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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!