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Best Penetrating Oil - Test Results


Jack Mayer

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Skip Tamm sent this to me and asked me to post it. I posted it here instead of the HDT forum since I thought it generally applicable. Interesting results and consistent with what I have seen in other tests.

 

“Machinist’s Workshop” recently published information on various penetrating oils. The magazine reports they tested these products for “break out “torque” on rusted nuts and bolts. A subjective test was made of popular penetrating oils, with the unit of merit being the torque required to remove the nut from a “scientifically rusted” bolt. Average torque load to loosen nut:

No Oil used ……………………516 foot pounds
WD-40 ………………… ……..238 foot pounds
PB Blaster …………………….214 foot pounds
Liquid Wrench ………………….127 foot pounds
Kano Kroil …………………….106 foot pounds
ATF/Acetone mix…………………. 53 foot pounds

The ATF/Acetone mix is a “home brew” mix of 50/50 automatic transmission fluid and acetone. Note this “home brew” released bolts better than any commercial product in this one particular test.

Our local machinist group mixed up a batch, and we all now use it with equally good results. Note also that Liquid Wrench is almost as good as Kroil for 20% of the price.

ATF/Acetone mix is best, but you can also use ATF and lacquer thinner in a50/50 mix. ATF = Any type of Automatic Transmission Fluid.

This version of the story was in one of the Military Vehicle Club newsletters.

 

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How do they produce "scientifically rusted" nuts/bolts? Did they make up say 200 and test 50 for the "no oil" to set a baseline & look for deviations?

 

Then how many did they do for each product to minimize the effect of baseline variations? Like everything - the devil is in the details.

 

Bottom line - if they threw a bunch in a bucket of saltwater until they looked rusted and did one bolt each - the results are meaningless.

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After years of working on cars in the rust belt, the best I have found is beeswax. You simply warm the part with a propane torch, doesn't have to be hot, and melt some beeswax onto the rusted fitting. I was skeptical at first but it is amazing how well it works.

 

Rich

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Hey, I'm just posting info I found interesting. I've read several "tests" that reached the same conclusion - several by people that were skeptical of the ATF/Acetone mix. But if you don't believe it then keep doing what you do now....I know I'll keep using my liquid wrench...because I have it.

 

It is valid to be concerned about flammability. But consider how flammable some of these other products are.

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Kano Kroil Oil for many years until I saw this 10 years or so ago. Acetone / ATF at home now. WD used to be propelled by propane, does a nice job as a flame thrower. Ever done the hair spray thing --- nice flame there also.

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Hey, I'm just posting info I found interesting. I've read several "tests" that reached the same conclusion - several by people that were skeptical of the ATF/Acetone mix. But if you don't believe it then keep doing what you do now....I know I'll keep using my liquid wrench...because I have it.

 

It is valid to be concerned about flammability. But consider how flammable some of these other products are.

I wasn't suggesting that you were advocating any of the substances. I am sorry if you felt I was somehow concerned about one of "your" recommendations. I appreciate you posting the study results. I was only expressing my reservations with the "winner" of the study as for me and me only I have always viewed acetone as a substance a bit too volatile for my tastes.

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"I have always viewed acetone as a substance a bit too volatile for my tastes."

Don't get near methylene chloride (also called Dichloromethane or DCM), since it is more volatile than acetone. It will also put insects to sleep instantly, which I found useful as an ignorant youth dealing with wasp nests.

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I seem to always find a use for acetone and if my can is empty I just borrow a splash of the wife's nail polish remover that is acetone with something flowery added to mask the smell. Mixing up a few drops of trans fluid and acetone for a nut really sounds good compared to having to keep one of the other good options available as rarely as I need something.

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Thanks for the info Jack. I am surprised that Fluid Film is not on the list. I was given a can of it and was super impressed on how well it worked on rusted up bolts. WD40 works good for fast cleaning of a gun but other than that pretty worthless. IMHO

Does a great job cleaning up grease and road tar. . . Don't like it for much else.

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The Acetone and ATF works wonders in the marine world. Acetone will wick into the smallest micron size cracks and break the bond. The ATF then lubricates the metal surfaces decreasing the friction letting the 2 parts move against each other.

Acetone vapor is heavier than air, so don't let it trap in a low area. A small bottle/can like the size of a PVC glue can will last awhile if you seal it when not using it. The ATF will remain but the Acetone may evaporate out, but you can add back to it.

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I personally have used and still do Kroil successfully. WD40 for removing decals and such. PB Blaster I have some as well. So I have tried and have on hand a lot of stuff. I will use the ATF and acetone next when I have a need for such. Of course torch or nut spliter always works if they can be used and not destroy something else unintentionally in the process. :)

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kroil was the lubricant of choice for the fitters working on the turbines at the power stations in my area that I worked at, it was very expensive down here in oz for a 44 gallon drum and I think the power stations were

one of the few places that had it and still do as they are owned and run by the state government and the

procuring officers couldn't give a stuff about the price and just ordered it.

 

we even had the the alumina refinery in the area ring the power station hierarchy wanting to buy 20litres

of it because they desperately needed some and didn't want to spring for a 44gallon drum full

 

It is excellent stuff and worked well on those big bolts that held the turbines together

 

I will have to give the atf and acetone a go sometime.

 

mick

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Thanks for posting the results Jack. I'll mix up a couple ounces for that really stubborn gas tank drain plug I can't remove from my 1932 Chevrolet. Ya'know, on a different website some guy actually suggested heating it with a torch! Yikes! I was born dumb, but I think I've improved since then.

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