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Old 02-17-2005, 08:39 PM
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wax and grease remover

Hey, I have a bunch of acetone and am wondering if that would clean up metal after a thorough warm soapy water bath. I figure it'll definitely remove grease, not so sure about the wax etc, but I just DA sanded it. Any ideas. Thanks, Adam

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Old 02-17-2005, 11:28 PM
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I found the most effective move next is to put the car inthe booth or clean roomand wash with Ajax and a red scotchbrite pad. Then rinse real good and blow dry with filtered dry and clean air. It'll take a lot of air so maybe think of drying one panel at a time letting the compressor catch up as you mask panel or two and then go back to blow drying the next panel etc..
say the ney no to acetone

Did you ever meet Mr Paint?

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Old 02-18-2005, 04:07 AM
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Acetone is an excellent cleaner for bare metal if mixed.

Mix 1 to 1 by volume with regular rubbing alcohol than mix with tap water one part tap water to one part of your mix. (1:1).

Now this cleaner would be a little aggressive on some fresh base coats but will clean cured paint and bare metal very well!

To clear up the fresh base, what I mean is if you sprayed a couple coats of base and wet sanded a spot, you could not use this product to wipe the base down before re-basing. It may be OK but would be boarder line too strong.
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Old 02-18-2005, 07:10 AM
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I guess you could go ahead and gamble with the acetone..
That way if you get fisheyes in there we'll know where they came from
Hope to see pics later .
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Old 02-18-2005, 08:09 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by adrock430
Hey, I have a bunch of acetone and am wondering if that would clean up metal after a thorough warm soapy water bath. I figure it'll definitely remove grease, not so sure about the wax etc, but I just DA sanded it. Any ideas. Thanks, Adam
Adam, you are talking about BARE METAL right? If that is the case the acetone is usable. Acetone is a VERY heavy solvent and can take a long time to evaporate so be careful. If there is high humitity it can take quite a while and so you don't want to wipe something down and then apply primer over it only to trap acetone down in nooks and crannies.

I sat here and thought for quite a while before posting this. I don't want to start a peeing match, so after much thought I figured it is better to speak up and if anyone disagrees, PLEASE let's STICK TO THE FACTS and discuss it.

The following text was written a long time ago so if anything looks "Personal" it is not. For a professional, of course, you can go out side the recommendations I have laid out, for a home hobbiest, it is best to stick to the "rules".




“Basics of Basics” Surface cleaners
By Brian Martin

They are commonly called “Wax and Grease Removers” but many manufactures have changed the name to “Surface Cleaners” or similar names. I think the biggest reason is because the name “Wax and grease remover” implies that they will actually clean all of the wax and grease off the surface. The other reason for a name change is the simple point that wax and grease are only a few of the contaminants that you battle against while painting.

The basic idea behind these cleaners is simple, they are designed to lift the contaminant up off the surface long enough for you to wipe it away. The surface MUST stay wet and HOLD those contaminants up in the cleaner for you to wipe off with a clean/dry rag. That is mistake most make, they let it dry and the contaminant ends up laying right back on the surface. First of all let’s clear up a few things; Lacquer thinner, acetone, MEK, and enamel or urethane reducers are NOT surface cleaners. Lacquer thinner evaporates too fast and doesn’t give you time to wipe it off wet. It is also much to strong a solvent for most cleaning and can get under the edges of sand thrus or soften substrates. Enamel and urethane reducers often have resins and other components in them that are designed to be added to the product they were INTENDED to be used with. To put it in a nutshell, buy and use the products recommended by the manufacture of the paint SYSTEM you are using. A gallon of the proper surface cleaner runs about twenty or twenty five dollars it is money well spent. The gallon will last you through many projects, a few cars even. The pint of paint or clear to do one small redo will cost more than that.

I checked on our paint dept. at work to see how much surface cleaner they go through. We do between 100 and 150 cars a month and purchase three to five gallons of surface cleaner. We purchase about $12,000 a month in paint materials and only about one hundred bucks of that is surface cleaner. So that being said, at that rate a gallon should last a home hobbyist a lifetime, so buy the right product for the job.

