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From: (Andy Dingley)
Subject: Re: Cleaning wires/connections under hood
Date: Sat, 27 Apr 1996 02:00:45 GMT

The moving finger of (Jason Michael
Surprise) having written:

>My engine is quite dirty.  Spent most of it's life in the northeast,
>where it was bombarded with salt and muck.  

I steam clean my engines. Yes, you'll need to dry it out afterwards,
and you'll have electrical problems coming out of the woodwork, but it
certainly gets them clean.

I don't regard these as electrical "failures" anyway, more as a
diagnostic test. If it stopped working after a soaking, it was either
improperly waterproofed, or corroded to begin with. I take it as a
hint to go and fix it there and then.

The advantage of this is that now I not only have a clean engine, but
it's also reliably waterproof and capable of deep wading (and yes, it

>[what] can I use to clean all the electrical contacts?

Electrical switch or contact cleaner, in a hand-pump spray. A UK brand
is "Electrolube". You can get this stuff as a grease, a liquid, or a
spray. Don't use an aerosol mist, as it goes everywhere. Don't use
WD40 either, because that stuff dries to a sticky residue. The sticky
residue attracts dust, the dust attracts water, and pretty soon you
have worse damp problems than you started with.

The best thing to seal connectors is tape. I use three sorts of tape;
standard electrical - only for wrapping looms, Lucas brand for
insulation (yes, a Lucas product that's better made than _any_ other
brand I've ever seen, and there really is a difference), and
self-amalgamating tape. If you need to seal electrical things against
water, then don't mess with adhesives - use a proper self amalgamating
tape. It's expensive, but then so is breaking down. I do have
something resembling a Life, so even I'm not Sad enough to be able to
recommend between the different types of self-amalg; polyisobutylene,
polythene or butyl rubber.

RTV Silicone ("bath sealer") is handy for general sealing. It exudes
acetic acid (vinegar) on curing, so don't use it on copper, aluminium
or electricals. You can get low-acid electronics grade which doesn't
have this problem.

Another useful product is silicone grease. I use this for
waterproofing spark plugs, distributor caps and all my electricals.
It's an insulator, so you can use it around the HV spark system. If
you smear spade terminals with it, it keeps the water out but a good
crimp or friction terminal is tight enough to contact through it.
Telephone companies have used petroleum jelly filled crimps for years.

Andy Dingley                

If all it takes is an infinite number of monkeys with typewriters, 
how come AOL haven't written any Shakespeare yet ?

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