Clean Your Pistons Like a Boss

Filthy. We can't have that...

Filthy. We can't have that...

I got Sharka’s head off and immediately inspected things for the head gasket leak. The comparatively sparkling #1 piston was the smoking gun. The leak was definitely around there somewhere. Once I got things squared away and photographed, I turned my attention toward the pistons.

Ew.

Numbers 2 and 3 (3 is on the left).

Numbers 2 and 3 (3 is on the left).

Numbers 1 and 4 (1 is at the front).

Numbers 1 and 4 (1 is at the front).

I re-shot the lead photo. It made the #4 piston look comparatively clean. It was actually the hardest of the four to get clean.

Anyways. Yuck. Anyone who reads my blog knows how I am about this stuff. I like to have a sparkling car. I enjoy tearing it apart and using it, but I like to have it clean when I’m done. So. I had to take action on these pistons.

Years ago, my buddy Tom turned me onto this stuff that Mopar makes called Combustion Chamber Cleaner. I watched him use it on his NB while doing a head gasket. The stuff just melted away the piston crud like magic. When it was time for my head gasket job, I knew I’d be making a trip to the nearby Dodge dealer for a can of this magic cleaner.

Bubble away the gack.

Bubble away the gack.

Before I go any further, I have a safety message. A bit of a public address.

WEAR EYE PROTECTION!

Seriously. This stuff comes in an aerosol can like WD-40. When you fill up your piston bore, it will splatter everywhere. You do not want it in your eyes. You should also wear gloves (and get a whole box because it dissolves them pretty quickly) but that’s besides the point.

Protect your eyes.

This is after 10 minutes. ONLY 10 minutes!

This is after 10 minutes. ONLY 10 minutes!

It’s pretty impressive stuff to watch. It bubbles up and hisses like mad while eating away all that baked on piston crap. I decided to wipe out the pistons after 10 minutes to check on the progress. I didn’t expect this.

The #1 is almost clean. The rest of the pistons are probably 80% cleaned off. This is after only a 10 minute soak and no special scrubbing on my part. I just soaked out the fluid with some paper towels and wiped clean.

Did I mention it likes to eat gloves? My box of blue nitrile gloves got a whole lot lighter that day. One pair would last maybe 2 pistons. The Mopar CCC just loves to eat away at anything it can.

Clean.

Clean.

Clean numbers 2 and 3.

Clean numbers 2 and 3.

Clean number 4. So clean it looks fake.

Clean number 4. So clean it looks fake.

Clean number 1.

Clean number 1.

I gave the pistons two more soaks. The time elapsed was probably no more than 45 minutes. That’s less than an hour of soaking and two towelings off. For THIS!!!! They look fake. I’m beyond impressed.

No wire brush. No crazy scrubbing. No chipping away. Nothing. Just a short soak.

One word of caution. I’ve read tales of folks letting this stuff sit over night and soak past the rings. That allows you to not even need to towel anything off. The pistons just get magically clean. But the cylinder walls can get etched if you do this. Mopar CCC is very aggressive. Treat it as such. Don’t let it eat into your block.

Can you think of a better product photo?

Can you think of a better product photo?

I don’t know if it’ll do that much good, but I for one am happy to know that my pistons are clean and shiny. Thanks Mopar!

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  • Bill says:

    Automotive detailing on a whole new level.

  • Paul says:

    ..now just apply a coat of wax, wipe over with some quick detailer and you’re done 😀

    I’m not sure if any of my comments (or this one for that matter) have ever made it through, but I’d just like to say that I’m a massive fan of the blog and I am always happy when a new post appears in my google reader. I don’t even own a Miata/MX5/Eunos, I drive a 318IS but I call still appreciate awesome work.

    Saying that there is an MX5 for sale locally and the weather is starting to be very nice…

    • revlimiter says:

      Thanks for the kind words Paul! The mention of the google reader really made me smile. I subscribe to a handful of non-Miata blogs as well and eagerly wait for updates. 🙂

      Miatas are very very cheap… and a lot of fun to work on.

  • Stoly says:

    Paul – I can relate! Adam’s influence is why my Miata rebuild went from ‘hurry up’ to ‘take your time and do it right’. Oh, and I owe my addiction to rare parts to him as well. From one stranger to another, you should buy the MX-5…

    Adam – looks awesome! Looking forward to your next update.

    • revlimiter says:

      haha! Your epic build is gonna put Sharka’s to shame once you’re done. Mine is more like constant evolution than a rebuild anymore. 🙂

      As for the next update, I’m hoping it’ll have some head work pix.

  • Ben says:

    You should probably put a cap full of marvel mystery oil, or regular motor oil on the rings and pistons after that. I’d be paranoid to rotate the crank with everything dry.

    You know what else cleans the pistons like that? N2O. Might be something to think about, look at it as good maintenance. XD

    I’ll be in town next weekend if you’re still working on the miata, and don’t mind this hack poking around sharka.

    • revlimiter says:

      Excellent advice about the oil. I followed it. I’ve not done any extra work due to being out of town myself.

      And I always look forward to having your help with my stupid car. Two hacks are always better than one.

  • KANDUKURI RAJESH says:

    .Remove the spark plugs…’half mast ‘ the pistons in the bore…get an oil can with a small plastic tube over the spout…using ‘Marvel Mystery Oil’ in the oil can give it at least 6>8 squirts down each plug hole…and leave it to sit overnight….Next day…take a towel and lay it over all the plug holes…crank the engine(still with plugs OUT)…this will blow the excess oil out…be sure its out.Check the plugs and regap…clean off the plug holes…refit the plugs.Start the engine and hold at a fist idle until the smoke clears….

  • where to order this stuff works like magic email thank you

  • Jimmy says:

    Did you noticed any increase in performance after this?
    Big fan of this blog btw keep it up.

  • […] pistons Has anyone used this stuff, or something similar, to clean piston crowns?: Clean Your Pistons Like a Boss — revlimiter.net The bit at the end of this article about etching cylinders is a bit worrying, particularly as […]

  • Michael says:

    Will this clog up the rings at all?
    I keep hearing mixed opinions about cleaning the piston tops during a head gasket replacement, some say that it burn mad oil after a few hundred miles because of carbon clogging up the ports in the piston. This seems like a good compromise since the built up carbon is melted away instead of scrubbed away. Opinions?

    • revlimiter says:

      I’ve had zero issues after doing this and haven’t ever met anyone who’s had problems. You just have to be careful with the cleaning solution. It’s very caustic.

      It leaks past rings like any other fluid. Good to change oil very shortly after doing this cleaning.

      I had no oil burning.

  • […] Re: Crazyblackman's Red Baron Should get some mopar ccc, it will clean those pistons up real nice. http://revlimiter.net/blog/2011/04/c…s-like-a-boss/ […]

  • Read Article says:

    Howdy, I came across your internet-site from the googles and love it. Thanks man!

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