One reason we use so little is how we use it. Here in the San Francisco bay area with strict VOC rules we are not allowed to pour the surface cleaner out onto a rag. We have to spray it out of a spray bottle. Like most things we are forced to do, we resist. But it has turned out to be a great way to use this product. You should give it a try, it works real well. You spray the panel and then wipe it off.

I like to have lots of clean rags when I am doing paint work. Clean rags are one of the most important item you can have in a shop. In the last few years this has gotten much easier to do. I remember having a can of paint covered rags in the corner, thinking I could wash them. I would wash them and they would be clean but the dried paint on them would be hard and make the rags unusable. Then of course you don’t want to wash them in your home washer anyway, unless you want your wife’s bra to smell like enamel reducer.
The disposable rag is king these days. You can get a box of “rags” for a pretty fair price and just throw them way when done. You always have nice clean rags. They are not “just” paper towels, so don’t think that the “Mr. Cleanup” paper towels you get at the supermarket are going to do the job. Go to your paint store and get the real thing. There are many different kinds, from cheap wipes similar to your kitchen “paper towels” to lint free towels for final wiping. TORX products are available at NAPA auto parts and is one source for these towels. Again, yes they cost more money than washing rags or your wife’s “Mr. Cleanup” paper towels but what kind of money are you spending on your paint products?

So let’s go over exactly how you use it. As mentioned earlier, you need to keep it wet prior to wiping it off. The best way to do this is keeping your cleaning area down to a manageable size. I usually wipe no more than a half a panel at a time. About six square feet is all you can do without problems of it drying to fast, and even then you have to keep moving pretty fast. You just don’t want it to dry, if you do, you have wasted your time. You haven’t done what you intended to do, at all. It was not even close, you wasted your time.



When should you wipe the surface?
Well first of all, BEFORE you sand. If you don’t wipe the surface before you sand you will not sand off the contaminants, you will sand them INTO the surface. So a good cleaning before sanding is recommended. If the surface is really dirty, clean it a few times changing to clean rags every time. Remember, you want to wipe off the contaminants, so if you use the same rags on the subsequent wipes you can leave the contaminants you wiped off on the first wipe!

Wiping before applying primer or paint of course is also recommended. Broom and/or blow off the sanding dust (I have bench brooms for wood working that are fine bristled and work great). Be sure to use the proper cleaner and wipe it dry really well. Then be sure that any remainder has flashed off (evaporated) before applying your primer or paint. You don’t want any of the cleaner to be trapped under your primer or paint!


Have a few rags ready to go folded in fourths. Put the rag over the opening on the can of surface cleaner and give the can a “slosh” getting the rag wet, not too wet but wet. You don’t need to have it dripping all over the floor, but it should be good and wet. Get in the habit of wiping things down like you are painting it. Use a back and forth pattern with an over lap being sure to wet EVERY square inch. The entire area should be shiny wet, then switch to a clean dry rag and wipe it dry using the same “get every inch” procedure. If you feel it dried before you could get it off, repeat the cleaning. As a painter I worked under many years ago would make me repeat like a private in boot camp “YOU CAN NEVER GET A CAR TOO CLEAN, SIR”

Because the term “wax and grease remover” is thrown around so much little is said about the how different they can be. Until I had became a paint rep I didn’t even know there were different kinds. After painting for twenty years I had always just grabbed the “wax and grease remover” without a thought as to what I was using it on. When I bought a cleaner and found it worked different I just attributed it to the brand and not the fact that it was just not the type of cleaner I had been using.

Just like solvents you add to your paint products there are different “temps” cleaners. Not that they are to be used in different temp shops but that they flash faster or slower than another. This is important in that you don’t need a super slow flashing cleaner on your final wipe. Nor do you need a super fast one when you are doing your first wipe down of a greasy car prior to sanding.

There are also different “strengths” of cleaners. Some are designed for cleaning soft substrates like lacquer while others are much more harsh for cleaning enamel substrates. Most all of them “can” be used at most times but, there are some that are better than others for particular circumstances.

There are four common groups. I don’t have every cleaner listed here but this will give you a good idea at what is available.

