Author Topic: I pimped my parts washer  (Read 9516 times)

Offline swan

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  • Kickstart, shift on right, drum brakes and spokes
    • 1962 BSA Gold Star barn find restoration
I pimped my parts washer
« on: Jan 10, 2013, 13:22:31 »
I finally broke down and bought a parts washer. I have been tempted by the $79 Harbor Freight 20 gallon parts washer coupon but when I looked at one I thought it was cheap and ugly. When I found the same parts washer on Craigslist for $40, used twice and clean, I could not pass it up. It is black, but is the same girl as the HF model in a different dress. I wanted to run Simple Green and a water heater element  in it, but many other people have tried this only to have the paint strip off and the tub rust out. After researching the forums, I went with an unheated solvent. The major difference between the industrial professional parts washer and these cheap ones is filtration. After some research, I modified my parts washer with stronger legs, castors, more height from the floor, a drying rack, in line filtration and a flow through brush. It works great!

My welder and I bent up some heavy gauge scrap diamond plate and welded expanded steel mesh for a lower shelf. I painted it, added casters, heavier nuts and bolts, a rubber strip along the lid for a seal, new flow through brush and in line filter with a mounting bracket. The original filter was missing from this unit so I safety wired a 3M red scrub pad to keep out the bigger crud from entering the pump. All new fuel lines, grommets, brass hardware and push button ergonomic scrub brush makes this work much better. Here is a good link to a Popular Science article for the basics and a parts list:

For the solvent I chose Tractor Supply Company's Crown PSC 1000 parts cleaner solution (naptha) based on recommendations from Garage Journal forum members. It really is low odor, has a higher flash point than mineral spirits and cost $80 for ten gallons. I also added 1 gallon of water to the tank and placed two bricks beneath the shelf to bring the fluid level to just beneath the shelf.  Many people recommended adding water since the solvent has a lower density and will float on top of the water. Gunk and dirt will stay in lower part of the tank in the water, keeping the solvent cleaner.

I am venting our workshop with a small squirrel fan above the parts washer and though it works well, I may need a larger fan for our space. I will try it for now and see how it goes.

$80 solvent
$27 remote Fram filter kit and filter from O'Reillys UPC: 9100752260 Summit Racing has the remote filter base for $13
$10 fuel line
$30 hardware from Ace
$18 Chemfree parts washer brush (Ebay)
$5 rubber weatherstrip seal
$10 and a six pack to my welder for scrap metal and his time
$28 for casters

$208 total (plus beer)

Now it is finally time to break down and clean a few motorcycle engines, carbs and parts. No more bending over the bucket, wasting solvent or Simple Green or frequent trips to the county hazardous waste center. If I can do it, so can you!

« Last Edit: Jan 10, 2013, 14:30:51 by swan »
1966 Triton cafe, 1962 BSA Gold Star DBD34, and 1966 T120 Triumph Bonneville.
BSA Gold Star barn find restoration
1975 CB400F Cafe Racer build
1966 Triumph Bonnevile restoration

Offline AlphaDogCustoms

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Re: I pimped my parts washer
« Reply #1 on: Jan 10, 2013, 14:02:12 »
Good mods.
I have the HF parts washer. I used kerosene as the solvent. Been using it for 4 years and no problem with the pump so far. The only modification I made was to put a flow control valve on the output of the pump to slow down the flow so that it wouldn't splash all over me all the time.
...every dump I take is original too, and it doesn't smell any better because of it's originality.

Alpha Dog Custom Cycles
Custom Fabrication
I'm so old, I even know what ignition points are.

Offline 1slowkayzee

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Re: I pimped my parts washer
« Reply #2 on: Jan 10, 2013, 14:09:23 »
WOW, Good job and great pics. Thanks for the info on this, I was wondering about parts washers but hadn't gotten into reading about them yet. I like your setup and the work you have done, very clean!

Offline haplo_84

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Re: I pimped my parts washer
« Reply #3 on: Jan 10, 2013, 15:51:25 »
Something to think about possibly with that vent if it isn't doing well is to fashion a cowl that bolts or rivets to it so it can help direct some of those fumes?
A motorcycle functions entirely in accordance with the laws of reason, and a study of the art of motorcycle maintenance is really a miniature study of the art of rationality itself.  ~Robert M. Pirsig, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance