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Old 08-16-2010, 01:38 PM
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Electrolytic rust removal

Will try to keep this brief and simple. Thanks to DEADBODYMAN, I decided to try a DIY method of de-rusting some parts. I only had to purchase the washing soda, ($2.20 at Publix)....
I "borrowed" a wire coat hanger from my wife to suspend my pulley in the solution and also as a conductor for the NEGATIVE battery clamp. The POSITIVE+ clamp will be attached to the piece of flat iron on the opposite side of the container. BE SURE THE RUSTY ITEM AND THE ELECTODE (PIECE OF IRON) DO NOT TOUCH.
-I used a clamp to attach the flat piece of iron to the inside of the plastic container, (it's best not to let the electrode rest on the bottom, I will show why in the last pic)
-Make sure the battery charger clamps are not in the solution.
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Old 08-16-2010, 02:00 PM
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Next....

....after I connected the battery charger leads, THEN I plugged it in. Almost immediately you could see the solution was moving in a "boiling" fashion...NOT hot though. After about 20 minutes you could see the solution started looking rusty. I let the part stay in about two hours and detected no more rust. I then UNPLUGGED the battery charger and removed the part. After about 5-10 minutes of rinsing in clean water and using a wire brush (pictured), I removed the black coating that developed during the process.
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Old 08-16-2010, 02:06 PM
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the solution is safe to discard...I poured mine on my driveway and rinsed. HOWEVER, in my research I discovered warnings about using stainless as the electrode, (the non rusty part connected to the POSITIVE+ battery clamp) It was stated that the process would release chromium. Exposure to chromium apparently can be harmful in both vapor and skin contact. I used a flat piece of iron, but sheet metal or angle iron, etc. can be used.
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Old 08-16-2010, 02:11 PM
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In this last picture, you can see the mark on the bottom of the container near the piece of iron. This is where the metal was resting on the bottom and seemingly "melted" it a little bit, I imagine with more power and longer time exposed, it would penetrate--causing a leak.....Again, sorry for the multi-posts, but I'm new to the WIKI format and this was easier...if enough people are interested I will try to do a Wiki sooner rather than later. I KNOW this was new to ME and many of you already know this much better...however, I figured other newbie's,(like me) may benefit...thanks for your time,
James
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Old 08-16-2010, 06:03 PM
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This is good stuff. I wish more members would take the time to document experiments and post them, excellent documentation and thank you. Dan
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Old 08-16-2010, 07:34 PM
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You're quite welcome I've taken much more than I've given though. For those of us with very little experience, pictures tend to answer the questions about the little things sometimes not covered in text. Sometimes it's hard to believe all the knowledge shared on here.
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Old 08-18-2010, 07:41 AM
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WOW Hwy ,that was quick...So what did you think of the process?
pretty easy isnt it??? I'd like to add one note ...when you pull the part out of the tank wash that black stuff off right away or it wont come off unless you do it all over again...soapy water works good..
I'm not sure what the black stuff is but it is iron and its magnetic...
I'll be building a BIG tank for the nose of my car very soon.and I'll post every step right here...This is by far the easiest way to remove rust...just hook it up and walk away.No hours and hours of wire wheeling ospho....If I only had an inground swimming pool.....
I'll tell ya sumtin else when I did this for the first time I was amazed and it was fun too,I went around looking for rusty stuff to through into the tank...
Heres a couple pics of some of the stuff I did..
UNPLUG the charger when your touch anything even 12v will knock you on you butt under the right circumstances.
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Old 08-18-2010, 07:46 AM
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heres a few more.If I can do it anyone can ,its simple....
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Old 08-18-2010, 07:55 AM
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Works great. Do a search on this site, this topic has been covered in great detail in several threads over the years.

See here here here
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Old 08-18-2010, 07:56 AM
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my rotors...All you need is a plastic tank,a battery charger,and some wash soda (sodium carbonate), mixed at 1 tablespoon per gallon of water,(not baking soda (sodium bi carbonate ) and a couple pieces of steel as electrodes to attract the rust too
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Old 08-18-2010, 08:53 AM
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DEAD, LOL...swimming pool! I moved up to a 30 gal container and am doing my deflector panels as we speak....I've already got a waiting list on non-car stuff--my antique milk container, a couple of antique tools and some veeery old jack stands (you gotta see these things, I've never seen Jack stands like these....I'll post pics...probably in the Garage threads....anyway, my 4 year-old thinks I'm a magician now and who am I to squash his reality..LOL. Again, I know this is in no way new to many of you, but Novices like myself get all excited when we learn how to "work" smart and not just hard.
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Old 08-18-2010, 09:16 AM
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If your ,derusting stuff put them right here....BUT I told ya....in a couple weeksyou wont have any more rusty stuff around and you'll be going to junk yards just to find more rusty stuff to stick in the tank.
Back when I couldnt work I had a lot of fun playing around with this thing ,it kept me busy ....later on ,I might tell you how to run filters so it runs crystal clear and the electrodes dont need cleaning so often (48 hrs)......I'll give a hint .....remember I said the black stuff was magnetic????? well so is the red stuff on the electrodes.....
when you get tired of all that ,theres always the tankless one for car roofs but thats ones still a secret....

If I had about 20- 30 cars I could rent a house with a swimming pool at one car a day and 500 per car I a guy could make some serious money de rusting whole cars ,thats where the filters would come in real handy....see what happens when you get to much time on your hands...
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Old 08-19-2010, 07:15 PM
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This works well. I did some rusty E-brake cables a couple years ago. I made a long box out of some old plywood and lined it with some plastic. One warning, Get a cheap battery charger. I burned mine out, maybe just a coincident, but I would save my good one for batteries and pick up a $25 cheap one for rust removal. Then take it back if it burns out. Jack
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Old 08-19-2010, 08:05 PM
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Would a 24v battery charger work??????? I have one or two that I've been hanging onto just incase I might find a use for them.......... LOL Would it work any better or worse???? I think I'll try this out on some of my beetle parts.
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Old 08-20-2010, 12:07 PM
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Yeah, a 24V charger will work. I've done it using a big 12V charger and the open circuit voltage on it is about 18 volts on the higher amperage settings.

I've also used my 350 amp airco welder with the current setting turned down low. Running on DC and not AC.

Something that helps too is to make your electrode such that it surrounds the part. For example, roll up a piece of sheetmetal and stuff it in the bucket. The rust removal is directional between the part and electrode, so it works from all directions at once with the wrap around electrode.

Used to see ads in the car mags for franchise stripping tank operations called Redi Strip or something similar. Anyone know what sort of chemicals they used? Supposedly would remove paint as well as rust.
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