1. A very slow evaporating cleaner. It is also very weak, and actually may only be mineral spirits or mostly mineral spirits. This does NOT mean you can go to the hardware store and buy their mineral spirits, for goodness sakes just but the high grade product from the paint manufacture. This is the type of cleaner is the most common found in the shop. It is a good cleaner because it is weak and will not attack any soft substrates like lacquer, uncured enamels, etc. But it will not clean a lot of strong contaminants like vinyl treatments. When you have a reason to believe there is a particularly bad contaminant you may need to go to a stronger cleaner. It is very slow evaporating so you have to be sure it is fully evaporated after wiping before you apply any paint product over it. Specifically those nooks and crannies, be sure it is good and gone before you apply any paint product. It gives you lots of time to wipe it off because it evaporates so slow.

Examples are:
Sherwin Williams R1K213, Martin Senour 6387, PPG DX330, DuPont 3939S, BASF 901.


2. This cleaner is fast and strong. It is commonly recommended as a “pre-cleaner” before sanding. It will attack some soft substrates like lacquer and uncured enamel but if you are using it before sanding you can correct that. It will clean the stronger contaminants like tar and unseen ones like silicone vinyl protectants.

Examples are:
Sherwin Williams R7K156, Martin Senour 6383, PPG DX440, DuPont 3919S, BASF 900.

3. This cleaner is a weak solvent with fast evaporation and is usually used just prior to painting, while the car is in the booth. It is very fast evaporating and is necessary in the production shop where you don’t have the time to wait for a cleaner like #1 to evaporate. It is perfect for this use, just getting those finger prints and dust residue off.

Examples are:
Sherwin Williams R7K158, Martin Senour 6384, PPG DX30, DuPont 3901S, BASF 901.

4. Because of VOC rules a waterborne solvent cleaner was developed. It is not needed in most of the country but it has been found to have an interesting use there. Because it has water in it (water and alcohol molecules share a common atom so they are a “link” between the water and enamel based solvents) it actually helps with static electricity. Washing the car with water is the best, but that can’t always be done.
It is also the recommended surface cleaner for plastic parts with many paint systems.

Examples are:
Sherwin Williams W4K157, Martin Senour 6388, PPG DX380, DuPont 3909 or 3949, BASF 905.

If you find that you have been using the “wrong” cleaner, don’t sweat it, it is not THAT critical. As I said, there are cleaners that work better than others in certain circumstances but few would be “wrong”.

I know of one particular mistake I made for many years. I was using one from the number 1 example. I used it all the time as I still do. The problem was I was using it wrong. Back in the days of lacquer primers and paint I had a few problems that I just couldn’t figure out, till years later that is. I would see a lacquer paint job I did a year or so later and there would be water spots on it, coming from under or within the paint. It looked just like you would have when you dry a car in the sun and the water would dry in the patterns that the wet towel left. I always knew it was the surface cleaner but just couldn’t figure out why it would happen. I now know that the cleaner was just too slow evaporating and some stayed on the surface to be buried under the paint. The lacquer primer soaked it up and held it. If I had waited a little while longer before painting or used one from the number 3 example I wouldn’t have had a problem.

Hopefully this info will help you choose the best cleaner for the job. But most off all, I hope it puts to rest all the “old husbands tales” of using thinner or enamel reducers as cleaners.
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Old 02-18-2005, 08:54 AM
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The problem is still getting ALL of the bad stuff off the surface after you have lossened it up with what ever. How do you stop touching it with a rag in your hand?

You wouldn't belive how many non problem paint jobs I've done with just water and Ajax.

Sometimes it's like making toast. (that simple)

Troubleshooting the toaster
Once all of the protocols and product lines are stripped away, troubleshooting is essentially an exercise in logic. Keeping in mind that logic comes in both the deductive and inductive flavors. Whenever you approach a problem, you should use some sort of problem-solving model (a logical step-by-step method of converging toward a solution).

The point should be made that most people do not stop and open a handbook on troubleshooting methodology when they get stuck. They work from their own personal skill set and with their own troubleshooting methodology that they have developed over time. This personalized methodology will be reinvented, by each individual, to suit their particular style, knowledge and skill set. The point is to minimize wasted time associated with erratic hit-and-miss troubleshooting or as I like to call it bumbleshooting or Easter egg hunting.

