Writing this, preparations for the big annual international gathering at the Tri-State Gas Engine Show in Portland, Indiana, are reaching fever pitch. Just have to try not to think that by the time it's in print, it will all be over for another year! The five days of the show are such an intense experience as we develop the friendships begun on the Stationary Engine Mailing List by email, and the personalities come to life. It's also a chance to see engines at close quarters which have been discussed during the year by email, and possibly viewed by photographs on web pages.

The atmosphere of Portland is now be recreated at engine shows around the world, with multi-national gatherings in England, Holland and Australia as well as America, and engines being shipped around the world giving even more variety to the displays.

The idea of shipping engines across oceans is one which crates much discussion everywhere except our mailing list where we all celebrate international variety. Earlier this year, my husband and I lost out on en engine we wanted to buy because someone else was prepared to pay $100 over the asking price, which was already high, to "keep the engine from going overseas". More recently, while collecting an engine here in the UK to ship to a friend in the US, I heard a similar comment: "shame to see our heritage going to America". Even more ridiculous, in my opinion, was a remark about an engine just imported from the Czech Republic to be rallied here in England before going to the States to be seen at shows there, "Pity that's leaving the country." Which seems to conveniently forget that it just left its home country!!

None of the engines for which someone has gone to the considerable trouble and expense of shipping are destined for the scrap yard or a dark and dusty corner of a shed. They are a confirmation of the international flavour of our hobby, and an educating insight to engine men and show goers alike into how similar problems were tackled in different parts of the world.

I'll get down off my personal soapbox now and pass on some words of wisdom which will be of interest to anyone whose collection does not consist solely of pristine, perfectly restored engines: "Gunk or gasoline as a de-greaser?"

* In my 1926 Jaeger concrete mixer is a fairly virgin 6HP Jaeger engine covered in thick black oil and grease. I pressure washed some of it off and found nice pretty blue underneath with the outlines around the castings in yellow perhaps.
What would you guys use to finish taking this thick stuff off?

* Hand cleaner without pumice worked good for me when we wanted to save the original paint under years of build up.

* Gunk has emulsifiers that mix with oil and then in turn, both mix with water. Nothing replaces scraping however,. or at least rubbing it with a cloth or tooth brush .

* I can remember when I was a child my dad had a gadget that connected to his air hose that sprayed gasoline. It was similar to a power washer. When it sprayed grease, dirt, and gravel would fly all over the place.

* Was that after the massive explosion? Sounds like that has the potential for creating a do-it-yourself fuel-air bomb.

* I have one of those. It is a venturi pump. Regular shop air causes a vacuum to pull a liquid into the nozzle and creates a very fine mist. I used it with Kero. Once. Decided that I didn't like the fuel-air bomb condition that rapidly developed.

* That kero or diesel mist is kinda bad for the lungs too!!

* Don't spray gasoline through a power washer----bad news ; you may get a bang you're not looking for!!
Thunder Blast degreaser comes in a spray bottle and it has worked very well for me. My wife buys it for $1.50 a quart. Spray it on , let it set for a few minutes, rinse it off with a hose. It
also gets grease out of clothing.
We used to use Fantastic to clean gas and oil stains from the carburettor on parade motorcycles to keep them clean and bright; it also just washed off with a hose.

* Get some "Tide" laundry detergent in a bowl and add water little by little until you get a paste. Make it so it's thinner than toothpaste and thicker than water. You want it to "hang" on the engine. Wet down the engine and start putting the paste on the engine. Let it set for a while maybe 10 - 15 minutes.
Use a fairly soft bristle brush to scrub a little while you hose it off. I had to repeat this a few times on some of the thicker build up areas. I've used it a few times now and it works pretty good. It doesn't hurt the paint at all.
WARNING!!!!!!!!!!! I don't know why but, if you have an aluminum tag like on an IH LB, Briggs, or Clinton the paint WILL come off. My wife used the Tide on her Clinton a couple of years ago and removed all the paint from the tag but not the engine.

* Not only that, but it'll dissolve the aluminum if you leave it long.
It has strongly basic ingredients, probably mainly washing soda. Soda, lye, TSP, sodium silicate can all dissolve aluminum, and have all been widely used in detergents.

* I've had good luck with K-1 kerosene and an old toothbrush. The kero will dissolve the grease but won't hurt the old paint under it.
W-D 40 also works good but is too expensive for a whole engine. After I get it clean I mix kero or turpentine 50/50 with boiled linseed oil and give it a light coating. It really brings out old paint and I really like to see old paint and striping if there is any left on an engine after all these years.
Unfortunately most are rust colored.

* I often use oven cleaner for the tough stuff. Now it will also eat away at the paint if you leave it too long but it will sure cut the grease and grime off. Its cheap also. You can buy a couple of cans of it for about $1/can. Just spray it on, let it set for a couple of minutes (depending on how thick the grease is) and hose it off.

* Use Gunk--it IS a degreaser!

* Gunk is not a "de-greaser" at all - it's an expensively packaged over the counter can of diesel. Do yourself a favor and go buy one of those little red gas cans for $3 and put $2 worth of diesel in it - it works for everything.

So there should soon be lots of clean engines out there! To finish off with the signature line from one of our list members, "work and play safely!".


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