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Chassis Cleaning - Newbie Questions

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Post by danemodsandy on Sun Oct 16, 2011 8:45 pm

Hello All:

If anyone could give me some pointers on cleaning a tube radio chassis, I'd be very grateful. I am VERY new to actual restoration. The radio is a Zenith Consoltone 6D015Z 6-tube tabletop model, brown Bakelite, circa 1946-48. It is extremely nasty inside, with a chassis caked with mouse droppings, roach ditto, and rust. While I am not experienced enough to handle its electronic resto myself, I'd like to take it to a restorer clean. And the rust's gotta go, obviously.

I understand that a chassis can be cleaned with soap and water, but I don't know if there are any cautions about the tube sockets or anything else. Can anyone advise me? My goal is to get this radio restored to proper function, and to really excellent cosmetic condition.

Many thanks in advance -

Sandy McLendon

"I miss civilization, don't you?"
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Post by Bill Cahill on Sun Oct 16, 2011 9:01 pm

I personally don't reccommend soap, and, water. Especially not water.
I have used denatured alcohol on chassis cleanning, also, I have successfully used good quality electrical contact spray.
Tube sockets can be cleanned with contact cleanner. Controls with control, and, tuner cleanner.
Some folks have used de ox it to some extent.
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Post by danemodsandy on Sun Oct 16, 2011 9:08 pm

Thanks, Bill.

Any areas to avoid? What about the plates on the tuner? I am so new to this I should be treated as extremely dangerous, so please don't anyone think they're talking down to me - like Colonel Klink, I know nothing, nothing. There's nothing that is too obvious to share with me!
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Post by Tony V on Sun Oct 16, 2011 10:17 pm

Pay attention to Bill as he has brought many rusty chassis' back to presentable condition. They will never be perfect but can look half way decent if you take your time and use the appropiate materials to do the job right. Welcome to TRF by the way!
-Tony
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Post by Bill Cahill on Sun Oct 16, 2011 10:21 pm

Unless the tuner plates are real coroded, I'd leave tuner alone. I'd also sty clear of spkr., and, transformer.
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Post by sprman on Wed Oct 19, 2011 6:40 pm

Have used 409 mixed with ammonia , mix 409 3 to 1 with ammonia do it outside it will smell a bit.Tooth brush and paint brush work well.Wipe off with rags uses distilled water to wipe up with.Did a Colllins R-388 that way looks new in and out blew it off with air and set it n sun a day.Then wipes everything i could get to with old tshirt..Cleans up nice that way..Sprman

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Post by Brig on Wed Feb 08, 2012 7:32 pm

Try Goop (or other) hand cleaner applied with a scrubbie (the kind used to scrub pots and pans) to a small area at a time, then wipe up the residue with a wet rag. For nooks and crannies you can use a toothbrush.

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Post by Bill Cahill on Wed Feb 08, 2012 7:48 pm

The problem with cleanning tuner plates is you can bend them easily, and, cause yourself more trouble.
I do believe in cleanning contact points, and, oiling the bearings.
Thanks for the helpful chassis cleanning hints.
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Post by tjet25 on Fri Feb 17, 2012 10:54 pm

Sandy:
I always have a lot of success with Naval Jelly. You can find it at any home center. Pink stuff that I apply with a Q-tip or acid brush. I just work small areas at a time, maybe 2X2 or 3X3" areas. Lay it on, keep it on for about 20-30 min, then wipe it off with a damp cloth. You may have to do it 3 or 4 times over in the heavy rusted areas. It will eventually remove the rust but you will have pits where the rust was. In the areas where there wasn't any rust, it cleans the area with a breeze. After your done, then it's decision time. What are you looking for? Originality? Should you paint it? It's up to you. Everyone here has different ideas on the finish. If it's originality, I usually just clear coat it to keep it from rusting again. I've even primed and painted some because they were so rusted and pitted. The naval jelly wont hurt the tube sockets (but try to keep it away as much as possible). BUT Naval Jelly will destroy the tuning condenser blades, IF cans, Tube covers...anything made out of aluminum. Don't use naval jelly on aluminum! Just go slow. Take your time....the radio's not going anywhere and no body is going to take it from you so go slow when you proceed. Tony

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Post by Resistance is Futile on Sat Feb 18, 2012 10:00 pm

There is a naval jelly for aluminum too! Wink

I have had good results cleaning the tuners in an ultrasonic cleaner and have also used a dishwasher.
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Post by Dion on Sun Mar 18, 2012 10:15 pm

Nobody has mentioned Noxon 7 metal cleaner, by (I think) Boyle Midway. It is available at Ace Hardware, and is the best metal polish I've used. Apply it with a soft cloth or, 0000 steel wool (for steel) and remove with damp, soapy cloth. Buff dry. I've never had it damage any type of metal. -Dion
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Post by Fred Longworth on Tue Mar 20, 2012 1:39 am

Whatever you do, do not put it in a solvent tank. About three years ago, one of my customers brought in a Scott 399 tube receiver he'd bought on eBay. The seller had cleaned it in a solvent tank. It was spotless, really pretty, photo perfect. To see it was to desire it . . . and it had been destroyed. The solvent had got inside all the IF cans, and as you might expect, had taken forever and a half to evaporate. During that time the solvent attacked the enamel on the coils and wreaked havoc with the distributive capacitance inside the tuned circuits. Without a donor machine to cannibalize for IF cans, the set was history. Very sad.

Good luck with your machine!

Fred
owner of Classic Audio Repair in San Diego

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