A quick note on prevention: As I'm sure everyone's grandmother used to say an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. If you can think far enough ahead to foresee a possible problem then that is the time to troubleshoot it, not when the db server is down and your company is losing $50,000 an hour. Remember costs like that really cut into a company’s profit margin any potentially your paycheck. Sure it's good to be the hero that pulled a paperclip out and made everything better but in my opinion it's the unsung heroes that prevent having to visit that stress riddled environment in the first place that are worth their weight in cpu's. If you do nothing else in your troubleshooting career, remember what your grandmother said!

The goal in most troubleshooting scenarios is to move from the general to the specific. Eliminate variables to the point that one can focus on a subset of variables in which the solution is buried. Large complex problems are solved by breaking them down into smaller chunks and then mapping out the interrelationships between the chunks. This makes it possible to extract a total solution once solutions to the smaller problems have been found. Breaking problems down into smaller chunks can be accomplished in several ways, and my personal style is usually to split the model in half. Take for instance a broken toaster, I put in the bread, plug the toaster in, press the lever and the bread immediately pops back up after only a second or two of toasting. Every model has a goesinta and a goesouta in the case of a toaster you have electricity (120Vac) and bread as a goesinta your goesouta is normally toast. In our case we provided the proper goesintas and but received an improper goesouta (bread) so what could be wrong?

Different methodologies- there are two methodologies I subscribe to, half-splitting and hunching. In half-splitting you start half way between the last known good goesinta and the first seen bad goesouta So in this case we got the bread we got the power, we see the elements light and the bread drop into the slot, but we don’t have toast. The reason lies somewhere between the power and the untoasted bread. As you can probably gather by the name of the second methodology it relies on a hunch. This method can be very useful if you have previous experience with the failed device.

Our first step - gather information. Lets take a look at how this thing is put together, have a look at the users manual, and most importantly the schematics (yes I come from a day when the schematics were printed on the inside cover of a piece of equipment. Nowadays you need to order them from some place like Sam’s publishing or download them from the manufacturer’s site).



And now is when you realize just how important documentation is. Let me put it another way, don’t just RTFM know where to find the FM and don’t wait until there is a cataclysmic toasting failure to locate it. But maybe it isn't your fault that you cant locate the manual for your toaster, maybe you inherited it from a previous toast connoisseur. WRONG! It’s still your fault for not heeding your grandmother’s advice. Ok, ok, we have a toast emergency right now. It's not the time for finger pointing. That time comes in the 3:00 am meeting with the Senior VP in charge of toast. So lets get busy because nobody is going to be eating any toast until you locate some info and our butter is getting quite soft.


Lets examine the theory of operation for a toaster. The bread goes in the slots, a lever is pressed down lowering the bread into the toaster, closing a switch and locking the lever and bread holder into place. Seems simple enough but the switch is an active component, that is, when activated it sets in motion another set of events. When the switch is closed voltage runs through the heating element and begins the process of toastification upon the bread. At the same time a temperature sensor is monitoring the temperature of the toasting bay. Once the toasting bay reaches the appropriate temperature (as set by the light/dark control) the temperature sensor trips the release mechanism, the toast pops up, the switch is opened and you make a mad dash for the butter before the toast gets cold.

In our scenario the bread dropped, the element lit, but we did not get toast. This tells us a couple of things.




We have power (though it may not be enough for proper operation)

The switch is functioning.

We are getting hungry.


For now we will eliminate everything before the switch as a possible problem because it seems as all that is working as expected. We will keep it in the back of our head that we didn’t check any of this and just relied on the good nature of physics and logic that this is all working. This is where having a bit of experience with the equipment can be a big ally. We know that a temperature sensor monitors the toasting bay temperature and releases the switch when the optimum temperature is reached. We also know that there is a little slider device that controls the operation of the temperature sensor. First lets look to make sure that this toast emergency isn’t being caused by user error. (Grandma wisdom #2 User error is probably one of the most overlooked causes of problems. We are all human and we all make mistakes never rely on someone else’s word that they did everything exactly as they should have without first verifying that they did) We look at the slider and its in the mid position which should provide us with a coffee with two cream colored toast. But it doesn’t so we will eliminate (for now) improper operation as a probable cause. Lets change the test conditions a bit and turn our toaster into an incinerator. We crank up the slider to the position that is marked charcoal and resubmit the bread to the toasting god. No luck, our bread pops up still pale as paste.

