California's taken away all my cleaners: any advice?
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  1. #1
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    Unhappy California's taken away all my cleaners: any advice?

    I rebuild vintage auto parts, the real carb cleaner and solvent went away years ago...I get along with a couple of heated parts washers (soap and water and agitation). I've always had a couple of gallon containers on my bench with acetone and lacquer for all my little bright work. It was great to clean the little shiny stuff quick and swell all the seals and o-rings for easy removal. Now they've reduced the voc count from 300 to 25! Both the lacquer and the acetone are completely useless, they leave the parts a gummy mess. MEK is totally off the market. Brake cleaner is like a non flammable mineral spirit. I'm using a MEK subsitute for industrial coatings. It's better than nothing but barely. Someone said use diesel? Someone said buy up a bunch of alternator and starter cores and tell them you can't use water base in the electrical rebuilds. Last time they (epa, aqmd (air quality managment district) and carb (California air resources board) were here they treat you like a criminal. "what are you blasting in your sandblaster?" "uh, rusty parts" "no paint?" "uh, no" "well, we need to see your filter" luckily i'd just cleaned it out. They actually fly over areas looking for paint booth vents I'm not kidding. Remember, it starts in California and heads east, you'll be dealing with the same problems soon. For now if anybody has any ideas i'd love to hear some.

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    I wish I had a reasonable answer to your request for help. But maybe best to just leave the socialist republic of kalifornia altogether. Maybe best to just give it back to the mexicans anyway. The general state seems to be willing to give just about anything & everything back to them.

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    Best aqueous Cleaner I have found is Dishwasher Gel. Local supermarket. Maybe use a little isopropyl to get the water off afterwards.

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    I first ran into this problem beginning of the year with McMaster-Carr where they will no longer sell many of their chemicals and some products if you are located in California. The Chemicals include Denatured Alcohol, Isopropyl Alcohol, Kerosene, Mineral Oil, Mineral Spirits, Naptha and others. I can't even order solvent based metal polish from them any longer.

    Just yesterday, I was talking to a guy that works at the Ace Hardware store near me and he says that the County of Riverside has forced them to stop stocking many of the chemicals they carry which includes Paint Thinner, Lacquer Thinner, Naphtha, Turpentine, Denatured Alcohol and Kerosene (these are the ones I remember from memory). They are really upset with this.

    I agree, this is getting ridiculous. For now, I've been ordering from other places online and have found many places even located in California that will continue to ship these chemicals and related products. Seems eventually though, that they will get to everybody so this won't last long. I do wonder if other states will start adopting these same restrictions. Fortunately, Acetone is not on the list (or yet).

    Patrick

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    well you could use gasoline, unless CA has watered that down too.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cncbrit View Post
    Best aqueous Cleaner I have found is Dishwasher Gel. Local supermarket. Maybe use a little isopropyl to get the water off afterwards.

    Can you believe that Isopropyl Alcohol made it on the list of these chemicals that we can no longer purchase here. Sure, you can buy the 70% or so variety from your drug store but I think you are referring to the 99% version which I also like to use sometimes.

    Patrick

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    Stuff like this is why God put Nevada next to California- get in the car and go for a ride-stock up and come back with what you need. I just read an article where the Stae of Ca is restricting almost 3000 "hazardous" chemicals.

    If you think you have it bad, what are the poor guys with the meth labs going to do?

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    Hmm, I wonder if this is security/meth lab issue. These are are basic synthetic chemistry building blocks. It's a real bitch to find a gallon of any alcohol thats not meant for consumption. Alcohols great for cleaning parts and checking finish for us. Been having to use acetone but it sucks compared to alcohol for cleaning off honing oil. Maybe I'll need to start making some of grandpas good all Croatian Rakaja to clean part - I swear a thimble will get you buzzed.

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    Default RTO solvent burner

    what a big printing press uses is a RTO. Regenerative Thermal Oxidizer.
    .
    basically Tolulene and DEK and other nasty solvent fumes are sent to a burner where the burn chamber is at least 20 feet in diameter. i know because i had to replace the brick floor once.
    .
    this burner burns the solvent.
    .
    our printing press does about a million feet a day production in New York State. i am not sure if California allows this.

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    B2XU,
    I have the same problem. I recently bought a 5-gallon can of lacquer thinner. I don't know what it is, but it sure isn't lacquer thinner. I poured some in a small pan that had some ATF in it. The ATF just formed little balls rolling around in the pool of "lacquer thinner" like oil and water. Trying to clean parts with this crap is a waste of time; any of the orange cleaners and hot water work better.

