Carb cleaner questions, the dip can type...

Discussion in 'Mechanic and Repair' started by Jason Rose, Feb 2, 2006.

  1. Jason Rose

    Jason Rose LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,858

    A couple questions...

    1. Is it safe to use the Berrymans carb cleaner in the gallon cans that come with the little strainer basket for aluminum small engine carburetors?

    2. If you get some of it on your hands, HOW DO YOU GET THE SMELL OFF????

    Ok, every time I take anything to my mechanic and its running bad or isn't getting fuel they pull the carb and throw it into a "dip tank" with carb cleaner in it. Takes 15 to 20 minutes, they pull it out, blow thru the orifices, reassemble and reinstall it, fire the machine up and bill me for $60 minimum... I bought a gallon dip tank today and used it on a gummy carb I had on a used mower. Afterwords I went to get a gasket kit and the guy there (who said he was a small engine mechanic) said to NEVER put small engine carburetors into dip tanks! Said there is a clear coat on them and the cleaner strips this off and leaves the aluminum porous and then it will leak.

    I called my mechanic and asked him and he said that's nuts... He said as long as you don't leave them in there for longer than the 15 to 30 minutes they are fine.

    Your opinion?

    Second part... I know how DANGEROUS this stuff is, but I didn't put on gloves to handle the parts that came out of the cleaner. I didn't get that much on my hands but my gawd does that stuff stink! (waaay different chemical than spray type carb cleaner!) I used some gojo in the garage, then washed my hands 2 times in the house and it didn't start to kill the smell. Since then i have washed them 4 more times, taken a shower where there's 3 different soaps, used some fru fru smelling lotion and even sprayed cologne on my hands to mask the smell. NOTHING WORKS! Just sitting here typing I can smell them and it's making me half sick... You would think I bathed in it but really I only got it on my fingers. Suggestions???
  2. fixer67

    fixer67 LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,098

    Most of that can type carb cleaner contain lye {LYE =Sodium Hydroxide(Beads), Potassium Hydroxide (Liquid & Flakes)}

    It will eat something like a small engine carb up if left for more than a few minutes. It will eat you up as well. We had a can in the shop we got from NAPA for a special job we were doing. I found an old B&S 3.5HP carb that was no good and put it in the can for about an hour just to see how strong the stuff really was. There was not much left of it. Good thing it was trash to start with because it sure was afterward.

    And on a the smell you may not really be smelling it. Ask someone esle to see if they smell it. You may have absorbed it though your skin and it is in your blood stream in which case you will "smell" it until it works its way out which could take days. I seen this happen before with other chemicals. Next time use gloves
  3. Jason Rose

    Jason Rose LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,858

    Ask someone else... I don't have to ask! They get a foul look on their face pretty quick, I pass a hand by their nose and they realize it's ME!

    Was the can you had the Berrymans? I'm going to double check but I don't think those ingredients were in there.... I know there was hexavalent chromium and another chromium something or other. About 15 cancer warnings (iv'e seen the movie about the chromium, I know it's BAD stuff)

    I was told that the dip tank cleaners they use in auto repair shops is MUCH more powerful of a chemical than the stuff they can sell in the parts stores (I got mine at auto zone). I left the carb in it for about 20 minutes and it looked fine and dandy, clean for sure, but it was mostly clean before it's bath, mainly got the tarnish off and from out of the holes.
  4. Jason Rose

    Jason Rose LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,858

    Ok, I got curious so I went out and checked my can. No hydroxides in mine. The lye based type must be the super strong kind...

    Mines got- Dichloromethane, monochlorotoluene, sodiumbichromate, and ethyl Benzene. With a splash of Hexavalent Chromium in there for good toxic measure, lol

    Oh, and the unlisted ingredient is STINK number 596
  5. fixer67

    fixer67 LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,098

    We got ours at NAPA for a one time speical job. We just always use the spray can type. Call Auto Zone and ask them about it.
  6. newz7151

    newz7151 LawnSite Silver Member
    from Tejas
    Messages: 2,419

    I guess you could try lemon juice on your hands. Either the stuff in the bottle, or a couple of natural lemons.

    Going to kind of be a lesser of two evils deal there though..
  7. fixer67

    fixer67 LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,098

    Here, call Berryman information at 1-800-433-1704
    I got this number off the MSDS
    Good luck
  8. Jason Rose

    Jason Rose LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,858

    The fastest acting immersion cleaner for all metal parts including alloys. Non-corrosive to metal and requires no agitation. A chemical seal retards evaporation and aids in emulsification. Removes carbon, varnish, paint, sludge, and grease fast. Use for cleaning transmissions, carburetors, valves, and other
    hard to clean parts.

    Ok, well I feel better... I guess that's what the web is here for! A little research on their website answered my questions about the alloys at least... Plus the MSDS is much more informative as to the PPE that should be used! The can dosn't even say you need to wear gloves, though it suggests doing so. Still dosn't say how to de-stink one's self...
  9. Smalltimer1

    Smalltimer1 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,223

    I have a gallon of the Gunk carb cleaner. It seems to work pretty good, but everytime I handle parts out of it, it does impregnate my fingers with that smell. It takes about a day for it to wear off. It smells like burnt cinnamon to me.

    It will not hurt metal or aluminum, however it will eat plastic up in the time it takes to smoke a cigarette. It's also harmful to gaskets as well.
  10. Restrorob

    Restrorob LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,029

    OK guys, Here's the trick, I use electric fence wire and hang my carbs. with it hooked over the rim of the bucket. For small parts I went to wally world and got a stainless tea holder (looks like a egg you put tea in it and drop it in a cup). Then take them out by the wire and hose them off with the water hose before handling. Then blow water off and shoot spray cleaner through all the ports and blow them out again, End results clean carbs. and no stinky hands.

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