We changed the parameters of the goesinta and got an identical goesouta. This points more and more to the temperature control. In our scenario the temperature control is a mechanical device, a strip of bimetal - two strips of metal with different heat expansion properties that are bonded together one on top the other so that one strip expands more quickly than the other causing the entire thing to bend. This property can also be observed by taking a foiled paper gum wrapper or liner from a pack of cigarettes and folding it in half then heating the crease of the fold. If you have the right kind of foil the foil will expand at a different rate then the paper causing the wrapper to fold itself tighter or open the fold up depending on which way you made the fold. Our strip of bimetal in our toaster heats up and when it bends enough it releases the mechanism that keeps the bread holder in the toasting position.

Now it could be that our bread holder is not locking into the toast position. So to test this theory lets remove the power and drop our bread if it stays down it’s operating correctly if not then we may want to look more closely at the locking mechanism. It stays down, we know it is releasing (even if its too soon) so lets eliminate that as a possible problem (for now.)

You may notice that we are steadily narrowing our search by elimination but are keeping in mind the possibility for flukes and errors in our elimination. We are also using a combination of troubleshooting techniques. This, my student, is the Tao of troubleshooting. We are now left with a very small area to troubleshoot. Specifically, we are left with a piece of bimetal, and a controller mechanism that varies the trigger point of the bimetal. To troubleshoot this I would simply observe its operation (at a safe distance from exposed wires and heating elements) For the purpose of instruction we will assume that the bimetal doesn’t bend so we pop down to the toaster repair shop and fetch a new piece of bimetal. In the real world we would go down to K-mart and use this whole ordeal as an excuse to upgrade to the four-slot model. Grandma advice #3 New doesn’t always mean good. After replacing the piece of bimetal if all is not toasty check to make sure its adjusted properly and that its operating correctly. Just because it’s new and fresh out of the package NEVER assume that it is good or that it has been installed correctly until you can verify that it is operating correctly.

With our toaster back up and toasting we should take the time to clean out all those unsightly crumbs (an ounce of prevention) warm us a pastry (purely for test purposes) and put our machine back in service.
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Old 02-18-2005, 09:57 AM
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Thanks guys for the responses...I'll use the acetone on the metal but I'll definitely purchase some cleaner at the store. I never knew toast was such an iffy proposition.
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Old 02-18-2005, 10:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by milo
I guess you could go ahead and gamble with the acetone..
That way if you get fisheyes in there we'll know where they came from
Hope to see pics later .
Why would it be a Gamble? IF you knew!
with the mixture I gave him it would remove silicone in one wipe. Clean more different type of contaminates than any normal wax and grease remover. You may be interested to know more and more waterborne removers are using 2-10% acetone more if its an alcohol base because it speeds up the acetone.
You can use windex, alcohol, tide, ajax they all clean good.

What with the toaster BS, save that for the highschool kids at A_Z.
It may impress them.
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Old 02-18-2005, 07:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by milo
The problem is still getting ALL of the bad stuff off the surface after you have lossened it up with what ever. How do you stop touching it with a rag in your hand?

You use clean rags like I said in the text. These are not my "opinions" these are techniques practiced in tens of thousands of body shops across the country. And like I said, I am not saying that everyone has to follow these guidelines to achieve good results. But if you don't know how to mix or know what non-auto products may work, they are pretty foolproof. I myself, use all the paint products specificially created for the job, and it always works as expected.

I hope you copied and pasted that toaster nonsense it got nowhere here buddy.
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Old 02-18-2005, 07:39 PM
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Damn, I thought making toast was supposed to be easy
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Old 02-18-2005, 10:49 PM
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I only post from personal experience .

The most important person here is the one wanting an answer to a question not the ones with all the answers..

I negleted to mention that water is what I use with the Ajax and pad and is the last fluid to touch a surface before prime or paint.

I did see water mentioned again in this thread somewhere,,

**Washing the car with water is the best, but that can’t always be done.**

If your gonna just jam knife into a toaster to unstick it. Be sure it is unplugged. Safety first, saftey is no accident..