    Maybe Dan has the answer... road trip to Las Vegas (4 hours for me.) Stupid politicians...

    Rant On: you know what the problem is? Politicians have never worked for a living. They have never made anything with their hands. They just don't understand what it takes to make something.

    Ok, rant off: Carry on...

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    That's one of the reasons I would never live in CA. If all that works East to FL and the rest of the states, I'd move to a different country.

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    LPS has a pretty good line of waterborne products, this is the degreaser I am currently using, it will etch paint if allowed to soak long enough. I get it in 5 gallon pails and cut it 3 to 1 with water.

    LPS SA-X X-Treme Degreaser

    Better get used to the low VOC formulas, they wont be bringing the good stuff back.

    On edit: I think an RTO is a little out of the price range of all small to mid size shops, natural gas requirements and initial start up cost would be staggering. Last one we installed had a 8 MBTU burner and a 12' dia ceramic wheel, discharge temp was in the 800 degree range. Cost? a cool 2.6 mill per unit. A portion of the discharge air was mixed with ambient and pumped back into the plant for air make up / heat.

    The sheer scale of these systems makes them unreachable for an average shop.

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    Quote Originally Posted by b2xu View Post
    I rebuild vintage auto parts, the real carb cleaner and solvent went away years ago...I get along with a couple of heated parts washers (soap and water and agitation). I've always had a couple of gallon containers on my bench with acetone and lacquer for all my little bright work. It was great to clean the little shiny stuff quick and swell all the seals and o-rings for easy removal. Now they've reduced the voc count from 300 to 25! Both the lacquer and the acetone are completely useless, they leave the parts a gummy mess. MEK is totally off the market. Brake cleaner is like a non flammable mineral spirit. I'm using a MEK subsitute for industrial coatings. It's better than nothing but barely. Someone said use diesel? Someone said buy up a bunch of alternator and starter cores and tell them you can't use water base in the electrical rebuilds. Last time they (epa, aqmd (air quality managment district) and carb (California air resources board) were here they treat you like a criminal. "what are you blasting in your sandblaster?" "uh, rusty parts" "no paint?" "uh, no" "well, we need to see your filter" luckily i'd just cleaned it out. They actually fly over areas looking for paint booth vents I'm not kidding. Remember, it starts in California and heads east, you'll be dealing with the same problems soon. For now if anybody has any ideas i'd love to hear some.

    Move out of California as fast as you can

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    Default Ab32

    I think most of these regulations are a result of AB 32. It has had some real negative effects on businesses. Older trucking fleets had to be replaced, same with off-road diesel, and who knows how far this legislation goes. While a pain now, I think there will be some great innovation by the time this is over.

    There is some precedent for this type of thing working...

    1970 marked the first clean air act. From what I've heard, it cleaned up California dirtiest cities. By some accounts, California cities account for 8 of the top 10 most polluted cities in the U.S; accordingly, California is in a unique situation that doesn't necessarily apply to other states. But don't worry rest of the U.S., I'm sure the next Federal Clean Air Act will make it your local county in time.

    It sounds like companies are already coming up with viable alternatives. Certainly a painful process now, but might be worth it in the end.

    As for cleaning old parts, I use Simple Green. I just let it soak it in there a day or two.

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    I have used Easy-Off oven cleaner quite successfully on old brass carbs. Get the "original formula".

    Perhaps this too is banned in Kalifornia since everyone there goes out to eat-- the ones with money to restaurants, the others to fast food joints.

    YMMV

    Herb Kephart
    Last edited by Herb in Delco; 11-05-2011 at 10:34 AM. Reason: added YMMV

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    Move, its the only answer. This is just the start for you, its only going to get worse.

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    That would be great if you could get the real stuff and bring it back but they'll throw you in jail now if you get caught!

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    Quote Originally Posted by framer View Post
    well you could use gasoline, unless CA has watered that down too.
    Can you still buy Coleman fuel (Naptha) at the Camping and outdoors places?

    My grandfather used gasoline a long time back, but it didn't seem to leave as much mung behind as the new stuff does.

    Best of luck!

    Cheers
    Trev

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    This is war.

    Empty out bottles of the useless stuff and fill them with real MEK, etc. As long as only you know this is happening it is non-actionable. No witness, no case.

    America is developing a black market because of oppressive, Soviet-style regulations. Don't be left behind, learn how to cope on the black market now BEFORE your survival depends on it.

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    How does E85 work?


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