to clean will only clean if its submurged under the soda/water mixture. You need the coat hanger to surround the object, but not actually touch it. If they touch its bad. The negetive cable goes on the rusty object (it can go under the water if it has to) and the positive cable goes to a part of the coat hanger that is above the water. It can't go under the water.

So u got a big tub of water with a rusty object, a coat hanger surrounding but not actually touching it, the negetive clip goes to the rusty object and positive goes to part of the coat hanger thats not under the water. Then it will bubble and clean the object for a few hours ... you'll figure out the rest. Hope this helps any stupid people like me.
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post #14 of 63 (permalink) Old August 3rd, 2005, 09:45
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someone needs to take some pictures of this!!!!!
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post #15 of 63 (permalink) Old August 4th, 2005, 21:17
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heh this reminds me of a old science project i did back in 6th grade.... (it was concerning old coins) mmm ima give it a try..
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post #16 of 63 (permalink) Old August 4th, 2005, 21:19
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this works well, I've been doing a lot lately, unfortunatly I dont have before picutres but I can give you pictures of completed pieces.

http://myforumfiles.com/photos/displ...album=38&pos=0

the 1st and third are after primer and rubberized undercoating, the second is just with primer, you can see the pitting that remains, but no rust.

Next time, I will take before/during/after pics.

Last edited by seven_mgte; August 4th, 2005 at 21:34.
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post #17 of 63 (permalink) Old August 5th, 2005, 00:34
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wow that looks pretty clean.... i look forward to the pictures
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post #18 of 63 (permalink) Old August 30th, 2005, 23:54
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Quote:
Originally Posted by logangaudreau
I finally figured this out .. here's an easy explanation, for anyone as stupid as me.

You need a battery charger, a big plastic tub, a coat hanger, and baking soda.

Put a tablespoon of baking soda in the tub for every gallon of water there is. The rusty object your trying to clean will only clean if its submurged under the soda/water mixture. You need the coat hanger to surround the object, but not actually touch it. If they touch its bad. The negetive cable goes on the rusty object (it can go under the water if it has to) and the positive cable goes to a part of the coat hanger that is above the water. It can't go under the water.

So u got a big tub of water with a rusty object, a coat hanger surrounding but not actually touching it, the negetive clip goes to the rusty object and positive goes to part of the coat hanger thats not under the water. Then it will bubble and clean the object for a few hours ... you'll figure out the rest. Hope this helps any stupid people like me.

i think i'm more stupid than you are.... can you supply pics of what you just said... and what kinda battery charger are you using? i have a car battery charger. would that work? ..... So negative goes under water? scary!!
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post #19 of 63 (permalink) Old August 31st, 2005, 01:50
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lol ... I returned my battery charger after I cleaned my calipers . First they wouldn't let me, so I went outside and cut the cords in half, and then returned it. I didnt take pictures. A car battery charger is what ur supposed to use. If you just read all of the links up there and then read mine then you'll get it. It took me like 10 minutes of reading (was drunk though) so maybe it will only take u like 5.
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post #20 of 63 (permalink) Old September 9th, 2005, 02:08
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Thanks! I got it working pretty well! i have a charger than can do 2 settings, 2 and 6 amp. whoa!! the 2 was cool but the 6 amp mode is just ridiculously dangerous!!!
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