And...belive it or not...I kinda want it to be ok between myself and others on the message boards but also like a good mental gymnastic workout

thanks man
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Old 02-19-2005, 06:15 AM
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I know of one particular mistake I made for many years. I was using one from the number 1 example. I used it all the time as I still do. The problem was I was using it wrong. Back in the days of lacquer primers and paint I had a few problems that I just couldn’t figure out, till years later that is. I would see a lacquer paint job I did a year or so later and there would be water spots on it, coming from under or within the paint. It looked just like you would have when you dry a car in the sun and the water would dry in the patterns that the wet towel left. I always knew it was the surface cleaner but just couldn’t figure out why it would happen. I now know that the cleaner was just too slow evaporating and some stayed on the surface to be buried under the paint. The lacquer primer soaked it up and held it. If I had waited a little while longer before painting or used one from the number 3 example I wouldn’t have had a problem. ("Part of Martins statement")

************************************************** ********
You just would not believe how many calls I get, where this is still a problem.
Except with urethanes, it will show up with in hours or over night. The shop will start having the problem when they change the brand of wax and grease remover to save a few bucks.
They wipe it dry but its not dry and mostly happens in winter time of year.
BWK
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Old 02-19-2005, 02:28 PM
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Milo, it's all good guy. You will notice that I stick by the book on most subjects concerning autobody and paint. I know the old tried and true methods like Ajax or Comet work, but I also know that to use the product specifically made for the purpose do as well, without any "learning curve". Things like "Scuff Gel" and surface cleaners make this work pretty foolproof.

It isn't that I disagree with telling someone to use a product like Ajax, honestly that is fine. The problem is this, and it is a BIG problem, there are zillion guys telling people to some real stupid things on the web. I have seen suggestions by so called experts that are so ludicrous it would be laughable if not for the poor guys who follow the advice and hurt themselves.

It is because of this, I preach and preach, FOLLOW THE TECH SHEETS. It isn't to disagree with the guys who do know what they are doing. It is like Barry's suggestion on the Acetone. Of course that will work as a fine surface cleaner. If Barry says it can be used, you know it can, he knows his stuff. The problem I have is it can't be used everywhere or it will cause serious problems. It takes some know how to use it. Now, so, Adrock can take that advice to the bank. Do just as Barry said and it will work fine. HOWEVER, look at how many people have looked at this thread, those are people who are not discussing anything, they are just reading. Someone among them will think "Acetone is ok, so my reducer from my Etch primer will be too". THAT is the problem. And you think someone won't think that, you are mistaken. If you follow tech sheets you just can't go wrong. I have had people say "you CAN'T spray XXX following the tech sheets". Well I have to tell you, the paint rep WILL walk into a shop and do it. So, yes it can.

I did it again, ran on and on.

Barry, you are right again, this is why I preach and preach about flash times, and choosing the right product. I have seen it, we do about 150 cars a month and things like that will come up once and a while. We recently had a car come back with the paint peeling off the primer. Primer what was sprayed to wet (they do it all the time) and painted too soon. You could peel the paint off the primer and still smell the solvents! The surface cleaner could have played a part as well. You have primer that was full of solvents, sand it, now it can flash a little and get you out of trouble, BUT instead you slather on a wet rag of slow surface cleaner. Not only do you have trapped solvents in the primer, now you have soaked it AGAIN with more solvents and you paint it!

Give it time for goodness sakes if you are going to be pushing the primers.
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Old 02-20-2005, 01:26 PM
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Thank you MARTINSR for listing the types of cleaners and their respective part numbers.
I had been using an example of #3 for quite some time and it suited my purposes very well. I went to get some more and ended up with some #1. At the time I wasn't aware of there being different types and thought it was crap. I later found it useful but no replacement for the quick stuff. Nice to have them laid out so I know exactly which type to look for depending on which store I'm in.
No thanks Milo for the pretty much irrelevant toaster thing. (Which sounds vaguely familiar) One of the few things I remember from high school are the steps of scientific method which are in fact usefully applied to all sorts of automotive work. If the toaster metaphor thing was rewritten using ignition points or something as the example it might actually come across as a useful example to newbies. Though still not pertinent to "will acetone be a good surface cleaner because I happen to have some of it already?"
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Old 07-30-2006, 12:18 PM
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Acetone

Acetone is a great wax and grease remover. Also great in removing silicon, but it does remove paint.
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