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Author Topic: Cleaning a Plastic Radiator Overflow Catch Can  (Read 993 times)

Offline Chas

  • Posts: 248
  • Name: Chas Sergewick
Cleaning a Plastic Radiator Overflow Catch Can
« on: October 24, 2015, 03:52:31 PM »
Anyone ever come up with a successful method of cleaning/ restoring these things? Not necessarily to concours condition, but anything better then the dingy plastic thing I have now. I was thinking of soaking it in hot soapy water and then letting it pickle in a bucket of bleach. What worked for you?
1967 Coupe DeVille
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Offline Alan Harris CLC#1513

  • Posts: 687
  • CLC Number: 1513
  • Name: A Harris
Re: Cleaning a Plastic Radiator Overflow Catch Can
« Reply #1 on: October 24, 2015, 06:29:06 PM »
You might have luck with a bottle brush, hot water and some dish detergent.

Offline Scot Minesinger

  • Posts: 6004
Re: Cleaning a Plastic Radiator Overflow Catch Can
« Reply #2 on: October 24, 2015, 06:58:04 PM »
Chas,

These are difficult to clean.  There are some NOS and reproduction pieces out there that the cost of will be less than your time to clean the one you have.  I used scouring powder and that did a good job.  Still it is unlikely to return to that nice shade of opaque white very easily.
Fairfax Station, VA  22039 (Washington DC Sub)
1970 Cadillac DeVille Convertible
1970 Cadillac Sedan DeVille
1970 four door Convertible w/Cadillac Warranty

Offline Barry M Wheeler #2189

  • Administrator
  • Posts: 3492
  • CLC Number: 2189
  • Name: Barry Wheeler
Re: Cleaning a Plastic Radiator Overflow Catch Can
« Reply #3 on: October 25, 2015, 08:45:02 AM »
I used a baby bottle cleaning brush, and bleach. (Watch your favorite jeans...it splatters easily.) It will finally clean up, but you have to be patient. I think I also tried all the household cleaners. I think I even stuck an SOS pad on the end of a long screwdriver for some of the corners. You do get a nice sense of accomplishment when it's clean.
Barry M. Wheeler #2189


1981 Cadillac Seville
1991 Cadillac Seville

Offline 76eldo

  • Posts: 6651
  • CLC Number: 22443
  • Name: Brian Rachlin
Re: Cleaning a Plastic Radiator Overflow Catch Can
« Reply #4 on: October 25, 2015, 10:15:04 AM »
Try soapy water, bleach, and drop a small length of small gauge chain in it and shake it.

Some fine gravel would do the same job.

Cap it off and agitate until It starts looking cleaner.

Brian
Brian Rachlin
Huntingdon Valley, Pa
CLC # 22443
I prefer email's not PM's rachlin@comcast.net

1960 62 Series Conv with Factory Tri Power
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Offline TJ Hopland

  • Posts: 10193
Re: Cleaning a Plastic Radiator Overflow Catch Can
« Reply #5 on: October 25, 2015, 10:34:21 AM »
Someone told me once not to use bleach.   Apparently makes the plastic really brittle.   Must be the type of plastic or some reaction with the antifreeze. 

I was thinking maybe popcorn seeds?  I used that method to clean out a pet watering dish with success.   Or I wonder about ice cubes and salt?    We used to do that to wash out coffee pots.  I guess the salt does some scrubbing plus melts the ice to sharp edges that also do some scrubbing.

At least at the vintage we are talking here they are not the super complicated ones with all the baffles like they started using in the 90's.   I have one of those I can't see through which stinks because that is where the cap is so no telling how much coolant there is in the system. 
StPaul/Mpls, MN USA

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Offline Raymond919

  • Posts: 191
  • CLC Number: 26141
  • Name: Ray Schuman
Re: Cleaning a Plastic Radiator Overflow Catch Can
« Reply #6 on: October 25, 2015, 11:32:58 AM »
I once asked an old-timer in the CLC club what he used on his car collection and he said he uses automatic dishwasher soap. He said to only put a very small amount into the radiator and run the car for 20 miles or so. He said he would then thoroughly flush the system. He stressed to rinse it very well.
I never did it since my system is very clean but the idea stuck in my head. I really don't know if I would ever do it but I pass along his advice for what it's worth.
Ray Schuman

 

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